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DEKOFF: Smoke-free law faces challenge

Publication Date: 2005-04-14
  • Author:Belle DeKoff
  • Publication:Sarasota (FL) Herald-Tribune

One exception to the law allows for smoking indoors: stand-alone bars. According to the law, a "stand-alone bar" is "any place of business devoted during any time of operation to predominantly or totally serving alcoholic beverages ... in which the serving of food, if any, is merely incidental to the consumption of any such beverage ..." Additionally, the Clean Indoor Air Act allows a stand-alone bar to derive no more than 10 percent of its gross revenue from the sale of food...

Key West's Sloppy Joe's is petitioning the Legislature to increase the minimum allowance of food sales from 10 percent to 20 percent for stand- alone bars located in buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Last year, this so-called bar sold $2 million in food sales, exceeding the minimum allowed by law by 7 percent.

Sloppy Joe's is misrepresenting itself to the citizens of Florida and the Legislature by calling itself a bar and not a restaurant. This "bar" boasts a seven- page food menu including appetizers, salads, sandwiches, wraps, pizza, sides and desserts. Even more disturbing is that it has a kid's menu. Sloppy Joe's is obviously interested in catering to families -- how many bars do you know that have a kids' menu?