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Judge tells burger joint to turn off grill

Oct. 13, 2010 at 5:44 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- A popular burger joint in Washington shut down early Wednesday, at least temporarily, after a judge ruled its grilling fumes disturbed a neighboring law firm.

Judge John M. Mott did not order Rogue States to close down, The Washington Post reported. But his order to stop using the grill had the same effect, given that the menu consists entirely of hamburgers and french fries.

The restaurant posted a message to customers on its Web site, signed by the chef and owner, Raynold Mendizabai: "After a long battle to stay open and keep our business alive, Judge Mott forced our hand by siding with our neighbor, Steptoe and Johnson, a powerful law firm that claims the smell of our burgers is making it impossible for them to keep up the lawyering business."

Mendizabai promised the restaurant would be back.

Lawyers for Steptoe and Johnson said the "intense and noxious odors" from the grill caused itchy and watery eyes and nausea in its employees. Mott said an upgrade of the restaurant's exhaust system had not solved the problem and that the only solution, at least at the current location in Dupont Circle, might be moving it to the top of a 10-story building.

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