E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial may have lost his Van Ness home.
The Burger King at 4422 Connecticut Avenue, distinctive (and some say “legendary”) for its rock ‘n roll and 80s and 90s movie decor closed abruptly over the weekend. Our readers and Redditors spotted signs on New Year’s Day stating that the closure is permanent.
We’ll believe it when E.T., his friends and the restaurant’s other distinctive decor are dismantled and removed (or when franchisee Potomac Foods Group responds to our request for comment). Our reason? The Burger King location was threatened with closure – or threatened to close – three times in the past seven years, yet it persisted.
Chick-fil-A announced plans in 2015 to open its own drive-thru restaurant at the site. (That attempt fell through, but the chain will be opening a kiosk at the UDC Student Center in the coming weeks.)
In 2018, Mark James, the vice president of operations at Potomac Foods, sent ANC 3F a letter stating that the site had become too expensive due to renovations required by Burger King corporate, and parking lot repaving and stormwater mitigation required by the District. Somehow, the restaurant rallied and in January 2020, James told the ANC that this “shrine to 80s and 90s cinema” would undergo an extensive interior and exterior renovation.
But in March 2021, after some back-and-forth with ANC 3F about the parking lot repaving, James again wrote to commissioners to say that the business would “have to say goodbye.”
The quirky Van Ness Burger King was the only one left in the District that’s open to the public. The other BK is in southeast, at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling.