RICHMOND, Va. – In an effort to circumvent Virginia’s controversial food-to-alcohol ratio laws, a local restaurant has announced plans to become a Catholic church that serves primarily alcohol.
Jimmy’s Tavern, a staple in Richmond’s Museum District, announced this week they are adopting the ways of the Catholic faith to better serve their patrons while simultaneously bypassing the legal obligation of maintaining a 45/55 ratio of food to alcohol total gross sales and minimum food sale requirements.
The new venture, Jimmy’s Chapel, plans to reopen next month.
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Founder and owner Jimmy Harris spoke about the recent decision in an exclusive interview. “The current ABC ratio law requires us to sell a certain percentage of food relative to our liquor sales. This is more costly to us than if we could just sell alcohol. Since the reasoning behind that law is to keep the city from being ‘overrun with bars,’ we’d like to contribute to the fight by turning our restaurant into a church. Now you’ve got one less ‘bar’ in town, which seems to be what the General Assembly wants.”
Harris went on to describe the operational changes the bar will go through while transitioning to a faith-based enterprise.
“The Book of Genesis Drink Menu will come on scrolls but the rotating specials will be called ‘New Testament Offerings.’ We’ll also serve salt and vinegar Eucharist wafers instead of bar nuts, which will be the one of the only food items available. You know, for communion purposes. And we’re implementing the idea of ‘Transubstantiation’ into the wine so it’ll become the blood of Christ and no longer alcohol. This will hopefully help reduce patrons driving under the influence.”
While the idea of converting a restaurant to a church is certainly unique, some critics argue that it could affect his overall bottom line. However, Harris is confident the tax breaks associated with being a non-profit will make the change financially successful. He also mentioned that, despite changing his operating hours, the introduction of new payment methods will help make up for lost revenue.
“We won’t bring as much in on weekends, as the bar will be closed on Sunday in keeping with the Sabbath tradition, but we’ve expanded our payment options and we’ll soon be accepting American Express and Middle Age-style indulgences. We expect our state lawmakers and politicians to use the latter as a great way of exchanging money for forgiveness of their sins.”
Harris isn’t the only restaurateur bypassing the ABC laws in this fashion. At the time of reporting, it was revealed that popular restaurant RVA Diner is converting and changing it’s name to Diner Beth Israel.