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Ray’s Hell Burger Appears Closed, Which Could Signal the End of a Meaty D.C. Empire

The apparent closure follows Ray’s the Steaks into the afterlife

Ray’s Hell Burger closed
Ray’s Hell Burger was closed during regular business hours on Wednesday.
Gabe Hiatt/Eater D.C.

Ray’s Hell Burger, the last business standing in the family of restaurants that started with Ray’s the Steaks, appears to be closed, at least for now, after more than three years in Mount Vernon Triangle.

Eater received a tip from a worker at a nearby business that the burger shop at 449 K Street NW would shut its doors in mid-June. Tipsters told Popville the same for a post published yesterday. The shop was dark, the door was locked, and the “open” sign was turned off during regular lunch hours today. Tables, chairs, and menus posted to the wall remained inside.

Owner Michael Landrum has closed, re-opened, and shuffled previous locations of the Hell Burger brand in the past, so this may not be the end.

The restaurant’s various incarnations were known for thick, juicy patties made out of trimmings from the company’s steakhouses that could be crusted in peppercorns or dusted with blackening spice. A visit from then-President Barack Obama and Russian president Dmitry Medvedev for lunch in 2010, when Ray’s Hell Burger was located in Arlington, helped it become a local favorite.

When reached by phone last week, Landrum said, “This is a terrible time,” and hung up. Landrum hasn’t responded to further repeated calls and messages from Eater. A representative for Edens, the development company that owns the mixed-use City Vista building that houses Ray’s Hell Burger, did not return messages either. The restaurant does not have a listed business number.

Ray’s the Steaks, Landrum’s affordable, unfussy restaurant that gained a cult following around D.C., closed after a 17-year run earlier this month in Courthouse. Previous offshoots of the steakhouse in Southeast and Silver Spring had been closed or sold years ago.

Ray’s Hell Burger and a Hell Burger Too were originally based in Arlington, but those locations closed amid a landlord dispute in 2013. Landrum then re-opened the burger place in a Ray’s to the Third location a year later. Landrum’s restaurant group filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection twice from 2015 to 2016.

Following the original Ray’s Hell Burger, and a Hell Burger Too, Ray’s opened on K Street after much anticipation in 2015. Signage on the wall that day announced the sparsely decorated dining room as the home of Ray’s the Undead.

Ray's Hell Burger

449 K Street Northwest, , DC 20001