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.”
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.
(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
“It was literally there one day and gone the next,” Mary Barrett, who works next door as a marketing representative for MBH Settlement Group, told ARLnow.com.
Customers on the barber shop’s Facebook and Yelp pages lamented the loss of the business. Some Yelp reviewers wrote that free bottles of water, race car chairs, lollipops and balloon animals kept them and their children coming back.
Yelp reviewer Eric G. posted on June 10: “I’ve taken my two boys to Dan for years and we just walked up to the shop to find it closed with no forwarding address. Very sad, as despite the fact that he had fallen on hard times he was always very friendly and did his best to deliver quality service at a good price. We’ll miss Dan and I just hope he’s alright.”
Dan Woodley, the leasing agent for the space, told ARLnow.com that “Barber Dan” made a “personal decision not be a barber anymore.” Dan cut hair for more than 20 years, according to Woodley, and was a barber at Harrison Barber Shop for at least five. Woodley said he did not know exactly why the shop closed.
While many customers gave the shop rave reviews, others were put off by the wait. As the shop’s only barber, “Barber Dan” was not always able to meet demands.
“A good haircut but a truly painful wait,” wrote Yelp reviewer Jim M. last November. ”Dan appears to have no appreciation of fact that people don’t like to wait while he shuffles around to adjust blinds, get the hit towel, fetch water for customers as they come in. I give up. There are now too many other options in the area with similar prices for boys and men’s haircuts.”
Barrett said that she first noticed the shop was closed two or three weeks ago, but that it remained busy until its final open days. “I was shocked when I pulled up one day and it was for lease,” said Barrett. Dan seemed to her a “friendly man” who was “always waving” and served many families.
Harrison Barber Shop had not posted on its Facebook page since last December, but customers continued to post praise and pictures as recently as June 5.
“Since Dan was a bit of an Arlington institution, having grown up in town (he went to Woodlawn for high school, he said), I’m curious as to what happened,” said former customer Anthony Zurcher, in an email to ARLnow.com. “My kids loved him and were regulars, as were many in the Yorktown and surrounding neighborhoods.”
“Dan could be slow at times — painfully slow. But that was part of his old-fashioned charm. He had a TV that would play movies for the kids — really just one move, Madagascar 2 (later, Madagascar 3) — which would be on a constant loop. I must’ve seen various parts of that movie dozens of times thanks to Dan, but my kids loved it.
At some point after I started going there, he learned how to make balloon animals — really just a sword or a poodle — for the kids. My boys always asked for one whenever they were there, and he always obliged.
I remember one time a patron showed up who was at least in his mid-90s. He had been coming to Dan to get his haircut for at least a decade. He inspired that sort of loyalty.”
Realtors A.J. Dwoskin & Associates have “over a dozen well-known Arlington businesses” interested in renting the space, according to Woodley. The firm will know more about the former barber shop’s future by late July.
(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
The HomeMade Pizza Company store in the Lee Heights Shops has closed.
The store closed suddenly on Friday as part of a company-wide shutdown. The Chicago-based company had nearly 40 stores in the Chicago, Minneapolis, New York and Washington areas, all of which are now shuttered, according to Crain’s Chicago Business. The Arlington store, at 4514 Lee Highway, opened in 2009.
The company sold freshly-made pizzas that customers could take home to bake, in additions to salads and desserts.
Hat tip to Amanda L.
(Updated at 3:35 p.m.) Wilson Tavern, a Courthouse bar that has developed a following for theme nights like “Condoms and Candy Necklaces,” is throwing one last party tonight before it closes its 2403 Wilson Blvd location.
The demolition of Wilson Tavern is expected to begin soon, and construction of the hotel, slated to be an eight-story Hyatt Place, is expected to start this summer. The hotel includes a ground floor retail space for a restaurant.
Wilson Tavern opened in December 2011, replacing the former Kitty O’Shea’s.
Photo via Facebook
Le Sandwich, the gourmet sandwich shop that opened March 23 at 3033 Wilson Blvd, may already be closed.
The shop has been locked all week, with chairs up on tables and the “Le Sandwich” logo scrubbed from the building’s signage. However, the other parts of the Le Sandwich sign, with the phone number and social media logos, remain. Multiple attempts to reach Le Sandwich’s owner, Mehdi Ben, have not been successful.
Ben told ARLnow.com when the restaurant opened that he planned to stay open late to serve Clarendon’s bar-going crowd, but in the month since, he changed the hours on the store’s sign to show it closing after dinner. Another restaurant owner in Clarendon told ARLnow.com that the restaurant is closed for renovations, but the shop has been empty during the day on several different occasions this week.
The shop’s location at the corner appears to be bad luck for restaurateurs: Cafe Wilson closed in 2011, Paciugo Gelato opened, rebranded as Street Corner Cafe in 2012, and then closed earlier this year.
The McDonald’s restaurant at 1823 N. Moore Street has closed to make way for a new residential skyscraper.
The fast food restaurant posted a sign on its entrance on N. Lynn Street declaring Sunday as its last day. The standalone location, one of the shortest buildings in central Rosslyn, will soon be torn down as part of JBG Companies’ ongoing construction in the area, which has also claimed the skybridges over the Metro station.
The initial timeline of the McDonald’s closure indicated the restaurant wouldn’t be demolished until May. Unfortunately for local office and apartment dwellers, the timing of the closure coincided with McDonald’s two-week free coffee promotion.
The apartment building will have 25,000 square feet of ground floor retail, and McDonald’s sign stated it would be closed “indefinitely,” leaving open the possibility that Rosslyn won’t be without a McDonald’s permanently.
Black Lime Café, a Mediterranean/Middle Eastern restaurant at 2450 Crystal Drive in Crystal City, has closed.
Legal notices are posted on the restaurant’s door, notifying the owners that the locks have been changed due to an alleged non-payment of rent. Restaurant personnel would be charged with trespassing if they try to get in, one notice says.
Black Lime was the flagship location of what the owners hoped could be a new fast-casual restaurant chain. The owners were veterans of large restaurant companies like Maggie Moo’s, Outback Steakhouse and Bennigan’s.
It’s unclear whether the restaurant was hurt by lack of sales or something else. One customer told ARLnow.com that the restaurant was usually busy during lunchtime.
Hat tip to @_TylerHicks
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.