Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

You can sort of still smoke ’em in Bellaire

Two weeks ago, the city of Bellaire declined to join Houston in banning smoking in restaurants. Turns out that it may not matter much, because one of the few places inside Bellaire that allows smoking (I could swear I read there were two of them somewhere, but can’t remember where), the venerable Bellaire Broiler Burger, has decided on its own to ban it.

Starting Feb. 1, the only thing smoking at the Bellaire Broiler Burger will be a sizzling-hot grill, frying up the legendary patties.

The dining institution known for both its retro appearance and cuisine will ban smoking, even though Bellaire’s City Council bucked requests by the city of Houston and a restaurant association Jan. 15 and turned down a no-smoking ordinance by a vote of 2-5.

Loyal customers’ opinions were what made the decision for the eatery. And their affection for the nostalgia didn’t extend to the eras when smoking was socially acceptable.

“Because this place is so old, we have very little ventilation in the dining room,” said manager Pamela Howard, who says she’s a smoker herself. “We’ve talked to our customers, and we definitely are losing some or are in danger of losing some because we allow smoking.

“The people who do smoke say they like our food so much, they’d come even if they can’t smoke here.”

A prominent sign warning of the impending ban has been posted, and Howard said she and servers are trying to take the time to explain the decision to customers and ask for their continued business.

“We tried to accommodate everyone for a long time, but we just can’t any longer,” she said.

Depending on one’s perspective regarding these laws, one could interpret this as evidence that such laws are not needed, since the market has apparently done the dirty work, or that they do no harm to established businesses, since in this case at least they were not in danger of losing regulars had they been forced to make the change. Personally, I think I need to have a burger there to celebrate their decision. After February 1, of course.

Related Posts:

  • No Related Posts

One Comment

  1. TK says:

    I am a fan of Bellaire Broiler Burger, but the ventilation in there is indeed horrible. However, when I’ve dined there, I’ve always emerged smelling like chargrilled beef and fry oil – I guess I’ve been lucky enough to avoid sitting next to smokers…