Months after going on an apparent and indefinite “hiatus,” Ray’s Hell Burger appears to be officially leaving Rosslyn.
The restaurant at 1650 Wilson Blvd is now available for lease, albeit with the Ray’s awnings and signs still up, including one noting the hiatus.
Earlier this year, the Washington Business Journal reported that owner Michael Landrum wanted out of his lease on the spot, across the street from the redeveloping Wilson School site. That storefront was across from the original Hell Burger, which was visited twice by then-President Barack Obama.
Customers can still visit a Ray’s Hell Burger on K Street NW in D.C., as well as Ray’s the Steaks at 2300 Wilson Blvd in Courthouse. The latter received renewed praise from Northern Virginia Magazine earlier this year as one of its 50 best restaurants of 2017.
Landrum declined to comment further.
Free Donuts Today — Today, June 2, is National Donut Day. To celebrate, Dunkin’ Donuts and Duck Donuts are offering a free donut with the purchase of any beverage. Sugar Shack is offering a free donut for those who wear a Sugar Shack hat, t-shirt or other article of clothing with the company logo. [Dunkin’ Donuts, Duck Donuts, Facebook]
Stabbing on Columbia Pike — Arlington County Police are investigating a stabbing that occurred near the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Rolfe Street early this morning. The victim suffered non-life-threatening injuries. [Fox 5, WJLA, ACPD]
Owner Wants Out of Ray’s Hell Burger Lease — Michael Landrum, owner of Ray’s the Steaks and Ray’s Hell Burger, wants out of the Hell Burger lease at 1650 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. The restaurant closed and went on “hiatus” last month. Landrum’s company owes the landlord just over $300,000, according to a bankruptcy filing. [Washington Business Journal]
Why Arlington and Alexandria Couldn’t Collaborate on a Pool — Sharing the costs of an indoor aquatics center seemed like a good idea in theory, but ultimately those in Alexandria did not like the idea of using their taxpayer dollars to build a pool in Arlington. Now Arlington’s planned Long Bridge aquatics center is moving forward while Alexandria’s plans to build an indoor pool are on hold. [Washington Post]
New Tenants to the Rescue in Courthouse — “Adding Reston-based VideoBlocks to its tenant roster was a good get for the owners of Courthouse Tower, but as it turns out, the lease was part of a larger plan to avoid letting about three quarters of the building’s office space go dark.” [Washington Business Journal]
Metro ‘Prepares for Life After SafeTrack’ — We’re a day and a half into June and there have been no major Metro service disruptions so far, something the transit agency hopes is the norm. From a press release: “As the yearlong SafeTrack program winds down, Metro is preparing for a new era of less disruptive preventive maintenance and planned capital work to ensure that the rail system remains in a reliable state for years to come.” [WMATA]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Signs up at Ray’s Hell Burger, at 1650 Wilson Blvd, say it is going on “hiatus.” Last night an employee told ARLnow.com he did not know when it would reopen.
“Beginning Sunday, May 14 this location of Ray’s Hell-Burger will be on hiatus. The last service will be on Saturday, May 13,” the sign says. “Please continue to visit Ray’s Hell Burger at 449 K Street NW, 7 days a week. Ray’s the Steaks accepts reservations 7 days a week at 2300 Wilson Blvd (sorry, no burgers).”
Owner Michael Landrum could not immediately be reached for comment.
Hat tip to Sarah W.
Beyer Opposes ‘Holman Rule’ — Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) has joined other local legislators in opposing the proposed reinstatement of the “Holman Rule,” which would allow a legislator to offer an amendment that would “reduce the salary of any federal employee, or eliminate a federal employee’s position without hearings, testimony, or due process.” [Federal News Radio, House of Representatives]
Ray’s Hell Burger Still Among the Best — Rosslyn-based Ray’s Hell Burger is on Food & Wine’s list of the best burgers in the United States. [Food & Wine]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
This time, the restaurant at 1650 Wilson Blvd is splitting into two. Somewhat cryptic signs outside are heralding the imminent arrival of what’s being described to us as a sit-down restaurant with Georgian (as in, the country) and Mediterranean influences.
“The Tasty Dugout,” as the new restaurant will apparently be called, is set to open Friday, April 1. It held a small “preview” event this past weekend.
The Tasty Dugout is located next to Ray’s Hell Burger, in what used to be a dining area for the original restaurant. Among the dishes it expects to serve:
- Khachapuri — Georgian pizza, basically
- Kharcho — A traditional Georgian soup
- Shasklik — “A form of Shish kebab popular in Eastern and Central Europe”
- Shakshouka — A Tunisian poached egg and tomato sauce dish
Ray’s honcho Michael Landrum was said to be out of the country and unavailable for comment when ARLnow.com stopped by the restaurant this week.
School Board Candidates Not Ruling Parkland Out — Two candidates for Arlington School Board say they aren’t ruling anything out — including use of parkland — for the building of new schools. Independent Green-endorsed candidate Brooklyn Kinlay said it would “be a tragedy” to use parkland. Reid Goldstein, who has the Democratic endorsement, said the school system is “not moving fast enough” to address the school capacity issue. [InsideNova]
Ray’s Company Files for Bankruptcy — A company affiliated with the popular Ray’s the Steaks and Ray’s Hell Burger restaurants in Arlington has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The restaurants’ operations are reportedly not affected. [Washington Business Journal]
Marymount Tops Diversity List — Marymount University ranks No. 1 for ethnic diversity among regional universities in the South, according to the new 2016 “Best Colleges” rankings from U.S. News and World Report. “It’s all part of our ongoing commitment to creating a culture of engagement that fosters intellectual curiosity, service to others and a global perspective in our students,” said Marymount President Matthew Shank. [Marymount University]
New Civic Association Forms — Arlington has a new civic association. The Arlington County Civic Federation has added the new Shirlington Civic Association as a member. Also, the Columbia Heights West Civic Association has changed its name to the Arlington Mill Civic Association. [InsideNova]
Newspaper Columnist Denied Lemonade — “Our Man in Arlington” columnist Charlie Clark received questionable service after ordering a 50-cent lemonade from a children’s lemonade stand near Virginia Hospital Center last week. [Falls Church News-Press]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
Fmr. Pentagon Police Chief Dies — Richard Keevill, the former chief of the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, died Saturday. Keevill served as chief of the Pentagon police agency from 2004 to 2013. Prior to that, he served with the Marines in Vietnam and later was the 1st Sergeant in charge of the Virginia State Police station on Columbia Pike. On Sept. 11, 2001, he ran into the still-burning Pentagon several times to search for survivors. Keevill died of natural causes. His funeral is planned for Saturday. [Facebook]
Redevelopment May Close Carpool — Developer Penzance and real estate investor Lionstone are working to close a deal to acquire and redevelop the Carpool property in Ballston. The long-time Arlington bar was previously slated to be redeveloped eight years ago but those plans fell through in part due to the recession. [Washington Business Journal]
Another Landlord Spat for Ray’s Owner — Ray’s Hell Burger Michael Landrum has gotten into another landlord-tenant dispute, this time with the owner of a building in D.C. that’s set to house his new restaurant, tentatively called Steaks in the City. Landrum was kicked out of his Ray’s Hell Burger locations in Rosslyn in 2013 following a dispute with his then-landlord. [Eater]
Christmas Beer Event in Courthouse — Fire Works Pizza (2350 Clarendon Blvd) in Courthouse will be hosting a tap takeover dubbed the 12 Beers of Christmas tonight. Starting at 5:00 p.m., the restaurant will offer holiday beers from St. Bernardus, Port City, Great Lakes and other brewers. The event is open to the public. [Fire Works Pizza]
Flickr pool photo by Joseph Gruber. Disclosure: Fire Works Pizza is an ARLnow.com advertiser.
Ray’s Hell Burger Opening in D.C.? — A PoPville reader spotted what appears to be a Ray’s Hell Burger Too sign in an under construction storefront at 451 K Street NW, near Mt. Vernon Square. Ray’s Hell Burger Too was previously located in Rosslyn but closed last year after a landlord-tenant dispute. [PoPville]
AFAC Serving Record Number of Families — The Arlington Food Assistance Center served 2,553 families in the week ending Nov. 23, the highest number on record. AFAC Executive Director Charles Meng says he plans to ask the Arlington County Board to bump its contribution to $500,000 from this year’s level of $342,925 during county budget season in the spring. [InsideNova]
Shoe Designer Opens Flagship Store in Pentagon City — Vince Camuto has opened a “flagship store” in the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City. Camuto sizes its shoes via “shoe stretching, a unique service that’s currently not offered in any other store in the area,” according to a local fashion blogger. The process “involves heating the leather and then placing it on a metal form.” [Life By Ashley Joy]
5K Race in Ballston This Weekend — The fourth annual running of the “Jingle Bell Jog,” which starts at the Bluemont Trail in Ballston and ends at the “Blue Goose” Marymount University building, is tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. The race’s proceeds go to benefiting the Young Constructors Forum of the Associated General Contractors of D.C. [PR Races]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Washington Business Journal has today’s scoop that Ben’s Chili Bowl will be opening a new location in Rosslyn.
The new Ben’s will be located in at 1725 Wilson Blvd, in the former Ray’s Hell Burger space, WBJ reported.
But will the idea of scarfing down a chili half smoke closer to home be enough to drive Arlington residents to the new restaurant? Or is part of Ben’s allure tied to the original U Street NW location — whether it be the location’s history or proximity to popular bars?
After it opens — early next year, according to WBJ’s Rebecca Cooper — which Ben’s Chili Bowl will you be more likely to go to?
Photo via Facebook
Equipment and furnishings from the former Ray’s Hell Burger and Ray’s Hell Burger Too restaurants in Rosslyn have been removed and placed in the parking lot of the Colonial Village Shopping Center.
The move is part of an on-going dispute between restaurateur Michael Landrum and the shopping center’s owner. Both restaurants closed in January after the landlord locked Landrum and his staff out, alleging unpaid bills.
Landrum has since directed diners seeking his famous burgers across the street, to his Ray’s to the Third restaurant at 1650 Wilson Blvd. But the kitchen equipment, tables, chairs and other accoutrements remained in the two shuttered restaurants, at 1713 and 1725 Wilson Blvd.
This morning, the landlord began removing the contents of the restaurants and placing it in the parking lot. Landrum, who otherwise declined comment citing ongoing litigation — he’s suing the shopping center in Arlington Circuit Court — said most of the equipment will be donated.
“The majority of this equipment we’re going to donate to either the Boys and Girls Club or a church or non-profit that deals with feeding the homeless and the hungry,” Landrum said.
Shopping center owner Ominex could not be reached for comment. In February, Washingtonian reported that both storefronts were being offered for lease. It’s unclear if any new tenants have been signed.
Audrey Batcheller contributed to this report
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Same Sex Marriage Demonstration — On Valentine’s Day (Thursday), same sex marriage supporters will gather in front of the Arlington County Courthouse where two same sex couples will request marriage licenses. A similar demonstration occurred last month, when Paul Ferguson, the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Arlington County and the City of Falls Church, had to deny licenses to more than a dozen couples because gay marriage is not legal in Virginia. The group will gather around 10:00 a.m. and includes supporters from five Arlington churches.
Ray’s Hell Burger Officially for Rent — “For Rent” signs have been posted on the spaces previously occupied by Ray’s Hell Burger and Ray’s Hell Burger Too in Rosslyn. As ARLnow.com first reported last month, the restaurants closed due to a landlord-tenant dispute. At first, the closing appeared to be temporary, based on a sign posted in the window that read: “Please visit us at Ray’s to the Third while we take a quick break.” [Washingtonian]
Tropical Smoothie Cafe Begins Delivery Service — The Tropical Smoothie Cafe restaurant (3811 N. Fairfax Drive) in Virginia Square has started offering delivery of its food and drinks. Owner Marcus Barnett says this is the first Tropical Smoothie Cafe in the country to offer the service. Orders must be at least $15 and there is a $2 delivery fee.
Absentee Voting Bill Passes State Senate — The state Senate passed legislation that would allow residents age 65 and older to vote by absentee ballot without having to give an excuse. Currently, Virginians can only vote absentee if they meet one or more of the requirements on a list of reasons for not being able to make it to the polls on election day. Del. Alfonso Lopez (D) introduced similar legislation that failed in the House of Delegates. [Washington Post]
Water Main Issues Continue — Repairs on the broken 30 inch water main at Arlington Blvd and S. Irving Street are expected to take several more days. While draining the pipe on Sunday, a significant pressure drop occurred. Customers may experience low water pressure during peak times (6:00-9:00 a.m and 5:00-9:00 p.m.) and are asked to minimize water use during those times.
Landrum Extends Ray’s Free Burger Special — Owner Michael Landrum has decided to extend the Inauguration special he had been offering at Ray’s to the Third (1650 Wilson Blvd) after closing Ray’s Hell Burger across the street. Customers can get one free “Li’l Devils” burger from 11:30 a.m. until the last burger is given away. “We realized that our office neighbors didn’t get a chance to participate, so we wanted to extend it another day to give them a chance,” Landrum told ARLnow.com. It is suggested that customers receiving a free burger donate $5, which will go to local Boys and Girls Clubs.
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
(Updated at 1:05 p.m.) Ray’s Hell Burger and Ray’s Hell Burger Too (1713 & 1725 Wilson Blvd) has closed in Rosslyn.
The closure is the result of a landlord-tenant dispute between restaurateur Michael Landrum and his landlord, the historic Colonial Village Shopping Center. Court records show that Landrum filed a lawsuit against the shopping center on Nov. 16. Yesterday afternoon, the shopping center locked Landrum and his staff out of both storefronts.
“Landlord has changed the locks,” said signs on the door. “Do not unlock this door under penalty of damages.”
Handwritten signs in the window, posted by Landrum, direct customers across the street to Ray’s to the Third (1650 Wilson Blvd).
“Please visit us at Ray’s to the Third while we take a quick break,” said one of the signs. “Please do not leave your car in this lot if you come across the street… towing is very likely.”
Reached via phone, Landrum declined to elaborate on his complaint against the landlord, citing ongoing litigation. He did, however, vow to continue to serve his famous burgers, which in 2010 drew President Obama and Russian president Dmitry Medvedev to Rosslyn eatery.
“We continue to serve the Original Hell-Burger and all of our famous signature items, at Ray’s To Third, which has been temporarily reformatted to allow for counter service and to go for convenience and extra value, as well as full-service, sit-down table service,” he told ARLnow.com. “And yes, credit cards are accepted.”
“We’re fighting to the last man and cooking to the last burger… nothing’s going to stop us from doing that,” a defiant Landrum added. “This is a very minor blip.”
In an emailed statement, Landrum spoke generally about the relationship between landlords and tenants.
I am not saying this is the case here, but landlords abuse their power and violate the rights of tenants with near-total impunity all the time, because tenants rarely have the means or the ability to defend their rights This is something all of us, or very nearly all of us, have experienced. What often times gets me labeled as a “firebrand” (or worse) is simply my refusal to allow my rights to be violated, my insistence on fair treatment, and my willingness to suffer and challenge the consequences when those things are violated.
Landrum said he’s currently planning an inauguration-related
event special at Ray’s to the Third. He’s not currently looking for a new space for Ray’s Hell Burger.
In November, Ray’s Hell Burger Too was transformed into a restaurant that only served steak and cheese sandwiches (and tater tots). A month later, the restaurant was quietly re-re-branded as Ray’s Hell Burger Too.
Yesterday (May 30) the Michael Landrum-owned eatery at 1713 Wilson Boulevard in Rosslyn changed identities again — to “Nice ‘N’ Greasy Steak ‘N’ Cheesy.” Nothing about the interior has changed, except the menu.
The menu of the new restaurant include three entrees, two sides, and a curated selection of soda, beer and wine. Two of the entrees are steak and cheese sandwiches: the $7.99 “Shock G” — one-third pound of sliced rib-eye, a generous helping of American and Provolone cheeses and grilled onions on a toasted 8-inch Lyon Bakery sub roll — and the $11.99 “Biggie,” which is the same as the Shock G but with two-thirds of a pound of rib-eye.
Both sandwiches are cooked using what’s being called “groove grease.” Optional toppings include lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms and charred jalapenos.
The other entree is a $2.00 “mini hell-burger” called the “Little Minion.” The burger comes cooked to order with grilled onions, American cheese and “heck sauce” on a toasted, buttered potato roll. The Little Minions also come in quantities of 3 for $5.25, 6 for $9.00, and a “devils dozen” (13) for $18.00.
Sides at Nice ‘N’ Greasy Steak ‘N’ Cheesy are greasy, but not cheesy. The two sides offered are tater tots and onion fries, both $2.50.
The eight beers on the menu include Budweiser and Bud Light ($3), Bells Oberon ($4) and Lucifer ($6). The house wine (pinot grigio, merlot and cabernet) is offered at $4.
Nice ‘N’ Greasy Steak ‘N’ Cheesy will be open from 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, according to a handwritten sign on the door.
Update at 3:05 p.m. — In an email to ARLnow.com, owner Michael Landrum explains that he never gave up on the idea of running a steak and cheese-focused eatery.
“I never truly abandoned it,” Landrum said. “In fact, originally, I was so excited to do the steak and cheese joint that I rushed it out a little too early as soon as Ray’s To The Third opened. Now I am a bit better prepared and have fine-tuned our offerings a bit.”
Landrum also addressed the mysterious “Groove Grease” ingredient that’s unique to his steak and cheese creation.
“The magical “Groove Grease” is, and will remain, a secret — except to say that it was inspired by the amazing Jimmy McGriff album of the same name (warning, cover art not suitable for work or minors),” Landrum said.
Ray’s Hell Burger in Rosslyn was the scene of an armed robbery on Thursday night. The well-known restaurant was robbed by three men dressed in ski masks and sunglasses, we’re told.
From this week’s Arlington County crime report:
ROBBERY, 12/08/11, 1700 block of Wilson Blvd. On December 8 at 9:30 pm, three unknown men entered a restaurant and demanded money while brandishing a handgun. They fled through a rear door after receiving cash. The suspects were men of average height and weight, wearing all black clothing, black ski masks and sunglasses.
Initial news of the robbery was first reported by an ARLnow.com commenter last week. A police spokesperson was unable to elaborate on which Ray’s Hell Burger was robbed; both the original Ray’s Hell Burger and Ray’s Hell Burger Too are located in the same shopping center. Ray’s Hell Burger does not accept credit cards and operates as a cash-only business.