• Poor menu choice


Equality under the law seems to be merely a suggestion when it comes to the various governmental entities in New York State and the restaurants in their jurisdictions.

In the few counties in which calories must be listed on menus it’s only the companies with 15 or more outlets that are affected.

Now, Gov. David Patterson says he is thinking of introducing statewide legislation that would require owners of 15 or more restaurants in the state to post calorie contents on menus.

Such a move would apply to foods available in restaurants, supermarkets and convenience stores that have 15 or more locations in New York.

While I have no inherent objection to such information being made mandatory — after all, it is on food and beverage labels for products sold in the state, and one quick visit to a shopping mall will give you visual proof that we are, indeed, a nation of ridiculously fat people in need of dietary guidance — I do have a problem with the exceptions that would be a built-in feature of such rules.

For example, celebrity chef/restaurateur Bobby Flay would be exempt. So would New York City restaurant czar Drew Nieporent and his myriad Restaurant Group partner, the actor Robert DeNiro. Likewise exempt would be Danny Meyer who owns such Manhattan hot spots as Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, Tabla and Blue Smoke. None of them owns 15 or more restaurants.

Need more? How about such Upstate restaurant moguls as Angelo Mazzone, who owns Angelo’s 677 Prime in Albany, the Glen Sanders Mansion in Scotia and Aperitivo Bistro in Schenectady?

Or the Serroukas family who own restaurants in Hyde Park, Brewster, Guilderland, Rhinebeck, Poughkeepsie and Wappinger Falls.

Or Peter X. Kelly, who owns the Xaviar Restaurant Group which has places in Garrison, Yonkers, Piermont and Congers.

However, Bill Pompa, who built the Mr. Subb sandwich shops chain in the Capital Region, would be stuck changing his menus. The reason? He’s worked hard and smart enough to build his chain to 24 units.

The disparities can be found all over the state without looking much harder. If the governor truly wants to do something to assist the state’s consumer in making wiser food choices, he’d be better advised to avoid creating loopholes and controversy along with them.


About Bill Dowd

Webmaster/social media coordinator for the Southern Rensselaer County NY Rotary Club.

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