Thursday, November 03, 2016

Clash Over Shepard's Wood-Fired Oven Worries Dining Spot, Other Cambridge Restaurants

It looks like concerns about a possible ban on wood-fired ovens in Cambridge can be put aside for now, but one restaurant in particular could be at risk.

Cambridge Day is reporting that complaints from neighbors about smoke coming from Shepard--including one person's asthma apparently being enflamed by the smoke--resulted in a City Council meeting to discuss the possibility of regulating wood-fired ovens if a threat to public health exists. Initially, it sounded like a possible ban on such ovens could be a possibility within the city, which led to Shepard co-owner Rene Becker saying "If Shepard is disallowed its wood-fired grill and oven, we will be forced to shut down and sell," while Andy Husbands of Smoke Shop BBQ in Kendall Square stated that "Banning of wood cookery would mean we would close our doors immediately. And scrubbers [which eliminate most of the smoke particulate and half of the smell] would put us in financial ruins." Tom Brush of Felipe's in Harvard Square also weighed in, saying "People absolutely love [the restaurant's wood-fired grill]. If anything, it really perks their appetite."

Council members appeared to have differing views on the original policy order, with one member calling the language "inflammatory" and Mayor E. Denise Simmons saying "it was poorly written." The council ultimately voted in favor of the mayor's rewriting of the order by a 6-2 margin, with the rewritten order's language being "softened," according to the article.)

A hearing on the issue is expected to be held by the Public Health Department on November 16.

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