iPhone app 'stinky rag' lets you look up restaurant inspections

By Heather Sullivan - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Ever been out and wondered where to go for dinner? Don't know whether a restaurant is clean or not? Now you can find out with the touch of a screen.

There's an app for that! Richmonder Jack Cox invented an iPhone application that lets you call up the state health inspections of local restaurants.

Cox got the idea when he was eating out. "There's nothing worse than going to the restaurant and having the table wiped off with a stinky rag."

So he called it the Stinky Rag. Said Cox, "It allows you to look up restaurant inspection reports for anywhere in the state of Virginia."

You can get the same information from the State Health Department website. But the Stinky Rag brings it to your iPhone. And you don't even have to specify a restaurant. The app shows you nearby eateries and their reports.

Explained Cox, "It knows where you're standing, where you're at and shows you the restaurants in your area. So if you're down here in Shockoe Bottom, it shows you the restaurants. Here's Peking, here's the Tobacco Company, all these other restaurants and you can look at the ratings right then."

The Stinky Rag color codes the inspection scores.  Green is an average of less than one critical violation. Yellow has 1 to 2. And red has an average of two or more.

We asked Cox to check out some downtown restaurants. He showed us, "We're on Cary Street. Tap on the little pin. You see it's green, meaning generally good inspections. Tap on that and it shows us the inspection history."

And what's the worst inspection he's seen? "The worst comment I've seen is an open bucket of sauce on the floor next to the mop sink. I didn't want to eat there."

The Stinky Rag also covers restaurants in New York and Florida.

And of course, you can catch the NBC 12 Restaurant Report on the critical violations found at local restaurants every Thursday at 11 p.m.

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