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by Ethan Rothstein — March 27, 2015 at 4:45 pm 1,833 0

Burn & Brew, a new shop that specializes in tobacco and coffee, is open on 23rd Street S. in Crystal City.

Owner Taha Humayun opened the doors to his new shop on March 18, just a few steps away from another smoke-themed store, Smokey Shope III. He said his shop sells the cheapest cigarettes in Arlington — $5 a pack — because of deals he’s supposedly worked out with a variety of cigarette and rolling paper companies.

In the five minutes an ARLnow.com reporter was in the shop, in the former expansion space of the Gossip boutique next door, a customer came in a bought a pack of Marlboro Lights. When Humayun told her the price, she said “wow, that’s crazy.” Most of the cigarettes sold in the county cost at least a dollar more per pack, we’re told.

Burn & Brew sells bags of coffee beans and drip coffee — “no lattes or shots of espresso or anything like that,” Humayun said — as well as vaporizers, vaporizer juice, “every rolling paper on the market” and all different kinds of pipes.

“A majority of the people who smoke drink coffee,” Humayun said. “And a lot of the people who drink coffee also smoke cigarettes.”

Humayun is still waiting for a number of products to come in. When he’s all stocked — he expects that to be complete by next week — he also will sell newspapers like the New York Times, Washington Post and USA Today.

He wants to be a daily stop for the smoking and drinking crowd of south Arlington, many of whom, he said, are bartenders and waiters. The Crystal City location is his second shop — he’s operated the first store in Annandale for six years.

by Ethan Rothstein — March 26, 2015 at 4:10 pm 3,261 0

The Penrose Square location of a future StarbucksThe rumors are true: a Starbucks is planning on opening in Penrose Square along Columbia Pike.

The vacant space at the corner of the Pike and S. Barton Street — where Bar TNT and Society Fair closed last fall – will be home to the coffee chain, the building’s management told residents today.

“We’re spilling the beans and we want our residents to be the first to hear the new,” said an email to the residents, which was forwarded to ARLnow.com. “Coming summer 2015, Penrose Square welcomes its newest retailer: Starbucks Coffee. Live, Work & Caffeinate at home in your very own Starbucks.”

The location is facing Penrose Square’s public plaza, next to the Giant and a block away from Red Rocks pizzeria. This will be the first Starbucks on Columbia Pike in Arlington; the closest location is in Pentagon City.

by Ethan Rothstein — March 26, 2015 at 10:35 am 843 0

Arlington County government's offices at 2100 Clarendon BlvdRepresentatives from 16 different countries will visit Arlington to learn how the county assesses properties for tax purposes.

Arlington’s Dept. of Real Estate Assessments will be giving representatives from countries like China, India, Turkey and Greece “guidance on proper property tax management, including an overview of how Arlington County values land and property, and how these processes have generated revenue, while promoting fair and equitable property tax collection methods,” according to a press release from Thomson Reuters, which organized the meeting.

Thomson Reuters’ Tax & Accounting Division helps corporations and governments improve their bookkeeping and revenue-generating practices. Arlington boasts an enviable tax revenue split of 50 percent residential and 50 percent commercial tax revenue, and the assessor’s office is responsible for determining the value of each piece of property.

“Arlington County’s strong, successful tax management system has attracted the attention of government officials from emerging nations,” Brian Jaklitsch, a spokesman for Thomson Reuters, said in an email.

“Officials will get a first-person look at how a government in the US processes and records land rights, and how the information is then used to assign a land value and then to process and bill property tax,” according to a press release. “More than 70 percent of local government revenue in the US is generated from property tax, and generating similar revenue could be a major coup for countries that are impoverished and/or lacking proper recording channels.”

Photo via Google Maps

by Ethan Rothstein — March 25, 2015 at 11:05 am 5,577 0

MoNA logo(Updated at 3:55 p.m.) The Mothers of North Arlington group is reverting to Yahoo! after a maligned platform shift last year, but the splinter group formed in the wake of the original change isn’t going anywhere.

Yesterday, MONA Co-Presidents Morgan Chinoy and M.K. Yeargin sent an email to their membership group announcing that the group would resume using two Yahoo! Groups for communication after switching to a system called MemberFuse last October. The co-presidents said that, in a poll of 900 of the group’s roughly 2,000 members, a majority voted to go back to Yahoo!.

“In light of the challenges over the past year, we look forward to a revitalized member community on the Yahoo groups,” the co-presidents said in an email to members, which ARLnow.com was forwarded. “Over 900 people voted in the poll, and the sheer number of responses, regardless of preference, is a testament to how important the message boards are to the MONA community.”

In response to last fall’s platform change, a separate Yahoo! Group formed: North Arlington Parents, or NAPping. MONA members disheartened by what they felt was a lack of consideration for the membership’s wishes splintered off, forming a free group — MONA costs $40 a year — with fewer restrictions.

NAPping isn’t going anywhere, its leaders told the group’s 766 members yesterday.

“The MONA board has repeatedly shown indifference to its members’ opinions,” NAPping moderators said in an email. “Therefore, we don’t see any reason to abandon NAP in favor of something that could once again be taken away without regard to the members’ objections.”

On March 5, MONA leaders sent out the poll to its membership, saying “notification outages” had led many of its members to “feel disconnected from MONA as a result.” An anonymous tipster told ARLnow.com that the outages were just one source of frustration — the new platform “was very difficult to read and scroll through, you had to click on each message if you wanted to read it, taking a lot of time.”

The NAPping group said it pledged to “continue to be free” and “will continue to use Yahoo Groups for discussions as long as that service continues to be available.” The splinter group doesn’t organize playgroups, host speakers or socials like dues-based MONA does.

Chinoy and Yeargin have not responded to requests for comment. After the jump, you can read the emails MONA and NAPping sent to their memberships yesterday.

(more…)

by Ethan Rothstein — March 25, 2015 at 10:00 am 4,427 0

(Updated at 10:40 a.m.) Julie Drews and Beth Helle have lived in Arlington for a decade, and they grew so tired of not having a specialty craft beer store in their neighborhood that they decided to open one themselves.

They have leased space at 2004 Wilson Blvd, in the new 2001 Clarendon apartments, to open The Brew Shop, which will sell craft beer, homebrewing supplies, wine and locally roasted coffee beans.

The pair are accountants who hail from the Midwest. Drews is from Michigan, home of craft beer landmark breweries Bell’s Brewery, Founders and New Holland. She said now that the D.C. craft brewing scene has taken off with the likes of D.C. Brau, 3 Stars and Port City, it’s an opportunity to capitalize on the area’s craft beer community.

“There was almost nothing here when I first got here, but things are definitely turning the corner now with beer in D.C.,” Drews told ARLnow.com yesterday. “This is an area where people care a lot about beer.”

The Brew Shop will offer growler fills and partner with local breweries for events. Drews — who reminisced about drinking at Dr. Dremo’s steps from where her shop will open — wants The Brew Shop to be a hub of the local beer-drinking community.

“We want to be the first great beer shop in Arlington,” she said. “There are a lot of wine shops that sell beer, but we want to be the great beer shop that sells wine.”

Drews and Helle have applied for a permit with the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board and are in the construction permitting process with Arlington County. They hope to open in the fall.

by Ethan Rothstein — March 23, 2015 at 1:15 pm 4,079 0

3400 Columbia Pike, the potential location of a Chipotle  3400 Columbia Pike, the potential location of a Chipotle

A Chipotle Mexican Grill could be coming to the ground floor of an apartment building on Columbia Pike.

A construction permit has been filed with Arlington County to build out a Chipotle restaurant in the new Pike 3400 building, at the corner of the Pike and S. Glebe Road. The building is being developed by the Penrose Group and managed by Kettler.

The permit is in the early stages — the first application was submitted on Friday — and does not necessarily mean Chipotle has signed a lease. Spring Mill Bread Co. was in talks to come to Pershing Drive in January when the property owner filed for construction permits on the business’ behalf, and RA Sushi in Clarendon is in the same situation.

The location would be Chipotle’s sixth in Arlington, with locations already in Rosslyn, Ballston, Crystal City, the Pentagon City mall and along Lee Highway.

Hat tip to Chris Slatt

by Ethan Rothstein — March 19, 2015 at 3:30 pm 470 0

California Tortilla in Courthouse reopensEveryone who buys a burrito or quesadilla from the California Tortilla in Courthouse tonight can help an at-risk child learn to read.

From 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. at 2057 Wilson Blvd, any customer who mentions the Arlington-based The Reading Connection will have 25 percent of their order donated to the nonprofit.

The Reading Connection is dedicated to improving the lives of at-risk children and families, who are living in shelters,” Reading Connection board of directors member Lynn Cannon told ARLnow.com, “by helping them create and sustain literacy-rich environments and motivation for reading.”

The Ballston-based nonprofit has partnered with the Mexican food chain, which has agreed to donate 25 percent of gross sales over the three-hour period. Many similar fundraisers involve a retailer donating 10 percent or so of gross sales but, Cannon said, “The folks at Cal Tor have been really nice to work with and very generous.”

The money will go toward funding readalongs at homeless shelters and community centers, buying books for children, parent literacy workshops and training for family support workers who promote the importance of reading.

File photo

by Ethan Rothstein — March 19, 2015 at 11:00 am 1,741 0

Sushi will soon be available just steps from the Ballston Metro station.

A new restaurant called Sushi 2Go is moving into the space next to Italian bakery Tivoli Gourmet, in the Metro plaza at the corner of Fairfax Drive and N. Stuart Street.

Previously in the space was Primo Fresh Deli, which served smoothies and sandwiches. According to Yelp reviews of Primo Fresh, the space is very small. Said one reviewer, “Depending on the speed of your gait, you could probably cross the whole damn place by the time you say ‘One Mississippi.’”

Any indication as to what the place will serve — outside of, presumably, grab-and-go Sushi — was not evident from the outside, nor was any notices for building or an opening date.

Hat tip to @HeatherMCarroll

by Ethan Rothstein — March 18, 2015 at 3:45 pm 4,074 0

Grilled mesquite flank steak salad, by SavoryA new food delivery service is serving late night meals to some residents in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, Crystal City and Pentagon City.

Savory officially launched in ZIP codes 22202 and 22201, serving chef-prepared meals between 10:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. Savory is also offering meals tonight (Wednesday), founder Glenn Espinosa told ARLnow.com.

Savory officially launched last Friday out of its base in D.C.’s Union Kitchen. Espinosa founded it after working as a nurse with shifts late at night.

“The first thing I get asked when I come into a shift is ‘what are we going to eat tonight?’” Espinosa said. The answer was “always Domino’s or Chinese food. The first two years I gained 20 pounds just because the food options were so horrible. So I decided to solve my own problem.”

Espinosa enlisted the former executive chef at Flight Wine Bar, Bradley Curtis, to prepare the meals. Espinosa aims for all of them to be under $10 and delivered within 30 minutes of ordering. That’s why, Espinosa said, the service days and locations are so sparse — he wants to make sure he can meet small demand before ramping up.

Those who don’t live in 22202 or 22201 but want Savory should request the service on its website, so Espinosa can gauge demand, he said.

“We go where the demand is,” he said. “If Arlington ends up being where most of our customers and we see huge growth, then we’ll expand there.”

This week, Savory will expand to the 22205 ZIP code, so it can serve Virginia Hospital Center. Espinosa said he expects hospital employees to be among his early adopters, since he’s acutely aware of their need for his service.

Tonight, Curtis is offering a D.C. half-smoke platter with baked beans, cole slaw and molasses brown bread or a mustard baked salmon with fingerling potatoes and peas, each for $9. Pre-orders can begin at 6:00 p.m. All orders have a delivery fee of $3 and the meals are delivered chilled with microwave or oven heating instructions.

Photo courtesy Glenn Espinosa

by Ethan Rothstein — March 17, 2015 at 4:45 pm 3,963 0

A new, fast-casual, healthy restaurant in Clarendon has opened its doors at 1028 N. Garfield Street.

Bowl’d marries the quick, customizable serving style popularized by Chipotle with healthy, gluten-free options.

Customers can choose a base of brown or white rice, quinoa or greens, and build their own bowls with ingredients like baby kale, broccoli, garbanzo beans, carrots, mushrooms, red bell peppers and cabbage, along with chicken, grass-fed steak or tofu. Each bowl has at least two servings of vegetables in it, owner Allen Reed told ARLnow.com.

Bowl’d also offers pre-made bowls like the Mediterranean, Reed’s favorite: brown rice, garbanzo beans, broccoli, carrots, red bell pepper, red onion, mushrooms and baby kale, with sun-dried tomato olive sauce and feta cheese, for $7.75. Reed said he likes it because “it’s a bit different… it’s a bold-flavored sauce like most of our options, but different from our Asian and Southwest-inspired bowls.”

The restaurant opened to the public on Friday and will hold a grand opening on Saturday, March 21. It opens at 10:30 a.m. on weekdays and 11:00 a.m. on weekends, and closes at 9:00 p.m. every day but Sunday, when it closes at 8:00 p.m. Customers who come in during the grand opening get “a sweet treat” to go with their bowl.

“Some people who showed up on the first day have come back the next day and the next day,” Reed said. “This is a place that can be part of a person’s routine, because we’re trying to make it easier to eat better.”

All of the items are made in-house, Reed said, including the all-fruit smoothies that are sweetened with apple juice, pineapple juice or stevia, not frozen yogurt or ice cream. He’s particularly fond of the “whole kitchen sink” smoothie, made of berries, mango, baby kale, flaxseed, and rice protein powder.

“It’s a great grab-and-go portable meal,” Reed said.

by Ethan Rothstein — March 17, 2015 at 2:35 pm 21,475 0

The sign for Chingon Pollo in Buckingam Chingon Pollo in Buckingham

(Updated at 3:05 p.m.) To passersby who don’t speak Spanish, signs for a new restaurant called “Chingon Pollo” on N. Glebe Road in Buckingham wouldn’t raise an eyebrow.

Anyone who speaks the language, however, sees a name that could be construed, at best, as cheeky and, at worst, as profane.

Chingon” is a Spanish slang term that is often used as a compliment, but it’s a conjugation of the verb “chingar,” which in Mexico roughly translates to the English profanity that begins with “F.” ARLnow.com asked a Spanish speaker how she would interpret the name “Chingon Pollo.”

“Chingar is to f-ck and -on means real big ‘ol, so literally ‘real big ol f-cker’ but figuratively like ‘big f-cking’ something,” she said, declining to be identified. The whole name could mean “like a f-ckload of chicken, or possibly really hardcore badass chicken, but more literally a f-ckload.”

“That is crazy, I can’t believe they can name it that,” she added. The name can also be translated more innocently as “damn good chicken.”

A sign in the window says Chingon Pollo is “opening soon.” The restaurant is located at 237 N. Glebe Road, in the former Tandoor restaurant space. In 2013 Tandoor relocated to Ballston Common Mall.

Hat tip to Desiree Lomer-Clarke

by ARLnow.com — March 17, 2015 at 11:00 am 7,717 0

Peace sign shoes spotted at a concert at H-B Woodlawn (Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick)Arlington is the 7th most “hipster city” in America, at least according to one website’s rankings.

FindTheHome.com ranked U.S. cities with populations over 50,000, based on factors like the percentage of the population aged 20-34, the number of yoga studios per 10,000 residents and the number of cafes per 10,000 residents.

According to the website, 35.4 percent of the population in Arlington is aged 20-34 and there are 0.9 yoga studios and 7.9 cafes per 10,000 residents.That was good enough for 7th place in the rankings — ahead of Seattle and San Francisco but behind Cambridge, Mass. and the No. 1 ranked hipster city, Hoboken, N.J.

Glaringly absent from the list (below) was noted hipster haven Portland, Ore.

  1. Hoboken, NJ
  2. Ames, IA
  3. Boulder, CO
  4. Cambridge, MA
  5. College Station, TX
  6. Somerville, MA
  7. Arlington, VA
  8. Auburn, AL
  9. Santa Monica, CA
  10. Davis, CA
  11. Berkeley, CA
  12. Provo, UT
  13. Bloomington, IN
  14. Seattle, WA
  15. Ann Arbor, MI
  16. San Francisco, CA
  17. Iowa City, IA
  18. West Des Moines, IA
  19. Corvallis, OR

A previous hipster list, from real estate information firm RealtyTrac, ranked Arlington’s 22203 ZIP code the 7th most “hipster-friendly” area in the U.S. in 2013.

Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick

by Ethan Rothstein — March 16, 2015 at 3:30 pm 4,436 0

Metropole Brewing founder Michael Katrivanos (photo via Facebook)A new production brewery could be on its way to Arlington, on Four Mile Run Drive near Shirlington.

Metropole Brewing Company has applied for a permit to start a microbrewery at 2709 S. Oakland Street, in the Nauck neighborhood. The application is for a brewery producing 500 or fewer barrels per year — so far there’s no indication from either the application or the nascent brewery’s Facebook page if it plans to serve beverages on-site.

Metropole’s founder, Michael Katrivanos, did not return a message seeking comment this afternoon. He has applied for building permits with the county, but has yet to receive final approval.

If the ABC license and building permits are approved, Metropole could be Arlington’s first indigenous distribution brewery since 1916, when Arlington Brewing Company stopped making beer.

The only two places where beer is brewed commercially in Arlington are Rock Bottom Brewery in the Ballston Common Mall and Capitol City Brewing Company in Shirlington. Neither of those businesses brew beer to be sold off the premises.

This spring, Sehkraft Beer Garden and Haus plans to open in Clarendon and brew its own beer. Owner Devin Hicks told ARLnow.com last summer that Arlington’s Zoning Ordinance prohibits a brewpub from selling its beers to other businesses, but he was exploring options to work around the regulation.

Since 2012, at least two aspiring breweries had sniffed around Arlington to start operations, but both companies could not find space and close a deal.

Photo via Facebook

by Ethan Rothstein — March 13, 2015 at 4:30 pm 1,156 0

After a January fire destroyed 64 bikes and caused more than $150,000 worth of damage at its N. Jackson Street location, Hybrid Pedals has risen from the ashes and will reopen just a few blocks away.

The electric bicycle shop has moved into the former PetMAC space at 822 N. Kenmore Street, and is planning to open on Saturday, April 4, at 11:00 a.m. Store owner Alan Levine told ARLnow.com that, in the meantime, he is selling bicycles at Big Wheel Bikes around the region, including its 3119 Lee Highway location.

When Hybrid Pedals does reopen, its new location will be bigger than its old shop at 925 N. Jackson Street, and have better visibility to Wilson Blvd.

“It’s going to allow us to display bikes much, much better, and we have a great test track along N. Kenmore Street” Levine said. “We kind of made lemonade out of a lemon.”

The bikes that were destroyed were about half of Hybrid Pedals’ inventory, but Levine said insurance was able to cover the cost. The other half of the inventory was already at the Big Wheel Bikes locations so “we didn’t skip a beat,” Levine said.

“The grand opening … gives everyone a chance to see and try our exciting products,” Levine said, especially encouraging veterans and the disabled to come try out the products that can go 20 mph without pedaling, and up to 35 mph with “pedal assist.” “People must try an e-bike to appreciate the fun factor, and we are the only company where someone can try them all before making an educated and informed decision.”

by Ethan Rothstein — March 13, 2015 at 3:00 pm 2,654 0

Dr. Patrick Mullins and student Emily Bielen carefully lift a fallen headstone (photo courtesy Marymount UniversityIn the northeast corner of Marymount University’s North Arlington campus, there has stood an old cemetery with gravestones covered in weeds, without so much as a clue as to who was buried there, and when.

Many of the gravestones read “Gone but not forgotten.”

“That was pretty ironic because the people there had been pretty much forgotten,” MU nursing student Jen Carter, one of the students who was worked to uncover the mysteries of the old cemetery, said in a school press release.

This year, history professor Patrick Mullins, at the urging of MU President Matthew Shank, has led a group of students in unearthing the history behind the cemetery, and they’ve gotten results. According to the school, the Birch-Campbell Cemetery is the burial place for dozens of Arlington residents, dating back to 1841. The most recent burial was in 1959, nine years after the school was founded.

Morgane Murawiec, foreground, and the class peer mentor Kristen Eyler measure distances between headstones for a survey of the cemetery site (photo courtesy Marymount University)“Turns out it’s always been something of a campus enigma,” Mullins said. “No one was really sure who was there, why it was there or who even owned the land.”

Mullins said they’re still not sure who owns the land — the discovery project is ongoing — but they do know more about some of the cemetery’s permanent residents. Most, the school said, were middle-class farmers and landowners.

The fathers, sister, uncle and brother-in-law of Mary Ann Hall, who owned an “upscale brothel” near the U.S. Capitol, are all buried in the cemetery, the students found. Hall owned a farmhouse on the land where Marymount’s Main Hall now stands. She is buried in Congressional Cemetery after her death in 1886.

“Some of the big questions we discussed — and we need to ask as a society — is who do we remember and what do we preserve?” Mullins said in the release. “We learned a great deal about the site and how it ties into local and regional history. We didn’t answer all the questions we were trying to answer, but it’s an ongoing project. We’re not even positive who actually owns that plot of land. That’s part of the research that we’d like to complete.”

Photos courtesy Marymount University

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