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 at Ray’s to the Third. He’s not currently looking for a new space for Ray’s Hell Burger.