A combination Mediterranean restaurant and Italian hoagie shop could be opening at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Garfield Street in Clarendon as early as Friday.
“Spice” will occupy the same space that housed Le Sandwich for 10 days and previously was home to Cafe Wilson, Paciugo Gelato and Street Corner Cafe. Its owner, Yasser Mohamed, who also owns and operate Larry’s Homemade Ice Cream across the street, held the lease for Le Sandwich and said he saw “the store going downhill fast” and “didn’t like it,” so he decided to kick out Le Sandwich and its operator, Mehdi Ben, and give his wife the space for a restaurant.
“My wife is a great cook who always dreamed of opening her own store, so it was an opportunity for her,” Mohamed told ARLnow.com this afternoon. “She’s going to be making Mediterranean dishes and cold and hot hoagies.”
Mohamed said the hoagies will have meats shipped from different cities in Italy, as well as “apple hickory duck prosciutto,” which he described as “expensive, but very tasty.” He said the store will also have a salad bar, and most dishes will range from $7.50 to about $14.
“I think my price compared to my rent and expenses is very fair,” he said. “It’s been 24 years in the retail business, it’s all I know. We want to sell a lot and make a little. I’m not a greedy guy.”
Mohamed said some of the Mediterranean dishes will include rosemary lamb shanks, baked salmon and lemon ginger chicken, which will be served with rice and vegetables on the side. Spice will open at 11:00 a.m. and close at 9:00 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday, and Mohamed said he plans to stay open until 3:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.
The restaurant will undergo a health inspection this week, according to Mohamed, after which it could open “by Friday or Saturday. That’s when we’re shooting for.”
Parts of Wilson, Clarendon and Washington Boulevards in Clarendon will be closed most of the day Saturday for the Air Force Association Cycling Classic.
Roads will close starting at 4:30 a.m. Saturday and re-open at 5:00 p.m. to accommodate the Clarendon Cup portion of the Cycling Classic, which also features races in Crystal City and along Route 110 on Sunday.
Registration is closed for the Cycling Classic, which is part of USA Cycling’s National Criterium Calendar, but spectators are invited to watch and visit booths at the expo on Clarendon Blvd. The Clarendon Cup, according to the Cycling Classic’s website, is “known as one of the most difficult criterium races in the U.S. due to technical demands of the course and the quality of the participants.”
Here are the closures that will take effect on Saturday from 4:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.:
- Wilson Boulevard will be closed from N. Fillmore Street to Washington Boulevard
- Clarendon Boulevard will be closed from Washington Boulevard to N. Fillmore Street
- Washington Boulevard will be closed from Wilson Boulevard to N. Highland Street
- N. Highland Street will be closed from Wilson Boulevard to Washington Boulevard
- N. Garfield Street/N. Fillmore Street will be closed from Wilson Boulevard to Washington Boulevard
File photo. The Air Force Cycling Classic is an ARLnow.com advertiser.
Washington Wizards swingman Martell Webster has a new position: serving ice cream at new Clarendon shop Nicecream Factory (2831 Clarendon Blvd).
Webster, who lives in McLean, had started cycling to Clarendon some afternoons to taste some of Nicecream’s treats after his childhood friend from Seattle, Wash., James Conti, started working as Nicecream’s marketing coordinator a month ago.
“Actually, that’s my little brother,” Webster is quick to point out. Webster played basketball with Conti’s older brother and said their family “took me in and pretty much raised me. It was my home away from home.”
The Washington Post reported earlier this week that Webster was doing some promotional work for Nicecream, but Friday afternoon he was behind the counter and in front of the store, making batches of homemade, on-demand ice cream like the two small half-mango, half-pistachio cups he served to a young family. He was also passing out samples to passers-by on the sidewalk, encouraging them to come inside.
“He usually comes in and sits in the corner eating and kind of crouches down,” Nicecream owner Sandra Tran told ARLnow.com while Webster was entertaining a toddler, asking her if he should dye his goatee pink. “When there’s a customer who comes in to check it out, he’ll kind of pop up and tell them ‘it’s really good.’”
Webster, who is listed at 6-foot-7, averaged 9.7 points and 2.8 rebounds in 27.7 minutes per game for the Wizards this year, his second in Washington. He’s moving back to Portland, Ore., for the summer in late June — the Portland Trail Blazers is where he spent the first five years of his career after being chosen with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2005 draft, directly out of high school.
Until he leaves for Portland, however, he said he plans on stopping by Nicecream “periodically” to help serve. He calls himself the “unofficial intern,” and he gets all the scoops of dark chocolate and sea salt — his favorite flavor — he wants.
He said it took him “about 156,000 tries” before he was able to make his first batch of ice cream worthy of serving to customers.
“It was pretty rough, but like with anything, practice makes you stronger,” he said. “Now I’m up to par, but there’s always a head over my shoulder, so to speak.”
Conti graduated from college a year ago and had been in discussions to join the Nicecream team for “a while” before he moved from Tacoma, Wash., to Arlington. Now, he’s living in Webster’s guest house and has his “big brother” working for him.
“I knew I wanted to use him somehow,” he said. “I think was the best way to do it. Knowing Martell, he might actually work at an ice cream shop. It’s still great to see him interact and engage with the customers. Not a lot of professional athletes would do that.”
(Updated at 3:15 p.m.) A prospective Arlington renter nearly fell victim to a scam posted on real estate website Zillow last week, according to one Clarendon rental broker.
Matthew Leighton, a Realtor with Century 21 Redwood Realty, said he received a phone call from a renter inquiring about a Zillow listing for a a $950-per-month, two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment in the Station Square building at 1201 N. Garfield Street. The supposed “owner” of the condominium told the hopeful renter that she had moved to England and needed the deposit wired to her.
“Two bedrooms could easily get $3,000 per month at Station Square,” Leighton told ARLnow.com. “I was pessimistic so I asked the renter to send me the email correspondence (the Zillow ad is long gone). The scammer’s emails are filled with grammatical errors and outlines the intricate steps to lease the condo. You could go through almost every paragraph and pick apart the details which poke huge loopholes in this person’s story. Yet people are still responding to these ads.”
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns that being asked to wire money is the No. 1 sign that a rental scam is afoot. In the case of this scam, the victim was told to wire the deposit, after which a third-party shipping company would send them the key to view the apartment.
Leighton said the renter found him through a listing for another condo in the Station Square Complex and he “genuinely believed” he had gotten a good deal. The lister, however, didn’t provide a unit number, a full name or a phone number.
“Rental scams are out there and it can be difficult to decipher them from real listings,” Leighton said. “When in doubt, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.”
Leighton says rental scams are relatively rare on Zillow, which “is usually pretty good about deleting spam and scam listings.” More prevalent are rental scams on Craigslist, which have been the subject of coverage in national outlets like the Huffington Post.
Another potential Craigslist scam was just called out on the Washington, D.C. sub-Reddit. The alleged scam is an apartment listing that asks prospective tenants to undergo an online credit check — a process that would saddle the victim with monthly fees.
The FTC says that scams can come in the form of both fake ads or real ads where the contact info has been hacked and changed. Red flags include the lister being out of the country and requesting a third-party handle some details or money or asking for a fee or deposit before any documents have been signed. Scammers can be reported to the police or the FTC.
Photos via Google Maps (middle) and courtesy Matthew Leighton (top and bottom)
Residents and out-of-town visitors alike took part in Memorial Day observances around Arlington this past weekend.
Warm and sunny weather helped drive large crowds for stalwart annual events like the Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally and the wreath-laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.
Thousands of bikers participated in Rolling Thunder, which first rumbled into Arlington Friday afternoon and culminated here with a large rally in the Pentagon parking lot Sunday morning. The motorcyclists, who ride in remembrance of American service members killed, missing or taken prisoner during war, later rode across the Memorial Bridge into the District for a speakers program and concert.
On Monday President Barack Obama — who had just returned from visiting troops in Afghanistan — traveled to Arlington National Cemetery to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns. The wreath-laying was followed by the annual Memorial Day service at the cemetery’s amphitheater, during which the president thanked troops and veterans for their service to the country.
In Clarendon Monday afternoon, Arlington’s VFW Post 3150 and American Legion Post 139 together dedicated a new plaque at the Clarendon War Memorial. The plaque commemorates the Arlington County residents who have given their lives during the war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Chief Petty Officer Joel E. Baldwin, USN, Iraq (December 21, 2004)
- Captain Michael P. Cassidy, USA, Iraq (June 17, 2010)
- Lance-Corporal Niall W. Coti-Sears, USMC, Afghanistan (June 23, 2012)
- Specialist Adam M. Kuiligowski, USA, Afghanistan (April 6, 2004)
- Second Lieutenant Sean P. O’Connor, USA, Iraq (October 19, 2008)
- Lieutenant Colonel James J. Walton, USA, Afghanistan (June 21, 2008)
Do you have other photos of Memorial Day observances around Arlington? Add them to our Flickr page or upload them in the comments.
Maintenance issues continue to irk some patrons of James Hunter Park, the $1.6 million dog park at the corner of N. Herndon and 13th Streets in Clarendon.
Most recently, the gate at the front of the park on N. Herndon Street was vandalized and had to be removed, according to Arlington Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Roberta Korzen. Parks staff hopes to have a new door in place by early next week.
In addition, the artificial turf in front of the park’s water feature is currently roped off because it had to be replaced. Korzen said the sand base underneath the turf “hadn’t been compacted to the degree it should have been.” The manufacturer is replacing the turf under warranty, which she said also should be done by the end of the week.
Many residents have complained that the large stone water feature hasn’t been working for months; Korzen said it simply hasn’t been turned on yet, and, like many other water facilities in Arlington parks, it will be turned on for the summer this weekend. The water fountains to fill up dog bowls work, but the ones intended for human water consumption were both not functioning early Wednesday afternoon.
These issues add to complaints of some residents when the park opened in October. Among those complaints were the dust raised by the “crushed stone” surface that comprises a majority of the surface area in the canine community area.
One park visitor ARLnow.com spoke to today said the lack of shade is her biggest issue. Her dog was huddled under a table, the only place for shade in the dog area. Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish told ARLnow.com when the park opened that “shade was quite a challenge for our design team.” Parks staff installed trees around the park with the hope that, “in time,” they will grow to provide shade.
National sandwich chain Jimmy John’s is planning on opening another Arlington location in Clarendon in the coming months.
Jimmy John’s, which has locations in Rosslyn, Ballston and Crystal City, has signed a lease to move into the Beacon at Clarendon West apartment project, at the corner of Washington Blvd, Wilson Blvd and N. Irving Street, according to Asadoorian Retail Solutions, which is managing the retail leasing for the development.
Asadoorian’s Jeff Handler told ARLnow.com that the company is also looking to fill the apartment building’s ground floor with a fitness business and a wine bar, among other retail options. Handler also said he’s “in conversation with a number of restaurants.”
The building’s ground floor is planned to open in June and the two-tower, 187-unit facility is on track for completion this fall.
The apartment construction at the intersection of Washington Blvd, Wilson Blvd and N. Irving Street is expected to be complete this fall, bringing 187 new apartments to the market.
The Beacon at Clarendon West will have two towers — one with 10 stories, one with six stories — and retail frontage on Washington Blvd. Construction on the ground floor and leasing center, according to contractor Donohoe Construction Company, will be complete by the end of June. The six-story tower is expected to be completed by the end of summer and the 10-story tower — and the complete project — should come on line this fall.
The retail spaces at the bottom of the building, where the signs for the closed Madhu Ban and Taste of Morocco restaurants are still up, will be renovated and redeveloped, Donohoe spokeswoman Megan Vallach told ARLnow.com in an email today.
The units — “luxury apartments,” according to Donohoe’s website — will be one- and two-bedroom rentals, some with dens and some without. Donohoe could not provide estimates on how much the units will cost or when they will be available to lease.
As part of the construction, a segment of N. Irving Street between Wilson Blvd and 13th Street N. is closed while construction crews build a new through street. The road work is also expected to be completed by the end of June.
The 2014 Nissan Sentra was reportedly stolen from the Zipcar parking around the Ballston Metro Station. It was spotted by the MTPD officer around midnight, driving eastbound on Fairfax Drive in Virginia Square without its headlights on. The officer turned on his emergency lights and made a U-turn to attempt to stop the vehicle.
The driver in the Zipcar refused to stop and led the officer on a 0.3 mile chase down Fairfax Drive toward Clarendon. The vehicle ended up driving over a sidewalk near the Silver Diner (3112 Wilson Blvd) before the suspect bailed out and left the vehicle on a sidewalk across from the Clarendon Metro station.
“The operator of the Nissan is believed to have fled on foot northbound on Clarendon Blvd,” Metro spokesman Dan Stessel told ARLnow.com. The suspect got away and is now wanted on charges of eluding, hit and run and grand larceny auto.
The Nissan suffered “minor damage to the tire/rims” during the chase. A motorist told police that the fleeing suspect had hit his car at some point during the pursuit, causing minor damage. No injuries were reported and no other damage was reported, Stessel said.
La Tagliatella Expansion Plans on Hold — La Tagliatella, the Europe-based Italian restaurant chain that opened in Clarendon only to receive a scathing review from Washington Post restaurant critic Tom Sietsema, is putting its U.S. expansion plans on hold. That includes the chain’s planned Shirlington location, in the former Extra Virgin space. The Clarendon location will remain open for the time being. [Washington Business Journal]
Remembering Arlington’s ‘Little Saigon’ — The timing of two separate events helped to transform the Clarendon neighborhood into a cluster of Vietnamese stores and restaurants known as “Little Saigon” in the 1970s and 80s. One event was the Vietnam War and the Communist takeover of Vietnam, which drove tens of thousands of Vietnamese refugees to the United States. The other was the construction of Metro, which drove away mom and pop businesses from Clarendon and forced landlords to lower their rents and seek new tenants. [Falls Church News-Press]
Raises for Top County Officials — The Arlington County Board on Tuesday quietly approved raises between 3.2 and 3.5 percent for top officials like County Manager Barbara Donnellan and County Attorney Stephen MacIsaac. The raises are retroactive to Jan. 1. Rank-and-file county employees are receiving a 3.5 percent raise this year. [Washington Post]
Nicecream Factory, an ice cream shop that features the frozen confection made-to-order using liquid nitrogen, is now open at 2831 Clarendon Blvd.
The shop opened last Wednesday in the former Red Mango space. The shop was “packed” this weekend, according to co-owner Sandra Tran. Many customers read about the shop on ARLnow.com last month, she said, but a few others had been clamoring for her to open when they walked by during the shop’s buildout, which she said took less than a month.
“People were super excited,” Tran said. “There was a mix of families and young people coming in.”
Nicecream sells small cups for $5, regular cups (pictured) for $6 and pints for $10. Monday afternoon she offered flavors like pistachio, lemon jenny, honey lavender and spiced vanilla.
“All but three people who walked in here today ordered pistachio,” she said. “We make it from pistachio butter instead of artificial pistachio flavoring, so it’s really ‘pistachio-y.’”
Effective immediately, restaurant managers will be liable for the noise of their patrons if it can be heard in a residence 100 feet or more away from midnight to 9:00 a.m in mixed-use areas, which the county outlines in maps of areas like Clarendon, Ballston, Pentagon City and Columbia Pike.
Anywhere in the county, from 2:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. anyone who can be heard “yelling, wailing, shouting or screaming” can receive a ticket for $100 or more.
“It’s our goal to always do the best we can to balance and be respectful of the quality of life to everyone that’s here,” County Board Chairman Jay Fisette said during the Board’s almost five-hour discussion of the ordinance at its Saturday meeting. “This is another set of tools, in my mind, that helps us to address the not widespread — but they do exist — impacts of noise.”
Residents of condominiums in Ballston and other of Arlington’s urban neighborhoods were calling for more restrictive rules, including setting quiet hours beginning at 11:00 p.m. nightly and from noon to 6:00 p.m. on Sundays. A committee of residents from the Alta Vista and Berkeley Condominiums in Ballston — both within steps of A-Town Bar & Grill – unsuccessfully proposed those stricter rules to the Board.
“[Responsible businesses] have nothing to fear from a strong noise control ordinance,” said Lee Austin, a member of the ad hoc condo committee. “Nor do we want to prevent young people from having a good time. But is it too much to ask they be respectful of residents in the neighborhood late at night and on Sunday afternoon? What we solicit protection from is the crowd noise that comes from irresponsible establishments that serve too much alcohol to too many people too long after they’ve had too much to drink.”
Clarendon and Courthouse residents sent a flurry of emails last week requesting similar restrictions, with former president of the Clarendon-Courthouse Civic Association Chris Keever telling the County Board that the ordinance appears “to have been drafted directly by bar owners who are not even trying to pretend they care about being good neighbors.”
Whitlow’s on Wilson owner Greg Cahill was the first of 17 speakers who addressed the Board about the ordinance on Saturday. He did not advocate for a specific enforcement time, but instead implored the Board to consider the business community as well as the residents when adopting the new regulations.
“We’re a little concerned it could be detrimental to our business,” he said. “Sometimes we don’t get busy until 11 or 12 at night. It could affect our business. It’s going to be hard for us to be responsible for actions people [take] when they’re waiting to get into our bar and restaurant.”
In addition to provisions dealing with mixed-use districts, the new ordinance makes it illegal for anybody or any group of people “to engage during the nighttime in yelling, wailing, shouting or screaming” in a residential neighborhood, if the noise can be heard within 20 feet inside an adjacent home or within 50 feet across a road or property boundary.
The ordinance adopted was revised from the version discussed last month that rankled Arlington’s private swim clubs. Those clubs are now exempted from the residential noise ordinance, provided that their meets that take place between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.
The county’s Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development’s Code Enforcement personnel will pair with the Arlington County Police Department in enforcing the new rules. The new ordinance was written after a 2009 Virginia Supreme Court decision changed the way localities could enforce noise violations. The ordinance now establishes “Objective, quantifiable and defined measurement standards,” according to Arlington County’s press release.
Fisette called the ordinance a “work in progress” and said county staff should bring back any recommended changes at the ordinance’s one-year review. Fisette also made several references to “one establishment in Ballston” that “continues to cause problems for residents,” and said the Board will address that restaurant — understood to be A-Town — when its use permit comes before the Board for review.
The email listserv of the Clarendon-Courthouse Civic Association (CCCA) erupted today in protest over changes to Arlington’s noise ordinance, which the County Board is scheduled to vote on tomorrow (Saturday).
The changes are needed in order to allow police to objectively enforce the noise ordinance; the current ordinance contains subjective enforcement provisions that were struck down by the state Supreme Court. The ordinance attempts to address what county officials say are the top four noise-related complaints in Arlington: loud parties or gatherings, construction noise, animal noises and live entertainment venues.
Business advocates have said that an overly-restrictive noise ordinance could chase away younger residents and discourage local economic development. The new ordinance, county staff says, attempts to find a balance between resident concerns and business needs.
CCCA leaders, however, say that the provisions don’t adequately protect residents in the county’s urban corridors — so-called “mixed use districts” — against noise from parties and outdoor restaurant patios. While for residential neighborhoods the ordinance outlaws “yelling, wailing, shouting or screaming” that’s audible anywhere within 50 feet of the noise source after 9:00 p.m. (10:00 p.m. on weekends), for mixed use districts the noise must be audible indoors, from 100 feet away, after midnight.
“Clarendon is a vibrant mixed use and walkable community and as a neighborhood we generally expect a certain amount of noise related to the restaurants and traffic after those hours,” CCCA President Adam Thocher told ARLnow.com. “However the idea that continued smart growth of our neighborhood is dependent on little to no protection from noise 24/7 is incredible… The CCCA regularly receives feedback on how increasingly loud the outdoor patio space at neighboring restaurants is becoming.”
Even so, Thocher said he was particularly concerned about noise from “keg parties,” which are subject to the same standards as restaurants.
“The idea that the noise from a neighbor’s raucous parties are held to the same noise standards as the restaurant patio is unacceptable even in a mixed use area,” he said.
A former CCCA president, Chris Keever, also weighed in on the issue today, writing the County Board a letter that accused the county of appeasing restaurant owners at the expense of residents of Arlington’s Metro corridors.
“This proposal would leave an overwhelming number of residents of this neighborhood with zero recourse to enforce quiet enjoyment of their own properties,” Keever wrote. “It appears to me to have been drafted directly by bar owners who are not even trying to pretend they care about being good neighbors. It is the right of business owners to make a profit, but not for them to make outrageous profit at the expense of the majority. This is Arlington, not Wall Street.”
The full letters from Thocher and Keever, after the jump.
The Arlington County Board is scheduled to consider a use permit for two new biweekly markets at its Saturday meeting. The outdoor markets would be held on alternating Saturdays and Sundays in the parking lot of the Wells Fargo Bank at 3140 Washington Blvd, a block and a half from the Clarendon Metro station.
Organized by the Clarendon Alliance, one of the biweekly markets will be called the Spark Market. It’s described as a “juried art market” for artists and designers. The market is being managed by Jessica Blaszczak, who ran the former Ballston Arts Market, and will be open on Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. starting June 8, should the use permit be approved.
The second of the markets — which hopes to launch on Saturday, May 31 — will be called the Clarendon Night Market. Open, at least initially, from 3:00 to 9:00 p.m., the market could be the first of its kind in the D.C. area.
“We’re pretty sure this is the first night market in the region,” market organizer Michael Berman told ARLnow.com today. ”We’re really looking forward to coming to the Clarendon area. We think it’s a pretty dynamic intersection right there and… we’ve been looking at night markets for awhile.”
The market will have lights to add illumination and ambiance after dark. Berman, whose management firm also runs the well-known Eastern Market flea market, expects to sign up vendors who will sell a mix of jewelry, photography, paintings, handmade crafts, collectibles, vintage items and furniture.
Also expected at the market, in keeping with the gastronomic focus of many Asian night markets: specialty food vendors selling take-home food like hand-baked pies, and perhaps grab-and-go food from local restaurants.
Not in the offing, even though it seems a natural fit: food trucks. Berman says he doesn’t want to drive away business from Clarendon restaurants.
“We think it’s going to be cool,” Clarendon Alliance Executive Director Matt Hussman said. “It’s hard to start a brand new market, so it might be a bit slow to start, but we’re doing out best.”
The permit being considered by the Board would allow the markets to run from April to December. Should the markets prove popular, however, the Alliance may seek approval to operate the market year-round. Likewise, Hussman said, if the night market is successful organizers may seek permission to end a bit later than 9:00 p.m.
CEB May Anchor New Rosslyn Skyscraper — The Corporate Executive Board is considering jumping ship from its current Rosslyn office to anchor the planned office skyscraper in JBG’s Central Place development in Rosslyn. Should a deal with JBG go through, construction would start on the office skyscraper, which is currently on hold even though its companion residential skyscraper is being built. [Washington Business Journal]
WaPo Takes on Clarendon — “In the past decade and a half, Clarendon has seen a steady influx of hip eateries, high-rise condo buildings and happy 20-somethings in search of organic quinoa,” writes the Washington Post, in an article about “what to do in Clarendon.” [Washington Post]
Polls Suggest Beyer is Frontrunner in Congressional Race — Former Virginia lieutenant governor Don Beyer is leading in polls taken in the figurative backyards of his opponents. Beyer is leading in Charniele Herring’s House of Delegates district, Adam Ebbin’s state Senate district and in the city of Alexandria, where Bill Euille is mayor. Of the areas polled, only Patrick Hope in his House of Delegates district is beating Beyer. The polls were sponsored by the Democratic website Blue Virginia. The Democratic candidates vying to replace Rep. Jim Moran in Congress will debate tonight at George Mason University’s Arlington campus.
‘Outstanding Volunteers’ Named — The Arlington County Board on May 13 will honor 7 individuals and two teams for outstanding volunteer service to the county. [Arlington County]
New Development Coming to Falls Church — A new seven-story mixed-use building is coming to the City of Falls Church. The development, at 301 West Broad Street, will feature 282 apartments, a Harris Teeter store and another retail space. [Greater Greater Washington]
Photo courtesy @jdsonder