Ruffino’s Spaghetti House (4763 Lee Highway) may re-open in a week or two.
The restaurant closed for renovations in September, and loyal customers have been asking when it’s going to re-open ever since. Owner Robin Gamzeh says he hopes to open as soon as next week — if county inspections go well.
Outside and in, nearly everything about Ruffino’s appearance has changed. The exterior is brand new and the interior is completely revamped. One thing that hasn’t changed much is the restaurant’s menu. Gamzeh says everything from the original menu will still be available, with a few new additions.
Gamzeh says the re-opening was delayed several months after a contractor discovered a 5-6 foot basement crawl space while doing plumbing work. The basement, which Gamzeh did not know existed, had to be reinforced in order for renovations to continue.
Clarendon and Courthouse have changed — a lot — over the past couple of decades.
The arrival of Metro in the late 1970s and early 1980s heralded the demise of many small mom-and-pop retailers and ethnic restaurants that once gave the area its unique character. It also helped speed along the end of large department and five & dime stores.
Among the categories and names of businesses that have disappeared from the Clarendon-Courthouse area are:
- General Retailers — Sears, Woolworth’s, J.C. Penney, and Murphy’s five & dime
- Brewpubs — Bardo Rodeo, Blue-and-Gold Brewing Co.
- Hardware Stores — Virginia Hardware Co.
- Specialty Ethnic Restaurants — La Cantinita’s Havana Cafe, Aegean Taverna
Which of those businesses would you most like to see come back to the area?
It’s worth noting that while there are still a few ethnic restaurants in the Clarendon area — Nam Viet and Taste of Morocco come to mind — there were once many more. Ethnic restaurants might not be gone, but certain specialty cuisines, like Cuban, are.
Our blurb about extended zone parking hours in the Clarendon area has provoked quite a response. In fact, as of this writing it has received 337 comments and counting, an ARLnow.com record.
For those who asked, we now have a list of the Clarendon-area streets that impose zone parking until the early morning hours. Only residents – or anyone they give a temporary pass to — are permitted to park on the side of the street from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. on these blocks.
- N. Fillmore St between Franklin Rd and Key Blvd.
- Franklin Rd. between Edgewood and Filmore Streets
- N. Garfield St. between Wilson Blvd and Franklin Rd.
- N. Highland St. between Hancock St and Key Blvd.
- N. Irving St. between 13th St and Jackson St.
- N. Herndon St. between 13th St N and Key Blvd.
- N. Jackson St. between Washington Blvd and 13th St N
In order to obtain the extended hours, residents of each block had to go through the county’s residential permit parking process. First, at least 60 percent of residents signed a petition requesting zone parking hours be extended. Then, county staff studied whether cars from outside the neighborhood were parking on the block, in order to confirm eligibility for the extended hours.
“County staff then surveyed the block to determine if there was parking overspill from outside the neighborhood,” said county spokeswoman Shannon Whalen McDaniel. “In order to meet the overspill standard, 75 percent of the block’s spaces must be filled with cars and 25 percent of the cars must be from outside the neighborhood.”
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Rep. Jim Moran dropped by the Arlington Free Clinic (2921 11th Street South) yesterday to help promote the clinic’s mission of providing high-quality health care to low-income individuals.
Moran spent the afternoon helping to check in patients at the clinic’s front desk. Between patients, he talked about the clinic’s importance to the community.
“I wanted to give more visibility to the Arlington Free Clinic and the people they serve,” he said as a half dozen patients read magazines in the clinic’s sunny waiting room. “They desperately need this service. Otherwise they couldn’t afford their prescription medicine, or the preventive care, or the specialized care the clinic is able to refer people to.”
Currently, the clinic only accepts about 30 percent of patients who apply for care through a lottery system. Moran said that even with the new health care reform law that he championed, the Arlington Free Clinic will continue to play a vital role in the community.
“This is a valuable service,” he said. “This will supplement what we’re able to do through health care reform.”
Since it opened in 1993, the Arlington Free Clinic has been providing medical care to uninsured adults. The clinic relies on a team of 700 volunteers, including 170 physicians. AFC says it does not receive federal or county funding.
Moran’s volunteer work at the clinic was part of his “Jim Pitches In” series, which is intended to highlight the work of local non-profits. Last month Moran delivered Meals on Wheels to seniors in Alexandria.
Tuesday night cooking classes are on hold at the Clarendon Whole Foods (2700 Wilson Blvd) while the store looks for a new chef.
The Clarendon store is now searching for Kiss’ replacement.
Photo courtesy Stacey Viera
Grand Opening for USAA Office in Pentagon City — A new USAA branch has opened on Pentagon Row. The “financial center” — in company parlance — will hold its grand opening celebration from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 2. The branch is located at 1301 South Joyce Street.
Doorways Job Featured — Arlington-based Doorways for Women and Families is looking for a new executive director. The job was featured as the MyFoxDC.com “Job of the Day” yesterday. The listing notes that Doorways’ annual operating budget has more than doubled in the past five years, to $3.1 million. [MyFoxDC]
Hilton Garden Inn Sells for $60 Million — The Hilton Garden Inn in Courthouse has changed hands for $60 million, or $320,000 per room. [GlobeSt.com]