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August 4, 2011 5:16 PM

A Truce in Steptoe's D.C. Burger Battle

Posted by Brian Baxter

With the acrid grilling smell that once permeated Steptoe & Johnson's Washington, D.C., offices under control, popular eatery Rogue States is back in business.

The battle between Steptoe and Rogue States ended last October with a win for the Am Law 100 firm when a D.C. superior court judge ordered the burger joint to close immediately unless it replaced a deficient ventilation system that sent a burger-scented breeze into Steptoe's offices.

Eight months and a new $90,000 ventilation system later, Rogue States has reopened under the name Black & Orange, according to sibling publication The National Law Journal. The burger shop has been operating at its old location near D.C.'s Dupont Circle since June, and, so far, Steptoe hasn't had any complaints about the restaurant's return, The NLJ reports.

"Our sole concern has been the health and welfare of our employees," a Steptoe spokeswoman told the NLJ. "As long as [the ventilation] issue is addressed, we're pleased to have them back in the neighborhood."

The NLJ reports that in its new incarnation, Black & Orange has a vent that runs to the top of the ten-story building it inhabits. Previously, the eatery's exhaust exited the building's second-floor into a "canyon" between several nearby buildings, where it was sucked into the air vents feeding into Steptoe's offices, according to our previous reports.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman represented Steptoe in its successful effort to win an injunction against Rogue States. Both sides now seem willing to declare a truce in the burger war. Black & Orange owner Raymond Mendizabal told the NLJ that he regretted the dispute with the firm and acknowledged the matter could have been settled without the cost of litigation.

Closer to home, The Am Law Daily is sorry to report that our own favorite burger joint, the Wall Street Burger Shoppe, closed its lower Manhattan doors last month. The restaurant and bar filed for Chapter 7 liquidation in what may be a downward trend in Manhattan's upscale burger market. New York's Dwyer & Associates is handling the Wall Street Burger Shoppe proceedings.

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