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Utah Town Bans Chain Restaurants, Gets Sued

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Springdale, Utah, a small town on the edge of Zion National Park that makes most of its money off the resulting tourist industry, has passed an ordinance banning "formula restaurants" in an effort to funnel money back into local businesses. Problem is, they may not be allowed to do that: USA Today reports that an investor group is suing the city over their belief that they have a right to open a Subway there. Seriously, five dollar footlongs are a constitutional right!

There is precedence for the ban, as two towns in Maine have had similar ordinances on the books for six years. The Maine bans have never been challenged, however, and the outcome of this lawsuit could have far-reaching implications.

Americans love convenience foods, and bans like this could be the sort of thing that get them to think beyond the drive-through and support local business. However, there is something a little controlling about the move; as one supporter of free enterprise put it, "This is America, darn it." So, which is it: Capitalism at the expense of small-town charm? Or a sense of civic pride that possibly disregards the constitution?

· Towns Block Chain Restaurants to Save Charm USA Today
· All Chain Restaurant coverage on Eater [-E-]

The as-yet unopened Subway in Springdale, Utah. [Photo: Brian Passey, USA Today]

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