A Dorchester pizza joint received a letter grade for the first time from the Boston Inspectional Services Department Wednesday morning.
The Boston City Council approved a measure in August to use grades of A, B, or C to rate restaurants’ food safety practices. Stash’s Pizza was the first to receive a grade, Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s office said in a statement. It got an A.
Though the city will still use the same methods to evaluate establishments, officials said the letter grades are an easier way for patrons to interpret them.
Commissioner of Inspectional Services William “Buddy” Christopher said the “system is not changing. It’s the reporting that’s changing, so we can make it more transparent for our citizens.”
During an inspection, all restaurants begin with a score of 100, and lose points for each violation.
Restaurants with scores of 94 or higher will receive an A, those with scores between 81 and 93 will have a B, and those with scores 80 or below will get a C, Christopher said.
If a restaurant receives an A, then that grade is good for one year unless the department gets a complaint, Christopher said. If a restaurant receives a B, then it will be inspected again after six months, and if a restaurant receives a C, it will be inspected after three months.
“If there is a foodborne critical violation, we do not leave the restaurant,” Christopher said. “Our staff will stay there until the issue is fixed. We have sometimes actually closed the restaurant if we are not able to remedy it within 24 hours.”
Christopher added that if a restaurant receives a B and wants to improve, then they can fix the violation within thirty days and ask for a new inspection.
“There’s no cost to that second inspection. We want to help the restaurants,” Christopher said.
If a restaurant would like a third inspection, then they can pay for an inspector to look again.
Christopher said the grades will be posted on the city’s website. However, the website needed repairs to accommodate the new system and should be fully functional with the next week and a half.
During the first year of the new system, restaurants can choose whether to post their grades in their storefront. After that, restaurants will face fines of $300 per day for not posting them.
“Anybody who gets an A, it will be up,” Christopher said. “We have a great collection of restaurants in the city of Boston and we want more people to know about them.”