A slew of New York bars and restaurants have started offering $1 food menus. But these dollar menus aren’t a new take on guilty-pleasures from fast-food chains to draw in customers. Instead, bars and restaurants in the state have been selling menu items for just $1 apiece, all to satisfy a new ordinance put into place by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo last Friday.
The ordinance mandates that if a customer buys an alcoholic beverage, they must also purchase a food item at the same time. For many locations that don’t have hefty menus, or bars that don’t want to deter drinking customers with the addition of a meal purchase, the $1 menu item served as a clever way to bypass the requirement.
Harvey’s Restaurant and Bar, based in Saratoga Springs, was one of the first to adapt after the ordinance was announced. It even claims to have coined the now-popular term “Cuomo Chips,” commemorating the invention in a Facebook post.
Tonight @NYGovCuomo ordered that bar/restaurant patrons can’t order alcohol unless they order food as well. Harvey’s Irish Pub in Saratoga Springs is serving “Cuomo Chips” for a dollar so people won’t have to spend money on a larger meal. pic.twitter.com/Lw8Z0w3puX
— Steve Maugeri (@CBS6SteveM) July 17, 2020
Other $1 items ranged from “just a handful of grapes” and “the smallest piece of cheesecake you’ll ever see,” at Buffalo’s Lafayette Brew Co., to “Cuomo Fries” at Hopewell Junction’s Handshakes Bar & Grill. The small serving was described as “a few fries to keep you as our couch potato.”
To the chagrin of these clever business owners, lawmakers quickly caught on to the $1 trend and have put a stop to it. The order now defines food as “sandwiches, soups, or other such foods.” The “other foods” have to be similar in substance to sandwiches and soups, and therefore cannot simply be “a bag of chips, bowl of nuts, or candy alone.” Cuomo Chips might live on, but they’ll have to accompany a sandwich to satisfy this rule.
Wondering if this will affect the purchase of your favorite cocktail to-go? Worry not, this rule only applies to on-premise drinking … for now.