Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The verdict is in: A burrito is not a sandwich

The Panera Bread Co. has a clause in its leases that prevent its landlords from renting to another sandwich shop. So, it assumed it had an ironclad case when it told the White City Shopping Center in Shrewsbury, MA, not to rent to the Qdoba Mexican Grill chain specializing in burritos.

That didn't hold up well in front of State Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Locke who cited Webster's Dictionary as well as testimony from a chef and from a former federal agriculture official in ruling that Qdoba's burritos and other offerings are not sandwiches. The difference, he said, essentially is between two slices of bread and one tortilla.

 "A sandwich is not commonly understood to include burritos, tacos and quesadillas, which are typically made with a single tortilla and stuffed with a choice filling of meat, rice, and beans," Locke wrote in his decision.

Panera, which owns more than 900 cafes, asked the court to agree that a flour tortilla is bread and that a food product with bread and a filling is a sandwich.

Qdoba, a subsidiary of Jack in the Box Inc., called food experts to testify on its behalf, including chef Chris Schlesinger of Cambridge, MA. He said in an affidavit, "I know of no chef or culinary historian who would call a burrito a sandwich. Indeed, the notion would be absurd to any credible chef or culinary historian."

• Go here to visit the Capital Region Brew Trail
• Go here to visit Dowd On Drinks
• Go here to visit Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

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