78°Scattered Clouds

by Jason Hargraves — July 11, 2014 at 1:00 pm 2,377 0

The Beacon at Clarendon West, the new apartment building at the intersection of Washington, Wilson Boulevard and N. Irving Street, is set to open Aug. 15.

The two-tower Arlington apartment complex is already 23 percent leased, a leasing agent told ARLnow.com, adding that she expects a sharp rise in interest once the building is open and agents are working on site. Pre-leasing is happening down the street in the Courthouse neighborhood, at 1920 Clarendon Blvd.

The Beacon’s 187 apartments include 1-bedroom, 1-bedroom-with-den and 2-bedroom units ranging in price from $2,100-$3,000 per month. The Beacon touts itself as a “boutique” alternative to the larger apartment buildings in the area.

As for the retail frontage on Washington Blvd, a Jimmy John’s sandwich shop is expected to open later this year. No other tenants have been confirmed yet, but leasing agents say there’s been interest from several retailers.

by Ethan Rothstein — July 8, 2014 at 2:00 pm 5,872 0

The second location of the Westover Beer Garden, expected to open near Clarendon in March 2015, is beginning to take shape.

The establishment will be called the Sehkraft Beer Garden and Haus, a play on words of “sehkraft,” which is German for vision or eyesight, but pronounced “say craft,” owner Devin Hicks said. The brewpub, at 925 N. Garfield Street, expects have a 10-barrel system to brew beer in-house, five taps straight from the tanks to the bar, five taps for house-made kegged beers and collaborations with other breweries, and 30 “guest” beer taps.

“We’ll do growler fills, which should be a big hit,” Hicks told ARLnow.com this morning. “Right now we’re working on getting some of our beers to be distributed so we can send them to various bars and restaurants. It’s legal in Virginia, but Arlington zoning has deemed it to not be permissible within Arlington County. We’re looking into fixing that with our lawyers that helped us with the county in Westover.”

The head brewer for Sehkraft Brewing will be John Peters, who most recently was the lead brewer for Lost Rhino in Ashburn. Peters worked with Hicks for a collaboration beer – a triple IPA with 150 bitterness units and 10.1 percent alcohol by volume – in 2012. Hicks said he already is planning collaborations with established West Coast breweries Stone Brewing and Sierra Nevada.

In addition, head chef Jay Jenks, currently the head chef at Westover Beer Garden, will be in charge of Sehkraft’s kitchen. The 10,000-square foot space will have a butcher shop, a small market, and seating for 210 on the inside and 122 in the outdoor beer garden. Hicks said he will soon be applying for a live music permit, and is in the application process for ABC permits.

“This is desired and deserved for Arlingtonians,” Hicks said. “It’s going to be really exciting for everybody. We’re going to have great beers, a lot of guest brewers from notable brewers across the country… The importance of beer gardens in Europe is pretty huge. It’s always been a social gathering spot for drinking their local beers, and we want to bring an American version of that.”

by ARLnow.com — July 8, 2014 at 12:35 pm 2,798 0

Pub crawl organizers should have to obtain a permit for each crawl and reimburse the county for the cost of extra police on the street.

That’s what Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan is expected to recommend to the County Board at its meeting later this month. Donnellan will recommend that pub crawls be classified as “special events,” subject to the county’s special events policy, according to county officials.

Arlington’s special events policy was last updated in 2012. The policy is designed to ensure that adequate resources are available for special events while allowing the county to recover its support costs.

Classifying pub crawls as a special event is seen as a compromise, somewhere in between the crawl participants who would like the events to continue unabated and residents who see the crawls as a nuisance and would like them curtailed. The events will continue, but in a more regulated environment, provided organizers can afford the extra costs.

“Organizers would have to get a special events permit and would be required to cover the costs of additional police, fire and trash services — above core services — generated by their event,” Arlington County spokeswoman Mary Curtius told ARLnow.com. “At this point, the Manager’s recommendation does not include any minimum or maximum allowed numbers of pub crawls — the applications will be reviewed as they come in and approved based on the availability of resources.”

Donnellan’s recommendation is coming less than a month after an attendee at the All American Bar Crawl (photos from the event, above) allegedly stripped naked and led police on a car chase that ended in a crash in Clarendon. In an email to a concerned constituent, County Board Chair Jay Fisette addressed the incident.

“I want you to know that we have no tolerance for this kind of behavior. At the same time I want to stress that this incident was highly unusual,” Fisette wrote. “Our top priority is safety. The Board has concerns about the impacts of pub crawls and in April asked the Manager to research options to address these impacts.”

Fisette went on to say that pub crawls can be regulated, but not banned.

Clarendon is one of our most vibrant and lively areas. We support the businesses there, and we welcome visitors who patronize our many great restaurants, shops and pubs. We want to keep it a great place to live, visit, dine, work and shop. It’s important to know that, under Virginia law, we can’t ban pub crawls. We can, however, regulate pub crawls to ensure that they are safe for all and effectively managed. Part of that regulation must include ways that the County can recover some of the costs associated with the stepped-up enforcement activities during the events, and trash and litter cleanup after the events. In the meantime, as part of the FY15 budget, the Board approved one-time funding ($42,000) for overtime costs in the Police department while a longer term strategy is developed to address the increasing frequency and cost associated with pub crawl events.

In addition to the June incident, a bar crawl attendee made the news in March when she allegedly showed up naked at the Arlington Magistrate’s Office and demanded that she be allowed to visit her husband, who was arrested earlier that day during a St. Patrick’s Day-themed pub crawl.

Both bar crawls were organized by Courthouse-based Project D.C. Events. According to the company, the two events attracted a combined 8,500-9,000 registered attendees.

“It’s two incidents out of thousands of people,” said Project D.C. Events co-owner Alex Lopez, who also pointed out that neither happened inside a bar. Lopez and fellow co-owner Mike Bramson said they work closely with Arlington County Police and with participating bars to ensure there’s plenty of security on hand.

Neither could explain why bar crawls in Arlington have resulted in high-profile incidents and controversy while D.C.-based crawls seem to go off without a hitch.

“We’ve taken the same steps in D.C. as we do in Arlington,” Bramson said.

“You don’t hear about bar crawls in D.C. because nothing happens at them,” said Lopez. “If you say, ‘oh everything was peaceful in the last bar crawl,’ well, no one is going to read that.”

Bramson and Lopez said they and other bar crawl organizers shouldn’t be on the hook for the cost of extra police staffing because the events are already generating thousands in extra tax revenue.

(more…)

by Ethan Rothstein — July 8, 2014 at 10:00 am 4,066 0

Crumbs in Clarendon closes Crumbs in Clarendon closes

The Crumbs Bake Shop in Clarendon (2839 Clarendon Blvd) has closed, along with all other Crumbs locations nationwide.

The New York City-based cupcake and pastry chain opened its Clarendon location in late December 2010 and gave away 1,000 cupcakes a few days later to celebrate its grand opening. The location was the only one in Arlington; Crumbs also operated three locations in the District and one in Tysons Corner.

According to Business Insider, Crumbs went public in 2011, but began losing money soon after as the cupcake craze cooled down and sales of its large, nearly $5 cupcakes flagged.

Crumbs had begun closing some of its locations last year, but announced a company-wide store closure and a planned Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation filing yesterday afternoon.

“Regrettably Crumbs has been forced to cease operations and is immediately attending to the dislocation of its employees while it evaluates its limited remaining options,” the company said in a statement.

by ARLnow.com — June 28, 2014 at 11:35 pm 99,791 0

Police cars at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Highland Street after a car chase ended in a crash (photo courtesy Keith Hall)

There was “chaos” on the streets of Clarendon Saturday night when a naked bar crawl attendee ran from police, hopped in a car and led cops on a high speed chase that ended in a crash.

Just past 8:00 p.m., police say a man who had been participating in the All American Bar Crawl stripped naked in Goody’s (3125 Wilson Blvd) pizza restaurant. The man, described as a black male in his 20s, left his clothes in the restaurant and ran outside, where police quickly gave chase, according to Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.

The man hopped into a car — police couldn’t say if it was his car — and took off. Police cruisers followed, and chased the drunk man through an adjacent neighborhood. The man then made it back to Clarendon and started going the wrong way down Wilson Blvd, before striking two parked vehicles near the intersection with N. Highland Street, Sternbeck said.

The man — still stark naked — jumped out of the car window and started running, but was soon tased by police and taken into custody, according to Sternbeck. He was taken to Virginia Hospital Center as a precaution, and is expected to be booked at the Arlington County Detention Center tonight on numerous charges including indecent exposure.

A large crowd witnessed the incident, Sternbeck noted. One witness on Twitter said the largely intoxicated crowd that gathered started chanted “USA” as the nude man was detained.

NBC 4 tweeted the following photo of the arrest.

Photo (top) courtesy Keith Hall

by ARLnow.com — June 27, 2014 at 2:00 pm 4,471 0

An accident caused a Toyota to flip on its roof at the intersection of Clarendon Blvd and N. Cleveland Street this afternoon.

The crash happened around 1:05 p.m., just down the street from the Clarendon Whole Foods store. Witnesses tell ARLnow.com that the driver of the Toyota crawled out on her own power. She was apparently unharmed but was checked out by paramedics.

According to bystanders, the driver of the Toyota told police that a second vehicle rammed her, causing the accident.

The intersection was closed after the crash but one lane of Clarendon has since reopened. A flatbed tow truck is on scene, about to haul away the overturned vehicle.

by Morgan Fecto — June 26, 2014 at 11:45 am 1,673 0

(Updated at 1:15 p.m.) Spice, the Italian hoagie and Mediterranean food shop at 3033 Wilson Blvd, is now open.

The shop is at the former location of “Le Sandwich,” a French-style sandwich shop that was open for all of 10 days before owner Yasser Mohamed dissolved the business and dismissed its operator. After Le Sandwich closed, Mohamed planned to open Spice to showcase his wife’s “amazing cooking.”

“Right now we’re happy,” Mohamed said. “Our customers seem happy and we’re getting repeats.”

The daily menu includes a variety of Italian cold-cut sandwiches, including a duck prosciutto hoagie, with prices ranging from $7.49 to $10.99. On Monday and Wednesday, Spice sells its chicken, fish and shrimp tacos, with guacamole that Mohamed describes as “so fresh.”

Mohamed also sells his wife’s hummus, moussaka, lentil salad, baba ghanoush and specialty Mediterranean platters that come with saffron rice and salad. The Greek salad with wild Alaskan salmon has been a hit with customers, Mohamed said.

Spice will extend its hours of operation and expand its menu within the next three months to include breakfast, then dinner. The shop is currently open from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., but will open at 7:00 a.m. as soon it can accommodate the breakfast rush.

“My wife does all the cooking and she gets very tired,” Mohamed said. “We want to keep the quality high, so for now we’re just pushing lunch.”

He said he will hire more employees soon. Presently he works a 16-hour day between Spice and his neighboring business, Larry’s Homemade Ice Cream, and his wife works a 12-hour day, “but that’s business.”

Mohamed is also expecting a liquor license for Spice before summer ends, which will be essential when the restaurant eventually serves dinner. Despite the limited hours, Mohamed said he’s been selling out of food almost every day.

“Last Tuesday we were slammed at lunch,” he said. “We sold out by 3:00.”

by ARLnow.com — June 20, 2014 at 11:30 am 4,191 0

Arlington police carA trio of intoxicated men got in a tussle in Clarendon after one man fell and another tried to help him up.

The incident happened early Saturday morning on the 1200 block of N. Garfield Street, about a block from the Clarendon Metro station. It started when one man drunkenly stumbled and fell on the ground, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.

The victim, who was also intoxicated, then tried to help the man up. But, according to police, his kind gesture was misinterpreted by the drunk stumbler’s drunk friend, who thought the two were fighting. He started assaulting the victim, and then the stumbler himself joined in on the melee, Sternbeck said.

Metro Transit and Arlington County police were called to the scene and the two alleged attackers were arrested. The victim was transported to George Washington University Hospital for treatment of his injuries.

From this week’s Arlington County crime report:

MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 140615011, 1200 block of N. Garfield Street. At 1:49 am on June 15, police were dispatched to a fight in progress and upon arrival Metro Transit Police had suspects in custody. Jamar Harris, 25, of Arlington, VA and Connor McGrath, 26, of Fredericksburg, VA were arrested and charged with malicious wounding and drunk in public. The victim was transported to GW hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

The rest of the crime report, after the jump. All named suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty.

(more…)

by ARLnow.com — June 19, 2014 at 10:30 am 3,607 0

Fake Chipotle sign at 3001 Washington BlvdDespite signs posted on ground floor windows at the new 3001 Washington Blvd office building in Clarendon, we’re told that Chipotle is not, in fact, coming soon to the building.

The signs appeared on the windows at the corner of Washington Blvd and N. Garfield Street yesterday. Conspicuously, they were posted on the outside of the windows.

“We don’t have a sign on 3001 that says that… we haven’t been in any discussions with them,” said John Asadoorian, whose firm, Asadoorian Retail Solutions, is handling leasing for the building’s retail spaces.

3001 Washington Blvd retail spaceThe fake signs have, however, sparked jubilation among some local residents. On the Facebook page of the 1021 Clarendon condominium building across the street, residents who are soon to be disappointed were effusive in their temporary excitement.

“My dream has come true,” said one Facebook poster. “Now just walking distance!”

“OMG!” said another.

“Praise God! I have tears in my eyes,” wrote yet another.

Though it likely won’t generate the same level of Chipotlemania, there is at least one new restaurant coming to 3001 Washington Blvd that should generate some buzz. Citizen Burger Bar is expanding from its original Charlottesville location to a new location at the corner of N. Highland Street and 11th Street. The restaurant specializes in custom burgers and craft beers, but also serves sandwiches, wine and cocktails.

Also planned for 3001 Washington Blvd is a restaurant called “Bowl’d.” The owner appears to be a Donaldson Run resident, but no other information about the restaurant or the type of food it will serve was immediately available.

by ARLnow.com — June 19, 2014 at 9:45 am 1,103 0

South Block Cafe(Updated at 9:55 a.m.) As it approaches its third anniversary of opening in Clarendon, South Block Cafe (3011 11th Street N.) have unveiled plans for growth. The juice, smoothie and wrap shop will expand into the spot next door previously occupied by Clarendon Alliance, which moved to 3033 Wilson Blvd. earlier this week.

Owner Amir Mostafavi explained he decided to expand because South Block’s line of raw, unpasteurized, cold pressed juices — called South Block Juice Co. — has enjoyed a tremendous response from customers. South Block opened in 2011 and the juice line launched more than a year ago.

“This brand has sort of taken on a life of its own. So we have decided to give the juice its own space, and we are putting our first South Block Juice Co. location in the Clarendon Alliance Spot next door to us,” Mostafavi said. “I refer to South Block Juice Co. as a ‘micro-juicery,’ so we are having a little fun with this and taking on some traits of a microbrewery.”

Similar to beer flights at a microbrewery, South Block customers soon will be able to sample “juice flights.” Visitors also can take home a growler of juice and get information on juice cleanses.

“In general, this will allow us to expand on what has become a very good part of our business,” said Mostafavi. “South Block Juice Co. will be a brand whose focus is on nutrition, community, art and charity.”

The new juice store is expected to open in September.

The company plans to begin construction later this month on a new juice production kitchen in East Falls Church, which will allow for producing a larger volume of juice. South Block also intends to offer more juice varieties after the expansion.

by Ethan Rothstein — June 17, 2014 at 12:30 pm 1,419 0

Clarendon Night Market logo(Updated at 6:00 p.m.) The proposed night and arts markets in Clarendon have been cancelled, but a new arts market is on its way to Crystal City in July.

Matt Hussmann, the executive director of the Clarendon Alliance, told ARLnow.com this afternoon that the markets fell through when the “parking lot operator” changed its terms –not Wells Fargo Bank, as he originally stated.

(A tenant in the Wells Fargo building, who declined to speak on the record, disputed Hussmann’s account.)

“The change made it unaffordable and too risky because we’re a nonprofit and can’t take on that kind of risk,” Hussmann said. “We’d like to do a market, we know that there’s demand for one in Clarendon, we’ve just got to find some space to do it.”

The Clarendon Alliance applied to the County Board for a permit for a night market in May, and had planned to launch May 31 from 3:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Saturdays.

Crystal City Sparket logoThe arts market was part of the night market application, and was planned to be called “Sparkmarket” and managed by Jessica Blaszczak, who managed the former Ballston Arts Market. A similar market is coming to Crystal City on the 1800 block of Crystal Drive, called “Sparket Creative Market.”

According to organizer Diverse Markets Management, the market will launch on Wednesday, July 16, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and will continue weekly until Oct. 29.

“A diverse mix of art, crafts, handmade jewelry, accessories, bath/beauty and other local and handcrafted products are desired,” Diverse Management said in a press release. “As an additional draw, live-music and select food products will be part of the programming mix.”

Crystal City Business Improvement District President Angela Fox said the market will be another addition to the neighborhood’s offerings like its weekly farmers market on Tuesday afternoons.

“We’re excited to launch it,” she said. “We think it’s a great activator, we think it’s something fun for workers to do during the day, and we love creativity and want to bring it here.”

Hussman said Clarendon Central Park next to the Metro could be an option for a night market or another type of market — it’s where Clarendon hosts its weekly farmer’s market on Wednesdays from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. Clarendon Alliance had to move out of its space next to South Block Cafe because its lease expired, Hussman said, so no movement on another market has happened while he had to pack up the office.

by ARLnow.com — June 11, 2014 at 4:05 pm 2,093 0

Uncle_Sam_LogoA bar crawl is promising to bring “a day full of Star Spangled shenanigans and bar-hopping” to Courthouse and Clarendon later this month.

The All American Bar Crawl will take place from 2:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 28. Tickets are $15 now or $20 at the door.

Organizers say “thousands” of patriotic partiers are expected to flock to local watering holes like Clarendon Ballroom, Velocity Five, Bracket Room and Mad Rose Tavern, which are among the 14 participating bars announced so far for the event.

Participants — who are encouraged to dress in red, white and blue – receive specials at each bar, a “signature freedom mug,” “patriotic party beads,” $2 pizza slices at Bronx Pizza and raffle tickets.

This is not the first year for the All American Bar Crawl, which is being held in advance of the Fourth of July. The event was also held in Clarendon last year.

Arlington County policymakers are currently considering measures to impose additional restrictions or fees on bar crawls.

by Ethan Rothstein — June 9, 2014 at 5:00 pm 3,093 0

Spice opening soon in Clarendon Spice opening soon in Clarendon

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.”

by Ethan Rothstein — June 4, 2014 at 3:30 pm 2,250 0

Air Force Cycling Classic Crystal CupParts 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.

by Ethan Rothstein — May 30, 2014 at 4:05 pm 2,466 0

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.”

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