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Michael Landrum

Ray's Hell-Burger - Great Hamburgers at City Vista - Closed

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INAUGURATION FEVER

On Sunday, January 20, 2013 (the Private Swearing In) we will be offering 2013 Li'l Devils with Vermont Cheddar Cheese and Tomato (Dijon Optional) and a small side (changing throughout the day, no guarantees) AT ABSOLUTELY NO COST. Free. Gratis (Bottled sodas/water $2--cash only).

Well, on Monday, January 21, 2013, we will be doing the very same thing! 2013 Li'l Devils with Cheddar and Tomato. Cheeseburgers. Free. Or as I like to call them, sorry I can't help myself, dithyramburgers.

The catch? We request that for each burger a $5 donation be made (checks are cool), which we will turn over to the Boys and Girls Club in its entirety. Sunday will go to the Boys and Girls Club in North East for their after school meals program (often the only meal of the day outside of the school free lunch program for many of these kids). Monday will go to the Boys and Girls Club of Alexandria where many of my employees were members as kids and whose own kids are clients today.

I'll make up the difference for any cheapskates out there out of pocket, guarantying each day's take to be $10,065, hopefully more.

Location: Ray's To The Third, 1650 Wilson Boulevard. (Unfortunately, the original Hell-Burger locations are jammed up in litigation right now and are not available for this celebration as originally planned).

Time: 11:30 AM until the last burger is given away, both days. (Regular menu will not be available at The Third, but Ray's The Steaks and Retro Ray's will be open as (ab?)normal. Reservations highly recommended for both days).

Don, you may retire the thread now.

I will not retire the thread unless the shopping center burns to the ground (and I do not rule out the possibility).

Your signs posted on the doors directing people across the street should be accompanied by one to the landlord: a middle finger pointing the way, and a caption that says "Go to Hell."

I'm thinking you should just buy the entire section from Clarendon to Rosslyn and rename the double-sided street Landrum Strip and Landrum Way.

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My only request? That the line proceed a strictly anapestic manner at all times, with no exceptions. Enforcers will be on hand.

Would you mind piping in the Bourrée in E Minor to help keep everyone on track? kthxbai!

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The arlnow story went national on huffington post...copying the arlnow info: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/16/rays-hell-burger-closes-arlington_n_2487649.html

Leases are brutal. I used to negotiate them as a commercial RE broker. Invariably the landlord has the advantage and leverage. But the details are between the tenant and the landlord...so who knows. Good luck, Michael. the restaurants are an amenity in the area and your restaurants are probably the single tenant in that center that brings customers from a wide geography beyond immediate and local, at least off the top of my head and IMHO. (not that that means much in an LL/tenant dispute)

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The arlnow story went national on huffington post...copying the arlnow info: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/16/rays-hell-burger-closes-arlington_n_2487649.html

Leases are brutal. I used to negotiate them as a commercial RE broker. Invariably the landlord has the advantage and leverage. But the details are between the tenant and the landlord...so who knows. Good luck, Michael. the restaurants are an amenity in the area and your restaurants are probably the single tenant in that center that brings customers from a wide geography beyond immediate and local, at least off the top of my head and IMHO. (not that that means much in an LL/tenant dispute)

The landlord definitely has the initial advantage, but as several members (to whom I remain indebted) can vouch for, if a tenant is in the right, and enough of a pit bull, the courts will provide justice. It's a pain in the ass, but sometimes you just have to make the decision to stand up for yourself.

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true, Don. The issues are between them and I certainly know nothing about the issues, nor do I want to. My experience, and I suspect Michael is savvy about this, is that he uses a great RE attorney.

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Wow--how I missed the "landlord changed the locks" bit on those signs a few days ago, I'm not sure. Must have been hunger and, as soon as I realized where those famed burgers were, I stopped paying attention to signs and threats of tow trucks, did a 180 and headed straight across the street. Sure, was a bit odd when I saw the self serve and seemingly doubled capacity or whatever but I just wrote that off to the occasional changes Msgr Landrum has always made. Ended up sitting next to some old buds when there and, in conversation, realized they'd never even heard the name Michael Landrum despite being regulars working nearby. I imagine that's true with many regulars at Ray's who think, well you know, it's all owned by some guy named Ray. :D

All said, three postscripts to stupidusername and I possibly being the first (however unknowingly at the time) to report online that anything unusual was amiss at Ray's Hell and Ray's Hell II:

- Ray's the 3rd, however different in layout, is as fab as it ever was. Reason enough to head over there as always. Add in the battle Michael is facing and there should be a dr member stampede to show support (imho).

- The Inauguration Deal. Wow! Unsurprising. But, still, wow. Nicely done.

- Godspeed with your battle, Michael. I know Don's on the case behind the scenes but if there's any way those of us who love what you do (not just for ourselves when we enjoy dinner or a burger but for everyone), just say the word.

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and now the landlord has put up For Rent signs in both storefronts <sigh>

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and now the landlord has put up For Rent signs in both storefronts <sigh>

There's nothing either charismatic or special about either of these spaces (reminisces and fond memories about the original Ray's The Steaks (which I definitely have) aside). The only thing that matters is that Michael Landrum opens a storefront, somewhere, selling the same hamburgers - which will be extremely easy for him to replicate given any flattop grill. If I'm missing something obvious here, please correct me - I don't think this strip mall was worth much of anything.

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There's nothing either charismatic or special about either of these spaces (reminisces and fond memories about the original Ray's The Steaks (which I definitely have) aside). The only thing that matters is that Michael Landrum opens a storefront, somewhere, selling the same hamburgers - which will be extremely easy for him to replicate given any flattop grill. If I'm missing something obvious here, please correct me - I don't think this strip mall was worth much of anything.

I used to lease retail and a lot of restaurant space. I believe you are right, Don. Nothing special about that location at all. Its a between spot. Between bigger population centers with more walk around traffic.

OTOH, It might offer or might have offered better rental rate values or opportunities within a strip (Wilson Blvd) where retail rental rates in some areas have just soared over time. Really soared.

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Let me be the first, but I suspect not the last, to vote for Ballston for the new location!

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Let me be the first, but I suspect not the last, to vote for Ballston for the new location!

I don't know, I'm fat enough as it is, that could be an unbearable temptation if it was close walking distance. :D

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INAUGURATION FEVER

Guess what? I have a fever and the only prescription is more cow. And more Obama.

In what may well be the final paroxysms of ecstatic cathartic release bringing to a close the cycle of madness that was begun here in these pages over 4 1/2 years ago, we will be honoring and celebrating the Inauguration in the most fitting way possible--in one great Song of the He-Goat.

On Sunday, January 20, 2013 (the Private Swearing In) we will be offering 2013 Li'l Devils with Vermont Cheddar Cheese and Tomato (Dijon Optional) and a small side (changing throughout the day, no guarantees) AT ABSOLUTELY NO COST. Free. Gratis (Bottled sodas/water $2--cash only).

Crazy? Mad? Insane?

Well, on Monday, January 21, 2013, we will be doing the very same thing! 2013 Li'l Devils with Cheddar and Tomato. Cheeseburgers. Free. Or as I like to call them, sorry I can't help myself, dithyramburgers.

The catch? We request that for each burger a $5 donation be made (checks are cool), which we will turn over to the Boys and Girls Club in its entirety. Sunday will go to the Boys and Girls Club in North East for their after school meals program (often the only meal of the day outside of the school free lunch program for many of these kids). Monday will go to the Boys and Girls Club of Alexandria where many of my employees were members as kids and whose own kids are clients today.

I'll make up the difference for any cheapskates out there out of pocket, guarantying each day's take to be $10,065, hopefully more.

My only request? That the line proceed a strictly anapestic manner at all times, with no exceptions. Enforcers will be on hand.

Caveats: Burgers will be cooked to medium (and may well lose pinkness to carry-over cooking, affecting color but not juiciness). Special orders, outside of no cheese for those who can't take it off themselves, most likely to not be possible or honored, at least not pleasantly, depending on length of line. One per person physically present (exceptions made for the elderly, the infirm, or children--who will all die if you use them to lie in order to score extra dithyramburgers).

Final caveat: While no doubt hamartia will abound and exhibit freely, no anagnorisis is implied or guaranteed in this offer.

Location: Ray's To The Third, 1650 Wilson Boulevard. (Unfortunately, the original Hell-Burger locations are jammed up in litigation right now and are not available for this celebration as originally planned).

Time: 11:30 AM until the last burger is given away, both days. (Regular menu will not be available at The Third, but Ray's The Steaks and Retro Ray's will be open as (ab?)normal. Reservations highly recommended for both days).

I put my pants on the same way the rest of you do--one leg at a time. Except when my pants are on I make great cheeseburgers.

Don, you may retire the thread now.

I still have the fever. The only prescription is still more cow.

I still put my pants on the same way the rest of you do--one leg at a time.

And when my pants are on, I still make great cheeseburgers.

We had so much fun doing Inauguration Fever, and it was such a good time, we are continuing it through today.

To quote my girlfriend Topaz who so eloquently expressed both the Hell-Burger ethos and what I have to discovered in myself as my whole personal philosophy behind it, and what I have decided will be our official slogan from here on in:

"If you grind it, they will come."

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http://washington.cbslocal.com/2013/02/15/popular-d-c-burger-joint-forced-to-shut-down/

I searched the Arlington General District Court website and it appears that Colonial Village Shopping Center got a default judgment against both 1713 WILSON BLVD LLC and 1725 WILSON BLVD LLC on February 8, 2013, with damages of $39,271.88 and $31,028.94, respectively, attorney's fees to be submitted later, and a writ of immediate possession for both. They are not likely to have a better tenant.

It's not uncommon in a landlord-tenant dispute for the tenant to stop paying rent during the dispute, and the smart advice is to put it into escrow in case you lose and have to pay up.

It's highly possible that they did not contest the case in General District Court as a tactic, planning on appealing to Circuit Court, where they can get a trial de novo with a jury, albeit having to post bond in the full amount of the judgment in the General District Court. Ten days to appeal from General District Court to Circuit Court.

I assume that, because the tenants were LLCs which probably have no assets, it would be hard to collect unless Michael Landrum was a personal guarantor, which, just surmising, he probably was.

I hesitated to post this because I really admire Landrum as a person, and also, his restaurants are some of my favorites, but news is news, and I am a lawyer, so it's even newsier to me. So this is in part public record, and the rest, just speculation on my part, albeit educated speculation.

Memo to everybody: eat at Ray's!

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I searched the Arlington General District Court website...

Your research is quite incomplete and your educated speculation is based on facts not in evidence.

Thanks for the good words though.

Wish I could explain more, but I really can't--and even if I could it would be unseemly to do so.

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A far more interesting fact is that in 2012 my restaurants generated, directly and indirectly, upwards of $5M in wages. In 2013 that number will be $3M, and in 2014 that number will be $2.2M.

Who would like to speculate under which scenario I will be better off, personally (guaranty or not)?

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A far more interesting fact is that in 2012 my restaurants generated, directly and indirectly, upwards of $5M in wages. In 2013 that number will be $3M, and in 2014 that number will be $2.2M.

Who would like to speculate under which scenario I will be better off, personally (guaranty or not)?

Like Ilaine above I too like your restaurants, food and overall operations. Regardless, the above quote didn't make me feel all warm and fuzzy about the volume of people who lost jobs.

OTOH, I was a commercial RE broker years ago and leased restaurants. I've enjoyed many of your comments in some of the threads of the past and noted some of those comments that reflected tremendous business smarts (I think you referenced how ONE STRONG day can or should pay for the month's rent.---that is tremendously savvy!!!!!! IMHO and experience). As to the specifics of a landlord/tenant dispute....the one thing I know is that I don't know any of the details of your situation....though I certainly experienced a wide variety of landlord/tenant disputes in the past--including some doozies!!!)

I also know how tough it is to make all ends meet in a business and how one has to watch all parts of the P&L and cash flow to make a business work....and each operator struggles through that in ways that nobody else understands or appreciates. (I certainly can't appreciate your items of revenues, costs and cash flow).

I'll still eat at your operations. But there is another side of that equation in lost jobs. Never a happy occasion in my book.

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Like Ilaine above I too like your restaurants, food and overall operations. Regardless, the above quote didn't make me feel all warm and fuzzy about the volume of people who lost jobs.

OTOH, I was a commercial RE broker years ago and leased restaurants. I've enjoyed many of your comments in some of the threads of the past and noted some of those comments that reflected tremendous business smarts (I think you referenced how ONE STRONG day can or should pay for the month's rent.---that is tremendously savvy!!!!!! IMHO and experience). As to the specifics of a landlord/tenant dispute....the one thing I know is that I don't know any of the details of your situation....though I certainly experienced a wide variety of landlord/tenant disputes in the past--including some doozies!!!)

I also know how tough it is to make all ends meet in a business and how one has to watch all parts of the P&L and cash flow to make a business work....and each operator struggles through that in ways that nobody else understands or appreciates. (I certainly can't appreciate your items of revenues, costs and cash flow).

I'll still eat at your operations. But there is another side of that equation in lost jobs. Never a happy occasion in my book.

I think you miss my irony.

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I think you miss my irony.

I think I got it, and hope you are wrong about 2014, and the rest of 2013.

You are incredibly versatile and resourceful, and very much admired.

Tomorrow is another day!

Memo to self, eat at Ray's more often.

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Regardless of $5 million in wages/ sales or locations, your business is thriving and Rays Hell burger 3 was just named in Zagats top 20 burger places in the USA. I know how you don't worry/ care about reviews but Congrats.... You've earned it and I'm sure it will continue wether you have 1 place or 100

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While we're dishing out raves, I'll add that, to me, Ray's is one of a relatively small number of large stones that formed the foundation from which DC became one of the country's truly best food cities with its own distinctive character. Long live Rays the Whatevers however many there are.

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http://washington.cbslocal.com/2013/02/15/popular-d-c-burger-joint-forced-to-shut-down/

I searched the Arlington General District Court website and it appears that Colonial Village Shopping Center got a default judgment against both 1713 WILSON BLVD LLC and 1725 WILSON BLVD LLC on February 8, 2013, with damages of $39,271.88 and $31,028.94, respectively, attorney's fees to be submitted later, and a writ of immediate possession for both. They are not likely to have a better tenant.

It's not uncommon in a landlord-tenant dispute for the tenant to stop paying rent during the dispute, and the smart advice is to put it into escrow in case you lose and have to pay up.

It's highly possible that they did not contest the case in General District Court as a tactic, planning on appealing to Circuit Court, where they can get a trial de novo with a jury, albeit having to post bond in the full amount of the judgment in the General District Court. Ten days to appeal from General District Court to Circuit Court.

I assume that, because the tenants were LLCs which probably have no assets, it would be hard to collect unless Michael Landrum was a personal guarantor, which, just surmising, he probably was.

I hesitated to post this because I really admire Landrum as a person, and also, his restaurants are some of my favorites, but news is news, and I am a lawyer, so it's even newsier to me. So this is in part public record, and the rest, just speculation on my part, albeit educated speculation.

Memo to everybody: eat at Ray's!

Note to those still keeping track, expert or amateur, or the even fewer who don't become automatically sick or disinterested at any and all things related to Ray's and/or its owner:

The default judgement referenced above was set aside for failure to serve proper notice of the hearing, and an actual hearing with both parties involved has been scheduled for June 6 in General District Court, unless it is joined to our prior, pre-existing Claim filed in Circuit Court back in November 2012.

I've often wondered, when in regards to reputation and integrity, what the connection between the words "speculation" and "speculum" is...

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I was at Ray's to the 3 last week, for the first time. I've been to Ray's and across the street. The joint was busy. Packed. Early dinner. The burger side was busy but not crazy. We could secure a table.

You ground them...we ate em. Scrumptious.

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Great news! (Well, for me at least...):

We can finally move forward and complete the long-stalled project on K Street--which some of you may or may not have been aware of--which has been in a weird sort of limbo for some time now.

You see, back in November/December 2012 we were about 90% done with the project--everything but the cosmetics and furniture and cooking equipment pretty much--when during our inspections for the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing phase of the construction (the heavy-lifting, heavy-duty infrastructure stuff) it was discovered the landlord had not obtained permits or inspections for the construction of the twelve story Fire-Smoke-and Grease Safety-Rated Duct which runs through the residential complex above us. This had the unfortunate consequence, unintended, I am sure, of rendering our work un-inspectable and un-finishable.

On the subject of potential consequences, however, I can assure you that this was nowhere near the first of my concerns...

I think, if I remembered or understood their explanation correctly (although I am no legal expert), it turns out they either forgot to check if permits were required before they built it or didn't think they were so went ahead and built it without them. An innocent mistake, I am sure, if it can even be called a mistake at all.

In any case, that prevented our completed work at that stage from even being inspected (as I mentioned above), let alone approved, which made any further work on our end either impossible or unfeasible to the point of impossibility.

The great news is that just recently, they have generously agreed to install a vertical duct which meets all the code and engineering requirements and specifications, after which in no time flat we should be able to knock out all the finish and decor work--and best of all, with no threat or danger to the residents above!!!

Another big plus for me, is that all of that construction was paid for in advance, in cash, and oodles of money to the landlord too in leasehold costs that did not foresee this pas de folie a deux--over a half a million dollars all told, just rotting away in the meantime, which can now finally be put to productive use.

I wish I could say more about the final concept, ...errr, menu, but until I know what volume the engineering specs of the built-out duct will allow, code-wise, I can not commit to an exact concept, ...errr, menu.

I'll know by whether Don let's this thread stand or not whether there is interest here in further updates on this project as they occur--and if not, well then, see you soon on K!

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