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The New Hipster Garb?



Will silicone straws become the healthier version of the cigarette behind your ear? When Foodservice News columnist Jonathan Locke spotted the single straws at Barkley’s Bistro at Keg and Case in St. Paul, he commented that in order to have the straw handy when needed, you should start wearing one behind your ear. And then, of course, if you’re going to wear one behind your ear, you may as well go all the way and roll a pack up in your sleeve, a la James Dean. 

As the plastic straw ban continues to gain momentum—91 percent of plastic may be headed for recycling bins but usually ends up in landfills or the ocean, because of their size straws are often not recycled or don’t make it through the sorting process—consumers may need a game plan if they want to continue to sip  their beverages with them. 

There seems to be three ways restaurants can cope with the straw controversy: 1) Only offer plastic straws when asked; 2) replace plastic with paper straws; 3) use metal or glass straws. 

Grand Café in Minneapolis uses both metal and glass straws, however, “We do not use the glass straws as often since they can be a bit more delicate and need to be washed by hand,” says Nikki Klocker, general manager. “Metal is super durable, so there are no issues. They go through with our silverware.”

So far sticky-fingered guests walking off with the straws (behind their ears or in their purses), has not been a problem. “Pens and duck feet (for the foie Royale) are another story,” she says, and even though it was said in an email, we can hear the sigh. 

Perhaps the answer will be patrons carrying their own straws. However, those of us who can’t remember to bring our reusable shopping bags to Whole Foods most likely will also suffer from phantom cigarette syndrome—thinking you have something tucked behind you ear for emergencies, when you don’t. 

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