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Michael Landrum

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

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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!

Well! This is certainly exciting to me, too! Can you tell us just what part of K Street you are talking about? NW? NE? Near the Convention Center? Georgetown? What?

ETA: Just notice the City Vista part. Are you going to be next to Ferhat's fish joint???

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Hoo boy, having worked in the commercial RE world in DC that excuse for delay makes me cringe.  Not knowing that one is supposed to get permits for a 12 story exhaust duct in a city w/ endless permits and inspections;   ooooof....not knowing.  hard to believe.   I worked through some occasional big problems w/ construction.   Somebody(s) messed up big time somewhere down the chain.  Moreover if they were thinking restaurant on the first floor with a 12 story duct....somebody is giving you the ole' buffalo shuffle.

Oh well.   Good luck.  My antiquated knowledge of zoning suggests that 12 stories has to be located somewhere centralish in the downtown city and K street as opposed to Georgetownish or nearer Capitol Hill but zoning laws and trading air rights and newer rules I know nothing about and stuff like that could suggest more location possibilities.

Where is this new restaurant to be?   And good luck.   and btw:  whatever menu you are considering a top quality protected duct of that nature should accommodate the big and greasy popular samwhich.

I suspect that would be popular whatever the menu.   ;)

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... 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 ...

Rather than building a twelve-story duct, couldn't they just vent the exhaust into a nearby law firm?

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Rather than building a twelve-story duct, couldn't they just vent the exhaust into a nearby law firm?

that is a great reference.  In a different journal it generated these limericks and a strong challenge to the big firm's legal attack:

Jul 23, 2010 10:43 AM CDT

I believe this calls for limericks.

Odiferous fumes from defendant were oozing

and caused, said the plaintiff, our snoozing!

But having won an injunction

wondered head partner, at luncheon

Have we any other excuses for losing?

2.

GULC-2L

Jul 23, 2010 1:42 PM CDT

I get distracted when I smell burgers before lunch too.

3.

BMF

Jul 25, 2010 10:02 PM CDT

Due to air intake congestion

the firm was faced with the question:

If associates can't function

should we seek an injunction

before fumes stimulate their digestion?

4.

BIG E

Jul 30, 2010 10:53 AM CDT

Times must be really tough for the warriors at Steptoe when you have to sue to get a free lunch!  As a former Steptoe lawyer, I am deeply upset by my former partners' obsession with what goes on between the buns!  I am considering lending a hand to the burger dude on a pro bono basis to both satisfy pro bono requirements in the city and to stand for the proposition that hamburgers must be safe everywhere!  To me this all bull-lips and we should all go back to work on constitutional matters, representing those in need of a voice in Court, and to defending the rights we so dearly enjoy!  There is no right to a free lunch Steptoe!  Perhaps this is just another hotdog grandstanding execercise by the egos that walk the halls of Steptoe & Johnson!  I say try the crabcakes at the Palm instead!

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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!

Hey Michael,

Any updates on the City Vista project?

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Some news, but no additional details:

Source: PoPville

IMG_3058.jpg

Image: PoPville

PoPville has an update on Another Ray's Joint, the new restaurant from Ray's the Steaks' Michael Landrum, which is coming to 451 K Street, NW, next to Mandu in Mount Vernon Square's City Vista. PoPville's photos show that kitchen equipment has been delivered. However, there's no word yet on an opening date.

Read full article >>

Get all the news at DCDiningGuide.com >>

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I walked by this space yesterday on my way to the gym and all signs point to Ray's not happening. That yellow sign in the window from the image above had been removed for at least a a few weeks now, which had me worried. New signage confirmed my fears as the permits indicate that Mind Your Body Oasis, a yoga/pilates studio and spa, is opening in that space. What a shame. I was really looking forward to Ray's opening in the neighborhood. 

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Washingtonian article about the return of Ray's Hell Burgers to the Rays to the Third location.

The last time I was at Ray's To The Third - which was just last December - I ordered a Hell Burger. What exactly is new?

Are the steaks gone entirely, and it's now only counter service with Hell Burgers? Is the name "Ray's To The Third" retired?

So if I gather this correctly, the restaurant is now called "Ray's Hell Burger," and it's quick-serve ordering with delivery to the table?

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First and foremost on a very recent visit the hell burger was tasty, flavorful and scrumptious.  No change.  Still top of the line. Has it changed, now without waiter service? I'm sorry to say I was totally oblivious but in retrospect it must have. As I entered there was a longish line in front of the counter.  Its not something I had seen before.  My mind was preoccupied. During previous visits I knew beforehand whether I was there for a sit down dinner or counter service. In all those visits I'd never noticed the counter line that busy.  This past week it was. Being alone and having predetermined that a hell burger was on the agenda I looked askance at the line. Even a momentary wait was not on my agenda.

With someone in front of me taking there time they told me to step ahead of them.  The fonts on the wall sign had changed, my glasses were foggy, I didn't have a menu at hand but simply quickly ordered a hell burger, cooked medium, sans topping excepting for cheese and a shake.  My mind was elsewhere.

I migrated to the counter side of the restaurant.  Had it changed?  Unfortunately I'm not the one with an authenticated on site report.  My body was at Ray's and my mind was elsewhere.

But it might well have.  In the back of my mind and through side glances I noticed what was probably an unusually large number of people ordering at the counter.  Additionally the counter was double staffed with two active people both with "uniformed shirts", not something I had seen before.

Regardless; the good news is that the hell burger was excellent.  Still a first rate burger.

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Regardless; the good news is that the hell burger was excellent.  Still a first rate burger.

Do you know what the restaurant is called now?

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As of Sunday, still has a Rays to the Third sign...I've been meaning to go in, but I'm worried about running into DaveO, knocking him over when he can't see me to due to fogged up glasses, and getting sued! :-) :-)

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I was there two weeks ago and the credit card slip said "Rays Hell Burger III"

I'm sure the intent is there to change the name - Michael sometimes gets sidetracked.

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As of Sunday, still has a Rays to the Third sign...I've been meaning to go in, but I'm worried about running into DaveO, knocking him over when he can't see me to due to fogged up glasses, and getting sued! :-) :-)

Hopefully we'll avoid that dance step.  When there last the chalk boards outside said Ray's Hell Burger, and there was a pennant on the wall with Hell Burger on it, both naming devices that don't take much time or coordination.  Outside on the awning it still had the Ray's to the third sign, but that takes coordination, planning and hiring outside sources; something that might not have been arranged yet.

The important point was that the Hell Burger I had was still excellent and worthy of a President imho.  Its a noteworthy place.  I expect to have an Elvis sighting next time I arrive (with or without fogged glasses)  ;)

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I'm sure the intent is there to change the name - Michael sometimes gets sidetracked.

I'd like to issue the award for Understatement of the Year.

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I have never been so happy to be so wrong! Snapped this picture over the weekend. Apologies for the poor picture quality.

post-10901-0-02802300-1418141678_thumb.j

ETA: Well, I am hoping I am wrong at least. Could be leftover stuff that hasn't been cleared out yet. But I am really really really hopeful that this is a sign of progress.

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The steak and cheese is STILL an award winning sandwich.   Sweet potato fries, crispy and uniquely tasty.

But something is brewing at this location.  Construction is going on, splitting the space into 2 distinct entities.  It would seem the Hell Burger location will again split its persona with burgers and sandwiches on one side, and steaks  and wait service on the other side.

More to be revealed...............................

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Last week I heard that construction at Ray's Hell burger had been completed and a somewhat new menu was on board.  And there are changes, including a "different space" and an expanded menu.

Different signage isn't yet up but the new space houses Ray's Hell Burger on the right, with counter service its traditional (I assume) menu of burgers, sandwiches, fries, etc its vegetarian sandwiches...plus one of those nifty coke machines with options for many different flavors.

On the left though, there is now table service in a new establishment named The Inner Circle.  Aha...change again.  There is an expanded menu and I opted for one of the new dishes I had heard about 1 week ago.   The Inner Circle offers everything on the Hell Burger menu plus wines by the glass and bottle and beers (bottled).  There are soups, salads, including salads with salmon or shrimp, 3 variations on  what I believe is an 8 oz top sirloin steak, each coming with a different topping and all priced in the teens plus at least two different new mains:  One a pork chop and one a chicken fried steak variation.  Having been told of the chicken fried steak I went with it.  Its an ample portion;  a rather large piece of chicken with a traditional type chicken fried topping.  It sits a top more pieces of chicken, 3 sizable dumplings and in a slight portion of a corn soup.   Hmmmm...quite good and VERY AMPLE.   I added a side of corn on the cob which comes with wedges of lemon, a wonderful refreshing addition to the corn, and one of Ray's really excellent, incredibly filling and tasty shakes.  All of the sides are either $2 or $3, a very good price.

An enjoyable meal.  My server, Jeffrey was accommodating, funny, and encouraging plus he knew the menu inside and out.

The new variation of Hell Burger offers all the old favorites plus a new expanded menu.  Its as casual and comfortable as ever.  Seating is amply spaced, so its quite comfortable.

Now a bit of an old timers perspective.  For about a decade roughly from the mid 80's to the mid 90's I probably ate at every steak house in the DC and Tysons; I'm sure over 90% of the time it was a corporate CC meal with a client.  While I spread it around I was at some places enough to be recognized by staff.

I can't tell the difference among quality steaks.  I can't.  If you had asked me the difference between a similar cut steak at the Prime Rib, Morton's or the Palm I'd sputter.

So I've enjoyed Ray's the Steaks, with its casualness and better pricing.  Same great food, better prices which equals better value.  Now Hell Burger offers a small version steak a wee bit down the road from Ray's, at an excellent price, plus casualness.  Nice move in my book.   Give it a try.

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