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by ARLnow.com — June 30, 2015 at 9:30 am 1,161 0

Sen. Bernie Sanders (photo via Facebook)Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is scheduled to be a special guest speaker at a policy forum in Arlington next week.

The discussion, entitled “Rebooting Our Policy Agenda To Reclaim The American Dream,” will take place from 7-9 p.m. on Thursday, July 9, at the National Rural Electrical Cooperative Association, at 4301 Wilson Blvd.

Sanders will be joined by Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), a fellow member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

“This event is a free-of-charge policy discussion by leading progressive voices, not an endorsement of any candidate for public office,” an event page notes.

The event is at capacity and registration has closed.

Photo via Facebook

by Mariah Joyce — June 29, 2015 at 12:45 pm 1,989 0

Courage wall in AlexandriaBallston residents are about to get the chance to be more courageous — or at least more honest.

The Courage Wall, an interactive community art piece previously housed in Alexandria, is moving to Ballston and will be unveiled at 4 p.m. on Thursday (July 2) at the Ballston farmers market.

The wall is an 8 by 12 foot chalkboard with the words ‘I wish I had the courage to…’ stamped across the top. Below are spaces for passersby fill in what they wish they had the courage to face up to, using the chalk that will be made available.

Alexandria native Nancy Belmont first erected the Courage Wall in May, in the Del Ray community, to “create a conversation about fear and allow those passing by to reflect on what is holding them back from achieving their dreams.” It quickly went viral and was featured on Good Morning America and the Today Show.

While in Ballston, the wall will be located in Welburn Square, across from the Ballston Metro station. The current plan is for the wall to stay in the square until July 31.

Piedmont Office Realty Trust and the Ballston Business Improvement District worked together to bring the wall to Arlington. The BID says it hopes the wall will provide “an opportunity for reflection as the community begins celebrating the Fourth of July.”

The wall will be erased when it is full of entries, but prior to that a photo of the filled-in wall will be taken and posted to Facebook and Instagram.

Photo via nancybelmont.me

by Mariah Joyce — June 25, 2015 at 11:00 am 2,433 0

Those looking for Eastern European food should look no further than Ballston restaurant Rus Uz, which is now offering a specialty market right next door.

According to general manager Abraham Rakhmapullaev, the restaurant owners had been looking to open a specialty Russian/Uzbek market in the area for some time. Opportunity knocked when Cigar Connection — Rus Uz’s next-door neighbor — closed.

After some renovations to the space, Rus Uz Market opened for the first time earlier this week. (The restaurant opened in 2012.)

The market offers a wide range of goods ranging from pasta to deli items to imported Uzbek honey and Russian chocolate. The owners have also applied for a liquor license which they hope will come through within the next couple of months.

Rus Uz Market is located on 1000 N. Randolph Street near the Ballston Metro. Store hours are 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and Rakhmapullaev said that an opening ceremony is being  planned for sometime in the next two weeks.

by ARLnow.com — June 23, 2015 at 11:45 am 1,545 0

Chef Mike Isabella is preparing to open his latest Arlington restaurant later this summer.

Pepita Cantina — located at 4000 Wilson Blvd in Ballston, next to Isabella’s Kapnos Taverna, which opened in January — is holding an “open call” for job seekers today (Tuesday) and tomorrow. Interviews will be conducted at the under-construction restaurant between noon and 6:00 p.m. on both days, according to a Craigslist post.

Servers, bartenders, bussers and barbacks are being sought.

“Pepita Cantina is set to open this summer in Ballston, right by the already open Kapnos Taverna,” the job post notes. “This establishment will be a tequila, mezcal craft cocktail bar along with traditional Mexican food with a twist!”

So far, no official opening date has been set.

“We hope to announce an opening date in the coming weeks,” a PR rep told ARLnow.com “Stay tuned!”

Isabella’s company, Mike Isabella Concepts, is also planning on opening a “full-service, Japanese noodle bar and small plates restaurant” called Yona at 4000 Wilson Blvd, under the leadership of chef Jonah Kim. The ramen-centric eatery is currently under construction and is expected to open in “early fall,” we’re told.

Photos via Twitter

by ARLnow.com — June 19, 2015 at 9:15 am 1,653 0

Stormy sunset over Rosslyn (Flickr pool photo by Joseph Gruber)

Janitors to Rally with Candidates in Ballston — About 150 part-time janitors will rally in Ballston this afternoon for a new union contract. The rally is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. in front of the National Science Foundation at 4201 Wilson Blvd. Democratic County Board candidates Katie Cristol and Christian Dorsey are expected to attend the rally to lend their support, according to a press release from the 32BJ SEIU union.

Arlington Man Killed in D.C. Pedestrian Crash — An Arlington man, 31-year-old George Mina, has died several days after being struck by a car on Wisconsin Avenue NW in D.C. Mina, a pediatric phlebotomist, was struck by the driver of a Jaguar while crossing Wisconsin at Veazy Street NW on June 10. A rally for pedestrian safety was held in the area last night, with advocates calling for D.C. to implement pedestrian safety measures currently in use in Arlington. [NBC Washington]

No Opponent for Commonwealth’s Attorney — A potential independent candidate for Arlington Commonwealth’s Attorney came up just a couple of verified petition signatures short of the 140 he needed to qualify for the ballot. Criminal defense attorney Frank Webb said he will drop his bid to get on the ballot. Incumbent Democrat Theo Stamos is now running unopposed. [InsideNova]

WW2 Vets Boogie at DCA — Video posted on YouTube shows a group of World War II veterans, in a Reagan National Airport terminal last month awaiting their honor flight back to Kentucky, dancing to a live rendition of “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.” [Patch]

Flickr pool photo by Joseph Gruber

by ARLnow.com — June 12, 2015 at 11:45 am 3,026 0

(Updated at 12:00 p.m.) The driver of an SUV ran into a forklift on the back of a flatbed tractor trailer in Ballston around 11:00 this morning.

The incident happened on N. Glebe Road near the I-66 ramp. Photos show the hood of the SUV crumpled under the back of the forklift.

As of 11:55 a.m., southbound Glebe Road was closed at 13th Street N. as crews worked to clear the scene. Initial reports suggest one person suffered minor injuries in the wreck.

Photos courtesy Arlington County Police Department, Allan Yankosky/1411 Media Inc.

by ARLnow.com — June 9, 2015 at 11:45 am 7,124 0

Ted's Montana Grill in Ballston (photo via tedsmontanagrill.com)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

by ARLnow.com — June 3, 2015 at 10:00 am 4,722 0

Pizza Vinoteca in BallstonJust six months after opening, Pizza Vinoteca has closed.

The eatery, at 800 N. Glebe Road in Ballston, moved here from New York City and opened in December. It received a mostly negative review from the Washington Post’s Tom Sietsema in January.

The 4,500 square foot restaurant sat 130 and offered grilled pizza and value-priced wine. Though promising value, speedy service and specialty pizzas cooked in a custom designed, 900-degree grill, the concept failed to catch on in what is a relatively low foot traffic portion of Ballston.

“It closed because, while it had a good core group of fans, it didn’t have enough business to keep it going,” PR rep Jill Collins said.

by ARLnow.com — June 2, 2015 at 1:30 pm 1,779 0

Tuesday Night Ride logoA month after an uproar over its postponement, the Tuesday Night Ride series sponsored by Freshbikes in Ballston is back.

The summer bike rides, featuring hundreds of cyclists who ride from the store to hilly Military Road and back with an Arlington County Police escort, will return tonight (June 2). Cyclists will meet at Mosaic Park, just behind the store, and depart at 6:30 p.m.

After originally blaming county staff and a few resident complaints for the ride’s cancellation, Freshbikes is now effusive with praise for the county and the cycling community that rallied around the rides.

“A heartfelt Thank You to the great folks at the Arlington County Special Events Committee for working with us, helping ensure the ride will be safer than ever and speeding our permit through after Freshbikes admittedly submitted paperwork late,” Freshbikes said in an email to riders. “Also, I would be remiss not to give a huge shout out to the cycling community for your passion!”

(The county said that while there have been complaints from residents about the ride, the delay in issuing the ride’s special event permit was due to Freshbikes submitting its paperwork late.)

New this year, Freshbikes has codified a code of rider responsibility for the event. The rules and regulations include “stop at all stop signs and obey traffic signals without exceptions,” “ride no more than two rides abreast,” “never, ever, ever pass the police motorcycles” and “do not swarm cars that may be on the route.”

“After this hard winter, we want to ride!” the email said. “Freshbikes really wants to eliminate as many complaints from the community at large as possible, and keep this community ride viable and supported.”

by Heather Mongilio — June 1, 2015 at 6:10 pm 8,019 0

John Bocek setting an unofficial pullup record

A new world record may have been set in Arlington over the weekend.

A D.C. man claims to have set the world record for most pullups done in a 24 hour period, recording the feat on video at the Ballston Crossfit gym at 1110 N. Glebe Road.

John Bocek, a D.C. resident, reported completed 5,801 pullups, setting a new unofficial record. The Guinness World Records still has to approve Bocek’s record before it is an official world record, said Tucker Jones, the owner of Ballston Crossfit.

The last official record was 5,101 pullups set by Michael Tufo on May 3 of this year.

“He smashed the record,” Jones said of Bocek.

Bocek started his pullups at the crossfit gym at 6 p.m. on Saturday and finished at 6 p.m. on Sunday. He initially set out two years ago to break the world record, but the number of pullups for the record increased a couple of times, he said.

His original goal was 5,000 pullups but last month the record was broken again, prompting Bocek to raise his goal to 6,000. While he did not reach that goal, he was very happy with 5,801 repetitions.

“That’s a lot of pullups over 24 hours,” Jones said.

Three hours from the end of his record attempt, an article surfaced saying another unofficial record of more than 5,700 pullups had been set, so Bocek knew he had to make it past that mark to set the record.

At that point, he was past his physical limit but the support from family, friends and viewers around the world kept him going.

“It was probably the toughest thing I’ve done,” Bocek said.

Via donations, the record attempt raised money for a cause championed by Bocek: the Panama Mission Foundation, a non-profit that builds churches and works to spread the Christian gospel in Panamanian rainforest villages.

Bocek says he trained throughout the two years for the pullup challenge, training at different gyms and at least once a week at Ballston Crossfit. He would go to the gym in the middle of the night and train for about six hours, Jones recounted. Training in the middle of the night helped him get ready for doing pullups for 24 hours without sleep.

The training was more intense than his prior preparation for the 100-mile marathons, Bocek said. His strategy for breaking the record was to do 2,500 pullups in the first seven hours, which he was confident of because of his training, then sets of 500 between 15 minute breaks.

As he neared the end, it got increasingly difficult, and Bocek said there were repetitions that didn’t count because he couldn’t get his chin above the bar.

Although he reported being very sore on Monday, Bocek said would “absolutely” be up for another world record attempt, should anyone break his new record.

Screen capture via YouTube

by Tim Regan — May 21, 2015 at 10:00 am 1,767 0

A new sushi restaurant is now open just steps away from the Ballston Metro station.

Sushi 2Go, named for its daily selection of carryout sushi, is located in the former Primo Fresh Deli space in the Metro plaza at the corner of Fairfax Drive and N. Stuart Street.

The restaurant’s menu includes nigiri, classic sushi rolls, and a range of specialty rolls. Patrons can either order freshly made sushi at the counter, or grab a pre-made roll from a to-go cooler.

To celebrate its opening, Sushi 2Go is offering reduced prices until May 30. Under the special, nigiri and sushi rolls are currently both $4, and specialty rolls cost either $6 or $8.

Owner Unsook Kim says she got the idea for the to-go concept after visiting a Wasabi franchise in New York City. After seeing how popular the franchise was, Kim decided to open her own take on the sushi-to-go concept.

“This is my own style,” Kim says. “Young people love sushi.”

Kim says that by this winter, she’ll add other Korean and Japanese specialties like bibimbap, yakisoba noodles, and teriyaki dishes to the menu.

by ARLnow.com — May 19, 2015 at 1:00 pm 10,013 0

Ballston Common Mall, set to undergo a major renovation project next year, will be rebranded as “Ballston Quarter.”

Mall owner Forest City revealed the new name at the International Council of Shopping Centers convention in Las Vegas on Monday, as first reported by Bisnow.

The new mall’s most defining feature will be an open-air plaza running through the middle of what is now enclosed shopping space.

A recently-deployed Ballston Quarter website, which includes the slogan “Life Uncommon” and a slick preview video, lists the features of the airy shopping center:

  • “An open-air, urban environment coupled with a remodeled interior concourse”
  • “An open-air, public plaza gathering space and an intimate mews entrance along Wilson Boulevard”
  • “Activated streetscape to engage the community including street-entry stores and restaurants, some with sidewalk, terrace or rooftop dining options”
  • “A unique and vibrant mix of stores, restaurants, entertainment venues – 365,000 SF in addition to Macy’s”
  • “A residential tower with over 380 apartment homes and stunning amenities will top the new Ballston Quarter”

Macy’s, Rock Bottom Brewery, Panera Bread, Sport & Health, Regis Hair Salon, Regal Cinema, Noodles and Company, CVS, Kettler Capitals Iceplex and Shiki Sushi are all expected to remain open during the renovations. Most other mall retailers are expected to close after the end of the year.

by Ethan Rothstein — May 13, 2015 at 5:00 pm 2,398 0

Taste of Arlington 2014 crowdsThe annual street festival in Ballston, celebrating the restaurants of Arlington, is back on Sunday from noon to 6:00 p.m.

This year, Taste of Arlington will feature 49 restaurants and a beer and wine garden that’s bigger than ever. Booklets of tickets for tasting and drinking are on sale now.

Stop by the Ballston farmer’s market tomorrow evening, from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. at 901 N. Taylor Street, for a $25 packet of 10 tickets. If you purchase on the Ballston Connect mobile, app, a packet costs $30. Packets purchase online are $35 and packets purchased at the festival will be $40. Tickets to the VIP pavilion, with unlimited beer, wine and hors d’oeuvres provided by SER, cost $100 online, and $110 at the festival.

The festival will close down the streets of Ballston all day: Wilson Blvd from N. Glebe Road to Quincy Street and Stuart and Randolph streets from Wilson to 9th Street N.

In addition to the restaurant booths, beer and wine garden and VIP pavilion, there will be three stages for live music, a Kids Zone with games and face painting and the return of the World Pup Tournament, which costs $10 to enter one’s dog to participate.

The restaurants in attendance will compete for a “Best of the Best” food title in the following categories: Best Appetizer, Best Fast Casual Entrée, Best Fine Dining Entrée and Best Dessert. The judging will be held at 3:00 p.m. in the VIP pavilion and the winners will be announced at 4:00 p.m. on the main stage.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Arlington Food Assistance Center. The restaurants participating and competing are as follows:

  • Westover Beer Garden
  • Sehkraft Beer Garden
  • Yona
  • Thunder Beast
  • Tasty 6
  • Naan Stop DC
  • Pepita Cantina
  • Water & Wall
  • Rito Loco
  • Postmodern Foods
  • Pinzimini
  • Curley’s BBQ
  • Sweet Fix DC
  • Bracket Room
  • Orient Bowl
  • Don Tito
  • Sushi Rock
  • Urban Bumpkin BBQ
  • Ben’s Chili Bowl
  • American Tap Room
  • Dolce Sweets
  • Pizza Vinoteca
  • Rumalutions
  • Koolzone Ice and Treats
  • Mac’s Donuts
  • Northside Social
  • Capriotti’s
  • Lyon Hall
  • Mussel Bar & Grille
  • Liberty Tavern
  • Gua-Rapo
  • Commonwealth Joe
  • Epic Smokehouse
  • RedRocks Pizzeria
  • The Melting Pot
  • Circa
  • Willow
  • Which Wich
  • The Front Page
  • P.F. Chang’s
  • Nando’s Peri-Peri
  • La Tasca
  • Il Forno
  • World of Beer
  • Fuego Cocina y Tequileria
  • Kapnos Taverna
  • Big Buns
  • A-Town Bar and Grill
  • Lebanese Taverna

File photo. Disclosure: Ballston BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser

by ARLnow.com — May 12, 2015 at 8:30 am 2,681 0

Two men in religious garb walking through Rosslyn

Renderings of Proposed Ballston High-Rise — Ahead of Wednesday’s Arlington Site Plan Review Committee meeting, developers Lionstone and Penzance have released new renderings of the 22-story, 330-unit apartment tower they’re proposing to build on the Carpool site in Ballston. The tower is sleek metal and glass, with a retail pavilion on the ground floor. In a second phase, the developers are proposing to replace an aging, adjacent office building with another 22-story, 362-unit residential building. [Washington Business Journal]

Free Cone Day at Haagen-Dazs — The Haagen-Dazs store at Pentagon City mall is offering free ice cream today from 4:00-8:00 p.m. as part of the company’s nationwide Free Cone Day. [Facebook]

Coalition for Minority Affairs Honors Students — Eighty-seven African and African-American Arlington Public Schools students were honored last week by the Civic Coalition for Minority Affairs. The Northern Virginia group “endeavors to foster high academic achievement through its annual awards ceremony.” [Arlington Public Schools]

by Ethan Rothstein — May 8, 2015 at 4:30 pm 1,843 0

Fresh Bikes in BallstonThe popular Tuesday Night Rides that take hundreds of cyclists from Ballston to N. Military Road during the summer will not be canceled and were only postponed because the organizer applied for the permit too late, county officials say.

The rides have been organized by FreshBikes owner Scott McAhren for eight years, growing from a few dozen people to as many as 500, and in recent years they have been accompanied by a police escort. The first ride was scheduled for this week, but it was cancelled after McAhren didn’t secure a permit.

On Tuesday, McAhren told ARLnow.com that he reached out to the county “earlier this year” when a special events staffer told him “there’s almost a zero percent chance we’re going to approve it every week again.”

Now, on FreshBikes’ website, McAhren wrote he applied for a permit April 22, less than three weeks before the first ride was scheduled. Special events permits typically take 90 days to process.

“The May 5 ride was canceled because the County got the Special Event Permit on April 22, which was too short notice to process the event with all the appropriate County departments,” he wrote on the website.

Arlington County spokeswoman Mary Curtius said county staff was surprised to read ARLnow.com’s story on Tuesday, considering their most recent conversations with McAhren.

“He said to us that he woke up in the middle of the night and realized he forgot to file the permit application,” Curtius said. “This is not about if we were thinking about killing the bike program.”

McAhren and the county are planning on holding a permit hearing on May 19, when representatives from the parks department, police, fire and rescue and other counties will weigh in on what support the event will require and how much compensation the county would need from the organizer. The county anticipates approval, with the rides starting up again next month.

“We approve virtually every permit for a special event,” Curtius said. “It has to go through the process, it goes through fire, police, water and streets. That has to all be assessed and then they issue the permit. Almost always permits get issued.

“It is true that there have been complaints about this event, there have been complaints about other events too,” she continued. “But what happens in that case is we work with the event organizer. The whole emphasis and the whole bias is toward finding a way to making these events happen, and that’s certainly true when it comes to bicycling events, because we’re a very bike-friendly community.”

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