The Asian fusion restaurant opened in March and held its grand opening celebration in May. However, owner Wendy Cheng said she found Arlington to be too far from Maryland, where she lives and runs the other two Red Parrot locations. She said the long commute was causing too many problems with maintaining the Arlington location.
Cheng confirms the Arlington location “is closed as of this week.”
The finalists have been chosen for Arlington’s annual Decal Design Competition and residents will have the chance to choose a favorite later this week.
The contest is open to all Arlington high school students and a citizens’ panel typically narrows down the entries to four finalists. This year, however, five finalists were named because the voting resulted in a tie.
The winning 2014-2015 decal will be announced at a County Board meeting early next year and will be affixed to about 160,000 car windshields beginning next summer.
Each student included a description of his or her design. Excerpts from each are below:
- Education is a Virtue — “I think my photograph of the Arlington Education Center and the Planetarium represent Arlington’s important focus on students and education.”
- Netherlands Carrillon — “To me, Arlington represents community and pride. I wanted to depict something in my photo that brings both to mind for me.”
- Arlington’s Namesake — “The Arlington House and Arlington National Cemetary together help to show the abudance of history that Arlington County has.”
- Crystal Fountain — “The different colors also represent the diversity in Arlington. I’m grateful to be living in such beautiful and diverse community as Arlington.”
- Arlington Landmark — “To me, it’s light symbolizes Arlington’s dreams and opportunities. My years in Arlington have showed me that I can grow into whoever I want to be.”
The Arlington County Treasurer’s Office is still updating its website with the decals and the unedited descriptions each student wrote. Residents will be able to vote for their favorite starting on Thursday and running through January 19.
ARLbiz will be published weekly and will be geared toward local entrepreneurs and business professionals. It will provide concise original reporting on local business matters and links to other outlets’ Arlington-related business articles, all in one place.
There will also be weekly commentary from local business, nonprofit and government leaders.
“Despite the recent slowdown in the commercial real estate market, Arlington remains a thriving business center,” said Scott Brodbeck, publisher of ARLnow.com. “We’re looking forward to launching an editorially-independent business publication that focuses only on Arlington, bringing vital business intelligence to local business owners and professionals.”
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The Robeks smoothie shop in Courthouse has closed.
The Robeks location at 2300 Wilson Blvd, next to Me Jana was one of two locations for the national smoothie chain in Arlington. The Courthouse shop’s only current Arlington location is in Shirlington (4115 A S. Campbell Street).
The sign announcing the store’s closing didn’t give a reason, simply stating “Robeks at Courthouse is now closed. Thank you for your patronage over the last 8 years!”
Representatives from Robeks could not be reached for comment.
Hat tip to Mikey Lynch
Arlington County is preparing to launch its new website homepage.
The new website has been in the works for awhile. Based on open source WordPress software, the new system will reduce the cost of development and upkeep, and make it easier for employees to update web pages.
A number of sections of the county’s website have already been updated, including Water and Utilities, Budget, Real Estate, Police, Fire, Sheriff, Voting & Elections and Housing. The homepage, environment page and trash and recycling page are up next.
“We expect the new homepage to go live by the end of the month,” Arlington County spokeswoman Jennifer K. Smith told ARLnow.com.
A new county-produced video (above) explains some of the changes. Advantages of the new site for residents include a simpler and more mobile friendly interface, better navigation (around topics instead of county departments), fewer links on the homepage and a better search system.
New, easy-to-use features of the site include the ability to quickly find the parks closest to you and finding out whether certain items can be recycled.
Some of today’s big names in local business gathered in Ballston Wednesday night to decide who will be the big names of tomorrow.
Capitals and Wizards owner Ted Leonsis, former United States Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra and Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) were among the judges for the Ballston Business Improvement District Launchpad Challenge Finale. One company was supposed to go home with $15,000 in cash, office space and furniture and free legal advice.
“Both companies made a lot of sense to us,” Leonsis said after the ceremony. “We liked the teams and entrepreneurs. In horseracing, sometimes you bet the jockey and not the horse.”
BuilDatAnalytics is a business intelligence company aimed at solving inefficiencies in construction projects. Founder Tiffany Hosey Brown worked two years in construction for her family’s construction company before deciding the day-to-day operations needed radical improvement. Her company guarantees a 1 percent savings on all construction projects for its clients; considering her pilot clients’ projects cost more than $1 billion combined, she said she’s already saving them $10 million.
“It was kind of surreal, but it was exciting,” Brown said of when Leonsis called her name. She donned a hard hat during part of her presentation, and strode about the stage with confidence. When asked if there was a point during her speech if she knew she was going to win, she answered, “when [Leonsis] asked me ‘what are you going to do with the money?’”
Carsquare is billed by its founder and CEO, Khurrum Shakir, as the Kayak for cars; an aggregator of different online car shopping sites, brought together in one place. Shakir, who worked under Leonsis at AOL as a business development manager for AOL Cars, is hoping to raise $2 million in funding to fuel marketing to bring more eyeballs to his site.
“Next for us is taking it to the next level,” Shakir said afterward. “We need to finalize the app we have and integrate our new website.”
The two finalists not selected, Changecause and M2 Labs, will join BuilDatAnalytics and Carsquare next month in actual pitch meetings with Leonsis, where they will have a chance to convince one of the D.C. area’s richest people to invest in their company.
Attorney Mark Gruhin, the fourth judge on the panel and a venture investor in his own right, said each company had a strong idea, but it will take more than a 10-minute presentation in a movie theater to convince investors.
“They’re scaling right now. They have to prove their management skills,” Gruhin said. “They need to get ready for the curveballs, because they’re coming.”
There were 14 semifinalists in the field before it was narrowed to four. Before the field was narrowed down, members of the community chose Tomorrow’s Lemonade Stand — a company aimed at fostering entrepreneurship in children in grades 2-4 — for the Customer Appreciation Award. The company was founded by 7-year-old Kylee Majkowski and her mother, Amanda Antico-Majkowski, who were presented with the award on stage.
Ballston BID CEO Tina Leone announced 2014′s LaunchPad Challenge at the event, a different competition than 2013′s startup competition. Starting in January, the BID will accept applications for a new signature restaurant in Ballston. The prize will be a year of free restaurant space and the competition will be helmed by chef Mike Isabella, owner of several D.C.-area restaurants, including an upcoming eatery in Ballston.
Disclosure: Ballston BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser
The Animal Welfare League of Arlington is launching a holiday campaign this Friday to encourage locals to adopt pets and shop for a good cause.
On Black Friday (Nov. 29) only, AWLA is offering half-price adoption fees for all the animals at its shelter at 2650 S. Arlington Mill Drive.
AWLA will also be offering gift-wrapping for those coming from Black Friday sales, from noon to 5:00 p.m. One wrapped gift costs $3 and four gifts will cost $10.
The organization is offering several other promotions and charity drives for the holiday season. From AWLA:
- A Pawsitively, Purrfect Gift Certificate – Surprise a loved one with an AWLA gift certificate redeemable for a pet adoption fee, retail or bakery items or a microchip and rabies vaccination clinic. Gift certificates are available for purchase at the League or over the phone (703) 931-9241.
- Sweet Treats for Fido – Looking for a stocking stuffer for your pooch? A 5 inch tall, custom Rudolph cookie treat by Dogma Bakery & Boutique is on sale exclusively at AWLA for $3 per treat or $5 for three treats. Proceeds from each purchase will benefit AWLA shelter animals.
- Collars for Canines – This holiday season AWLA is holding a “collar drive” for shelter dogs. The League is in need of Quick Release Snap Martingale Collars. Collars can be purchased and shipped directly to the League from an Amazon wish list.
- Purchasing a 2014 AWLA Calendar – Features inspirational stories and photos of League adoptions. Calendars can be purchased for $20 at the League to benefit shelter animals.
- Contributing on “Giving Tuesday” – You know about Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but are you aware of Giving Tuesday? Kick off the holiday season of giving by making a tax deductable donation to the shelter animals at AWLA on Tuesday, December 3. Visit http://givingtuesday.razoo.
com/story/Awla for details and to make a contribution.
Schools will be closed Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. County government offices, courts and libraries will be closed Thursday and Friday, and parking meters will not be enforced.
County pools will be closed Thursday and will operate on a modified schedule Wednesday and Friday. All community centers will be closed Thursday, but the Arlington Mill and Walter Reed centers will be open Friday. The Thomas Jefferson Community Center will be closed throughout the holiday weekend.
ART buses will operate, but on a holiday schedule. Trash and leaf collection will proceed as normal.
More than 1 million D.C. area residents will travel at least 50 miles during the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday period, AAA Mid-Atlantic projects, but the number of travelers will actually be lower than last year.
AAA says 1,058,000 people will journey out of the Washington area, down from 1,070,5000 last year. A projected 90.7 percent of travelers will get out of town via automobile, while 6.9 percent will take planes. The remainder will take rail and other travel methods.
The D.C. region was home to about 5.9 million residents as of 2012.
From the AAA Mid-Atlantic press release:
All in all, that’s 12,000 fewer persons this time around, but you probably won’t notice any difference on area roads, or at airline ticket counters and bus and train stations in the Washington metro area. Remarkably, the overall volume of local holiday travelers has numbered over one million persons for the three past Thanksgiving holidays, and the same is true this year too, after rebounding from the recession-driven declines in 2008-2009. That’s when Thanksgiving travel fell by a staggering 25 percent.
“Still over one million local residents are in the travel mode and mood this Thanksgiving holiday period, as the number of Thanksgiving travelers tops the one million person mark for the fourth year in a row,” said John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs. “Despite the big drop in gas prices this holiday when compared to last Thanksgiving, local residents have been coping with the lingering impact of the sequestration and they are still reeling from the effects of the federal government shutdown in October, both of which hit the regional labor market really hard, especially government contract workers, at the psychic, pocketbook and deeply personal levels.”
The problems include sporadic difficulty connecting to websites and connections that are crawling at dial-up speeds. The issues have been reported in south and north Arlington, as well as Falls Church and Vienna, said Alexander Chamandy of Arlington Virginia Computer Repair.
Update at 2:00 p.m. — Verizon says the issues have been resolved.
“Verizon FiOS customers in parts of northern Virginia, Maryland and D.C. may have experienced sporadic issues with their Internet or video on demand service earlier today,” said Verizon Media and Public Relations Director Harry J. Mitchell. “We have resolved the issue, and services have restored as of about 1 p.m.”
If you find yourself in immediate physical danger while walking through a neighborhood, heading to a nearby fire station may not be the first thing that comes to mind. But the Arlington County Fire Department hopes to change that with its “Safe Haven lobbies.”
Although it is not yet widely known, a number of the county’s fire stations have been outfitted with special lobby features to protect a person who goes there for help.
The person in danger can go through the outside doors and into the fire station lobby, where the second set of doors leading to the rest of the fire station are always locked. When the person pushes the button on an emergency box inside the lobby, the outside doors automatically lock and the box calls 911.
Someone at the county’s Emergency Communications Center (ECC) answers as if it were a typical 911 call placed from a phone. They speak to the person to determine the type of emergency and will then dispatch the appropriate emergency responders to the location.
There are cameras on the ceiling of the lobby that turn on when the emergency button is pushed. While waiting for police or fire fighters to respond, staff at the ECC will monitor the cameras to see what is happening during the call. The outside lobby doors will remain locked until ECC workers hang up the call when they determine the caller is safe.
The system can be used at any time, even if the station is empty while fire fighters are out on a call.
“The fire house is somewhere you can always come if you’re in danger. If you need help or have to call 911, you can come to any fire house,” said ACFD spokeswoman Lt. Sarah Marchegiani. “It’s important to know that if you live close to one of these locations, one of the five that have it, that this exists and it’s another safety for you.”
All of the newer fire stations — 2, 3, 5, 6 and 9 — have a Safe Haven equipped lobby. Fire Station No. 9 was the first to be outfitted with the system when it was renovated in the late 1990s. The older stations were not built with lobbies, but the goal is to eventually install this type of a system in all of Arlington’s stations when they are upgraded or replaced.
So far nobody has used the system, but it’s unclear if that is because citizens haven’t had the need or if they’re not yet aware the Safe Haven lobbies exist.
(Updated at 2:05 p.m.) Bonefish Grill will be opening a location in Arlington next year.
The new restaurant will be located in Pentagon Row, not far from Sur La Table on S. Joyce Street. It will fill a 5,350 square foot space where the Desi Innovations furniture store used to be.
Bonefish Grill is a national chain specializing in market-fresh fish and other wood-grilled specialties.
“Pentagon Row’s latest addition will be a dinner, cocktails and brunch destination for the neighborhood, and we’re proud Bonefish Grill chose Pentagon Row for their Arlington location,” said Robin McBride of Federal Realty Investment Trust.
The restaurant is expected to open sometime next summer.
Workers could be seen removing the Bailey’s sign from the building today. The Crystal City location has also been removed from the sports bar’s website.
The Bailey’s in the Ballston Common Mall is still open and employees there did not have any information about any possible plans to close.
A tipster tells ARLnow.com that the space formerly occupied by Bailey’s in Crystal City is being considered for a possible music and comedy venue.
Hat tip to @hamblinj
Arlington Economic Development organizes the contest and residents vote for their favorite businesses in each category. The winners were announced at this afternoon’s County Board meeting. This year’s winners are:
- Best Bargain Restaurant — Lost Dog Cafe
- Best Boutique — Trade Roots
- Best Brunch Spot — Liberty Tavern
- Best Coffee Shop — Northside Social
- Best Cultural Group or Venue — Signature Theater
- Best Customer Service — Arlington Public Library
- Best Dessert — Pastries by Randolph
- Best Family Friendly Spot — Arlington Public Library
- Best Fine Dining — Ray’s the Steaks
- Best Gym/Fitness Center — Thomas Jefferson Community Center
- Best Happy Hour — Westover Beer Garden & Haus
- Best New Business — Trade Roots
- Best Outdoor Dining — Westover Beer Garden & Haus
- Best Pet Friendly Business — Dogma Bakery
- Best Pizza Place — Pupatella
- Best Salon/Spa — Smitten Boutique Salon
County Board Chairman Walter Tejada offered the reminder that the best way to support these and other Arlington businesses is to shop locally, especially during Arlington Small Business Day on Saturday, November 30.
Phoenix Bikes — a nonprofit focused on empowering youths by teaching them bicycle repair and entrepreneurship — wants to build a new location for itself at an estimated cost of $1 million, according to county Department of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish. The facility will include public restrooms.
The organization currently has its headquarters in Barcroft Park, not far from the proposed location, but being adjacent to the W&OD Trail is key because it “is accessible by bike and near the community it serves,” Kalish wrote in an email.
“Arlington County is interested in this opportunity because Phoenix Bikes has a successful history supporting Arlington youth and the new facility will include public restrooms, a drinking fountain, water bottle refill station and air pump, which will be available to the community,” Kalish said. “Phoenix Bikes’ mission is consistent with Arlington County’s as it encourages fitness, fosters a car-free lifestyle, supports diverse communities and is a model for sustainable practices.”
Phoenix Bikes and the parks department will host a question-and-answer session for the community this Saturday, Nov. 23, at the Park Operations conference room (2700 S. Taylor Street).
The proposed site is on county property, but Phoenix Bikes would fund its construction. Kalish said it has already received several pro bono contributions that should diffuse some of the costs.