Most of London’s largest restaurants were complying with the smoking ban Monday and did not report many problems with the transition.
“It worked great,” said Scott Smith, manager of Shiloh Premier Steakhouse. “We’ve had no problems at all ... I’ve even had servers come up and say they loved it.”
Smith said servers assigned to the smoking section typically had less tables to attend to. But with a smoking section no longer necessary, Smith said the servers were given tables in equal numbers.
“I can’t wait to see how it goes this weekend to see how fast tables will move,” he said.
Like Shiloh, Gondolier Restaurant took away its ashtrays Monday and did not report any complaints.
“We don’t have many people come in who smoke anyway,” manager Doyle Jones said.
Kosta Ververis, manager of Dino’s, said there were complaints from customers, “but it didn’t make them leave or anything.”
“The heavy times for people to smoke and drink are in the evening and today is the first day so we’ll know better Friday and Saturday,” he said.
Ververis was frank about his opposition to the ban.
“It creates a lot of problems,” he said. “For the people who have been smoking for years, they’re not going to quit now. This happened in Cincinnati and northern Kentucky and it did affect a lot of businesses. It hurt them a lot.”
Burger Boy owner Robert Ramsey had similar feelings about the move and said nearly every one of his customers complained about the ban.
“They just can’t believe the government is running their business,” he said. “They can’t believe that six people on the city council can tell people what they can do and where they can go.”
Still, Ramsey complied with the ordinance and took ashtrays away the day before the ban took effect.
“I figured it was Sunday and everyone would have a kind heart,” he said. “Everyone goes to church on Sunday ... I prayed about it and I figured that was the best thing to do.”
Robert Cabrera, manager of Eldorado, said of the 52 tickets he had after the lunch rush Monday, 10 people smoked.
“I’ve had only one complaint about it,” he said. “Nobody said anything.”
Of the woman who did complain, Cabrera said she lit up in the restaurant and Cabrera stopped her.
“I said, ‘You didn’t see the signs on the doors?’” he said. “She said, ‘I feel sorry because you’re going to lose business.’”
Cabrera responded by saying, “Everybody needs to learn something new.”
Despite the ban, which took effect Monday, Ruby Tuesday and Cracker Barrel did not comply with the ordinance.
“We should soon,” said the manager of Ruby Tuesday, who declined to give her name.
She added she expected some complaints but “in the long run I feel it will be a good thing ... No one will be stuck in the smoking section.”
Ashtrays were still on the tables and hostesses were asking customers if they wanted to sit in the smoking section at Cracker Barrel Monday.
When asked about the ban, the manager had no comment.
Staff writer Tara Kaprowy can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.
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