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.
APAH worked in partnership with church leaders to develop a plan that would build a new, 7,100 square foot church within a five-story, 142-unit apartment building. The proposal also includes a space for nonprofit child care and ground floor retail intended for a coffee shop.
The church approached APAH with the idea of building affordable housing on its site, according to a presentation the church made to its congregation in August. APAH laid out a timeline that would start with signing a lease by the end of the year, starting demolition in early 2016 and opening in late 2017.
The proposal is similar to the Views at Clarendon project, which built an affordable apartment building on top of an existing church. Unlike that project, however, the Arlington Presbyterian Church proposal would not preserve the existing structure.
The group Preservation Arlington is calling for a new plan that would preserve the church, which was built in 1931.
“The church and APAH aim to fill a urgent need for affordable housing and serving the community,” Preservation Arlington writes on its website. “In the process though, they will destroy a tangible link and reminder of how communities are built and how they last but change over time. They and all Arlington residents will lose a fine representation of church architecture and a recognizable landmark on the Pike.”
Preservation Arlington suggests housing the coffee shop in part of the church or the child care center in the former sanctuary.
APAH plans on submitting a proposal to the county for the redevelopment in 2014. The plans are within the parameters of the Columbia Pike Form Based Code, meaning APAH will not have to seek additional density from the County Board.
Photo via Preservation Arlington
The gift cards, distributed by the county’s Department of Human Services, will help foster children, people with disability and low-income buy gifts or food for the holiday season.
Cards from grocery stores, drug stores, clothing stores and department stores like Target are encouraged. DHS requests gift cards instead of gifts to empower the recipients to buy what they need most.
The gift cards should be of no more value than $25, but Secret Santas can send multiple gift cards. The gifts should include the value of the card and be sent by Dec. 17 to:
Secret Santa Program c/o Kurt Larrick
Department of Human Services
2100 Washington Blvd., 4th Floor
Arlington, VA 22204
If you include a return address or email address, the county will send back a thank you note and a tax receipt.
Tipsters report the restaurant has looked deserted for several days. ARLnow.com staff stopped by today (Wednesday) and noted that the restaurant is dark, the doors are locked and the tables have been removed from the dining area.
Leek opened one year ago this month in the former Thai Terrace space.
Last week, Eater DC posted an article saying Leek closed briefly for renovations. The article included a photo of a sign in Leek’s window indicating the restaurant would re-open last Friday, November 8. That sign was not in the window, however, when ARLnow.com staff stopped by today. Nobody could be seen inside the restaurant, performing renovations or otherwise.
Leek’s Facebook page has not been updated since August. The restaurant’s owner could not be reached for comment.
Sponsored by the Ballston Business Improvement District, the shop will be in the Ballston BID Launchpad space, next to the mall entrance at 4238 Wilson Blvd, in the old Chevy’s Restaurant space.
The shop is being set up for the second annual Arlington Small Business Day, to be held between the major Christmas shopping days, Black Friday (Nov. 29) and Cyber Monday (Dec. 2).
The pop-up shop will be Arlington residents’ chance to meet the owners of some of their favorite local home businesses, or learn about some new ones. Among the businesses listed on ASBD’s website are Happy Doh Lucky, Bee Hive Design and Sweets for my Sweet.
There are participating small businesses all over Arlington, in Clarendon, Ballston Rosslyn/Courthouse, Columbia Pike, Crystal City, Shirlington, Cherrydale, Westover, Pentagon City, Lee Harrison and Lee Heights.
Disclosure: Ballston BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser
The site has been under construction since April, but workers aren’t worried about finishing in time for the rink opening next Friday, November 15.
“That’s how it works, it doesn’t look like anything for a while and then it suddenly appears,” a worker said.
In addition to a larger rink there will be a new stone fire pit. New features that customers can enjoy in warmer weather include a turf lawn, revamped outdoor dining areas and lighted water fountains.
The grand re-opening celebration will take place from 5:00-8:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 7. Attendees can expect live entertainment and giveaways. Plus, regardless of whether there’s any natural snow, there will be snow at the ice rink every night from December 7 through January 1. Skate among the snowflakes at 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. each night.
Hours and pricing can be found online.
Bracket Room (1210 N. Garfield Street) in Clarendon had wanted to offer its patrons live music, but an outcry from neighbors prompted a change of plans.
Bracket Room’s owners had applied for a live entertainment permit, but decided within the past couple of weeks to withdraw the application. They made the decision based on noise complaints from neighbors living in Lyon Place apartments — located directly above the sports bar — who say the existing music is too loud.
“We’ve had a lot of issues with the tenants in the building from the beginning,” said Co-owner Jeff Greenberg. “The residents were calling the police when we first opened, which I hear really happens to everybody. But we don’t want to upset the people in the building or the landlord.”
One month after the sports bar’s early September opening, police said they had received around three dozen complaints related to Bracket Room. County Zoning and Code Enforcement staff had also received more than 15 complaints. Last month, County Planner Sophia Fisher said county employees were looking into the issues. Staff members familiar with each permit request typically make a recommendation to the County Board about whether to grant or deny the permit.
“Zoning and Code Enforcement staff are both currently monitoring the use due to concerns raised by citizens related to noise,” Fisher said in October. “Because live entertainment has the potential to increase the impacts of a venue on the surrounding community, citizen concerns related to noise are taken very seriously by staff.”
Today, Fisher confirmed that the Bracket Room owners have withdrawn their application for the live entertainment permit.
Bracket Room customers might notice some changes implemented during the past two weeks to appease neighbors. First, owners decided to lower the music level to 85 decibels.
“They’re trying to keep [the music] as low as they can so people inside are having fun but other people aren’t disturbed by the noise,” said Greenberg. “When the people in the building are mad at you, what are you going to do?”
The owners also examined the sports bar’s closing time and decided to shut the doors earlier.
“The 1:00-2:00 a.m. crowd is usually smaller than at other hours of the day, but it’s rowdier,” Greenberg said. “We’re cutting our hours back and we’re not staying open until 2:00 a.m.”
Since implementing the changes about two weeks ago, the owners have not been notified of as many noise complaints.
Other ideas the owners continue to throw around include adding additional security, working with an architect to find some other form of noise insulation, and possibly turning down the music’s bass if necessary.
“We’re going to contain the noise, but we’re going to try to keep our restaurant full every night,” said Greenberg. “We’re going to try the best we can. We want to get along, we want to be loved.”
Down Dog Power Yoga offers several levels of classes and workshops, all of which are are held in studios heated to 90-95 degrees. The website says “heat is primarily used to help the body get healthy by expelling toxins. The heat also makes muscles more pliable in order to prevent injury.”
Employees at Down Dog Power Yoga told ARLnow.com that the Clarendon studio should open early in 2014. No firm date has been set, however, because the lease was just signed this week. One of the employees noted that work is already in progress for the new studio and workers are excited for it to open.
Photo via Facebook
A new restaurant serving Asian cuisine will be opening in the former Fatshorty’s space in Clarendon.
‘Thaiger Asian Bistro’ applied for a permit at 3035 Clarendon Blvd this week. Fatshorty’s closed at that location a week and a half ago, citing disappointing sales.
So far, there’s no word on when the new restaurant will open. A woman answering a phone number associated with the restaurant told ARLnow.com that she was unwilling to divulge any details about the restaurant at this time.
Another Thai-centric but ostensibly pan-Asian restaurant, Burapa Thai and Sushi Bar, closed its doors last year. It was located a block away from the future Thaiger Asian Bistro. Bracket Room, a sports bar, has since opened in the former Burapa Thai space.
The proposal requests approval of a site plan for two new five-story apartment buildings with 287 units and 264 parking spaces. There would be 171 units designated as affordable to households earning less than 60% of the area median income.
Currently, The Berkeley has 110 affordable units out of 137 total units. The two four-story buildings built in 1961 would be demolished under the proposal.
County staff members are reviewing the site plan application and hope to begin the public review process soon. The first Site Plan Review Committee meeting for this proposal is scheduled for Thursday, November 21.
Saturday is the Boy Scouts’ annual “Scouting for Food” drive in the D.C. area, and Boy Scouts will be tying plastic bags to the doors of Arlington houses tomorrow. The following Saturday, Nov. 9, they will return to collect the bag, which they hope the residents will fill with nonperishable food items.
Last year, the drive collected 825,000 pounds of food, according to the National Capital Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
Once the bags are collected, the food collected in Arlington will be distributed by the Arlington Food Assistance Center. Boy Scouts will also be at Safeway grocery stores Nov. 9 encouraging shoppers to buy additional items to be donated to AFAC.
The owner of a cancer-stricken dog in Arlington got thousands of dollars in help this month to pay for the pup’s medical bills.
Kristin Schmeski and her 3-year-old white German Shepherd, Buddy, reached out to The Magic Bullet Fund, a charity that provides funding for canine cancer treatments to owners who cannot pay for it themselves.
According to Schmeski’s Give Forward page, she is a student and works a full-time job, and Buddy’s medical bills — for radiation and the surgery he’s already undergone — are almost $10,000.
Schmeski has already raised $2,065 on her Give Forward page, but after Magic Bullet Fund’s donation, it’s likely the bills will be covered.
Buddy had a tumor on his right hind leg, which after a biopsy and surgery was found to be Spindle Cell Sarcoma, according to Schmelski. With the radiation treatments, Buddy’s doctors estimate that the odds are greater than 75 percent that Buddy will be disease-free in three to five years.
Hundreds of grade-schoolers flooded the sidewalks of Courthouse this morning, trick-or-treating for Halloween.
Key Elementary School students, along with teachers and parents, went up and down Clarendon and Wilson Blvd just after 9:00 a.m., collecting candy from tables local businesses like John Marshall Bank and the Bank of Georgetown.
At the same time, at Courthouse Plaza, a band made up of elementary schoolers in costumes — like North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un and Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman — played “Let’s Go Band” while workers from the office buildings walked by and snapped pictures with their cell phones.
It’s not every day that a new church starts in Arlington, but musician-turned-pastor Scott Maurer of newly formed West City Fellowship has a background even more unique.
Maurer, 46, was raised Jewish, played in a rock band for five years in the mid-Atlantic region and worked in the D.C. tech industry for 10 years before deciding to join the ministry.
West City Fellowship, which is a nondenominational Christian church, held its first official service Sunday morning in a lecture hall at Wakefield High School, where it will continue to hold weekly services at 10:30 a.m.
Raised in Alexandria, Maurer’s father was a “very religious Jew,” but his mother wasn’t observant, so when they divorced, Maurer said he was drifting spiritually. As he grew up, he had a natural curiosity; studying Eastern philosophy and several other Western religions, but shunning Christianity.
“I was extremely hostile to Christianity, very cynical to anyone that claimed to be a Christian,” he said. “I had the idea that you couldn’t be an intellectual and believe any of that nonsense.”
As Maurer got older and entered graduate school, he met a lay pastor and began gravitating more toward Christianity. In his late 20s, after marrying his wife, Julie, Maurer finally “gave his life to Christ.” He said he woke up in the middle of the night and realized he was meant to be a member of the ministry. He trained and was ordained at Fair Oaks Church and moved to South Dakota, where he led a church for four years. A few years after Maurer’s conversion Julie, also Jewish and a one-time groupie of Maurer’s band, converted.
“Not exactly what I signed up for, this Jewish girl, a Pastor’s wife?” she said.
Scott, Julie and their two children moved to Arlington in June and decided to start his own “plant church.”
“This area in general, it’s not a Bible Belt by any means,” Maurer said. “It’s just the opposite. A lot of people share the attitude I had for a long time. Anywhere from a skeptical hostility toward Christ, or more just a neutral, apathetic condescension, with not too much interest. I get it, I really do, I understand where they’re coming from, I understand the hostility.”
“I’ve come to believe,” Maurer continued, “that the really most important question that anyone can ask is, ‘is God real and can I know him? What does he want from me and what can he give me?’”
Maurer and his small congregation have gone around the neighborhoods near Wakefield High School and left flyers on doorsteps and “prayed for the people inside,” he said. He said he plans on writing a blog to draw interest from those skeptical or curious about the church.