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Do you know where your chicken wings come from?

Explosion of virtual restaurants fuels health concerns

By Kay Lazar and Anissa Gardizy Globe Staff,Updated June 26, 2022, 5:57 p.m.

The French fries on the floor were the first clue. The inspector, from the Lexington health department, knew the Italian restaurant didn’t serve them. Where had they come from, she asked?

That’s when she learned the kitchen was preparing meals for several “virtual restaurants,” online, delivery-only operations with food that is very different from what the kitchen normally serves.

In Leominster, the health director recently made a similar discovery. After some online sleuthing, he learned that a local pizza restaurant, part of a national chain, had been preparing food for a virtual Chinese restaurant, while a Brazilian steakhouse was cooking up concoctions for a virtual operation specializing in macaroni and cheese dishes.



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