Ashes to Ashes

Photo: Elliott Erwitt

Silvano Marchetto
Owner, Da Silvano, cigar aficionado
We never had a problem whatsoever because people go outside and smoke them on the bench. Actually, I prefer it because I hate cigarettes; I only love cigars. If they changed the law, I wouldn’t mind the cigars inside. The cigarettes, no, we’re better off without them.

Steve Hanson
Über-restaurateur (Fiamma, Vento, Blue Fin, Ruby Foo’s, etc., etc., etc.)
I feel that the smoking ban has been great for business. I didn’t think that it would be good for business, but it should have been done sooner.

Mario Batali
Celebrity chef, ex-smoker
It has done nothing to hurt business, as it is ubiquitous. If I could create a place for people to smoke, I would in a second—smokers drink more and tip better.

Penny Glazier
Steakhouse specialist(Michael Jordan’s, Strip House, Monkey Bar), self-described ex–champion smoker
At first we were concerned because of the bar that no one would want to go in there and have an after-dinner drink. But it’s a total nonevent now. We never hear conversations about it; we never hear customers complaining about it. Quite honestly, you know, the restaurants are much cleaner. We’re New Yorkers; we adapt.

Gerard Meagher
Manager, Old Town Bar & Restaurant
To us it seems like a wash; we’ve lost customers. But it’s had benefits we didn’t expect, like there’s more turnover at tables, particularly with women who light up a cigarette after a meal and hold up a table for another fifteen minutes. And we have chandeliers that once we clean them, they stay clean. If the law were overturned, yeah, we would allow smoking again. We’re an old-style tavern where cigar smoking and things of that nature are part of the experience.

Ashes to Ashes