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Current Conditions

By Caroline Clough in Food on Oct 16, 2007 4:30PM

DSCF0280.jpgToday Chicagoist launches "Current Conditions." In this new weekly feature, we'll be taking a look at the most recent health inspections of a series of restaurants on file at the city Health Department, so you don't have to.

For this week's foray into restaurant health inspection results, we're looking at a few places near the Art Institute. It's Tuesday, admission to the Art Institute is free, which gives visitors more money to spend on food when they find themselves hungry. How have these popular establishments (Park Grill, Russian Tea Time, and Exchequer Pub) fared in their most recent inspections?

Park Grill's latest inspection resulted with a pass, though they did have a few minor violations in regards to the construction of their floors, the cleanliness of their silverware and our favorite, Violation #36. The city of Chicago's food inspection system requires that "(a)ll rooms in which food or drink is prepared, or in which utensils are washed, shall be lighted so that a minimum of 50-foot candles of light is available on all work surfaces. [And] shielding to protect against broken glass falling into food shall be provided for all artificial lighting sources in preparation, service, and display facilities. " Yikes, broken glass in your pork chop!

Walking in the opposite direction from the Institute the whole family might consider stopping in at Russian Tea Time. The establishment's latest inspection, in June, resulted in a "pass with conditions". Seems their silverware may not have been in good enough condition for the city. There was also Violation #14: "A separate and distinct offense shall be deemed to have been committed for each Serious violation that is not corrected upon re-inspection by the health authority." This leads us to think that the proprietors at Russian Tea Time, can be, on occasion, a little slow to fix a problem. Though in its report it says that whatever this serious violation was was fixed during the inspection.

We were happy to find that one of our favorite places to get a number of drinks (and baskets of fries) downtown, Exchequer Pub, was, as of April 2007, free of all violations. Huzzah! Not a dirty spoon or faulty air duct to be found!

Have you had your own horror (or glory) story eating near the Art Institute with your out-of-towner relatives? Was it a dirty spoon? A dustful cleaning method? What are your own personal definitions of cleanliness? And where do you go to eat after taking in a hall full of armor, rooms full of paintings and culture seekers?