(Updated at 6:20 p.m.) The annual Taste of Arlington food festival in Ballston will be back for 2015 on Sunday, May 17.
Last year, the festival drew a record 40,000 attendees, according to its organizer, the Ballston Business Improvement District. This year, the BID hopes to surpass that mark, with new restaurants Pizza Vinoteca and Kapnos Taverna joining Taste of Arlington regulars P.F. Chang’s, Pete’s Apizza and Fuego Cocina y Tequileria.
All food and drinks can be tasted with the purchase of a ticket booklet, which costs $30 until May 1, when the price goes up to $35. Each booklet contains 10 tickets. Tickets to the VIP Pavilion, which includes unlimited beer, wine, champagne and appetizers, cost $75, and go up to $100 on May 1.
There will again be a KidZone and a Bark Park and World Pup Tournament, so families with pets and children can all have something to participate in. There will also be a Girls on the Run 5K race in the morning, before the main event, which runs from noon to 6:00 p.m.
The actual event is free for all to roam around Wilson Blvd and surrounding streets that will be closed to traffic for the afternoon.
File photo. Disclosure: Ballston BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser.
New Democratic County Board Contender — A field of six has been finalized for the Democratic Arlington County Board primary. The candidates include all five who spoke before the Arlington County Democratic Committee earlier this month, plus Bruce Wiljanen, “who is largely unknown to the Democratic political establishment.” [InsideNova]
New Tenant for Fmr. Marvelous Market Space — Empty for years, the former Marvelous Market storefront at 888 N. Quincy Street in Ballston has a new tenant. The space is being built out as an office for the real estate sales and marketing firm Smith | Schnider.
Coming Soon: More Dedicated Bus Lanes — A mile of dedicated bus lanes for the new Metroway route are set to open in Arlington this summer. Another 1.3 miles of peak-hour bus lanes are also planned. The route runs from the Braddock Road Metro station in Alexandria to Crystal City. [Washington Post]
Medal of Honor Recipients in Arlington – On Tuesday, 26 living recipients of the Medal of Honor flew in to and then attended a luncheon at Reagan National Airport. The following day, on national Medal of Honor Day, they gathered for a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. [Army Times, Stars and Stripes]
Grant for APS Program — Arlington Public Schools has received a $25,000 grant from Rosslyn-based Graham Holdings to support the school system’s award-winning Traveling Trolley summer reading initiative. [Arlington Public Schools]
Sushi will soon be available just steps from the Ballston Metro station.
A new restaurant called Sushi 2Go is moving into the space next to Italian bakery Tivoli Gourmet, in the Metro plaza at the corner of Fairfax Drive and N. Stuart Street.
Previously in the space was Primo Fresh Deli, which served smoothies and sandwiches. According to Yelp reviews of Primo Fresh, the space is very small. Said one reviewer, “Depending on the speed of your gait, you could probably cross the whole damn place by the time you say ‘One Mississippi.’”
Any indication as to what the place will serve — outside of, presumably, grab-and-go Sushi — was not evident from the outside, nor was any notices for building or an opening date.
Hat tip to @HeatherMCarroll
Apartment Tower Proposed for Carpool Site — A 22-story, 330-unit luxury residential tower has been proposed for the site at 4000 Fairfax Drive in Ballston currently occupied by Carpool. It’s unclear if the bar would move to a new location during construction or whether it would move back after. [Washington Business Journal]
Buses to Use Shoulders on I-66 — Monday, March 23 has been set as the launch date for a pilot program that will allow buses to use the shoulder lanes on I-66 inside the Beltway. The speed limit for buses using the shoulders will be 25 mph. [Washington Post]
Equalizing Treatment of Ticketed Cars — This weekend, County Board members are expected to approve a measure that would treat tickets issued by police officers the same as tickets issued by so-called public-service aides. The change would specifically apply to tickets for expired registration tags, personal-property decals and state safety inspections. Currently, tickets for such violations issued by officers can be dismissed administratively by the commonwealth’s attorney’s office, while tickets issued by PSAs require a more lengthy appearance before a judge. [InsideNova]
Wardian Sets Another Crazy Record — Superhuman ultramarathoner and Arlington resident Michael Wardian has set another record. This time, he set the record for fastest 50K on a treadmill. And he set the record after attempting it, unsuccessfully, 30 hours prior to his record-setting run. What’s more, Wardian accomplished the feat on a cruise ship in the Caribbean while sweating profusely. [Runners World]
Sondheim Revue Coming to Signature — In honor of composer Stephen Sondheim’s 85th birthday, Signature Theatre in Shirlington is planning a “Simply Sondheim” revue, to run from April 2-19. [Playbill]
Flickr pool photo by Joseph Gruber
Serving dishes from every region of Spain, chef and co-owner Josu Zubikarai doesn’t shy away from the idea that only “foodies” might try certain items from his menu, like the Txipirones — squid in its ink, tentacles and all.
“Spain is less than half the size of Texas, but the variety of food is incredible,” Zubikarai said from his resturant at 1110 N. Glebe Road yesterday. He’ll cook up baby eels, octopus and barnacles. “I love barnacles and the baby eels are very good, but I know not everyone will order them.”
While some of the dishes suit the more adventurous, the chef who founded D.C.’s La Taberna del Alabardero 26 years ago is also happy to offer up Spanish crowd pleasers like six different kinds of paella, including seafood, duck and rabbit. He’s especially proud of his bacalao al pilpil, a traditional Spanish cod dish made in a salt and olive oil emulsion.
SER — which is both the Spanish word for “to be,” and an acronym for “Simple. Easy. Real.” — is in the midst of a soft opening the next two days, offering 20 percent off all food. Thursday will be the restaurant’s grand opening. SER will only open for dinner, at 5:00 p.m., until Monday, March 16, when it will start serving lunch at 11:00 a.m.
Happy hour is every day from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the bar, which also features an extensive list of cocktails, three different sangria options and eight different sherries.
Customers will not only be able to enjoy Zubikarai’s traditional seafood options, but they can also order plates of Spanish charcuterie and a “cochinillo,” which is a roasted suckling pig and serves up to three people for $58. It’s safe to say there are not many restaurants in Arlington offering such dishes.
The bold menu is partly a representation of the special circumstance SER — which is co-owned by Javier Candon, whose wife, Christiana, is “the face” of the business — finds itself in. As the winner of the Restaurant Challenge, after the other finalist, D.C. chef Victor Albisu, dropped out, the restaurant was given a year of free rent and an interest-free, $250,000 loan. SER can afford to find a customer base without having to compromise with a more broadly appealing menu.
That’s music to Zubikarai’s ears, because he reminisces about the days back in Spain when restaurant critics wouldn’t write about an establishment until it had been open at least three years.
“In Spain, people love bullfighting and they say a restaurant is like a bull: it has to be 4 or 5 years old before it’s ready to fight,” he said. “With the year of free rent, we can hire more people, spend that money on training and have much more opportunity to find customers.”
Police say two men in their mid-20s were chucking snowballs near the entrance to the Ballston bar early Sunday morning when a couple approached.
The male half of the couple asked twice that the men stop throwing the snowballs so he and his girlfriend could safely enter the establishment.
“[Expletive] your girlfriend, and [expletive] you,” was the reply, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
At that point, one of the suspects threw a snowball that pegged the woman in the back. The boyfriend, 30, and the snowball tosser then came face-to-face, police say, at which point the suspect “threw a haymaker” at the boyfriend. The boyfriend responded by dodging the punch, then landing a punch of his own, breaking the suspect’s nose, Sternbeck said.
The suspect’s acquaintance, who moments earlier tried and failed to break up the fight, then allegedly stepped in and attempted another wild punch. The boyfriend dodged that punch, as well, then “body slamed suspect No. 2 to the ground,” according to Sternbeck.
Shortly thereafter, Arlington police officers arrived and broke up the fight.
Neither suspect required an ambulance ride to the hospital, Sternbeck said. All parties involved declined to prosecute and were subsequently released without any charges being filed.
The second location of Orangetheory Fitness in Arlington is coming to Ballston, just two blocks from the Metro.
After opening in Rosslyn last summer, franchise owner Mark Steverson said the reception has been good enough to expand further in the county.
“We’ve been very busy, but more importantly, the community has really responded well and taken off with the concept of what we do here,” he said. “It’s great to see he community in better shape since we’ve moved in.”
Orangetheory’s next location will be at 4201 Wilson Blvd, in the ground floor of the National Science Foundation’s headquarters.
The space, a former Bank of America branch, is 4,200 square feet, Steverson said, and it will be the largest of Orangetheory’s 180 gyms in the country when it opens this summer.
“The bigger space will allow us to fit more people into a class, while keeping the group personal training feeling,” Steverson said.
Orangetheory specializes in hour-long group interval training workouts that use a combination of treadmills, rowing machines, free weights and a suspension system, monitoring each participants’ heart rate to maximize calorie burn.
While Steverson is prepping for a July opening in Ballston, he’s also looking for a third Orangetheory location in Arlington. He said he has a franchise agreement to open in Crystal City and Pentagon City, and is currently exploring locations. He hopes to open in south Arlington by the end of 2015.
(Updated at 6:30 p.m.) In a matter of months, a Washington Boulevard house thought to have been built in the 1800s will be torn down.
The two-story shingle and frame house at 4210 Washington Blvd will be replaced with a four-story duplex with a rooftop patio. It was built sometime between 1895 and 1910, according to Arlington County records, but little, if anything, is going to be preserved.
American Signature Properties owns the house, and Virginia Division Manager Mark Benas told ARLnow.com that the Arlington Historical Society combed the house for artifacts and he’s offered materials to a Habitat for Humanity ReStore. The AHS found nothing of value, Benas said, and all the ReStore wanted were some newer small appliances.
“It is literally just an old house,” county Preservation Planner Rebeccah Ballo wrote in an email. “Nothing particularly noteworthy about it.”
Former AHS President Tom Dickinson toured the house, and said it’s “pretty trashed inside.” It has been divided into apartments and there’s nothing “visible” that was in place around the turn of the 20th century.
“All of the radiators have frozen and exploded, spewing black goo everywhere,” Dickinson said via email. “The only interesting ‘original’ part is the exterior furnace room, with old T-111 walls, and old piping. It’s a place everyone has seen, and the new duplex going in there will be markedly different. I even climbed up into the attic.. It was interesting to see how the house has had various additions and expansions tied in over the years, i.e, a roof over a roof, rafters, splicing, etc.”
Falls Church News-Press columnist Charlie Clark first reported on the planned demolition, writing the house “is now deserted — save for some reported homeless squatters.”
The house, which became infamous for the giant flag that used to hang in the window, was approved for redevelopment in 2013 by the Arlington County Board, and sold to American Signature Properties last December for $827,500. Benas has applied for construction and demolition permits, and expects to tear down the house this spring.
“It’s a landmark in Arlington, for sure,” Dickinson said. “Wish there was more history as to its provenance around.”
Iwo Jima Anniversary — Today marks the 70th anniversary of the famous photo of Marines raising the flag during on Iwo Jima during World War II. Veterans of the battle gathered at the Marine Corps War Memorial near Rosslyn, which depicts the flag raising, to mark its anniversary last week. [Stars and Stripes]
Impromptu Marriage at Fire Station — A Marine and his fiance got married at Arlington’s Fire Station 5 Saturday night. Firefighters got the call at 6:00 p.m. that the Marine, who was deploying the next day, was in desperate need of a hall after their venue was closed due to broken pipes. Firefighters were able to hastily mop the floor and set up chairs in one of the station’s bays before the bride and groom arrived for the short ceremony. [Facebook]
Man Falls on Tracks at Ballston Metro — Around 8:15 this morning, a man somehow fell onto the outbound tracks at the Ballston Metro station. Bystanders were able to hoist the man back onto the platform. According to scanner traffic, he suffered a head injury.
SUV Rollover Near Columbia Pike — An SUV crashed and rolled onto its side at Walter Reed Drive and 13 Street S., near Columbia Pike, on Friday night. The vehicle’s occupants were unhurt and were able to get out on their own, according to a fire department spokesman. Also Friday night, a pedestrian was struck by a vehicle on N. Glebe Road near Pershing Drive. The victim was transported to Inova Fairfax Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. [Twitter]
Benjamin Banneker Park to Expand — At its Saturday meeting, the Arlington County Board approved the purchase of a 8,375 square foot lot and home adjacent to Benjamin Banneker Park in East Fall Church. The $688,710 purchase will allow the park to expand, following the deconstruction of the house. [Arlington County]
James Hunter Park Cost Infographic — What caused the James Hunter dog park in Clarendon to cost so much? Washingtonian has created an interactive graphic that details some of the park’s features and their price tag. [Washingtonian]
Condo Parking Space Kerfuffle — At Saturday’s County Board meeting, the last item of the day, before the Board adjourned early due to the snowstorm, was a site plan amendment for the Virginia Square Condominiums building. The site plan amendment was proposed by the condo association to try to ameliorate a dispute over the size of two parking spaces. ARLnow.com live tweeted the absurdist theater that followed. [Storify]
Flickr pool photo by J. Peterson
(Updated at 2:45 p.m. Sunday) A 22-story apartment building in Ballston has been without heat all week, including today, the coldest Feb. 20 on record in D.C.
Residents in the East tower of Avalon Ballston Square, at 850 N. Randolph Street, have been forced to bundle up indoors while the building’s management has said crews are working on the issue, but no solution is in sight.
One resident, who declined to be identified, told ARLnow.com the temperature in her apartment has “hovered between 50 and 60 degrees since Tuesday morning.”
“Management has made no efforts to put us in a hotel or another apartment building with working heat,” she wrote in an email at about noon today. “Their only solution has been to pass out space heaters, which are dangerous to leave on all day or night. The D.C. area is going through record breaking cold temperatures and I cannot get a response from the management on site or corporate management.”
At least one other resident has reached out on social media about the heat, with no response from Avalon’s parent company, Ballston-based Avalon Bay.
@AvalonBay 12 degrees & no heat for 2 days at Avalon Ballston Sq. Completely unacceptable. There need to be major concessions for residents.
– Jessica Charters (@JMCharters) February 20, 2015
Avalon Bay is in the midst of a trying time as a company after a large luxury apartment complex in New Jersey went up in flames last month, causing massive damage and displacing hundreds of residents. The fire caused Avalon Bay to add more fire sprinklers and protections to its planned developments in New Jersey, and has sparked a discussion about more stringent fire code requirements at the state and local level.
When ARLnow.com spoke to a building employee, he simply said the heat was still off and they can’t say when it will be restored. The building’s management declined to comment, and a message left for Avalon Bay’s corporate public relations official has not been returned.
Below is the full text of the last email address Avalon Ballston Square has sent to its residents, according to our source, sent at 6:00 p.m. Thursday.
We wanted to keep you as updated as possible regarding the heat in the East Tower. Our maintenance team is continuing to work with several contractors on returning heat to the building as soon as we can. We are constantly monitoring all temperature levels. We will keep you updated as soon as there are any changes.
Please let us know if there is anything we can do to make you more comfortable. Thanks again for your patience.
Update Sunday, Feb. 22 at 2:15 p.m. – Power was fully restored to the East Tower at about 10:00 p.m. on Friday night, Avalon Bay spokesman Richard Wolff told ARLnow.com. One hundred units had been with “diminished” heat since Monday, out of 714 in the community, Wolff said. Avalon Bay offered on Friday to place residents in hotels.
After the jump, the full explanation Avalon Bay sent to residents Saturday morning for the origin of the heat malfunction.
The heating has been fully restored to the East Tower. Full heat was restored at approximately 10PM Friday evening and we have monitored the system throughout the night. The temperatures have stabilized where they should be for the entire building.
If your home is still cold, blowing cool or if the heat is off altogether, you should be able to simply reset your unit and get heat. The best way to fully reset your heating unit is to turn off the thermostat first, then go to your fuse box, turn off the breaker for your HVAC (they are labelled but typically it’s the double breaker switch at the bottom right), wait about 30 seconds and then turn the breaker and the thermostat back on. Our maintenance team is here and can provide assistance if needed. Please do not hesitate to stop by the office or call for assistance. If you had a space heater in your apartment, please return it to the office or call us to come pick it up.
We want to thank you for your patience and understanding while we were working to resolve this issue. Please either visit our office or call 703-243-7368 if you have any additional questions or concerns or if we can help in any way. We hope you have an enjoyable and relaxing weekend. To start it off, please join us in the lobby this morning for a light breakfast.
In addition, this is an internal memo, sent Friday night, Avalon Bay shared with ARLnow.com explaining the problem:
We have been receiving an increased amount of heating calls since Monday afternoon. Approximately 100 apartments are getting reduced heat from the boiler system. The apartments are all in the East Tower, but are not in one tier or floor; the distribution is random throughout the tower. The North Tower is operating normally. The root of the issue is that we are not able to maintain the correct water temperature in the loop. Since Monday afternoon the maintenance team has had three different contractors on-site; none have been able to identify the cause of the loop’s low and irregular temperature. Each day since Tuesday, the loop temperature has increased to normal or close to normal levels, giving the impression of a solution, but each night the temperature drops again. We now have the original mechanic that installed the system at the property and working to find the issue/fix.
At this moment, we have made an adjustment to the balancing valve between the two towers and the loop temperature is rapidly rising to normal; higher and faster than any of the temperatures we experienced this week. We are optimistic that the issue has been resolved but are going to check in periodically and return tomorrow morning to confirm.
In the interim for residents, we notified the East Tower residents to contact us if they are affected and need assistance with temporary solutions. The team and I have been in the lobby all evening greeting these residents and offering them space heaters or stays in the Residence Inn. Most residents are choosing to stay in their homes as the apartment temperatures are 55 – 60 degrees.
The incident happened on the 4000 block of 5th Street N., near Ballston. Police say the man was peering into the bedroom window of a woman’s ground floor apartment.
From the crime report:
PEEPING, 150208012, 4000 block of N. 5th Street. At 1:29 am on February 8, a suspect was seen looking through a bedroom window of a ground floor apartment at a female victim. Police arrived and took the subject into custody outside of the apartment. Cesar Augusto Muz-Moya, 53, of Arlington, VA, was arrested and charged with peeping and drunk in public. He was held without bond.
The rest of this week’s crime report, after the jump.
(Updated at 6:25 p.m.) The distinctive “Blue Goose” building on the corner of Fairfax Drive and N. Glebe Road in Ballston is starting to be torn down.
The building, built in the 1960s, will be replaced by a nine-story office building and 15-story residential building. The redevelopment is a partnership between Shooshan Company and Marymount University. Shooshan has a ground lease for the land and is developing the new buildings, while MU owns the land and will occupy six of the nine floors of the new office building, with plans to fill the other three over time.
The demolition is expected to wrap up May, according to Shooshan Company Director of Leasing and Marketing Kevin Shooshan. The first step of construction will be excavation to create the three levels of underground parking. Shooshan expects the two buildings to be complete in summer 2017.
The entire property — the building and the parking lot in the rear — is fenced off as crews begin to tear out the building’s interior. This morning, workers were tossing pieces of the interior from the fourth floor window onto the ground below.
Panels from the building will be donated to local museums to preserve the building as a model of Modern Movement architecture. Some of the panels, as well as blue elements throughout the 7,600-square-foot public plaza also being built on the site, will be preserved as part of the new development.
Tommy Casey’s decal, entitled “A Nod to History,” was voted the winner by Arlington residents, who chose from four finalists that were announced in December. The decal is named in recognition of the design of the 10-story 800 N. Glebe Road office building, which itself is a nod to to the former Bob Peck Chevrolet dealership that the building replaced.
Later this year the decal will be mailed to residents and placed on windshields of more than 160,000 vehicles in Arlington County.
From an Arlington County press release:
The scene is a nighttime photograph of a distinctive 10-story building in Ballston, owned by the JBG Companies. Casey, a senior at Yorktown High School, creatively retouched the picture with dynamic lighting and light streaks to show more vibrancy. In his Decal Competition application, Casey wrote, “I wanted to create a photo that represents the modern city that Arlington has become while recognizing the importance of Arlington’s landmarks. The building at 800 North Glebe Road symbolizes this by incorporating the old Bob Peck Chevrolet dealership diamond design into its modern front.”
Panel reviewed 114 entries The competition’s 114 entries were narrowed down by a panel of Arlington residents. “Our Citizens’ panel worked diligently to pare down the submissions to just four finalists. This was not an easy task considering how many great entries were received,” said Treasurer Carla de la Pava. The four finalists were put to a County-wide vote conducted over a six-week period during which 2,913 votes were cast online and by mail. Casey’s design came in first.
Thanks to the generosity of John Marshall Bank, each of the finalists received a cash prize. As the winner, Casey received $750 and the others each received $500.
The other finalists were:
- Marisa DeFranco, 11th Grader at Wakefield High School, with her design “Hats of Our Heroes”
- Ingrid Jacobsen, 11th Grader at Wakefield High School, with her design “Barcroft Community House”
- Lauren Graft, 10th Grader at Washington-Lee High School, with her design “A Day at the Farmers Market”
Arlington began requiring local licensing of vehicles in 1949, which took the form of a metal tag attached to the license plate. The first windshield decal was issued in 1967; decals were first produced with a color image in 2000. In 2002, residents were given the opportunity to vote on the decal image, and in 2005 the Treasurer’s Office started the Decal Design Competition for high school students.
“Top Chef” contestant Mike Isabella’s first restaurant venture in Arlington is finally opening its doors tomorrow (Tuesday).
Kapnos Taverna was announced September 2013 and planned for summer 2014. As most openings in the local restaurant industry go, delays pushed Kapnos Taverna’s debut back significantly — Isabella said they were waiting for the building at 4000 Wilson Blvd to finish construction.
The two-story 165-seat restaurant will feature small plates of largely southern and coastal Greek food. (Kapnos in the District, sister eatery to the new Ballston location, specializes in northern Greek fare.)
Isabella said he wants people to think beyond gyros and souvlaki when they think of Greek food.
“My goal is to tell people what Greek food is,” he told ARLnow.com while taste-testing dishes last week. “I want to show people aspects of the cuisine people aren’t aware of. There’s so much more to it than people think.”
The menu for Kapnos Taverna includes shellfish “platters” and “towers” for $75 and $125, respectively, and Isabella said the sauces and spreads are being brought over from Kapnos. The small plates range in price from $6 to $15 and tables can also order spit-roasted chickens — one of Isabella’s favorite menu items, along with the swordfish kebabs — and full lamb shoulders.
There will be a full cocktail program, four beers on tap as well as a moschofilero white wine on tap.
Two more Isabella-owned restaurants in Kapnos Taverna’s building will soon be opening. Pepita, the Mexican cantina that Isabella calls more “drink-centric” is in the pipeline for this spring. Yona, a restaurant that will specialize in ramen, won’t have Isabella behind the menu and plans to open this summer.
“We’re going to focus on these three concepts for a while,” Isabella said. “This is going to be our hub, and after opening these, we’re probably done in Arlington for a while.”
(Updated at 10:40 a.m.) A large fire department response has been dispatched to the Ballston Metro station for a report of smoke in a Metro tunnel.
Metro called the fire department, reporting smoke in one of the tunnels between the Ballston and Virginia Square stations. Power has been cut to the track as firefighters investigate.
Metro says trains are single-tracking between Clarendon and Ballston stations as a result.
Firefighters in the tunnel are reporting a smoldering pile of trash along the third rail. There’s also a report of an arcing insulator.
The large emergency response comes after Monday’s fatal Metro incident outside the L’Enfant Metro station, in which smoke filled a disabled Metro train in a tunnel.
As of 10:40 a.m., fire department units were starting to clear the scene. Metro maintenance personnel are now working on the track problem. No additional smoke or fire has been reported.
Metro is advising Orange and Silver Line riders to expect delays.
Orange/Silver Lines: Expect delays of approx 30 min due to single tracking at Ballston.
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) January 16, 2015
Update: smoke at Ballston Metro was isolated to malfunctioning insulator, metro maintenance on scene & FD units starting to go in service
— Arlington Fire (@ACFDPIO) January 16, 2015