(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.”
(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.
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.
“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.”
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
(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.”
The 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
(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.
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.
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.
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
The alleged incident happened Saturday around 10:15 a.m. Police say a jogger was crossing 10th Street at N. Barton Street when a man driving an older BMW “nearly struck” him in the crosswalk.
A verbal exchange ensued and in a “fit of rage” the driver “proceeded forward” with the jogger still in front of the car, said Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
“The driver proceeded forward causing the victim to jump on the hood and was driven approximately 20-30 feet before hitting the brakes and throwing the victim to the ground,” according to the crime report. “The victim did not sustain injury and the suspect fled the scene, located at his residence a short time later. Geoffrey Fisher, 65, of Arlington, VA, was arrested and charged with attempted unlawful wounding. He was released on a $5000 unsecured bond.”
A witness told police that the jogger had the walk signal when he was initially almost struck.
Arlington’s very own contestant on the reality show “The Bachelor” will be at Clarendon’s very own “The Bachelorette” contestant-owned restaurant tonight for the 19th season finale.
Jillian Anderson was eliminated early on this season, and infamously slipped on a rug and nearly fell when she thought this season’s bachelor, Chris, called her name during the rose ceremony. Instead, he picked her competitor, Julia, and 25-year-old Anderson returned to her home in Arlington. Tonight, she will be at Bracket Room in Clarendon (1210 N. Garfield Street) to watch Chris hand out his final rose.
Bracket Room is owned by a former contestant of The Bachelorette, Chris Bukowski, and has hosted viewing parties for the reality show’s season finales since it opened in 2013. Happy hour begins at 4:00 p.m. and the show starts at 8:00 p.m. Bracket Room’s Facebook page says there will be specials on wine and dessert.
At the same time, at Guarapo Lounge in Courthouse, radio hosts Sarah Fraser — another Arlington resident — is hosting a watch party of her own. Starting at 7:00 p.m., Anderson is expected to stop by for another appearance. There will be $1 tacos plus wine and cocktail specials and the chance to win prizes.
It’s unclear at which restaurant Anderson will watch Chris give out the final rose to one of the two finalists, Whitney and Becca.
Photo via Facebook
(Updated at 4:30 p.m.) Arlington County Police were involved in a vehicle and subsequent foot pursuit through the Lyon Park and Courthouse neighborhoods this afternoon.
The pursuit started around 12:20 p.m. According to initial reports, an officer trying to make a traffic stop on Route 50 at 10th Street N. was dragged when the driver took off.
Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck said the suspect, a D.C. resident, was pulled over for a red light violation. Police found a gun in the suspect’s car after taking him into custody.
The chase went through Lyon Park and ended following a foot pursuit at Fairfax Drive and N. Barton Street, next to Rocky Run Park in Courthouse. The suspect’s car blew out its two right tires and crashed into a squad car. He consequently took off running in the neighborhood and was caught soon afterwards.
Sternbeck said that initial reports that the officer was dragged were slightly overblown. He was leaning into the Chrysler Pacifica when the suspect took off, and was carried for about five steps before he could disengage. The officer didn’t suffer any injuries, Sternbeck said, just “muddy boots.”
N. Barton Street was blocked off between Fairfax Drive and 11th Street for about two hours. Police officers and a K-9 conducted searches for an item the suspect might have thrown out of the car during the pursuit, but Sternbeck said he didn’t know if anything was recovered.
(Updated Feb. 23 at 9:45 a.m.) A new Vietnamese restaurant plans to take over the space currently occupied by Toscana Grill in Courthouse.
The owners of Pho Deluxe, which has locations in Fairfax and Tysons Corner, told ARLnow.com that Toscana Grill is closing April 1, after which they will move in.
They hope to be open a month afterward at 2300 Clarendon Blvd, facing Courthouse Plaza.
Owners Hue and Dan Nguyen said the restaurant will specialize in the beef noodle soup, as well as rice dishes and noodle dishes. It will also have a full bar.
Toscana Grill had briefly closed in fall 2013, but reopened under new management.
Next door, meanwhile, Velocity Five’s conversion to Courthaus Social is about to get started. Co-owner Fito Garcia said this morning that the sports bar will be closing “in the coming week” to begin its remodeling to an “American beer garden.” Garcia said he expects the remodeling and staff training to be complete in time to open in April.
A previous version of this story stated Toscana Grill would close March 1. That has been corrected.
Update at 2:50 p.m. — The Courthouse station will be reopened shortly. A “test train” is being used to see if it’s safe for Metro to start using the affected stretch of track again. Metro and fire department personnel tell ARLnow.com that there were no communication or coordination problems during the incident response.
The Arlington County Fire Department and Metro personnel are on the scene at the Courthouse Metro station due to an electrical issue on the tracks.
The fire was reported just before 2:00 p.m. It’s said to be an insulator fire in a tunnel just outside the Courthouse station, similar to the electrical malfunction that caused smoke to fill a Yellow Line tunnel last month, killing one person.
The station was evacuated and riders exiting the station said it was moderately smoky inside but not stifling. A slight haze and an electrical smell of something burning was also present outside the station for a period of time.
Firefighters were “working with WMATA to shut down power and extinguish” the fire, according to the ACFD Twitter account. Numerous Metro and fire personnel are on the scene. Police have shut down 15th Street near the station.
As of 2:32 p.m., ACFD said the track fire was extinguished there were “light smoke conditions” inside the station. Some fire trucks have started leaving the scene.
Orange and Silver Line trains are single-tracking past the station, according to Metro.
No injuries have been reported.
Fort Myer and Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority firefighters also responded to the incident.
The incident happened around 8:00 a.m. at the new 19Nineteen apartments, on the 1900 block of Clarendon Blvd in the Courthouse area.
Police say a man grabbed a woman as she came to the front door of the building to see if her Uber driver had arrived. He allegedly threw the woman to the ground, at which time the building concierge tackled the man and held him until police arrived.
“The victim did not sustain physical injury but was clearly shaken when interviewed by our detectives,” said Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
Washington resident Jerome King, 32, was charged with abduction with the intent to defile. He was held without bond.
Photo courtesy ACPD