Turkey Leg Hut will keep cooking smoked and stuffed turkey legs this weekend, claiming an initial victory in a legal battle with neighbors who allege the very popular Third Ward restaurant was operating illegally.
A lawsuit filed in Harris County District Court on November 20 claims that “noxious thick wood smoke” poses an “elevated public health risk to the surrounding community.” Meanwhile, Turkey Leg Hut owner Nakia Price spoke out, alleging the neighbors’ claims were “defamatory.”
At a hearing yesterday afternoon, a Harris County District Court judge lifted a temporary restraining order which barred Turkey Leg Hut from using its smokers at certain hours — just in time for the Thanksgiving weekend. The ruling also increased the bond of the order from $500 to $24,000, to reflect damages to the restaurant caused by reduced production capacity.
According to a press release, the Turkey Leg Hut will comply with the hours stated in the emergency restraining order after the holiday weekend is over, which means restricting smoking times on December 2 to 4 between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m.
“Today’s ruling was a successful step in the right direction for the Turkey Leg Hut, whose good name and business have been unjustly damaged this week by the plaintiffs and their counsel,” John Zavitsanos, Lead Counsel for the Turkey Leg Hut, said in a press release. “The Prices aren’t big corporate villains, recklessly endangering the environment. They’re a couple who invested their life’s savings into building a successful restaurant to serve smoked turkey legs in a neighborhood they love, and we will continue to vigorously defend all allegations against them in this lawsuit.”
Chris Feldman, attorney for the neighbors, told ABC13: “I represent multiple plaintiffs with small children that are inhaling this smoke on a daily basis. Go out there and see it for yourself. It is a problem.”
The parties will be back in court on December 9, per ABC13.