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by ARLnow.com — June 17, 2014 at 4:30 pm 7,218 0

A-Town Bar and Grill logoUpdate at 12:00 a.m. — Following a half hour of public comments both for and against A-Town, and some tongue lashings from Board members, the Arlington County Board voted Tuesday night to renew A-Town’s live entertainment permit for three months, as recommended by county staff..

Earlier: A-Town Bar and Grill is facing scrutiny over noise and crime as it seeks to renew its live entertainment permit tonight (Tuesday).

The restaurant, located at 4100 N. Fairfax Drive in Ballston, has been drawing the ire of neighbors who complain about loud, drunken patrons. It’s also the subject of an investigation by Arlington County police and the Virginia Dept. of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), over a violent episode at an employee-only party on Feb. 12.

“The Arlington Police Department considers A-Town to be the most troublesome establishment in Ballston,” according to a report by county staff.

The Arlington County Board will decide tonight whether to  renew A-Town’s live entertainment and dancing permit. County staff is recommending that it be renewed for three months, with additional restrictions on the establishment’s outdoor cafe area.

A-Town Bar and GrillNoise, especially from the outdoor patio but also from those leaving the establishment, is a primary concern of residents of nearby condominiums.

“Late night disturbances make it an unpleasant community experience and thus directly impact the value of all our homes,” said Roger Lindberg, president of the condominium association for the nearby Berkeley building, in December. “Late night outdoor partying even on weekends, is not a reasonable expectation of any homeowner.”

To help combat that, A-Town has voluntarily agreed to close the patio at 9:00 p.m. on Sundays, 10:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and at midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. Previously, the restaurant had only agreed to close the outdoor bar early — at 10:00 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and 11:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Those provisions will be overwritten by the new patio closing times.

County staff noted that noise complaints to the police department declined from 25 between August and November, 2013, to nine between January and April, 2014. However, staff opined that “the long unusually cold winter (when the outdoor patio was not used and patrons refrained from lingering outside the establishment) may be at least partially responsible for a decline in noise-related calls.”

Non-noise police calls to A-Town declined by one — from 25 to 24 — during the same period. The 24 non-noise calls from January to April included four calls for fights, one for an assault, and one for a stabbing (the Feb. 12 incident). Separately, there were eight arrests for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) from January to April where the suspect reported coming from A-Town, according to county staff.

County staff says that A-Town should remain on thin ice even should the live entertainment permit be renewed.

“Staff recommends a three month County Board review in order to monitor progress with these issues, and if there is no substantial reduction in the number of police calls or reduction in the evidence of over serving patrons, staff is not likely to recommend renewal of the use permit for live entertainment and dancing,” the staff report says.

A-Town is facing possible disciplinary action from Virginia ABC pending the outcome of the Feb. 12 malicious wounding case. After the incident an ABC agent “issued an administrative charge to A-Town stating that ‘[t]he Licensee has failed to take reasonable measures to prevent the licensed premises… from becoming a place where patrons of the establishment commit criminal violations… and such violations lead to arrests that are so frequent and serious as to be reasonably deemed… a continuing threat to public safety.’”

The disciplinary action could range from a fine to suspension or revocation of its beer, wine and liquor license.

by ARLnow.com — June 17, 2014 at 2:05 pm 1,891 0

Manee Thai restaurant on Columbia PikeManee Thai may be closing in the near future, and an Irish bar may take its place.

A restaurant called “The Celtic House,” from a company called “Green Brigade LLC,” has applied for a permit to serve wine, beer and mixed beverages at 2500 Columbia Pike, in the Arlington Village Shopping Center. That’s the current home of Manee Thai restaurant, which has been open for 13-14 years.

“Mo,” a man identifying himself as the owner of Manee Thai, told ARLnow.com today that he is in talks to sell the restaurant and retire. But he said nothing has been finalized.

“We have nothing going on yet,” he said. “We are still talking.”

No company phone number was listed for The Celtic House or Green Brigade LLC. The Virginia State Corporation Commission and Arlington County have no record of an LLC by the name of “Green Brigade.”

Another Irish-themed watering hole, P. Brennan’s Irish Pub (2910 Columbia Pike), has been open just down the street since 2010.

by Morgan Fecto — June 11, 2014 at 4:45 pm 1,214 0

Skyscraper construction near the Rosslyn Metro stop may force some food trucks to relocate or scale back their visits to the lunch hot spot.

“It sucks,” Louie Hankins, the co-founder of the Rito Loco truck, told ARLnow.com. “We can only park two or three trucks here where we used to park seven to eight.”

Construction began this winter on the Central Place apartment building, a 31-story skyscraper that’s projected to be completed in 2017, and has resulted in lane closures and parking restrictions on the stretch of N. Lynn Street between Wilson Blvd and 19th Street N.

Hankins said the construction hasn’t drastically decreased his business. Still, he is considering coming to Rosslyn once every two weeks instead of his usual weekly stop.

“It’s taking most of our parking spots,” said Cindy Hernandez, assistant manager of the Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling truck. With the limited space, other food trucks often beat them to a parking place. In that case, the Rocklands truck relocates to Courthouse.

“There’s more parking but fewer customers there,” Hernandez said. Rocklands used to park in Rosslyn five times a week, but they now only come twice.

Some trucks experienced push-back from authorities, like the Korean BBQ Taco Box truck, which received two tickets after parking on N. Lynn Street, according to Yog Noh, who works on the truck. Noh said that they now park on Wilson Blvd outside of Chipotle, where they see less foot traffic. “A lot of the people who buy our food can’t really see where we are.”

The KBBQ truck had at least 80 customers a day on Lynn Street before construction. Now they get 40 daily customers on Wilson. “I think it’s going to affect us because Rosslyn is one of the best spots we come to,” Noh said.

The KBBQ truck is not the only truck officials have asked to move from Lynn Street. According to Urban Bumpkin truck owner John Nguyen, security guards near the Cosi, at the corner of Lynn and 19th Street, started calling the police on his truck this morning. Nguyen claimed he had started parking at a one-hour metered spot, but was forced to move to Ballston for lunch.

“I said, ‘how are you going to write me a ticket if I just got here?’” Nguyen said. “We were parking in a legal spot with no sign. One of the parking enforcers said they were cracking down on food trucks.”

As a result, Urban Bumpkin served 75 customers in Ballston instead of the usual 100 or more they get in Rosslyn, Nguyen said.

Doug Maheu, the Arlington County Director for the DMV Food Truck Association, and owner of Doug the Food Dude food truck, said that parking is always scarce on Lynn Street because “it’s a gateway into D.C.”

“Lynn Street is probably the premiere spot in Arlington right now,”  Maheu said. “Hopefully we can find some other places that are close.”

Maheu is speaking with the county about alternative parking and plans to contact the Rosslyn Business Improvement District. Mary-Claire Burick, executive director of the Rosslyn BID, said the organization is working to find a solution.

(more…)

by ARLnow.com — May 28, 2014 at 9:00 am 2,748 0

Thunderstorm approaches Arlington on 5/27/14, with Rosslyn, the Air Force Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery in the background.

Arlington CEO Pleads Guilty to Hacking — Ariel Friedler, the 36-year-old CEO of Arlington-based Symplicity Corporation, has pleaded guilty to federal computer hacking charges. Prosecutors say Friedler and his Chief Technology Officer gained access to the customer section of two competitors’ websites using hacked user credentials in order to steal customer and product design information and gain “an unfair business advantage.” [Pacific Standard, USDOJ]

Wizards Player Helping Clarendon Ice Cream Shop — Washington Wizards swingman Martell Webster tweeted last week that he is working part time at Nicecream Factory, the new Clarendon ice cream store. It turns out that Webster is merely helping out with the store’s marketing effort, which is being led by a long-time friend and former collegiate basketball player. [Washington Post]

Arlington Losing Its Urban Village Advantage? — Arlington is known as a leader in transit-oriented development, thanks to its walkable, mixed-use urban villages. But Arlington’s Mobility Lab suggests that Arlington may be losing its advantage. Tysons Corner, Bethesda, Silver Spring, White Flint, NoMa, and the Ballpark District are all “now competing on the Arlington model,” one county official said. [Mobility Lab]

YHS Senior Video — A group of Yorktown High School seniors recorded a song and created a music video in advance of their impending graduation. [Vimeo]

Wakefield Student Get Sheriff’s Scholarship — A Wakefield High School student has received a $1,000 scholarship from the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office. Kiana Carter, a graduating senior, plans to study criminal justice. [Arlington County]

by ARLnow.com — May 27, 2014 at 9:20 am 2,197 0

Bikers gather for Rolling Thunder in the Pentagon parking lot on 5/25/14

Firefighters Battle Three-Alarm Blaze — Firefighters from Fairfax County and Arlington battled a three alarm fire at a senior living community Friday night. The facility, Lockwood House, is located on the 600 block of N. Madison Street, just across the Arlington border in Fairfax County. The building’s nearly 100 apartments were evacuated as the fire spread from an electrical transformer to a utility room containing a diesel generator and fuel tanks. [WUSA 9]

Three More Schools to Get FLESUpdated at 1:45 p.m. — Three additional schools will be getting Arlington Public Schools’ Foreign Language in Elementary School program, starting this fall. Tuckahoe, Nottingham and Oakridge will be getting the program, which provides Spanish language education to elementary students. The program also eliminates early release Wednesdays at schools that have it. Parents have been pushing Arlington elected officials to fund FLES at all elementary schools; the school system is planning to do so, but over a period of a couple years. [InsideNova]

Beyer Endorsed By WaPo — Former Va. lieutenant governor Don Beyer has been endorsed by the Washington Post in the Democratic primary to decide who will be the party’s nominee to succeed Rep. Jim Moran in Congress. “Mr. Beyer is, simply, an excellent candidate,” the Post’s editorial board opines. “He would make a first-rate addition to this region’s unusually effective congressional delegation.” [Washington Post]

Business Soaring for Arlington Bird Seed Store — Business continues to grow for the 23-year-old Wild Birds Unlimited store at the Lee Harrison Shopping Center (2437 N. Harrison Street). This winter’s frigid temperatures actually resulted in a sales boom, as birds sought food sources that weren’t iced over and bird-watching customers sought seed in order to attract those birds to their backyards. The store — No. 66 of the chain’s nearly 300 stores in North America — recorded $800,000 in sales last year and is hoping to crack the $1 million mark soon. [Washington Business Journal]

by Ethan Rothstein — May 22, 2014 at 10:00 am 2,157 0

There are barrels, buckets, plastic bags and containers all over the Lyon Park headquarters of No. 1 Sons, a company that sells fermented pickles, kimchi and other products at farmer’s markets and stores around the D.C. area.

No. 1 One Sons has occupied a tiny space underneath the 2720 Washington Blvd shopping center — which houses the new Mocha Cafe & Pastry – since 2012. That’s when No. 1 Sons was founded after owner Yi Wah Roberts, drinking with a friend, decided to make pickles on a whim. Later, he built the “factory” himself with a group of friends.

Roberts decided to ferment the pickles rather than soak them in vinegar, the common method for mass-produced pickles. The result was so good, Roberts said, that he decided to try selling them at a farmer’s market.

“I did it kind of on a lark,” Roberts told ARLnow.com yesterday. “People really liked it, so I rented a kitchen in Alexandria and started making them. When the winter rolled around, I decided I’d give [the company] a shot.”

By last summer, No. 1 Sons was in more than half a dozen farmer’s markets in the D.C. area and, Roberts said, they made a profit by the end of the year. He roped in his sister, Caitlin, to be co-owner and they’ve grown steadily since.

The company expanded its product line, and it now makes four different kinds of pickles — dill, half-sour, super sour and “Kicky Kosher” a spicy pickle that’s the company’s best-seller — as well as four types of sauerkraut, kimchi, “kale-chi,” fermented beets, onions, salsa verde and a ginger and cauliflower concoction called Ginger Giardiniera.

“The common thread of everything is fermentation,” Roberts said. “There are microbes everywhere, and they make things delicious.”

Roberts gets cucumbers and other produce from local farmers and this season will be selling his products at the Crystal City Tuesday markets and the Westover, Courthouse and Columbia Pike farmer’s markets on the weekends. No. 1 Sons is also selling pickles at the Clarendon Whole Foods and some “mom and pop” grocery stores in the area.

No. 1 Sons produces about five, roughly 2,000-pickle barrels per week, and its small space is bursting both in and out of the hand-built refrigeration system with bright blue barrels sealed with garbage bags.

Roberts has a small full-time team but hires lots of part-time help on the weekends — “and I’m always looking,” he adds . The former food-service industry worker said he likes “to keep quiet,” not seeking too much attention for his homemade pickle factory. He was characteristically understated when talking about niche company’s growth.

“We have a bunch of crappy minivans,” he said, looking over his fleet of a handful of beat-up vehicles. “I guess we’ve made it.”

by ARLnow.com — May 15, 2014 at 9:55 am 1,969 0

Adams Morgan watering hole Black Squirrel may be coming to Rosslyn.

Leasing agents at the Sedona Slate apartment complex, on the 1500 block of Clarendon Blvd, have been telling prospective residents that Black Squirrel will be opening in a ground floor space at the building.

Black Squirrel bills itself as an “old-school neighborhood gastropub.” It boasts an extensive draft beer selection and a food menu that includes spruced-up versions of standard pub fare.

So far, no building permits can be seen on the windows of the would-be bar space. Reached by phone, Black Squirrel co-owner Tom Knott declined comment.

One business that’s confirmed to be coming soon to the Sedona Slate ground floor is Lava Barre, which was formerly located near Clarendon. Interior construction is underway on the future Lava Barre space and “coming soon” signs are posted on the windows. No word yet on an opening date.

by Ethan Rothstein — May 13, 2014 at 11:00 am 5,742 0

One of the region’s first “micro-unit” apartment buildings is coming to Crystal City.

A new apartment concept is planned for a vacant Crystal City office building, one that would bring the office trend of co-working spaces to the residential real estate market. The project, called WeLive, is being developed by co-working space company WeWork in partnership with Vornado. The building planned to be redeveloped and repurposed is 2221 S. Clark Street, at the corner of 23rd Street S. and Jefferson Davis Highway.

The plan calls for the former office building to be turned into 252 apartment units and 5,848 square feet of ground floor retail. Many of those apartments will be “micro-units,” with fully-furnished studio apartments between 300 and 360 square feet. There are also three- and four-bedroom units, each under 800 square feet.

Although the apartments are tiny, the company plans to make up for that by placing common areas in the middle of the floors. WeLive aims to create two-floor “neighborhoods,” connected by a flight of stairs, with common space in the center of each floor. Each neighborhood would have a commercial-grade kitchen, a dining area, and a common area that may include a living room, a garden, or other amenities.

The idea is that residents — younger tech workers, mostly — would be more interested in hanging out together outside or in common areas than in their individual apartments.

“The idea behind this residential concept is really an extension of WeWork,” said Vornado Senior Vice President of Residential Development Toby Millman. “It’s taking this communal aspect of a work environment and applying it to a residential concept… There’s a lot of great things happening in Crystal City, like TechShop and Crystal Tech Fund, and this really works well in bringing that entrepreneurial spirit to Crystal City.”

Each unit is designed to have its own bathroom and a kitchenette with a small refrigerator, microwave and sink, but no oven or stove. County staff said they’ve studied the designs and said it complies with both code and zoning for a residential building.

The building is known as Plaza 6 — part of the six-building Crystal Plaza development that includes the Shops at 2100 Crystal Drive and has interconnected underground parking — and it’s now vacant after the last federal government tenant moved out a few months ago.

The building is in the path of the future alignment of S. Clark/Bell Street and is set to be demolished and redeveloped by 2050, according to the Crystal City Sector Plan. That gave pause to some members of Arlington’s Site Plan Review Committee at the group’s meeting last might.

Millman assured the SPRC that the lease with WeWork — which would control the entire building, including the ground floor retail — would last 20 years and the apartments would serve as simply an interim use.

“It’s completely vacant right now,” he said. “And there’s little or no prospect of ever re-leasing this building. It’s an obsolete office building for today’s standards.”

The 12th and top floor of the building, slightly smaller than the others, will feature standard apartments. The ten floors beneath it, however, may serve as a model for future residential development, aimed squarely at the young entrepreneurs and millennials who work in the co-working spaces that are popping up all over the D.C. area.

“[WeWork] essentially said, ‘we like Crystal City, but we’re not ready to do WeWork there because we’re concerned the people who we want in WeWork don’t have a place to live,’” said Mitchell Bonanno, Vornado’s Director of Development. “You can price these at a point where the young entrepreneurs can afford it and become a part of the community. That’s one of the reason the units are small: to keep the units market-affordable.”

Photo via Google Maps

by ARLnow.com — May 6, 2014 at 9:05 am 1,884 0

Friday evening in Ballston (Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick)

Sweet Leaf Cafe Coming to Ballston – Sweet Leaf Cafe will be opening a second Arlington location. In addition to the existing Courthouse location, the local salad and sandwich chain will be opening a new cafe at 650 N. Quincy Street in Ballston, on the ground floor of the Residence Inn hotel. [Washington Business Journal]

Businesses Optimistic About County Ombudsman – Local businesses and developers hope that the appointment of assistant county manager Shannon Flanagan-Watson as Arlington County’s “business ombudsman” is another sign that that the county is serious about cutting red tape and being friendlier to business interests. [InsideNoVa]

GGW Blasts Streetcar Referendum Idea – Greater Greater Washington writer Canaan Merchant says that the Columbia Pike streetcar referendum proposal floated last week by Congressional candidate Del. Patrick Hope and County Board candidate Alan Howze is “pointless and possibly destructive.” [Greater Greater Washington]

TSA Opens Pre-Check Office in DCA – The Transportation Security Administration has opened a Pre-Check enrollment center at Reagan National Airport. The Pre-Check program allows “known travelers” who sign up to go through expedited screening lines at the airport. [Washington Post]

County to Provide Super Stop Update – County officials this afternoon will be holding a media briefing to provide an update into the comprehensive review into the $1 million “Super Stop” bus stop. Construction of the other 23 planned Super Stops is on hold while the county reviews cost and functionality concerns associated with the first Super Stop.

Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick

by ARLnow.com — May 5, 2014 at 10:00 am 1,791 0

View from a jetliner over the Pentagon (photo courtesy @jdsonder)

CEB May Anchor New Rosslyn Skyscraper — The Corporate Executive Board is considering jumping ship from its current Rosslyn office to anchor the planned office skyscraper in JBG’s Central Place development in Rosslyn. Should a deal with JBG go through, construction would start on the office skyscraper, which is currently on hold even though its companion residential skyscraper is being built. [Washington Business Journal]

WaPo Takes on Clarendon — “In the past decade and a half, Clarendon has seen a steady influx of hip eateries, high-rise condo buildings and happy 20-somethings in search of organic quinoa,” writes the Washington Post, in an article about “what to do in Clarendon.” [Washington Post]

Polls Suggest Beyer is Frontrunner in Congressional Race — Former Virginia lieutenant governor Don Beyer is leading in polls taken in the figurative backyards of his opponents. Beyer is leading in Charniele Herring’s House of Delegates district, Adam Ebbin’s state Senate district and in the city of Alexandria, where Bill Euille is mayor. Of the areas polled, only Patrick Hope in his House of Delegates district is beating Beyer. The polls were sponsored by the Democratic website Blue Virginia. The Democratic candidates vying to replace Rep. Jim Moran in Congress will debate tonight at George Mason University’s Arlington campus.

‘Outstanding Volunteers’ Named — The Arlington County Board on May 13 will honor 7 individuals and two teams for outstanding volunteer service to the county. [Arlington County]

New Development Coming to Falls Church — A new seven-story mixed-use building is coming to the City of Falls Church. The development, at 301 West Broad Street, will feature 282 apartments, a Harris Teeter store and another retail space. [Greater Greater Washington]

Photo courtesy @jdsonder

by ARLnow.com — May 2, 2014 at 9:05 am 1,529 0

Arlington County's courthouse and police headquarters

Police Launch Juvenile Crime Initiative — With prom around the corner, the Arlington County Police Department’s School Resource Officers are launching a spring initiative to prevent and reduce juvenile crime. Offers will focus on preventing crimes like drug and alcohol-related offenses among middle and high school students. [Arlington County]

Woman Falls into Manhole — A woman says she fell into a manhole near Columbia Pike Thursday afternoon. It reportedly happened while crews were working on manholes in the area. The victim says she was hurt and and is considering legal action. [WJLA]

Venture Capitalist Moving to Crystal City – Venture capitalist George Kellerman is leaving Silicon Valley and coming to Crystal City. Kellerman has joined the new Crystal Tech Fund as a partner. [TechCrunch, MyFoxDC]

by ARLnow.com — May 1, 2014 at 5:15 pm 6,916 0

(Updated at 5:55 p.m.) Nearly a hundred Arlington (Va.) taxi drivers crowded into the County Board offices Thursday afternoon, asking county policymakers to take action against UberX.

UberX, which launched in D.C. last summer, is a smartphone app that connects users with drivers who use their personal vehicles to give on-demand rides. It presents itself as a “better, faster, cheaper” alternative to taxis.

But in Arlington, taxi drivers and companies are becoming more vocal in their criticism of UberX. They say it’s unregulated, dangerous and illegal. That, and it’s hurting their bottom line.

Red Top Cab, the largest taxi company in Arlington, told ARLnow.com that the number of trips it dispatches is down 5-10 percent compared to 2012 — a drop that it attributes in part to UberX and similar services, like Lyft. Drivers told us there are other signs that UberX is siphoning off riders: full taxi stand lines and some drivers defecting to Uber.

“They’re trying to put people like us out of business,” said Charlie King, Vice President of Red Top, which just celebrated its 50th anniversary. “We don’t have $300 million of Google’s money to play with, so it’s a bit difficult to compete. We do everything we can to keep rates for our drivers as low as we can given the cost structures dictated by regulatory requirements.”

(Uber has raised more than $300 million in venture capital, part of which came from Google Ventures.)

Drivers bear the brunt of the impact from increased competition. They pay Red Top and other cab companies a flat fee that covers the vehicle, maintenance, insurance and dispatch service — a fee that they say keeps rising. Meanwhile, with fewer riders to pick up, nearly every driver at the County Board office Thursday raised their hands to say that they’ve been working longer hours and making less money since the launch of UberX. Many said they work 7 days a week.

“UberX is a cancer,” said Daniel Berhane, an Alexandria cab driver who came to support Thursday’s protest, which was organized in part by the group Virginia New Majority. Berhane said he was working 10 hours a day before UberX. Now he’s working 12-14 hours a day and “even that’s not enough.”

“People are preferring UberX because the fare is lower,” said Syed Omar, an Arlington cab driver. “Passengers are telling us they’re taking it.”

“There’s less and less business,” said another driver, who complained about the loitering tickets drivers have been getting from police. “Taxi stands are full. We’re just driving around.”

Drivers and cab companies alike say UberX competes on an uneven playing field and should be subject to the same rules and regulations as the taxi industry. That would include requirements like obtaining taxi permits, taking police background checks, carrying commercial auto insurance, and charging flat, regulated fares. UberX, said Red Top’s King, is “unregulated and frankly an illegally operating entity… that’s doing its best to undercut the market.”

(Uber’s app can also be used to request pricier rides from “black car” livery service drivers, who are subject to more regulation than UberX drivers. Cab companies and drivers said they’re primarily concerned about the low-cost UberX and Lyft services.)

(more…)

by ARLnow.com — April 23, 2014 at 10:00 am 985 0

Dogwood flowers in Arlington (Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick)

Obama Visit Boosted Business at Bookstore — The November 2012 visit to One More Page Books (2200 N. Westmoreland Street) by President Obama and his family boosted revenue at the East Falls Church store by 20 percent. The visit still continues to benefit the store, according to owner Eileen McGervey. [Washington Business Journal]

Miss Gay Arlington Crowned — The new 2014 Miss Gay Arlington is Coco B. Colby. Colby was crowned after besting three competitors during the April 18 event at Freddie’s Beach Bar in Crystal City. Previous Miss Gay Arlington winners include Shaunda Leer, Stardust and Diamond D. Bottoms. [InsideNoVa]

County Promotes Building Safety — After a series of high-profile construction accidents this past fall, Arlington County has officially proclaimed May to be Building Safety Month. “Building safety is our focus every day, although most of that work happens behind the scenes,” said Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette, in a statement. [Arlington County]

Crystal City Power Purge Today — Crystal City is holding its annual Power Purge and Shred from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. today. The event, at 1900 Crystal Drive, allows residents to recycle electronics, paper and to get rid of household paints and supplies. There’s also a specialty hard drive crusher for data security. [Crystal City]

Yorktown, W-L Soccer Game Ends in Tie — A “hard-fought, exhausting” boys soccer match between Yorktown and Washington-Lee ended in a scoreless tie Tuesday night. [Washington Post]

Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick

by ARLnow.com — April 18, 2014 at 8:00 am 2,002 0

Fort Bennett Park (photo courtesy Rick Shewell)

Rosslyn Startup to Be Featured on ‘Shark Tank’ — Rosslyn-based startup Zoobean will be featured tonight on ABC’s “Shark Tank.” Zoobean, which describes itself as “a web service that recommends apps and books for children,” will pitch itself to a panel of wealthy investors, including billionaire Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. The show airs at 9:00 p.m. on ABC. The company will also be profiled as part of ARLnow.com’s “Startup Monday” feature next week. [PR Newswire, Des Moines Register]

Pentagon City Mall Expansion Imminent — Work is expected to “begin soon” on a planned 50,000 square foot expansion of the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City. The expansion will add two new levels of retail, restaurants with outdoor seating, new elevators and escalators, and an expanded food court. Mall owner Simon is also expected to announce some of the new restaurants and retailers coming to the mall “shortly.” [Washington Business Journal]

We, The Pizza Eyes ‘Late Spring’ Opening – We, The Pizza, the pizza restaurant helmed by celebrity chef Spike Mendelsohn, will be opening soon in Crystal City. No specific date has been set, but a spokeswoman said the restaurant is expected to open in “late spring.” Mendelsohn also operates burger restaurant Good Stuff Eatery in Crystal City.

‘Miss Gay Arlington’ Pageant Tonight — The Arlington Gay and Lesbian Alliance and Freddy’s Beach Bar in Crystal City (555 23rd Street S.) will host the annual Miss Gay Arlington pageant tonight. Four contestants will compete in four categories: presentation, talent, evening gown, and on-stage question. The event starts at 8:00 p.m. and admission is $10. [AGLA]

Enterprise CarShare Launches in Rosslyn — A car sharing service from Enterprise Rent-A-Car has launched in the D.C. area. Two of its car share parking stations are located in the Rosslyn area. [Enterprise CarShare]

Photo courtesy Rick Shewell

by ARLnow.com — April 16, 2014 at 4:45 pm 2,616 0

RedRocks Neapolitan Pizza on Columbia PikeLower prices, more burgers, a new delivery service and parking validation. Those are among a series of recent changes made by RedRocks, the pizza-centric restaurant on Columbia Pike, to help boost business.

The restaurant, located in the Penrose Square shopping center at 2501 Columbia Pike, is “relaunching” after a year in business due to lower-than-expected sales, according to co-owner Doug Baj.

“It’s been a little bit challenging, the whole Columbia Pike corridor,” Baj said. “I’m probably not the only business owner to voice that.”

Before its February 2013 opening, RedRocks’ owners thought the Pike would be similar to Columbia Heights in D.C., their first location, which had been a smash hit thanks to strong neighborhood support. They have since come to a realization that the Pike is a significantly different market.

“We saw a lot of similarities,” Baj said, citing young families he’s talked to who have moved from Columbia Heights to the Pike. “What’s lagging a bit is a bit of the sense of community in the Penrose neighborhood so far. It’s getting there, but you still see a lot of people on weekends going up to Clarendon, going in to the city, instead of staying here. We’re trying to make it more enticing for people to stay home and not go to the District” or the R-B corridor.

RedRocks delivery flyerAmong the enticements being rolled out are a revamped menu, which subtracted small plates and added burgers and other pub fare “that we wouldn’t [serve] at our other location.” Two weeks ago RedRocks added a delivery service that serves a two-mile radius around the restaurant. And RedRocks will have an expanded outdoor seating area when the weather finally warms up.

Many of the changes, however, are value-oriented. There are nightly food specials; a happy hour with $3 beers and half-priced appetizers; a $13.99 all-you-can-eat weekend brunch with 99-cent mimosa and bloody mary refills; a kids-eat-free deal on Sundays; and, starting next week, a pizza, pasta and salad lunch buffet that will run Tuesday through Friday.

“People tend to like value on the Pike, that’s what we’re finding overall,” Baj said.

RedRocks has given up on trying to convince Arlington County to offer free parking after 6:00 p.m. in the Penrose Square garage — instead it is now offering free parking validation.

The relaunch started rolling out in February, and Baj said the results so far are promising. “It’s good, very good, the neighborhood is responding,” he said.

In a phone interview with ARLnow.com, Baj was reluctant to wade into the “hot-button” issue of the planned Columbia Pike streetcar, but he did point out that his fourth RedRocks location, along D.C.’s soon-to-open streetcar line on H Street NE, is doing well. The area is getting a new Whole Foods – the streetcar helped to bring that and other “positive development” to the corridor, he said.

“I’d love to see that kind of excitement on Columbia Pike,” said Baj. It could potentially help other restaurant owners on the Pike, who are also dealing with lackluster sales.

“It’s been a struggle for many of them,” he said. “There are definitely some growing pains with the neighborhood, but I don’t think anybody’s going to bail on it. They’re going to stick it out, especially with new housing coming in.”

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