Those recognizable, blue-and-white Tourmobile buses — which used to provide an authorized, narrated tour of the cemetery that included stops at the Kennedy gravesites, the Tomb of the Unknowns and Arlington House — stopped running yesterday. That leaves few options for tourists hoping for a less strenuous tour of the hilly, 624-acre cemetery.
The National Park Service says they’re hoping to find a replacement for the Tourmobiles.
The dealership, at 3200 Columbia Pike, was once billed as “the area’s largest selection of pre-owned/used cars, trucks, SUVs and vans.” Its brands included Honda, Toyota, BMW, Nissan, Mazda, Mercedes Benz, Lexus, Infiniti, Hyundai and others.
Now, the parking lot has been cleared out and little but furniture and art remains in the one-time showroom. An employee who answered the phone confirmed that the super center has closed. The employee said she did not know what will take its place.
One neighborhood rumor posits that the Rosenthal Jeep/Chrysler dealership, at Glebe Road and Columbia Pike, will take the Brown’s dealership’s place. Rosenthal is set to close in about a year when the land it sits on gets redeveloped into a mixed-use residential and retail development. So far, we have been unable to confirm the rumors.
The still-unnamed restaurant currently serves but one main dish: the “steak and cheese.” A sign next to the cash-only ordering station sums up the difference.
“WARNING: We absolutely do not serve ‘Philly’ or anything ‘cheesesteaks!!!’ We do not claim or attempt to be anyone’s idea of ‘authentic,” the sign reads.
Located at 1713 Wilson Boulevard in Rosslyn, in the former Ray’s Hell Burger Too space, the restaurant interior and furnishings are little changed from what it looked like when ‘Too’ closed less than a month ago. What is new is the menu.
The eatery — we’ll unofficially call it Ray’s Steak and Cheese — serves a $10.99 steak and cheese sandwich made with a half-pound of ribeye and top sirloin steak (the same steaks used in Ray’s the Steaks in Courthouse) between a hearty, custom-made roll from Lyon Bakery. By default, the sandwich comes with American and Provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato and grilled onions. Green and red peppers, sauteed mushrooms and charred jalapenos are also available, for 50 cents each.
Landrum says a vegetarian sandwich — the exact ingredients haven’t been decided yet — will be added to the menu tomorrow (Thursday). Otherwise, the only other food item on the menu is a $2.00 side order of tater tots. The drink menu consists of sodas (Coke products plus boutique sodas like Ale 81 and Cheerwine), water, iced tea and beer.
As for the name, Landrum says he’s not sure what the restaurant will eventually be called.
“I haven’t really thought about it yet, to be honest,” he said today, after taking the Ray’s Hell Burger Too sign down from the front window. In its place, Landrum taped a printer paper-sized sign to the door, with “STEAK AND CHEESE HERE! NOW OPEN” written in Sharpee.
Already, Landrum has won a fan, in the form of the first paying customer who randomly wandered in around lunchtime today.
“Best steak and cheese I’ve ever had,” the man said, on his way out the door.
The restaurant is expected be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week.
Two of three northbound lanes are closed on the Key Bridge due to a presidential speech in Georgetown.
The lane closures are causing traffic to back up in Rosslyn, before the bridge.
President Obama is currently speaking in Goergetown Waterfront Park, near the Key Bridge. The speech started around 11:30 a.m.
You’d heard about damage to the Washington Monument after the 5.8 magnitude earthquake that hit the D.C. area in August. But you probably haven’t heard about the damage suffered by one of the most iconic, historic structures on the other side of the Potomac River.
Arlington House, the former home of Robert E. Lee, suffered significant damage during the quake. Large portions of the 200-year-old house, which overlooks the District from what is now Arlington National Cemetery, are now closed to the public as a result of the quake.
The house’s entire second floor is currently closed, along with a back hallway. We’re told that the quake shifted the structure’s back wall by a quarter of an inch, producing large cracks in the plaster. Though further inspections will be performed, it’s thought that the damage is primarily to the plaster, and not to the structure. Some hairline cracks in the wall as seen from the outside, however, may have been caused by the earthquake; it’s unclear how significant those cracks may be to the structural integrity of the house.
Arlington House was already in the midst of a multi-stage rehabilitation project when the earthquake hit. The National Park Service will try to add earthquake repairs to an existing contract to rehabilitate the home’s interior plaster and paint, according to a park ranger. The work likely wouldn’t be complete until the end of March, at the earliest, we’re told.
In addition to being a national memorial and a tourist destination, Arlington House also serves as the inspiration for the Arlington County seal.
Thanks to new residential and commercial developments, and the coming influx of Fairfax residents on the new Silver Line, the number of customers frequenting local businesses — especially restaurants — will almost certainly continue to grow over time.
Given complaints that we have an overabundance of certain types of restaurants, we thought it useful to ask: what sort of restaurant would you like to see more of?
Pick any three from the following list, compiled from reader suggestions.
Goldman Sachs Invests in Rosslyn — Investment giant Goldman Sachs has acquired a majority stake in 3 million square feet of office space in Rosslyn. The acquisition includes trophy properties like the gleaming metal-and-glass 1000 and 1100 Wilson Boulevard towers. The office space represents 30 percent of Rosslyn’s 10 million square feet of commercial real estate. [Washington Post, BusinessWire]
County Wants Residents to Stop Smoking in Parks — Arlington’s parks department is planning on politely asking visitors to county parks to refrain from smoking near ballfields, pavilions and playgrounds. The initiative will use signs, not the force of law, to try to get visitors to comply. [Sun Gazette]
Reagan Statue Unveiled at DCA — A 9-foot bronze statue of President Ronald Reagan was unveiled yesterday at the airport that bears his name. The $900,000 statue, located in front of Terminal A of Reagan National Airport, was paid for by the private Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation. [Washington Times]
Flickr pool photo by Christaki