Restaurants ready for public to see inspections

Posted at 10:23 PM, May 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-18 07:39:24-04
So many of us go online to check a restaurant's menu. Now, you can go online for more than just reviews, you can check in to see if the food is safe to eat. 
Julia Belton is no stranger to the kitchen or the restaurant business. She's worked in many kitchens, the latest, is her own, Flavor Restaurant on Centre Street.
When we told Belton about the city's new online portal that offers food safety reports to potential customers she said it was a good idea. 
"I don't think there's any cons to it I used to work in New York City and that was a common practice, she said. "Where they would display your letter in the window so consumers were aware of shortfalls or things the restaurant did very well.  Having this report will also help consumers and all them to try different restaurants that maybe they haven't tried before that got good ratings." 
Many restaurant owners shy away from divulging what's cooking in the kitchen, but Belton is all about transparency;  exactly what the city hope's the new online tool will offer.
"I've worked in a lot of kitchens that are hiding behind those kitchen doors and I think it's maybe a level of fear for people because things may not be up to healthcare," Belton said. "I think it's progressive. I think that the city is really looking out for their population." 
Health inspectors take a lot into consideration before rating any establishment.
"They want to take the temperature of all the foods that are in the refrigerator and make sure it's out of the temperature danger zone, they'll also check the refrigeration to make sure it's in the proper cooling temperature," Belton told ABC2.
For Belton and her staff,  showing off good ratings is just another way to attract regulars.
"We really take pride in our sanitization and we'd love to showcase that we've gotten a good inspection," she said.
And it's something diners say they'll use.
"This tool that allows diners to know where there's high quality food and where there's been an inspection report that has important information will help people to make better choices.  It provides an incentive for people to be more knowledgeable but it also provides an incentive for restaurants to do the right thing," diner, Daniel Mullins, said.
The portal was funded by the mayor's innovation fund loan.  Unsafe food handling concerns can be reported by calling 311.

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