In honor of our centennial, we look back at some of the stories that shaped Philly Mag “Guess What’s Coming With Dinner?” (November 1972) was the perfect Watergate-era story: When an idealistic young health inspector approached Philly Mag’s Mike Mallowe promising to reveal just how tattered the city’s food safety net had become, the writer went undercover — “He told me, ‘Dress like I dress and carry a clipboard,’” Mallowe recalls — and spent a week tailing the would-be whistle-blower to Philly’s dirtiest restaurants. The resulting piece, with graphic depictions of cockroach-infested kitchens and basements filled with dead rats, not only named violators for the first time in the local media, but prompted a City Council hearing and a big increase in the Health Department’s budget and profile.
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