Downtown restaurant honored for perfect cleanliness
Key Westconsin recognized for second consecutive year

By Darryl J. Enriquez - Special to The Freeman

March 21, 2013

Gary and Rita Krivos stand in their restaurant, Key Westconsin, on Wednesday.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

WAUKESHA - A downtown restaurant that features gluten-free food has attained the rare accomplishment of capturing perfect cleanliness scores from the Waukesha County Division of Environmental Health for two consecutive years.

Key Westconsin, 331 Riverfront Parkway, received the highest scores of 100 from Environmental Health for each of the two years the restaurant’s  been open - 2011 and 2012 - said Sarah K. Ward, the county’s environmental health manager.

Sweetening the experience, Key Westconsin also was given a Blue Ribbon Award last week for clean dining from Today’s TMJ 4.

Few Waukesha County restaurants ever receive scores of 100 during surprise annual inspections. To win two years in a row is unheard of, Ward said. This year, the only other Waukesha County restaurant within the same business category as Key Westconsin to receive a perfect score was Maid-Rite, a Waukesha eatery at 801 W, Moreland Blvd., owned by Waukesha Common Council Alderman Vance Skinner.

 Key Westconsin owner Gary Krivos credits his success to working long hours at several chain restaurants that trained employees about the importance of cleanliness.

“Even as I was working for other restaurants, I dreamed of someday owning my own place,” Krivos said.

Those lessons never left Krivos, who said his nightmare is a customer becoming sick from eating the restaurant’s food. Krivos said he puts his mind at ease by being a stickler for cleanliness in his kitchen and throughout the restaurant that specializes in fish and seafood.

Freeman Staff A metal palm tree marks the location of Key Westconsin.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

Ward said Krivos’s key to success is keeping his “risk factors” low by minimizing the amount of food handling that happens among staff.

“He has a good, proactive management style and his staff follows his example,” Ward said.

“The more food is handled, the more opportunities there are for something to go wrong.”

The county does 2,000 inspections a year and only a handful of restaurants the size of Key Westconsin and Maid-Rite receive perfect scores, Ward said.

Krivos said one of his first tasks before opening Key Westconsin was to visit the Division of Environmental Health and learn its expectations of restaurant cleanliness on everything from floor to ceiling.

Krivos operates the restaurant with his wife, Rita. They live in Waukesha and will celebrate their 38th wedding anniversary in June.