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by ARLnow.com — November 21, 2014 at 5:55 pm 1,565 0

SoberMan, SoberWoman's other half, poses with an unidentified woman in Clarendon

A new superhero will be hitting the streets and bars of Clarendon Saturday night.

“SoberWoman” is described as the “witty better half” of SoberMan (left), the anti-DUI superhero who tried to save Clarendon bargoers from poor post-drinking decision making last December.

“SoberWoman will engage with patrons at Arlington area restaurants and quiz them on how they plan to get home after partying,” according to a press release. “She will award prizes to those who have made advanced plans to get home safely by not drinking and driving. SoberWoman will pose for pictures and encourage bar-goers to share photos and her mission via social media, using hashtag #SoberWoman.”

SoberWoman is planning on stopping by Whitlow’s on Wilson (2854 Wilson Blvd), Clarendon Grill (1101 N. Highland Street) and Spider Kelly’s (3181 Wilson Blvd) between 10:00 p.m. and midnight on Saturday. She will be joined by Arlington County Police Department Captain Kamran Afzal and Kurt Erickson, president of the Washington Regional Alcohol Program.

The arrival of SoberWoman should attract some attention. She will “arrive in a police motorcade and use a P.A. system to announce her mission at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Filmore St., adjacent to Whitlow’s,” according to the press release. “She will repeat her police ‘sirens and lights’ arrival at the following bars before engaging bar-goers inside”

Organizers say SoberWoman’s superpowers — namely, “continued vigilance and heightened awareness about drinking and driving” — are needed because drunk driving fatalities have been on the rise in Virginia over the last two years.

by Ethan Rothstein — November 21, 2014 at 3:30 pm 917 0

The location of the former El Encanto Grocery Store, soon reopening as a Mexican restaurantEl Encanto Grocery Store, which has doubled as a Colombian restaurant, closed three days ago but is planning to reopen.

Going in its place at 85 N. Glebe Road, according to workers at the storefront this afternoon, will be a Mexican and Salvadorian restaurant. A sign hanging where the El Encanto sign used to be says “Jarochita #2 Mexican Grill, Panadería & Carnecería Coming Soon.”

The new shop will still have a grocery store and is not changing ownership, the workers said. They could not provide an estimate as to when the storefront would reopen.

Hat tip @TheMadameMeow

by ARLnow.com — November 20, 2014 at 3:45 pm 527 0

Crystal City and Rosslyn were big winners at the NAIOP Northern Virginia commercial real estate development awards yesterday.

Projects and transactions in the two Arlington communities accounted for nearly a third of the 25 awards given out by the organization last night. Adding to Arlington’s haul was one award for a building in Clarendon.

The Arlington winners included:

  • Monument View in Crystal City — Best Real Estate Transaction – Sale, Award of Merit
  • 1776 Wilson Boulevard in Rosslyn — Best Real Estate Transaction – Sale, Award of Excellence
  • CEB Tower at Central Place in Rosslyn — Best Real Estate Transaction – Lease, Award of Merit
  • WeWork in Crystal City – Best Real Estate Transaction – Lease, Award of Excellence
  • Crystal Tech Fund in Crystal City — Best Interiors 0-14,999 SF, Award of Excellence
  • Vornado/Charles E. Smith DesignLab in Crystal City — Best Project Marketing, Award of Excellence
  • Presidential Towers in Crystal City — Best Building Common Area, Award of Merit
  • 3001 & 3003 Washington Boulevard in Clarendon — Best Speculative Office Building 7 to 14 Stories, Award of Excellence
  • 1812 North Moore Street in Rosslyn — Best Speculative Office Building 15 Stories and Above, Award of Merit

by Ethan Rothstein — November 20, 2014 at 2:30 pm 2,500 0

4000 Wilson Blvd, the future home of Pepita, Kapnos Taverna and Yona (photo via Google Maps)Another restaurant owned by Top Chef contestant Mike Isabella is coming to 4000 Wilson Blvd in Ballston, but this one will be focused on ramen noodles and Japanese food.

The restaurant will be called Yona, and unlike the under-construction Kapnos Taverna and Pepita, Isabella won’t be found anywhere near the kitchen. Instead, Jonah Kim — formerly the executive chef at PABU Izakaya, now closed, in Baltimore — will bring his take on the traditional noodle dish to Ballston, with a planned opening in spring 2015.

“The restaurant is going to focus around ramen,” Kim told ARLnow.com today. “It’s like Asian comfort food. Noodles and broth, it’s the Asian spaghetti and meatballs. The perception of ramen is like the cheap college kid, that’s what you’re surviving on, but ramen is such a huge tradition in Japan.”

Jonah Kim (photo by Greg Powers)During the lunch hour — which Kim expects to be busy, based on the number of offices in the surrounding area — the menu will feature quick dishes and takeout. In the evening, the 1,500-square-foot space will become more of a sitdown restaurant. Kim said the number of ramen dishes on the menu will shrink and there will be more small plates available.

The restaurant will also have a full bar, with sake, shochu and Japanese whiskey, along with cusotm cocktails, Kim said.

While ramen has become a trendy restaurant specialty in New York, the District and even border jurisdictions in Northern Virginia, when it opens, Yona is believed to be the first ramen-focused restaurant in Arlington. Kim says Ballston is the perfect spot for it.

“I think the dining scene is definitely growing with everything else,” Kim said. “We’re about offering more choices to the neighborhood. I think the demographic there works for this kind of concept as well. I think that whole area is dying for more food, more dining options.”

Isabella is now highly invested in the area, and in a press release he said that Yona will be another component of bringing Ballston to the forefront of the restaurant scene in the D.C. metropolitan area.

“The Ballston food scene is growing as fast as its business district,” he said in the release. “By the time we’re done, Ballston will be the next dining destination for Northern Virginia and D.C.”

Photo (top) via Google Maps. Photo (bottom) by Greg Powers.

by Ethan Rothstein — November 19, 2014 at 11:00 am 2,231 0

Jimmy John’s sandwich shop is now open to the public in its newest Arlington location, on N. Irving Street in Clarendon.

According to the shop’s employees, yesterday was its first day in business. The store is the chain’s fourth in Arlington: it also owns storefronts in Rosslyn, Crystal City and Ballston.

The shop is on the ground floor of the new Beacon at Clarendon building, down the block from LeoNora Gourmet Bakery. There is no word yet on if the block smells like baking bread all day.

by ARLnow.com — November 17, 2014 at 11:55 pm 7,669 0

"Don Tito" logo and partners“Tacos, tequila and beer” — that’s the quick pitch for the new bar that will be taking the place of Eventide restaurant in Clarendon.

Don Tito is likely to open in the 10,000 square foot space at 3165 Wilson Blvd by early March, according to Scott Parker, one of the establishment’s five partners. Construction is expected to start as soon as next week.

The restaurant will feature “flex Mex” cuisine — Mexican dishes plus traditional American fare with a “Mexican twist” — but the emphasis will be more on the aforementioned beer and tequila. A bar will be added to what is now a dining area on the second floor, and a second bar will be added to the center of the rooftop.

The partners in Don Tito are Parker, Nick Cordero and Mike Cordero — the owners of the popular but oft-maligned A-Town Bar and Grill in Ballston — plus newcomers Ryan DeMagistris and Jason Fisher. All five are Arlington residents, Parker said.

The Cordero crew is on a roll since closing the financially-sound but stagnant Caribbean Breeze and reopening as A-Town in 2012. In addition to purchasing Eventide — for a sum just shy of $1 million, sources say – the company has also secured a 6,000 square foot space in Rosslyn for a bar/restaurant that’s expected to open in the fall of 2015, Parker tells ARLnow.com.

Parker declined to reveal additional information about the future Rosslyn watering hole, including its exact location.

The Eventide purchase will give its owners two big advantages, according to those with knowledge of the transaction. For one, the sublease offers five years of well below-market rent. For another, it offers a prime location in a Clarendon business district that’s well established as a nightlife spot — as opposed to A-Town’s location, where condo-owning neighbors have railed against late night noise.

Don Tito will remain open until 2:00 a.m. seven nights per week, according to Parker.

Parker said the partners were able to buy Eventide despite stiff competition from other restaurant owners, both local and national. The concept for Don Tito has been in the works for some time now, he said, and 3165 Wilson Blvd was judged the ideal place for it to open. In 2013, a Northern Virginia Magazine article about the opening of another Cordero restaurant, Flat Iron Steak & Saloon in Alexandria, described a planned Arlington venture that was then dubbed “Tacos and Beer.”

The owners of Eventide spent a reported $3 million constructing the restaurant, which opened in 2008. Parker said changes are necessary to “liven up the space and give it a little spark,” including renovations to the second floor which is “looking a bit too much like a monastery or something.”

Parker said he thinks Don Tito will compare favorably to what he described as an overabundance of American-style bars and restaurants in Clarendon. As for more direct competition, like nearby Mexicali Blues and Fuego Cocina, Parker said he and his partners are not too worried.

“Fuego is an incredible venue and we’ve been there many times,” he said. “Fuego is a great Mexican restaurant, [Don Tito] will be a great Mexican bar.”

by Ethan Rothstein — November 17, 2014 at 3:45 pm 1,760 0

Sand volleyball at Quincy Park (photo via Arlington Parks and Recreation)There are dozens of lighted athletic facilities in Arlington’s parks — like turf fields, basketball courts and volleyball courts — but not a single sand volleyball court is among them.

At least one Arlington resident thinks that should change. Mikael Manoukian, who says he’s an Arlington native, told the County Board on Saturday that the county has 26 lighted rectangular fields, 19 lighted diamond fields and dozens of lighted basketball and tennis courts.

“There are 11 sand volleyball courts and none are lighted,” Manoukian said. He advocated putting lights on the volleyball court at Quincy Park in Virginia Square, which is currently undergoing the design process for a renovation.

“Every other facility at Quincy Park — the basketball court, tennis court, soccer field, diamond field — has lights,” he said. “And there’s good tree coverage if light pollution is an issue. Perhaps money could be found outside the maintenance fund to do that later.”

County Department of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish confirmed that there are no lighted sand volleyball courts owned the county. In fact, she said, sand volleyball lighting hasn’t even been formally proposed, as far as she’s aware.

“I’ve never heard about that before, that would be a new one,” she said. “So many of the other sports have user groups or things that, and volleyball doesn’t necessarily. There’s no one coming forward to say a lot about that.”

There is some good news for Arlington volleyball players, however. There are two privately owned, but publicly accessible, lighted sand volleyball courts at 2451 Crystal Drive in Crystal City.

Photo via Arlington Parks and Recreation

by ARLnow.com — November 17, 2014 at 9:05 am 16,461 0

Eventide Restaurant in Clarendon The rooftop deck at Eventide Restaurant in Clarendon

Update at 11:55 p.m. — A “tacos, tequila and beer” venue called Don Tito will replace Eventide. It’s expected to open by March.

Eventide Restaurant (3165 Wilson Blvd) served its last meals last night.

The Clarendon restaurant has permanently closed, according to an announcement on its website.

“It has been a great pleasure to serve Arlington and the broader Washington community,” the announcement says. “Thank you to all of our customers, our vendors and especially our employees.”

Local restaurant message board operator Don Rockwell first reported last night that the Eventide space will be taken over by the operators of Ballston’s A-Town Bar and Grill.

“[A-Town owner] Mike Cordero has bought the business and the lease,” Eventide co-owner confirmed to ARLnow.com this morning.

Restaurateurs potentially interested in taking over the space were seen touring Eventide in September, a tipster told ARLnow.com at the time.

Some on Rockwell’s message board were skeptical of an A-Town-style bar in Clarendon. A-Town has faced scrutiny from Arlington County as a result of numerous noise complaints and a number of police incidents. It was dubbed “the most troublesome establishment in Ballston” by county staff.

“It’s my sincere hope the new owners don’t try and replicate A-Town in the space… turn[ing] it into a frat house,” one message board user wrote following the news. “Otherwise that block genuinely will turn into essentially Adams Morgan.”

Despite the concerns, A-Town remains a success story. The business is regularly packed with customers, validating the gamble Cordero and two partners — his son, Nick Cordero, and Scott Parker — made when converting the financially-sound Caribbean Breeze to A-Town in 2012.

by Ethan Rothstein — November 14, 2014 at 11:00 am 2,152 0

Oak tree at N. Nottingham and 27th Streets (photo via iPetitions)Neighbors of a large oak tree on the corner of 27th Street N. and Nottingham Street are concerned that a new development will tear down their “champion tree.”

The tree, according to an online petition the neighbors have launched, is more than 200 years old and is the largest Wildenow’s Oak — a natural hybrid of a black oak and southern red oak — in Virginia. It’s on Arlington’s list of “Champion Trees.”

“Local naturalists have examined it and found it to be in excellent health,” the petition states. “In its long life, the tree has survived the widespread felling of Arlington’s trees during the Civil War and the neighborhood’s transformation from farms to a suburb dotted with neat rows of brick colonials, Cape Cods and ramblers.”

The lot on which the tree sits is slated to be redeveloped by DS Homes, a small construction company based in Manassas. When reached by ARLnow.com, DS Homes employee Manny Carneiro said “the plan right now is to save the tree.”

Nonetheless, Carneiro pointed out that the tree is on the lot and things could change. At the very least, DS Homes will have to trim some of the massive tree’s branches during construction, when it tears down the current home, built in 1950, for a new one. DS Homes bought the property to redevelop last month, according to Arlington County property records.

The online petition has 324 signatures as of 10:55 a.m. The petition’s organizers have a goal of 400 signatures.

Photo via iPetitions

by ARLnow.com — November 12, 2014 at 2:30 pm 412 0

Arlington County has released a new video with tips for keeping yourself and county workers safe on the roads.

The brief video (above) includes the following tips for driving in the vicinity of county work trucks.

1. Slow down around work zones and provide county vehicles and personnel additional space needed to safely operate
2. Stay out of truck blind spots, located between the doors and the rear of the vehicle
3. Do not pull in front of a truck when you need to stop or slow down
4. Be sure to signal your intentions and do not make moves abruptly
5. When parking, be sure to park as close to the curb as possible
6. Always be a PAL (predictable, alert and lawful) on the roads

The video encourages residents who have complaints about unsafe behavior on the part of county truck drivers to call Arlington’s risk management office at 703-228-4444.

by Ethan Rothstein — November 12, 2014 at 11:00 am 906 0

A new mural is being painted today at the new plaza at 19th and N. Moore Streets in Rosslyn.

New York City-based artist Jason Woodside has been working on the piece — which he describes as a “creative vortex” — since last Friday. Woodside plans on finishing the majority of his painting by tonight before putting the finishing touches on it the rest of the week.

The mural “kind of speaks just to what’s going in this zone,” Woodside told ARLnow.com while taking a break from spray painting the brick wall. “There’s a bus stop, there’s people coming and going, it’s really transient. It’s more of just something for people to look at and lose themselves in. I call it kind of a vortex, a creative vortex. It pulls people in, it makes their day. It’s all positive.”

The JBG Companies – which owns the property at 1911 N. Ft. Myer Drive and is constructing the Central Place development across the street — commissioned Woodside to paint the piece after seeing the work he’s done in large installations in Miami, Los Angeles, Sydney, Australia and New York. Woodside said it’s the first time he’s been to the D.C. area since he was two years old, despite being born in Fairfax.

The mural is part of the #JBGMurals series; the Chevy Chase, Md.-based developer has also commissioned a piece at L’Enfant Plaza for the campaign.

by Ethan Rothstein — November 10, 2014 at 1:30 pm 1,211 0

A new “lifestyle studio” focused on aesthetic skin and body improvements using high-tech, non-invasive techniques is planning to open a studio at 2012 Wilson Blvd, in the new 2001 Clarendon building.

The studio is called Radovà Lifestyle, named for its owner, Gabriela Radovà. Radovà, a “Master Aesthetician” according to her website, said the studio is currently under construction in the new space, and she plans on opening by Thanksgiving.

“We specialize in customizing face and body treatments for each of our clients so that you are assured of achieving your specific goals,” Radovà’s website reads. “Radio Frequency, Ultrasound, next generation Intense Pulsed Light (AFT) and Coolsculpting are a few of our advanced technologies used to remove body fat and tighten the skin without the risk of needles and downtime. Our customized skin and body sculpting treatments are expertly applied by Master Estheticians following proven European techniques and proprietary protocols developed by Gabriela Radová.”

Although the studio is not yet open, Radovà is already taking appointments for services like chemical peels, body fat and cellulite reductions, skin tightening and nutrition and weight loss consultations.

Radovà joins Southern restaurant Tupelo Honey Cafe, a 7-Eleven, a Hair Cuttery, Olive Oil Boom and a nail salon as retail businesses moving into the ground floor of the recently opened building.

by Ethan Rothstein — November 7, 2014 at 11:30 am 1,257 0

PetMac in Virginia Square, which is closing this year A cat rests in a display at PetMac in Virginia Square, which is closing this year

PetMAC, the pet supply store and adoption center at 822 N. Kenmore Street in Virginia Square, is closing its doors before the end of the year and moving to Reston.

The store’s lease ends at the end of December, according to owner Cindy Williams, and business has slowed down to the point where she can’t afford to keep the store in such an expensive area.

The people of Arlington have been great and we love our Ashton Heights and Lyon Park neighbors. However, more and more people are telling us they are purchasing online,” she said. “That, coupled with PetCo opening down the street, has hurt our sales dramatically. I tried to move elsewhere in Arlington but everything was too expensive for a small, independently owned shop like PetMAC. I hate leaving our loyal customers but we just can’t afford to stay.”

PetMAC is planning to open a store in Reston’s Lake Anne Plaza, where it will move some of its inventory. Williams expects the Virginia Square location to close depending on when the Reston shop is ready to open. Her Arlington customers will get 20 percent off for the next year when they visit the Reston store.

PetMAC will continue to host its adoption events until the store closes, including this Saturday from noon to 4:00 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 2:00 p.m.

by Ethan Rothstein — November 6, 2014 at 11:30 am 1,983 0

Citizen Burger Bar's location at 1051 N. Highland Street Citizen Burger Bar's location at 1051 N. Highland Street

Citizen Burger Bar, a sit-down, farm-sourced burger restaurant, hopes to open at 1051 N. Highland Street in Clarendon around the new year.

The restaurant announced in a press release that it expects to open “in about two months,” with a full bar and a large, open space with an open kitchen. The restaurant’s first branch opened in Charlottesville in 2012, and the Clarendon location will be its second.

“The idea is to broaden people’s horizons when it comes to simple, ‘classic American’ fare,” said owner Anderson McClure, an Alexandria native. “We want to serve great food and drinks, and do it in a way that might also change people’s perception and standards.”

The restaurant, according to a press release, will source its grass-fed beef, eggs, cheese and produce from farms in Virginia “each run with ethical, sustainable, free-range priorities.” All of the waitstaff will be trained to explain the origins of the menu and bar items. The restaurant says it will partner with “neighborhood bakers” for the bread used in its burger buns.

As far as the bar, customers can expect a rotating tap list and more than 100 bottles of beer, plus “cutting-edge craft cocktails and an upstanding wine list showcasing many Virginia wineries.”

There will also be flatscreen TVs throughout the bar.

The Charlottesville location was named the “best burger” and “best place to watch the game” in the 2014 edition of C-Ville Weekly, a Charlottesville magazine.

by ARLnow.com — November 5, 2014 at 4:15 pm 1,014 0

Update on 11/6/14 – Board consideration of this apartment building has been delayed until December.

The Arlington County Board is slated to consider a 453-unit apartment building that’s proposed to replace a vacant Pentagon City office building this month.

The Board on Nov. 15 is scheduled to vote on a site plan for a new apartment complex at 400 Army Navy Drive. Bethesda-based developer LCOR has proposed a 20-story building with two towers on one, three-story platform, located east of the planned PenPlace development and west of the Crystal City DoubleTree hotel.

County staff have suggested a number of community benefits from the developer, in exchange for the extra zoning density needed for the project. Among them: affordable housing, public art, park and utility fund contributions; streetscape improvements; and LEED Gold certification. Also, Arlington is considering using of a county-owned parcel in front of the property for a streetcar operations and maintenance facility, but would like the developer to spruce it up in the interim.

The apartment building will replace an aging office building that was formerly home to the Department of Defense Inspector General’s office.

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