“Substantial food item” required for takeout alcohol orders: SLA

“Substantial food item” required for takeout alcohol orders: SLA

Much like the disgraced former governor from whom they were named, the “Cuomo chips” are unlikely to make a comeback in New York.

The state agency responsible for regulating alcohol sales revealed details Monday of the new law allowing take-out and delivery of alcoholic beverages for three years, including its definition of “substantial” food items that restaurants and bars must sell for them to be included. in a take-out or delivery order.

As part of the $220 billion state budget passed Saturday, Gov. Kathy Hochul’s alcohol-to-go measure will take effect immediately and last through April 2025, allowing New Yorkers to order cocktails or beer at watering holes and restaurants as long as the purchase of alcohol accompanies something to eat.

In the newly released guidelines, the State Liquor Authority classifies a “substantial food product” as “sandwiches, soups or other foods, whether fresh, processed, pre-cooked or frozen” – not chips, candy or nuts.

(And yes, Kenny Bania, the state, much like Jerry Seinfeld, considers soup a substantial meal.)

“Other foods” are defined in the advisory as “foods similar in quality and substance to sandwiches and soups; for example, salads, wings or hot dogs would be of this quality and substance; however, a bag of chips, a bowl of nuts, or candies alone are not.

Bartender Andy Bechtol prepares cocktails to go at Caffe Dante bar and restaurant in Manhattan.
Gov. Kathy Hochul’s alcohol-to-go measure will allow New Yorkers to order alcohol from bars and restaurants as long as the alcohol purchase accompanies something to eat.
Victor J. Blue/Getty Images

The “substantial foodstuffs” provisions, enacted following state budget negotiations nine days late, do not respect Hochul’s previously stated position on state liquor regulations. carry.

At a press conference on the subject on March 2, the governor said, “I don’t think it’s necessary to associate food with it,” when asked if food will have to be served with alcohol take-out and delivery.

But guidelines released Monday warn establishments not to skimp on the portions of food they sell with alcohol.

“Obvious efforts to circumvent the law, such as an unreasonably small serving of soup, a serving of canned beans, a handful of lettuce, or charging a small surcharge for an alcoholic beverage instead of a food not actually ordered or delivered will be treated as a violation of the law,” the guidelines read, almost explicitly prohibiting innovative workarounds used by bars and restaurants to navigate regulations put in place at the start of the pandemic.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul speaks during a Covid-19 press conference on February 09, 2022 in New York City.
Hochul’s alcohol-to-go measure will take effect immediately and will last until April 2025.
He was overpowered / Getty Images

In mid-2020, bars and restaurants were required to serve food to comply with the then government. Andrew Cuomo’s rule requiring alcoholic beverages to be served with food.

The former governor’s July 2020 rule said customers had to be seated and order a food item in order to get drinks – an effort to prevent the kind of alcohol-filled gatherings that would allow COVID-19 to spread rapidly.

“Any facility that receives three violations will be closed for business,” Cuomo warned at the time.

In response, the owner of Harvey’s Irish pub in Saratoga Springs automatically put $1 “Cuomo Chips” on customers’ tabs so they didn’t have to shell out the cash for a full meal when customers just wanted to sip a beer or a cocktail. Other bars served snacks like candy and chips to obey the Governor’s policy at the time.

Restaurants sell take-out alcohol on the street as New York relaxes its liquor laws during the coronavirus pandemic on May 16, 2020 in New York City.
The food that was “substantial” enough to be sold with alcohol has changed since Governor Cuomo issued the original 2020 alcohol-to-go guidelines.
Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

A representative for Cuomo said at the time that selling chips with alcohol was “within guidelines.”

Later that month, Cuomo said a bag of chips was no longer a substantial enough food item to comply with the requirement to serve food with beer, wine and liquor.

A Post front-page story last July called the former government the “Drinktator” for its edict, and it only further confused New Yorkers when it bizarrely claimed, “There is no no bar that only serves alcohol”.

“To be a bar, you had to have food available — soups, sandwiches, etc. More than appetizers, chicken wings,” he explained at a press conference. “You had to have substantial food – the lowest level of substantial food was sandwiches.”

A sign in a restaurant window advertises take-out beer and margaritas during the coronavirus pandemic on May 19, 2020 in New York City.
ALC also unveiled the new law on Monday that prohibits restaurants from selling bottles of wine and liquor.
Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Many bars have gotten creative with their meals, offering Lunchables, a single piece of cheese quesadilla or H Mart dumplings cooked in a hot dog steamer, bar staff and patrons previously told The Post.

Patrons of a joint in Ridgewood said at the time that one place offered a “soup” consisting of hot water and a stock cube. Another bar served a $1 gluten-free vegan taco consisting of a single corn tortilla, while establishments in Bushwick served gazpacho and a dry cup of ramen. A Williamsburg pop-up has added pizza rolls to its menu.

In April 2021, the state legislature voted to remove the former governor’s rule requiring food to be purchased with all alcohol sales at bars and restaurants.

Last week, The Post reported that Cuomo – who recently considered launching a bid to oust Hochul after he resigned in August – will not be on the Democratic gubernatorial primary ballot as declared gubernatorial candidates submitted the Required signatures, meaning his political career and the collation that bears his name are pending for now.

A takeaway cocktail sign is seen outside the Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Chelsea.
According to a survey released in May 2021 by the New York State Restaurant Association, nearly 80% of state residents want to expand the rule that allows the sale and delivery of alcohol in bars and restaurants.
Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

On Monday, ALC also unveiled the new law that prohibits restaurants from selling bottles of wine and liquor — a concession to the liquor store industry — as well as a provision that allows liquor stores to sell bottles of wine and liquor. be open at Christmas.

“A bottle is defined as meaning wine and/or liquor that the retailer purchases from a wholesaler in a bottle, box, can or other similar container,” the rule reads. “Obvious efforts to circumvent the law, such as transferring the contents of a bottle of wine or liquor to an identical or equivalent bottle, will be treated as a violation of the law.”

Take-out and alcoholic beverage delivery were first allowed in March 2020 via an executive order signed by Cuomo to help restaurants amid a COVID-19-induced closure in indoor service.

But the rule was to be extended every 30 days. When the allowance was due to expire in March 2021, it was quietly extended until April 6.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul speaks during a Covid-19 press conference on February 09, 2022 in New York City.
Hochul said in early March that it was looking to “permanently” allow bars and restaurants to serve takeout alcohol.
He was overpowered / Getty Images

In June, the COVID-19 state of emergency that allowed drinks to leak ended.

Hochul, during her first state of the state address in January, announced that she planned to reinstate the state’s grassroots “Drinks-to-Go” initiative and included the measure in her proposal for state budget. In early March, Hochul announced at a press conference that it was seeking to “permanently” allow bars and restaurants to serve alcohol on the go, which most New Yorkers believe should return.

According to a survey released in May 2021 by the New York State Restaurant Association, nearly 80% of state residents want to expand the rule that allows the sale and delivery of alcohol in bars and restaurants.

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