Dining With Denise Neil

A new place to find restaurant inspections

I got this question last week from a reader named Janet:

“Does the state still post restaurant ratings?  How do we find out if there are any violations on local restaurants?”

For years, I had answered this question by directing people to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s website, which since 2006 has posted all restaurant inspection records online for people to peruse.

But when I went to check the website yesterday, I found that it no longer worked.

Apparently, posting restaurant inspections now is the duty of the Kansas Department of Agriculture. The new website for searching and reading restaurant inspection reports is http://www.ksda.gov/food_safety/. Follow that link then click on “Food Safety and Lodging inspection results.” You have to hit “I agree,” then you can search restaurants from all over Kansas by name.

Before you go on a hunt, though, please consider the advice offered by KDHE officials when the site first went up. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a restaurant that’s never been cited for a violation. And germophobes could quickly scare themselves out of ever dining out again.

But that’s not realistic, KDHE officials told me in 2006. It’s all about perspective. Diners can rest assured that a restaurant with violations serious enough to pose a public health risk would be shut down until the problems were addressed.

Personally, I choose never to look at those inspections. Every time I do, I’m sorry I did. I’ve been around restaurants long enough to know that every place has had a violation. I think I’d rather not know every little thing that ever went wrong in the kitchen.

I know I’m sort of unique in that attitude, and perhaps foolhardy. Hopefully, I’ll never be proven wrong.