I was at a restaurant a few months ago, and the dining area had been totally remodeled. Everything was clean and bright. As I observed things, the waitress was about a 3 on a scale from 1-10, but I didn't think anything of it. And even though the restaurant wasn't in the best part of the city, it looked clean and decent enough for a burger—boy, was I wrong.

The waitress took forever to get a menu to me, no water and after waiting for almost 20 minutes in a restaurant that wasn't one forth full, I had to get her attention to come over and take my order. She came back twice to ask me again what I had ordered as she had forgotten. She also said I had free refills with my lemonade, the problem was, she never brought it. At check out, she asked if I wanted some to go and apologized. Again, I didn't think anything of it. I certainly didn't believe that this lackluster attention to detail in the dining area would indicate the cleanliness of the kitchen.

Remember, the front of the restaurant had recently been remodeled.

Through a strange series of events, I found myself in the kitchen of the diner I'd just had dinner. And I almost threw up. The kitchen was NOT part of the remodel. There was not a clean surface, wall or ceiling in the kitchen area. It was disgusting.

According to thedailymeal.com and mashed.com, these are key things to notice when you walk into a restaurant. These things will almost always give you an indication as to the cleanliness of the kitchen.

  1. Checking out the bathroom should be the first thing you do. Clean bathroom, clean kitchen.
  2. Was there a greeter? A greeter sets the mood. A caring owner or manager would make sure there is a greeter.
  3. Is the waitstaff put together? Do they look clean? Does anyone appear sick?
  4. When your food arrives, is it hot?
  5. Are the menus clean?
  6. Are the tables and restaurant itself clean?
  7. If your table gets wiped by the staff, was the towel clean? Think about how a towel in your own kitchen smells after being left out a while.
  8. Are the utensils clean? Make sure there isn't a lipstick stain on your glassware.

The next time you walk into a restaurant, if you keep an eye on these 8 things, you can almost rest assured the kitchen is clean and safe.

LOOK: Best Beers From Every State

To find the best beer in each state and Washington D.C., Stacker analyzed January 2020 data from BeerAdvocate, a website that gathers user scores for beer in real-time. BeerAdvocate makes its determinations by compiling consumer ratings for all 50 states and Washington D.C. and applying a weighted rank to each. The weighted rank pulls the beer toward the list's average based on the number of ratings it has and aims to allow lesser-known beers to increase in rank. Only beers with at least 10 rankings to be considered; we took it a step further to only include beers with at least 100 user rankings in our gallery. Keep reading to find out what the best beer is in each of the 50 states and Washington D.C.

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