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Downtown Denny's 'Not Healthy,' Mayor Says

By Jill Colvin | March 27, 2013 2:58pm | Updated on March 27, 2013 3:26pm

UNION SQUARE — The city's trans-fat-hating, soda-banning mayor doesn't despise Denny's as much as some Lower Manhattan residents who are angry that the national chain has chosen their building for its first outpost in the city.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Wednesday that he didn't remember ever having eaten at the ubiquitous middle America 24/7 roadside diner, which boasts delicacies such as the 1,020-calorie Macho Nacho Burger and the 1,210-calorie Caramel Bacon Stuffed French Toast.

But while Bloomberg warned that eating at Denny's is "not healthy for you," he has no plans to block the chain's decision to open its first New York City location at 150 Nassau St., a landmarked building that's across the street from City Hall.

"We're not going to ban individual restaurants," Bloomberg told reporters gathered at a tavern near Union Square to mark the 10-year anniversary of the city's ban on smoking in bars and restaurants.

Earlier this week, DNAinfo.com New York first reported that residents of a Downtown luxury condo were upset that Denny's wanted to move into their building.

Bloomberg said that, even when it came to his recent attempt to limit the size of sugary drinks, his goal has been to inform consumers about what they're putting into their bodies, not to ban unhealthy items.

"Our approach has been to try to educate with calorie counts that tell you what's in the food that you're eating, with letter grades that tell you how healthy it is, how clean the kitchens are," he said. "Whether it's with beverages with cup sizes, or smoking...our approach has always been an educational one rather than a banning one."

Still, the city's health-czar-in-chief cautioned that frequently scarfing down Denny's probably wasn't the best idea.

"If it's as advertised, that's an awful lot of calories to eat at one sitting," he said.

"I suppose if you did it once a month, it's not going to hurt you. But if you ate every day like that, you would be obese, and then your life expectancy and quality of life would be dramatically worse," he said. "My suggestion is, if you eat that many calories in one meal, it's not healthy for you."

A Denny's spokesman said the company has had its sights on Manhattan for a long time, but added that opening in the new space was "not set in stone."