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15 Arlington Eateries Participating in Restaurant Week

by ARLnow.com | August 6, 2014 at 5:00 pm | 3,036 views | No Comments

Restaurant week logoThe summer Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week begins on Monday and 15 Arlington restaurants are participating.

From August 11-17, diners can enjoy a three-course prix fixe lunch for $20.14 and dinner for $35.14. The full list of participating restaurants in the area and their menus can be found online, along with links to make reservations for many of the restaurants.

Here’s the list of participating restaurants in Arlington:

  • The Curious Grape — 2900 S. Quincy Street, 703-671-8700
  • Epic Smokehouse — 1330 S. Fern Street, 571-319-4001
  • Fyve at The Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City — 1250 S. Hayes Street, 703-412-2762
  • Il Forno — 900 N. Glebe Road, 703-807-2050
  • Jaleo — 2250 Crystal Drive, 703-413-8181
  • La Tasca — 2900 Wilson Blvd., 703-812-9120
  • The Liberty Tavern — 3195 Wilson Blvd., 703-465-9360
  • Lyon Hall — 3100 N. Washington Blvd., 703-741-7636
  • Me Jana — 2300 Wilson Blvd., 703-465-4440
  • The Melting Pot — 1110 N. Glebe Road, 703-243-4490
  • Morton’s The Steakhouse — 1750 Crystal Drive, 703-418-1444
  • Murali — 1201 S. Joyce Street, 703-415-0411
  • Ruth’s Chris Steak House — 2231 Crystal Drive, 703-979-7275
  • Sushi Rock — 1900 Clarendon Blvd., 571-312-8027
  • Willow — 4301 N. Fairfax Drive, 703-465-8800

County Fair Begins Tonight

by ARLnow.com | August 6, 2014 at 10:30 am | 2,222 views | No Comments

Arlington County Fair 2013It’s time to get ready to scream on the big slide and listen to squeals from the racing piglets. The Arlington County Fair starts at 5:00 tonight and runs through Sunday, August 10.

The free event takes place at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center (3501 2nd Street South). Tonight and Thursday, activities are outdoors, including rides, racing piglets, pony rides, the Cows-N-Corn milking demo and lots of fair food vendors. Additional indoor activities, such as bingo and clog dancing, begin on Friday. Spots are still open for the 5K run/walk on Saturday. The full schedule of events can be found online.

Fair goers have access to a new shuttle stop in Pentagon City this year. A shuttle bus will pick up passengers at the Pentagon City Metro and take them directly to the fair. Shuttles will also run from the three other locations at Arlington Career Center, Ballston Metro and the I-66 parking garage. Parking is free at shuttle locations and shuttles cost $2 round trip.

File photo

‘The Amish Outlaws’ to Perform at Pentagon Row

by ARLnow.com | August 5, 2014 at 5:00 pm | 1,731 views | No Comments

The Amish Outlaws (photo via The Amish Outlaws website)It’s not every day you can dance along to the sounds of a bunch of Amish men singing Lady Gaga or rapping a Jay Z song. But that’s exactly what can happen if you see the Amish Outlaws during Rock at the Row on Thursday (August 7).

The group has its full story on its website, chronicling how it all started with some of the original members meeting after “Rumspringa.” That’s the Amish practice of letting 16-year-old children live without the Amish code of conduct to decide if they want to be baptized into the church. Although most youths return to the Amish lifestyle after Rumspringa, the guys from The Amish Outlaws did not.

The band is made up of former Amish and “Honorary Amish” members: Brother Amos Def, Brother Big Daddy Abel, Brother Eazy Ezekiel, Brother Elijah Rule, Brother Hezekiah X and Brother Jakob the Pipe Layer. All of their shows reportedly are different. Sometimes the band members will rock out to Bon Jovi or Foo Fighters, and other times they’ll bring out the country with Johnny Cash. The group’s website says that throughout each show, The Outlaws “spin yarns about the Brothers’ upbringing and adventures since Rumpsringa.”

The performance takes place from 7:00-9:00 p.m. at Pentagon Row on Thursday.

Police Swear In ‘Chief-for-the-Day’ Contest Winner

by Morgan Fecto | August 5, 2014 at 2:00 pm | 824 views | No Comments

A 9-year-old boy wearing an Arlington County Police Department t-shirt may not seem like a symbol of authority. But for today, he is.

This morning Police Chief M. Douglas Scott swore in Patrick Omberg, the winner of the inaugural “Chief-for-the-Day” essay competition.

“Today is National Night Out, so Patrick you’re going to work until about 10:00 or 11:00 tonight,” Scott joked during his speech at the ceremony.

Outside the police department in Courthouse, 9-year-old Patrick Omberg took an honorary police oath, read an excerpt of his winning essay and received a commemorative plaque before standing for pictures with police and his parents.

On July 8, the Arlington County Police Department announced the contest, which they plan to hold every year from now on. ACPD asked for essay submissions from children, ages 8 to 12, that answered the question: “What does it mean to be a police officer?”

“Based on his essay, it was a pretty easy selection for us,” ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck said. “Even at 9 years old, he seemed to have a good understanding of the police and for our role in the community.”

Omberg said that he wrote about how “the police keep people safe” in his essay, and although he doesn’t know if he wants to be a police officer, he was having fun as an honorary chief. He didn’t have to wrangle drunken pub-crawlers or chase down criminals, but Omberg did get a glimpse at the inner workings of the police department.

“We wanted to show him what life in the Arlington County Police Department could be like,” Sternbeck said. “We want to build positive relationships in the community. It’s been a great experience for us just as much as [it has been] for him.”

Before the ceremony, police picked up Omberg from his house in a patrol car and guided him on a tour of the police station, where they took his fingerprints and introduced him to their K-9 unit.

“My favorite part was seeing the dogs,” Omberg said.

“Do you remember what his name was?” Omberg’s father, Peter, asked his son.

“Drogo,” Omberg said, although the rising fourth-grader didn’t seem to get the “Game Of Thrones” reference in the name.

To cap off his day, Omberg would look at the station’s booking department with the sheriffs and have lunch with Scott, Sternbeck said.

“I can use all the help I can get,” Scott said at the ceremony. “So having someone like you help me [for today], is very much appreciated.”

‘Love Locks’ Showing Up on Key Bridge Railings

by Morgan Fecto | August 5, 2014 at 12:45 pm | 4,242 views | No Comments

Update on 8/7/14 at 11:30 a.m. — D.C. Department of Transportation spokesman Reggie Sanders says the love locks will be removed from Key Bridge today. “Locks are being removed because we don’t want to establish a precedence where our structures could become polluted with these types of campaigns. Also, it could jeopardize the functionality of the railings,” said Sanders.

Earlier: Lovers have started keeping their love under lock and key by latching padlocks bearing their names to the Key Bridge’s railings.

These “love locks” are meant to memorialize romantic relationships, but they can cause damage to fences and railings. At the Pont des Arts footbridge in Paris, thousands of couples latched love locks to a fence along the bridge. It was so weighed down by the locks that the fencing collapsed in June.

“This is the first time we’ve encountered this,” D.C. Department of Transportation spokesman Reggie Sanders said.

Last week, there were three combination locks on the railing on the left side of the Key Bridge (as seen from Arlington) and 45 combination and padlocks on the right side’s railing. Many of the locks had couples’ names or initials on them, and some included an anniversary date or an additional sentiment.

One lock says: “alex & andi 26 november 2011,” with an engraving of wedding bands.

With love locks, the owners lock them to a railing, fence or lamppost, discard the key, and hope their love will last as long as their lock.

Love locks have also been seen on the Hague Bridge in Norfolk, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Ha’Penny Bridge in Dublin, the Luzhkov Bridge in Moscow and the Ponte Milvio in Rome.

New York City officials claimed last May that the more than 5,000 locks on the Brooklyn Bridge put it at risk for damages, the New York Daily News wrote, and endangered motorists driving under the pedestrian walkway.

According to the Irish Times, last February in Dublin, city officials put signs on the Ha’Penny Bridge to dissuade couples from putting locks there. Transportation officials removed approximately 661 pounds of locks from the bridge the previous year.

After Rome removed 825 pounds of locks from Ponte Milvio‘s lampposts in 2007, the BBC reported, the mayor of Rome imposed a 50-euro fine (about $67) on anyone who put a padlock on that location.

There are far fewer locks on the Key Bridge than those other bridges, seemingly not yet enough to cause damage. Sanders currently is looking into measures his department may take to remove the locks, and is researching which D.C. laws may change this practice.

Protein Bar in Ballston Closes, Seeks New Location

by Ethan Rothstein | August 4, 2014 at 3:30 pm | 4,116 views | No Comments

Protein Bar in Ballston closes  Protein Bar closes in Ballston

The Ballston location of the health food chain Protein Bar has closed and apparently plans to relocate.

The shop, which specialized in smoothies, raw juices and healthy food choices, cut its hours in February to lunchtime only. Its location on the ground floor of 800 N. Glebe Road, next to Mussel Bar, opened in January 2013 but did not get the traffic Protein Bar CEO and founder Matt Matros had in mind. It was the eighth location for the Chicago chain, and third in the D.C. area.

“While we were excited to serve the customers of Ballston,” Matros told ARLnow.com in an email, “we weren’t pleased with our specific location and have decided to relocate the store. Because the other lease is not quite final, I can’t comment yet on the location.”

As Protein Bar closes, the first Arlington location of gourmet pizza shop Pizza Vinoteca plans to open next door by the end of the month, a spokeswoman said in an email.

Cherry Blow Dry Bar Coming to Clarendon

by ARLnow.com | August 4, 2014 at 10:30 am | 3,630 views | No Comments

Future location of Cherry Blow Dry Bar in Clarendon (photo via @CommonCenser)Cherry Blow Dry Bar, a specialized hair salon, will be opening at 1041 N. Highland Street in Clarendon.

This won’t be a full-service salon offering haircuts and coloring. In fact, the website explains, “We do two things… and we do them extremely well.” Those two things are hair blow outs and extensions.

Cherry Blow Dry Bar offers $35 blow outs every day, regardless of hair length. Extensions are described as “premium, long-lasting, and beautifully blended tape extensions that won’t damage your hair.”

The goal, according to the website, is to transport customers to a world of celebrity-level luxury. Some of that luxury includes the ability to enjoy a complimentary glass of champagne or cocktail, in addition to soft chairs in a modern and relaxing environment.

Blow Dry Bar was founded in Sydney, Australia, in 2008 and now has 23 locations there. The owner began franchising in the U.S. last year under the name Cherry Blow Dry Bar. Currently there are two locations in Florida and one in Tennessee. Four others, including the Arlington location, are expected to open soon. No word yet on an exact date for the Clarendon opening.

Hat tip to @CommonCenser

ABC Store Could Return Near Colonial Village

by Ethan Rothstein | July 31, 2014 at 3:30 pm | 1,493 views | No Comments

The site of a possible new ABC store in Courthouse The site of a possible new ABC store in Courthouse

A Virginia ABC store may be coming to the Courthouse area.

The state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control is negotiating a lease for a liquor store in the new 1919 Clarendon Blvd building, an ABC official confirmed. That’s a block away from the Colonial Village Shopping Center, where another ABC store closed last year.

ABC has applied for a construction permit for the space, but it has yet to be approved.

The store, if it does finalize its lease, would move into the new building alongside Lucky Pot Asian restaurant, Oasis Nail salon — both under construction — and European Wax Center, which is already open. Also moving into the building, according to Elevation DC, is a location of H Street NE Lebanese eatery Shawafel, which also has a booth at Nationals Park.

Shawafel, owner Alberto Sissi told Elevation, plans to have two counters — one for its savory food items and one for sweets — along with a fresh juice station.

Shirlington Store Holding Chocolate Tastings, Seminars

by Morgan Fecto | July 31, 2014 at 12:55 pm | 997 views | No Comments

The Curious Grape's selection of chocolate barsChocolate lovers have a new place in Arlington to learn about their favorite sweet.

The Curious Grape, at 2900 S. Quincy Street in Shirlington, held its first chocolate tasting last night, guiding attendees through tasting five high-end chocolates. It’s the first in a series of chocolate tastings and seminars that Curious Grape plans to offer through August.

During the tastings, which range in price from $3 to $5, customers can come in between 6:00 and 8:00 p.m. and taste five “rare heirloom varieties of chocolate,” said Curious Grape owner Suzanne McGrath. Artisan chocolate-making, she said, has been on the rise recently.

“There have been developments with chocolate in the past few years,” McGrath said. “Chocolate really is like wine. It depends on where it’s grown, how it’s grown and how it’s processed.”

At the chocolate seminars, attendees will taste more than 12 chocolates, with guidance and commentary from McGrath, and watch informational videos on chocolate production, McGrath said. The seminars cost $15 and accommodate 34 attendees.

“People are pretty jazzed by the end,” McGrath said. “It’s a lot of caffeine.”

Chocolate tastings will be held Aug. 13, 15 and 22, and will explore the differences in chocolate offered by single brands, or the variance between different brands making chocolates at the same cacao percentage, McGrath said. The 90-minute chocolate seminars will be held Aug. 19 and Aug. 26 at 6:30 p.m and registration is still open.

The cafe and wine shop has offered wine tastings since it first opened in 2001, and also offers cheese tastings and seminars, although wine will not be served at the chocolate events, McGrath said.

“Once you start mixing wines and chocolates, you miss the complexities in the flavor,” McGrath said. “There will be no spitting of chocolate.”

Although McGrath had offered chocolate events at her store in the past, she said that the improvements in organic and heirloom chocolate production inspired her to hold tastings and seminars again. Among the more than 40 new, white, milk and dark chocolate bars at the cafe, there is a range of cacao percentages, roasting techniques and conching styles among them, McGrath said.

McGrath’s favorite chocolates come from Ritual Chocolate in Colorado and Fresco Chocolate in Washington.

“Those are big brands for me,” McGrath said. “Ritual is one that uses the same process to make chocolate from different origins, and Fresco uses different methods to make chocolate from one origin.”

But of all the options in her cafe, McGrath said the customer favorite is still Mo’s Milk Chocolate Bacon Bar.

“That’s always been our best-seller,” she said.

Water & Wall Offers ‘Pop-Up’ Chinese Menu

by Morgan Fecto | July 30, 2014 at 4:15 pm | 1,274 views | No Comments

Virginia Square restaurant Water & Wall, located at 3811 N. Fairfax Drive, is offering a “pop-up” Chinese menu for lunch until Aug. 29.

The “Uncle Paul’s Kitchenmenu, named for Water & Wall co-owner Tim Ma’s uncle, debuted almost three weeks ago at the restaurant, Ma said. It includes Chinese-inspired dishes, like Kung Pao Pork Belly, and more traditional Chinese fare, like “Uncle Paul’s Zha Jiang,” with prices ranging from $6 to $10.

The Zha Jiang is like a Chinese ragu, which Ma said the Chinese community jokingly calls “Marco Polo noodles, because Marco Polo came to China and took the recipe back, and that’s where Italian pasta comes from.”

The dishes from Uncle Paul’s Kitchen are smaller than regular entrees, reminiscent of dim sum, which allow customers to order two or three at a time. The lunch menu is available daily from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

“We are essentially running two restaurants here,” Ma said. “We have the kitchen divided for the Chinese stuff and then the rest of the storage space and refrigeration is for the regular restaurant stuff.”

Water & Wall opened eight months ago for dinner, and served only its French-inspired dishes. In mid-June, Ma, his parents, their “old school Chinese” air conditioner repairman, and some Chinese cooks were having a Chinese dinner and had the idea for the pop-up menu, Ma said.

“We were joking around, saying ‘Well this is more like a Chinese restaurant than an American or French place,’” Ma said.

From the idea’s inception, it took Ma two weeks to create the menu, which drew from dishes that his uncle served at his traditional Shandong restaurant “Paul Ma’s Kitchen,” in New York in the 1980s, Ma said.

“He had incredible success there with these homemade recipes,” Ma said. “It was like impossible to get a reservation there.”

The food Paul Ma cooked for his nephew, while living with him at Tim’s Virginia home, also inspired Ma’s lunch menu for Water & Wall.

“He continues to tell me things that I should tweak and things that I should add,” Ma said.

Ma also owns a restaurant serving American food in Vienna called Maple Ave Restaurant. For now, Ma is not sure whether Water & Wall will debut its planned lunch menu of French fusion dishes at the end of the month, or create something else closer to the pop-up menu’s choices.

“This has been really well received thus far,” Ma said. “We have a better response with the dishes my uncle created back in the day.”

Southern Restaurant Coming to Courthouse?

by Ethan Rothstein | July 30, 2014 at 1:15 pm | 3,338 views | No Comments

Tupelo Honey Cafe, a North Carolina-based restaurant chain, is looking to move into the new apartment building at 2001 Clarendon Blvd in the Courthouse area.

Representatives from the restaurant and the building’s retail office have confirmed the two sides are finalizing negotiations, but aren’t prepared to announce a deal. The restaurant has locations in North Carolina and Tennessee, but an Arlington location would be its first in Virginia.

According to officials with the building’s retail and residential leasing firms, exterior construction is expected to be finished in mid-August, after which build-out for the retail properties will begin and take “about three to six months.” Apartment tenants are expected to begin moving in by September.

If Tupelo signs, it would join 7-Eleven, Hair Cuttery, Olive Oil Boom and a nail salon as retail spaces moving into the ground floor of the 154-unit apartment building.

Tupelo’s website says it cooks “just about everything Southern – from fried chicken to sweet potatoes to catfish.” It says its menu items are “scratch-made” with “farm-fresh produce.”

Updated at 11:50 a.m., 8/5/14: Tupelo Honey Cafe officials have confirmed that it is moving into the space in Courthouse.

Va. Sales Tax Holiday This Weekend

by ARLnow.com | July 30, 2014 at 10:30 am | 1,197 views | No Comments

Money(Updated at 11:00 a.m.) The Commonwealth of Virginia will be holding its annual school supplies, clothing and footwear sales tax holiday this weekend.

From Friday, Aug. 1 to Sunday, Aug. 3 eligible purchases will be exempted from Virginia’s sales tax, which is 6 percent in Northern Virginia. To be eligible, each school supply item must be $20 or less and each article of clothing or footwear must be $100 or less.

Generally, computer equipment, clothing accessories, protective equipment and sporting goods are not exempt from the tax.

Military Art Therapy Studio Planned for Crystal City

by Morgan Fecto | July 29, 2014 at 4:30 pm | 992 views | No Comments

(Updated at 6:00 p.m) A walk-in studio art facility for veterans and active-duty service members plans to open Oct. 15 in Crystal City.

Alexandria-based The 296 Project launched a Kickstarter on July 24 with a $30,000 goal to fund the 1,100-square-foot space, which it calls “A Combat Veteran’s Healing Place.” The studio will be located in a retail space at the Shops at 2100 Crystal Drive.

Kickstarter proceeds will go toward renovation materials, art supplies and equipment for the facility, which will cater to service members with post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury (TBI), according to a press release.

“When the suffering is so strong words can barely describe it, when no one understands, when there’s no support system, this new facility allows our men and women in uniform to tell their stories with a paintbrush, clay, pen and pencil, chalk, through music, digital design, 3D design, spoken word or through poetry,” Scott Gordon, executive director of The 296 Project, told ARLnow.com in an email.

The project plans to give service members a place to explore art as well as socialize. It plans to provide art therapists with a space for seminars, art classes and group therapy sessions, although it will not be a therapy-providing entity, according to The 296 Project spokesperson Rebekah Wiseman.

The general public will be allowed in, according to the organization, so it can learn more about the community of service members with PTSD and TBI who are helped by art and expressive therapies.

“With or without a PTS/TBI diagnosis, our facility, our seminars, workshops, etc., will be therapeutic,” Wiseman wrote.

Service members will have to provide records to prove that they are or were members of the military, said Wiseman. The facility plans to be open six days of the week, from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. 

“We believe we can save thousands of lives in the Northern Virginia area alone,” Gordon said. “This is just too important not to support.”

The Kickstarter will accept contributions until Sept. 22. Currently, the project has six backers and has raised $710. 

Images courtesy The 296 Project

Amsterdam Falafelshop Plans September Opening

by Ethan Rothstein | July 29, 2014 at 3:15 pm | 2,024 views | No Comments

Amsterdam Falafelshop's future space in Clarendon Amsterdam Falafelshop's future space in Clarendon

Amsterdam Falafelshop, the local falafel and “Dutch fries” chain, is planning to open its Clarendon location by the end of September.

Amsterdam Falafelshop announced in April it would be moving into the former BGR: The Burger Joint space next to Hard Times Café at 3024 Wilson Blvd. Franchise owner David Rosenstein — who also owns a dozen D.C. area Popeye’s franchises — planned a mid-summer opening, but as is the case with many restaurant build-outs, it has taken longer than expected.

The space now has a sign on the window that reads “Amsterdam Falafelshop is landing here this summer… Cause [sic] we love this neighborhood and we think you love falafel… we think you need falafel… we think you crave falafel.”

New Benches to Be Installed Near Ballston Metro Station

by Ethan Rothstein | July 29, 2014 at 12:45 pm | 2,516 views | No Comments

The Ballston property manager that replaced planters to prevent people from sitting says benches will soon be installed in their place.

Stephen Gilbert, the vice president of marketing for Gates Hudson, the property manager of the building adjacent to the Ballston Metro station, said the company plans to install 15 benches near the station and next to the new planters by mid-August.

Additional “street furniture” is also planned for the busy bus stop.

“This is a cross promotion with the Ballston [Business Improvement District] and we are investing nearly $28,000 to improve the seating area,” Gilbert wrote in an email to ARLnow.com. “The bus shelters currently in place and managed by WMATA and Arlington County are not adequate in our opinion.”

Gates Hudson replaced the planters earlier this month because, as an employee told ARLnow.com, “they’re meant to be planters and that’s it… A lot of people were loitering there, damaging the plants and leaving trash.” Gilbert said that the new planters’ capstones “were only a small part” of Gates Hudson’s master plan for improving the space on N. Stuart Street.

“I ensure you that once you see what we have under construction you will see that we are creating a very convenient and comfortable space for commuters and pedestrians,” Gilbert wrote.

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