Before there was Busboys and Poets in Hyattsville, there was Hank’s Tavern & Eats. Owner Geoff Tracy, better known as Chef Geoff, was the first notable Washington restaurateur to come to the Hyattsville area. The Hyattsville Wire talked with him to learn more about how Hank’s came to be.
Why did you choose to open a restaurant in Hyattsville, rather than Silver Spring or Takoma Park?
Ultimately, I did not have any say in Hank’s location because I don’t actually own the restaurant. In 2008, I was approached by the developer of the University Town Center. They wanted a restaurant next to the movie theater and asked me if I would be willing create a concept and operate the restaurant. After a little negotiating, we came to an arrangement where I would have full control over every aspect of the restaurant without having any financial risk. My brother, Chris Tracy, has partnered with me in this project. Chris is also president of my other restaurants — Chef Geoff’s, Chef Geoff’s Downtown, Chef Geoff’s Tysons, Lia’s, and Chef Geoff’s Rockville.
Have there been any surprises in terms of what was popular on the menu or busy times at the restaurant?
Not really. I have been a restaurateur for over 12 years now. My teams and I have developed pretty solid systems to predict business flow. We can track the sales of every item, too. Personally I’m addicted to the Spiced Peel ‘n’ Eat Shrimp and the Cajun Chicken Sandwich.
What do you think of the recent addition of Busboys and Poets and other restaurants in Hyattsville?
I haven’t been but I think it is great. Hyattsville is a blossoming area. The more full-service restaurants the better.
Any changes coming to Hank’s, new menu items, etc.?
My executive chef Cesar Barrera is always doing specials and tweaking the menu based on what is most popular. Like me, he enjoys big flavors! My original General Manager Steve Greehan is also back after a brief hiatus and will be making some adjustments to the drink menus.