October 16, 2013 | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Mendelson to back ‘Annie’s Way’ street-naming bill
Anne Kaylor, Annie's Paramount Steak House, gay news, Washington Blade

Annie Kaylor died July 24 at the age of 86. (Washington Blade archive photo by Doug Hinckle)

D.C. City Council Chair Phil Mendelson (D-At-Large) is expected to back a bill submitted this week by Mayor Vincent Gray to name a one-block section of Church Street, N.W., between 17th Street and Stead Park as “Annie’s Way” after initially expressing concern over the legislation, according to Mendelson’s legislative counsel Brian Moore.

James Pittman, director of the Mayor’s Office of Policy and Legislative Affairs, said the bill seeks to honor Annie’s Paramount Steak House and its beloved night manager and bartender Annie Kaylor, who died July 24 at the age of 86.

Kaylor and Annie’s restaurant have been longtime supporters of the LGBT community. Kaylor regularly rode in the city’s LGBT Pride parade.

Mendelson initially told the mayor’s office he was reluctant to introduce the bill because of a longstanding city policy and law that doesn’t allow the naming of a street for someone until two years after the person’s death, according to activists familiar with the bill.

But Moore told the Blade on Wednesday that Mendelson would not object to a bill calling for naming the street after the restaurant widely known as “Annie’s.” He noted that the existing law doesn’t restrict naming streets after a business.

“We anticipated the Chairman’s reluctance to move legislation for the recently deceased,” said Pittman in an email to local activists. “I’ve been working with his staff to make clear that we are not technically naming the street for Annie Kaylor,” he said.

“We are naming the street for the legacy of Annie’s Paramount Steak House (‘Annie’s’) – the business. We are calling it ‘Annie’s Way’ and not ‘Annie Kaylor Way’ to resolve the Chairman’s concern,” said Pittman.

Annie’s has been a fixture on 17th Street for 65 years. It was located since it opened in 1948 at the corner of 17th and Church streets, where the gay bar JR.’s is now located, until it moved in the 1990s to its current location one block north at 1609 17th St., N.W.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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