So you have heard that you can now get To-Go Alcohol in New York State again. YES! Because this is New York State there are a few stipulations as to what constitutes legitimate food.

So when you are ordering through a restaurant and getting your food and drinks to go, what do you need to know? What really is food? How much good is enough food to get your alcohol ordered?

What Does New York Say Is an Official “Substantial Food Item?”

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klara kulikova via unsplash
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No surprise that New York State actually sat down and decided what we can actually order. For instance you can get a drink to-go, but of course you can't drink it in the car, it has to be sealed and that item has to also be available inside the establishment, in the same container, serving size, and at the same price.

Can you order a bottle of liquor or a bottle of wine to-go too in New York State?

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Oh no, New York State says, nope, not going to happen. The items need to be single serve alcohol items, and cannot be a bottle of wine or a bottle of alcohol. Of course, that would be way too convenient. Imagine getting dinner for two and a bottle of wine? That would be awesome.

So how much food is the right amount of food to be able to get these to-go drinks in NYS?

cans of Heinz baked beans in store
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The language in the New York State Liquor Authority actually says something to the effect that if businesses try to circumvent the law and say serve a small amount of beans or a bag of chips, just to get the alcohol to-go, that is not allowed and it will be considered a violation of the law.

So, what is considered "Substantial Food Items" for New York State?

Homemade Wild Rice and Chicken Soup in a Bowl
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Here is the direct wording of what NYS (PDF) defines as substantial food items: A substantial food item is defined as sandwiches, soups or other foods, whether
fresh, processed, precooked or frozen. Other foods are foods which are similar
in quality and substance to sandwiches and soups; for example, salads, wings,
or hotdogs would be of that quality and substance.

What is my dream order for substantial food and to-go alcohol?

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My personal dream substantial food order would be a pitcher of Margaritas along with an order of chips and guacamole. Come' on. That could be the best. What would your dream 'substantial food order' be? Share it with us.

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They broke the list down to specific dishes you can enjoy at these restaurants. Here's those restaurants on the list:

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https://sla.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2022/04/advisory_2022-2_-_sale_of_wine_and_liquor_to-go_by_on_premises_retail_licensees_0.pdf