the bathroom is clean, then it’s safe to eat there”. Meaning that somehow the owners care about every detail of the restaurant, which is not always true. As a chef, when I walk into a restaurant I view things through a different prism. Here are some of the things you should look for:
- Are there fingerprints all over the front door?
- Is the host table clean and organized?
- Do the menus feel clean?
- Are your tables properly wiped?
- Are there bits of food stuck to the silverware?
- Is the bar properly cared for? Free of cobwebs, dust, fruit flies or dust on any of the bottles.
- If the floor has a carpet, is it clean?
- Are the booths wiped clean?
- Do the legs of the table look clean?
- Is the server’s appearance professional?
The above are just a few things to be looking for. The food is a completely different story altogether. A dirty bathroom is a sure sign of a lazy staff and an unmotivated management team. The price of the meal does not matter. You should expect nothing less than top quality service and clean pleasant surroundings. Any restaurant that is not clean shows poor discipline from the top down. If the front of the house is dirty, then believe me, the back of the house is even worse. Food handling practices fall to the wayside. People aren’t getting sick eating in clean kitchens with good food handling practices. Do some homework on the restaurant before you go or find out the hard way.
Also, you can look up restaurant reviews online. Pay specific attention to comments about the cleanliness of a restaurant. I caution all my readers to steer clear of Yelp! As popular as the site is, the reviews can be misleading. I suggest looking up your local city food reviews (for example, Boston.com) that have professional food writers to help you make an educated decision.
A shining example that hits all of the points that I find important in a restaurant is Charcoal Guido’s in Waltham, MA. It is an organized, efficient, spotless and delicious place for a meal. The kitchen is an open concept and you can see how clean it is for yourself. The staff is amazing and the owners Ciro, Mario, and Luigi make you feel like you’re at home. A pleasant greeting to everyone that walks in, making you feel welcome. The food is outstanding. As authentic Italian as it gets!
Charcoal Guido’s surpasses my checklist of things to look for when I want a great dining experience. It’s very affordable and yes, the bathrooms are immaculate!
Charcoal Guido’s is located at 482 Moody Street, Waltham, MA. Tell them Chef Mike sent you.