MURRELLS INLET, SC (WMBF) - One of the most popular restaurants on the Marshwalk will no longer allow customers to "light up" inside the business.
Currently, customers can smoke at the bar of Dead Dog Saloon, according to owner John Campbell. He says it has been part of the restaurant's plan to go completely smoke-free for a long time. "We just did it slowly; we didn't want to shock our customer base," said Campbell.
Signs about the change are posted all over the restaurant for customers to see. "On Monday, February 15th, we go completely non-smoking," said Campbell.
Several restaurants along the Marshwalk are already smoke-free. Campbell adds, "It is just the sign of the times, customer feedback, and we are in the hospitality business, and we react to that kind of stuff."
Campbell said on social media and trip adviser sites, customers leave reviews, and many of them are positive, but those negatives comments he says are often referring to the smoking.
One customer, Dan Raymundo, said as a former smoker, he can appreciate the idea of smoke-free restaurants. "I usually go to a restaurant or a tavern that has no smoking, I gave up smoking years ago, for health reasons and I just don't enjoy being around the smoke."
The restaurant's Facebook page was overwhlemed with likes and comments about the decision that was announced in January. Some not in favor, but many in support of its decision to go smoke-free.
Customers can still smoke on the Marshwalk, but Murrells Inlet 2020 Executive Director Renee Williamson says cigarette butts are an environmental nuisance to the inlet, adding they're the trash volunteers often pick up.
Campbell said, "Even though we have receptacles up and down the Marshwalk a lot of people just don't take the time, they flick their cigarette butt on the ground during, and it's up to us to clean it up."
Some customers say they would like see the smoke-free restaurant idea go a further. "The next step would be to try to get food and beverage employees working their shift to not smoke as well during their breaks, because it certainly affects the dining experience when they have to wait on people," said Ken Rokes, a frequent customer at Dead Dog Saloon.
Campbell said smoking will be allowed at the tiki bar located on the Marshwalk outside the restaurant. The area still serves drinks and food.