We’re told by one restaurant employee that Jan. 31 will be its last day. A manager, when contacted by ARLnow.com, said “there’s been talk of it” but “we haven’t gotten any official word yet.”
The restaurant, owned by Polish company AmRest, was the third American location of a franchise that was popular in Europe, and was viewed as a harbinger for potentially hundreds of additional U.S. locations. In May, the Washington Business Journal reported those expansion plans were on hold, and theorized the Post’s review — which called La Tagliatella “a threat to our nation” and compared it unfavorably to Olive Garden — might have had something to do with it.
La Tagliatella had a planned location in the Village at Shirlington at the former Extra Virgin space, and still has signs up that say “coming soon,” but the manager we spoke to said those plans have since been scuttled.
The Ballston location closed over the weekend, and pieces of merchandise were still strewn about the store despite most of it laying empty yesterday.
According to a tipster, there was a handwritten sign in the window that read along the lines of, “check the internet if you want to know why we are closed. wet seal sucks! liars!” (Update at 6:30 p.m. — BuzzFeed has a photo of the sign and an interview with its creator.)
Other Wet Seal stores around the country were closed abruptly, and employees of the location that closed in Durham, N.C., also posted a sign complaining about the fashion in which the store closed and how it treated its now-jobless employees.
Bloomberg News reported last week that Wet Seal received a notice of default and owes its creditors $28.8 million by Jan. 12. The financial news site says the company’s stock price has plummeted to 5.7 cents a share, having lost 97 percent of its value in the last year. If the company’s projections hold up, it will have lost almost $240 million by the end of the fiscal year.
According to the Dayton Daily News in Dayton, Ohio, 350 Wet Seal stores nationwide are in line to be closed. Employees in many of those stores were give just one day’s notice.
The Wet Seal location in the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City remains open, and a store employee told ARLnow.com today that the Ballston location’s closure and any problems at the corporate level are “news to me.”
Eastern Mountain Sports, the outdoors outfitter store next to Barnes & Noble in Market Common Clarendon, is expected to close at the end of the month.
There’s a storewide clearance sale going on now, and the store has signs posted inside and out announcing that the location will be closing at the end of January. According to a store employee, EMS’ lease is up at the end of the month.
The closest EMS location is in Dulles, Va., 20 miles away. A similar retailer, Orvis, is another Market Common tenant and is at 2879 Clarendon Blvd.
Hat tip to Bill Colton
Another retailer has closed up shop in the Village at Shirlington.
Cakelove, the pastry specialty store at 4150 Campbell Avenue, has closed its doors after seven years in the shopping center. According to its website, Cakelove is closing “in in order to scale up production of our cake in a jar.”
Cakelove will still operate its location on U Street NW in D.C., but it has also closed its two Maryland locations.
Cakelove closed in December, making it the fourth retailer in the Village to close since October. First, lingerie store Bloomers closed, followed by health-conscious Lebanese restaurant Aladdin’s closed, and Periwinkle — sharing the same block as Cakelove and Bloomer’s, told ARLnow.com it wouldn’t renew its lease for 2015.
Hat tip to Stephanie
Summers and Soccer — Summers Restaurant in Courthouse, set to close after Dec. 31, is being eulogized as the Washington area’s premier soccer bar. Though holding out hope for a “miracle,” owner Joe Javidara says he is being forced to close due to financial woes. With more international soccer games available via cable and at other, newer bars, business at Summers has “dropped… off the cliff.” [Washington Post]
Moran Objects to Killing Birds Near Airports — Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) wants airports, like Reagan National, to deploy new avian radar technology and stop the practice of euthanizing birds that live near airports. NBC4′s I-Team reports that more than 100,000 animals, including birds, have been “chased away” from the runways at Reagan, Dulles and BWI, to reduce the risk of animal strikes. [NBC Washington - WARNING: Autoplay video]
Arlington Contractor Settles Civil Claim — Arlington resident Keith Hedman, 55, has agreed to pay $4.5 million to settle civil claims related to a fraud sceme. The government sued Hedman, the CEO of security contracting firm Protection Strategies, Inc., alleging that he fraudulently obtained $31 million worth of government contracts intended for minority-owned and disadvantaged small businesses. Last year Hedman pleaded guilty to criminal charges. [U.S. Attorney's Office]
Arlington Woman Sentenced for Sex Trafficking — Arlington resident and Peruvian national Ruth Antuanet Miller, 35, has been sentenced to seven years in prison for leading a sex trafficking company. Miller pleaded guilty last year to charges that she led a criminal enterprise that prostituted women at hotels and motels around Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church and in Fairfax County. On Dec. 19, Miller was sentenced to 84 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release. She was also ordered to pay $341,437 in restitution.
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
The restaurant announced on its Facebook page Friday that it is terminating its lease as of Jan. 1, 2015. It did not specify a reason for the lease termination.
“We are very grateful to our loyal customers who throughout the past 30 years have made it possible for Summers to twice be voted as America’s Best Sports Bar,” the restaurant said.
Summers said it is looking for a partner to help it move to a new location.
Red, Hot & Blue, the barbecue chain restaurant at 1600 Wilson Blvd, is closing on Sunday.
Manager Chris Hawkins confirmed to ARLnow.com that the restaurant — which he says has been open since at least 1989 — will have its last day on Sunday, but he said the staff has been kept in the dark as to why.
“I haven’t the slightest idea” why the restaurant is closing, Hawkins said. “It was brought to my attention this week. We’re still trying to figure it out.”
Until the restaurant closes after Sunday, it will still offer everything it’s promised, including a holiday meal to go for $69, that customers can pick up on Sunday.
El Encanto Grocery Store, which has doubled as a Colombian restaurant, closed three days ago but is planning to reopen.
Going in its place at 85 N. Glebe Road, according to workers at the storefront this afternoon, will be a Mexican and Salvadorian restaurant. A sign hanging where the El Encanto sign used to be says “Jarochita #2 Mexican Grill, Panadería & Carnecería Coming Soon.”
The new shop will still have a grocery store and is not changing ownership, the workers said. They could not provide an estimate as to when the storefront would reopen.
Hat tip @TheMadameMeow
Update at 11:55 p.m. — A “tacos, tequila and beer” venue called Don Tito will replace Eventide. It’s expected to open by March.
Eventide Restaurant (3165 Wilson Blvd) served its last meals last night.
The Clarendon restaurant has permanently closed, according to an announcement on its website.
“It has been a great pleasure to serve Arlington and the broader Washington community,” the announcement says. “Thank you to all of our customers, our vendors and especially our employees.”
Local restaurant message board operator Don Rockwell first reported last night that the Eventide space will be taken over by the operators of Ballston’s A-Town Bar and Grill.
“[A-Town owner] Mike Cordero has bought the business and the lease,” Eventide co-owner confirmed to ARLnow.com this morning.
Restaurateurs potentially interested in taking over the space were seen touring Eventide in September, a tipster told ARLnow.com at the time.
Some on Rockwell’s message board were skeptical of an A-Town-style bar in Clarendon. A-Town has faced scrutiny from Arlington County as a result of numerous noise complaints and a number of police incidents. It was dubbed “the most troublesome establishment in Ballston” by county staff.
“It’s my sincere hope the new owners don’t try and replicate A-Town in the space… turn[ing] it into a frat house,” one message board user wrote following the news. “Otherwise that block genuinely will turn into essentially Adams Morgan.”
Despite the concerns, A-Town remains a success story. The business is regularly packed with customers, validating the gamble Cordero and two partners — his son, Nick Cordero, and Scott Parker — made when converting the financially-sound Caribbean Breeze to A-Town in 2012.
PetMAC, the pet supply store and adoption center at 822 N. Kenmore Street in Virginia Square, is closing its doors before the end of the year and moving to Reston.
The store’s lease ends at the end of December, according to owner Cindy Williams, and business has slowed down to the point where she can’t afford to keep the store in such an expensive area.
“The people of Arlington have been great and we love our Ashton Heights and Lyon Park neighbors. However, more and more people are telling us they are purchasing online,” she said. “That, coupled with PetCo opening down the street, has hurt our sales dramatically. I tried to move elsewhere in Arlington but everything was too expensive for a small, independently owned shop like PetMAC. I hate leaving our loyal customers but we just can’t afford to stay.”
PetMAC is planning to open a store in Reston’s Lake Anne Plaza, where it will move some of its inventory. Williams expects the Virginia Square location to close depending on when the Reston shop is ready to open. Her Arlington customers will get 20 percent off for the next year when they visit the Reston store.
PetMAC will continue to host its adoption events until the store closes, including this Saturday from noon to 4:00 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 2:00 p.m.
Periwinkle, a women’s clothing boutique in the Village at Shirlington, plans to close at the end of the year.
The shop, at 4150 Campbell Ave., is owned by Elizabeth Mason, who said she has decided not to renew her lease after being in the location for five years.
“Business is down and rent continues to go up, but it was always going to be a 5-year deal, the option to renew was never going to work for me,” Mason told ARLnow.com via email. “The landlord and I did discuss if I wanted to renew, but they wanted too much rent and as I said, this year sales have been down so it worked out to just let the lease end.”
Periwinkle also has a location in Old Town Alexandria, which Mason said is closing in November when her lease is up there. She plans to focus on Periwinkle’s online shop, her affordable online shop The Pink Armoire, and finding a new retail space in the area.
Periwinkle is the third storefront to close in the Village at Shirlington in the last two weeks, following Bloomers and Aladdin’s Eatery. Mason said “business is down” while a Bloomers employee told ARLnow.com the store may have shut down due to “a lack of foot traffic.” A manager in a nearby store told ARLnow.com that both companies have no one to blame for their closing but themselves.
“Bloomers always struggled in its execution,” the manager, who wished to remain anonymous, said. “The average female doesn’t look for lingerie and bras on the sidewalk. Periwinkle has struggled in the past year, but I heard from customers it’s because of the shop’s pricing and sizing.”
The manager, who said she had worked in the Village at Shirlington for more than five years, said foot traffic in the shopping and restaurant district has rarely been better.
“Shirlington has great foot traffic,” the manager said. “People never used to come to the side of the village with Bloomer’s and Periwinkle because they didn’t know it was there. It’s just been getting better and better over the years.”
Photo via Periwinkle
Aladdin’s Eatery, the health-conscious, Lebanese restaurant in the Village at Shirlington, has closed.
The restaurant, at 4044 Campbell Ave., is locked and had all of its furniture removed this week. ARLnow.com has been unable to confirm with the company’s corporate office whether the closure is permanent or for a renovation. There is no indication on the exterior of the building of the nature of the shop’s closing.
The location in the Village at Shirlington was Aladdin’s only restaurant in Arlington. It had recently featured belly dancing shows from Saffron Dance in Virginia Square.The closest location is in Burke, almost 10 miles away.
Italian restaurant Tutto Bene, at 501 N. Randolph Street in Ballston, across from Ballston Common Mall, is now closed.
Owner Orlando Murillo posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page that its last day open was Sept. 29, and a sign on the restaurant’s front door reads “We’re going out of business as of 09/29/2014.” Murillo said in his post that the restaurant never recovered from the recession, despite the continued growth of Ballston’s food scene.
“The great economical problem that hit us since 2009 was [the] number one problem and not easy to resolve,” Murillo wrote. “We were hoping that in a couple years we will come back on our feet, but that never happened. It was very sad to see how things were going down hill and all the progress coming to Arlington bring the increases that we were not able to overcome.”
“On September 30, 2014 we decide that there was no way for us to continue in business, and it was an extremely sad day for me and my employees. The fact that they stayed with me from the first day to the last, 26 years together living every day as a big family I will keep all of them deeply in my heart.”
The restaurant drew rave reviews from Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema in 2004 for both its Italian food and its special Bolivian food offerings on the weekend. There’s no word on what will replace it.
Tallula, EatBar Closing — Tallula and EatBar, which first opened in 2004 in Lyon Park, will be closing on Sunday, Oct. 26. The restaurants’ owner says they were “unable to reach an agreement with the landlord on renewing Tallula’s lease.” [Eater, Facebook]
Civ Fed Skeptical of Housing Effort — The Arlington County Civic Federation’s revenues-and-expenditures committee released a scathing critique of the county government’s “Public Lands for Public Good” affordable housing effort. The committee’s report said Arlington “couldn’t, and shouldn’t, try to solve all the region’s problems on its own.” It also said that “the county appears to be placing greater weight on the desires of non-residents who wish to move to Arlington ahead of the needs and wishes of its own citizens.” [InsideNova, PDF]
E-CARE This Weekend — Arlington County will hold its biannual Environmental Collection and Recycling Event (E-CARE) on Saturday, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The event allows residents to “safely dispose of household hazardous materials, bikes, small metal items, shoes, clothing and other recyclable items.” [Arlington County]
Pop-Up Dinners in D.C. for Ballston Restaurant — Before it officially opens in Ballston early next year, Pepita — a new “Mexican cantina” from former Top Chef contestant Mike Isabella — will be holding a series of “pop-up dinners” to test its menu. The dinners will held starting Oct. 30 be at Isabella’s G Sandwich restaurant at 2201 14th Street NW in D.C. [Washington Post]
Former County Controversy, Now Hardly a Blip — In 2008, Arlington was roiled by a long political fight over accessory-dwelling units, or “granny flats.” The County Board was considering whether to allow homeowners to build ADUs, which often house elderly family members. The Arlington Civic Federation opposed it, with critics warning that ADUs could turn quiet neighborhoods into overcrowded slums. The County Board ended up voting to allow ADUs by permit, but set a limit of 28 approvals per year. Since then, “less than a dozen” have been built. [InsideNova]
Roosevelt Bridge Inspections — The District Department of Transportation is conducting inspection work on the Roosevelt Bridge today and tomorrow. Route 50 drivers can expect some short-term lane closures during non-rush hour periods while the inspections are performed. Work vehicles associated with the inspections will be parked along the GW Parkway.
Flickr pool photo by Joseph Gruber
Anyone who wants to pick up some ladies’ undergarments and loungewear will have to look somewhere other than Bloomers in Shirlington. The store at 4150 Campbell Avenue has closed its doors for good.
When ARLnow.com stopped by today, the store had been cleared out except for some display cases and mannequins. It’s unclear exactly why the store shut, but an employee speculated it might have been a lack of foot traffic. The original store in Old Town Alexandria will remain open.
Bloomers had been in Shirlington since January 2012. A representative for The Village at Shirlington was not able to give any clues as to what might move into the former Bloomers space.