News & Politics

The Legendary Van Ness Burger King Might Actually Be Closing This Time

You may have to say goodbye to the "Rock'n'Roll Burger King" on Connecticut Avenue.

Photograph via Flickr user Mike Mozart.

It looks like the last Burger King in DC open to the public will officially close. The Van Ness location has been a Connecticut Avenue mainstay for more than 40 years but after a dispute with an advisory neighborhood commission, owner Mark James recently said “it saddens us to have to say goodbye,” according to the local blog Forest Hills Connection.

Many Washingtonians remember the restaurant’s quirky movie décor, with ’80s and ’90s memorabilia like the bike riders from E.T. hanging from the ceiling and a big shark head from Jaws. Its nicknames include the Rock’n’Roll Burger King and the Hollywood Burger King. Some visitors in years past joked that it should become a national landmark.

James announced plans to close back in 2018 after new zoning regulations required the restaurant to repave the parking lot and it faced pressure from the corporation to modernize the building. But the King remained open, and last January, James told the ANC that he planed to renovate the entire space. Now after a year of revenue challenges due to the pandemic, it appears the location will finally shutter as James and the ANC couldn’t come to an agreement over how to manage stormwater runoff with the new parking lot pavement. No word yet on what will happen to the memorabilia.

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Web Producer/Writer

Rosa joined Washingtonian in 2016 after graduating from Mount Holyoke College. She covers arts and culture for the magazine. She’s written about anti-racism efforts at Woolly Mammoth Theatre, dinosaurs in the revamped fossil hall at the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum, and the horrors of taking a digital detox. When she can, she performs with her family’s Puerto Rican folkloric music ensemble based in Jersey City. She lives in Adams Morgan.