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!”
Participants are encouraged to wear their spooky and creative costumes to the event on Saturday, November 1. The crawl, dubbed “The rise of the day drinkers,” will take place from 2:00-9:00 p.m.
Tickets currently are available online for $15, and a limited number of tickets will be available at the door for $20. The fee gets participants a souvenir mug, food and drink specials at bars in Clarendon and a raffle entry. There will be prizes for the most festively dressed participants.
Bars along the crawl include Whitlow’s, Mad Rose, Clarendon Ballroom, Bracket Room and Hunan One. A full list of participating bars can be found on the Clarendon Halloween Crawl website.
Knightsbridge Trading Company, one of just a handful of small business retail shops in Clarendon, is celebrating its one year anniversary this weekend.
From noon to 4:00 p.m., customers and passersby can walk into the shop at 2871 Clarendon Blvd and enjoy free wine, cheese, tea and hors d’oeuvres, according to shop owner Murat Etili. The celebration comes after a year he says met his expectations when he opened his shop with national retailers like Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn and Orvis all just steps from his doors.
“The first year is always where you build your business and pay your dues,” Etili said. “We’ve been extremely well-received. We’re a family business and we’re local, so people seem to appreciate that.”
The shop offers a wide array of gifts and knick knacks, with a consistently changing selection “at surprisingly attractive prices,” it says on its website.
Etili, a graduate of Washington-Lee High School, closed Knightsbridge’s other location in Rockville last year when its building was demolished, but plans to reopen in the same spot when the new development is complete. Until then, Clarendon will be Knightsbridge’s only location.
Despite some criticism for his business model when he first opened, Etili said the people who have come into the shop have been nothing but positive.
“When I was negotiating for the space, there were a few chains ahead of me and I didn’t think I was going to get it,” Etili said. “People have loved it. They were saying there was a huge need, and they were happy it was not another huge chain.”
(Updated at 5:15 p.m.) Red Top Cab is exploring redeveloping its two properties in Clarendon as apartment buildings with ground floor retail.
Red Top has occupied those parcels for decades under owner Neal Nichols, who founded the taxi company in 1964. Nichols has partnered with Ballston-based developer The Shooshan Company with the intent of redeveloping its business office and large surface parking lot at 1200 N. Hudson Street and its communications center at 3251 Washington Blvd, ARLnow.com has learned.
According to Tom Miller, a planning supervisor in Arlington County’s Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development, representatives from the Shooshan Company held “a preliminary meeting” with the county to discuss the plans, but no permits or site plan applications have been submitted yet. The developers also met with the Lyon Village Civic Association to discuss the plans.
The two properties are adjacent to the recently opened Beacon Clarendon apartment project at the corner of Washington and Wilson Blvds.
A Shooshan Company official declined to discuss the plans before they are more concrete. Nichols has owned the 23,000 square foot parcel at 1200 N. Hudson Street since 1969, according to Arlington County property records. Nichols purchased the 13,560 square-foot communications center property in 1993.
Toss’d, a new salad business, is planning to open in the ground floor of the new Beacon at Clarendon West apartment building near the corner of Washington and Wilson Blvds. The company launched a Kickstarter page this week to raise $50,000 to help with the cost of building the restaurant’s interior.
“I’ve noticed that the fast food salad industry is sort of at its infancy stages of growing, so I thought it was a good chance to enter the market,” Jason James, one of the restaurant’s owners, told ARLnow.com today. “Something we’re really trying to do is not just bring in the healthy concept of a salad shop, but something farm fresh and GMO-free.”
James said he plans to keep Toss’d open until 3:00 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, to serve as a late night option for the bar crowds in Clarendon. The location is less than two blocks from Clarendon Ballroom, Clarendon Grill, Spider Kelly’s, Mad Rose Tavern and O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub, among other popular watering holes.
“In Clarendon, there are 22 bars that are open, and when all those let out at 2:00 a.m., there are two places that people can get food,” James said. “There’s Goody’s Pizza and Bronx Pizza, so we thought we could be a healthy alternative. We’ll change up the atmosphere and music for late night crowd, and give them something different.”
James said the $50,000 Kickstarter goal — the funding round closes Oct. 25 – is just part of the investment that will go into the restaurant; he also has secured bank loans and private investors. He also said he’s using Kickstarter as a way to market the business. Another marketing strategy he plans to use: during Toss’d’s grand opening weekend, he plans to give away salads to residents and office customers in the area for free.
“We just want to get our name out there,” James said. “That way people can be excited for a new alternative to fast food in the Clarendon area.”
Toss’d is still negotiating the lease with the building’s retail manager, Asadoorian Retail Solutions, but once the space is confirmed, James estimates a four-month buildout period.
Two locals are opening a veterinary clinic on N. 10th St. between N. Garfield and N. Highland Streets. Set to open in early 2015, Clarendon Animal Care will provide a range of treatments.
“We’ll be a full-service general practice doing everything from wellness care to geriatric treatments to management of chronic conditions,” co-owner Kayleen Gloor said.
Gloor, 32, and co-owner Natasha Ungerer, 34, will also perform basic dentistry and have X-ray machines. The office will focus on making both human and animal clients comfortable and helping pet owners understand how to keep their companions healthy.
“I can’t count the number of times people have told me they wish I were their own medical doctor because I explain things so clearly,” Gloor said.
Gloor, an Arlington resident, and Ungerer, a McLean resident, met during an internship at a veterinary emergency office in Gaithersburg. They believe Clarendon Animal Care will be the only all-woman-owned veterinary clinic in Arlington. The majority of veterinary students are women, yet few own their own practices, Gloor said.
“It’s a bit of an old boys’ club.”
Arlington Fighting to Keep, Attract Office Tenants – In the wake of federal cuts and BRAC relocations, Arlington’s office vacancy rate is now as high as 23 percent. Arlington is reportedly fighting to keep the Courthouse-based energy software firm Opower, “which is considering a move to the District to better recruit talent.” Meanwhile, Rosslyn property owner Monday Properties is still searching for a tenant for its new, gleaming 1812 N. Moore Street office tower. [Washington Post]
New Spa Coming to Clarendon — Sterling-based Origins Thai Spa is planning on opening a new location in Arlington. The spa will be located in a 5,000 square foot space next to Sehkraft Beer Garden on the ground floor of the Garfield Park apartment building at 925 N. Garfield Street. [Washington Business Journal]
County Recognizes ‘Outstanding Landscapes’ — The Arlington County Board has recognized four properties “for the quality of their landscaping and the serenity they bring to their neighborhoods.” The properties include Circa restaurant in Clarendon, the Clarendon Square office building, the Avalon Arlington North apartment building on N. Glebe Road, and the Whitmore apartment building on Columbia Pike. [Arlington County]
(Updated at 4:35 p.m.) The Whole Foods Market in Clarendon was evacuated Tuesday afternoon after smoke started spewing from the roof.
Arlington County firefighters rushed to the 2700 Wilson Blvd. store after they received a rescue call at about 2:45 p.m., ACFD spokeswoman Lt. Sarah Marchegiani said.
The fire was put out quickly and all customers and staff were ordered to leave as firefighters searched for hot spots.
The blaze started on a stove in the front area where rotisserie chickens are sold and and was extinguished by the store’s employees, Marchegiani said. Patches of grease then caught fire in a cooking vent.
No injuries were reported.
A health inspector was called to ensure the store will be safe for re-entry. When the store can reopen won’t be known until an inspector can make an assessment, county Department of Human Services spokesman Kurt Larrick said.
“Hopefully it is just minor damage and there are no food safety issues, and they will be back up and running soon,” Larrick said.
One lane of Clarendon Blvd was shut down to accommodate emergency vehicles.
Ethan Rothstein contributed reporting
Clarendon’s biggest annual street festival, Clarendon Day, is back for its 17th iteration this Saturday, and with it comes the return of the D.C. Chili Cookoff.
This year’s festival goes from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on the streets outside the Clarendon Metro station, at the intersection of N. Highland Street and Wilson and Clarendon Blvds. There will be 40 bands and musicians playing on five stages throughout the day, headlined by singer-songwriter Amber Rubarth at 2:45 p.m. on the main stage.
While music will fill the air all afternoon long, so will the smell of chili. The chili cookoff, sponsored by the International Chili Society, will see dozens of homemade chili chefs cooking up batches of red chili, chili verde, salsa and homestyle recipes, all competing for the chance to participate in the World Championship Chili Cookoff this October in Palm Springs, Calif. Chefs will be providing tastings of their chili, and those hankering for something else will be able to choose from more than a dozen local restaurants’ tents.
Participants last year were disappointed by the long lines for beer, which often stretched dozens deep. This year, festival organizer Clarendon Alliance said “we have revised our event layout to allow for faster beverage service,” which includes two bars in different sections, with breweries participating in next month’s Courthouse Arts and Craft Beer Festival and wine.
Along Wilson Blvd, there will again be dozens of arts and crafts vendors and exhibitors, and by Clarendon Central Park there will be activity spaces for children. The festival itself is free to enter.
Roads in Clarendon will be closed all day Saturday to accommodate the festival. That includes starting at 5:00 a.m. on Wilson Blvd to N. Lynn Street to accommodate the annual Clarendon Day 5K/10K, which will also close southbound Route 110 from 8:00-10:00 a.m. Wilson and Clarendon Blvds will close from Washington Blvd to N. Highland Street until the evening, as will Highland Street from 11th Street N. to just before N. Hancock Street.
Flickr pool photo by J Sonder
Joe Tenne packed his black Tundra truck full of camping supplies Wednesday night, said goodbye to his wife and son — and then headed to the Clarendon Apple store.
Tenne, 43, was first in line at the 2700 Clarendon Blvd. shop to buy the new iPhone 6. The Woodbridge resident, who got a tweet of support from William Shatner, arrived Wednesday at 8:00 p.m.
He was followed by hundreds of Apple fans who waited for the phones Friday morning.
“It’s a whole social experience, in addition to getting the phone,” Tenne, who runs an I.T. company, said minutes before the product went on sale.
The line at 8:00 a.m. snaked around the Market Common Clarendon complex, nearly reaching the Crate & Barrel store.
A photo of Tenne with a camp chair and cooler caught the eye of Shatner on Twitter Thursday afternoon.
“If you’re by the Clarendon Apple store & see this guy-bring him a coffee or offer to stand in for a bathroom break,” the actor tweeted.
Tenne said he used the restroom in the Apple store and at the nearby Starbucks, and ordered pizza with the second and third people in line — a couple from Alexandria who arrived at the store on Thursday at 11:00 p.m. Tenne, who has staked out the tech outpost for new products for the past three years, said he appreciated the sense of community.
“I’ve met all the store managers and made a lot of friends.”
Before 8:00 a.m., Apple employees ceremoniously removed black curtains from the shop windows, counted down the remaining seconds and then let a first set of customers rush inside.
Tenne bought the thin, fast iPhone and shook the hand of a staffer as he headed to his truck.
“See you next year,” she said.
Asked how he would spend the rest of the day, Tenne said he was headed back to Woodbridge.
“I’ll probably go home and play with it for 15 minutes and then go sleep for eight hours,” he said.
‘Pups and Pilsners’ Photo Contest — Want to sample some brews and make your pet famous? Head on over to Crystal City’s Pups and Pilsners event from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, snap a photo of your pooch and tweet it to us and our sponsors, @CCBID and @BeckysPetCare. Pups and Pilsners is a free dog-friendly event featuring a massive beer garden and food from local restaurants. [Crystal City BID]
Planners: Bank Shortchanges Courthouse — The office building slated to replace the Wendy’s in Courthouse will have a Wells Fargo bank prominently located on the ground floor, and Arlington planners don’t like it. County staff says the bank use is “not appropriate” and should be at least moved so that a more active retail use can occupy half of the plaza area. Developer Carr Properties says the bank must stay, since Wells Fargo owns the land under the existing bank that will be torn down for the project. [Washington Business Journal]
Vihstadt Out-Raises Howze — Incumbent, independent County Board candidate John Vihstadt is out-raising his Democratic opponent, Alan Howze. Vihstadt raised $31,367 in July and August, compared to $20,607 raised by Howze. Vihstadt recently reported $58,746 cash on hand while Howze reported $16,906. [Washington Post]
Fugazi to Release ‘Lost Album’ — Fugazi is planing to release a “lost album” of 11 songs recorded in 1988. The legendary local rockers recorded the songs on the album, First Demo, at Inner Ear Studio in Arlington. [Spin]
Road Closures for Clarendon Art Fest — Parts of Washington Blvd, Clarendon Blvd, and N. Highland Street will be closed Saturday and Sunday for the 2nd Annual Arlington Festival of the Arts. “Over 100 artists will showcase their works including glass, mixed media, paintings, jewelry, and pottery; providing all sorts of opportunities to appreciate — and purchase — art,” according to the festival’s website. [Arlington County, ArtFestival]
(Updated at 2:25 p.m.) Arlington’s 22201 ZIP code, which contains Clarendon, Courthouse Virginia Square and part of Ballston, is the top area for “educated millennials” in the country, according to a new report.
Redfin, a real estate firm, released a study that found 22201 has the highest percentage educated people between the ages of 25 and 34 in the country, at 44 percent. Just behind 22201 is the 22209 ZIP code, which comprises all of Rosslyn and Ft. Myer Heights, with 43 percent.
In addition to sporting the most millennials per capita of any ZIP code in the country, Arlington also has by far the highest median income of any of the top 25 millennial-dense neighborhoods, according to Redfin’s data. 22201 is first at $110,300, 22203 — 16th in density at 30 percent — is second at $100,900. The 22206 ZIP code, which includes Shirlington, is 14th in density at 32 percent and third in income at $95,000, while 22209 is fourth in income at $94,100.
Two ZIP codes in Chicago trail immediately behind Arlington in terms of millennials per capita, with a Miami ZIP code ranked fifth. Washington, D.C.’s 20009 (Columbia Heights and Adams Morgan) is seventh in the country and 20008 (Woodley Park, Cleveland Park and north of Dupont Circle) is 18th.
“Redfin’s report looks at the common attributes of millennial ZIPs,” said Redfin’s Alina Ptaszynski. “Not surprisingly they are diverse, urban areas that are expensive places to live and buy a home.”
In addition to having the highest percentage of — and arguably the richest — millennials in the nation, Clarendon was named the D.C. area’s “best neighborhood for millennials” earlier this year by Niche.com.
Unsurprisingly, Redfin found that millennials across the U.S. have a lower rate of home ownership than the population as a whole — 42 percent for millennials compared to 65 of the overall population.
Image via City-Data