The Man Behind The “A” – Rapid Response!
By Ilija Sekulovski
Astoria – a melting pot of cultures, beliefs and cuisines all coming together in one of the nations most diverse neighborhoods.
As our little neck of the woods grows, so too does the restaurant scene.
We’ve got everything from Asian fusion, Greek (obviously), Italian, Gastro, Indian, Mexican, Australian, Balkan, Ethiopian, Southern, Thai, Japanese and more.
And behind every restaurant are the individuals who help keep our food and our eateries clean, and up to scratch, for our tasteful enjoyment.
Ergo Rapid Response.
The Long Island based business is family owned and operated by all around Astoria lover, Chris Bertolotti, who spends most of his time making sure Astoria’s restaurants are up to scratch.
Growing up in the neighborhood on and off, Chris has seen both old Astoria, and the rapid growth and change of new Astoria.
“My father lived off Steinway for 10 years and I spent a lot of time (in Astoria). My wife and family love frequenting the many different diverse restaurants in the area. A lot of great eateries!” Chris told GMA, and we couldn’t agree more!
But it’s not all fun and food for those who venture into pest control, as Chris soon told us;
“I was called in to help a restaurant that was closed by the NYCDOH. They were closed for a cockroach infestation. Upon my initial walk through, I personally saw an infestation of over 20,000 roaches in an establishment less than 1000sq feet. They were in every nook and cranny, including literally ‘raining from the ceilings.’ A clear example of what happens when proper measures aren’t taken to prevent and monitor a restaurant on a regular basis.”
Well it’s a dirty job, but someones got to do it!
But for the most part, Astoria is pretty up to to code in terms of health and maintenance.
When we asked Chris why he chose to focus on here, it was pretty simple, “Astoria is a diverse neighborhood full of great people! Some of my best customers are from Astoria.”
Rapid Response also caters to a lot of “Mom and Pop” shops. Something Chris was very proud of in the ever changing community. “They appreciate that we are family owned and operated and have their best interests at heart.”
Being in the industry for over 25 years helps. Along with Chris’s hands on approach, there are few restaurants in the area that haven’t seen his face pop in from time to time to make sure things are going the way they should.
With the increasing expansion of Astoria’s restaurant industry, we all like to know that our food is being cared for as much as we care to eat it.
Clean kitchens, fresh produce, sanitary basements and all those little bits and bobs we might look over, Chris’s Hawkeye vision spots within a moment of walking in.
With New York’s grading system being adopted not too long ago, more restaurants are seeking the best in pest control and food safety services.
So what’s some of the most common violations cited during a Health Inspection?
- Cross Contamination
- Are all foods stored correctly?
- Food Production/Storage
- Are all processing equipment clean and maintained?
- All food should be stored six (6) inches off the floor
- Pest Control
- Is the store free of; mice, roaches, flies or any other infestations?
Restaurant goers, especially in New York, are no longer just satisfied with mediocre food served in mediocre fashion in a dry and non-attractive environment. We want great service, great food (as cheap as we can get it, of course) and we want to know that the A on the outside of the place has been well deserved.
Rapid Response, and Chris in particular, puts that, and more, into his job.
“It’s more about educating the customers” Chris tells us. The goal of what Rapid Response does is to teach the clients and their staff about the effects pests have on their business.
So what’s some of the things you can do if you’re a business owner looking to get that A and more importantly – earn it?
- Identify the infestation
- Take the necessary actions to prevent or deal with the infestation so that risk of disease is reduced
- Implement an ongoing pest management plan in order to ensure the survival of the restaurant
When it comes to making sure your place is safe, Chris is ruthless. “We inspect each business as if we were the NYC Health Dept.” and with all the A’s and B’s around, we believe you!
(FB Image Credit: The New York Times)