Carrollton lights up
Barely two weeks after the Dallas Environmental Health Commission held hearings exploring whether Dallas should toughen its relatively permissive public-smoking ordinance, the city of Carrollton eased its ban on smoking in public places last week. By a vote of 6-1, the Carrollton City Council approved amendments to the city's tough 1994 smoking ordinance to permit smoking in restaurants under certain conditions. "There has been longstanding feedback to council members that the city's smoking ordinance has made Carrollton non-competitive in its ability to attract new restaurants," Assistant City Manager Marc Guy says. "I wouldn't use the term model. But certainly we looked at smoking ordinances throughout the state to see what other types of techniques are being used."
In drafting the amendments, the city examined smoking ordinances in Arlington, Irving, and Plano. Just weeks after Plano began enforcing its smoking ban, which went into effect in 1995, the city council voted to ease restrictions and permit isolated smoking sections in restaurants. The vote came on the heels of a lawsuit filed against the city by several restaurants charging the ban drove their business to nearby cities with less restrictive public-smoking measures. That same year, Arlington relaxed its smoking ban after just a few months to also permit smoking sections.
Under Carrollton's new ordinance, restaurants may establish smoking sections only if the area is physically separated from the rest of the restaurant and the space has its own ventilation system. The maximum amount of floor area devoted to smoking sections is limited to 30 percent under the measure.
Okianos to reopen
Shut down since early October, Okianos restaurant in Addison should reopen just before Christmas after enduring a two-month, $150,000 face-lift. The seafood restaurant with a stark Mediterranean oceanside motif will take on a Spanish-Southern California look, according to general manager Hamid Moallem. Though it will retain its emphasis on seafood, the menu will undergo modifications, and a new executive chef should be in place just before reopening. Okianos (formerly spelled Okeanos) was launched by famed bad-boy chef Avner Samuel, currently of Bistro A, and restaurateur Bahman Ayrom, former owner of Cafe Highland Park, Addison Cafe, Bolero Mediterranean Grill, and Farfallo, early last year. Investor Amy Rank, who also owns Cafe Highland Park, owns the restaurant.
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