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.”
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.’”
An ice cream shop that takes customers orders, then literally makes the ice cream as the customer watches, is preparing to open in Market Common Clarendon next month.
Nicecream Factory was founded last year by Sandra Tran and her boyfriend, Gil Welsford, as a Kickstarter-funded pop-up shop. The 24-year-old Tran, a JMU grad, makes the ice cream using liquid nitrogren and fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. They’ve operated so far as a pop-up shop in farmers markets and restaurants around the D.C. area, including at the Diner in Adams Morgan.
Last week, Nicecream Factory signed the lease to take over the former Red Mango space at 2831 Clarendon Blvd and Tran, who worked at Living Social in the District for a year before starting her own business, told ARLnow.com she hopes to open the store in the second week of May. In addition to the ice cream, which she takes about as long to prepare “as a Starbucks drink does.”
“When you think of an ice cream, you think mom and pop shop,” Tran said. “We value a lot of the pieces of that, being a small business and entrepreneurs and working with our community. We want to modernize those ideas, spice up the ice cream factor. When you’re paying to get desserts, you want the experience. Scooping out of an ice cream cabinet isn’t so much of an experience.”
The shop will also offer coffee, locally sourced pastries and, Tran said, will be designed to accommodate business meetings much like a coffee shop; she said they’ll even wheel a chalkboard to a table if need be. Tran said she also plans on inviting local artists to use the space to display their work.
“That’s something I think Clarendon can use a little more of,” said Tran, a Falls Church resident. “It’s a huge bar scene, but it needs a place to take a date.”
Tran sources many of her ingredients, like apples for one of her favorite recipes, apple pie, from local farmers she’s met working her pop-up shop at farmers markets. She said because of the fresh ingredients and the fact that the ice cream isn’t sitting in the freezer, she can make a thick, smooth treat without the high-fat creams most premium ice cream has.
“You don’t have to use coloring, preservatives or chemicals to make your ice cream delicious and beautiful,” she said. “A lot of people like the concept, but it’s not until they eat it when they realize it tastes more delicious than any ice cream they’ve had before.”
Video via Washingtonian
Just after 12:00 p.m. an elderly male driver in a Toyota Camry drove into the store’s entrance after accidentally pressing the gas instead of the brake, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. Two people were inside the vehicle at the time. No word on whether anybody was inside the store.
Damage to the store is estimated at $20,000, but a building inspector determined that there was no structural damage to the building.
No injuries were reported and no charges have been filed against the driver.
Yes, it’s that time of the year again.
Workers have started installing the ice skating rink at the Pentagon Row shopping center (1101 S. Joyce Street). What serves as a concert and outdoor dining venue during the summer will soon be transformed into a wintry skating rink, complete with instructors providing skating lessons and (starting as soon as Nov. 12) a nightly artificial snow fall.
Weather-permitting, the skating rink is expected to open two weeks from today, on Tuesday, Nov. 1.
In other ice-related news at Pentagon Row, the Maggie Moo’s ice cream shop is no longer Maggie Moo’s. The shop is still selling ice cream and frozen yogurt, but without the Maggie Moo’s branding.
While the softball tournament was canceled due to soggy fields, all other events planned to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks are still on for this weekend, rain or shine.
First up is the 10th annual Arlington Police, Sheriff and Fire 9/11 5K race, which will get underway in Pentagon City at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday. To accommodate the race, a number of roads will be closed between 5:30 and 7:00 p.m., including parts of Army Navy Drive, S. 12th Street, Crystal Drive and the Pentagon South parking area.
Residents should also expect a ceremonial flyover of four police helicopters between 5:45 and 6:00 p.m. The race, which has been growing in scale since its inception, is sold out this year.
“This is clearly our biggest year,” said race co-founder and retired Arlington County Police Officer Matthew Smith. “We’ve had tremendous support, and have a lot of meaningful additions for this year’s race.”
“Over the nine years we’ve probably given out over $350,000″ to a number of 9/11 and military charities, Smith added. “The race provide[s] an opportunity give back… It should be a memorable experience for all.”
Following the race, at 7:30 p.m., Arlington County will hold its official 9/11 tribute event at the Air Force Memorial, which overlooks the section of the Pentagon that was struck by American Airlines Flight 77.
The tribute, which is free and open to the public, will feature the U.S. Air Force Band Brass Quintet Ensemble, the Joint Armed Forces Color Guard, the Arlington County Combined Honor Guard, Wakefield High School’s a capella choir “The Madrigals,” Macedonia Baptist Church Music Ministry, and a commemoration by the Pentagon Memorial Fund’s Jim Laychak. Transportation and parking information is available from the county’s web site.
Then, at 9:37 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 11, bells will peal at the old Hume School (1805 S. Arlington Ridge Road) to mark the exact moment when terrorists flew the jetliner into the Pentagon. Oakridge Elementary students will ring the school’s bell 184 times — once for each victim of the attack. The school, now used as the Arlington Historical Society Museum, is hosting a new Pentagon 9/11 Exhibit, which includes the charred Pentagon heliport sign that was 50 feet from the point of impact.
The store offers a wide variety of ice cream flavors, as well as sundaes, milkshakes, frozen yogurt, fruit smoothies, baked goods and espresso drinks.
Larry’s is located next to BGR: The Burger Joint, on the ground floor of the Clarendon Center project’s north building. Starting next week, the store will be open from 6:00 a.m. to midnight, an employee said.
Larry’s operates an existing location at 2450 Crystal Drive, in Crystal City. More photos, after the jump.
South Block Smoothie & Burrito Co. is telling fans on Facebook that it hopes to open at the corner of 11th and Garfield Streets “around the 4th of July.” The store will offer real fruit smoothies, whole wheat burritos, salad wraps, acai bowls and Pleasant Pops, according to its web site.
South Block is located in a 714-square-foot storefront on the ground floor of the Clarendon Center project’s ‘south block’ building. It’s being launched by Amir Mostafavi, who owns the Campus Fresh store in George Washington University’s Lerner Health & Wellness Center.
A couple of blocks away from South Block’s health-conscious vibe, Larry’s Homemade Ice Cream is planning on opening at 3018 Wilson Boulevard, in the Clarendon Center project’s ‘north block’ building. Signs in the window say Larry’s will open on June 15.
The location is the second for Larry’s Homemade — which currently has a store in Crystal City. Larry’s will offer locally-sourced and produced ice cream, as well as sundaes, shakes, non-fat yogurt, espresso drinks, cookies, cupcakes, brownies, biscotti, muffins, pastries and baklava.
According to its web site, Larry’s 40+ ice cream flavors include exotic options like ginger, green tea, Kahlua, lychee, cardamom, orange chocolate chunk and lemon grass.
Move over Goody’s, a new ice cream place is coming to Clarendon.
Larry’s Homemade Ice Cream has signed a lease in the Clarendon Center project, located less than a block away from the Clarendon Metro.
Larry’s Homemade Ice Cream shares a name with an ice cream shop in Dupont Circle, but it’s unclear what connection, if any, there is between the two stores.
A woman who identified herself over the phone as the owner of the Dupont Larry’s Homemade Ice Cream said she wasn’t behind the Clarendon store. A quick web search didn’t reveal any other stores by that name in the area.
With the addition of Larry’s Homemade, the retail space in Clarendon Center’s north building is now completely leased out. Many of the stores are expected to open in the spring, depending on the building’s construction schedule.
Fisette Delivers State of the County Address – After delivering the annual State of the County address before a group of business leaders in Crystal City, County Board Chairman Jay Fisette was peppered with pointed questions about some of the county’s costly projects and initiatives. Fisette defended Arlington’s lawsuit against proposed high-occupancy toll lanes, said the $160 million Columbia Pike streetcar plan will not be put to a referendum vote unless necessary to obtain financing, and called BRAC, the federal law that will result in thousands of defense jobs moving out of Arlington, “one of the worst decisions ever.” More from the Sun Gazette.
D.C. Bummed About Poor Ranking in List Topped By Arlington — Yesterday we told you that Parenting Magazine had bestowed the somewhat unscientific title of “Best City for Families” on Arlington. Now one commentator is wondering why the District was so low on the list. NBC Washington’s P.J. Orvetti rightly points out the absurdity of D.C. being ranked third from last in terms of recreation. Orvetti goes on to make the case for D.C. being ranked closer to Arlington, but fails to mention the elephant in the room: that the District’s low-performing schools and high crime rate preclude it from serious consideration on a list of family-friendly cities.
Moran To Hold Federal Jobs Fair Next Week — Rep. Jim Moran will be hosting a federal jobs fair at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria on Monday, June 28. More than a dozen federal agencies are expected to be on-hand for the free event, which is being held from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Northside Social Ice Cream Flavors Changing — After a short-lived, Father’s Day-inspired run of key lime and chocolate bacon (yes, bacon), Northside Social is rolling out hazelnut and chocolate espresso ice cream flavors today. A bit heavy for a 90 degree day, but likely delicious nonetheless.
Northside Social (3211 Wilson Blvd) is rolling out a Memorial Day-to-Labor Day summer special tonight: organic soft serve ice cream. A creation of pastry chef Rob Valencia, the ice cream is made with Northside’s organic Trickling Springs Creamery milk and other organic ingredients.
The flavors will rotate. This weekend they’re serving French vanilla and local organic strawberry. Other flavors in the works include mocha caramel, wildberry creme fraiche, and red velvet.
How does it taste? Very good. The creaminess is definitely a notch or two above your standard dining hall soft serve machine. We recommend getting the swirl.