Out of the several dozen nominated local businesses and organizations, the following won in their respective categories after voting by the public:
- Best “Bargain” Restaurant: Lost Dog Cafe
- Best Boutique: ShoeFly
- Best Brunch: Carlyle
- Best Place to Care for Your Pet: Dogma Gourmet Dog Bakery and Boutique
- Best Community-Based Nonproft: Arlington Food Assistance Center
- Best Customer Service: Circa
- Best Place to Dance the Night Away: Clarendon Ballroom
- Best Dessert: Heidelberg Pastry Shop
- Best Family-Friendly Restaurant: Lost Dog Cafe
- Best Happy Hour: Whitlow’s on Wilson
- Best Late Night Spot: Bob & Edith’s Diner
- Best Place to Learn Something New: Arlington Public Library
- Best Neighborhood Bar: Ireland’s Four Courts
- Best New Business: District Taco
- Best Performing Arts Organization: Signature Theater
Out of the 15 categories, 10 had the same winner as last year.
Rosslyn will hold its annual holiday light-up night on Thursday. The event will feature speeches, music, free food and drink, and a winter clothing collection drive in front of the WJLA Jumbotron at the corner of Wilson Boulevard and N. Lynn Street.
From a press release:
The Rosslyn Business Improvement District (BID), Artisphere and Arlington Cultural Affairs welcome the 2011 holiday season with the 18th Annual LIGHT UP Rosslyn ceremony on Thursday, December 1, from 5:15 p.m.–6:30 p.m. NewsChannel 8 Anchor Morris Jones will host the evening’s outdoor festivities in front of the WJLA Jumbotron, located at 1100 Wilson Blvd. Arlington County Board Chair Christopher Zimmerman will offer remarks and then share the honors with Jones and Rosslyn BID Board President Peter Greenwald as they flip a giant switch to light up the Rosslyn skyline. The musical groups Beltway Brass and Snowday will perform holiday favorites, and Santa Fe Café will offer complimentary hot cocoa and chili.
The rooftops of nearly 40 properties will be illuminated. Rosslyn commercial and residential property owners whose buildings will be part of the 2011 LIGHT UP include, Beacon Capital, Clover Management, The JBG Companies, Key Bridge Marriott, London House, Monday Properties, Normandy House, Paramount Group, Penzance Companies, Tishman Speyer, River Place, Virginian Suites, Vornado, Waterview and Weissberg Corporation.
“It’s great to have so many Rosslyn property owners participating in this festive event,” said Arlington County Board Chair Christopher Zimmerman. “The Rosslyn BID does a wonderful job of kicking-off the holiday season with LIGHT UP Rosslyn while helping individuals in need through the annual clothes drive.”
LIGHT UP Rosslyn also serves as the final collection point for warm winter clothing, which the Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network (A-SPAN) will distribute to clients who need it most. Rosslyn BID Ambassadors will be on hand to receive new or gently used winter coats, sweaters, sweatshirts, hats, gloves, socks and jeans. This year’s winter clothing drive began on November 7, when the Rosslyn BID placed collection bins in offices and residential buildings around Rosslyn.
Photo by Steve Uzzell/Rosslyn BID
(Updated at 1:05 p.m.) A bank robbery has been reported in Ballston.
Initial reports suggest a man with a gun held up the Presidential Bank at 901 N. Stuart Street. The bank is less than a block from the Ballston Metro station and a block and a half from Ballston Common Mall.
Police are now looking for the suspect, who fled the bank after the robbery. Per normal police procedure, Arlington County detectives are on the scene and the FBI has been notified.
This is the second reported bank robbery at this particular branch this year. The bank was also robbed in July.
Earl’s Sandwiches in Courthouse (2605 Wilson Blvd) is thinking about expanding with a second location.
The restaurant has proven popular with local lunch-goers, but is somewhat constrained by its small space. Owner Stephen Dugan told the county’s Food for Thought television program (above) that he’s “would love to set up a second location” and is “looking for something with a little space.”
Earl’s, which uses fresh, house-made ingredients in its sandwiches, bills itself as “homemade without the hassle.”
A new Virginia ABC liquor store is coming to Columbia Pike’s emerging central business district.
Interior construction is about to get underway at the future store, which is located at 2940 Columbia Pike, next to Lost Dog Cafe.
Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control spokeswoman Jennifer Farinholt confirmed that the space will indeed be used by a state liquor store, but was unable to provide any other details. No word yet on when the store might open.
A plan to boost the finances of Artisphere, the struggling county-run arts center in Rosslyn, includes dramatic changes to the original vision for the venue.
A revised business plan, which will be presented to the County Board this afternoon, will suggest slashing Artisphere’s hours, shuttering its restaurant and retail store, and generating more revenue via corporate event rentals.
Even if the plan is implemented, however, the task force expects Artisphere to burn through more than $2.3 million in taxpayer funds in financial year 2012 and another $1.6 million in financial year 2013. If the new plan is shelved, Artisphere will require nearly $2.7 million in taxpayer support in FY 2012, the task force said. The one-year-old venue’s original business plan projected only $739,975 in county taxpayer support in FY 2012.
In its report to the Board, the Artisphere Task Force said Artisphere is an attractive venue that benefits from a Metro-accessible location and an experienced management team. But the task force was critical of the lack of focus in the center’s marketing, among other perceived weaknesses.
“Originally billed as an ‘Arts Space for Everyone’, the Artisphere strove to be free from the constraints of a singular vision, performance type or audience,” the task force wrote. “However, the unintended consequence of the individual interpretations that arose from such branding has been confusion over what exactly Artisphere is supposed to be, and for whom.”
The task force also accused Artisphere of practically ignoring families and older adults in its programming.
Artisphere, following the original business plan, has oriented much of its programming to attract a core audience of 20-35 year olds. While Arlington has one of the largest concentrations of 20 to 35 year olds in the nation, and while this demographic — like others who are highly educated, highly paid, and with disposable income — is known for its inclination to patronize the arts, they are faced with multiple options for spending time and money. Given those competing interests, and the somewhat “fickle” nature of this age group, it is very difficult to consistently attract them. Conversely, the 35-45 year olds with families and 55-65 year old empty-nesters, all with heavy populations in Arlington and the Washington, D.C. region have not been a target.
(Current programming at Artisphere includes the “largest collection of hand-crafted harmonica cases in the world” and an interactive exhibit that requires viewers to scan bar codes with their cell phones. The venue named a new programming director in late October.)
In the end, Artisphere has fallen well short of its original attendance projections. As the report noted, the lack of foot traffic is especially pronounced during the day.
“The space has been underutilized for many of its daytime hours,” the task force wrote. “Often, patrons who may enter in the early afternoon hours find the Artisphere extremely quiet and almost deserted. This lack of excitement and vibrancy often discourages return visits.”
To help place Artisphere on a more sustainable path, the task force is recommending several dramatic changes. One of the most pronounced is the proposed change in Artisphere’s hours. Whereas the center is currently open seven days a week, for a total of at least 85 hours per week, the task force wants to slash the days and hours the venue is open to the public. Under the new plan, Artisphere would be closed to the public on Monday and Tuesday, and would only be open for a total of 40 hours Wednesday through Sunday.