Young and Hungry

After Owner’s Murder, What’s Next for Grace Deli on H Street NE?


Early in the morning of June 14, 2012, Grace Deli owner Hae Soon "June" Lim was shot in the neck and killed in a robbery of her H Street NE carry-out shop. Her murderer has since been sentenced to 27 years in prison. The restaurant has remained closed.

But come October, the corner space at 701 H St. NE will reopen, thanks to Donte Beal, who says he was a friend of Lim and worked at a nearby barber shop at the time of her death. He plans to pay homage to Lim at his forthcoming sandwich shop called Heaven & H.

Beal says he was motivated to open up the deli after getting culinary arts training at D.C.'s adult education school Ballou STAY. "I knew June really well," Beal says. "Over the years up until the incident, we developed a good relationship. She'd let me get things and pay her later if I didn't have lunch money when I was just starting out in the barber shop… Not only that, I'd bring my family and she'd give them free candy."

The deli cafe, which will be open for breakfast and lunch, will serve hot and cold sandwiches served on "untraditional" breads like croissants, English muffins, and pita. Unlike Grace Deli, Beal says he won't serve any frozen foods.

Beal also plans to revamp the interior to make it a little more inviting (no Plexiglas partition). There will be about 10 seats, including a window-side counter, with free Wi-Fi and two TVs.

Heaven & H  will keep Lim's memory alive with a small mural of her on the wall. One of the sandwiches on the menu will also be named after her.

Photo by Matt Dunn

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  • Tom

    WOW-a man who didn't have enough cash to buy lunch a year ago is now going to operate a small business. Gotta love America.

  • Tom A.

    Corner of 7 and H? "Heaven and H" Beautiful.

  • Alan

    @Tom (not Tom A)

    Read the article more closely. It doesn't say the barber didn't have enough money to buy lunch a year ago. It says that he got to know the original owner "over the years", which implies that his lean times were several years ago. This is still a great story, but don't be misled into thinking this gentleman made it from rags to "riches" in twelve months!

  • Brittney

    I'm a very good friend of Mr.Beal and he deserves this and I'm glad to see him doing great things cause great things happen to great people and he is on of them people. I will def. Pass by to support and I kno this is something you have wanted and worked hard for and gave it great thought..See you soon. I always knew you would where the crown fit for you...Wish you greatness and success.


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  • pat b

    having something new grow in the shadow of pain and sadness,
    is a good thing.

    I hope the new place takes off and that June's spirit shines over the new enterprise.

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  • Karima

    I am extremely proud of this young man! Donte Beal is a life long friend with high hopes and great spirit. He is the true definition of an entreprenuer. Continue to let God shine through you! You deserve this!!! Love You and God Bless!!!!!

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  • h st ll

    Eaten here twice lately, great food and affordable.

    Great story too, if sad of couse.

  • Peter Lim

    I was just told of this news today and I am so touched by Mr. Beal's tributes to my late mother.

    I look forward to visiting the new location and to spend some time with Mr. Beal.

  • Red Scrubs

    Just found out about Heaven and H on yesterday and couldn't wait to get there. Started with great breakfast and came to the office raving about the food. So at lunch the girls in the red scrubs went to patronize our friend Donte. We are so happy for him. We are telling everyone. And are planning another lunch trip to Heaven and H tomorrow.