The Food Biz: New group forms to back menu-labeling bill

Monday, April 20, 2009 at 12:36am

Continuing the debate as to whether restaurants should be obligated by law to explain in explicit terms that the cheesecake you’re craving is probably not the healthiest dining option, a new coalition has formed to back such legislation.

The Tennessee Menu Labeling Coalition last week announced its formation along with an initial list of member organizations. Among them are a group of unsurprising faces such as American Heart Association — which has been a champion for such measures from the outset — Tennessee Hospital Association, the Tennessee Public Health Association and more than a dozen others.

The group is backing the “The Tennessee Healthful Menu Act,” which Gov. Phil Bredesen recently introduced as part of his legislative package. The bill would mandate that chains with “20 or more locations to provide calorie information on menus and menu boards at point-of-purchase.”

The group has also said it will staunchly oppose any potential legislation that seeks to restrict local governments from enacting any such requirements across the state.

One Italian joint for another

Meanwhile, the rapidly expanding chain Jet’s Pizza is looking to take over the former Elliston Place home of another Italian eatery.

A motion filed last week in U.S. Bankruptcy Court as part of the liquidation of M. Tangredi Restaurants seeks to sell the equipment at the Vanderbilt-area location to West End Pizza Inc., a Jet’s franchisee.

West End Pizza appears to be at least the second location for the same franchisee. The potential purchaser, according to the Secretary of State’s Web site, was organized in January and lists Lawrence Lavigne as the registered agent. Lavigne is also listed as the registered agent for Bellevue Pizza, which serves as the holding company for the Highway 100 location of Jet’s.

None of this is final, however. M. Tangredi’s creditors, involved in the chain’s Chapter 7 filings, may still object to the sale. They have until April 27 to file their objections with trustee David G. Rogers.