Smokers Can Light Up Again at One Region 8 Restaurant

November 14, 2006 - Posted at 5:21 p.m. CST

JONESBORO, AR -- With the passage of the Arkansas Clean Indoor Act, restaurants across Region 8 went smokeless earlier this summer.  Now one eatery in Jonesboro is telling customers they can light up again.

The Milky Way on Gee Street in Jonesboro will soon be only the fourth place in the state where you can legally smoke while eating dinner.  While those younger than 21 will no longer be admitted inside to eat, owners say they are just giving customers back a choice.

The Milky Way has been in business in Jonesboro since 1954 and since then they've served countless burgers, fries and shakes.  But on December 1st a man by the name of Clem Morgan will take over the business and the Milky Way will become the Smoker's Cafe...a first for the city of Jonesboro.

"There is a need for this, people are upset, they've got to go outside in the rain and the cold and everything else and I don't think its right. So we are giving them a place to come," said Morgan.

Smoker Clem Morgan has worked in the tobacco industry for 30 years and now he's trying his hand in food services.  Providing an outlet for restaurant smokers in Region 8.

"There is a need for it.  35% of the adults in Arkansas smoke and with 35% of them smoking, we know we are not going to get the non-smokers or the families but we do have a drive through window.  If our food is going to be good enough, people will come get it anyway," said Morgan.

New menu items won't be the only changes in store for next months re-opening.

"All entrances and exits of the restaurant will be posted.  They will be checked when they come into the restaurant for verification of their age so that is how we will monitor and make sure no one under the age of 21 is in," said new manager Mike Gipson.

"If they come, that's fine.  If not that's there choice, but that is what this country was founded on is choice and that's what I'm giving the people. They have a choice," said Morgan.

Opening day for Smoker's Cafe will be December 4th and Morgan says the first chance to light up starting at 5:00 a.m.