Chain Gang: TGI Friday’s May Descend on Union Square; Houston’s Tells Calorie Police to Suck It


Yesterday’s Crain’s New York reported that Parmesan-Crusted Sicilian Quesadillas and Jack Daniel’s Ribs & Shrimp may soon be coming to Union Sqaure: the Riese Corportion has bought 34 Union Square East, the former home of Zen Palate, and may be opening a TGI Friday’s and Tim Hortons in the space if it can’t find a more “lucrative” tenant instead.

New York law will require TGIF’s, like any restaurant chain, to post the calorie counts for its gutbomb cuisine. But don’t try telling Houston’s that it needs to follow that law — or that it’s a chain.

Crain’s also reports that the California-based company, which has two Manhattan outposts, has thrown a corporate hissy fit in response to the calorie posting requirement. It has taken a series of steps to bypass the rule, including changing the name on its New York menus to Hillstone — though the restaurants’ signs still say “Houston’s” — and changing its menus slightly at its Manhattan locations. One of Hillstone’s VPs claims that the company, which has more than 30 locations across the country, doesn’t operate like a chain, and is “disdainful” of being lumped into the category like so much ground chuck. The DOH, which enforces the calorie law, isn’t convinced; whether or not the courts will be remains to be seen.


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