The owner of Ray's the Steak's and Ray's Hell-Burger appears to be in another legal battle with a landlord.
Eater received a photo of a sign in the window of a space in the CityVista development in Mount Vernon Triangle. The spot was likely going to house a concept from Ray's owner Michael Landrum (most recently a permit called it Ray's in the City).
The signage, which is signed with Ray's the Steak's email address, says "We have been unable to compete and open our restaurant for the past year...after we discovered illegal un-permitted constructions and major code violations by the landlord." The sign claims the issue is related to exhaust work, and they say they'll "continue to fight in court to maintain your safety."
Eater has reached out to Edens, the developer of CityVista, for any further information. UPDATE: A representative from Edens said, "The Landlord disagrees with Mr. Landrum's statements."
Landrum has been in legal battles with landlords before, ultimately closing two of his restaurants in a Rosslyn shopping center.
UPDATE: Michael Landrum sent the following statement to Eater:
"The issue is that we discovered that the Landlord constructed the Fire Safety Duct Work to our space without DCRA Permits and not in accordance with any Certified Architectural and Engineering Plans. The Landlord stated in court that they did not need any permits--this to construct a Grease, Smoke and Fire Ducts directly through ten stories of residential units. We do not believe this to be true and we have fought in court to protect our right and the rights of the residents above us to live and work safely in a legally constructed building.
Further, we later discovered major structural defects and code violations in the Duct Work the Landlord had constructed, albeit without Permits and Architectural/Engineering Plans. Although they claim they to have fixed these defects, they have denied access for us to perform industry-standard safety and structural integrity tests and have refused to officially "deliver" and warranty the repairs to the defective structure, despite our many requests.
We have completed all of our construction and are ready to open virtually next week. Once we can verify that the original work and the repairs to it have been properly performed and inspected, are code-compliant, and do not pose a threat to public safety we will eagerly do so."
—Adele Chapin contributed to this report.