Thanks to a new state law, this summer you’ll be able to do something you’ve never been able to do before in North Carolina: enjoy a big thick steak grilled over an open flame — at your favorite restaurant.
Senate Bill 24, which unanimously passed both chambers of the General Assembly last week, now allows restaurants to use outdoor grills; up until now, food establishments could not use outdoor grills for cooking. Instead, grills had to be located inside (and comply with a long list of regulations).
The North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association (NCRLA) praised the legislation in a May 18 press release: “It will allow the state’s restaurants and hotels to use outdoor grills to better serve their patrons especially during the approaching summer months,” said Lynn Minges, NCRLA’s president. “Our members, and in turn their customers, will benefit from the added flexibility to grow their services while lowering overhead costs.”
“Allowing restaurants to use outdoor grills gives thousands of small businesses flexibility to expand their services, lower overhead costs or open new establishments in North Carolina,” commented House Speaker Tim Moore following passage of the bill. “By listening to our constituents and improving their quality of life through private sector growth instead of government regulation, Republican reforms are getting government out of the way of business so North Carolina’s economy can thrive.”
The legislation does have a few common-sense rules regarding a restaurant’s operation of an outdoor grill: including keeping the grill attended at all times and storing the grill indoors when not in use. Meat cooked on the grill must first be prepared inside the restaurant and may only be handled indirectly with utensils.