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by Ethan Rothstein — November 21, 2014 at 3:30 pm 1,182 0

The location of the former El Encanto Grocery Store, soon reopening as a Mexican restaurantEl 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

by ARLnow.com — November 17, 2014 at 9:05 am 16,461 0

Eventide Restaurant in Clarendon The rooftop deck at Eventide Restaurant in Clarendon

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.

by Ethan Rothstein — November 7, 2014 at 11:30 am 1,257 0

PetMac in Virginia Square, which is closing this year A cat rests in a display at PetMac in Virginia Square, which is closing this year

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.

by Ethan Rothstein — October 16, 2014 at 11:00 am 2,542 0

Periwinkle in Shirlington (photo via Periwinkle)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

by Ethan Rothstein — October 14, 2014 at 3:30 pm 3,989 0

Aladdin's Eatery closes in Shirlington Aladdin's Eatery closes in Shirlington

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.

by Ethan Rothstein — October 9, 2014 at 2:30 pm 7,388 0

Tutto Bene in Ballston closes Tutto Bene in Ballston closes

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.

by ARLnow.com — October 9, 2014 at 9:00 am 3,895 0

Blood moon Wednesday morning  (Flickr pool photo by Joseph Gruber)

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

by ARLnow.com — October 7, 2014 at 3:45 pm 1,900 0

Bloomers in Shirlington closesAnyone 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.

by Ethan Rothstein — September 18, 2014 at 11:00 am 4,218 0

Bar TNT and Society Fair closing on Columbia Pike Bar TNT and Society Fair closing on Columbia Pike

The cafe Society Fair and the “rock ‘n’ roll bar” Bar TNT are expected to close their shared location on Columbia Pike by the end of the month.

The 2413 Columbia Pike establishment opened in 2012 as Bar TNT and Eamonn’s, a fish and chips restaurant, owned by EatGoodFood Group. The Eamonn’s part of the business turned into a second location of Society Fair earlier this year. The company’s other location is in Old Town Alexandria.

A Society Fair employee told ARLnow.com yesterday that the owners planned to close both parts of the business, facing Penrose Square, by Sept. 30.

“We don’t get as much business as the manager would like,” the employee said. “The owner thought this would do as good as Society Fair in Old Town. It’s a little more expensive than I guess the community would like. I guess a lot of people also don’t know that we’re here.”

The owners were traveling and could not immediately be reached, a spokeswoman said.

The news of the closing came the same day Bar TNT was nominated for “The People’s Best New Bars” of the Southeast by Food & Wine magazine. The pub that serves rock ‘n’ roll-inspired drinks like the Cocktail Left on the Nightstand (flat Coke and smoked Jack Daniel’s whiskey) was the only bar nominated in Virginia.

by Ethan Rothstein — September 17, 2014 at 9:20 am 1,728 0

World Gym logoWorld Gym at 1058 S. Walter Reed Drive told its members yesterday that it plans to close at the end of the month

Located on the ground floor of the Halstead apartment building, on Columbia Pike, the location is World Gym’s only in Arlington.

An employee there told ARLnow.com that the business is closing because of a dispute between the franchise owner and the building manager, but couldn’t provide any details.

World Gym opened in January 2011 and was the first gym of its kind on Columbia Pike, though it soon started competing with XSport Fitness, further up the Pike.

The fitness center changed ownership in 2013 and became Exercise Nation, before it took back the World Gym name this year. The company sent its members a brief message saying it would close Sept. 30 due to “circumstances beyond our control.”

Several readers sent ARLnow.com the email, which is copied below in its entirety:

To Our Valued Members:

We are sorry to inform you that due to circumstances beyond our control, World Gym will be closing this location effective September 30, 2014. We appreciate all the support and business you have given us and apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the gym at 703-892-1861 or through email at wgarlington@worldgym.com.

Sincerely,
World Gym

by ARLnow.com — August 22, 2014 at 3:15 pm 1,688 0

Slice n Dice, a restaurant that served up salads, sandwiches and pizzas in the Crystal City Shops, has closed.

The restaurant appears to have closed earlier this month. Its entrance, inside the shopping center on the 2100 block of Crystal Drive, is now covered in a plastic sheet.

“We appreciate all our loyal and worderful [sic] customers we have met and got to know of the past years,” said a sign posted inside the restaurant, a photo of which was uploaded to the restaurant’s Yelp page on Aug. 13. “We are sorry [about] the closing of our store. We will miss our customers and neighbors.”

by Ethan Rothstein — August 4, 2014 at 3:30 pm 4,116 0

Protein Bar in Ballston closes  Protein Bar closes in Ballston

The Ballston location of the health food chain Protein Bar has closed and apparently plans to relocate.

The shop, which specialized in smoothies, raw juices and healthy food choices, cut its hours in February to lunchtime only. Its location on the ground floor of 800 N. Glebe Road, next to Mussel Bar, opened in January 2013 but did not get the traffic Protein Bar CEO and founder Matt Matros had in mind. It was the eighth location for the Chicago chain, and third in the D.C. area.

“While we were excited to serve the customers of Ballston,” Matros told ARLnow.com in an email, “we weren’t pleased with our specific location and have decided to relocate the store. Because the other lease is not quite final, I can’t comment yet on the location.”

As Protein Bar closes, the first Arlington location of gourmet pizza shop Pizza Vinoteca plans to open next door by the end of the month, a spokeswoman said in an email.

by Ethan Rothstein — July 16, 2014 at 5:10 pm 3,655 0

The long-planned development that would knock down Clarendon dive bar Jay’s Saloon and Grille (3114 10th Street N.) and several other businesses could be formally approved by the Arlington County Board this Saturday.

If approved, Jay’s co-owner Kathi Moore, who owns the restaurant with her ex-husband, Jay Moore, told ARLnow.com today that she’s been given until Spring 2015 before she has to close down. Jay’s has been operating with the knowledge they could be closed down for the development since 2011.

The development on the table is a mixed-use building called 10th Street Flats with 135 residential units, nine live/work units, 3,660 square feet of retail and 4,704 square feet of office space and two levels of underground parking. In addition to Jay’s, the development would also include the demolition of a salon, car dealership and insurance agency on the 3100 block of 10th Street N.

Ballston-based Clark Realty Capital owns the property and is spearheading the development plans, but officials with Clark could not be reached for comment today. The building is proposed as five stories tall, and the live/work units — designed as apartments with a separate office space — could be converted into retail space as market conditions dictate.

The building would be L-shaped, according to the staff report, with “composite wood panels and composite wood and aluminum trellises to create differentiation on the façade given the project’s long frontage along 10th Street. The ground floor uses masonry, glass, and aluminum and provides for 79 percent transparency.” It would be LEED Gold certified and have dedicated affordable housing units to compensate for density above what is called for in the General Land Use Plan.

In the review process, community members outlined concerns about traffic in the smaller streets surrounding the area, particularly 9th Road N., a residential block. The plans also call for the roof to be accessible to residents as an amenity, which raised the eyebrows of the community and some local officials. County staff is recommending the building’s approval nonetheless, saying the traffic wouldn’t result in an “undue adverse impact” on local traffic and stipulating a buffer area on the roof to mitigate noise.

Moore said if she and her ex-husband could have, they would have bought the land along with the restaurant when they opened in 1993, but they “couldn’t afford it then, can’t afford it now.” The restaurant bills itself as “one of the last true ‘dive bars’ in Arlington,” and Moore said her clientele is upset about the closing.

“Both my lunchtime and my nighttime crowd are like ‘what are we going to do?’” Moore said. “My heart goes out to them because we’re not like the rest of Clarendon.”

Like Westover’s The Forest Inn, Jay’s is considered one of the last of a dying breed in Arlington. Local freelance writer Kevin Craft, who has written about Arlington’s dwindling dive bar scene for Arlington Magazine, said there are very few places with as diverse a crowd as Jay’s Saloon.

“I think it’s always important for a place to have a sense of its own history,” Craft told ARLnow.com in a phone interview this morning. “Places like Jay’s are where different generations and professional classes can mix and mingle, and I think Arlington is losing those establishments, unfortunately.”

Moore said she doesn’t believe Jay’s will be moving anywhere else — “20 years is enough here,” she said — but the regulars were glad to find out the saloon will stay open through football season. She purchased some new TVs for the fall, and, when the restaurant does close, plans to hold an auction, including selling all the knick-knacks that line the bar’s walls.

“Our regulars are already asking to take stuff,” she said. When asked what the most sought-after item is, she immediately pointed to the painting of a naked woman hanging over the bar. She then laughed, adding “but that’s not for sale.”

by Ethan Rothstein — July 8, 2014 at 10:00 am 4,066 0

Crumbs in Clarendon closes Crumbs in Clarendon closes

The Crumbs Bake Shop in Clarendon (2839 Clarendon Blvd) has closed, along with all other Crumbs locations nationwide.

The New York City-based cupcake and pastry chain opened its Clarendon location in late December 2010 and gave away 1,000 cupcakes a few days later to celebrate its grand opening. The location was the only one in Arlington; Crumbs also operated three locations in the District and one in Tysons Corner.

According to Business Insider, Crumbs went public in 2011, but began losing money soon after as the cupcake craze cooled down and sales of its large, nearly $5 cupcakes flagged.

Crumbs had begun closing some of its locations last year, but announced a company-wide store closure and a planned Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation filing yesterday afternoon.

“Regrettably Crumbs has been forced to cease operations and is immediately attending to the dislocation of its employees while it evaluates its limited remaining options,” the company said in a statement.

by ARLnow.com — June 18, 2014 at 2:00 pm 3,172 0

Cafe Caturra on S. Glebe Road Cafe Caturra on S. Glebe Road

(Updated at 5:50 p.m. on 6/19/14) Cafe Caturra (2931 S. Glebe Road) is expected to close in order to be converted into a Tazza Kitchen restaurant.

The restaurant opened in the Arlington Ridge Shopping Center in September 2011. It is expected to close for renovations in the near future, though no timeline has yet been set, according to co-owner Jeff Grant, the founder of Cafe Caturra. The restaurant has applied for but has not yet been granted building permits.

After renovations, it would then reopen as Tazza Kitchen, which serves cuisine inspired by the Mediterranean coast and Baja California. Tazza Kitchen currently has locations in Richmond and Raleigh, N.C., with another coming soon to Columbia, S.C.

As of December, dinner entrees ranged in price from $9.50 to $16.50, according to a glowing review by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

“No one is really doing that kind of food here at that price point,” said Lawrence Blake, a Cafe Caturra employee in Arlington.

Hat tip to @alongthepike

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