Taylor Gourmet, the D.C.-area deli and catering chain, will open in Ballston “either next week or the one after,” according to owner Casey Patten.
This afternoon the restaurant — located at 4000 Wilson Blvd, on the corner of N. Quincy Street — held a soft opening, allowing some to come in and try a sandwich or salad for free. Tomorrow (Saturday) from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Taylor is offering the same deal, provided those who want to try the food first email Hilary Chattler at email@example.com.
Patten said he’s hoping the soft openings give his staff and restaurant — the chain’s ninth location, and second in Virginia — time to practice, since “perfect practice makes perfect.”
“We want to spend some time to get things right,” he said. After tomorrow’s soft opening, the plan is to re-evaluate, do a little more interior work, and open within the next two weeks.
The sandwich shop’s specialty is a menu full of “cooked-from-scratch” items, Patten said, including roasting its own turkey, pork and roast beef in house and having freshly baked bread delivered twice a day.
“You won’t find a freezer in any of our restaurants,” he said. “The end goal is just to make the best sandwich we possibly can.”
Taylor Gourmet’s menu includes sandwiches with ingredients like “garlicky spinach,” white bean hummus, roasted cauliflower, as well as a kale side salad and a chickpea salad. The deli will deliver to the surrounding area, caters for groups from “10 to 5,000,” Chattler said, and plans to have WiFi when it opens, or soon after.
“We’ve wanted to come to Ballston for a long time,” Patten said. “We’d been trying to find space here for about two years. It’s kind of the perfect place for us. It’s young, super hip, there’s plenty of stuff to do and has daytime businesses as well as residents.”
(Updated at 12:25 p.m.) The future plans for the Ballston Common Mall include demolishing the Macy’s Furniture Store and parts of the current mall to build a 29-story residential tower and an open-air town center along Wilson Blvd, officials announced Monday night.
The 393-unit apartment building, at the corner of Wilson and N. Randolph Street, is projected to be completed by 2017, Ballston Business Improvement District CEO Tina Leone revealed at the BID’s annual meeting last night. Leone said the redevelopment — including a revamp of the retail mix at the mall — will be crucial for the branding of Ballston, which is often closely associated with the increasingly run-down mall.
“The mall hasn’t quite been able to serve our public,” Leone said, noting the mall’s future is the main question she gets asked about the future of Ballston development. “The mall is going to ‘de-mall’ itself. The roof is coming off.”
The mall is owned and operated by Forest City, which purchased the Macy’s Furniture Store last September. Forest City spokesman Gary McManus told ARLnow.com at the time that the mall had planned retail space with more street access in Macy’s place, and those plans now include the residential tower.
The building is expected to have four floors of underground parking and two floors of retail space below the studio, one- and two-bedroom rental apartments. The apartment building and attached parking will have a separate entrance from the restaurants and remaining mall.
Kettler Capitals Iceplex, the main Macy’s store — which will fold in the furniture store on its ground floor — the Sport&Health Club and the Regal Cinemas will all remain in the closed-air section of the mall, which is being rebranded as “Ballston Center.”
Along Wilson Blvd, parts of the mall — which originally opened as the Parkington Shopping Center in 1951 before it was rebuilt and reopened as Ballston Common Mall in 1986 — will be torn down and replaced with an open-air, town center-like plaza. Demolition is expected to begin by late 2015.
“[Forest City] thought about what was going to have the highest impact,” Leone told ARLnow.com, saying the Ballston BID has been “on a very high level” helping to form plans for the mall’s redevelopment. “To make it a town center, this is life-altering for the people who live and work here.”
McManus said that the pedestrian bridge from the mall to the current National Science Foundation headquarters across the street is tentatively slated to be torn down — private conversations between Forest City and Arlington County Board members led the mall owner to remove it from the plans — but an agreement needs to be reached with the NSF building’s property owner before that can happen.
McManus also said that the retail mix in the mall will change, to become more restaurant and entertainment-oriented. It will be aimed at serving the immediate area, not as a mall that brings in most of its shoppers from other areas, despite the fact that it will have “some destination retail, too.”
“We don’t want to compete with Tysons or Pentagon City,” McManus said. “We’ve started this project before, but this time it’s got all the momentum behind it.”
In addition to the four-level, 580,000 square foot mall’s redevelopment, Leone announced plans for changes to public spaces expected this fall, like public art projects, Ballston-branded signs lining the streets and the new Fairfax Drive landscaping ARLnow.com reported on earlier this month.
Among the proposed projects is a redesigned Metro plaza, which Leone said she hopes will include an “interactive light installation” under the Metro canopy. The light installation is being designed in Amsterdam — it will track pedestrians’ movements underneath and project light based on that movement. The Metro plaza is also planned to include an small amphitheater and redesigned bus parking to remove some buses from N. Stuart Street. (more…)
The incident took place around 4:50 p.m. Saturday afternoon on the 3800 block of 9th Street N., in the Virginia Square area. Police say Melvin Baxter, 57, grabbed the 87-year-old man by the neck and threw him to the ground before robbing him of the cash in his wallet and fleeing on foot.
“A witness immediately came to the assistance of the victim and contacted police, providing a detailed description of the assailant,” according to an Arlington County Police Department press release. “The victim sustained minor injuries and was treated by medics on scene. At approximately 5:00 p.m., an officer located and detained the suspect on the platform of the Ballston Metro Station.”
Baxter, a Capitol Heights, Md. resident, was charged with robbery and held without bond at the Arlington County Detention Facility.
Police were called to the intersection of Fairfax Drive and N. Taylor Street around 9:30 p.m. for a report of a body lying in the street. Police and medics arrived on scene and and determined that the individual was bleeding from his head but was breathing.
Officers talked to a witness and learned that the man was “extremely intoxicated” and had been trying to walk backwards in the street when he lost his balance, fell, hit his head and knocked himself out, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
The man, 33, was by himself at the time and it’s unknown where he was walking from. He was transported to Inova Fairfax Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
(Updated at 5:10 p.m.) The Matsutake Steak and Sushi restaurants in Ballston and Crystal City have closed for business.
The Crystal City location, at 320 23rd Street S., appears to have closed some time ago — its listing on Yelp is reported closed. The Ballston restaurant may have closed this week, and an eviction notice is posted on the door notifying the restaurant to vacate by yesterday morning. It’s placed next to a sign notifying customers of the restaurant’s closure:
“Boru/Matsutake Restaurant has closed with no plans to re-open in the near future,” it reads. The restaurant was a combination of Matsutake’s hibachi restaurant and a Boru Asian Bistro. “Restaurant is for rent.”
Hat tip to Robert Lauderdale
(Updated at 11:55 a.m.) More than a dozen trees that lined the median of Fairfax Drive in Ballston were chopped down this weekend to make room for a new landscaping project.
Seventeen trees, some of which were around a foot in diameter, were removed by the Ballston Business Improvement District last weekend and this weekend. According to Ballston BID CEO Tina Leone, landscapers will be removing the stumps before they put in new trees and other plants.
Leone said 27 bald cypress trees will be planted in the median, accompanied by shrubbery and both annual and perennial flowers. Most of the work is projected to take between four and eight weeks, Leone said, but the perennials won’t be planted until the fall.
“We have started the implementation of our really dramatic landscaping for Fairfax Drive,” Leone said. “We see it becoming our grand boulevard for Ballston.”
The 17 trees removed “were near the end of their lives,” Leone said. “We had both our arborist and Arlington County’s take a look at them before the decision was made to remove them.”
The landscaping is the beginning of a re-envisioning of the way Ballston looks, and next year the improvements will begin in earnest to the “hardscape,” Leone said. The planned changes will be revealed on June 23 at the Ballston BID’s annual meeting, when attendees will be given a “3-D video tour” of the future of Ballston. Leone said the project should take about five years to complete.
“Ballston is going to look very different in the next five years,” she said. “This is just the first step.”
ARLnow.com received numerous tips and inquiries about the tree removal.
“A real shame,” one tipster said about the tree removal, before hearing about the replanting plans. “[It will result in] less green in the cityscape, less shade, less CO2 consumed, less oxygen produced, more of an urban heat island effect.”
Disclosure: Ballston BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser.
Campos will now get to open up shop in the former Red Parrot space at 1110 N. Glebe Road, next to The Melting Pot with a year of free rent, an 11-year lease and a $245,000, interest-free loan from the building’s owner, Brookfield Properties.
Campos and Albisu were selected as the two finalists to compete in a final cookoff this Wednesday evening in the restaurant space that will now become Casita. They were selected from a pool of eight semi-finalists who competed in a judging panel during Taste of Arlington last month, and the two finalists’ selection generated some controversy because of confusion over the selection process.
The restaurant concept that won the most votes from Taste of Arlington attendees, Kristen Robinson’s Laurel, was not named a finalist. Despite Albisu dropping out this morning, Ballston BID CEO said Campos was declared the winner instead of Robinson being invited to the challenge.
“We decided that Casita and Christiana and her team thought they were going up against Victor, and to change that midway and say, ‘Oh we’re not going to award it to you’ and give a chance to someone else, we didn’t think it was the right thing to do,” Leone told ARLnow.com this afternoon. “They have a great plan, team and concept for that location. All the elements were there for a successful venture. We thought that was the best thing to do to award it to her.”
Albisu declined comment on dropping out of the Restaurant Challenge through his publicist. Restaurant Challenge judge and Top Chef alumnus Mike Isabella announced last week that he’d be opening a Mexican cantina, called Pepita, in Ballston, at 4000 Wilson Blvd, last week. Leone alluded to the fact that Isabella’s new venture, expected to open early next year, might have chased Albisu off.
“There were restaurant wars going on, it wasn’t quite the challenge we were putting on,” Leone said. “Things don’t always work out exactly the way you want, but we think this turned out pretty great. It’s a win for Ballston. We’re getting a Mexican restaurant and a Spanish restaurant.”
Campos described Casita on the Restaurant Challenge website as “inspired from the timeless taverns that over generations have been offering very unique, yet typical, classic comfort foods from Spain featuring top-quality and seasonal ingredients. These taverns are known for their hearty dishes and “menus del dia” (a three course meal at a reasonable cost), as well as “pintxos” (essentially snacks on a skewer).”
The Restaurant Challenge was a kind of sequel to last year’s Launchpad Challenge for startup technology companies. While Launchpad was seen as a success, Leone said there’s no certainty that another challenge is in the offing for Ballston. She also pointed out that Restaurant Challenge was the brainchild of Brookfield Properties looking to entice restaurants to its space, not an idea the BID hatched on its own.
There’s no word on when Casita plans to open. Campos will be officially announced as the winner at the BID’s annual meeting on June 23, when she will prepare an array of food as a preview for the restaurant.
Disclosure: Ballston BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser. Photo courtesy Ballston BID.
Beyer Again Leads Fundraising Race — Former Va. lieutenant governor Don Beyer is still at the top of the fundraising heap in the race to succeed Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.). Beyer, one of seven Democrats seeking the party’s nod on June 10, has raised $1.1 million so far, according to the latest Federal Election Commission finance report. Beyer’s campaign has $351,371 on hand for the remainder of the primary. The only other primary candidate to have more than $100,000 cash on hand is Mark Levine, who has loaned his campaign $400,000 and has $292,753 on hand. [Washington Post]
Hazing Film to Be Shown to Parents — The Arlington READY Coalition will be screening a film on college hazing for parents Monday night. The screening will take place from :007-8:30 at the Lyon Village Community Center (1920 N. Highland Street). It tells the story of a “preventable tragedy” caused by college hazing. [Arlington Public Schools]
Ballston Restaurant Challenge Dustup — The final round of competition in the Ballston Restaurant Challenge will be held this coming Wednesday, but one competitor who did not advance to the finals is upset that they won the public vote in the last round and yet was not chosen to advance. Another passed-over competitor is upset that established restaurateurs were allowed to compete in the contest. [Washington City Paper]
Disclosure: Ballston BID, organizer of the Restaurant Challenge, is an ARLnow.com advertiser.
Beekeeping in Arlington — A number of Arlington residents keep bees in their Arlington backyards. These amateur beekeepers often bottle their honey and sell it to neighbors or to patrons at the Arlington County Fair. [Falls Church News-Press]
Protest Underway in Ballston — Several dozen protesters are demonstrating outside Ballston Common Mall this morning. They’re protesting a tenant in the adjacent office building, Arlington-based developer AvalonBay, for alleged construction safety violations and low wages. [Twitter]
Yorktown Student Places at Int’l Science Fair — Yorktown High School junior Margaret Doyle captured fourth place in the Animal Sciences category at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, held earlier this month in Los Angeles. Doyle is also a former ARLnow.com summer intern. [InsideNova]
New Tysons Tower Will Be Region’s Tallest — The new 384-foot tall office building at 1812 North Moore Street in Rosslyn won’t be the tallest tower in the region for long. On Friday, Fairfax County approved a 470-foot tall skyscraper, which will serve as the headquarters for Capital One. It will be the tallest building in the D.C. area, aside from the Washington Monument. [Greater Greater Washington]
The annual event will be held from noon to 5:00 p.m. Packets of 10 food and beverage tickets for are still on sale for $35.
Responding to high demand in previous years, Taste of Arlington will have a larger beer and wine pavilion this year. Located on Wilson between N. Randolph and Quincy Streets, the pavilion is billed as having “seating and plenty of space to dance.”
Aside from eating and drinking, Taste of Arlington will feature a number of different activities and entertainment option.
Three bands well-known to many Arlington residents will be performing on the main stage: Jumpin’ Jupiter from noon to 1:00 p.m., Gonzo’s Nose from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m., and Burnt Sienna from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.
A “KidZone” will feature a rock climbing wall, face-painting, carnival games, Washington Wizards and Capitals inflatable games, a teen band, a puppet show, a magic show and a dance performance. KidZone food, drink and game tickets are $20.
A “Bark Park” will provide a space for festival goers and their dogs, complete with pet supply vendors and a Corona beer station. For $10, dog owners can enter their pooch in a “World Pup tournament,” which features a 70-foot race track and a doggy-sized soccer goal.
Before the festival kicks off, organizers will be holding a Girls on the Run 5K race, described as “Northern Virginia’s most family friendly 5K.” A number of roads in the area will be closed from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. to accommodate the race.
There will be other traffic impacts in Ballston as a result of the festival. Wilson Blvd between N. Glebe Road and Quincy Street will be closed from midnight to 8:00 p.m. to accommodate the booths, as will N. Stuart Street between Wilson and 9th Street N. Parking will also be restricted in the area.
The full list of breweries and restaurants that will be serving at Taste of Arlington, after the jump. (more…)
Effective immediately, restaurant managers will be liable for the noise of their patrons if it can be heard in a residence 100 feet or more away from midnight to 9:00 a.m in mixed-use areas, which the county outlines in maps of areas like Clarendon, Ballston, Pentagon City and Columbia Pike.
Anywhere in the county, from 2:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. anyone who can be heard “yelling, wailing, shouting or screaming” can receive a ticket for $100 or more.
“It’s our goal to always do the best we can to balance and be respectful of the quality of life to everyone that’s here,” County Board Chairman Jay Fisette said during the Board’s almost five-hour discussion of the ordinance at its Saturday meeting. “This is another set of tools, in my mind, that helps us to address the not widespread — but they do exist — impacts of noise.”
Residents of condominiums in Ballston and other of Arlington’s urban neighborhoods were calling for more restrictive rules, including setting quiet hours beginning at 11:00 p.m. nightly and from noon to 6:00 p.m. on Sundays. A committee of residents from the Alta Vista and Berkeley Condominiums in Ballston — both within steps of A-Town Bar & Grill – unsuccessfully proposed those stricter rules to the Board.
“[Responsible businesses] have nothing to fear from a strong noise control ordinance,” said Lee Austin, a member of the ad hoc condo committee. “Nor do we want to prevent young people from having a good time. But is it too much to ask they be respectful of residents in the neighborhood late at night and on Sunday afternoon? What we solicit protection from is the crowd noise that comes from irresponsible establishments that serve too much alcohol to too many people too long after they’ve had too much to drink.”
Clarendon and Courthouse residents sent a flurry of emails last week requesting similar restrictions, with former president of the Clarendon-Courthouse Civic Association Chris Keever telling the County Board that the ordinance appears “to have been drafted directly by bar owners who are not even trying to pretend they care about being good neighbors.”
Whitlow’s on Wilson owner Greg Cahill was the first of 17 speakers who addressed the Board about the ordinance on Saturday. He did not advocate for a specific enforcement time, but instead implored the Board to consider the business community as well as the residents when adopting the new regulations.
“We’re a little concerned it could be detrimental to our business,” he said. “Sometimes we don’t get busy until 11 or 12 at night. It could affect our business. It’s going to be hard for us to be responsible for actions people [take] when they’re waiting to get into our bar and restaurant.”
In addition to provisions dealing with mixed-use districts, the new ordinance makes it illegal for anybody or any group of people “to engage during the nighttime in yelling, wailing, shouting or screaming” in a residential neighborhood, if the noise can be heard within 20 feet inside an adjacent home or within 50 feet across a road or property boundary.
The ordinance adopted was revised from the version discussed last month that rankled Arlington’s private swim clubs. Those clubs are now exempted from the residential noise ordinance, provided that their meets that take place between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.
The county’s Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development’s Code Enforcement personnel will pair with the Arlington County Police Department in enforcing the new rules. The new ordinance was written after a 2009 Virginia Supreme Court decision changed the way localities could enforce noise violations. The ordinance now establishes “Objective, quantifiable and defined measurement standards,” according to Arlington County’s press release.
Fisette called the ordinance a “work in progress” and said county staff should bring back any recommended changes at the ordinance’s one-year review. Fisette also made several references to “one establishment in Ballston” that “continues to cause problems for residents,” and said the Board will address that restaurant — understood to be A-Town — when its use permit comes before the Board for review.
Sweet Leaf Cafe Coming to Ballston – Sweet Leaf Cafe will be opening a second Arlington location. In addition to the existing Courthouse location, the local salad and sandwich chain will be opening a new cafe at 650 N. Quincy Street in Ballston, on the ground floor of the Residence Inn hotel. [Washington Business Journal]
Businesses Optimistic About County Ombudsman – Local businesses and developers hope that the appointment of assistant county manager Shannon Flanagan-Watson as Arlington County’s “business ombudsman” is another sign that that the county is serious about cutting red tape and being friendlier to business interests. [InsideNoVa]
GGW Blasts Streetcar Referendum Idea – Greater Greater Washington writer Canaan Merchant says that the Columbia Pike streetcar referendum proposal floated last week by Congressional candidate Del. Patrick Hope and County Board candidate Alan Howze is “pointless and possibly destructive.” [Greater Greater Washington]
TSA Opens Pre-Check Office in DCA – The Transportation Security Administration has opened a Pre-Check enrollment center at Reagan National Airport. The Pre-Check program allows “known travelers” who sign up to go through expedited screening lines at the airport. [Washington Post]
County to Provide Super Stop Update – County officials this afternoon will be holding a media briefing to provide an update into the comprehensive review into the $1 million “Super Stop” bus stop. Construction of the other 23 planned Super Stops is on hold while the county reviews cost and functionality concerns associated with the first Super Stop.
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
The restaurant is expected to open at 800 N. Glebe Road, next to Mussel Bar, this July. It will have table seating for 100, a 28-seat bar and seating for 36 at its outdoor patio.
“The restaurant’s menu is grounded in gourmet grilled pizzas with toppings that have been responsibly sourced from an array of American producers,” said spokeswoman Robin Insley. “Its wine menu features a sommelier-created list of about 36 wines designed to be paired with each pizza.”
Each wine will cost less than $10 a glass, Insley said, and be available in tasting pours and flights. The New York location features gelato, gelato floats and gelato paninis, with the Italian-style ice cream wrapped in vanilla cake and served warm.
Located in New York City’s Union Square, Pizza Vinoteca first opened its doors this past March.
Hat tip to Tony Zuccaro
(Updated at 1:35 p.m.) Police and paramedics swarmed the Ballston Metro station after a stabbing Sunday night.
According to WMATA, a man in his late 20s was stabbed on the station platform around 8:50 p.m. He suffered life-threatening stab wounds to his bicep and abdomen and as of Monday morning was listed in critical/stable condition, according to Metro spokesman Dan Stessel.
The station manager helped apply pressure to the man’s wounds, potentially saving his life, Stessel told WJLA.
Two people were taken into custody in connection with the stabbing but so far only one has been charged. According to Stessel, 52-year-old Jeffrey Kenneth Hicks, of no fixed address, has been charged with aggravated malicious wounding.
The circumstances that led to the stabbing are still under investigation, but Stessel said “it appears that it began as a verbal altercation that escalated to physical violence.”
Trains single-tracked past the station Sunday night while police collected evidence. On Twitter, witnesses described seeing “blood all over the platform.”
@unsuckdcmetro Someone was just stabbed on inbound platform at Ballston. Blood all over the platform. MTPD on scene, local PD en route.
— Meredith Peruzzi (@etoile) May 5, 2014
Photo courtesy @firstdownbar
A Dunkin’ Donuts location appears on its way to Ballston in the former Quiznos storefront in the National Science Foundation building.
The storefront, at 4201 Wilson Blvd — but located at the corner of N. Stuart and 9th Streets — is covered in brown paper but a sign on the window states Dunkin’ Donuts applied for a building permit on April 3.
Steve Roggie, the building’s property manager for Gates Hudson, confirmed to ARLnow.com that Dunkin’ Donuts has already signed the lease for the space. He said he doesn’t have an estimate for when the 1,000-square-foot space will open, but he said the franchise owner is “a really good operator of Dunkin Donuts. They’re very excited to be here, and they want to get in there as soon as possible.”
The location would be the sixth Dunkin’ Donuts in Arlington, not counting its storefronts in the Pentagon and Reagan National Airport.
Hat tip to Bill Colton