BY MORTY EATOWITZ/Food Critic — (Boca Raton, FL) — Carrabba’s Itallian Grill often advertises specials that are “here for a limited time.” Sadly, anyone who decides to enjoy winter in South Florida by eating on the deck at Carrabba’s Boca Raton will be here for a limited time as well. Your odds of dying from lung cancer likely increase exponentially from just spending minutes on the restaurant’s lakefront deck.
Located at 6909 SW 18th Street in Boca, Carrabba’s is part of the national chain owned by OSI partners which is incredibly based in Tampa, where Morty Eatowitz would think patrons like to eat outside as well. OSI also owns Outback Steakhouse, Bonefish Grill, Fleming’s, and Roy’s. But despite Florida’s smoking ban, and decisions by several notable hospitality companies — like Marriott (NYSE:MAR) — to take it a step further and ban smoking altogether, OSI’s Carrabba’s brand is apparently more concerned with drumming up the alcohol sales that accompany smoking than doing the right thing by keeping the air clean for all patrons, regardless of where they choose to sit.
It is appalling that the chain promotes itself as family friendly.
Morty Eatowitz on Friday evening hoped to enjoy a quick bite with his pregnant wife and two year old son. The hostess offered us seating outside, yet never mentioned that it was full-on smoking time. For this we fault local management and a lack of corporate training. Morty Eatowitz would think a hostess would be trained to spot a pregnant woman and a child and suggest that they not sit in a smoke filled area. Instead, Morty Eatowitz was later told by the hostess, “Florida law doesn’t apply. Anyone outside can smoke.”
While that is true, as Florida law only covers seating inside a restaurant, the law sends a strong message to restaurants in the Sunshine State. That OSI Restaurant Partners LLC and its
Carrabba’s brand doesn’t hear that message, or chooses to ignore the message, is simply astonishing. The chain is not one that can argue it needs the revenue generated by smoking customers. It is a chain that, Morty Eatowitz believes, that just needs to do the right thing and ban smoking altogether.
The food, which is what we hoped to review for this article, was adequate. But Morty believes most patrons will lose any sense of enjoyment that comes from eating it if they have to inhale cigarette smoke between bites. Morty Eatowitz and his dining crew were ultimately moved inside, and the waitress could not have been nicer.
But an move in the middle of a meal should have never been necessary.
One of the great joys of living in or visiting Florida in the winter is the ability to eat outside. If that is a joy you seek, know that there is no joy at Carrabba’s Boca Raton.
EDITOR’S NOTE: BocaNewsNow.com, a division of MetroDesk Media LLC, will provide Carrabba’s with two free weeks of advertising on this website if it eliminates smoking from all of its restaurants nationwide.
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