Newark, Ohio Downtown Restaurants. Are They Safe?

I recently noticed a post on the local Newark Advocate website that simply listed the downtown restaurants with some descriptions. Immediately afterwards, the blog trolls there started making comments about how dirty and unsafe the Newark downtown restaurants are. I was surprised as I’ve been to many and I never seen anything alarming.

I’ve worked in a bakery and a pizza restaurant before and I’ve been through a few inspections from the Health Department. I wouldn’t fully trust their inspections, but for the most part, they keep us safe enough. My problem with them is that they nitpick things that do not matter, but pass over some big problems. The main problem that they pass over is the trash.

How a restaurant disposes of trash is the most tell-tale sign of how clean the restaurant is kept. No employee likes to take care of trash, massive amounts of it are created in food the food prep process, and the problem can be hidden out back. If they choose the least expensive trash service, missed pickups are frequent and create a health hazard. Trash problems do not expose everything, but I won’t visit a restaurant with nasty trash area.

I was pleasantly surprised when I went to check on the the trash areas of the downtown restaurants. They were all much cleaner than I expected. Even the grease barrels, the nastiest part of any restaurant trash, were sealed and not bad enough to warrant alarm. I’m not posting all of the photos because just a few give look like every place I visited. I urge you to visit yourself if you disagree.

The Internet is the worst venue to discuss the restaurant business. All that the competition needs to do is post that their competitor has an unclean restaurant. The Newark Advocate’s health inspection database sends of false alarms too. They post every detail of the inspections and so minor, they’re not worth mentioning. The Licking County Health Department gives these minor violations to follow the law and keep the restaurant on their toes for overall big problems. When put into the perspective of “news”, it’s tough to sort through what is truly a hazard and what is not. To make matters worse, The Advocate’s “database” is created by hand input from reports that the Health Department sends them. There is room for error.

If you think that a restaurant has a health hazard, ask the management about it. Any good restaurant is going to thank you as a violation is a serious matter for them. A bad restaurant cannot stay in business long with reported violations either. Making baseless and unproven comments on the Internet doesn’t do a thing for the exception of harming the reputation of a business working hard in a very competitive climate.

As for me, I would eat in almost any of Newark’s restaurants. I’m not going to bash some of the ones that I wouldn’t eat at. For all I know, they’ve cleaned up their act and a revisit may change my mind anyhow.

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