The good folks over at Food Safety News reported today that South Dakota’s health department has put the state’s restaurant scores online, making it easy to search and see if your favorite spot has had any critical health violations. But they’re far from the only place that does it–plenty of other cities and states allow both residents and tourists to find out just how gross (or clean) a spot is. If you’re roadtripping this summer, take note. Checking restaurant scores online is easy and smart.
Depending on where you’re visiting, you may be able to search by city or state. For example, New York City allows you to search for restaurants by zipcode or the name of the place, whereas in California, you can check by county. The state of Vermont (it’s for lovers, I hear) is by city or restaurant name. And those are just a few. Pretty much every health department makes the information available in some way, so basically, wherever you are, if you’ve got a smartphone, there’s a good chance you can just Google the name of the city or state and the words “health department restaurant scores” and you should find what you’re looking for.
But there’s another option, too. Because, of course, there’s an app for that.
In Seattle, Dinegerous.com got a lot of publicity when it rolled out an interactive map that showed the number of critical violations each restaurant was given. Did it disturb me to find out that my favorite restaurant had had a pretty horrible sewage back up? Yes. Was it worth knowing? Yes.
Googling for restaurant scores may seem like a nitpicky thing to do–after all, isn’t part of the fun of going on a road trip not knowing whether or not that greasy spoon is going to end in borderline digestive disaster?–but really, if you’re going to be on the road for a long period of time, it may be worth it to check if Joe’s Doublewide Dine-a-Thon is worth the risk.
Image via Dinegerous