The Ballston location of the Marvelous Market, a small regional chain of gourmet food stores/cafes, has closed permanently.
Located at 888 N. Quincy Street, the store closed its doors for good on Monday, a tipster said. The contents of the store — including tables, signs, sinks, appliances and electronics — were promptly put up for auction.
The store was owned by a independent franchisee, not the chain’s parent company, according to Ryland Johnson, the director of operations for the Marvelous Market. There are currently 5 company-owned stores and 2 franchise stores open in the D.C. area, he said.
Johnson declined further comment.
The Ballston store is not the only Marvelous Market location to close recently. A McLean location closed in March, a Reston location and a Tenlytown (D.C.) location closed last year, and today it was revealed that the chain’s Capitol Hill franchise has severed ties with the company and reopened as “The Silver Spork.”
According to the company’s web site, the Ballston location was the last remaining Marvelous Market in Virginia.
Hat tip to @zippychance
After 24 years in business, Santa Fe Cafe (1500 Wilson Blvd) will be closing its doors.
The restaurant — the longest-running in Rosslyn — will be closing around Oct. 27 (exact date TBA). Owner Kip Laramie said he made the difficult decision to close after finding out his rent was to increase nearly 30 percent should he renew his lease.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to help people have a howling good time at Santa Fe Café for the last 24 years,” said Laramie. “My staff and I have seen Rosslyn develop from a convenient but somewhat sleepy neighborhood into one of the most vibrant places in the country to live, work, play and learn.”
The news comes as Santa Fe Cafe is in the midst of its annual Hatch green chili harvest festival. During the festival, which runs through mid-October, the restaurant serves special dishes made with the famous green chiles from Hatch, New Mexico. The spicy chiles are flown in fresh from a local grower in Hatch, then roasted and peeled.
Over the years, Santa Fe Cafe has served its New Mexico-focused cuisine for a number of notable people and organizations, including the New Mexico State Society, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, former Governor Bill Richardson, the U.S. Supreme Court and a number of local trade associations and nonprofits. The restaurant has hosted benefits for the Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network and BRAVO.
Laramie, who will turn 60 in March, said he would have liked to run the restaurant for a few more years, before retiring and handing it over to his staff. Now, he said his goal is to make sure his 11 employees — three of whom have been with the restaurant since it opened on May 1, 1988 — find new jobs.
“I’m very fortunate to have this wonderful group that i’ve worked with for so long,” he said. “I’m going to do everything I possibly can to find them an even better job than they had here.”
Laramie said he has had a good relationship with the owner of his building — which is now vacant, after some 1,300 Air Force personnel moved out as a result of BRAC — but the extra rent required to renew the long-standing lease was too much for his small business.
“It was just a decision by the landlord that the space is worth more than I can afford,” he said. “I don’t hold those cards, unfortunately.”
Laramie, a former restaurant broker, said it’s tough for a small, locally-owned restaurant to succeed in a high-rent environment like Rosslyn, but added that he’s not alone.
“I think some of the chains that moved in here are even having a tough time,” he said. Still, Laramie thinks Rosslyn will be an even more attractive place to own a restaurant once a few of the large planned or under-construction new buildings open.
“A couple of years from now, it will be a wonderful place to have a business, with all these buildings that are going up,” he said.
The deli, at 1000 N. Randolph Street in the former Upper Crust Cafe space, served Illy coffee and Carnegie Deli-branded meats, but received mixed reviews on Yelp, with customers complaining about the food and the service.
“I had to tell someone three times what was in a Reuben, only to have her slather mayo all over the bread,” wrote one reviewer.
A sign in the window says the restaurant space is now available for lease.
Photo courtesy Bill Colton
Boathouse Meeting Today — A public meeting regarding a proposed boathouse along Arlington’s Potomac River shoreline is being held tonight. The National Park Service is holding the meeting at Washington-Lee High School (1301 N. Stafford Street) from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Senor Pan Closes — After just 6 months in business, Columbia Pike-area cafe/bakery Senor Pan has apparently closed, according to the Pike Wire Twitter feed. Senor Pan was located at 922 S. Walter Reed Drive.
Student Production Plays at Fringe Fest — Mindset, a “surrealist rock opera” created, directed and choreographed by H-B Woodlawn students, is currently playing at the Capital Fringe Festival. The show originally featured all Woodlawn students, but now professional actors have been added to the cast. [Sun Gazette]
Flickr pool photo by Damiec
The family-owned restaurant opened on the ground floor of the Eclipse condominium building, near Potomac Yard, on Christmas Day 2011. No word on why the restaurant closed, but a tipster tells us it didn’t seem to be attracting enough customers. Hee Been was closed yesterday, according to another business owner at the Eclipse, and a property manager was seen changing the locks today.
Hee Been’s original Alexandria location, at 6231 Little River Turnpike, is still open, according to an employee who answered the phone there this afternoon.
When it opened, Hee Been featured an 80-foot-long dinner buffet with some 85 different items representing three different types of cuisine: Korean, Japanese and Thai. The restaurant was an ambitious undertaking for the development, at the far southeast corner of Arlington. Though the Eclipse and the nearby Camden Potomac Yard apartment complex both have residential tenants, the large National Gateway office complex, across the street from the Eclipse, is still awaiting an office tenant.
This is the latest in a string of bad news for the area. In May the Harris Teeter grocery store at the Eclipse closed due to flooding caused by a sewage backup. It has remained closed since. An Irish bar, McGinty’s Public House, closed late in 2010.
McGinty’s was replaced by Melody Tavern last year.
Arax Cafe (5852 Washington Blvd) in the Westover neighborhood has closed its doors for good.
A sign in the window of the now-empty coffee shop reads: “To our extended family… we are sorry to announce we are closing at the end of the month. Thank you for 11 fabulous years!”
Arax Cafe enjoyed generally positive reviews on Yelp, where patrons raved about the shop’s Armenian specialties, including pastries and meat pies.
Hat tip to Megan F.
According to an employee who answered the phone, the dealership will close permanently after tonight. Employees are either being transferred to other Rosenthal dealerships or were given advance notice that they should seek other employment, we’re told.
The Rosenthal site, at the corner of Glebe Road and Columbia Pike, is set to be redeveloped into a multi-family residential complex. The plans for the complex includes a six-story building with 245 apartments, 44 townhouses, 12 stacked flats and retail space on the ground floor.
The Arlington County Board approved the redevelopment last month.
Photo via Google Maps
(Updated at 4:45 p.m.) Sangam Restaurant has closed, less than a year after it moved from the Comfort Inn in Ballston to 3205 Columbia Pike.
Owner Edward Dean says financial difficulties forced him to shutter the location. For the time being, Dean says he’s continuing to operate a delivery and catering business, with the same staff as Sangam, out of another Indian restaurant in Arlington. Customers can call 703-524-2728 to place orders, he said.
Dean, a retired diplomat, says he lost more than $1 million trying to make the restaurant work between 2004 and today. While perhaps not a financial success, the restaurant did win some accolades, including three straight first place awards at the Taste of Arlington.
Even though it struggled while on the ground floor of the Comfort Inn, Dean said moving Sangam to its most recent location on Columbia Pike was “the biggest mistake I made.”
Now, Dean says he’s looking for a partner to try to get the restaurant up and running again in another location. If that doesn’t work, Dean said, he may have to abandon his restaurant ambitions altogether.
O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub (3207 Washington Blvd) in Clarendon has signed a new lease that will allow it to expand into two adjacent storefronts.
O’Sullivan’s will soon take over the next-door Fragrance World and Sam’s Corner storefronts, owner Anselm Griffiths tells ARLnow.com. Fragrance World will move to a new storefront on N. Irving Street while Sam’s Corner, a deli, will close permanently, Griffiths said.
Griffiths hopes to start construction on the expansion in July. O’Sullivan’s is expected to remain open during most of the construction, which Griffiths hopes will wrap up around mid-September. When it’s all said and done, O’Sullivan’s will expand from about 1,800 square feet to 3,350 square feet. In addition to making more room for concert and happy hour crowds, the new space will allow O’Sullivan’s to focus a bit more on its dining business, Griffiths said.
The popular but often cramped pub first opened as Molly Malone’s in 2004, before Griffiths became an owner and changed the name in 2006. A second O’Sullivan’s location opened in Herndon about two years ago.
O’Sullivan’s and other storefronts along Washington Boulevard and N. Irving Street are not part of the Waverly at Clarendon Station apartment project behind it and will remain open even after the development gets underway, Griffiths said.
The Clarendon restaurant has announced that it will close its doors for good after last call tonight. Co-owner Jonathan Williams says he and fellow co-owner Greg Cahill, who also owns nearby Whitlow’s on Wilson (2854 Wilson Boulevard), have decided to sell the 221-seat restaurant.
“It has been a fun and exciting ride,” Williams said of the restaurant’s four and a half years in business. “I’m very appreciative for the neighborhood support. I’m proud of my staff and proud of what we’ve built.”
Restaurant 3 opened in October 2007 and served what was described as “classic American cuisine accented with innovative, regional twists.” Rebranded as “3 Bar and Grill” in 2010, the restaurant became notable for its pig roasts and annual Bacon Week, which earned it airtime on Sunday Night Football and the Travel Channel.
Williams declined to discuss the decision to sell the restaurant, but admitted that Clarendon has become an increasingly competitive market for restaurants. Just two weeks ago Market Tavern, another large restaurant along Clarendon Boulevard, closed amid bankruptcy proceedings.
“I think everybody’s aware of how competitive this neighborhood is,” Williams said.
Williams confirmed that another restaurant will eventually take 3′s place, but would not reveal the identity of the new restaurant or its owners. He also emphasized that nothing will change at Whitlow’s, where he used to serve as general manager before opening Restaurant 3 with Cahill.
“The [Whitlow's] rooftop has been successful and we’ll continue to operate over there,” he said.
Williams was vague about future plans, but said that he hopes to do something bacon-related again. For the time being, he’s focused on finding new jobs for the restaurant’s 35-40 employees. Anyone interested in hiring his restaurant employees, he said, should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo via Facebook
The steak-centric restaurant opened last year over Thanksgiving weekend, following extensive renovations to the former Harry’s Tap Room. The revamped restaurant featured a bar and lounge area downstairs and a dining area called the “Chophouse” upstairs. Overall seating was reduced during renovations — from 275 to 155 — and pricing was raised in conjunction with the eatery’s more upscale vibe.
Market Tavern’s menu included steaks, burgers, flatbreads, and other entrees, in addition to 26 beers on tap, 70 wines by the glass, and a selection of hand-crafted cocktails. There was also a self-serve “bread bar” upstairs.
Owner and restaurant industry veteran Michael Sternberg acknowledged that the pricey renovations left him with little financial wiggle room once business did not meet initial expectations, but he says he’s still not sure why Market Tavern never quite caught on with diners.
“I’ve been doing this for a long time and I thought this was a terrific restaurant,” Sternberg said. “I liked the service, I liked the food, I liked the decor, and I don’t know why we didn’t catch on in this neighborhood. I spend my nights awake just wondering about it.”
Reviews of Market Tavern were mixed, at best. The Washington Post’s Tim Carman said he’d go to the nearby Ray’s the Steaks over Market Tavern “nine times out of 10,” and Yelp reviewers gave the restaurant 2.5 out of 5 stars.
Market Tavern served its final customers last night after Sternberg reached an agreement to sell the restaurant last Friday, May 11. The restaurant is expected to remain closed for several months while the new owners obtain permits and make changes to the space for a new restaurant concept.
Sternberg declined to identify the new owners, except to describe them as “local, well-established restaurateurs.”
Market Tavern has been in bankruptcy since February. A bankruptcy court must approve the sale before the restaurant can officially change hands, Sternberg said.
Less than a year after it first opened, Sauca restaurant at 4707 Columbia Pike has apparently closed.
The eatery was shuttered and dark last night, with only a single piece of printer paper in the door to announce its demise. It read: “Regretably [sic] Sauca has closed this location. Thank you for your patronage and wishing you all the health and happiness in the world.”
Sauca was unique in that it took the menu from an existing fleet of food trucks and tried to build a brick-and-mortar restaurant around it. Despite the fact that it added a lush outdoor patio, a liquor license, and happy hour specials to the food-truck-to-restaurant formula, we’re told that Sauca still struggled to attract a consistent customer base to its slightly off-the-beaten-path location.
Sauca is owned by Farhad Assari, a former international investment banker who left a lucrative gig in Dubai to move closer to his family and pursue his culinary dreams. The Sauca Twitter account has not been active since last Tuesday.
The no-nonsense, cash-only deli has fascinated some locals with its irregular hours, its general lack of customers, and its ability to remain in business in a high-rent area. But the business may be closing soon after all.
The daughter of the older couple who own the deli has told friends that her parents will be shutting down the restaurant, perhaps by the end of the month, according to our tipster. The owners have simply decided to retire, we’re told.
An emailed request for comment was not returned.
About a month from now, in early May, a groundbreaking is expected to be held for a new 280,000 square foot mixed-use office project in Clarendon.
In the meantime, the block on which the project will be built (3001-3003 Washington Boulevard) is looking more and more like a ghost town.
Chains and “no trespassing” have gone up around the block. The former BB&T Bank has been boarded up, as has the former Eleventh Street Lounge and Potomac Crossfit locations. The block’s long-time stalwart, T.A. Sullivan and Son cemetery monuments, now has a sign outside announcing its new location, in Vienna, and thanking the community “for allowing us to serve you for more than 100 years.”
BB&T Bank, meanwhile, also has a new location. The bank branch has moved into the old PNC Bank space at 3033 Wilson Boulevard, near the Clarendon Metro station.
The office project’s developer, Penzance, says it expects to wrap up construction in “early 2014.”
There has been some turnover among spas and salons in Clarendon.
The Phantacee Hair Salon and Spa at 3033 Wilson Boulevard recently closed up shop. Signs in the window indicate that a Casal’s dé Spa and Salon location will be opening in its stead.
Casal’s, which currently has two locations in northeastern Ohio, describes itself as a full-service, non-tipping salon.
“We operate with a team of hair, color, nail, massage therapy and esthetic experts committed to the health and beauty of our clients,” the Casal’s website says. “From day one, Casal’s has been a departmentalized salon and spa, staffed with the best professionals in their fields.”
Meanwhile, the Hollywood Tans location at 3000 N. Washington Boulevard has also closed. Customer accounts were moved over to the newer Palm Beach Tan location at 2900 Wilson Boulevard. Hollywood Tans customers were notified of the change via email last Friday.