In the ranks of best food smells, barbecue is second only to fresh-baked bread or perhaps cinnamon buns (case in point: There’s apparently a thriving market for barbecue-scented candles).
But apparently not everyone wants that sweet, meaty aroma attaching itself to all their worldly possessions: A barbecue restaurant in Madison, Wisconsin is facing complaints from neighbors who say they can smell meat cooking from inside their homes, Channel 3000 reports.
The owners of That BBQ Joint briefly shuttered their restaurant on Saturday to host a neighborhood meeting, “saying they were looking for solutions to some complaints from a small group of neighbors over noise and the smell of smoking meat.”
While some have suggested the opposition to the Black-owned business is racially motivated, neighbors insist that has nothing to do with it — and co-owner Clement Henriques says he thinks they may have valid concerns. One nearby resident tells Madison.com that having her home invaded by the scent of cooking meat “is a quality of life thing, especially if you’re a vegan.”
One potential solution proposed: a crowdfunding campaign to pay for a new HVAC system that would lessen the meaty aromas emanating from the restaurant. The owners say they’ll consider that idea, but are hesitant to cave to the demands of a few neighbors, noting that “...at the end of the day we are operating within the legal parameters.”
The smell of smoked meats has pitted neighbors against local businesses in other parts of the country, too: Last year major controversy erupted in Austin over proposed regulations that would have required barbecue businesses located near residences to install costly exhaust systems. The proposal emerged after residents who lived uphill from a popular barbecue restaurant complained smoke was wafting into their homes and backyards. (The regulations failed to pass a city council vote, much to the relief of local pitmasters such as Aaron Franklin.)
At any rate, a house infused with the smell of barbecue seems more appealing than one being assaulted by the eye-stinging aroma of hot chiles. Back in 2013, the Huy Fong Sriracha sauce plant in Irwindale, California was forced to temporarily cease operations after the city filed a lawsuit claiming its citizens were suffering headaches and burning eyes as a result of the odors coming from the hot sauce factory.
• Meeting Over Near East Side BBQ Restaurant Turns Contentious [Channel 3000]
• Neighbors Debate Complaints Against Barbecue Restaurant [Madison.com]
• Judge Orders Sriracha Factory to Halt Odor-Making Operations [E]