NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- A Long Island City eatery is the first restaurant to proudly show off their perfect grade.
Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley visited Sparks Deli on Borden Avenue Wednesday morning to present the owners with the first "A" grade given to any restaurant under the city's new rating system.
A letter-based grading system aimed to inform diners about cleanliness and food system is now in effect across the city.
Restaurants that get fewer than 14 violation points will earn an A. Between 14 and 27 points will be a B, and more than 27 will be a C.
Restaurants that don't ace their first inspection will have a chance to bring up their grade. A restaurant that gets more than 13 violation points will be reinspected within a month. If it still doesn't qualify for an A, it must either post its B or C grade or display a placard that says "Grade Pending" while it appeals the bad grade at an administrative tribunal.
Restaurants will be required to post their grades in a prominent spot.
Farley says public pressure exerted by the letter grades will force restaurants to perform good food-safety practices.
A new website, nyc.gov/health/restaurants, will offer the public up-to-date specifics on each restaurant's inspection.
Farly congratulated Jose and Antonio Araujo on performing so well on an unannounced sanitary inspection.
Farley hopes that Sparks Deli will act as a model for the city's 25,000 eating establishments.
"Whether it's a neighborhood deli or a pricey dinner house, any food establishment can prepare food safely," he said. "Sparks has set an example."
Similar letter grade systems are already in effect in Los Angeles, North Carolina and South Carolina.
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