The Shocking Secrets of Chain-Restaurant Calorie Counts


"I'll have an omelette with a side of 'Who the f*** cares?'"Menu courtesy of IHOP.

A recent appeal has kept everyone wondering: What will happen when the law requiring New York's chain restaurants to post calorie counts on their menus finally takes effect? Will tumbleweeds roll through Starbucks as coffee drinkers realize just how fattening that Frappuccino is? Calorie information is already available online for most chains. According to a rep, since IHOP started posting calorie counts almost two months ago, guest reaction has been almost nonexistent.

The New Yorkers we surveyed at Chipotle and Starbucks in Union Square yesterday didn't seem too concerned. But after perusing some of the juicy morsels weve dug up, they might just consider the Baconator a healthy option.

The Suckers Salad: The tostada salad with chicken at Chevys contains 1,228 calories, thanks to tortilla strips, cheese, sour cream, and guac. Taco Bells similar Fiesta Taco salad contains less than half that 544 calories. The real shocker: The simple grilled-chicken Caesar at Chilis contains 1,010 calories.

The Murder Burger: Thought you should be worried about Wendys 840-calorie Baconator and Burger Kings 1,010-calorie Quad Stacker? IHOPs Monster Cheeseburger (two patties, two cheeses) ups the ante: 1,520 to 1,720 calories. Ruby Tuesdays handcrafted Smokehouse Burger clocks in at 1,392 calories.

The Mexican Bandit: Chipotle may pride itself on food with integrity, but its steak burrito with everything contains 1,288 calories more than twice the count of a Taco Bell Grilled-Steak Stuft Burrito.

Breast Measurements: Fried-chicken breasts range from 278 calories at Bo Jangles' to 350 calories at Popeyes. Of course, were talking about a single piece, not a bucket.

Fro-Yo Wars: Red Mango and Pinkberry offer a maximum of 90 calories. Tasti D-Lite ranges from 70 to 100 calories, and a large helping of TCBYs White-Chocolate Mousse clocks in at 312 calories.

The Kid Killer: Dennys Little Dippers with fries contain 860 calories, 120 more than the adult-size Grand Slam breakfast. But the winner here is the Ruby Tuesdays 910-calorie mini-cheeseburger with fries. Despite being on the kids menu, the dish contains more calories than two Quarter Pounders.

The Full-of-Crap Wrap: Think Au Bon Pains Southwest tuna wrap is a healthy option? It contains 860 calories over 200 more than Taco Bells highest-calorie burrito.

The Breakfast Bomb: IHOPs omelets range from 1,150 calories in the Garden variety to 1,490 calories in the Big Steak. Meanwhile, waking up with the King might not be such a bad idea the deluxe breakfast at McDonald's contains 1,140 calories without syrup and margarine.

The Vegetable Surprise: There are 824 calories in Cosis Vegi Muffaletta an oxymoron if ever we heard one.

Think Before You Drink: McDonalds 32-ounce triple-thick chocolate milk shake boasts a whopping 1,160 calories, almost double the amount in a 24-ounce Double Chocolatey Chip Frappuccino Blended Crme with whipped cream at Starbucks.

Smoothy Criminal: Dunkin' Donuts' 32-ounce Tropical Fruit Smoothy contains 720 calories, which tops a same-size Coffee Coolatta with cream.

The Gut Buster: The irresistibly named Awesome Blossom at Chilis (a battered-and-fried onion, served with dipping sauces) takes the cake as New Yorks most calorific menu item: 2,710 calories.

Of course, lest you think were picking on the chains, lets remember that a meal at Per Se is the caloric equivalent of four and a half Big Macs.

Related: New Yorkers Know the Calorie Count, But Do They Care?