Andy's Restaurant Scorecard: Percy Norris, plus scores as of 5/10/09 - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Andy Wise

Andy's Restaurant Scorecard: Percy Norris, plus scores as of 5/10/09

Someone needs to get on Elvis Harvey, the general manager of concessions at Memphis International Airport.

One, for not returning my phone calls.

Two, for allowing an airport restaurant to rate the lowest Memphis-Shelby County health inspection score for the second straight week.

The Sun Studio Cafe scored a 71 in the latest round, two points shy of failure.  The inspector's report cites a "food-handler...put on clean gloves without washing hands"; "no soap or...hand towels @ waitress station..."; and "waste water leaking from drain handle of pre sink onto floor..."

The inspector used the word "dirty" six times to describe the cafe's conditions and issued a permit suspension notice, warning Harvey and the cafe's managers of a shut-down if it doesn't clean up its act.

Just like last week, Susan Goyette, spokesperson for the airport's corporate concessionaire HMSHost in Maryland, issued a statement:

"The health inspection findings from recent weeks do not point to a system-wide issue at HMSHost.  However, based on the lower scores from two of our restaurants, we're implementing changes across the board by investing time for additional training with all of our managers to foster improvement going forward.

It is important to note that of the eight HMSHost restaurants inspected between April 15 and May 7, five scored 90 and above.  Three of them-Bol-A Pasta Restaurant, Starbucks located on Concourse C and the Sun CafĂ© Bar-achieved scores of 97 or higher.   

In addition, the most recent scores from the health inspector's visit on May 18 include a rating of 100 at Ciao Gourmet Marketplace."

Let's hope the airport's concessionaire doesn't pull a hat trick next week.

THIS WEEK'S BIG TIP:  Percy Norris, Waiter/Manager, Charlie Vergos' Rendezvous, 52 S. Second St., Downtown Memphis, 901-523-2746,

For 40 years, Percy Norris has served Rendezvous ribs to three U.S. presidents (four times on Air Force One), prime ministers and celebrities.

Yet, Norris can remember the names of loyal customers he hasn't seen in years -- customers he treats just like the pop culture royalty he has served.

"Actually, that's (my philosophy)...remember names and what they eat and how they want it," says the legendary waiter who is a Memphis celebrity in his own right.

"You could be gone for a year, two years, three years, and you walk in and he says, 'Hey, George! Hadn't seen you in two, three years,'" says George Griffin of Germantown, TN, and that's exactly what happened when we had George come to the Rendezvous as Norris' nominating customer.  "I mean, it's just amazing!"

Norris isn't really a waiter or manager.  He is family.  Family to the Vergos clan, family to the Rendezvous staff, family to Rendezvous customers. 

He's as much as an attraction as the dry ribs and sausage plate!

For all of this week's Memphis-Shelby County restaurant scores, click here.


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