Cambridge health officials have ordered the owners of Shepard Restaurant & Bar in Cambridge to immediately stop using charcoal and wood for cooking following complaints from neighbors that smoke was seeping into their homes and affecting their health.
In a decision released Monday, Cambridge health commissioner Patrick Wardell said the restaurant’s use of wood and charcoal as a cooking source and the smoke and odors emanating from its exhaust stack “have caused a condition of nuisance which is injurious to the public health.”
Wardell acknowledged that Shepard’s owners, Rene Becker and Susan Regis, have tried to mitigate the problem — including by installing a vent scrubber system to filter particulates — but that the smoke is still an issue.
“Smoke and odors from the restaurant continue to enter into the neighbors’ homes, causing or exacerbating the health problems of several neighbors,” Wardell said in the decision.
Becker said Monday that he is waiting to hear back from his attorney and declined to comment on his next steps. In the meantime, Shepard will be open as usual, but the food will be cooked with gas.
“We’ll have delicious food to serve,” Becker said. “It’ll be business as usual.”
Shepard opened two years ago in the spot long occupied by French restaurant Chez Henri. It’s gained a devoted following and earned accolades for its food, much of which is infused with flavors from its signature wood-fired oven and grill.
But a group of Shepard…