News, The Daily Feed

Coffee Maven Cho Faces 40 Years in Prison

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘Skelekitten’

Nick Cho, famous for his work as a barista and coffee-shop owner, today surrendered himself to arrest and booking on 82 counts of tax fraud related to the tax debt that shuttered Capitol Hill’s Murky Coffee in 2008. According to the release from the OCFO, posted in full below the cut, he’s facing 180 days in jail for each count, if convicted, along with a $5k fine, and full restitution if convicted. That would be $410,000 in fines, plus restitution for the amounts not filed with the District in 2006 and 2007, as well as 41 years in jail.

The amount specified by the OCFO for delinquent taxes is over $100,000, which would be compounded with penalties, interest and additional fines.

Chinatown Coffee Company, where Cho currently consults on the coffee operation, did not have a comment this afternoon when reached by telephone. Cho was released this afternoon following the booking. City Paper’s Jason Cherkis has a bit of the backstory here as well. Cherkis has now also spoken with the owners at Chinatown Coffee.

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The Daily Feed

Not a Murky mystery

Photo courtesy of
‘Vaseline Everybody’s friend’
courtesy of ‘Sarah G…’

The question that keeps coming up about the Murky closure and Nick Cho’s new shop in D.C. seems to be “why won’t the new place be named Murky?”

Murky Coffee is a registred trademark, and given the tax difficulties that Nick has had with D.C. and lately with Virginia, it’s possible – or perhaps likely – that Nick won’t have the rights to use that name anymore if things go badly for Murky Coffee, LLC. That’s the legal entity that the USPTO lists as the trademark owner.

Pay your taxes, kids. (Unless you’re angling for a cabinet position, of course)

Arlington, Food and Drink, The Daily Feed

A Hard Day: The End of Murky

Murky Coffee Regulars

This morning’s letter on the Murky Coffee website is no April Fools’ Joke. Replacing Murky in the space they’ll leave behind in Clarendon will become a venture of the group that owns Liberty Tavern, with a new space, and a new concept. While details are still sketchy, from what I understand, the upstairs at the new coffee location will be a co-working space, something like Beehive Baltimore or Indy Hall in Philadelphia.

The staff of Murky, owner Nick Cho included, are coming back into the District starting in early to mid May at a new shop called Wrecking Ball Coffee, which will be over at 5th and H Sts NW in Chinatown. The changes will be taking place here in the next month, leaving me without a third place to work from, which has me very disappointed. Murky has been, since I left my desk job, my home and community since 2006. The picture above shows half my Murky family, the other roving consultants and self-employed folks who have been my “co-workers,” and I count many among my finest friends. This site was actually designed and coded in the upstairs section of Murky before the county shuttered that part of the shop.

Murky’s run wasn’t free from controversy, from the problem with DC sales taxes that shuttered the Capitol Hill location, to Dickpunchgate, but it was home to me. And so, I’ll miss my third place, and hope that the folks who run Liberty Tavern will know they have a group of regulars who’re looking for a home, and open to what they’ve got to offer.

Arlington, The Daily Feed

Goodbye Parking Meters

Disabled parking meters

If you’re used to parking your car in the lot outside of Murky Coffee all day, it’s time to find a new parking spot.

Arlington has been replacing parking meters with “Pay and Display” meters.  These new boxes take the old coins (which was my last refuge for all my spare change) and also accept dollar bills and credit cards.  So running out of change is no longer a good excuse.

After a successful test run in other locations (outside the shops at Clarendon was one) they are expanding the program to other areas.  Yesterday, they modified the large parking lot that runs from St. Charles Church to Murky Coffee.

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Arlington, Food and Drink, The Daily Feed

No Touchy at Murky Coffee

No touchy!

For those of you who haven’t seen previous posts about Murky Coffee, it does get mentioned here from time to time, as it turns out. The latest thing I can say I love about Murky is this sign I had probably seen a hundred times and not given any thought to. It both tickled and admonished me, delivering efficient coinciding messages. The biscotti are a favorite of my Lovely Wife and she claims they are right good. Me, I am not such a big fan of the hard anise-flavored breads. But my real question is whether I can get it iced. I thought about asking but then thought better of it.

Arlington, Food and Drink, The Daily Feed

Welcome to Murky. You Don’t Get it Your Way.

I am at Murky Coffee, where I just heard a conversation in which the barista told a guy that he was not allowed to pour his espresso over ice.

“But that’s how I want it,” the guy said.

“You can’t have it over ice. It ruins the quality of the coffee. It’s also against our store policy,” the barista said. After the customer left the counter, the barista was fuming and told his coworker, “I almost told that guy not to come back.”

Thanks, Nick, for hiring such helpful young people who uphold basic tenets of customer service. Where would the world be if customers could get what they wanted? This young fellow did a good job protecting the ignorant customer from cold espresso.

Barista guy – get over it. It’s just coffee, not a matter of safety or health, and the guy knows how he wants it.