Nooga.com highlights restaurant inspection scores weekly. (Photo: Damian Siwiaszczyk, Flickr)

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

Nooga.com highlights any restaurant that scored a 90 percent or less, as well as those that got a perfect score on the initial inspection.

There is explanation/context about the inspections at the end of this article.

Restaurant:  Rain Thai Bistro 
Address: 6933 Lee Highway 
Score: Brought up from 90 to 99
Critical issues: No
Follow-up required: No
Date of inspection: 5/15 

Restaurant: Cloud 9 Hookah Lounge
Address: 5600 Brainerd Road 
Score: Brought up from 90 to 100 
Critical issues: No 
Follow-up required: No 
Date of inspection: 5/15 

Restaurant: Arby's 
Address: 5470 Brainerd Road 
Score: Brought up from 90 to 97
Critical issues: Yes. Two critical issues, including hands not clean/properly washed. 
Follow-up required: Yes 
Date of inspection: 5/16 

Restaurant: Firebirds Wood Fired Grill
Address: 2107 Gunbarrel Road 
Score: Brought up from 90 to 97
Critical issues: Yes. Two critical violations, including hand washing sinks not properly supplied/accessible. 
Follow-up required: No
Date of inspection: 5/15 

Restaurant: Shuford's Smoke House 
Address: 924 Signal Mountain Road 
Score: Brought up from 89 to 94
Critical issues: Yes. One critical violation, which was lack of proper cooling time and temperature. 
Follow-up required: No 
Date of inspection: 5/16 

Restaurant: Subway 
Address: 3461 Brainerd Road 
Score: 89 
Critical issues: Yes. Two critical issues, including lack of proper cold holding temperatures. 
Follow-up required: Yes 
Date of inspection: 5/17 

Restaurant: McDonald's 
Address: 6933 Lee Highway 
Score: Brought up from 88 to 94
Critical issues: No 
Follow-up required: No 
Date of inspection: 5/11 

Restaurant: Southern Belle (main kitchen) 
Address: 1 Ross's Landing 
Score: Brought up from 84 to 94
Critical issues: Yes. Three critical issues, including toxic substances not properly identified/stored/used.
Follow-up required: Done on same day as initial inspection 
Date of inspection: 5/15 

Restaurant: Tacos el Cuñao  
Address: 58 Lee Highway 
Score: 78 
Critical issues: Yes. Five critical issues, including lack of proper cold holding temperatures. 
Follow-up required: Yes 
Date of inspection: 5/15 

High score highlights 
These restaurants got a score of 100 without a follow-up inspection:

  • Tennessee Aquarium (catering kitchen), 1 Broad St. 
  • IMAX 3-D Theater, 201 Chestnut St. 
  • God's Little Angels (day care), 2500 Dodson Ave.
  • BBQ Andy's, 106A Karen Drive 
  • Ankar's Express Café, 6016 Shallowford Road 
  • Spill the Beans (mobile), 12214 Plow Lane 
  • Old Saigon, 2601 Dayton Blvd. 
  • SpringHill Suites kitchen, 495 Riverfront Parkway
  • Chattz on the Block, 225 Broad St. 
  • Calamansi Café, 1900 Reggie White Blvd. 
  • Williams Cottage, 3001 Hamill Road 
  • Stanley Cottage, 3001 Hamill Road 

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.