The District Taco cart, which was launched four years ago and has now spawned four brick-and-mortar restaurants, is retiring today in Rosslyn.
District Taco owner Osiris Hoil said the team that runs the cart is needed to support the restaurants, with locations at 5723 Lee Highway and at Metro Center, Eastern Market and soon-to-be-open Dupont Circle in the District. The decision was purely a business one, but that didn’t make it any easier for Hoil, who opened the cart using family recipes after being laid off from a construction job.
“It’s very emotional for me, because when we started four years ago it was just me and my taco stand,” Hoil told ARLnow.com today. “It’s part of my heart, but as a business decision, we had to let it go.”
Hoil said that, in addition to the Dupont Circle location opening next month, he plans to open in Crystal City, Rosslyn, Alexandria and Vienna, and is looking at space in Rockville and Reston Town Center. No new location is firmed up yet, he said, but he hopes to open another store by the end of the year and three or four next year. The taco stand is just too unpredictable to continue to operate while District Taco grows, said Hoil.
“One of the challenges we’re having is the weather,” he said. “This wintertime has been really cold, but also it’s just one of the reasons. We’re growing pretty aggressively this year and next year and we need our team to focus on our restaurants. It’s a little bit harder to manage the stand than a restaurant just because it’s a mobile unit and anything can happen while traveling.”
It might not happen right away, but Hoil is determined to open up spaces in Rosslyn and Crystal City close to where his taco stand set up shop most days. He said he’ll likely try to move into Rosslyn once the Central Place construction is complete.
Today in Rosslyn, in honor of the stand’s last day, District Taco is offering two free tacos to every customer that stops by, while supplies last.
(Updated at 1:55 p.m.) The Bailey’s Pub and Grille in Ballston Common Mall at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Randolph Street has closed, but it may not be gone for long.
A Bailey’s employee who was cleaning out the space told ARLnow.com that the restaurant is “under contract” to take over the former Union Jack’s space along N. Glebe Road, but couldn’t say for sure that the move was imminent. ARLnow.com reported the move was possible in December.
Two of the mall interior doors at Bailey’s have signs saying Bailey’s closed due to “a maintenance issue.” It’s unclear if the restaurant will actually reopen in the new space.
An ARLnow.com tipster said employees were instructed to close out their tabs yesterday and the restaurant closed abruptly during the lunch hour. Another tipster said that the restaurant is closed for good and will not be opening back up.
Located at at 1122 N. Kirkwood Road, the gym is one of four Sport & Health clubs in Arlington; there is one in Ballston and two in Crystal City. The comapny emailed its members earlier this week to tell them the gym would close March 5 due to concerns about building maintenance and “market conditions.”
“The market conditions have changed and the facility that was created decades ago will not allow us to continue with our vision at the Arlington Sport&Health Club,” Sport & Health Club CEO and President Mark Fisher wrote in the email. “While these market conditions and physical plant concerns have affected our ability to continue operating the Arlington club, we have built new clubs and reinvested in others. It is our hope that you will continue to give us the opportunity to help you reach your fitness goals and enjoy the club communities that we create.”
The chain has 22 other locations in the D.C. region, and starting today it’s allowing the members of the Arlington club to sign up for free at its other locations. The gym originally opened in 1977, according to General Manager Perry White.
Developer JBG expects to begin construction on the first of two planned towers of its Central Place development by early spring, the company says. The 31-story, 355 foot tall building will house 377 “impeccably-designed residences” along with 25,000 square feet of retail space. There will also be a 15,000 square foot public plaza built with the development.
“Central Place will be a striking addition to the Virginia skyline and offer some of the most spectacular views available of the nation’s capital,” JBG said in a press release. “It will be the tallest building in JBG’s development portfolio.”
The building will also be one of the tallest, if not the tallest, residential building in the Washington, D.C. metro area. No word yet on whether the building will consist of rental apartments or condominiums.
The development will require the closure and demolition of an existing, stand-alone McDonald’s restaurant and a small existing public plaza. The site is on the same block as the new entrance to the Rosslyn Metro station.
Chevy Chase-based JBG, which is partnering with the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio to finance the development, told Rosslyn stakeholders that construction will begin soon and the McDonald’s demolition will be underway by May.
“Beginning next Monday, February 10th, Clark Construction will mobilize and construction will begin with the installation and relocation of utility lines on North Lynn Street,” the company said. “Demolition of the existing McDonalds building and excavation activities will begin in approximately 3 months.”
Last year JBG completed then sold the Sedona and Slate apartment development, located at 1510 Clarendon Blvd in Rosslyn. The company is planning to eventually build a matching Central Pace office tower, to the south of the residential tower.
After just under 3 years in business, BGR: The Burger Joint has closed its doors.
The “better burger” eatery opened to large crowds in April 2011, amid something of a burger craze in Arlington. More recently, the restaurant struggled to attract customers willing to pay what usually came out to $10-20 for a burger, fries and a drink.
“We’d like to sincerely thank everyone for visiting our Clarendon location in the past — unfortunately we have had to close this location for various reason[s],” the restaurant said via Facebook today. “We hope you will come visit us at our Arlington location, located only a half mile down the road at 3129 Lee Highway! See you soon!”
As of this afternoon the restaurant’s outdoor sign had already been taken down.
A long-time local restaurant has closed its doors in Crystal City.
Hamburger Hamlet, at the Crystal City Shops (1750 Crystal Drive), closed late last week. Its parent company filed for bankruptcy last year.
The owner of a California-based restaurant chain, which took over operation of the Bethesda Hamburger Hamlet location in 2012, had been hoping to acquire the Crystal City lease in order to open a 24-hour diner, but was ultimately unsuccessful.
“We offered the landlord a new lease,” W.W. “Biff” Naylor, owner of Du-par’s, told ARLnow.com. ”The landlord decided he didn’t want to deal with anybody who was involved with Hamburger Hamlet so we packed it up and left. I’m only going to go where I’m wanted.”
Over the weekend a Hamburger Hamlet location in Pasadena, Calif. was expected to re-open as Du-par’s, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.
No word yet on what may replace Hamburger Hamlet.
It appears Sultana Grill (5515 Wilson Blvd.) in the Bluemont neighborhood has closed down.
The restaurant had been open for a little more than a year. The restaurant’s phone number seems to be disconnected, based on the automated message ARLnow.com received when attempting to call.
A tipster who reported enjoying the restaurant’s Moroccan food said he asked what happened and restaurant staff reported the business had been hurt by the lack of having an alcohol license.
The tipster also was told that a hookah bar might open in the space.
Hat tip to Eric LaKuch
Taste of Morocco in Clarendon has closed its doors for good.
It’s unclear when exactly the Moroccan restaurant at 3211 Washington Blvd had its last day, but it was still receiving Yelp reviews as recently as Nov. 24. A for-rent sign is posted inside the window.
One of a small handful of Moroccan restaurants in Arlington, the restaurant was located in what looked to be a construction zone — positioned underneath the construction of the Beacon at Clarendon West apartments, formerly called the Waverly at Clarendon Station. That project is expected to be complete by mid-2014.
Taste of Morocco’s former next-door neighbor, the Indian restaurant Madhu Ban, has been closed for a few years. Its other neighbor, O’Sullivan’s, remains open and completed an expansion earlier this year.
Hat tip to @ChrisKinard
Hamburger Hamlet in Crystal City could close by the end of the year after its parent company filed for bankruptcy in April.
Du-par’s, a California-based diner chain, is attempting to acquire the lease and keep the restaurant, at 1750 Crystal City Shops, open. If successful, the restaurant would be renamed Du-par’s and the staff would be retained. But Du-par’s owner W.W. “Biff” Naylor says that the odds are “80-20 against that happening.”
“I’d hate to see all those people lose their jobs at Christmas time. That would just be brutal,” Naylor said. “We’ve got plenty of time to do it, but the landlord has got to say yes. So far they’ve said no.”
The building is owned by Vornado. Naylor, who lives in California, says he’s coming to the area tomorrow to try to negotiate acquiring the leases for the Crystal City restaurant and Hamburger Hamlet’s location in Bethesda, which he already operates.
If Vornado approves the lease acquisition, Naylor hopes to convert Hamburger Hamlet into a 24-hour restaurant with only minor changes to the menu. If not, the business could close within a couple of weeks and the furniture and equipment sold by the bankruptcy court at auction.
Naylor expects to hear a final decision by Friday.
(Updated at 7:00 p.m.) The Italian Store will be opening a second location next year, in the Westover neighborhood.
The store, which sells sandwiches, pizza, wine and gourmet Italian grocery items, has enjoyed considerable success at its Lyon Village location, at 3123 Lee Highway. The new location, at 5839 Washington Blvd, will be about twice the size as the original, according to owner Robert Tramonte, whose family has owned and operated the store since 1980.
“Our square feet is more than double that of the Lyon Village store, approximately 6,000,” Tramonte told ARLnow.com. “We envision doing everything that we currently have at Lyon Village plus a new Illy espresso coffee bar and other surprises.”
The Italian Store will replace a 7-Eleven convenience store, which closed its doors last night (Sunday). Customers are being asked to instead shop at the 7-Eleven at 6730 Lee Highway.
Tramonte says he expects to begin “a total renovation” of the new location next month.
“Our projected opening date is May 18th pending a fast track permitting process,” he said.
Correction: This article previously stated that the new location would be the Italian Store’s first expansion. Tramonte says the family “has had several other stores… over the years” but currently operates only in Lyon Village.
The Asian fusion restaurant opened in March and held its grand opening celebration in May. However, owner Wendy Cheng said she found Arlington to be too far from Maryland, where she lives and runs the other two Red Parrot locations. She said the long commute was causing too many problems with maintaining the Arlington location.
Cheng confirms the Arlington location “is closed as of this week.”
The Robeks smoothie shop in Courthouse has closed.
The Robeks location at 2300 Wilson Blvd, next to Me Jana was one of two locations for the national smoothie chain in Arlington. The Courthouse shop’s only current Arlington location is in Shirlington (4115 A S. Campbell Street).
The sign announcing the store’s closing didn’t give a reason, simply stating “Robeks at Courthouse is now closed. Thank you for your patronage over the last 8 years!”
Representatives from Robeks could not be reached for comment.
Hat tip to Mikey Lynch
Via Facebook, the business invited its loyal customer base to “have that last shot” last night (Sunday).
“Due to recent events, Amy and I have been forced to do a little soul searching & have made the heart breaking decision to close Lucy’s Arl Shirlington,” the Facebook page said. “We appreciate all of the love and support y’all have given these last couple of crazy years and will be here til the wee hours to have that last shot and make a few more memories. Brave the cold and get your assets to Lucy’s! Deep discounts and indoor smoking!”
Lucy’s opened in the summer of 2011 at 2620 S. Shirlington Road, replacing the former Champion Billiards. It was run by Misti Wise and Amy Borek, former Champion bartenders who gave Lucy’s a unique personality of its own. Their tagline for the pool hall: “Shrews. Brews. Cues.”
It’s unclear which events led to the closure. Wise and Borek could not be immediately reached for comment.
Photo via Facebook
The Red Mango frozen yogurt shop in Clarendon has closed.
We’re told the store’s last day was Friday. The sign has been removed and the interior has since been almost completely emptied out. Workers could be seen changing the locks today.
Red Mango opened at 2831 Clarendon Blvd on May 21, 2010. It was the first store of its kind to open in Arlington during the most recent frozen yogurt craze. A competitor, Pinkberry, opened one block away in 2011. It remains in business.
The franchisees of the Clarendon Red Mango location could not be reached for comment.
Workers could be seen removing the Bailey’s sign from the building today. The Crystal City location has also been removed from the sports bar’s website.
The Bailey’s in the Ballston Common Mall is still open and employees there did not have any information about any possible plans to close.
A tipster tells ARLnow.com that the space formerly occupied by Bailey’s in Crystal City is being considered for a possible music and comedy venue.
Hat tip to @hamblinj