Wednesday, November 15, 2006

But What if it's a Burrito Sandwich?

A judge in Massachusetts has ruled that a burrito is not a sandwich. Why does anyone care? Because Panera signed a deal with a shopping center where they opened a store that no other sandwich shops would be able to open up in the same center. (Downtown Silver Spring has both a Panera and a Potbelly, and they seem to be surviving, but I digress.) A Mexican place has plans to move into the center and Panera was arguing that this violated the agreement since a burrito - a tortilla with filling being equivalent to bread with filling - counted as a sandwich. The judge ruled that a burrito, taco and quesadilla are not considered to be the same as sandwiches. A number of food experts apparently testified similarly.
While I understand what Panera was getting at - a similar portable food - the idea that an equivalent bread product makes for a sandwich would expand the definition to insane proportions. After all pizza crust could be considered an equivalent bread product - and pizza has filling. What about calzones, empanadas and pot pies? And what happens with breaded chicken? Does that become a sandwich equivalent? What about nachos? If a tortilla is really bread, does cutting it in bite size pieces change the concept enough to get around the bread equivalent's presence along side filling? The possibilities are endless.