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by Mariah Joyce — July 1, 2015 at 4:45 pm 1,568 0

Pho Deluxe CourthouseFourth of July revelers will have another option for dining out this holiday weekend: Vietnamese eatery Pho Deluxe plans to open at 2300 Clarendon Blvd on Sunday, in the space previously vacated by Toscana Grill.

Owners Dan and Hue Nguyen announced plans to open the Courthouse location earlier this year, and now that plan is coming to fruition.

Hostess Michelle Nguyen said that the space required minor renovations, but the bulk of Pho Deluxe’s time and energy was spent redecorating. The restaurant should be ready for business as soon as it passes the fire marshall’s inspection.

Pho Deluxe currently has a sign in the window advertising positions for busboys and waiters. Nguyen says that they are in the midst of conducting interviews right now, and estimates that the new location’s staff is about 80 percent hired.

The Courthouse branch will be the third Pho Deluxe in Virginia; the restaurant also has locations in Tysons Corner and Fairfax. According to Nguyen, there are no current plans for an grand opening celebration.

by Mariah Joyce — June 26, 2015 at 1:25 pm 889 0

Freedom Four (Copy)This Sunday marks the second annual “Freedom Four” race, which will result in some road closures in the Rosslyn and Courthouse areas.

To accommodate the four-mile course, the Arlington County Police Department will be closing roads sections of Wilson Boulevard, Clarendon Boulevard and Route 110 on June 28 (below). All roads are expected to be open to traffic after 10:30 a.m.

Between 6:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., Wilson Boulevard will be closed from N. Courthouse Road to N. Rhodes Street.

Between 7:45 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., Wilson Boulevard will be closed from from Route 110 to N. Courthouse Road. Courthouse road will remain open. Again from 7:45 to 10:30 a.m., Route 110 Northbound will be closed from I-395 to I-66.

Parking in the area will be also be restricted during the race, and drivers should be on the lookout for temporary “No Parking” signs. According to the ACPD, illegally parked vehicles may be ticketed or towed.

The U.S. Track & Field-certified course will start and finish on Wilson Boulevard, near the restaurant Ireland’s Four Courts. The race begins promptly at 8 a.m., and participants are advised to arrive early.

Freedom Four was started last year by Pacers Running to replace their previously offered Fourth of July race, the Let Freedom Run 5K. For $40, residents can register for the race online.

Photo via Pacers Running.

by ARLnow.com — June 22, 2015 at 1:45 pm 2,773 0

A new residential tower is planned for the current site of a low-rise office building in Courthouse.

The Bush Construction building at 2000 Clarendon Blvd is slated to be redeveloped as a residential tower, with 14 floors of apartments or condos, a rooftop terrace, ground floor retail and five levels of underground parking and storage.

The developer is scheduled to present its plan to residents of the next-door Odyssey condominium building tonight at 7:30 p.m. So far no formal plans have been filed with Arlington County, according to a Dept. of Community Planning, Housing and Development spokeswoman. There’s also no word yet on when the project is expected to start.

A presentation emailed to Odyssey residents shows a tan-colored tower with outdoor patios for certain units, a rooftop terrace with an indoor lounge, and a second-floor outdoor pool and patio area.

by ARLnow.com — June 19, 2015 at 1:15 pm 3,099 0

A minor parking mishap attracted a crowd of restaurant owners in Courthouse yesterday.

Just before lunchtime, the “KBBQ Taco Box 2″ food truck accidentally struck the front bumper of a parked car on the 2000 block of Wilson Blvd, as the truck was trying to squeeze into a tight parallel parking space. There was no damage evident — but police were called and a citation issued, as a small crowd of restaurant owners and mangers gathered.

As it turns out, the car belonged to a delivery driver for the Afghan Kabob House across the street, and this was the latest skirmish in an ongoing battle between brick-and-mortar restaurants and food trucks in Courthouse.

The war started last month with the emergence of an unlikely leader on the restaurant side. Bar Concepts, a restaurant consulting company, had been brought in to operate the back bar area of the recently reopened Summers Restaurant. Though Summers is not exactly known as a haven for Courthouse office dwellers seeking a quick grab-and-go bite to eat, Alan Beal, COO of Bar Concepts, zeroed in on food trucks — at least those that parked along Wilson and Clarendon Blvds — as the enemy of local restaurants.

Beal swiftly organized a coalition of about a dozen Courthouse area restaurants who say that the trucks “are running amok” and having “a serious impact on these brick and mortar restaurants” by parking directly in front of their establishments. The collective effort was on display Thursday as owners took turns complaining about parking enforcement to police.

Food trucks, they said, were reserving precious street parking spots in front of restaurants by having workers park cars on the street as early as 6:00 a.m. Some weren’t even feeding the meter, they said.

There’s nothing illegal about reserving street parking spaces in such a manner, the cops said, though they did encourage the owners to call when they did spot a violation like an expired meter. There is also a two hour limit on parking, which is enforced, but there’s a loophole: trucks can simply pull into into another open space after two hours, provided it’s at least 25 feet away from their existing parking space.

With little recourse other than calling in the meter maids, the owners seemed to agree to double down on an unofficial group tactic: encouraging employees to park on the street, thus taking away available parking spaces from the trucks. One owner could be heard telling several employees to be sure to park on the street during their shifts. Another ran across the busy four-lane road when a spot opened up, driving his Mercedes from a small private lot behind his restaurant, making a U-turn and pulling into the open spot, thus boxing out the food truck hoard.

Beal — who was in D.C. during the fender bender fracas — insists that he doesn’t oppose food trucks, only their parking choices. He said trucks park directly in front of businesses, billowing smoke, creating crowds that block the sidewalk and taking away customers. He has been documenting the woes on a YouTube channel.

“No one opposes food trucks, they’re good for consumers and good for the economy,” he said via phone. “The problem is where they’re parked.”

Purposely blocking parking spots, for hours on end, only hurts restaurants by keeping the spots from potential customers, according to Beal. “It is kind of unethical,” he said of food trucks, or anyone else for that matter, reserving street parking spots for commercial gain.

Beal said he has been having constructive conversations with the county about solutions that could work for both restaurants and food trucks. That potential solution — which had until then not been revealed to the media — is creating and enforcing specific areas for food trucks to park in a given area.

Cara O’Donnell, spokeswoman for Arlington Economic Development, said the county is hoping to implement a “street vending zone” pilot program in Rosslyn within a few weeks.

(more…)

by Heather Mongilio — June 18, 2015 at 6:45 pm 2,789 0

Open spaces, new buildings and wider sidewalks are all part of Envision Courthouse Square, Arlington’s draft plan to create a lively square around the county courthouse.

Arlington residents were invited to the neighborhood Wednesday to see the plans for the area as well as to take a walking tour that highlighted several large changes that could come as a result of the plan.

“I would hope this would be an area, unlike Rosslyn, Clarendon or Ballston, where people can come together and celebrate events in the heart of Arlington,” Jason Beske, the project manager for Envision Courthouse, told ARLnow.com.

Under the plan, multiple new buildings could be constructed some replacing existing structures and some with preserved facades. The vision for the area — which currently includes buildings, parking lots and some small green spaces — would be similar to that of a lively open town square under the new plan.

Before that vision can be realized, should the County Board approve the plan, the county will have to work with developers and building owners to come together and help implement it.

Among changes is a possible move for county government itself. The county office building at 2100 Clarendon Blvd is not currently owned by the county — it’s owned by Vornado — and when the lease is up, the county could choose to move to a building it owns outright, Beske said during the walking tour.

One possible location for this new building would be the new South Square, which is on the south end where the current public surface parking lot sits. Parking would be provided via underground lots, as the current public surface lot is set to be converted to mostly green space — the “square.”

The plan also calls for the transit plaza adjacent to the current county offices to be redone. The new plaza, dubbed Metro Plaza after the Metro entrance, would possibly feature an open Metro entrance similar to that planned in the Rosslyn Sector Plan.

The plaza would be “something that’s kind of lively, exciting,” Beske said.

The current AMC movie theater may be redeveloped into an office building or a building with primary entertainment and retail uses. A rooftop terrace be added to the building, with a view of D.C. and the monuments. Also set for redevelopment: the small, aging Courthouse Square West office building that currently houses county emergency management offices.

The street that currently runs next to the main county office building, 15th Street N., would become a low-speed, pedestrian-centric street. It would feature plenty of street trees, widened sidewalks and possibly granite pavers.

“We want to see this street become an extension of open space,” he said. On the other side of the public parking lot, 14th Street N. would receive a similar “shared street” treatment.

Another other big open space would be the “Memorial Grove.” The large space would have a grove in one of its corners and a possible underground parking lot under it. Memorial Grove would be located in what is now part of the parking lot, across the street from the current emergency winter homeless shelter. A large open lawn area would run from Memorial Grove down to the South Square.

To the south of South Square, in what is currently a public plaza next to the Verizon building and across from Ragtime restaurant, the Envision Courthouse envisions a new building, for public use, county use or both. The building, labeled Verizon Plaza, is one of four buildings — including the aging Courthouse Square West office building, South Square and the AMC Theater site,

Outside of the Courthouse Metro entrance near the Cosi building, meanwhile, is the potential site of a promenade with wider sidewalks, which could possibly extend from Clarendon Boulevard to 14th Street. Across the street, near Ireland’s Four Courts, the county plans for main street feel, with wider sidewalks, more retail lining the street and a possible tree canopy.

While the county is looking to the future with Envision Courthouse, Beske and his team is also trying to capture the past. There are preservation elements to the plan, mostly centered around the strip of older buildings known as Lawyers’ Row. The facades of the buildings housing the emergency winter shelter, Cosi, Jerry’s Subs and Boston Market are all singled out for preservation. A new building could be on top of the existing facades, but a full preservation is also possible, particularly for Cosi building, which used to be a bank.

The county will weigh the historic value of each building in considering its redevelopment, Beske said.

The County Board is expected to consider the plan for approval at its September meeting. Some of the planned changes may be implemented in the next few years, but many of the goals are classified as long term, taking five or more years to implement, often with the cooperation of private developers.

by Heather Mongilio — June 8, 2015 at 3:55 pm 2,131 0

The Olive Oil Boom, a new store specializing in oils and vinegars, recently opened in Courthouse.

Located at 2016 Wilson Blvd, the store offers a variety of balsamic vinegars, olive oils and red wine vinegars, which customers can taste before purchasing. It aims to help Arlington residents lead healthy lifestyles by switching butter with olive oil, said owner Judith Westfall.

Various varieties of specialty olive oils from around the world, including oils infused with spices or fused with citrus flavors, line the walls while the balsamic vinegars and traditional olive oils sit on two center tables. Customers can also peruse through Westfall’s homemade recipe books for different savory or sweet recipes that use olive oils and balsamic vinegars. The store provides free copies of the recipes for shoppers to take home.

The idea is to create a community store, where Arlington residents can gather and share different recipes while chatting with each other, Westfall said.

“It’s become really popular. We have a lot of fun talking to people and suggesting things,” Westfall said.

Customers have already shared their ideas with her, she said. One customer recommended that she use the aged pure Vermont maple balsamic on bacon and bake it in the oven, a recipe Westfall plans to try.

The store has been open for approximately three weeks, Westfall said, and she is already seeing customers return. One of her goals with the store is to help educate about the healthy uses of olive oil, which fits with the health-conscious population of Arlington, she said.

So far popular flavors include the Tuscan herb olive oil and traditional balsamic vinegar, but Westfall has also noticed that Arlington residents like the spice-infused olive oils, include the chipotle and fused Baklouti green chili flavors. She plans to also add cayenne pepper-infused and harissa-infused flavors “because it’s all about what the community really likes,” Westfall said.

Westfall and her husband, Lynn, also experiment with different flavors in order to create new ones, she said. “So we have fun coming up with new combinations, new pairings.”

For those new to using olive oil, Westfall recommends starting with the basic extra virgin olive oil flavors, rather than the more exotic infusions. Westfall suggests customers replace butter or canola oil with butter-flavored olive oil.

“Any time you can substitute olive oil for canola oil or butter or anything of that matter you are adding antioxidants to your diet,” she said. “And it tastes so much better. Once you’ve tasted a good olive oil and used it, I don’t think you want to go back to your other oils.”

In addition to its core products, The Olive Oil Boom — the name reflects Westfall’s former career in the petroleum industry in Texas — also offers wine, cheeses, breads and various gourmet items.

It may seem pretty specialized, but The Olive Oil Boom isn’t the only retailer in Arlington with a primary focus on olive oils and vinegars. Ah Love Oil & Vinegar, in Shirlington Village, is celebrating its fourth anniversary this weekend.

by Tim Regan — May 22, 2015 at 3:05 pm 5,089 0

Food truck parked outside of Summers Restaurant, photo by Alan Beals

(Updated at 6:30 p.m.) The owners and managers of 12 restaurants centered around the Courthouse Metro station say local food trucks are severely impacting their restaurants.

We’re told that representatives from Summers Restaurant, Guarapo, Me Jana, TNR Cafe, Afghan Kabob House, Subway, Cosi, Boston Market, California Tortilla, Jerry’s Subs and Pizza, Corner Bakery, and Ireland’s Four Courts met Wednesday to form a group that plans to push the Arlington County Board to further regulate food trucks.

Alan Beal, COO of Bar Concepts, a restaurant consulting company that recently started working with Summers Restaurant, was the one who called Wednesday’s meeting to order.

“We’re forming a coalition because the food trucks are running amok,” says Beal. “It has a serious financial impact on these brick and mortar restaurants.”

Beal says between three and five food trucks park in front of Summers Restaurant and other Courthouse area eateries each day. Though the trucks are legally allowed to park there for two hours, Beal and other restaurant owners say the trucks sometimes skirt that time limit.

“Parking is free until 8 a.m.,” says Beal. “From 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., food trucks will send cars to the Courthouse area to park in all the spots in front of these restaurants and wait for the food trucks to show up.”

“Sometimes, the food trucks even send people to stand in the spots and wait for the food trucks to arrive.” says Beal.

Guarapo owner Nesrin Abaza says the accumulation of food trucks caused her business to stop serving lunch altogether.

“It just wasn’t feasible,” says Abaza. “How can you compete? There’s no control.”

“It’s like, can I stand outside the restaurant next door and sell my empanadas?” Abaza says. “Would I be allowed to do that? Absolutely not. But food trucks can do that to us.”

Despite the recent outcry in Courthouse, this is hardly the first time food trucks have clashed with brick-and-mortar restaurants. In 2012, Rosslyn’s Business Improvement District mulled asking for restrictions on where food trucks could operate. But in 2013, the Arlington County Board went the opposite direction — voting to extend the parking time limit for food trucks from one hour to two hours.

“Our argument is that Arlington County has been listening to the food trucks,” Beal says. “At the end of the day, none of our businesses were approached or represented, and we see the food trucks multiplying.”

Che Ruddell-Tabisola, executive director of the DMV Food Truck Association, says he’s sympathetic to the restaurants’ problems, but that more regulation isn’t the answer.

“This has been something very common to hear from brick and mortar owners,” says Ruddell-Tabisola. “The underlying myth is that food trucks are somehow harming existing businesses, and it’s just not true.”

(more…)

by Ethan Rothstein — May 5, 2015 at 12:15 pm 2,312 0

Summers in Courthouse planning to reopen(Updated at 1:05 p.m.Summers Restaurant in Courthouse, a longtime haven for soccer fans, reopened in February after closing at the end of 2014. Now, the sports bar at 1520 N. Courthouse Road will try something new to draw in more customers.

Summers 2, the re-branded back bar, is hosting a grand opening party Friday night, with 1990s cover band The Dial Up. On Saturday, the bar will show the boxing match between superwelterweighs Canelo Alvarez and James Kirkland, with no cover.

The sections of Summers will remain connected and part of the same business, according to a restaurant employee reached by phone this morning. Owner Joe Javidara hired a promotion company, Bar Concepts, to liven up the space.

“We’re just trying to spice up the other bar,” the employee said.

Doors will open at 5:00 p.m. on Friday. The back bar will host events almost every day of the week, with “Draft Night” on Tuesdays, “Drunk Karaoke” on Wednesdays, trivia on Thursdays and live bands on Fridays and DJs on Saturday, according to its website.

The back bar was damaged by a fire in June 2013, and, according to the Washington Post’s Steve Goff, when it was reopened, the business did not return. The Summers employee reached by phone said that business has picked up steadily since the restaurant’s brief closure, and the rebranded bar is another attempt to rejuvenate the 31-year-old business.

File photo

by Andrea Swalec — April 21, 2015 at 5:25 pm 4,881 0

It’s easy to walk past the Arlington County Detention Facility without realizing the high-rise with reflective windows is a jail.

Nestled between office buildings and apartment towers, the 12-story building at 1435 N. Courthouse Road, just a block from the Courthouse Metro station, houses nearly 500 male and female inmates.

On a recent tour of the facility, assistant operations director Capt. Jimmie Barrett Jr. said the jail offers more than 100 therapeutic and recreational programs to minimize disruptions and reinforce positive behavior.

“This is what jail is,” he said as he walked ARLnow through quiet cell blocks. “It’s not a lot of loud screaming or yelling. It’s about creating some structure to help people go on with life.”

Sessions on addiction, foreign languages and money management are among the program offerings, and quilting is one of the most popular activities for men and women alike. Started about two years ago by a jail employee who quilts in her free time, the sessions are now held three times per week.

“It started as a small group of women and expanded. Now the men are doing it, too,” Barrett said.

The inmates make baby blanket-sized quilts on the jail’s sewing machines, using donated materials. Many of the quilts are given to the local nonprofit Borromeo Housing Inc., which aids homeless young mothers and their children.

“It’s like a photograph. It’s something you can keep forever,” one female inmate said about the quilts she made. “It’s homemade, and I’m really sentimental.”

The inmate, a 22-year-old Arlington native charged with credit card fraud, said she planned on continuing to quilt once she leaves her current cell block of 41 women.

As of Friday, the jail built in 1994 housed 410 men and 58 women, for a total of 468 people. Inmates include people awaiting trial, awaiting sentencing and those sentenced to 12 months or less.

On a Yelp page created for reviews of the facility — which got comedian Stephen Colbert’s attention in 2013 — inmates praised the “polite” staff and the jail’s library.

“I almost asked for a couple of extra days I haven’t been able to catch up on my reading like that in YEARS!!” an apparent ex-inmate wrote in October.

The jail includes a full legal library, with rows of hardcover tomes. Inmates increasingly prefer to use the online tool LexisNexis to learn about laws and their rights, corrections analyst Cristen Bowers said. Librarians there try to get inmates the reading material they want.

“If they request a book and we don’t have it, we’ll get it from another library,” Bowers said.

Inmates stay in single- or double-occupancy cells with an early wakeup time. Breakfast is served about 5:30 a.m., and then guards inspect inmates’ cells about 7:30 a.m. Lunch is served about 11 a.m., and guards conduct surveillance walk-throughs every 30 minutes. Dinner is served about 4:30 p.m., and lights out is at 11:30 p.m.

Inmates are allowed two 20-minute visits twice a week, not including meetings with lawyers.

With the exception of maximum security units on the building’s 11th floor, inmates are allowed to attend programs based on their compliance to jail rules. Inmates who break rules can be placed in solitary cells for “disciplinary segregation,” Barrett said. Those who are a danger to themselves or others can be put into “administrative segregation.” The separations can last as little as an hour or extend for weeks, said Barrett, a 23-year veteran of the facility.

Maximum security units are located on the jail’s 11th floor, where just 18 men were held as of Friday. The inmates there are confined to their cells and served meals through slots in the doors. Whether they must remain on that floor is reassessed weekly, Barrett said.

Officers assigned to booking see a rush of people on Friday nights, Saturday nights and holidays, mostly for public intoxication, they said.

Detainees are escorted into the facility through back doors, some of which are connected to the court next door. Footprints painted on the floor show where they must stand as they wait to be fingerprinted and have their mugshot taken.

Every detainee receives a handful of pamphlets guiding them through everything from how to report sexual misconduct to what personal items they’re allowed to keep, like a wedding band without stones, worn only on the left ring finger.

“Think of it like your first day of college,” Barrett said. “You’re getting oriented.”

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — April 7, 2015 at 5:00 am 1,182 0

Verde Pointe — Arlington’s newest high-end apartment community — is now accepting leases for June 2015 move-ins.

Featuring as many as 41 unique floor plan styles in both tower and townhome buildings, Verde Pointe will be a destination for area residents looking for a new apartment home in the centralized Courthouse neighborhood.

The community — located at the corner of North Veitch Street and Lee Highway — contains 162 apartment homes in a luxe residential tower as well as 36 apartment homes divided into townhome flats, each with a private entrance and the uppermost units with an enormous private rooftop terrace. Additionally, 242 residential parking spaces and the county’s first MOM’s Organic Market grocery store complete the mixed-use development.

Designed to LEED Gold standards, the apartment homes feature floor-to-ceiling windows, glass balconies, quartz countertops, movable kitchen islands, in-unit washer and dryers, programmable thermostats, engineered wood flooring, and panoramic views of the DC and Northern Virginia skyline. Both tower and townhome flats are available in studio, convertible, one bedroom, one bedroom plus den, and two bedroom varieties; pricing begins at $1,650/month.

Because Verde Pointe is an active construction site, interested parties are encouraged to visit the temporary leasing center at 2200 Clarendon Boulevard, Suite #1125, in Courthouse. Prospects receive tailor-made leasing materials, guided neighborhood discussions and details on services presented by the property management team, led by General Manager Charlie Wexell.

“We like to explore the ideal living situation for each prospect,” explains Wexell. “That’s the beauty of having so many unique floor plans and features: we can find the perfect fit for everyone’s specific preferences.”

The 36 townhome flats will deliver first, currently slated for the second week of June 2015. In each townhome are two flats, each with private entrances, easy access to the parking garage and open floor plans. The townhome flats located on the top floor also come complete with a private rooftop terrace. All community amenities, such as personal wine storage, rooftop pool, club room and kitchen, and fitness center will be available to all residents in the complex upon delivery of the tower, in July 2015.

The development is led by award-winning developer McCaffery Interests — who will also be managing the community within the nationally-renowned MI-Home brand — in partnership with Bergmann’s Cleaning, and with strong financial support from Cardinal Bank and Burke and Herbert Bank. In addition to Verde Pointe, McCaffery Interests is known for developing environmentally conscious projects nationwide. Last month, McCaffery Interests announced a new mixed-use development in partnership with Grosvenor Americas, known as Ballpark Square, located in the blooming Navy Yard neighborhood. Ballpark Square is home to First Residences, another new high-end residential community managed by McCaffery Interests.

Verde Pointe has been designed and is being constructed to LEED Gold standards, and will have several major sustainable features such as electric car charging stations and individually remote-controlled thermostats so residents can more closely control and monitor their energy use. In line with the green initiatives, MOM’s Organic Market has a long-running history with environmental advocacy, and has begun plans for engaging the Arlington community with eco-conscious functions and features for residents and neighbors.

All information on the Verde Pointe development and upcoming plans can be found at http://www.verdepointe.com/. Development and contact information for McCaffery Interests can be found at http://www.mccafferyinterests.com/.

The preceding article was sponsored by McCaffery Interests

by Ethan Rothstein — April 2, 2015 at 10:00 am 4,002 0

Courthaus Social logo from Facebook

(Updated on 4/10/15) Velocity 5 in Courthouse has been closed for weeks, but this month it will be reborn as Courthaus Social.

The “American beer garden” concept at the sports bar space at 2300 Clarendon Blvd has been in the works for years, but owners Fito Garcia and Nema Sayadian are completing the final buildout now, preparing to open by the end of April.

“Courthaus Social is the perfect spot for a happy hour, a pit stop en route to the city or a final destination to spend an entire evening,” Garcia said in a press release. “Our beer garden is dedicated to remaining an establishment that delivers unforgettable experiences to every guest. Whether you live in Arlington or are here for a few days… Grab a boot and sip, savor, and share in the spirit of beer and great food.”

Velocity 5 in CourthouseThe opening has been pushed back from its original April 13 date, but the owners hope that by the end of the month Courthaus Social will be ready to go, serving two-liter boots and steins of 30 beers on tap, with long benches for social seating.

Sayadian told ARLnow.com that the interior will look wildly different from the Velocity 5 the area has come to know.

“It’s night and day, a 180-degree difference,” he said.

Garcia said the beer garden will have “life-size games” and will be community-focused, focusing on Virginia breweries and “humanely raised, free range” meats. It will be open from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. daily.

Photo (top) via Facebook

by Ethan Rothstein — March 25, 2015 at 10:00 am 4,609 0

(Updated at 10:40 a.m.) Julie Drews and Beth Helle have lived in Arlington for a decade, and they grew so tired of not having a specialty craft beer store in their neighborhood that they decided to open one themselves.

They have leased space at 2004 Wilson Blvd, in the new 2001 Clarendon apartments, to open The Brew Shop, which will sell craft beer, homebrewing supplies, wine and locally roasted coffee beans.

The pair are accountants who hail from the Midwest. Drews is from Michigan, home of craft beer landmark breweries Bell’s Brewery, Founders and New Holland. She said now that the D.C. craft brewing scene has taken off with the likes of D.C. Brau, 3 Stars and Port City, it’s an opportunity to capitalize on the area’s craft beer community.

“There was almost nothing here when I first got here, but things are definitely turning the corner now with beer in D.C.,” Drews told ARLnow.com yesterday. “This is an area where people care a lot about beer.”

The Brew Shop will offer growler fills and partner with local breweries for events. Drews — who reminisced about drinking at Dr. Dremo’s steps from where her shop will open — wants The Brew Shop to be a hub of the local beer-drinking community.

“We want to be the first great beer shop in Arlington,” she said. “There are a lot of wine shops that sell beer, but we want to be the great beer shop that sells wine.”

Drews and Helle have applied for a permit with the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board and are in the construction permitting process with Arlington County. They hope to open in the fall.

by Ethan Rothstein — March 19, 2015 at 3:30 pm 470 0

California Tortilla in Courthouse reopensEveryone who buys a burrito or quesadilla from the California Tortilla in Courthouse tonight can help an at-risk child learn to read.

From 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. at 2057 Wilson Blvd, any customer who mentions the Arlington-based The Reading Connection will have 25 percent of their order donated to the nonprofit.

The Reading Connection is dedicated to improving the lives of at-risk children and families, who are living in shelters,” Reading Connection board of directors member Lynn Cannon told ARLnow.com, “by helping them create and sustain literacy-rich environments and motivation for reading.”

The Ballston-based nonprofit has partnered with the Mexican food chain, which has agreed to donate 25 percent of gross sales over the three-hour period. Many similar fundraisers involve a retailer donating 10 percent or so of gross sales but, Cannon said, “The folks at Cal Tor have been really nice to work with and very generous.”

The money will go toward funding readalongs at homeless shelters and community centers, buying books for children, parent literacy workshops and training for family support workers who promote the importance of reading.

File photo

by Ethan Rothstein — March 16, 2015 at 11:00 am 4,961 0

The last hurdle for the redevelopment of the Wendy’s in Courthouse has been cleared.

The Arlington County Board approved a 12-story office building and public plaza on Saturday to replace the Wendy’s and Wells Fargo at the intersection of N. Courthouse Road and Wilson and Clarendon Blvds. The approval was una

The building will have more than 196,000 square feet of floor area and 6,960 square feet of ground floor retail. The glass column designed to face west is viewed as an “iconic architectural feature,” the developer, Carr Properties, wrote in its site plan application.

The developer agreed to transfer development rights of the Wakefield Manor apartments in exchange for the incoming building’s additional density. The County Board wanted to preserve the market-rate affordable housing complex — buildings County Board member Jay Fisette called “beautiful” and “historic” — which is just a few blocks away from the Courthouse Metro.

In addition to the development rights, Carr Properties has agreed to make the office building LEED Gold-certified, contribute more than $530,000 to the Affordable Housing Investment Fund, and pay $557,250 for open space in the Courthouse area. The county also considers the public plaza Carr Properties plans on building at the intersection — which will sport a seasonal kiosk — a community benefit.

The site will only have 244 parking spaces, less than the county zoning ordinance calls for, and Carr Properties will contribute $450,000 to an enhanced transportation demand management plan to mitigate the effects of loss of parking. It’s reportedly the first redevelopment that has been allowed with less-than-required parking since the County Board made that an option in 2013.

There’s no indication of when the Wendy’s will be torn down. The Wendy’s will follow Taco Bell as fast food options in Courthouse that have made way for new developments. The Wells Fargo will be replaced by a location in the ground floor of the new building.

by Ethan Rothstein — March 13, 2015 at 2:00 pm 2,160 0

Coffee with a Cop (photo via Sean Douglass)The Arlington County Police Department wants to grab a cup of joe with you.

Next Thursday, March 19, members of the ACPD’s Second District team will be serving as baristas at Java Shack from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. The ACPD has pre-paid for $100 worth of drip coffee to give out to customers, and officers will be serving it as well as making themselves available to the community.

ACPD’s Second District covers from Ballston to Rosslyn, Crystal City and Pentagon City and the residential neighborhoods closeby. Capt. Kamran Afzal is the commander of the second unit, and he said the event is a way to talk to the community “with no agenda.”

“We’re just trying to engage the people that we serve over a cup of coffee,” Afzal told ARLnow.com over the phone today. “Anything goes, whatever people want to discuss, we’ll discuss, and maybe humanize each other.”

The First District unit of ACPD hosted a similar event at Metro 29 Diner in January, Afzal said. The Java Shack, under new management since January, will look to do more community-oriented events like ‘Coffee With a Cop’ in the future.

“‘Coffee With a Cop’ is a great example of the types of community events that have defined Java Shack’s growth over the years,” Java Shack manager Robert Peck said in a press release. “We are honored to host the Second District Team and look forward to giving our baristas a break while the police run the counter.”

Photo courtesy Sean Douglass

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