A Washington, D.C.,-area favorite burger spot is permanently shutting doors at its two locations. Both of the Arlington, Va., sites of Ray's Hell-Burger are shuttering due to reported tenant-landlord disputes.
The Hell-Burger name peaked in the news when burgers were flipped for some top-tier pols. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden ordered burgers from the counter there in 2009.
On June 24, 2010, Obama took Russian President Dmitry Medvedev
to the Arlington location, helping to cement what Obama called a "resetting" of U.S.-Russian relations. It was then the already-popular burgers made the leap to the international stage.
The cult-followed restaurants, founded by Chef Michael Landrum, are notorious for keeping things simple, pitting specialty ingredients around high-quality burgers, including "The Dogcatcher," which features bone marrow, and "Fat Joe," which comes stacked with foie gras and white truffle oil. Landrum's other restaurants in the area include Ray's the Steaks, Ray's the Classics, and Ray's to the Third.
“Please visit us at Ray’s to the Third while we take a quick break,” a sign posted in January to the window of one location said, pointing diners to the fleshed-out sister spot across the street.
reported seeing "For Rent" in the windows of the Hell-Burger spots, with most of the furnishings cleared from the inside. What's more, a new sign outside Ray's to the Third says, "the original Hell Burgers and Steak-N-Cheese here!" while warning drivers that cars parked in the lot of the original location would be towed.
The Washingtonian confirmed with Ominex, the real estate company in charge of the two Hell-Burger locations, that both spots are now for lease.
But ARLNow.com, an Arlington-area news source, got the dirt:
"The closure is the result of a landlord-tenant dispute between restaurateur Michael Landrum and his landlord, the historic Colonial Village Shopping Center," ARLNow writes. "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."
Landrum told the news site he wasn't worried.
“We’re fighting to the last man and cooking to the last burger… nothing’s going to stop us from doing that,” he said. "This is a very minor blip.”
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