RESTAURANT REPORT: Violations debate - Restaurant error or pickier inspectors?

RESTAURANT REPORT: Violations debate - Restaurant error or pickier inspectors?

(WWBT) - Every Thursday, we show you what restaurant health inspectors find wrong in local kitchens. But some restaurant operators don't always agree with the inspectors.

You've often heard restaurant operators say the reason they had violations on their health inspection is because they had a different inspector that day. They have argued that different inspectors focus on different problems, or may even have different preferences on how they want things done.

So we took that concern to the Health Department. Here are both sides of the debate.

Nestled away at 12506 River Road in Henrico is Portico Restaurant, known for its patio dining.

On its last health inspection report, it had three priority violations, three priority foundation, and three core violations. Those included a hand washing violation, encrusted grease outside condiment containers, and food debris and dirt on floors, walls and ceilings.

"It would be nice if expectations from one inspector would be the same as expectations from another inspector," remarked Portico's co-owner Paolo Randazzo.

He argued that they had more violations on this report because they had a different inspector that day.

"I think the inspectors, some have preferences toward some things or others," Randazzo said.

We took that concern to the Virginia Health Department's Nancy Diersen, who oversees inspector training.

"I'd say that shouldn't necessarily matter which inspector is in there on which day," Diersen said. "We strive very hard in Virginia to have a uniform inspection process."

She says some local health departments do rotate inspectors every few years to put fresh eyes on a restaurant.

"Ultimately, it is the permit holder's responsibility to be aware of the regulations. And that's not to say you might have that inspector who's a little more drawn to certain violations," Diersen added.

But she says any restaurant can appeal an inspection report. Portico's owner did not appeal this report, but tells us that everything has been fixed.

"We corrected everything and everything else is fine," Randazzo said.

But there is no debate at this Hardee's at 5000 West Broad Street in Henrico. We gave it the NBC12 Hall of Fame Award for acing six health inspections over the last three years.

"Everyone is excited to know we got this award. Pretty much team work, working together, everybody being as one. And we're a family so that makes a big difference," Hardee's General Manager Sabrina Plummer said when presented with the award.

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