Emanuel to give new restaurants an inspection break

June 13, 2012

New restaurants opening in Chicago will face fewer visits from city inspectors. That's under a plan announced Wednesday by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

At a press conference at a Little Village restaurant, Chicago chef and former Top Chef contestant Dale Levitski said trying to open a restaurant in Chicago is "kind of a crapshoot."

"You don't know which inspector is going to come when," Levitski said. "You don't know which inspection you're going to fail when."

Levitski laughed, but 67 percent of restaurants fail at least one inspection before they open their doors, according to the city.

Emanuel said he's streamlining the process by giving them more information to help them pass and letting the restaurants schedule when the inspections will occur. The mayor is apparently not worried corners will be cut.

"We're not playing a game of gotcha. Okay?" Emanuel told reporters. "We'll figure it out. And then we'll take it to all restaurants. There is a public safety area. And I'm not giving up an inch on public safety or on public health."

As he begins his second year on the job, Emanuel's gone on a bit of small business kick. Last month, the city council passed his proposal to cut the number of categories of business licenses sold by the city.