Football and cigars.

The two are not often paired together in the same sentence, much less served together in a restaurant, but two local Harker Heights businesses challenged the status quo when they joined forces and created Cigar Night.

Novice and seasoned cigar aficionados gather at Red’s Corner Grill in Market Heights every Thursday for the weekly event sponsored by neighboring business Stetson’s Cigars.

“Red’s actually approached us and stated they wanted to have cigars on their patio. So we thought, ‘OK, Thursday nights. Football is on,’” said Tina Felt, store manager for Stetson’s Cigars. “You have good food, a nice beer and conversations with friends. It goes hand in hand.”

More than 20 people attended a recent Cigar Night. Felt was on hand with a display of cigars from around the world, which were also available for purchase.

Marsha Andrews, 24, a student at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and not the stereotypical cigar smoker, puffed on a cigar on the patio.

“People need to get ready to emphasize the fact that the vast majority of cigar smokers today are not your grandpa and friends sitting in huge leather chairs in a grand room,” she said. “Times have changed folks. I’m glad to see an event like this.”

Lee Binkley, 70, of Killeen, a regular at Red’s Corner Grill and Stetson’s Cigars, fully embraced the cigar “Renaissance.”

“When all was said and done, however, the most consistent message was unavoidable: We’ve come a long way,” he said. “The crowd here covers all ages and both men and women. This a sign of just how broad-based the cigar renaissance has become, and what a solid future there is for cigar smoking in America.”

Cigar Night is every from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday at Red’s Corner Grill at Market Heights, 201 E. Central Texas Expressway, Harker Heights.

Monique Brand - Herald correspondent​

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