The death of TruOrleans—the most hated restaurant on H Street NE—could have gone so many ways. The landlord sought eviction for unpaid rent and property taxes. Angry neighbors fought to revoke the restaurant’s liquor license because of noise, trash, and a violent melee that resulted in three employees’ arrests. And owner James “Tru” Redding faced his own legal and financial troubles, including the bankruptcy of his company, James T. Redding, Inc., and fraud charges in Nevada for allegedly writing bad checks at a Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
As with Al Capone, the taxman got him in the end. The D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue shut down TruOrleans in September for more than $101,000 in unpaid sales and use taxes. Then the city seized steakhouse/strip joint Stadium Club, also co-owned by Redding, to pay off TruOrleans’ debt. The rest of the team behind Stadium Club rummaged up the cash to regain control of their stripper poles and strip steaks the next day. But TruOrleans—to the relief of its many detractors—is officially dunzo.