WMAL Interview - CHEF GEOFF TRACY - 03.30.18

Mar 30, 2018, 03:00 PM

INTERVIEW - CHEF GEOFF TRACY  -- owns and oversees restaurants in Washington DC including Chef Geoff's, Chef Geoff's Downtown, Chef Geoff's Tysons, and LIA'S, among other restaurants -- discussed his war with Virginia happy hour laws.

•    A D.C. area chef has filed a federal First Amendment lawsuit over Virginia’s happy hour restrictions
•    Chef Geoff files lawsuit over Va. happy hour restrictions. WASHINGTON — Chef Geoff Tracy, who owns three restaurants in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, filed a federal First Amendment lawsuit Wednesday targeting Virginia’s happy hour advertising law. Tracy told WTOP that current legislation in Virginia regarding happy hour laws are restrictive, outdated and hurt his business and bottom line in the state.  The lawsuit has been filed against the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. “I have my First Amendment rights. I should be able to tell you that the beer is $5 or it is $2 off. I think every reasonable person would agree that is kind of ridiculous,” Tracy said. “It’s just kind of a weird limitation on free speech or creative advertising speech that doesn’t make any sense. It’s a challenge to comply with,” Tracy said. In contrast, in D.C. or Maryland, Tracy can list the specific cost of a beer. Virginia law also bans advertising the use of any other terms other than “happy hour” or “drink specials.” It is also illegal to call specials “two for one.” Instead, restaurants in Virginia may offer “half-priced” drinks, according to the Pacific Legal Foundation.