There were a couple of low scores this week. (Photo: Dale Frost, Flickr)

Check out how area restaurants did this week on health inspections. 

Nooga.com highlights any restaurant that scored a 90 percent or less, and there is explanation/context about the inspections at the end of this article.

Restaurant: Southern Belle
Address: 1 Ross's Landing 
Score: Brought up from 90 to 95
Critical issues: No 
Follow-up required: No
Date of inspection: Done on same day as original inspection

High score highlight 

Restaurant: Ankar's 

Address: 510 Broad St.

Score: 100 

Notes: Hygiene policy posted, hand sink supplied 

Restaurant: The Golden Grille
Address: 311 Chestnut St. 
Score: 89 
Critical issues: Yes. Three critical violations, including lack of proper date marking/disposition. 
Follow-up required: Yes 
Date of inspection: 12/29 

Restaurant: Chattanooga Convention Center concession 
Address: 1 Carter Plaza 
Score: 89 
Critical issues: Yes. Three critical violations, including a lack of proper cold holding temperatures. 
Follow-up required: Yes 
Date of inspection: 12/28 

Restaurant: Waffle House 
Address: 4343 Highway 58 
Score: 88 
Critical issues: Yes. Two critical violations, including food not properly separated/protected.
Follow-up required: Yes 
Date of inspection: 12/29 

Restaurant: Country Side Café 
Address: 8223 Mahan Gap Road 
Score: 87 
Critical issues: Yes. Two critical violations, including lack of proper cooling time and temperature.
Follow-up required: Yes 
Date of inspection: 12/23 

Restaurant: Chattanooga Marriott Lookout Café/Starbucks 
Address: 2 Carter Plaza 
Score: 87 
Critical issues: Yes. Three critical violations, including toxic substances not properly identified/stored/used.
Follow-up required: Yes 
Date of inspection: 12/29 

Restaurant: Mellow Mushroom 
Address: 205 Broad St.
Score: 85 
Critical issues: Yes. Three critical violations, including bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods or lack of alternative procedure.
Follow-up required: Yes 
Date of inspection: 12/28 

Restaurant: Asia Buffet 
Address: 6901 Lee Highway 
Score: 82 
Critical issues: Yes. Two critical violations, including food contact surfaces not properly cleaned/sanitized.
Follow-up required: Yes 
Date of inspection: 12/28 

Restaurant: Sing It or Wing It
Address: 412 Market St.
Score: 75 
Critical issues: Yes. Six critical violations, including a lack of good hygienic practices. 
Follow-up required: Yes
Date of inspection: 12/29

Restaurant: Southern Star
Address: 1300 Broad St.
Score: 74 
Critical issues: Yes. Five critical violations, including lack of proper cold holding temperatures.
Follow-up required: Yes 
Date of inspection: 12/28 

Restaurant: China Garden 
Address: 4839 Highway 58 
Score: 63 
Critical issues: Yes. Ten critical violations, including food surfaces not properly cleaned/sanitized.
Follow-up required: Yes
Date of inspection: 12/29 


Six people with the health department are responsible for inspecting everything from pools and schools to restaurants and special events, such as Riverbend.

Although the number fluctuates as businesses open and close, officials estimated there are about 1,700 restaurants in Hamilton County. Each one has two unannounced inspections a year.

The reports are divided into two sections—critical and noncritical. 

Violations in the critical categories likely demand a follow-up, unless operators can correct the situation right then. For violations that can't be resolved quickly, restaurants have 10 days to correct them. 

A follow-up report isn't totally representative of how a restaurant did, because they could have gotten a 70 the first time and then 10 days later corrected the problems and raised the score to a 90.

Members of the public often wonder why restaurants with low scores aren't immediately shut down, but inspectors can only do that if there is an "imminent health hazard," such as sewage backup. 

Another misconception is about "failing" grades. A score of 55 is bad, but the restaurant gets 10 days to bring it up. If the restaurant doesn't bring the score up, officials can initiate a closure process, although that is rare.