As Calorie Counts Appear in NYC, Eaters Are Shocked, Shocked!

A whopper of a scone at Starbucks; Chipotle diners are in for a surprise.

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My friend was taken aback when she went to her local Starbucks in New York City for breakfast this week. According to the newly posted calorie counts on the menu, the scone she usually gets clocks in at more than 500 calories. She's now switching to a banana for breakfast.

The city has been embroiled in an ongoing legal battle with the New York State Restaurant Association about posting calorie counts in fast food restaurants. (See a collection of posts about the court case and the broader issue by NYU nutrition professor Marion Nestle here.)

While the matter is hung up in court, though, some chains, including Chipotle Mexican Grill, Subway, and the aforementioned Starbucks, went ahead and started posting their calorie counts this week. Consumers' reaction ranged from abject horror to shrugs, depending on their previous level of cognitive dissonance. I've seen two great takes on it: one, from the New York Times, on the scene at Starbucks, and the other, from the blog Midtown Lunch, on the math of Chipotle's calorie counts.

Burrito lovers: read it and weep.

Editor's comment: At least there hasn't been a widely reported outbreak of food-borne illness at a New York Chipotle this week. Elsewhere, a restaurant in that chain had a big problem, and members of the Kent State track team reportedly suffered from it.