The New York Times rolled out a nifty interactive map cataloging restaurant sanitary inspections, putting all the dirty details at diner's fingertips. The vast majority of restaurants in our fair city receive high marks from the Department of Health, a good chunk don't—and now you can search through those by specific violation. Because you can still earn an A after evidence of rodents and roaches is detected. Would you be surprised to see that hundreds of restaurants across are home to furry frenemies?
Since they were introduced in New York, letter grades have been quickly embraced by picky patrons, but often reviled by apathetic proprietors who slack off when it comes to sanitation. Many restaurateurs have even invented creative means to disguise their mediocre marks, resulting in substantial fines, and some restaurants have tried to pass themselves off as markets to avoid posting a grade at all. The former will now have that much more trouble hiding their inspection results now, while the latter remain in luck.
Of course, all this information has long been available at the DOH's clumsy website, but perhaps increased exposure via the streamlined infographics of the Gray Lady will mean more stringent regulations and lower grades. After all, last year even the kitchen at Occupy Wall Street "earned" an A!