OSAGE BEACH, Mo - Several restaurants in Osage Beach have gone smoke free in the last year; the latest to announce they will follow the trend is the City Grill.
All talk of a smoking ban in Osage Beach died out last summer; but the owner of the City Grill says he thinks it's just a matter of time before there's one in Osage Beach, if not state-wide;
and he doesn't want his restaurant to get left behind. "The trend is that states and cities are going smoke free and went to jump on board with that," says Joey Homm, co-owner of the City Grill.
Which is why Homm and his family decided to experiment going smoke free this winter. "We have experimented going smoke free for our comedy shows only and that has went over quite well; the smokers don't mind leaving the room for their quick smoke break," says Homm.
"It doesn't bother me, I can go to a smoke free restaurant," says smoker Ray Sullens.
But someone; or some thing might mind. "We call him Roy; Roy the cigarette dispenser," says Homm.
Roy has been a part of the City Grill since it opened. "Since 2003," says Homm.
But the owners of City Grill don't want to get rid of Roy; just like they want to keep their smoking customers. "We're certainly not turning our back on our smoking clientele because there are certainly smokers out there, heck, half the country still smokes," says Homm.
Before they begin their smoking ban this spring they're first going to turn the sidewalk area outside into a covered patio so smokers will still have somewhere to go in case they want to light up. "If they feel the need to smoke instead of not having them at all say hey we've got this brand new smoking lounge. We're going to have propane heat running outside; we'll have a flat screen tv out there so they can enjoy the game," says Homm.
To hopefully keep Joey's customers happy. "There's going to be some hard feelings, some other customers I'm sure, but you just have to grin and bear it," says Sullens.
And to keep Roy around too. "He'll just have to do an about face and go in the smoking room, he'll still be with us," says Homm.