October is the third annual Dining Month on OnMilwaukee.com. All month, we're stuffed with restaurant reviews, delicious features, chef profiles, unique articles on everything food, as well as the winners of our "Best of Dining 2009."
I stopped at Cafe Hollander on Downer Ave. for lunch today, and noticed signs promoting a new smoking policy.
Indeed, the entire Diablos Rojos Restaurant Group has officially gone smoke-free during breakfast, lunch, and dinner service at all of their restaurant locations. In April, the group went smoke free for weekend brunches.
Customers at Cafe Hollander, Cafe Centraal and Trocadero will be allowed to smoke indoors after 10 p.m., but only (of course) until the statewide smoking ban goes into effect on July 5, 2010. Smoking, before 10 p.m., is now limited to outdoor "weather resistant" areas during daytime hours.
Co-owner Mike Eitel says the change is overdue. "We were really looking forward to a statewide ban and had hoped it would begin as people started heading indoors for the fall and winter months," Eitel said. "Over the last couple of years, an overwhelming number of customers began to complain about our smoking areas while the smoking population continued to dwindle."
The new policy at Diablos Rojos went into effect Sept. 21, and Eitel claims the feedback so far has been positive. "Honestly, we were pretty nervous to make the change ahead of the ban but realized that cultural expectations of air quality have really driven the debate away from being an issue of smokers' rights toward being an issue of the right for people to breathe clean air in public," he said. "Even many smokers were voicing their preference for smoke-free air in our restaurants."
As the ban gets closer, many bars and restaurants will look to create comfortable areas for smoking in the outdoors. Eitel says this will be a priority at Diablos Rojos' establishments.
Diablos Rojos Restaurant Group owns Trocadero, Fat Abbey, Café Hollander in Bay View, Cafe Centraal and the new Café Hollander location in Wauwatosa. The group also is pursuing several new projects both in and outside of Milwaukee.
A life-long and passionate community leader and Milwaukeean, Jeff Sherman is a co-founder of OnMilwaukee.
He grew up in Wauwatosa and graduated from Marquette University, as a Warrior. He holds an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University, and is the founding president of Young Professionals of Milwaukee (YPM)/Fuel Milwaukee.
Early in his career, Sherman was one of youngest members of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, and currently is involved in numerous civic and community groups - including board positions at The Wisconsin Center District, Wisconsin Club and Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. He's honored to have been named to The Business Journal's "30 under 30" and Milwaukee Magazine's "35 under 35" lists.
He owns a condo in Downtown and lives in greater Milwaukee with his wife Stephanie, his son, Jake, and daughter Pierce. He's a political, music, sports and news junkie and thinks, for what it's worth, that all new movies should be released in theaters, on demand, online and on DVD simultaneously.
He also thinks you should read OnMilwaukee each and every day.