(Updated at 3:45 p.m.) Hundreds of cyclists took to Clarendon and Crystal City streets as part of the Air Force Association Cycling Classic this past weekend.
The two-day event saw professional, amateur and youth cyclists speed up and down Wilson and Clarendon Boulevards and Crystal Drive. The course also featured several tight turns for participants to whip around. The Clarendon Cup had five of these turns, which makes it one of the more difficult courses of its kind in the United States.
“It’s a really fun, local race. It’s one of the best in the area,” said Mattison Brady, a Washington, D.C. resident who placed second in the Amateur race.
The course’s technical challenges only add to the fun, Brady said.
But for some the two courses proved to be anything but fun. The Clarendon Cup’s challenges turned the race into a “race of attrition,” said Christopher Hair, a local cyclist with the United Healthcare/National Capital Velo Club Amateur team.
“It’s about an hour of excruciating pain,” Hair said. “Most people are smiling because it’s over.”
Riders also fell prey to the courses with multiple crashes throughout the two days. Multiple women hit the pavement during an early crash in the Clarendon Cup and at least two riders hit the ground during the men’s professional Crystal Cup causing a small slowdown.
The event was also apparently hazardous to a County Board candidate. Independent Board candidate Audrey Clement said the road closures from the Clarendon Cup hindered her ability to safely bike to Saturday’s Board meeting.
“As you know, I am an avid biker. I’ve biked to work every day for the past 25 years and I’ve biked to virtually every County Board meeting for the past three years,” Clement said in the meeting’s public comment period. “Yet today, I risked my life to bike to this meeting because the bike race… had blocked off all the streets in Clarendon. This represents not just an inconvenience to pedestrians, motorists and other bikers in the county, it constitutes reckless endangerment.”
For Hilton Clarke, a professional cyclist with United Healthcare, the two-day event was something to celebrate. The 35-year-old Australian cyclist won both the Clarendon and Crystal Cups and the Omnium.
“Well, I’ve been here a few times, and I’ve won now yesterdays race three times, and this race I’ve come in second three times, so it’s nice, even though my teammates normally beat me in this race, it’s nice to get a win here in this event so I’m really happy,” Clarke said.
For the women, Lauren Stephens took the Clarendon Cup after a long breakaway, and Coryn Rivera, a nationally-known cyclist, took the Crystal Cup and the Omnium.
Readers of Washington City Paper recently voted the neighborhood joint ‘Best Pizza’ in the paper’s annual Best of DC series, and the Wilson Blvd restaurant used that as an opportunity to highlight its apparent propensity for being a spot for successful first dates.
Together with Faccia Luna locations in Alexandria and State College, Pa., co-owner Joe Corey says he has talked to at minimum 300 couples who had their first date at Faccia Luna and eventually got married. At least five couples whose relationship started at Faccia Luna returned to the restaurant to propose, and two more have held their wedding receptions there.
“We always knew about it — we would talk to our customers, and every week we would find one or two new couples who had had their first date here,” Corey said. “This is something to be proud of.”
About a year and a half ago, after years of hearing stories of first dates leading to marriages, Faccia Luna began officially documenting the trend, via a continuously updated Word document.
Faccia Luna Trattoria’s Arlington location is 23 years old; the restaurant’s first location opened its doors in State College, PA in 1989. Corey describes Faccia Luna as a homegrown restaurant and attributes its longevity and success as a neighborhood institution to its “commitment to quality, coupled with an upscale, urban design.”
Washington City Paper readers praised Faccia Luna for what they called “real Italian pizza.”
“Pizzerias have come and gone, presidents have come and gone, even those critically acclaimed pizzerias have come and gone and still Faccia Luna has met the ‘Taste of Thyme,'” the restaurant said in a press release.
Saturday will be the last day for Ted’s Montana Grill in Ballston.
The bison-centric restaurant chain decided not to renew its lease at the Ballston Point building at 4300 Wilson Blvd, according to Ted’s President and COO Kristi Martin. It will close this coming Saturday, June 13, and the staff will be transferred to a soon-to-open location in Gaithersburg, Md., Martin said.
The new Ted’s is expected to open in Gaithersburg’s Downtown Crown development in August, said Martin.
“Team members at the Ballston Point location are aware of this closing, and all team members have been offered positions at the Gaithersburg or other Northern Virginia locations,” she said. “We look forward to expanding our Big Sky Spirit to the Gaithersburg community — an area that we see as a strategic fit for the growth and future of our company.”
Ted’s currently has two locations in Arlington — the Ballston location and another at 2200 Crystal Drive in Crystal City. No changes are planned for the Crystal City location, according to a PR rep for the restaurant.
Photo via tedsmontanagrill.com
Residents have said that such noise is affecting their quality of life.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the Metro Washington Airports Authority, in partnership with Arlington County, are hosting a community meeting in the County Boardroom at Courthouse Plaza (2100 Clarendon Blvd, Room 307).
The meeting will run from 7-9 p.m., and is designed to “allow Arlington County residents to voice their concerns to the FAA and MWAA, as well as hear possible solutions from FAA and MWAA.”
This is not the first time residents have raised the issue of noise pollution; in 2011 late night runway renovation prompted numerous noise complaints from residents in homes along DCA flight paths.
In July of that year the MWAA hired the ITT Corporation to monitor noise in the communities near the airport in response to numerous complaints.
All who are impacted by the aircraft noise are encouraged to attend the meeting.
Photo courtesy Alex
Arlington is the second best place to retire in the U.S., according to new rankings from Bankrate.com.
Arlington received kudos for low crime and above-average quality of health care, along with “great” resident well-being and area walkability. Taxes and weather were deemed “average” and the only negative mark on Arlington’s report card was a “very high” cost of living.
(Arlington was paired with Alexandria as a “city,” for the purposes of the rankings.)
The only place to best Arlington in the rankings was top-ranked Mesa and Phoenix, Arizona. New York City was ranked last, at No. 172, thanks in large part to a very high cost of living and tax burden.
Bankrate.com had the following to say about Arlington.
Typically associated with America’s most famous cemetery, retirees have more to do in Arlington than visit Civil War tombstones.
There are more than 100 miles of trails, bike lanes and routes throughout the city, so it’s not surprising that residents here embrace a healthy lifestyle and rank high on the wellness index.
Arlington has a low crime rate, and locals can get by without a car. Much of the city is walker-friendly, including areas like Crystal City, Rosslyn and Ballston. The city has ample public transportation, with a handful of metro stops in the area. Neighboring Alexandria is also friendly to walkers.
Virginia also has one of the better health care systems in the country. And when compared with the other states, Virginia’s tax rate is more favorable than the national average and falls below its higher-taxing neighbor, Washington, D.C.
The LA Fitness club at Pentagon Row is set to close on Friday, June 26, according to signs posted at the gym.
“This club will be relocated on Friday, June 26 at 2 p.m.,” the sign says. “Your membership will be honored at any LA Fitness location in Virginia (excluding Signature locations).”
The nearest LA Fitness location for members is the Crystal City location at 3550 S. Clark Street.
(Updated at 2:55 p.m.) An Arlington resident will take off on a 3,000-mile cycling race from Oceanside, Calif., to Annapolis next week.
Frank Fumich will ride more that 250 miles a day, since the Race Across America (RAAM), one of the most grueling athletic events around even for an endurance athlete like Fumich, must be completed in 12 days.
He is doing it in the hopes of raising thousands for a local man he does not know that well, but can really use his help.
Ryan Diviney, who was born in Reston, is cared for full-time by his father, Ken, in their Ashburn home. That care costs about $2 million annually, Ken Diviney said. Much of it is paid for by the family’s insurance, but there are still tens of thousands of dollars left uncovered.
Fumich, who also attended WVU, said he heard of the Diviney’s story a little over a year ago — shortly after he raised more than $75,000 to aid victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. Fumich ran 78 miles in 19 hours — representing three marathons for the three spectators who were killed on April 15, 2003. He then ran the money up to Boston.
“My plan was to run to Morgantown (W.Va.) from Northern Virginia,” said Fumich. “But it was too close to another race. But I knew I wanted to do something to help. I told Ken I was going to to the RAAM. I thought he would think I am crazy.”
Said Ken Diviney: “I did [think he was crazy].”
But he is also already very grateful.
“This helps enormously,” he said. “[The money] is a substantial amount that can help us in two ways. We put away money for Ryan’s longterm comfort and care and also help us in the short term with something he needs, like a therapeutic massaging chair.”
Fumich said Ken Diviney “has not left Ryan’s side since that day in 2009.”
In November of 2009, Ryan was a 20-year-old sophomore who had earned an academic scholarship at WVU. Ken Diviney said his son was attacked by two other men (who later served jail time for the incident), suffering a fractured skull, a broken jaw, and bleeding of the brain.
Ryan had a third of skull removed in surgery to control the brain swelling and has suffered numerous complications. He has been a vegetative state since.
Ken works with Ryan, now 25, every day to keep his body and muscles moving. he also cares for his hygiene needs and feeds him via feeding tube.
“It’s relentless,” says Ken Diviney. “It never really ends. I try to keep his body in motion six to eight hours a day.”
Fumich, a father of 5-year-old twins, says being a dad has made him more empathetic. He said taking on an athletic feat like the RAAM for a worthy cause will make the miles worthwhile.
“It feels good to help someone,” he said. “When I was reintroduced to [the Diviney’s] story from a friend, I couldn’t help but be struck hard by the difference in our lives and how just a few seconds sent our destinies in completely different directions.”
“I knew I was going to do something to help Ryan and his family, and this is it. Every time I hit “the wall” and feel the urge to quit, I’m going to think of how hard Ryan has continued to fight, and how hard his dad Ken and family continue to push onward.”
The fashion retailer Zara is coming to the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City.
The Spanish company plans to open a 27,000 square foot store inside the mall’s new 50,000 square foot expansion along S. Hayes Street, which is part of a larger $70 million renovation of the busy shopping center.
Zara is expected to open in the spring of 2016, offering “European-style clothing, outerwear, shoes and accessories for men and women, as well as children’s clothing.”
Also announced today: Kiko Milano Cosmetics, an Italian makeup brand, will be opening a 1,100 square foot store on the mall’s ground level.
“The additions of Zara to the mall’s 50,000 square-foot expansion area and Kiko Milano Cosmetics to our general store inventory allows us to continue to provide Fashion Centre at Pentagon City shoppers with the best, most diverse experience possible,” Laurie Van Dalen, general manager of the Fashion Centre, said in a press release. “We can’t wait to share more updates to the mall’s renovation progress as well as our ever-expanding store offerings.”
Mall owner Simon announced in March that restaurants Matchbox and The Sugar Factory will be opening in the mall’s Hayes Street expansion in the spring of 2016.
The bar, at 2915 Wilson Boulevard, served its last patrons Sunday night. It is closed today, following the expiration of its ten year lease, manager Ian McInnes told ARLnow.com.
McInnes said there were no special events held on the last night, and staff “just went about our business.” He said Ri Ra was unable to negotiate a favorable lease and, with rising rent and sluggish business, the company made the decision to close.
There are nine other Ri Ra locations listed on the company’s website, including one in Georgetown and others from Maine to Las Vegas. McInnes said the company has no plans to reopen in Clarendon and is looking beyond the Irish pub to other, more current restaurant concepts — like a sports bar and a craft beer and whiskey bar.
“The market has changed dramatically over ten years,” he said.
Clubs and other organizations that regularly met at Ri Ra — like a Liverpool FC boosters club — are currently being notified of the closure. Other regularly-scheduled events at the pub which are now canceled include a weekly pub quiz and standup comedy night.
The pub posted a goodbye message on Facebook:
We are sorry to say that RiRa Clarendon has pulled its final pint, and is now closed. A huge thank you to all of our friends in and around Clarendon, as well as the wonderful staff, for what was 10 fantastic years. We are sorry to be leaving, but the Clarendon pub and the people that made it such a great place to spend time in have left us with great memories that will stay with us forever.
Sincerely, The Rí Rá Owners
McInnes said he wishes Ri Ra’s customers and the future tenant of its now-former location well.
“Change is a good thing,” he said. “As we move on I’m sure that there will be another business that will complement the other businesses in the Clarendon market. We’ve had a good run, I hope people have enjoyed us being here and we hope they enjoy the next business that comes here.”
Preservation Arlington, a group dedicated to protecting Arlington’s historic buildings, communities and landscapes, has released its “Most Endangered Historic Places” for 2015.
The annual list is used to promote awareness and advocacy of the historic sites and the preservation they need, according to the group’s website. Preservation Arlington also created a watch list for the 2015, which includes sites that are on the “verge of disappearing.”
The 2015 list, with excerpts from Preservation Arlington’s description of each:
- Dive bars — “Preservation Arlington raises a toast to our remaining dive bars, such as Forest Inn and Cowboy Cafe, and hope they continue to thrive. Preservation is also about the role that place plays in our community and not just the building or its architecture.”
- Garden Apartments in Westover — “While some garden apartments in Westover are listed in the National Register, these and others in fact have no long term protection from redevelopment.”
- Columbia Pike Commercial Buildings — “The unique small-scale retail buildings in the commercial nodes, as identified in the Pike’s unique zoning, will not be preserved without more focus on historic building style and design.”
- Lyon Village National Register Historic District — “Many of the changes [to Lyon Village] have not respected the historic character of the community and have dramatically altered many of the components that qualified the community for designation [on the National Register of Historic Places] in the first place.”
- Reevesland Farmhouse and Property — “The county hasn’t done anything to keep up this property in 15 years, letting the property deteriorate and the story of Arlington’s dairy farming history slowly and gradually disappear. Selling the property will permanently remove from public access and use a tangible connection to Arlington’s rural past and a fantastic opportunity to provide educational opportunities to current and future Arlington students and residents.”
The 2015 Watch list, with excerpts from Preservation Arlington’s description of each:
- Wilson School — “While not designated as a local historic district in 2015, the opportunity still exists for the Building Level Planning Committee of Arlington Public Schools to incorporate substantial portions of the building facade and/or materials in the modernist building being planned for the site.”
- Arlington Presbyterian Church — “While denied listing as a local historic district in 2014, the opportunity still exists for the story of the existing building and congregation to be incorporated into the planned future development.”
- Webb Building — “An excellent example of our quickly disappearing mid-century modernist building stock, the Webb Building is not protected.”
- Key Boulevard Apartments — “One of Arlington’s best preserved garden apartments, which has already had its density move to an adjacent luxury condo, this complex was under threat in 2014.”
The 2014 list included the Wilson School, Arlington Presbyterian Church, family graveyards and mid-century Arlington architecture.
(Updated at 4:05 p.m.) Tupelo Honey Cafe will bring southern food and craft cocktails to Arlington with its planned opening on Monday.
The restaurant plans to open June 1 in its new Rosslyn location at 1616 N. Troy Street. It will be the 10th Tupelo Honey Cafe and first in Virginia.
“Joining the Arlington community is a very proud moment for us,” said Tupelo Honey Cafe Founder and CEO Steve Frabitore in a press release. “Our new location continues the legacy of the original restaurant with its scratch-made southern fare, yet embraces the area’s hometown flavor through local art, food and brews.”
The menu includes southern food such as roasted duck breast with a cherry port wine sauce, pan-seared sea scallops and grilled French lamb chops. The restaurant series also recently introduced small plates to its menu, said Kevin Summers, a regional director for Tupelo, which is based in Asheville, N.C.
Summers recommends that customers order the country ham wontons and the lamb meatballs, two small plates he often eats.
At nearly 6,600 square feet, the restaurant has 202 seats, a full bar and an “inviting outdoor patio.” The bar features a “custom metal honeycomb backsplash and reclaimed wood bar front.”
The restaurant aims to be targeted toward the area’s population. There’s a “pretty young, vibrant demographic in the area,” Summers said.
With that in mind, Tupelo Honey Cafe will offer a “Moonrise brunch” on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 p.m. to midnight. The menu offers breakfast small plates and cocktails, including the opportunity for guests to create their own, according to the press release.
The restaurant will also have 24 taps at the bar, many of which are locally-based, Summers said. Tupelo Honey Cafe also created a special drink for the Arlington location — a drink dedicated to former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.
The “Ode to Eleanor Roosevelt” has white brandy, sparkling wine, Jack Ruby Elderflower tonic syrup, citrus sour, bitters and fresh thyme. It has a herbal flavor and the components play very well together, said Tyler Alford, the beverage specialist for Tupelo Honey Cafe.
“Every cocktail should have a beginning, middle and end,” he said.
Alford recommends pairing the drink with the roasted beet small plate.
The name comes as a nod to Arlington’s proximity to Washington, D.C. The restaurant company wanted a drink that included D.C. but didn’t delve too deep into politics, Alford said. The company also agreed with many of Roosevelt’s fundamentals.
“And Eleanor Roosevelt deserves a good drink in her honor,” he said.
It’s well known that there are foxes in Arlington County, but it’s not every day that one is caught on video.
ARLnow reader Ryan Fubini was in his car when he took this video of a fox scampering down a residential street in Cherrydale.
“I took it in front of my house as I was pulling out of the driveway [on] N. Nelson Street,” Fubini said. “We have seen foxes numerous times at our house. But this fox running down the sidewalk in the daytime was pretty surprising. What was more surprising is after I came back and parked my truck, he ran 6 feet right next to me down the sidewalk carrying another piece of wood.”
We asked the Animal Welfare League of Arlington whether residents should be worried about foxes in their community. Their answer: probably not.
From AWLA animal control officer Jen Toussaint:
That is indeed an adult red fox in the video… In urban environments wildlife is more accustomed to seeing people, cars and hearing sounds consistently. It is not abnormal to see urban wildlife out during the day!
This particular animal appears in very good health and condition. We do not trap nuisance wildlife here in Arlington but we do remove animals if they are sick or injured.
[I am] not using the word nuisance to mean that they are of harm to people or their companion animals. They are being a “nuisance” by showing up in peoples yards unwantedly or stealing food from trash cans and gardens. If managed properly foxes are not a risk to people or their pets.
Working to keep your yard clean and food sources, such as trash, properly contained will deter these animals (and others such as raccoon, etc.) from being in or near your home. Properly enclosing below decks and sheds will remove the possibility of a fox den nearby.
Indoor/outdoor cats should come in for the evening and feeding outside should be minimal. Foxes provide a wonderful service to the people of Arlington county including keeping our rodent and snake population down. As far as wildlife goes foxes do very minimal property damage if around.
If anyone ever has any questions or concerns about wildlife they should feel free to call Animal Control at 703-931-9241. We can give excellent deterrent methods to make your home and property less appealing as well as provide educational facts regarding their habits, behavior, and normalcies.
(Updated at 11:10 a.m.) Boston-based Upper Crust Pizzeria is planning on opening a new location in the former HomeMade Pizza Company space on Lee Highway.
Now, another regional pizza chain that has gone through financial troubles is coming in.
Upper Crust Pizzeria has applied for a permit to sell wine and beer at its new Lee Heights Shops storefront. There are no records of any construction permits being applied for so far.
Upper Crust currently has six locations, all in the Boston area. Ben Deb, the company’s CFO, says the Lee Highway location will be the first of what they hope will be several D.C. area locations.
“We’re looking at multiple spots in the D.C. metro area,” Deb told ARLnow.com. “The brand had a great following when it was there. We get inquiries on our website all the time.”
Construction is expected to begin next week and the company is targeting an opening in Arlington as soon as mid-July, according to Deb. He said Upper Crust’s freshness and thin crust pizza style sets it apart from other pizza joints.
“The product is second to none… we make our dough fresh on site everyday and use fresh ingredients,” he said. “We’re really looking forward to being a part of the Arlington community.”
Upper Crust’s menu includes pizza by the slice, specialty pizzas by the pie, lasagna, salads and calzones.
Johnny Rockets has closed its doors in Shirlington.
A sign posted in the window of the retro burger restaurant at 4251 Campbell Ave this weekend stated that it had closed its doors permanently. No reason for the closure was given.
Johnny Rockets is the seventh business to close in Shirlington since last October. Other shuttered businesses have blamed high rent and slow business.
Photo top via Google Maps. Photo right courtesy @EdwardRyder.
(Updated at 6:30 p.m.) The owners and managers of 12 restaurants centered around the Courthouse Metro station say local food trucks are severely impacting their restaurants.
We’re told that representatives from Summers Restaurant, Guarapo, Me Jana, TNR Cafe, Afghan Kabob House, Subway, Cosi, Boston Market, California Tortilla, Jerry’s Subs and Pizza, Corner Bakery, and Ireland’s Four Courts met Wednesday to form a group that plans to push the Arlington County Board to further regulate food trucks.
Alan Beal, COO of Bar Concepts, a restaurant consulting company that recently started working with Summers Restaurant, was the one who called Wednesday’s meeting to order.
“We’re forming a coalition because the food trucks are running amok,” says Beal. “It has a serious financial impact on these brick and mortar restaurants.”
Beal says between three and five food trucks park in front of Summers Restaurant and other Courthouse area eateries each day. Though the trucks are legally allowed to park there for two hours, Beal and other restaurant owners say the trucks sometimes skirt that time limit.
“Parking is free until 8 a.m.,” says Beal. “From 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., food trucks will send cars to the Courthouse area to park in all the spots in front of these restaurants and wait for the food trucks to show up.”
“Sometimes, the food trucks even send people to stand in the spots and wait for the food trucks to arrive.” says Beal.
Guarapo owner Nesrin Abaza says the accumulation of food trucks caused her business to stop serving lunch altogether.
“It just wasn’t feasible,” says Abaza. “How can you compete? There’s no control.”
“It’s like, can I stand outside the restaurant next door and sell my empanadas?” Abaza says. “Would I be allowed to do that? Absolutely not. But food trucks can do that to us.”
Despite the recent outcry in Courthouse, this is hardly the first time food trucks have clashed with brick-and-mortar restaurants. In 2012, Rosslyn’s Business Improvement District mulled asking for restrictions on where food trucks could operate. But in 2013, the Arlington County Board went the opposite direction — voting to extend the parking time limit for food trucks from one hour to two hours.
“Our argument is that Arlington County has been listening to the food trucks,” Beal says. “At the end of the day, none of our businesses were approached or represented, and we see the food trucks multiplying.”
Che Ruddell-Tabisola, executive director of the DMV Food Truck Association, says he’s sympathetic to the restaurants’ problems, but that more regulation isn’t the answer.
“This has been something very common to hear from brick and mortar owners,” says Ruddell-Tabisola. “The underlying myth is that food trucks are somehow harming existing businesses, and it’s just not true.”