Skip to content

19 Catt. 4: In re Trolley Pub Arlington

2013 April 24

CATTLEYA, J., delivered the opinion of the Cart. JEREMY, C.J., issued a separate concurrence, concurring in the result.

The question before us today is whether Trolley Pub (“TP”) of Arlington, Virginia is within the jurisdiction of the Cart. Before I explain what TP is, I will say what it is not. It is not a mobile gastronomic enterprise within the jurisdiction of the Cart. Now after I explain what TP is, I will explain why.

TP is a pedal-powered trolley that is intended to transport six to fourteen persons on a bar crawl in the Clarendon neighborhood. TP’s current route starts around the Courthouse Metro station, runs along Wilson Boulevard past the Clarendon Metro station, and then loops back on Clarendon Boulevard. Food and drink are not provided, but TP customers may bring their own on board. TP comes with its own trolley conductor, built-in bar, and ice chest.


To come within the Cart’s jurisdiction, an establishment must be a  “mobile gastronomic enterprise” and must be “situated throughout those parts of (a) the County of Arlington, Virginia, (b) the District of Columbia, and (c) the City of Alexandria, Virginia, which are reasonably proximate to public transportation of a reasonably rapid and efficient character.” Rule of Procedure 1-2. This rule is derived from Section 2 of the Judiciary Act of 2011 (Cartiorari Act), which states that the Cart “shall have exclusive jurisdiction of all food carts, trucks, and other transitory alimentary establishments within those portions of the District of Columbia or the part thereof retroceded to the Commonwealth of Virginia by Act of [the] Congress assembled in the year of our Lord 1847.”

In other words, our jurisdictional test contains three elements. First, the establishment must be a “mobile gastronomic enterprise[].” Second, it must be located in Arlington, Alexandria, or DC. Finally, it must be “reasonably proximate” to either the Metro or other form of public transportation.

In the case of TP, the second and third elements are satisfied. TP operates in Arlington, Virginia, and it is accessible from the Courthouse and Clarendon Metro stations. Therefore, whether TP falls under our jurisdiction depends on whether it is a “mobile gastronomic enterprise.”


The body of law of this tribunal establishes  that a mobile gastronomic enterprise must be “mobile,” i.e., capable of moving, see In re Maine Avenue Fish Market, 11 Catt. 3 (2012), from Point A to Point B, see In re Skydome Lounge, 17  Catt. 4 (2013).

It is clear that TP is capable of moving. It moves by the pedaling power of its customers. It is also equipped with an electric assist if human pedaling is insufficient to propel the trolley forward. Thus, TP meets the mobility requirement set forth in Maine Avenue Fish Market.

Next, in In re Skydome Lounge, 17  Catt. 4 (2013), we held that an enterprise must be capable of moving from Point A to Point B, and we denied jurisdiction to a revolving restaurant because it circled around endlessly. Although TP returns to the place where it originated and so technically moves from Point A to Point A, TP is not like Skydome Lounge. While Skydome Lounge circled around a single point beneath the restaurant, TP does not move in a way that it essentially remains in the same place. It leaves the Courthouse neighborhood, passes bars along Wilson Boulevard, turns around in Clarendon, passes more bars along Clarendon Boulevard, and then returns to Courthouse. TP is not rendered immobile by the ruling in Skydome Lounge because the Skydome Lounge rule applies to an establishment that never leaves its initial place, and not to an establishment that leaves and then later returns to its initial place. Thus, TP satisfies the mobility requirement of Skydome Lounge.


Having determined that TP is “mobile,” we must now determine whether the enterprise is “gastronomic.” This Court has only once before interpreted the term in In re Amtrak Café Car, where it was found that a gastronomic enterprise was required to have at least some minimal pretension to “good eating.” 14 Catt. 1 (2012) (Jeremy, C.J., concurring).

Here, we cannot even reach the question of whether TP’s gastronomy meets this minimal showing because TP does not purvey any gastronomy. While customers aboard TP may eat and drink on board, they must provide their own food and drink. Customers may do so either by navigating TP to a third party establishment and purchasing food or drink from that third party, or by securing food and drink from a third party before commencing the journey on TP and bringing the provisions on board.

In order to even reach the question of whether an enterprise’s gastronomy meets a minimal level of good eating, the enterprise is required to prepare and provide gastronomy. Today we find that the preparation and provision of gastronomy is a threshold requirement for a gastronomic enterprise. Because customers of TP cannot purchase and consume gastronomy prepared by TP, TP is not gastronomic and so cannot be a “mobile gastronomic enterprise.”


Although TP is mobile, it is not gastronomic because it does not prepare and provide gastronomy to its customers. TP is not a “mobile gastronomic enterprise” within the jurisdiction of the Cart and may not be reviewed.


JEREMY, C.J., concurring in the result.

Not unusually, my sister willfully misinterprets my words. She writes, citing to my concurrence in Amtrak Café Car, that we cannot consider TP a “gastronomic enterprise” because it purveys no gastronomy. She reasons that “[i]n order to even reach the question of whether an enterprise’s gastronomy meets a minimal level of good eating, the enterprise is required to prepare and provide gastronomy,” and that, therefore, “the preparation and provision of gastronomy is a threshold requirement for a gastronomic enterprise.”

However, it was never my intent to so limit the reach of our jurisdiction. TP is clearly “mobile” and an “enterprise.” I would find further that it at least has the possibility of being “gastronomic” under Amtrak Café Car depending on what customers bring to its built-in bar. However, the jurisdiction of this Cart extends primarily to the gastronomy of a mobile gastronomic enterprise, and never to the concept of the enterprise alone. As it as yet unknown what individual parties may bring to the bar, the case must be dismissed on grounds of ripeness. Therefore, I concur in the result, but only in the result, of my sister’s decision.

Comments are closed.