Someone got a star: NYC Health Dept.’s first Grade A bestowed

A small deli in Long Island City, Queens, will go down in local history as being the first business to earn a Grade A from the city’s health department, which implemented its new restaurant inspection grading system on Tuesday.

Crain’s New York Business (photo from Crain’s) reports the agency is holding a press conference Wednesday morning at Spark’s Deli on 2831 Borden Ave., where health commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley will laud the small business’s accomplishment.

Co-owner Jose Araujo said,

“We serve a lot of hard-working people, construction crews and mechanics. And now they’ll know for sure that I provide good food. … We’ve done well in past inspections. There’s always something to fix or be done better, but we’ve never failed an inspection.”

On Tuesday an inspector visited his business, awarding him with a score of 10.

According to the new letter grading system, in which restaurants receive either an A, B or C grade (or fail the inspection altogether), a score of 0 to 13 qualifies as an A.

Other restaurants were inspected on Tuesday and earned A’s, but Spark’s was the first, according to health department officials.

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About Douglas Powell

A former professor of food safety and the publisher of, Powell is passionate about food, has five daughters, and is an OK goaltender in pickup hockey. Download Doug’s CV here. Dr. Douglas Powell editor, retired professor, food safety 3/289 Annerley Rd Annerley, Queensland 4103 61478222221 I am based in Brisbane, Australia, 15 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time