Local bars adapting to new guidance on food service requirements

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a new executive order on July 16 requiring bars and restaurants to sell food if they want to serve alcohol.

Local bar and restaurant owners said they are trying to adapt to the new rules.

“I think this is all kind of new to everybody. Even though the mandate for food just came down last week, we are still trying to, you know, adapt to all the new rules,” said McGrievey’s Managing Partner Art Riley.

For bars like Heritage Pub in Colonie, the change is very shocking. They only had a very limited food menu when their liquor license was approved.  

“However, you defined your food at that time and whatever your menu looked like at that time, is what we’re talking about here. This is certainly a bigger problem for bars than restaurants,” explained President and CEO of New York Restaurant Association Melissa Fleischut.  

Heritage Pub Manager James Micare said the challenge they now face is adding a new quality food menu.

“So, already we have a different clientele because you can’t play darts and you can’t play pool. Now, it’s a quick reconfiguration to have a good food offering,” said Micare.

Riley said he feels for all bars stuck in this situation right now.

“If the state granted them a license to serve alcohol and now they say you need to adapt your business to sell food, well maybe they should have addressed that before they issued them their license,” he said.

Fleischut said the new order is to avoid going backwards in the constant battle against the coronavirus.

Many bars now have to go back to the drawing board to avoid closing again.

“We just don’t want to lose customers by not having a solid offering upfront. But people are going to have to realize this is going to take growth,” said Micare.

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