Sand's Pancake House goes smoke-free

Cape Girardeau restaurant bans smoking after more than 60 years
Outside of Sand's Pancake House. (Source:Jasmine Dell/KFVS)
Outside of Sand's Pancake House. (Source:Jasmine Dell/KFVS)
(Source: Jasmine Dell/KFVS)
(Source: Jasmine Dell/KFVS)

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - In a day and age when most restaurants are smoke-free, Sand's Pancake House has kept to its origin of allowing customers to smoke as they've always had since 1953.

After realizing smoking inside could be driving some customers to stay outside, the restaurant changed it's policy.

On Tuesday, May 3, the traditional restaurant will implement a new guideline: banning smoking inside.

Server Cindy Dees has been working at Sand's Pancake House for the past five years and said the rules have never changed when it comes to questioning smoking.

"This is pretty much the only change since I've been here, and that's been five years," Dees said.

Larry Downs, a regular customer, said he's been eating at the restaurant for 55 years and is happy about the change - even though he used to smoke there himself.

"You don't come here because you can smoke... You just like to smoke because you can, because it's free, it's open and they allow you to do it. It's one of the few places you can do it," Downs said. "The people that come here... It's like a culture. They have to have their Sand's Pancake fix."

Dees said it's finally time for a change and thinks it will be good for the business.

"We look at what people say online, on reviews and comments, and everything was 'good food, hate the smoke', [or] 'good food, can't go there because of the smoking'... 'Can't take our kids there because of the smoking', just on and on - we never really heard anything else negative."

She said she knows some regulars will be crushed, but thinks the decision will bring in new customers.

"We're just kind of trying to stay with the times - after church, people can come in with their children, their babies and not worry about second hand smoke, and the people that work in offices and doctors offices can come in and not worry about their clothes smelling like cigarettes."

The owner of Sand's Pancake House also owns Berghoff's Cafe in Scott City, and is also considering going smoke free there, too.

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