Alex Al-Quawwas, owner of JT’s Falafel & Kababs Mediterranean Cuisine, said his idea is to add the element of a (tobacco-free) smoking lounge to bring a new concept to his clientele.
Hookah is the name of the instrument from which patrons would share communal smoking, described by Al-Quawwas to board members as similar to electronic cigarettes.
A hookah is an instrument generally used for smoking flavored tobacco. It includes a water basin through which the smoke passes before inhalation.
"I want to do it right and do it legally," said Al-Quawwas, who owns JT's Falafel and Kababs.
He said hookah lounges are popular in some areas as they allow people to enjoy smoking after a meal.
"Basically it's honey with molasses," he said, describing the product he would offer for smoking.
He said he would supply the hookahs, which he described as like a water pipe; people would not bring hookahs to the business. Al-Quawwas said it would be the only smoking product his business would offer. He said the "smoke" produced is steam, like that produced by an electronic cigarette.
City attorney Wendell Trapp recommended the board take the request under advisement until it can be determined if approval of hookah use would violate the city’s smoking ban.
The board voted to table the matter until the next regular meeting on Oct. 16.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.