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There's nothing less appetizing than watching a viral video of a Taco Bell filled with rats. Yeah, that makes you hungry, right? While we all know why that particular restaurant was shut down due to health code violations, I guarantee you there are still people who eat in that restaurant, whether it's still a Taco Bell or someone else who swept into town, kicked out the rats, and opened an entirely new joint. Heck, if whatever was there (other than Taco Bell) got great reviews I'd show up on a Friday night.
But perhaps that's because I'm not so discerning, as I swear if Di Fara Pizzeria opens back up after being shut down because of health code violations, I would first in line. (That is, if I still lived in Brooklyn, and could still eat gluten.) Because not all health code violations are created equal, and great pizza is hard to find.
If you've ever been out to Brooklyn and dined at Di Fara's (I say "dined" but it's really standing in line, hoping for a spot in the cramped dive) you'd be all about eating at a grubby restaurant too. Heck I already went back after the first time Di Fara's was shuttered. Mostly because it's an old dude, making each pizza by hand, in a small open area. There's not anyone coming in and sanitizing the place every day, and the likelihood that all the food is stored at the proper temperature all day as he burns through one pie at a time, is not high. Maybe that turns your stomach, but I'm telling you if you'd ever tried Di Fara's you'd dream of this pizza in your sleep. And eat it even if you saw a cockroach hanging out by the oven. Seriously.
What, when you see an 'F' rating in the window do you run for the hills? Maybe if it's a diner I had never tried before I'd be inclined to keep on walking. But if it were a favorite place that I'd eaten at many times and to no ill effect, well, maybe I'd pretend not to notice those mouse droppings in the corner. Note I said mouse, not rat.
Of course I want the restaurants I eat in to be clean, well-run, and safe. Of course. But if I'm willing to eat food from a truck (and I am!) then maybe pizza from a small box of a place that's not up to code is okay too.
Would you eat at a restaurant that had health code violations?
Image via Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com/Flickr