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New York Revives Food Mandate for To-Go Drinks: Soups, Salads, but No ‘Handfuls of Lettuce’

Plus, Bronx mainstay Riverdale Diner catches fire — and more intel

Three takeout cocktails in plastic cups, arranged on a wooden ledge.
Takeout cocktails are back in NYC — and so is the accompanying food requirement.
Erika Adams is the editor of Eater Boston.

New Yorkers reacted to the return of takeout cocktails with both excitement and annoyance as one of the most derided rules to go along with the allowance was brought back: food must be purchased with to-go drinks. The State Liquor Authority has mandated that a “substantial” food item must be purchased alongside takeout cocktails. “Soups, sandwiches, salads, chicken wings, and hot dogs” are all substantial food items, according to the SLA, Gothamist reports. The category does not include candy, bags of chips, or bowls of nuts.

While that directive leaves a lot up to interpretation for restaurants, the SLA’s guidance does specify that creative ways to sidestep the mandate, like “Cuomo chips,” will be interpreted as breaking the law. “Obvious efforts to circumvent the law, for example an unreasonably small portion of soup, a serving of canned beans, a handful of lettuce, or charging a small extra fee for an alcoholic beverage in lieu of a food item not actually ordered or delivered will be treated as a violation of the law,” the mandate reads.

Restaurants that violate the law could have their liquor license “suspended or revoked,” according to Gothamist.

Riverdale Diner’s kitchen catches fire

Fifty-year-old Bronx staple Riverdale Diner’s kitchen caught fire early Monday morning, the Bronx Times reports. Two firefighters were hospitalized with injuries sustained from putting out the fire. According to the publication, the cause of the fire is still under investigation. Riverdale Diner does not yet have a reopening date.

Apotheke co-owner Christopher Tierney has died

Christopher Tierney, one of the owners of upscale cocktail bar Apotheke, a fixture on Doyers Street in Chinatown, died on April 5 due to heart failure, according to his family. He was 41. The family is still waiting on final medical reports, but they believe that Tierney’s heart “may have been weakened by a prior case of COVID,” sister Heather Tierney said in an email statement.

“Chris’s final day was a celebratory one — he spent the morning with his three business partners — his best friends — working on the design of his latest Apotheke cocktail bar project in Nomad,” Heather said in the statement. She plans to carry on the project and open the bar in Nomad in May.

Rainbow Room chef waves goodbye to New York

Mathew Woolf, the executive chef at the iconic Rainbow Room perched on the 65th floor at Rockefeller Center, is the latest high-profile cook to decamp from New York. He has left the fabled restaurant for a spot leading the kitchen at the White Barn Inn in Kennebunk, Maine, the New York Post reports.