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Is Belgian Restaurant Florentijn in Jeopardy at the Wharf?

Founder Jan Van Haute has been ordered to appear in Superior Court on April 30

The projected opening date previously displayed on the signage at long overdue Wharf restaurant Florentijn has now been blacked out, and a legal summons is tacked to the front door.
Warren Rojas/Eater DC

Long overdue Belgian restaurant Florentijn now appears to have hit a major roadblock in its path to opening at the Wharf. A summons posted outside the multi-faceted eatery former Belgian Embassy chef turned aspiring restaurateur Jan Van Haute had been trying to pull together since last fall suggests he may no longer be welcome at the restaurant-packed Southwest waterfront.

“You are being sued for possession of the premises you occupy,” reads the legal document tacked to the front door of the establishment. “This paper is a summons in a lawsuit seeking your eviction.”

The summons posted on the door of stalled Belgian restaurant Florentijn.
Warren Rojas/Eater DC

The summons identifies the plaintiff as “Wharf Phase 2 Parcel 5 Retail REIT Leaseholder LLC,” an entity represented in this case by attorney Leon Koutsouftikis of Magruder Cook & Koutsouftikis in Reston, Virginia. The suit was filed in Superior Court of the District of Columbia. A hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Monday, April 30 in the Civil Division, Landlord and Tenant Branch.

The signage Florentijn put up back in October 2017 during the Wharf’s grand opening weekend included a line saying it would open in January 2018.
Warren Rojas/Eater DC

Eater reached out to the Wharf developers, Van Haute, and Koutsouftikis for comment about the legal challenge but has not yet heard back from any of the parties involved.

But other signs within the Wharf seem to indicate Van Haute is in trouble. The satellite Florentijn Wafelhuis Van Haute’s team had been operating at the entrance to District Pier has since been stripped of any signage and is empty inside.

On opening weekend Florentijn Wafelhuis sold Belgian waffles topped with sweet and savory ingredients out of this waterfront kiosk. The stand is now completely bare.
Warren Rojas/Eater DC

Several Wharf restaurants took longer than projected to join the evolving dining scene, including recent arrivals Mi Vida and Kaliwa. Others have yet to materialize, including La Vie, Lupo Marino, and Cantina Bambina. If Florentijn is forcibly removed, it will become the first of the Wharf restaurants to fizzle out without having served a single customer.

Eater will continue following this story and update it as new information becomes available.

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