NC restaurants take advantage of newly signed ‘grill bill’

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Gov. Roy Cooper has signed off on a law that may make your Memorial Day weekend a little smokier.

Until now, restaurants were not allowed to cook food for customers on outside grills.
With the so called “Grill Bill” on the books – eateries are gearing up for a good char.

Read Senate Bill 24

The Pit in Raleigh is known for its slow smoked barbecue.

But, smoking inside just isn’t the same for Executive Sous Chef David Ramos.

“Grilling outside just kind of takes it back to how it originated and how we started,” said Ramos.


Up until now, grilling outside has been complicated.

“If we decide on spur of the moment that we want to bring out the grills and do some briskets or a whole hog, we can do this now. Where before, we would have to get the Health Department to come out and certify that as an outdoor kitchen,” said Greg Hatem, owner of The Pit and Empire Eats Restaurants.

Catering events hasn’t been ideal either.

Most times their smokers sit unused while barbecue is prepared in a kitchen and then transported.

“There are a lot of events that you want to be able to give them the freshest product and be able to cook right in front of them to be able to give them the show and the food at the same time,” said Ramos.

“The best barbecue is the barbecue that comes right off the hog and to the plate,” said Hatem.

Standard Foods Executive Chef Eric Montagne agrees with Hatem and Ramos.

His restaurant has a wood fired grill outside that so far has only been used for employee get-togethers.

“It’s been a hindrance not being able to use that for our guests,” said Montagne.

Now the creative juices are flowing on just how he’ll put it to use for customers.

“A standing rib roast that’s been slow grilled outside and then finished in our oven inside would just be fantastic,” he said.

Besides better eats, the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association says this could even be good for the economy.

“We’re about to hit the summer season, which is very popular for our guests, and it just provides another opportunity for us to better meet customer needs,” said Kim Siomkos, diretor of Government Affairs for North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association.

Many restaurants are now preparing for special Memorial Day events, so keep an eye out for announcements from your favorite spots.

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