North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Local restaurants honored for food safety


Christopher Andersson

Lauren Smiley, co-owner of AJ's Burgers in Marysville, at her restaurant which was recently recognized with a Food Safety Excellence Award from the Snohomish Health District.

An Arlington Restaurant and four Marysville organizations were recently recognized for their safe food practices by the Snohomish Health District.

The district presented the Food Safety Excellence Awards on March 10 for food service that went beyond minimum standards of safety and stood out from the pack.

Of the nine awards presented to Snohomish County organization, five of them went to local organizations, including No. 1 Teriyaki in Arlington, the Golden Corral in Marysville, AJ's Burgers in Marysville, the Grocery Outlet in Marysville and Marysville-Pilchuck High School.

For small businesses like AJ's Burgers in Marysville, a lot of food safety is just personally paying attention to details.

"We're just careful with our stuff. We start with raw meat and serve it fresh ... we keep up on everything being clean. It's a lot of detail and just paying attention," said Lauren Smiley, co-owner of AJ's Burgers.

Mija Kim, co-owner of No. 1 Teriyaki said that it is a lot of work, but she, her husband and her employees work all day to keep their place safe and clean.

Her teriyaki restaurant is approaching its 10th anniversary. Five years ago they moved into their new location and since it was so clean she said she worked hard to keep it that way.

For bigger restaurants, like the Golden Corral in Marysville, safety is more a matter of having good leadership.

Golden Corral owner Mike Kossak said his managers have taken the Snohomish Health District's manager certification and are the leaders for the restaurant.

"If you don't have good managers following through on this, your policies themselves aren't going to mean much," said Kossak.

He wanted to thank his staff who are "living it day to day, in the grind," who are the real reason the restaurant was recognized.

Christopher Andersson

Mija Kim, co-owner of No. 1 Teriyaki in Arlington, at her restaurant which recently was recognized with a Food Safety Excellence Award from the Snohomish Health District.

"The award is a great honor, but it wasn't because of me, it was because of everyone who worked for me," he said.

Kossak said that when he began the local Golden Corral branch he wanted to prioritize quality and safety.

"When I started this Golden Corral there was a little voice in my head that said, 'if you're going to do this, do it right,' and so it's always been a priority to us. Serving good, safe food is essential to restaurants," he said.

Smiley said she was surprised to learn how common food-related illnesses are.

"At the award ceremony they gave some pretty scary statistics about how many people die from preventable food issues and we don't want anyone to say 'we got sick because we ate at AJ's,'" she said. "I guess you expect everyone to be as careful with their food as you are with yours, but unfortunately that's not always the case."


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