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Some NYC Restaurant Owners Grumble Over Grades

NEW YORK (CBS 2) -- It's been four months since the New York City Health Department introduced its new process for rating restaurant cleanliness. But even now, some restaurant owners say it's unfair and bad for business.

CBS 2's Wendy Gillette reports that the Health Department's latest analysis shows nearly half of the city's restaurants inspected since June are getting A's.

Fresco Tortillas on 30th Avenue and Bai Sushi on Broadway are among the restaurants that received an "A" as part of the inspection system and the grade has been impressing potential customers looking for a place to eat.

The point system is laid out so restaurants that accumulate 0-13 points for sanitary violations receive an "A," 14-27 points equals a "B" grade and 28 or more points translates to the lowest grade, "C."

If a restaurant doesn't immediately get an "A," an inspector will return to the establishment at least a week later to allow a for a second chance.

But signs that read "Grade Pending" are what is seen quite often. If a restaurant gets graded a "B" or "C," it can contest the violations during a hearing. Until then, it must display a card noting its pending status on the front door or window no more than 5 feet from the entrance, Gillette reported.

Akti Seafood Restaurant on 30th Avenue is among the restaurants that fall into that category. Chris Chrysostomou said his restaurant is very clean and that he would fight his "C" grade at a hearing.

"I'd bring any customer into my kitchen," Chrysostomou said, "when it comes to the Health Department, they pick up on everything. They pick up on a knife on a counter, or a towel with bleach on it, or a sink dripping."

To see how your favorite restaurant got graded on the city's report card, you can go to the city's Health Department website.

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