The Crystal City location of Caribou Coffee (2100 Crystal Drive) will be closing at the end of this week and the coffee shop’s Shirlington location will eventually be converted to a Peet’s Coffee and Tea store, ARLnow.com has learned.
According to employees, the Crystal City location will close its doors after Sunday, April 14. The store is currently offering merchandise like coffee, mugs and coffee makers for 50 percent off, we’re told.
The Shirlington location will remain open for now but will be converted to a Peet’s Coffee and Tea store “at some point this fall,” an employee said.
Peet’s, which opened its first store in Berkeley, Calif. in 1966, is majority owned by a German private equity firm that purchased the Caribou chain last year. Caribou announced on Monday that it’s closing 80 “underperforming” stores and converting another 88 to Peet’s locations.
Wiinky’s (3902 Wilson Blvd) will serve its last burgers on Sunday, March 31, according to a sign in the window. Restaurant employees said they were told that Wiinky’s and several other small businesses on the block are closing to make way for a new pet store, possibly a Petco location.
“Unfortunately, the ownership of our building has changed hands and the new landlord has opted not to renew our lease in favor of a large corporation that will pay a much higher price for the space,” the sign said. “We appreciate the support you gave given us the last few years… In the mean time we will be looking for a new location in the Arlington area so don’t be surprised to see a new and improved Wiinkys in the future.”
The burger and hot dog joint opened in April 2011. Despite skepticism about its young owner and its earnest, low-frills food offerings, the restaurant has remained in business and has even attracted a 4/5 star review average on Yelp. A manager tells us business has picked up in the last year and is now “really good,” especially at lunchtime and during late night hours (when it also offers a delivery service).
We’re told that the new Wiinky’s, should it reopen elsewhere, may apply for a permit to serve beer and wine.
“We’re going to keep our ears and eyes open, looking for a place in Arlington,” said owner Ryan Shandel. ”If we find a place that’s affordable and makes sense, then we’ll make a move.”
Shandel said the closure is “a sad and sudden thing to happen,” but added that he’s grateful for the support of the community and for the opportunity to learn while on the job. He said he hopes customers will stop by one last time before the restaurant closes on Sunday.
So far, Petco hasn’t responded to a request for comment.
Hat tip to @PeoplesEyebrow. Photo via Google Maps.
“We’ll miss all loyal customers,” the restaurant said. “Thank you so much for the good times.”
Said another social media post: “Restaurant items for sale. Call 202-256-0444. Everything must go!!”
Via Twitter, Extra Virgin said that the restaurant closed because it was not making enough money in sales to pay the rent.
As of December, Extra Virgin owed Arlington County $38,402.12 in unpaid meals taxes. That debt has since been repaid.
“All taxes owed by Extra Virgin have been paid so that their present balance is zero,” Arlington County Treaurer Frank O’Leary told ARLnow.com.
Photo via Facebook
Cafe Assorti, at 1800 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn, will be closing its doors on Sunday.
The restaurant served Russian, Eastern European and Kazakh cuisine, as well as pastries, beer and wine. It was open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
It’s unclear why Cafe Assorti is closing. A restaurant employee told us that the owners are looking for a new location in Rockville, Md. and hoping to reopen there in August.
Photo via Facebook
Cucina Vivace, at 509 23rd Street S. in Crystal City, has closed.
The restaurant closed last month, to the disappointment of regular customers. Chef/owner Gordon Vivace suggested that the restaurant row on 23rd Street was no longer drawing in the customers he needed in order to stay open.
“That strip is not in good shape and is simply no longer a location where an upscale restaurant can survive,” Vivace told ARLnow.com. “I was presented with an opportunity to leave on short notice, and chose to take it.”
Vivace said he does not plan to reopen.
“I’m going to stick to catering and personal chef services where my food can be my food without compromise to the price people are willing to pay to walk in the door,” he said.
Adam’s Corner, a hookah lounge and bar at 2319 Wilson Blvd in Courthouse, closed its doors over this past weekend.
It’s unclear why the local watering hole, which also served as a Red Sox and Patriots bar, closed. One business owner on the block said Adam’s Corner was evicted, though that could not be independently confirmed. The interior of the restaurant appeared to be largely empty this afternoon.
The building in which Adam’s Corner was located is set to be torn down to be replaced with a new 8-story office building, displacing the three remaining restaurants on the block: Listrani’s, Thai at Corner and Taste of Tunisia. The business owner said he does not anticipate moving out to make way for construction until next year. A construction timetable could also not be independently confirmed.
One tipster suggested that Adam’s Corner, which opened in 2010, lacked a core brand identity.
“I guess the Red Sox theme coupled with jazz and hookah didn’t pack them in,” the tipster said.
Earlier last month, before the closure, one customer lauded Adam’s Corner on its Facebook page, calling it “probably the only bar in Arlington that even knows how to chill the hell out and relax.”
The restaurant, at 2155 Crystal Square Arcade, was not visible from the outside; it was entirely inside the underground Crystal City Shops, and thus got most of its business from lunch-goers who work in the area. The closure comes as Crystal City faces higher office vacancies and fewer workers as a result of the Base Realignment and Closure Act (BRAC). As of January, almost 20 percent of Crystal City’s 12.5 million square feet of office space was vacant.
The McDonald’s space is expected to be used as art studio space as part of the Crystal City Business Improvement District’s new “Art Underground” initiative. The project, set to launch on March 16, is intended to transform “five blocks of Crystal City’s interior retail space into a vibrant arts and cultural destination with galleries, studios, interactive exhibits and activities, performance and classroom spaces, and a host of special events.”
The space will be run by the Arlington Artists Alliance and will be open to local artists who are looking for a space “to create, practice and showcase their talents.”
“We’re extremely excited to transform the underground in a way that we think is active and fresh, and really activates the retail space and gives people a reason to come to Crystal City,” said BID president Angela Fox.
Disclosure: Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser
(Updated at 1:05 p.m.) Ray’s Hell Burger and Ray’s Hell Burger Too (1713 & 1725 Wilson Blvd) has closed in Rosslyn.
The closure is the result of a landlord-tenant dispute between restaurateur Michael Landrum and his landlord, the historic Colonial Village Shopping Center. Court records show that Landrum filed a lawsuit against the shopping center on Nov. 16. Yesterday afternoon, the shopping center locked Landrum and his staff out of both storefronts.
“Landlord has changed the locks,” said signs on the door. “Do not unlock this door under penalty of damages.”
Handwritten signs in the window, posted by Landrum, direct customers across the street to Ray’s to the Third (1650 Wilson Blvd).
“Please visit us at Ray’s to the Third while we take a quick break,” said one of the signs. “Please do not leave your car in this lot if you come across the street… towing is very likely.”
Reached via phone, Landrum declined to elaborate on his complaint against the landlord, citing ongoing litigation. He did, however, vow to continue to serve his famous burgers, which in 2010 drew President Obama and Russian president Dmitry Medvedev to Rosslyn eatery.
“We continue to serve the Original Hell-Burger and all of our famous signature items, at Ray’s To Third, which has been temporarily reformatted to allow for counter service and to go for convenience and extra value, as well as full-service, sit-down table service,” he told ARLnow.com. “And yes, credit cards are accepted.”
“We’re fighting to the last man and cooking to the last burger… nothing’s going to stop us from doing that,” a defiant Landrum added. “This is a very minor blip.”
In an emailed statement, Landrum spoke generally about the relationship between landlords and tenants.
I am not saying this is the case here, but landlords abuse their power and violate the rights of tenants with near-total impunity all the time, because tenants rarely have the means or the ability to defend their rights This is something all of us, or very nearly all of us, have experienced. What often times gets me labeled as a “firebrand” (or worse) is simply my refusal to allow my rights to be violated, my insistence on fair treatment, and my willingness to suffer and challenge the consequences when those things are violated.
Landrum said he’s currently planning an inauguration-related
event special at Ray’s to the Third. He’s not currently looking for a new space for Ray’s Hell Burger.
The restaurant has “closed for reorganization,” according to its website, and as pointed out in the ARLnow.com Forums earlier this week. The restaurant’s phone number has been disconnected and its owner could not be reached for clarification.
The restaurant opened in December 2011. It’s owned by Memphis native and restaurant veteran Chris George, who recruited Redrick Rayborn, formerly the manager of a Memphis-area barbecue restaurant, to serve as “pit master.”
The 5,500 square foot space included a 54-seat bar and a 170-seat dining room. Rock ‘n’ roll and Memphis-related memorabilia adorned the walls.
“When I walked past the shop earlier this week they had moved the planters out of the way and it looked like they had removed some stuff already,” a tipster told ARLnow.com today.
The Memphis Barbeque website asks customers to “please check back for future developments” but doesn’t otherwise say definitively whether the restaurant will re-open.
At least one remnant of the restaurant is still alive and well, though. The Memphis Barbeque Facebook page has not yet mentioned the closing and today asked its 55 followers what they would rather be doing at the moment instead of work.
The restaurant has already taken down the “Lime” sign above the entrance and posted a notice on the door. Customers are being encouraged to go to Lime’s remaining location at Pentagon Row (1101 S. Joyce Street).
Ruby Tuesday, the owner of the Lime chain, closed two company-owned stores after announcing disappointing financial results on Wednesday.
Hat tip to @zippychance
Dick Visconti’s family owns the chain of stores, which is based in New Jersey. He said his brother had wanted to open a store in Arlington, but suddenly lost interest.
“My brother was operating the store and chose not to be involved anymore, and it got in the run down condition you saw,” Visconti said. “I came back in October 2011 and kept the store operational until now.”
When Visconti revived the store a little more than a year ago, the intention all along was to keep it open only until the lease expired, which happens this month. There is no plan to open a new Arlington location due to logistics.
“Unfortunately I’m done with Arlington. I’m a New Jersey based company and to operate in Arlington is logistically not feasible,” said Visconti. “I regret it because I think Arlington is beyond an awesome place to live and have a business, Market Common is an awesome location.”
Visconti said he hopes the store’s employees will be able to quickly find new jobs.
“They’re an outstanding staff. I wish I had them here,” Visconti said. “I told them that if any of them wanted to move to New Jersey, I’d hire them in a second.”
The Papery is holding a 50% off sale on everything in the store until it closes on January 13. Visconti reiterated that he wishes he didn’t have to close, but he doesn’t see any other option.
“I just live in New Jersey and can’t do it, that’s the bottom line,” said Visconti. “I’m really sorry that we have to go.”
Tagolio Pizzeria & Enoteca (549 23rd Street S.) in Crystal City has closed after its owner pleaded guilty to charges of assault and battery against an employee.
Tedros “Teddy” Tzehaye, a 40-year-old Springfield resident, was accused of rape by a female employee in September. The alleged incident took place at the restaurant between 2:30 and 3:00 a.m. on a Thursday, according to a police report. Alcohol was involved, we’re told.
The woman was brought to the hospital for an examination and Tzehaye was arrested on Sept. 27 and charged with forcible rape. The charge was later amended to assault and battery, to which Tzehaye pleaded guilty. The plea was an Alford plea, ARLnow.com has learned, which means that Tzehaye asserted his innocence while admitting that prosecutors had enough evidence to convict.
Tzehaye’s attorneys declined to answer questions about their client’s side of the story. Prosecutors also declined to comment on the record.
Tzehaye is out on bail, awaiting a final sentencing hearing scheduled for May 7, 2013. Prosecutors have recommended one year of probation and no jail time.
A tipster says Tagolio has been closed “for several weeks.” The restaurant’s phone number has been disconnected.
Tagolio was noted for its coal-fired pizza and earned generally positive reviews on Yelp.
The restaurant opened in February 2011 but served its final diners last night. Owner Prat Uthes says Burapa struggled to find a steady customer base in a very competitive area, despite running a number of Groupons and other “daily deals.”
“The reason is tough economy and I can not compete with this location,” she told ARLnow.com. “Too many restaurants in the area and rent is too high.”
Still, Uthes said closing was a tough decision.
“I am so sad to leave this area,” she said. “I love all customers.”
Uthes said the Burapa Thai location in Lansdowne will remain open, and she’s planning to open a new location in Haymarket.
Hat tip to @dcrants
“This location is far more challenging than anticipated so we have decided to close the doors,” the Facebook post said. “We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause some. Thank you and God Bless.”
This is the latest in a lengthening line of business closures at the off-the-beaten-path retail cluster, located on the ground floor of the Eclipse condo building between Crystal City and Potomac Yard, just off Route 1.
Melody Tavern had replaced McGinty’s Irish Pub, which closed in December 2010. Hee Been Asian Bistro Buffet closed there in July after just 7 months in business. Harris Teeter has yet to reopen after a major sewage backup in May. (No word yet on a reopening date.) Meanwhile, across the street, a Jerry’s Subs and Pizza closed last year.
Part of the blame may be the lack of foot traffic from anyone other than residents of the two adjacent residential buildings, and the fact that the businesses are set back from the street and hard to see to people driving by. Another possible explanation: last November, we reported that Melody Tavern had to issue a press release after it was revealed that some GPS navigation systems directed people to a vacant lot several blocks away when trying to find the restaurant’s address.
Hikaru Sushi, at 2200 Wilson Blvd, closed its doors over the weekend, we’re told. The restaurant’s sign has been taken down, the phone lines have been disconnected, and workers could be seen removing kitchen equipment on Saturday.
One resident reported via Twitter that the owner of the Hikaru told customers that he was moving and thus decided to close the restaurant. We were unable to reach the owner for comment.