Turkey Leg Hut wins motion to get relief from temporary restraining order filed by neighbors

Outside view of Turkey Leg Hut on Nov. 22, 2019.
Outside view of Turkey Leg Hut on Nov. 22, 2019. (KPRC 2)

HOUSTON – The Turkey Leg Hut, the popular Houston restaurant that has been embroiled in a battle of accusations with neighboring residents about its outside smokers, has won a motion that temporarily lifts the temporary restraining order that restricted its use of the smokers.

As a result of Tuesday’s ruling by a Harris County District Court judge, the Turkey Leg Hut will not be in jeopardy of running out of food early during the busy Thanksgiving holiday because of the smoking restriction that was placed on the restaurant on Nov. 20.

Last week, a judge handed down a 14-day restraining order that barred the Turkey Leg Hut from using its outside smokers from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. each day. Neighbors had complained that the smoke was too thick and affected their breathing and quality of life.

The Turkey Leg Hut’s attorney John Zavitsanos filed a motion Monday night seeking to dissolve the emergency temporary restraining order and increase the $500 bond securing the order, as requested in an emergency injunction filed by a small group of residential neighbors.

“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,” Zavitsanos said in a released statement Tuesday night. “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.”

The motion raised legal arguments contained within the restraining order, the release read. The Turkey Leg Hut took issue with the timing, right before Thanksgiving and just two weeks before the fully noticed hearing.

The motion uncovered evidence that the plaintiffs’ motives for filing the emergency lawsuit was more about the desire to eliminate the busy and popular restaurant from the neighborhood where parking is a constant problem.

The Turkey Leg Hut will comply with the hours stated in the emergency restraining order after the holiday weekend; restricting smoking times on December 24, 2019 between the hours of 8 pm and 6 am.