Some of the Best Eats Are Found in the Dirtiest Restaurants


restaurant inspection failThere'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,

chain restaurants, food safety, in the news


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Kristy Hinojosa

Nope wouldn't do it ever.  If I know a place is dirty, failing inspections, they are off my list.  I don't care how much I enjoy the food, nothing is worth food poisoning.  I mean really?

KamiB79 KamiB79


Annie Stoecker

Yeah, absolutely! I LOVE Di Fara and when you live in NY City, you see rats and roaches all the time. It doesn't really bother me, it's unavoidable and just because you don't see a roach during a meal doesn't mean the place is clean either. With neighbors to the left, right and above, often these pests are not the fault of the restaurant.

Also, since I love to travel the world and I love to eat new things, local specialties and anything and everything, I would totally risk a few bouts of upset stomach (never happened so far, even after weeks of street foods in Vietnam or India) for the enjoyments that adventurous eating holds. As Anthony Bourdain said: "Your body is not a temple, it's an amusement park."

bills... billsfan1104

Who cares. They are too busy making food to be totally spotless. If your kitchen is spotless then your food probably sucks.

Payton Irwin

We have a rating system in North Carolina and I think if the restaurant scores under 75 (on a 100 point scale), it's shut down until it can be brought back up to code. Some of the rules are really arbitrary and have little to do with the food. For instance, the food court at my local mall received a failing grade because it shared dumpsters (out back!) with other stores and didn't have it's own dedicated set of dumpsters. What does that have to do with the food?

My favorite pho place has an 82 or 83 rating. The cook tends to walk around barefoot, and I say, who cares? His feet and the floor aren't coming in contact with my food anyway.

Jennifer Kupper Swan

I've only ever had food poisoning at A rated restaurants (they are also great at shorting my order in the drive through).  I figure if the dive is open (and busy) there is a darn good reason!

Leele... Leelee1008

I walked out of a wendys b/c their was a roach on the cash register.

Im the kind of person that says If I cant see it, im ok. If I know its there, Im done.

ceciliam ceciliam

No, I wouldn't.

Chari... Charizma77

it depends...

Tatto... TattooedDarling


I don't eat fast food, but I live by the theory that the grubbiest dive or the dinkiest cart in town will serve the best food. I'm almost always right and, even better, because of where I'm from and where I currently live, I'm almost always supporting local farmers and businesses because that's where they get their materials from. I'm fortunate to have spent my life in cities where eating local has never been just a trend.


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