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UPDATE: 4:23 p.m. 10/27/2010

Fed up with being treated like an ATM machine and fighting NIMBY-oriented community boards, a number of high-profile restaurateurs in New York City have formed their own trade group, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The new group, called the NYC Hospitality Coalition, includes such recognizable restaurateurs as Stephen Hanson, Keith McNally, and Ken Friedman. The coalition wants to work with the city chapter of the New York State Restaurant Association to make the process of opening restaurants in the Big Apple a lot easier. Writes the Journal:

“The hospitality industry in New York is one of the biggest employers in the city and we’ve been treated like an ATM machine,” said Mr. Friedman, whose restaurants include the popular Breslin and Spotted Pig. “We need to get some people fired, or elected. We just need to have a little bite along with the bark of the existing restaurant association.”

Closer to home, the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington announced today that it’s severing ties with the National Restaurant Association. RAMW’s board unanimously voted to become an independent entity, which will become official on Jan. 1.

The decision apparently is tied to a change of policy at the national association, which now strictly defines each affiliate by the borders of its state. RAMW’s “state” would be the District of Columbia only — and not the suburban Northern Virginia counties where RAMW also has members.

Y&H is not sure how this independent status will affect RAMW’s resources or clout, if at all, but I have a call into president Lynne Breaux for further clarification. In the meantime, a spokeswoman had this to say about the shift:

“We don’t anticipate any radical changes” at RAMW, she said.

This just in: The Restaurant Association of Maryland issued a press release announcing that Paul Hartgen will resign as president and CEO, effective in November. Marshall Weston Jr., the executive vice president of the RAM Education Foundation, has been selected as the interim president and CEO.