Air-quality regs and NYC BBQ
New Yorkers have been complaining for years that we don't have any real barbecue because of the city's stringent air-quality regulations, which make it nearly impossible to operate a commercial wood smoker unless you install some prohibitively expensive ventilation equipment.
But now new 'cueries are opening all over the place, and many of them are smallish operations that don't seem like they'd have the resources to install the big-money ventilation/exhaust systems.
So: Have the air-quality regs changed? Is there a new generation of less-polluting smokers, and/or a new generation of less expensive exhaust systems?
I'm not sure what the regulations are, but the big issue might be location. I think Blue smoke had to install an expensive ventilation/exhaust system because it is located in a high rise building, so there was no where for the smoke to go. Dinosaur bbq, on the other hand, is in a free standing structure so perhaps they didn't need to install a powerful ventilation system. I haven't been to any of the others that smoke their meats on site, so I can't speak for them, but I wouldn't be surprised if some of them smoke their meats off site and deliver them to be reheated.
Interesting question. I would hazard that air quality restrictions has nothing to do with BBQ though. Los Angeles, for example, which has the most restrictive air quality regulations in the US (if not the world), is full of restaurants that grill/bbq food and generally produce a lot of smoke. What LA does not have many of, however, is high-rises--perhaps the location in high-rise buildings, as the other poster suggested, is the real "expense" generator.