Sandwiches, soups and salads are substantial. A bag of chips or a bowl of nuts, not so much.
That's according to the guidance issued Monday by the State Liquor Authority to determine what a "substantial food item" is to qualify for a restaurant patron to order a drink to go along with a takeout meal.
The guidance was issued days after state lawmakers and Gov. Kathy Hochul put the finishing touches on a $220 billion state budget plan that allows to-go drinks with takeout orders for up to three years.
As part of the guidance from state alcohol and liquor regulators, sandwiches, soups, wings and hotdogs are among those food items that can qualify for to-go cocktails. But "a bag of chips, bowl of nuts, or candy alone" do not, according to the guidance.
At the same time, patrons are restricted from purchasing large bottles, such as wine or liquor in "a bottle, box, can, or other similar container" that was purchased by the reailer from a wholesaler.
The rules issued by the state are similar to those put in place during the early weeks of the COVID pandemic, when restaurants and taverns were allowed to offer alcoholic beverages to go with takeout orders. The provision was seen as a key lifeline for struggling restaurants, many of which were shutdown during the initial months of the public health crisis.