In New York City, everyone wants our money. If we're not paying 10% of our yearly rent to a broker, then we're coughing up hundreds every year in ATM fees.

When we heard that a popular Manhattan restaurant called Hillstone decided to charge its customers a 2% surcharge, we were enraged.

We got to the news in time to learn that the restaurant in question had discontinued this practice, but not before upsetting lots of customers.

According to NBC, vice president of Hillstone W. Glenn Viers said the restaurant would drop the "surcharge mandate."

Viers said the restaurant didn't want to "hide these increased operational costs in our menu prices such that our guests might then question the value of what we offer."

Hey Viers, we're pretty sure it's standard practice to include your operational prices in the prices on your menu. In fact, the Department of Consumer Affairs reported on Monday that Hillstone's surcharge wasn't just sneaky, but against the law in NYC.


Maybe Hillstone thought it'd be cool to sneak one by NYC residents since, admittedly, such surcharges are legal in other cities like LA, San Francisco, and Miami.

However, we appreciate the fact that NYC's legislation is shaped in a way that protects us from sneaky charges when we go out to eat. We appreciate being charged the price advertised on any given restaurant's menu.

Viers did not indicate whether Hillstone would be raising its menu prices after dropping the surcharge price. 

Restaurant labor expert and attorney Carolyn Richmond confirmed that Hillstone's 2% surcharge is, in fact, in dispute with NYC law.

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"You're at risk of a $500 per plate fine," Richmond said. "But the problem is DCA hasn't really been enforcing the rule, absent a direct consumer complaint."

Richmond also speculated about Hillstone's motives in adding the charge. She said it appeared to be an attempt to offset rising restaurant costs, especially now that minimum wage has increased, and restaurant employees are required to get healthcare.

If that's the case, then fine, Hillstone. Raise your prices. But don't try to sneak one by us. We really, really don't like that.

If you do see any surcharge added to any bill in NYC, you should issue a direct complaint to the Department of Consumer Affairs. Rest assured that such charges are, in fact, illegal.

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[via NBC] [Feature Image Courtesy NBC New York]