Do restaurants with wood ovens violate smoking bans?
Apparently, in Ohio they do. This piece from an alert reader. It’s from a Local 12 television station in Ohio. (2010 – link removed – no longer valid)
Warning letters are now going out to local restaurants accused of violating Ohio’s voter-approved smoking ban. One local restaurateur who got a warning says his restaurant is smoke-free, but fears another source of smoke triggered his letter. Will DeLuca says he was born in his family’s Norwood pizzeria, Sorrento’s. He’s named his own restaurant, Betta, after his mother. Regulars like Kevin Brigger can tell you why they think this place is, for them, a little slice of Italy.
“Because the food with the wood burning, it’s a different style,” said Kevin Brigger. “Different taste you usually don’t get with most Italian restaurants.” “In Italy it is the way to cook pizza,” said Will DeLuca. “You won’t find a place in Italy that cooks pizza other ways.” And that way is in DeLuca’s wood-fired pizza oven. But hold the anchovies, DeLuca says he’s got a problem.
This week, the Ohio Department of Health sent him a warning letter, that he’s in violation of the state’s new smoking ban. “I’ve never allowed smoking in my restaurant,” said DeLuca. “We’ve been open over three years. I’ve never allowed smoking.” But DeLuca does burn wood…oak, in his oven. The smoking ban states no one shall burn tobacco or “any other plant,” oak, included.
Will DeLuca called the Ohio Department of Health to ask the obvious question. “It’s not a mistake. I asked her if it was a mistake, and she said it wasn’t. She was very serious. I asked her, are you putting me out of business? She said you should draft a letter stating what you are doing there and we’ll go from there.”
Now, one restaurant owner must explain how his no-smoking pizzeria relies on a wood-fired oven, while other area bars are still allowing customers to cigarettes. “I found out early on, life isn’t fair. And this is just another example of how you got to keep kicking, scratching, crawling to survive and that’s what we’ll do.”
A perfect example of bureaucracy.
The OLCC, has decided to ban minors from the 2007 Oregon Beer Festival.
Blogs are buzzing with chat from irate people. As the below e-mail points out, by banning children, less families will attend, and with less families in attendance, more of a rowdy adult party atmosphere is sure to follow. The Oregon Beer Festival has become a huge regional draw and tourist destination for our city, and this decision may ultimately negatively decrease revenue, not only at the festival but at hotels, restaurants, and other related industries.
Many of you may have heard about the recent OLCC ruling on not allowing minors at the summer beer festival. To me what made the Oregon Beer Festival so special was the family atmosphere. It was not an adult “party” in a convention center, it was like a German beer garden in the summer of food and family and fun. Low key and proud of it.
While the OLCC has made this ruling, there is still time to change or amend it before this summer. I am enlclosing a bunch of email addresses for you and a copy of my letter to OLCC if you would like to join me in protest of a very silly decision that, in the end will make it more of a party. Please pass this email onto other people who you feel may want to get involved.
OLCC Permit Coordinator
POVA- Portland Oregon Visitors Association
Deborah Hall Wakefield, APR
Director of Communications and Public Relations
On 18th and Alberta next to Random Order Coffee, a new restaurant is opening. Rumor is it will be called Zilla Sake. Not too far from there, a new ChaChaCha has opened at NE 45th and Fremont. This one is fully staffed with servers.
I’m happy to beta test, Food Dude. Just give me a holler.
Dave J. says
The OLCC’s rules on minors in eating establishments make no sense. My wife and I took our 4 week old daughter to eat at the Salvador Molly’s in our neighborhood with a large group of her work friends, and when we walked in the server told us we could wait a few minutes while he cleaned a table in the restaurant, or we could sit at a large table in the bar immediately. We chose the bar, and ordered food and drinks. Moments later, the manager came running over in a panic because we had a child and that if anyone found out about it OLCC could “shut us down.” Really? A four week old? I could see if it was a 15 year old, furtively sipping beers here and there, but, jeez, give me a break.
We all got up and walked over to a large table on the restaurant side, where we all (except my wife) ordered multiple drinks, including shots, etc. If we were going to slip the kid some liquor, it would have been no harder–in fact, it would have been simpler, as there was less wait staff around.
The point being, I’m all for keeping kids who might drink out of the places where liquor is served, but like all things, let’s have some common sense, please.
Suds Sister says
RE the OLCC ban on children at the OBF:
It’s my contention that the festival is already past the point of being a ‘family’ event. It is already primarily a drinking event, regardless of the kids in tow. The intent of the regulation, regardless of whether we’re talking about a festival or a restaurant, is that children can be present only at places where food is the focus, not alcohol.
Obviously, there needs to be a dilineation between where kids are allowed and where they aren’t. If the regulation allows the bar at Salvador Molly’s to serve adults with kids present, then so too must every other bar in town. Do you really want to see a toddler on the barstool next to you at the Virginia Cafe? It’s a good regulation designed to protect kids. And not necessarily to prevent kids from drinking, but also prevent them from being around drunk adults.
Anyone who has attended the festival in recent years knows that it is no longer a family-friendly event. Maybe it is for the first four or five hours of each day that the festival is open, but otherwise, it is not a safe place for kids. So many people take the day off of work and begin drinking early in the day, that people are very drunk before the cut-off time (7pm, last year). There are long lines as the day wears on and people pushing and shoving to get to the taps.
My only suggestions for compromise are maybe augmenting the hours, moving the cut-off time to 5pm. Also, perhaps a child-friendly area, where only adults with kids were allowed.
Totally off-topic, but amusing — have y’all read this blog post by Anthony Bourdain? Makes me admit a grudging admiration for the guy.
If that is the intent of the law, why can’t I take my teenager to a McMenamin’s movie? Food is the focus, or film. I don’t attend the beer fest and don’t know the particulars there, but I too experienced the “you can’t eat here” with a toddler years ago. Silly.
I also think that kids should see parents drinking responsibly, and taught the same. I allowed my (now adult) kids to have a beer at home at age 16, and wine with dinner as they grew up. Thus, drinking was never a big deal, something they couldn’t wait to do and binge on behind Dad’s back.
Finally, a toddler isn’t going to be on the barstool next to you if we allow kids around alcohol, that’s silly. For proof see other states, if I’m not mistaken California (where liquor is sold in grocery stores, like almost every other place) that manage to allow kids to eat in bars. It is the denial and secretive nature of alcohol that get kids to boozing it up young, not the example of how to drink responsibly.
I volunteered at last year’s festival, and I would agree with Suds Sister’s comments about people being totally loaded at the end of the evening, but I disagree with the ruling anyhow. I found that the minors there were clearly identified, the parents who brought them were required to accompany them at all times, and during most of the day, it is a family-friendly event. My partner and I decided after last year that we’d much prefer going in the daytime, especially after working the last shift and dealing with all the drunks. It’s more relaxed and a lot more fun. But with the OLCC’s ruling, anyone who wants to bring their kids won’t have the option of making that same decision — the state has already made it for them. Which is generally not a good thing, in my opinion.
No Kids, Yeah! says
Frankly, I’m glad they are banning kids. People who go with their kids have to somehow get their kids home…does that mean they are driving drunk? How safe is that? I am sick of this attitude that kids should be welcomed everywhere. Sometimes there are events and places that are not suitable for children and sometimes the rest of us without kids want to not have to deal with your snot-nosed, screaming little darlings.
Kim Nyland says
I would suggest the promoters stop advertising this event Nationwide & Worldwide as a, family friendly venue to TASTE beers created locally & afar, if the intent is only to get drunk & be able to behave like drunken fools. It’s nice of the OLCC to think so far ahead like this. Many families have already scheduled their vacations around this festival.
I much prefer not to have my child deal with red eyed, snotty, screaming old drunks…..can’t wait to see what the 50,000 visitor number drops down to in a few years.
kim @ apizza
Suds Sister says
I think that the festival organizers were a bit aghast at the record crowds that they drew last year. It was a happy confluence of great weather and good beer coming together. Many of the beers sold out within hours of opening, they were not prepared
I really haven’t heard any word about the festival’s opinion of the ruling.
Personally, I think the OLCC has turned a blind eye to a lot of the ‘illegal’ practices of this festival (non-licensed servers being foremost) because it is such an institution, such a huge tourist draw. I think there were a lot of complaints to them about last year’s festival that promped them to act.
I do agree with you about the frat-party atmosphere that the festival dwindles to at the close of an evening. That’s one thing I could definitely do without! I usually go early in the week, early in the day, to taste.
Do that many kids go to the festival? I’ve been there for a few years and don’t remember that many. Frankly, I can’t imagine why you’d want to bring a child to a beer festival in the first place, but hey, to each his own.
This beer festival thing is such a weird American problem. Would I be banned from having my whole family, minors and all, attend similarly themed festivals in Germany or France or Italy or Spain? I agree with JohnPdx when he said it’s the secretive nature of alcohol consumption in this country that creates situations like drunk frat-boy types at the festival. It’s the Puritanical prudishness with with alcohol is dealt with that’s the real problem. Oh, that and people who think of children as snot-nosed screaming brats instead of members of society. Maybe if we were more inclusive of children instead of exclusive they wouldn’t feel the need to binge drink when we’re not around. That, and they might actually learn to behave if they were allowed near adult activities more than once in a blue moon.
I get a kick out of the fact that one of the more recent OLCC commissioners (he’s not there anymore) was a Mormon. Go figure.
Johnpdx is right, at least as of a couple years back. As a teen (30+years ago), my buddies and I used to go to night clubs to see/hear great music. We’d get carded, get a hand stamp that told servers we were underage and that was that. My parents and I went out to dinner a lot, and often would wait in the bar section of restaurants. I’d get a 7-up, mom and dad something adult.
If I remember, though, places that were bars, and bars only (no music, minimal food, not associated with a restaurant) were still off-limits to minors, no matter what.
We were in the Bay Area a couple years back for college visits with our son, and the same scenario seemed to apply…he got carded, but we were able to wait in the bar of a restaurant and get into a music venue. He also served as our designated driver for a couple of visits to the Brewers Fest. My husband grew up in Europe and has a euro-attitude about drinking, and it rubbed of on our kid.
Reading again about the drunk frat boy element that winds up BeerFest evenings reminded me of our cab driver on the way home (at the ungodly hour of about 9:00) — she said she was going to stop at the Safeway on Broadway before heading back downtown to buy a bunch of plastic trash bags.
You know, for those who couldn’t hold their gallons of beer….
Food Dude says
Welcome Christina. I pretty much agree with everyone too. Until it became such a huge, overwhelming event, I used to go to the festival too. Later on all the obnoxious people out looking to get drunk were a real turn off. In my opinion, folks are pretty much on target with the comparison of European vrs. American attitudes towards alcohol.
BTW, I would have published your letter to the OLCC, but didn’t have a copy.
Christina Robertson-Gardiner says
My letter got lots of reaction. I think I actually agree with most of them. There seems to be a distinction between the daytime beer festival and the night time one. I have been to both and as I get older and the party gets bigger I tend to come early and leave early. What I am most upset about is the lack of a compromise. As I said in my letter to the OLCC (which was not was posted) I really just want a designated family time. I think if that is lost than the festival will continue to slide down the path to what it sounds like it is becoming: a frat party. I, like many of the posters came from a family that drank responsibly. The kids often had wine with dinner (albeit in much smaller doses that the adults) and I grew up with a very healthy attitude towards alcohol I hope to instill this same healthy respect in my children.
I have always enjoyed the festival, but if it continues as a 3-4 day drinkfest, I doubt I will continue to go.
Side story: a couple of years ago, I went to the brewers dinner the night before the festival, and was able to taste maybe 3 beers before the OLCC closed the event down. (which really pissed me off because I paid a lot of money for the dinner) It sounds like it may be time to limit attendance and sell tickets to each day.
what do you think?
Cuisine Bonne Femme says
Sorry, that was my fault for not sending it to Food Dude. Here is Christina’s letter to the OLCC:
Suds Sister says
I think that selling a limited number of tickets and having a timed festival is not a way to make it more child-friendly.
I have been to many festivals that operate this way (selling a timed entry ticket for, say, four hours), and you still end up with lots of drunks. Some will drink before they come, some will end up downing drinks quickly because they think their time is limited.
This may limit the overwhelming crowds and solve the problem of beers running out too quickly. But if you think it’s going limit drinking, you are mistaken. People will still get very drunk.
Listen, we do not live in Europe. No amount of talk will change these additudes. The festival is too popular for it’s own good. I don’t think that eliminating children/families is going to encourage a rowdier crowd, and I also think that it won’t make a drop of difference in attendance. What it will do is protect the kids.
Suds Sister says
I was not defending the OLCC’s policy, I was trying to explain it.
The problem lies with what the OLCC defines as a bar. Obviously, the bar at Salvador Molly’s and the bar at the Matador are very different. But not in the eyes of the OLCC.