Chow Bella

Gross Out: 5 & Diner on 16th Street a Little too Grungy even for a Greasy Spoon

By Amy Silverman

I have always believed that diners should have a separate rating system, when it comes to cleanliness. C'mon, haven't you ever heard the term "greasy spoon"? But apparently the Maricopa County health inspectors don't share my nostalgia for a time when waitresses smacked gum and no one wore plastic gloves to make a grilled cheese and a malted.

The 5 & Diner on 16th Street in Phoenix got a "no award" during their last inspection. I suppose I could still eat there after reading about the barehanded tomato cutting, uncovered trash can in the women's room, lack of handwashing signs and even the "deeply scored" cutting boards and knives with "food debris".

But this one got me:


The inspector simply advised 5 & Diner to relabel the meat 9/3.


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Amy Silverman is a two-time winner of the Arizona Press Club’s Journalist of the Year award. Her work has appeared on the radio show This American Life and in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Lenny Letter, and Brain, Child. She’s the co-curator of the live reading series Bar Flies, and a commentator for KJZZ, the NPR affiliate in Phoenix. Silverman is the author of the book My Heart Can’t Even Believe It: A Story of Science, Love, and Down Syndrome (Woodbine House 2016). Follow her on Instagram (@amysilverman), Twitter (@amysilvermanaz), and at