Kid Rock’s Honky Tonk Steakhouse Owner Joins Lawsuit Against Nashville and Tennessee Governments


The man who owns Kid Rock’s Big Honky Tonk and Steakhouse is reportedly taking Nashville officials to court.

That man, Steve Smith, reportedly said city officials impose hardships on his business because of COVID-19 but look the other way when it comes to protestors.

This, according to The Tennessean.

“When confronted with the clear disparity in how government officials were treating restaurants/bars compared to the individuals participating in protests, both Mayor (John) Cooper and Director (Michael) Caldwell basically said these individuals have the right to peacefully assemble under the First Amendment,” the lawsuit states.

Smith joined The Local Spot owner Geoffrey Reid in the lawsuit that Reid filed last month, according to The Tennessean.

The Tennessee Star’s attempts to reach Kid Rock’s were unsuccessful.

As The Star reported last month, according to that lawsuit, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee relied on erroneous information about COVID-19 and acted against the state and U.S. constitutions when he passed down executive orders that forced one Nashville businessman to close his bar.

This, according to the federal lawsuit that Reid filed. The lawsuit names Lee and Cooper, among others, as defendants. The Local Spot also offers live music.

“The Defendants’ plan of quarantining the entire population and closing all ‘non- essential’ businesses has resulted in the unprecedented and devastating deprivation of citizens’ fundamental and natural rights, including, the right to travel, the freedom of association, the freedom of religion, the right to be free from illegal seizure, property rights, economic rights and other civil liberties protected by the U.S. Constitution and Tennessee Constitution,” according to the lawsuit.

“Further, Defendants’ efforts have resulted in economic devastation to the state and county. The Governor’s office estimates that 15 percent of Tennessee workers have filed for unemployment, retail businesses have lost $870 million in net sales and Tennessee GDP has been reduced by $5 billion dollars. Plaintiffs likewise have experienced economic devastation, as has many other business owners.”

Chris Song, spokesman for Mayor Cooper, said in an email last month that members of his office do not comment on pending litigation.

Reid said in his lawsuit that he was having a record year, with revenue up 56 percent over the previous year, until the government forced him to close his business in March. He also said his business does not get significant revenue from pick up or delivery.

“Upon being able to apply for a loan through the federal Paycheck Protection Program, Reid did so, but the funds were depleted before he could be approved. Reid was approved during the second round of funding of the Paycheck Protection Program, but, to date, he has not received such funds,” according to the lawsuit.

“As a direct result of being closed by the Defendants’ Orders, Reid has incurred significant monetary losses which exceed $200,000. Reid opened his establishment under severe restrictions on May 11, 2020 pursuant to Metro’s orders. If Reid is not allowed to fully open The Local as a live music venue and bar/restaurant in the near future, it is highly probable that Reid will have to close The Local permanently.”

As The Star reported this month, health officials in Tennessee have cited 14 Nashville businesses including Kid Rock’s, for allegedly not complying with coronavirus public health orders.

Attorney Brian Lewis, who represents the owner of Kid Rock’s Honky Tonk and other businesses, said the citation was “selective prosecution,” and they intend to fight it.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Kid Rock’s Big Honky Tonk and Rock n’ Roll Steakhouse” by Kid Rock’s Big Honky Tonk and Rock n’ Roll Steakhouse.







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7 Thoughts to “Kid Rock’s Honky Tonk Steakhouse Owner Joins Lawsuit Against Nashville and Tennessee Governments”

  1. Ron W

    Back when, some even in New York, they believed in “the rule of law” and “no one is sbove the law”:

    “Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.” –Daniel Webster, New. York Senator, 1837

  2. 83ragtop50

    Bust their chops in court. Time to take back pour freedoms.

    1. Ann Whitman from Michigan

      I hope they win this lawsuit! Many businesses have folded up because of over zealous restrictions that didn’t need to take place!

  3. Cannoneer2

    It is going to be fun watching Kid Rock and his little jackass bar lose this one.

  4. Julie

    Mayor Cooper participated and encouraged these protests in violation of his own order. Why doesn’t our local media discuss this aspect when they are reporting on this lawsuit or other businesses that are pushing back on these restrictions?

    1. Ron W

      Julie, You’re correct! Our local media is quite obviously refusing to function as an objective “free press” and even question the Mayor. Such a refusal to do their basic duty indicates they must agree with and protect his discriminatory lawlessness which aided and abetted crowded street protests violating public health orders and included significant criminal behavior and wanton destruction to private and public property.

  5. rick

    Sue the hell out of them and wipe that smartass grin off of Cooper’s face. Cooper is just another democratic crook in the metro machine but, he has an arrogance about him that he can do whatever he wants and so far he has.. His brother, Jim, is the useless Nancy’s boy politician. Jim Cooper does not do anything except what Nancy says to do, nothing all the years he has been in Washington for Tennessee, useless jerk. RECALL COOPER!