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The Westchester County Department of Health is responsible for monitoring food safety at more than 4,000 restaurants in the county.
The Westchester County Department of Health is responsible for monitoring food safety at more than 4,000 restaurants in the county. Photo Credit: Meredith Shamburger

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. – How clean is your favorite restaurant in Tarrytown, Sleepy Hollow or Irvington?

The Westchester County Department of Health oversees food safety and cleanliness at more than 4,000 restaurants in Westchester County, conducting thousands of restaurant inspections each year.

The Tarrytown Daily Voic e has compiled recent restaurant inspections for all food establishments in the 10591 and 10533 zip codes. Click through our database to see how your favorite spot did.

Inspections are conducted on a pass-fail basis instead of a letter grade. Assistant Commissioner of Health Peter DeLucia said this is because letter grades are not necessarily an accurate snapshot of a restaurant's conditions.

Additionally, restaurants are inspected for “red” and “blue” violations.

Red violations are those that are a critical, imminent danger to customers, including things such as improperly cooked meals and improperly refrigerated food.

“If we find red violations, those have to be corrected at the time of inspection,” DeLucia said.

Blue violations involve more structural and cleanliness problems, such as broken tiles and dirty gaskets.

“A restaurant might have a lot of blue violations, but it's still a good restaurant,” DeLucia said, adding that, many times, it's because a restaurant is in an old building. DeLucia also noted the county continues to work with them to ensure proper standards.

The health department will conduct another inspection within 48 hours of a red violation and within a few weeks for blue violations.

Regular inspections are conducted at all restaurants and food service establishments, although the number of inspections vary at different risk levels.

High-risk restaurants, where a customer is more likely to sit down and eat, are inspected twice a year because there's a lot more food preparation involved, DeLucia said. Those inspections include a hazard inspection.

“The inspector will pick a menu item, sit down with the chef and talk about how they prepare it” to look for potential health violations, DeLucia said.

Medium-risk and low-risk restaurants will be inspected at least once a year, DeLucia said.

Medium-risk restaurants, including fast-food restaurants, feature more pre-prepared and pre-cooked food. Inspectors will also conduct a hazard inspection.

Low-risk restaurants include bars and other places that may serve a limited menu such as snacks or ice, which is considered a food.