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Morgan's Seafood reopens after 10-year absence
(Published July 24, 2006)

Staff Writer

After 10 years of being shuttered, a D.C. institution that first began serving local residents 75 years ago recently re-opened with the goal of providing the same quality service that it always has.

Once know as the place to get steamed crabs in the District, Morgan's Seafood is back. The restaurant, at 3200 Georgia Ave. NW, hosted it's grand re-opening on July 15, where residents who were once dedicated customers swamped the restaurant, eager to get another taste of the famous steamed crabs and home-cooked soul food.

Owner Romeo Morgan promises that his customers can look forward to lobsters and snow crab legs, because he knows that "people are tired of going to the wharf…they want something in the neighborhood." He said his restaurant also will offer "fresh spots," with customers able to see their seafood being cleaned and freshly cooked.

Morgan, the third member of the Morgan family to take over the family business – most recently, from his uncle, Morris Morgan, said he has worked since 1996 to get the business back on its feet. Morgan's sons, Mark and Solomon, are co-owners of the business, while wife Kiviette handles financial matters.

Morgan said he was gratified that his restaurant's grand re-opening was filled with "many customers [who were] ecstatic and glad to see us." Among those happy to see this business make a comeback was D.C. City Councilman Jim Graham, D-Ward 1, who was deemed a special guest at the event.

"He was very inspirational in helping with [property] taxes," Morgan said of Graham. "They were going to condemn it [the restaurant] and tear it down, but he made sure it didn't happen."

Graham told The Common Denominator that "Morgan's Seafood has been there for 75 years, and I wanted to do everything I could to support it getting going again."

Ironically, it was Morgan's prominent location on the northwest corner of Georgia Avenue and one-way, westbound Kenyon Street that contributed to the restaurant's closure about 10 years ago. Morgan, during a recent interview, recalled that cars crashed through his storefront three times in quick succession. Although his insurance company covered damage from the first two accidents in 1996, the company decided to drop Morgan's shortly thereafter, asserting that the business was "high risk." When the third crash occurred -- as the result of a police chase gone wrong, according to Morgan -- and with no insurance coverage, he decided to close the restaurant.

In 2002, Morgan said he attempted to re-open his restaurant, spending $30,000 on new equipment, which was stolen when burglars broke in shortly before the planned re-opening. In the interim, Morgan said he also faced a dispute over electricity, which landed in court before being resolved.

Despite the struggles he has endured, Morgan said he remained determined not to give up.

"I'm not letting go of what is mine," he said.

Copyright 2006 The Common Denominator