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by Ethan Rothstein — March 10, 2015 at 1:00 pm 1,221 0

House of Mandi goes into the former Sultana Grill space in BluemontSultana Grill, the Moroccan restaurant in Bluemont that closed, then reopened, then closed for good last year, could soon be replaced.

Sultana’s sign is gone, and in its place is a sign for “House of Mandi Middle Eastern Grill.” The phone number has been removed from the windows, which are covered in paper.

When Sultana first closed its storefront at 5515 Wilson Blvd, next door to Arlington Pharmacy, some suspected it was due to a lack of any alcohol being served, including beer and wine. When it reopened, the new management dismissed that as the reason. According to our tipster, it closed for good a few months ago.

It’s unclear when House of Mandi will open. It does not have an active application with the state Alcohol Beverage Control Board.

Hat tip to Daniel Manchester

by Ethan Rothstein — February 25, 2015 at 1:30 pm 1,709 0

The Comedy Spot in Ballston Common Mall(Updated at 3:45 p.m.The Comedy Spot, the stand-up and improvisational comedy venue on the third floor of Ballston Common Mall, will shut its doors this weekend and move into D.C.

Tomorrow night (Thursday), The Comedy Spot will host its final standup show, a free showcase for comics who have performed over the last 10 years at the venue.

Saturday night will be the final shows for the regular Comedysportz and The Blue Show improv comedy shows, at 7:30 and 10:00 p.m. respectively. Each show costs $15 and a large cast of present and past performers will take the stage for the final time.

After this weekend, the shows will move to the D.C. Improv at 1140 Connecticut Ave. NW, according to The Comedy Spot’s website. The first Comedysportz and Blue Show at the Improv will be March 14.

According to the host of the weekly open mic night, Kenneth Llewellyn, the Comedy Spot decided to let its lease run out, rather than renew before the mall undergoes its planned major renovation.

“The Comedy Spot is one of the longest running comedy mics in the DMV area,” Llewellyn said in an email. He’s hosted the free Thursday night shows, which have been held weekly for six years, since 2013. “After six years. the venue is closing so we’re having one last show featuring some of the all-time greats.”

The Comedy Spot’s owner, Liz Demery, told ARLnow.com in an email that her “rather expensive lease was up.”

I adore the people and audiences at the DC Improv,” she wrote. “Instead of having to maintain a physical space, we get to show up and play at their excellent location.”

by ARLnow.com — February 20, 2015 at 7:15 pm 6,148 0

La Tagliatella in ClarendonCiao, La Tagliatella.

The Italian restaurant closed its doors today, after struggling to attract enough business to support its high-rent Clarendon location. The struggles followed a scathing Washington Post review that said La Tagliatella “makes a strong case for hazard pay for restaurant critics.”

We’re told the restaurant, located at 2950 Clarendon Blvd, went out with a bang during its last two nights in business, with $3 drink specials and 75 percent off wine.

We reported in January that rumors were swirling about an imminent closing.

The restaurant, owned by Polish company AmRest, was the third American location of a franchise that was popular in Europe, and was viewed as a harbinger for potentially hundreds of additional U.S. locations. In May, the Washington Business Journal reported those expansion plans were on hold, and theorized the Post’s review — which called La Tagliatella “a threat to our nation” and compared it unfavorably to Olive Garden — might have had something to do with it.

La Tagliatella had a planned location in the Village at Shirlington at the former Extra Virgin space, and still has signs up that say “coming soon,” but the manager we spoke to said those plans have since been scuttled.

The restaurant opened in Clarendon in the prime spot at the corner of Clarendon Blvd and N. Garfield Street, formerly home to Restaurant 3, in 2013.

No word yet on what might replace La Tagliatella.

by Ethan Rothstein — February 19, 2015 at 10:00 am 3,290 0

Toscana Grill(Updated Feb. 23 at 9:45 a.m.) A new Vietnamese restaurant plans to take over the space currently occupied by Toscana Grill in Courthouse.

The owners of Pho Deluxe, which has locations in Fairfax and Tysons Corner, told ARLnow.com that Toscana Grill is closing April 1, after which they will move in.

They hope to be open a month afterward at 2300 Clarendon Blvd, facing Courthouse Plaza.

Owners Hue and Dan Nguyen said the restaurant will specialize in the beef noodle soup, as well as rice dishes and noodle dishes. It will also have a full bar.

Toscana Grill had briefly closed in fall 2013, but reopened under new management.

Next door, meanwhile, Velocity Five’s conversion to Courthaus Social is about to get started. Co-owner Fito Garcia said this morning that the sports bar will be closing “in the coming week” to begin its remodeling to an “American beer garden.” Garcia said he expects the remodeling and staff training to be complete in time to open in April.

A previous version of this story stated Toscana Grill would close March 1. That has been corrected.

by Ethan Rothstein — February 9, 2015 at 1:30 pm 1,306 0

The closed RadioShack in the Crystal City ShopsThe RadioShack in the Shops at 1750 Crystal Drive in Crystal City is closed and the RadioShack in the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City is expected to close by the end of March, if not sooner.

The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week, and plans to close thousands of its locations by March 31, including the storefront in the Pentagon City Mall. Employees at the Pentagon City RadioShack could not say when that location would be closing, only that it was relatively imminent.

The RadioShack on the second floor of Ballston Common Mall is expected to be the last remaining location of the national electronics retailer in Arlington by the spring.

That Ballston store will likely be part of the newly formed consortium between Standard General, a private equity fund, and Sprint, the cell phone provider, keeping between 1,500 and 2,400 stores open nationwide, according to Forbes. Whenever the deal is finalized and the transition occurs, the leftover stores will be selling a mix of Sprint products and the electronic goods like cords and adapters for which RadioShack has become known.

by Ethan Rothstein — February 3, 2015 at 4:45 pm 3,144 0

International Wine and Beverage in CherrydaleInternational Wine and Beverage will close sometime before the summer, ending 50 years in business for the Beek family at 4040 Lee Highway.

Husband and wife Leo and Mary Beek opened the shop in 1964 selling typewriters. Mary Beek told ARLnow.com today that about 18 years ago her son, Bob, got into the wine business and led the switch from selling the obsolete machines to wine, beer and cigars.

Leo has passed away, and Mary, Bob and Ashley Beek have decided to retire “whenever we sell all our goodies in here.”

“It’s time to retire,” Mary Beek said. “When it’s time to go, it’s time to go.”

Whenever the Beek family sells the rest of its drinks and smokes, the Cherrydale Veterinary Clinic next door will expand into its space. Dr. Robert Brown has owned the clinic since 1972 and operated it with his wife, Donna. Mary Beek said she was happy that another local, family business was moving in to the space.

Hat tip to Peter Golkin

by Ethan Rothstein — January 30, 2015 at 1:30 pm 2,672 0

The Pinkberry in Clarendon has been closed for well over a month, with all the equipment inside sitting, waiting, for someone to use it and serve frozen yogurt again.

That day could soon be coming. Pinkberry’s franchise owner, who also owns six other Pinkberry stores in the D.C. area, has declared for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and his stores — including the one at 2930 Clarendon Blvd — are up for auction, according to the Washington Business Journal.

Anyone who wins the bid would have to renegotiate a lease with the building’s landlord and execute a franchise agreement with the California-based froyo chain, the WBJ reports. The chain is hoping to reopen those locations, and the call for bids for the assets valued at $769,000 ends Feb. 9.

Pinkberry’s temporary closure has led to an unexpected frozen yogurt desert in Clarendon. Nicecream Factory is still open and serving their fresh-made ice cream, but after Red Mango closed in 2013, the closest frozen yogurt shops are IceBerry in Rosslyn and FroZenYo in Ballston.

Pinkberry opened in the summer of 2011.

Hat tip to Peter Golkin

by Ethan Rothstein — January 15, 2015 at 2:35 pm 8,943 0

La Tagliatella in ClarendonLa Tagliatella, the Italian restaurant in Clarendon perhaps best known for a scathing Washington Post review, could close at the end of the month.

We’re told by one restaurant employee that Jan. 31 will be its last day. A manager, when contacted by ARLnow.com, said “there’s been talk of it” but “we haven’t gotten any official word yet.”

The restaurant, owned by Polish company AmRest, was the third American location of a franchise that was popular in Europe, and was viewed as a harbinger for potentially hundreds of additional U.S. locations. In May, the Washington Business Journal reported those expansion plans were on hold, and theorized the Post’s review — which called La Tagliatella “a threat to our nation” and compared it unfavorably to Olive Garden — might have had something to do with it.

La Tagliatella had a planned location in the Village at Shirlington at the former Extra Virgin space, and still has signs up that say “coming soon,” but the manager we spoke to said those plans have since been scuttled.

The restaurant opened in Clarendon in the prime spot at the corner of Clarendon Blvd and N. Garfield Street, formerly home to Restaurant 3, in 2013.

by Ethan Rothstein — January 6, 2015 at 2:00 pm 2,009 0

Wet Seal, the national young women’s clothing store chain, has closed its location in Ballston Common Mall amid serious money trouble at the corporate level.

The Ballston location closed over the weekend, and pieces of merchandise were still strewn about the store despite most of it laying empty yesterday.

According to a tipster, there was a handwritten sign in the window that read along the lines of, “check the internet if you want to know why we are closed. wet seal sucks! liars!” (Update at 6:30 p.m. — BuzzFeed has a photo of the sign and an interview with its creator.)

Other Wet Seal stores around the country were closed abruptly, and employees of the location that closed in Durham, N.C., also posted a sign complaining about the fashion in which the store closed and how it treated its now-jobless employees.

Bloomberg News reported last week that Wet Seal received a notice of default and owes its creditors $28.8 million by Jan. 12. The financial news site says the company’s stock price has plummeted to 5.7 cents a share, having lost 97 percent of its value in the last year. If the company’s projections hold up, it will have lost almost $240 million by the end of the fiscal year.

According to the Dayton Daily News in Dayton, Ohio, 350 Wet Seal stores nationwide are in line to be closed. Employees in many of those stores were give just one day’s notice.

The Wet Seal location in the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City remains open, and a store employee told ARLnow.com today that the Ballston location’s closure and any problems at the corporate level are “news to me.”

by Ethan Rothstein — January 2, 2015 at 3:30 pm 4,193 0

EMS in Clarendon, expected to close after January 2015Eastern Mountain Sports, the outdoors outfitter store next to Barnes & Noble in Market Common Clarendon, is expected to close at the end of the month.

There’s a storewide clearance sale going on now, and the store has signs posted inside and out announcing that the location will be closing at the end of January. According to a store employee, EMS’ lease is up at the end of the month.

The closest EMS location is in Dulles, Va., 20 miles away. A similar retailer, Orvis, is another Market Common tenant and is at 2879 Clarendon Blvd.

Hat tip to Bill Colton

by Ethan Rothstein — January 2, 2015 at 1:30 pm 3,767 0

Cakelove in Shirlington closes Cakelove in Shirlington closes

Another retailer has closed up shop in the Village at Shirlington.

Cakelove, the pastry specialty store at 4150 Campbell Avenue, has closed its doors after seven years in the shopping center. According to its website, Cakelove is closing “in in order to scale up production of our cake in a jar.”

Cakelove will still operate its location on U Street NW in D.C., but it has also closed its two Maryland locations.

Cakelove closed in December, making it the fourth retailer in the Village to close since October. First, lingerie store Bloomers closed, followed by health-conscious Lebanese restaurant Aladdin’s closed, and Periwinkle — sharing the same block as Cakelove and Bloomer’s, told ARLnow.com it wouldn’t renew its lease for 2015.

Hat tip to Stephanie

by ARLnow.com — December 23, 2014 at 9:35 am 2,327 0

Outside the Pentagon City Metro entrance, just before Christmas (Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley)

Summers and Soccer — Summers Restaurant in Courthouse, set to close after Dec. 31, is being eulogized as the Washington area’s premier soccer bar. Though holding out hope for a “miracle,” owner Joe Javidara says he is being forced to close due to financial woes. With more international soccer games available via cable and at other, newer bars, business at Summers has “dropped… off the cliff.” [Washington Post]

Moran Objects to Killing Birds Near Airports — Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) wants airports, like Reagan National, to deploy new avian radar technology and stop the practice of euthanizing birds that live near airports. NBC4’s I-Team reports that more than 100,000 animals, including birds, have been “chased away” from the runways at Reagan, Dulles and BWI, to reduce the risk of animal strikes. [NBC Washington – WARNING: Autoplay video]

Arlington Contractor Settles Civil Claim — Arlington resident Keith Hedman, 55, has agreed to pay $4.5 million to settle civil claims related to a fraud sceme. The government sued Hedman, the CEO of security contracting firm Protection Strategies, Inc., alleging that he fraudulently obtained $31 million worth of government contracts intended for minority-owned and disadvantaged small businesses. Last year Hedman pleaded guilty to criminal charges. [U.S. Attorney’s Office]

Arlington Woman Sentenced for Sex Trafficking — Arlington resident and Peruvian national Ruth Antuanet Miller, 35, has been sentenced to seven years in prison for leading a sex trafficking company. Miller pleaded guilty last year to charges that she led a criminal enterprise that prostituted women at hotels and motels around Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church and in Fairfax County. On Dec. 19, Miller was sentenced to 84 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release. She was also ordered to pay $341,437 in restitution.

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

by ARLnow.com — December 20, 2014 at 12:45 pm 6,492 0

U.S. Soccer fans gather at Summer's Restaurant 06/26/14Summers Restaurant and Sports Bar in Courthouse will close after Dec. 31.

The restaurant announced on its Facebook page Friday that it is terminating its lease as of Jan. 1, 2015. It did not specify a reason for the lease termination.

“We are very grateful to our loyal customers who throughout the past 30 years have made it possible for Summers to twice be voted as America’s Best Sports Bar,” the restaurant said.

Summers said it is looking for a partner to help it move to a new location.

by Ethan Rothstein — December 18, 2014 at 3:45 pm 5,561 0

Red, Hot & Blue in Rosslyn Red, Hot & Blue in Rosslyn

Red, Hot & Blue, the barbecue chain restaurant at 1600 Wilson Blvd, is closing on Sunday.

Manager Chris Hawkins confirmed to ARLnow.com that the restaurant — which he says has been open since at least 1989 — will have its last day on Sunday, but he said the staff has been kept in the dark as to why.

“I haven’t the slightest idea” why the restaurant is closing, Hawkins said. “It was brought to my attention this week. We’re still trying to figure it out.”

Until the restaurant closes after Sunday, it will still offer everything it’s promised, including a holiday meal to go for $69, that customers can pick up on Sunday.

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

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