health concerns

63 Percent of New York Restaurants Have Been Cited for Rodent Infestations

Less cute than in Ratatouille. Photo: Tony Margiocchi/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

New Yorkers with a rat phobia: Hope your most recent restaurant meal was absolutely delicious, because it might be your last. For his data blog Urban_Calc, New York software engineer Thatcher Clay nosed around NYC Open Data’s restaurant inspections sheet and published his findings in a post this weekend forebodingly called “Rats and Restaurants.” He set out to see which restaurants citywide have had problems with rats or mice. “Turns out, most restaurants have had an issue,” he says he’s sorry to report. A full 63 percent — or more than 15,000 — have been cited at some point for rodents.

It’s worth noting that 93 percent of New York restaurants received an A grade from the Health Department this year. If both numbers strike you as a little too high, it could underscore the arbitrariness of the city’s rating system. The percentages get all the stranger, for instance, when you remember how unsparing inspectors can be, like the time back in 2014 that Per Se racked up 42 violations and nearly got dropped to a C. Even funnier when it comes to rats, though, is how the city says every violation is created equally. A restaurant with an A rating (0 to 13 violations) could have been quietly hit with a ton of rat-related violations, while a B-rated spot (14 to 27 violations) could have incurred 14 incidents of lids improperly fitting and food temperatures too cold or hot.

Per Clay’s number-crunching, rodents enjoy certain cuisines more than others: The top five worst offenders were Latin (where 80 percent of restaurants were cited), Caribbean (79 percent), Indian (75 percent), and Thai (74.5 percent), plus delis (also 75 percent). Rats are generally not big fans of juiceries or salad spots (39 percent), coffee shops (45 percent), and frozen-yogurt or ice-cream joints (46 percent), but that’s probably not a huge surprise either.

63 Percent of NYC’s Restaurants Have Had Rodent Infestation