Navigating Seattle’s burgeoning restaurant scene can be a serious challenge, and, if you’re unlucky, a health hazard too. (I bet I’m not the only one whose had my stomach turn after eating a bowl of clam chowder).
But a Seattle geek has figured out an easy way to inform the masses about which dining establishments you’re better off avoiding, putting together a Google Map showcasing which restaurants in the city have accumulated the worst health inspection scores.
The site is called Dinegerous, and it is the brainchild of Gist employee and frequent restaurant-goer Stephen Becker. He came up with the idea after a recent lunch outing with friends at Pyramid Alehouse — which actually scores pretty well. The conversation turned to health inspections, and Becker wondered if he could pull data onto a Google map to showcase those restaurants with the best and worst scores.
When Becker discovered that his favorite lunch hangout scored a miserable 110 (the higher the score the more health violations), the coder decided that it was time to spread the word.
“After having my coworkers test it out, we just kept talking about it,” said Becker, who only started working on the mashup about two weeks ago. He pulls the data from the King County Health Department weekly, pointing out in a disclaimer on the site that an “inspection is only a snapshot of the operation during a limited time.”
You can, however, get an interesting analysis on problems that the Health Department discovered — such as improper cooling procedures; inadequate hand washing facilities; and food contact surfaces not being sanitized.
The idea sounds familiar to us, but Becker said in his research he could only find a few sites that had been phased out.
At this stage, the goal is to build out the map for Washington state and then expand to the San Francisco Bay Area.
Dinegerous started out as a fun coding project, but Becker tells GeekWire that he hopes it evolves into much more. He’s planning to apply to Amazon.com’s Startup Challenge, and says he’s “brainstorming ideas on how to turn Dinegerous into a real business.”
And now for the burning question: Which Seattle restaurant has the worst ranking?
That dubious honor falls to Asia Ginger on Second Avenue South where Becker said he used to eat regularly. “I now check my map before I go eat anywhere,” Becker says.