Last month Katz’s owner Alan Dell said he was all in favor of letter grades (“Now you’ll feel comfortable and safe when you go out to eat,” he told QPR magazine). It made sense since Katz’s has been in the A to B range for the past few years, but a report now on the Health Department’s website indicates that the venerable deli failed an inspection earlier this month owing to evidence of roaches and mice, as well as one of the temperature violations that have been vexing delis of late. The 47 demerits puts it safely in the C range (i.e., 28-plus demerits), so we had to ask Dell how he feels about the letter grades now.
Dell tells us that, actually, he’s not thrilled about the fact that letter grades will stay up on his window until he’s reinspected again. “Sometimes they take points off when they aren’t warranted, and that sits with you till the next time you’re inspected, which could be six months.” (Actually, C-grade restaurants will be reinspected within 90 to 150 days.) Dell says that health inspections are “not a perfect system — it all depends on which inspectors come in. Sometimes you get a rude disgusting person, and sometimes you get a nice, normal person.” Still, he’s not too rattled about the new system. “I don’t think it’s going to hurt business or help business — I just think people will get used to whatever it is. Would I rather have it the old way? Yeah, but not enough to make a fuss about it.”