- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 1, 2004

Ulysses G. “Blackie” Auger Sr., a Washington restaurateur who made a fortune selling beef, died Sunday of complications from a heart attack in his D.C. home. He was 83.

Mr. Auger was known throughout the Washington area as the owner of Blackie’s House of Beef, a restaurant he started on 22nd Street NW in 1953.

Ulysses George Auger was born on Sept. 19, 1921, in Pottstown, Pa., and was raised in Washington, where he attended Central High School. He dropped out of school to work as a busboy.

During World War II, he served in Africa and Europe, earning the nickname “Blackie” from Army buddies who had trouble pronouncing Ulysses. The nickname stuck.

Wounded in Italy, he returned to the United States and took a job as a pressman at the Los Angeles Examiner, but moved back to Washington during a newspaper strike.

He borrowed $2,000 against his mother’s home to start a hot dog stand in the District. After a few years, he bought a business on 22nd Street NW called the Minute Grill, which he later expanded and renamed Blackie’s.

By providing a good meal at a reasonable price, Mr. Auger filled his restaurant with loyal customers and made a fortune.

Washingtonians flocked to Blackie’s to taste his famous beef. By 1965, Blackie’s was remodeled from its original seating capacity of 60 to 700. Famous customers included Robert F. Kennedy, Hubert H. Humphrey, Jimmy Durante and Rock Hudson.

First lady Jacqueline Kennedy was known to order Blackie’s cheesecake.

As Blackie’s expanded, so did Mr. Auger’s empire. In addition to owning the land surrounding Blackie’s, Mr. Auger also owned several Blackie’s spinoffs.

Other investments included the Washington Marriott, which he helped build atop Blackie’s in 1981; a 12 percent ownership of the Mayflower Hotel, where he had bused as a young man; and hotels at Ronald Reagan Washington National and Baltimore-Washington International airports, and Valley Forge, Pa.

He also owned buildings across the city.

Survivors include his wife of 58 years, Lulu Hansen Auger of Washington; three children, Ulysses G. Auger II and Dina Economides, both of Washington, and Gregory Auger of Bethesda; two sisters, Margaret Tzafferis of Washington and Harriet Maroules of Silver Spring; and 10 grandchildren.

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