Remember way back in 2010, when restaurants were worried that they'd be driven out of business by the then-new letter grading system? Well, lookee here, turns out they weren't just being paranoid! The number of restaurants getting shuttered by the Health Department has skyrocketed by more than 17 percent in the past year, thanks in large part to the letter grades. Oh, and restaurant owners are pissed.
"I haven't heard of an equivalent reduction in the number of food-borne illnesses as a result of the new system," Andrew Rigie, executive vice president of the New York State Restaurant Association, told the Daily News. 1,504 restaurants have been shuttered in the past year, as opposed to 1,282 in 2010. And the Health Department has been reaping the benefits in the form of cold, hard cash: they put away a solid $10 million more this year than last. "They are putting me out of business," said one Brooklyn restaurant owner who's lost thousands appealing DOH fines. How can I afford to pay $2,000 fines in this economy?"
The top violations the Health Department is recording include dirty floors and food that's left out in the open, leading to a jump in mice complaints. Funny, because we could have sworn that the DOH was getting flack for handing out too many A's? Or maybe those were bootleg copies—just ask the guys down at Zuccotti Park, they'll tell you all about it.