Industry News | January 20, 2010

Italian Concept Wants Healthy Hearts

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Every year since 1963, Congress and the President have proclaimed February as “American Heart Month.” Russo’s New York Pizzeria’s Houston, Texas–Westheimer and Russo’s Coal-Fired Italian Kitchen Richardson, Texas, locations celebrate “American Heart Month” by offering heart-healthy alternatives to your diet.

Russo’s New York Pizzeria partnered with Medical City Heart in the Restaurant Partner Program. Selected menu items have been endorsed by MCH using ingredients with approved low levels of sodium. Only recipes that meet approved levels of total fat, calories, and sodium earn this endorsement. No trans fats are permitted.

With MCH’s endorsement, New York Pizzeria offers customers a variety of choices that meet the heart-healthy guidelines, such as Pollo con Limoni—chicken breast topped with Portobello mushrooms, capers, sundried tomatoes, served with fettuccini cooked in a lemon garlic white wine sauce.

Penne Mediterranean is another pasta dish that makes the heart-healthy list, made with fresh spinach, sundried tomatoes, pine nuts, feta cheese, and Sicilian extra virgin olive oil.

Additional approved heart-healthy dishes are Pescatori di Gamberi (jumbo shrimp, angel hair pasta, and spicy marinara sauce), Grilled Shrimp Calzone, and Slice Heart Healthy Pizza.

Russo’s is taking it one step further by distributing the heart-healthy menu to medical center hospitals, local gyms, dieticians, and personal trainers, giving them healthy meal options to pass along to their clients. The menu will include information such as nutritional value so customers can make better choices when they dine at Russo’s.

“We want to offer our customers healthy choices when they dine with us without depriving them of flavorful ingredients that they’ve come to expect from New York Pizzeria,” says owner Anthony Russo.

Russo’s New York Pizzeria is setting an example for local and national restaurants as they meet the country’s new heart-healthy standards by reducing the amount of sodium used in their dishes. The New York City Health Department issued an initiative on January 11 urging restaurants and food companies across the country to voluntarily reduce their products’ salt levels gradually by 25 percent over five years. Doing that would reduce the nation's salt intake by 20 percent. Many restaurants in New York and other partnering states may be joining Russo’s New York Pizzeria in their fight against heart disease.