ATR’s permit renewal request was pulled from the Board’s “consent agenda” for non-controversial items by County Board member Mary Hynes. It was instead heard individually on Tuesday, giving Hynes, a nearby resident, a chance to inquire about a couple of noise complaints she had received from her Lyon Village neighbors.
The Board was assured by an ATR manager that the bar has addressed the noise issue and that it in fact doesn’t host any live entertainment anymore — instead it’s seeking to hang on to the permit “just in case.” That was enough assurance for Board, which took little additional time to approve the routine renewal request.
While it won the battle, it’s unclear if ATR in Clarendon will win the war. Restaurant and commercial real estate industry sources have told ARLnow.com that American Tap Room has been seeking a buyer to take over its lease.
We’re told that the company pays more than $650,000 per year in rent for the Clarendon location, which has not enjoyed the same level of success as its locations in Bethesda and Reston. The latter two locations are “crushing it” and the company may simply be looking to focus on more profitable ventures, a source says.
However, everything seemed business as usual with the ATR manager who spoke at the County Board meeting. He gave no hints of any possible changes to come.
Responding to an inquiry sent to a media representative, an ATR manager contacted ARLnow.com last week. The manager said the Clarendon location is not closing, but declined to speak on the record and sought assurances that an ARLnow.com editor was not recording the call.
American Tap Room opened its Clarendon location in 2011.
A new superhero will be hitting the streets and bars of Clarendon Saturday night.
“SoberWoman” is described as the “witty better half” of SoberMan (left), the anti-DUI superhero who tried to save Clarendon bargoers from poor post-drinking decision making last December.
“SoberWoman will engage with patrons at Arlington area restaurants and quiz them on how they plan to get home after partying,” according to a press release. “She will award prizes to those who have made advanced plans to get home safely by not drinking and driving. SoberWoman will pose for pictures and encourage bar-goers to share photos and her mission via social media, using hashtag #SoberWoman.”
SoberWoman is planning on stopping by Whitlow’s on Wilson (2854 Wilson Blvd), Clarendon Grill (1101 N. Highland Street) and Spider Kelly’s (3181 Wilson Blvd) between 10:00 p.m. and midnight on Saturday. She will be joined by Arlington County Police Department Captain Kamran Afzal and Kurt Erickson, president of the Washington Regional Alcohol Program.
The arrival of SoberWoman should attract some attention. She will “arrive in a police motorcade and use a P.A. system to announce her mission at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Filmore St., adjacent to Whitlow’s,” according to the press release. “She will repeat her police ‘sirens and lights’ arrival at the following bars before engaging bar-goers inside”
Organizers say SoberWoman’s superpowers — namely, “continued vigilance and heightened awareness about drinking and driving” — are needed because drunk driving fatalities have been on the rise in Virginia over the last two years.
Sehkraft Beer Garden and Haus, which is planning on opening next spring in the ground floor of 925 N. Garfield Street, was approved for live entertainment at the Board’s Tuesday meeting. However, its request to keep its doors and windows open during live entertainment — while supported by the community — was denied unanimously.
The Westover Beer Garden and its owner, Devin Hicks, had a long, contentious battle with the county a few years ago over Hicks’ desire to have amplified music in its outdoor space. Since 2012, Hicks’ and the county’s relationship has improved — County Board members John Vihstadt and Walter Tejada said they are now proud customers of the restaurant — but the memories of the permit fight were still on some of their minds.
“There were some issues early on, and I don’t want to gloss over some of the history or the occasional problem now,” Vihstadt said, but added, “I think the beer garden is a huge community asset. It really is the embodiment of what makes Westover great.”
The difference between Westover and Sehkraft, county staff pointed out, is the new brewpub is in the ground floor of an apartment building and has residential developments nearby. Westover Beer Garden is in a business district and is 110 feet from the nearest single family dwelling.
However, the Lyon Park Civic Association supported Sehkraft’s request to keep the windows open so those in outdoor seating could hear the music. William B. Lawson, a real estate lawyer representing Hicks, told the County Board the request was intended to be a trial period.
“We think that an exception is appropriate,” he said. “Devin has put a lot of money into soundproofing and construction techniques that we think will lessen the impacts of the music. If there are any problems we’ll shut the doors.”
Although the Board denied the exception — agreeing with county staff that allowing it “would be inconsistent with current practice” — Board member Libby Garvey recommended Hicks come back in a year when the permit is up for renewal and suggest opening the doors and windows at that time.
“I think we should sort of ease into it a little bit,” Garvey said. “We’re hearing so much from folks in complaints [about noise’ that I think it would be better to ease into it.”
When he spoke to ARLnow.com in July, Hicks said he plans to open the beer garden and brewpub in March 2015.
Jimmy John’s sandwich shop is now open to the public in its newest Arlington location, on N. Irving Street in Clarendon.
According to the shop’s employees, yesterday was its first day in business. The store is the chain’s fourth in Arlington: it also owns storefronts in Rosslyn, Crystal City and Ballston.
Don Tito is likely to open in the 10,000 square foot space at 3165 Wilson Blvd by early March, according to Scott Parker, one of the establishment’s five partners. Construction is expected to start as soon as next week.
The restaurant will feature “flex Mex” cuisine — Mexican dishes plus traditional American fare with a “Mexican twist” — but the emphasis will be more on the aforementioned beer and tequila. A bar will be added to what is now a dining area on the second floor, and a second bar will be added to the center of the rooftop.
The partners in Don Tito are Parker, Nick Cordero and Mike Cordero — the owners of the popular but oft-maligned A-Town Bar and Grill in Ballston — plus newcomers Ryan DeMagistris and Jason Fisher. All five are Arlington residents, Parker said.
The Cordero crew is on a roll since closing the financially-sound but stagnant Caribbean Breeze and reopening as A-Town in 2012. In addition to purchasing Eventide — for a sum just shy of $1 million, sources say – the company has also secured a 6,000 square foot space in Rosslyn for a bar/restaurant that’s expected to open in the fall of 2015, Parker tells ARLnow.com.
Parker declined to reveal additional information about the future Rosslyn watering hole, including its exact location.
The Eventide purchase will give its owners two big advantages, according to those with knowledge of the transaction. For one, the sublease offers five years of well below-market rent. For another, it offers a prime location in a Clarendon business district that’s well established as a nightlife spot — as opposed to A-Town’s location, where condo-owning neighbors have railed against late night noise.
Don Tito will remain open until 2:00 a.m. seven nights per week, according to Parker.
Parker said the partners were able to buy Eventide despite stiff competition from other restaurant owners, both local and national. The concept for Don Tito has been in the works for some time now, he said, and 3165 Wilson Blvd was judged the ideal place for it to open. In 2013, a Northern Virginia Magazine article about the opening of another Cordero restaurant, Flat Iron Steak & Saloon in Alexandria, described a planned Arlington venture that was then dubbed “Tacos and Beer.”
The owners of Eventide spent a reported $3 million constructing the restaurant, which opened in 2008. Parker said changes are necessary to “liven up the space and give it a little spark,” including renovations to the second floor which is “looking a bit too much like a monastery or something.”
Parker said he thinks Don Tito will compare favorably to what he described as an overabundance of American-style bars and restaurants in Clarendon. As for more direct competition, like nearby Mexicali Blues and Fuego Cocina, Parker said he and his partners are not too worried.
“Fuego is an incredible venue and we’ve been there many times,” he said. “Fuego is a great Mexican restaurant, [Don Tito] will be a great Mexican bar.”
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.
Citizen Burger Bar, a sit-down, farm-sourced burger restaurant, hopes to open at 1051 N. Highland Street in Clarendon around the new year.
The restaurant announced in a press release that it expects to open “in about two months,” with a full bar and a large, open space with an open kitchen. The restaurant’s first branch opened in Charlottesville in 2012, and the Clarendon location will be its second.
“The idea is to broaden people’s horizons when it comes to simple, ‘classic American’ fare,” said owner Anderson McClure, an Alexandria native. “We want to serve great food and drinks, and do it in a way that might also change people’s perception and standards.”
The restaurant, according to a press release, will source its grass-fed beef, eggs, cheese and produce from farms in Virginia “each run with ethical, sustainable, free-range priorities.” All of the waitstaff will be trained to explain the origins of the menu and bar items. The restaurant says it will partner with “neighborhood bakers” for the bread used in its burger buns.
As far as the bar, customers can expect a rotating tap list and more than 100 bottles of beer, plus “cutting-edge craft cocktails and an upstanding wine list showcasing many Virginia wineries.”
There will also be flatscreen TVs throughout the bar.
The Charlottesville location was named the “best burger” and “best place to watch the game” in the 2014 edition of C-Ville Weekly, a Charlottesville magazine.
Many of us go through the annual struggle of figuring out a creative Halloween costume. For Clarendon resident and amputee Josh Sundquist, his disability presents him an annual showcase for his creativity.
Sundquist is dressing up as a foosball player — the tabletop soccer game — this year after being named to the U.S. Amputee Soccer team. His previous costumes include a lamp, a gingerbread man with a leg bitten off and a brilliant flamingo costume.
The above video is how Sundquist made this year’s costume. Sundquist is a 2006 Paralympian in downhill skiing and, according to his website, the only person in history named to both the Paralympian ski team and the amputee soccer team. He lost his leg after being diagnosed with bone cancer when he was 9 years old.
Sundquist is an also an author and motivational speaker, and his book, Just Don’t Fall is on sale now.
Photo via Josh Sundquist
Arlington County has approved a permit for the 2014 Clarendon Halloween Crawl, making it the first such event approved under the county’s new pub crawl guidelines.
The Halloween Crawl is set to take place on Saturday (November 1). It’s the first bar crawl permit issued since the County Board decided in July that bar crawls will be classified as “special events” and require a permit.
“As the County Board has said, our goal is to manage these events in a way that ensures the safety of participants and residents of the surrounding neighborhoods and reimburses the County for crawl-related expenses,” said County Manager Barbara Donnellan in a written statement.
The county manager’s office confirmed that under the new regulations, Halloween Crawl organizer Project DC Events is required to reimburse the county for event-related personnel expenses, such as the need for extra police officers. The event organizers currently anticipate around 3,000 people will participate in the crawl, so the county assigned 30 police officers to the area. More police support will be requested should the number of event attendees increase. The county manager’s office estimates the police presence and potential EMT services will cost around $9,000-$15,000.
The county doesn’t foresee the need for additional trash collection services; instead, it’s moving up Clarendon’s regular Monday pickup to Sunday. Just like with the police estimate, more waste management services can be added if necessary.
It will likely take up to two weeks to calculate the final costs and then send Project DC Events a bill. Per the regulations, special events organizers must reimburse the county within 60 days of the issuance of an invoice.
“This is an Arlington-based company and we are very confident we will not have any issues with them,” said Assistant County Manager Wilfredo Calderon.
Arlington’s Got Talent, the annual talent show for D.C.-area performers hosted by Leadership Arlington, is back for another year on Wednesday, Oct. 29.
The show is $30 in advance and $40 at the door at Clarendon Ballroom (3185 Wilson Blvd). It all starts at 6:30 p.m. with a social hour before the eight performers who were chosen take the stage.
The performers on Wednesday night, selected from 23 submissions, will be:
- Maryland-based rapper Nik Martin
- Pop, funk and R&B singer Travis Tucker
- Singer Alyssa Gurley
- A capella group Euphonism
- Yorktown High School student Aastha Paneru, performing Nepalese dance
- Former U.S. Marine and standup comedian Cerrome Russell
- Crooner and Marine Corps reservist Teague
- Guitarist Bau Bau
The winner of the talent show gets $500, and the rest of the proceeds from the night go to Leadership Arlington’s scholarship fund
A man who got drunk, sped down the wrong way of a one-way street in Clarendon and caused a crash that seriously injured a pedestrian earlier this year has pleaded guilty to a felony charge.
Pentagon City resident Benjamin Andruss, 37, pleaed guilty yesterday to felony DUI maiming. He is scheduled to be sentenced in February.
The crash happened between 8:30 and 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 12. Prosecutors say Andruss had just left First Down Sports Bar in Ballston, where he had consumed 4-5 beers and three glasses of whiskey while watching afternoon football games. A friend encouraged him to take a cab, but Andruss insisted on driving.
Andruss drove from the Ballston Common Mall parking garage to Clarendon, revving the engine of his Mercedes-Benz at stop lights and “speeding the whole way,” prosecutors said. At the intersection of Wilson, Clarendon and Washington Blvds, he again revved his engine at the stop light, then accelerated straight through the intersection when the light turned green.
Andruss sped the wrong way down Wilson Blvd, past Spider Kelly’s and other bars. His Mercedes ran up on the sidewalk, striking the side of the Clarendon War Memorial. In his path was a pedestrian, a man around 30 years old who works for the U.S. Department of Energy.
The pedestrian tried to dive out of the way, but Andruss struck a parked car, which then struck the pedestrian. The man regained consciousness in the middle of the street.
From a statement of facts entered by prosecutors as part of the plea:
He was taken by ambulance to GW Hospital, where he was treated for numerous injuries to his head and left elbow. Both required serious treatment. His head required more than a dozen staples. His broken elbow required surgery, the insertion of a metal plate, and screws to ensure regained functionality. The elbow now has a permanent visible scar. And [the victim], despite weeks of physical therapy, has yet to regain – and may never regain – a full range of motion.
After the crash, the Defendant exited the vehicle and appeared to try to walk away. He was prevented from doing so by onlookers. The Defendant was described as unsteady on his feet, with slurred speech and bloodshot/glassy eyes. He repeatedly “fell” into an officer’s arms as they spoke. The Defendant admitted to drinking and refused to perform all field sobriety tests. He was placed under arrest at 9:20pm.
“Mr. Andruss made a series of poor decisions that evening,” Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Josh Katcher told ARLnow.com. “He drank too much, he didn’t take a cab, he drove recklessly from Ballston to Clarendon, and then he drove the wrong way, down the wrong street, at the wrong time.”
“Try to imagine this from the victim’s perspective: he’s minding his own business, walking down a sidewalk, when he hears an engine revving, sees a set of headlights speeding towards him, and has no more than a second to try to dive out of the way,” Katcher continued. “Next thing he knows he is on his back in the middle of the street with people looking down at him telling him not to move. This is the type of mayhem that happens when people drink and drive. There is no defense, no reason, and no excuse for this type of behavior.”
Andruss is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 6, 2015. He’s expected to receive a sentence of 1-5 years in prison.
This is not the only legal trouble Andruss is facing. Three days after the crash he was fired, and a week after that he was sued by his former employer, accused of making hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of improper purchases on his company credit card and withdraws from the company checking account, all while deliberately concealing evidence of his actions.
Amsterdam Falafelshop, a fast, top-your-own-dish D.C. restaurant chain, is opening its newest location in Clarendon this afternoon.
The shop, in the former BGR: The Burger Joint space at 3024 Wilson Blvd, opens to the public at 3:00 p.m. this afternoon, according to CEO Arianne Bennett, who was celebrating the new space with a friends-and-family lunch this afternoon. The location will be open until 3:00 a.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, 2:30 a.m Tuesdays and Wednesdays and midnight on Mondays.
The eatery has been in the works for months, and Bennett said her two D.C. locations — in Adams Morgan and on 14th Street NW — were fielding calls every day asking when her first Virginia shop would open.
“When we started doing tastings outside yesterday, there was a flock of people,” Bennett said. “People have been telling us they can’t wait until we open.”
The excitement is over a simple concept: a customer walks in and orders either a falafel sandwich in a regular or wheat pita, or a falafel bowl. They can then load up with toppings like hummus, cucumbers and onions, baba ghanoush, pickled beets and cabbage, cole slaw, imported pickles, pickled turnips and pickled cauliflower. A regular sandwich costs $6.55, a small costs $5.55, and both come with unlimited toppings. A bowl is charged by weight. The shop also serves Dutch-style fries and brownies.
“Our friends moved to Amsterdam years ago, and when we visited, there were falafel shops everywhere, like pizza places here,” Bennett said. “And everyone was topping for themselves, it wasn’t done for you. So we just wanted something like that.”
The walls are covered in paintings by G. Byron Peck, the lead artist for many wall murals in D.C. There are photographs on the walls and laminated onto the tables — Bennett said they are all vacation photos from her and her husband’s trips to Amsterdam.
The Clarendon shop is the first Amsterdam Falafelshop franchise owned by David Rosenstein, but he said he has a five-franchise deal and is looking more around the D.C. area for his next shops. He’s targeting Georgetown for his second franchise, but said he wasn’t sure about the locations for the other franchises.
“We’re going to take it one store at a time,” Rosenstein said. “We’re looking for the right combination of office, housing and nightlife, and in the right spot with the right people.”
The Church at Clarendon (1210 N. Highland Street) is swapping the organ for a laptop and turntable this Saturday night when it hosts an electronic dance music (EDM) show.
The concert will be free and held at the church from 8:00 to 11:00 p.m., according to church Community Ministry and Discipleship Director Stephen Taylor. The star of the show will be DJ Rick Solo, a Charlotte-based artist who holds DJ-led, Christian services in his hometown of Charlotte, N.C.
The Church at Clarendon says it’s trying to reach the younger demographic that lives in the Clarendon area. The church has expanded its community offerings to include yoga classes, game night and a concert series that included a performance from the Go Go Symphony earlier this month, as well as the EDM show.
“At all these events we are trying to serve the community and get people connected,” Taylor told ARLnow.com in an email. “The stereotype that church people are going to be pushy or impose opinions doesn’t fit the reality of the Church at Clarendon. For many people, church is no longer or never was part of their life. If someone wants to explore faith questions here or elsewhere, we welcome it. But if they are not interested, we are just as happy to make new friends and promote community.”
The church gained attention last year for its DJ-led Sunday morning services, and Taylor said Christian EDM is becoming more of a nationwide trend in the church community. DJ Rick Solo plays “similar music to what is on the radio or at a club,” Taylor said.
Falloween runs from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 25, with a petting zoo, trick-or-treating and “strolling entertainment” throughout the event. The festival is intended for families to dress up, along with their pets, and all events during the day are free.
In addition to the petting zoo and trick-or-treating at retailers, starting at 10:00 a.m., D.C.-based children’s performer Mr. Knick Knack will bring his guitar and entertain the youngsters for the morning. At 11:45 a.m., Rocknoceros will take the stage with its three-man band of multiple instruments, including the accordion, ukelele and keyboard and continue to play for the little ones.
There will also be a festive photo booth and pumpkin painting. A spokeswoman for Market Common also promised “surprises” throughout the event.
Image via Market Common Clarendon
Just in case you need an excuse to dress up your dog in a costume while walking around Clarendon, there’s an event for that. Plus, it benefits two Arlington nonprofit organizations.
The Howl-O-Ween Walk runs from 9:00-11:30 a.m. on Saturday, October 25. Doorways for Women and Families teamed up with Homeward Trails Animal Rescue for the fundraiser, which also serves to raise awareness about domestic violence against women, children and pets.
The trick-or-treat event begins at James Hunter Park in Clarendon with coffee, bagels and a kickoff ceremony. Walkers and their pets will follow a one mile route, picking up treats at selected businesses along the way. Festivities continue back at the park with snacks, doggy goodie bags, a demonstration by the Arlington County Police K-9 Unit and a doggy costume contest.
Online registration is $30 for adults and $20 for children under 16. This year, people also can create an online fundraising page in their pet’s honor. The top fundraisers can win prizes including hotel stays and gift cards.
Sue Bell, executive director of Homeward Trails, said domestic violence victims and their pets will have something new to celebrate at this year’s event: the enactment of a pet protective order law in Virginia.
“This bill allows companion animals (dogs and cats) to be added to protective orders in the case of domestic violence… something that in the past has resulted in victims staying in a dangerous situation longer in order to protect their pets from harm,” Bell said via email. “We will be having Del. Patrick Hope and [state] Sen. Barbara Favola speak on this at the kick-off of the walk. It’s a huge victory for both human and canine/feline victims of domestic abuse!”