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Shaw Restaurant Can Reopen With Booze if Owner Pays $30K Fine

by Andrew Ramonas April 25, 2016 at 3:05 pm 0

1920dc in 2013

A defunct restaurant can return to Shaw and serve alcohol, after its owner pays tens of thousands of dollars in fines that she racked up from running afoul with D.C. regulators, the District’s liquor board ruled last week.

Asefu Alemayehu can get back her liquor license for Yegna at 1920 9th St. NW, if she hands over $30,000 to the D.C. government to settle a case stemming from after-hours booze sales, according to an Alcoholic Beverage Control Board order.

Yegna closed in 2013 after it lost the liquor license it shared with 1920dc, a nightclub that was in the same building as Alemayehu’s restaurant. The club, which isn’t owned by Alemayehu, also shut down that year, but has continued to hold pop-up events at bars around the District.

Although the ABC board revoked the license in response to Yegna’s liquor sales during unauthorized hours in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, the panel had planned to hold a hearing with the restaurant and 1920dc over a fatal shooting that happened outside the businesses in February 2013. But the board deemed the hearing moot after it took away Yegna’s license, The Washington Post reported at the time.

Alemayehu eventually fought to get back her license by petitioning the D.C. Court of Appeals, alleging the ABC board ruled without providing her interpreter services, among other claims. The court in 2014 then sent the case back to the panel for reconsideration.

In its order Wednesday, the board says it found Alemayehu was able to understand and speak English during previous hearings. The panel decided that she should get her license back if she pays a fine, however.

It’s unclear whether Alemayehu will open Yegna or some other restaurant in the 9th Street building, which she owns.

But the main level of the building appears empty after a bar called Signature Lounge briefly occupied it. A bar called Freedom Lounge is currently in the building’s basement.

Richard J. Bianco Jr., who represented Alemayehu before the D.C. appellate court, declined to comment on the board’s decision. Alemayehu didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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