Friday Fun Facts: How Clean Are Bushwick’s Restaurants?

Katy Golvala


Every year, health inspectors make unannounced visits to each of New York City’s 24,000 restaurants to test compliance with food and safety regulations. And there’s good local news here: Around 60 percent of restaurants in the Bushwick area earned an “A” grade.

In 2017, the restaurants in and around Bushwick — about 215 —  received an average score of 15.2, earning the neighborhood an average letter grade of a “B.” Phew. 

Restaurants earn points for every violation that inspectors find, so the more violations, the higher the score. Anything between zero and 13 points earns you an “A,” between 14 and 27 points earns you a “B,” and anything above a 28 gets you slapped with a “C” rating. If a restaurant receives a “B” or a “C,” it still gets a chance at redemption: Inspectors will stop by within a month or so to conduct another inspection, and then that rating is final. 

The grading system has gotten flack for its somewhat arbitrary rules. Plus, the high fines disproportionately hurt small restaurants. Businesses that earn a “B” have to pay upwards of $3,000 in fines, and places that get a “C” can be fined as much as $10,000 per year.

The most compliant restaurant in Bushwick was the locally owned Italian eatery Nicandras, which received only 2 violation points last year. Aris Pollos a La Brasa, a Dominican restaurant, was on the other end of the spectrum, earning a total of 56 violation points last year.

But health inspections be damned — the points Pollos a La Brasa earned for unprotected food and improper ventilation aren’t that bad, are they? Plus, that place serves up some of the most delicious chicken in the entire city and at a price that can’t be beat. It’s earned four stars on Yelp and the reviews alone are enough to make your mouth water.  

“Leave your pretentious, critical, ‘they didn’t appreciate the special snowflake I am’ selves at the door, and enjoy some of the best bang for your buck chicken you’ll find,” Aza S. wrote.  

Even more ridiculously, there were 29 restaurants that were deemed “not vermin proof,” yet they still earned better health scores than Aris Pollos A La Brasa. How is that even possible?   

So that’s your Bushwick Fun Fact of the week. Have a question about the neighborhood that you want us to try and answer using data? Leave a comment below!

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