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by Heather Mongilio — July 2, 2015 at 3:50 pm 1,047 0

Columbia Pike’s first Chipotle Mexican Grill may open in September.

The Chipotle is planned to go into the new 3400 Pike apartment building, at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Glebe Road.

“Coming soon” signs are now up in the windows. While interior construction has not started, Chipotle’s contract for the space says it will open in September, said Brian Jeter, the marketing specialist at 3400 Pike.

“It’s pretty tentative right now, but from what we understand with the contract, it should be open in September,” he said.

The restaurant will be Chipotle’s sixth in Arlington, with existing locations in Rosslyn, Ballston, Crystal City, the Pentagon City mall and along Lee Highway.

by Mariah Joyce — July 1, 2015 at 4:45 pm 1,168 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 Heather Mongilio — June 30, 2015 at 1:45 pm 1,940 0

The Kona Grill, a sushi restaurant that combines American and Hawaiian flavors, opened its doors in Rosslyn on Monday.

The new restaurant, located at 1776 Wilson Blvd, is one of the company’s more than 30 restaurants in 19 states. But the Arlington location gave Kona Grill the ideal demographics it was looking for, said Joesph Ortega, the general manager for the Arlington location.

“It’s a growing area, young and upcoming,” he said. “If you visit our restaurant, it’s a very hip or retro feeling.”

The restaurant has an inside and outside bar, a large dining room set to seat about 250 guests and a patio. It also offers two happy hours — one from 2-7 p.m. and a reverse happy hour during the last two hours of business, where food prices are reduced.

Although the restaurant opened its doors yesterday, Ortega said it had already attracted a crowd. As of 12:30 p.m. today, there were about 20 people eating lunch.

The restaurant brings a different style of dining to Arlington, he said. The restaurant is two in one, with a full lunch and dinner menu in addition to the sushi bar.

“A lot of the other restaurants [in Arlington] are just sushi bars or one type of sushi bar,” Ortega said.

Ortega’s favorites on the menu are the pork tenderloin, which is almond crusted and served with mashed potatoes, and the picasso roll, a spicy yellowtail with avocado, a jalapeño cilantro relish and sriracha. But he also recommends that people try a little bit of everything.

“I don’t think anyone’s seen or tasted what we offer,” he said.

The restaurant plans to get involved with the Arlington community by participating in local events.

“Our goal is to be everyone’s favorite place to eat and relax with friends,” Ortega said.

by ARLnow.com — June 26, 2015 at 9:25 am 1,344 0

Pigeon in Rosslyn

County Touts Smart Growth 2.0 — In Mary Hynes’ recent State of the County speech, and now in a press release, Arlington officials are suggesting that the era of big economic gains from smart growth is over, and a new path forward is necessary. “This is a moment unlike many… it maybe will be comparable in some ways to what happened on September 11 (2001), in terms of being a fundamental questioning of ourselves and a stepping into the space,” Hynes said in the speech. [Arlington County]

Arlington Startup Raises $4.7 Million — Brazen, an Arlington-based startup formerly known as Brazen Careerist, has raised $4.7 million in new venture funding. The company offers an “enterprise-focused chat platform” that “combines event hosting with speed dating.” [Washington Business Journal]

Cinnabon Coming to Pentagon City Mall — A Cinnabon location is coming to the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City this fall. The cinnamon roll seller will be located on the third level of the mall, near Macy’s. On Thursday the Fashion Centre also announced that restaurants Charley’s Grilled Subs and Which Wich will be coming to its food court later this summer.

Hynes Hoping to Strike Hospital Land Deal — Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes said she hopes to strike a deal to trade or sell county land to Virginia Hospital Center by the end of the year. The hospital is interested in acquiring soon-to-be-unused county land next to its campus, in exchange for cash or for hospital-owned land elsewhere. [InsideNova]

by ARLnow.com — June 23, 2015 at 11:45 am 1,566 0

Chef Mike Isabella is preparing to open his latest Arlington restaurant later this summer.

Pepita Cantina — located at 4000 Wilson Blvd in Ballston, next to Isabella’s Kapnos Taverna, which opened in January — is holding an “open call” for job seekers today (Tuesday) and tomorrow. Interviews will be conducted at the under-construction restaurant between noon and 6:00 p.m. on both days, according to a Craigslist post.

Servers, bartenders, bussers and barbacks are being sought.

“Pepita Cantina is set to open this summer in Ballston, right by the already open Kapnos Taverna,” the job post notes. “This establishment will be a tequila, mezcal craft cocktail bar along with traditional Mexican food with a twist!”

So far, no official opening date has been set.

“We hope to announce an opening date in the coming weeks,” a PR rep told ARLnow.com “Stay tuned!”

Isabella’s company, Mike Isabella Concepts, is also planning on opening a “full-service, Japanese noodle bar and small plates restaurant” called Yona at 4000 Wilson Blvd, under the leadership of chef Jonah Kim. The ramen-centric eatery is currently under construction and is expected to open in “early fall,” we’re told.

Photos via Twitter

by ARLnow.com — June 22, 2015 at 5:15 pm 1,359 0

Which Wich in Ballston (photo by Joy Asico)Which Wich Superior Sandwiches is planning to open its second Arlington location in the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City this summer.

The eatery is noted for its selection — it offers over 50 sandwich varieties and more than 60 toppings.

Dallas-based Which Wich has an existing location in Arlington, adjacent to Ballston Common Mall at 4300 Wilson Blvd, and seven other locations in Virginia.

The new sandwich shop within the Pentagon City mall will be owned by a team of two brothers who are gunning to make it the company’s highest-grossing location in the U.S.

“Franchise owners and brothers Faisal and Irfaan Lalani are particularly excited about the expansion opportunity in Pentagon City because with the high traffic in the mall with tourists and commuters, it has the opportunity to be the highest grossing Which Wich location in the country,” said a PR rep. “The brothers have prior business experience, owning over 53 Little Caesar’s locations across the country and employing nearly 1,000 people.”

The restaurant will be located in the mall’s food court and is expected to open in August, we’re told.

by ARLnow.com — June 15, 2015 at 9:15 am 2,133 0

Power lines along Four Mile Run Drive

Greenbrier Learning Center Gets New Home — Facing the loss of its lease at the Greenbrier Baptist Church, the Greenbrier Learning Center has found a new home. The center, which provides after school enrichment to children, will be based at the Arlington Mill Community Center, after the Arlington County Board on Saturday approved a partnership with GLC. [Arlington County]

State, County Incentives Lured Lidl — German discount grocery chain Lidl is setting up its U.S. headquarters in Arlington, near Potomac Yard, and creating 500 jobs in the county. The decision was made after Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe offered $7 million in economic development grants and Arlington County offered $7.5 million in infrastructure improvements and tax breaks, including half off Lidl’s Business, Professional and Occupational License tax. [Washington Business Journal]

Australian Restaurant Eyes August Opening — Oz, a new restaurant coming to the former La Tagliatella and Restaurant 3 space in Clarendon, is expected to open by the end of August, according to a help wanted ad on Craigslist. [Patch]

Rescue on GW Parkway — Arlington County’s technical rescue team helped to rescue a person who fell down a steep embankment along the GW Parkway’s second overlook Sunday night. The victim was loaded on to a fire boat and then transported via an Arlington ambulance to a local hospital for treatment. [Twitter]

Drew Students Make Music Video — A group of 10 Drew Elementary students are getting some local media recognition for a music video they made. As part of an extracurricular project on self-image, beauty and bullying, the group made a video set to Selena Gomez song “Who Says.” [WUSA 9]

Tree Down After Storms — A large tree fell in Towers Park during yesterday’s storms. [Twitter]

by Heather Mongilio — June 2, 2015 at 2:55 pm 3,012 0

The Corner Tex-Mix, a new Latin fusion restaurant in Arlington’s Nauck neighborhood, has opened at at 1621 S. Walter Reed Drive.

The eatery brings the flavors of Salvadoran, Mexican, American and Mediterranean food to its tables. The restaurant is colorful, with a bright red and green walls and colorful lights hanging over the bar. It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and has seating both inside and outside.

“What I can say is that we’re trying to do something new in the area for the residents of Arlington with good dishes and a lot of different flavors they can come over and try,” head chef Leo Medrano said.

The food is fresh, Medrano said, with sauces and salad dressings, such as the bleu cheese or chipotle barbecue ranch, made in the restaurant daily.

Medrano recommends new patrons try one of the four salad options, but his favorite is the bib lettuce salad. The bib lettuce salad has bib lettuce, tomato, red onion, bacon and blue cheese. His other favorite meal is the crab cake sandwich.

“We offer some healthy food and delicious and good quality,” Medrano said.

Medrano also has a different special plate every day, he said. His favorite dishes to create include Salmon or Mahi Mahi.

“You can mix it with fruit or vegetables,” Medrano said, “and it tastes delicious either way.”

In a press release, The Corner Tex-Mix said it will be a “a big change from the old establishment at the same location” and will bring chef-driven food to a Nauck community that “has been historically void of any good restaurants.”

Previous restaurants that have come and gone at the 1621 S. Walter Reed Drive location include Las Delicias Restaurante and, more recently, El Manatial III.

by Heather Mongilio — May 29, 2015 at 3:50 pm 4,201 0

(Updated at 4:05 p.m.) Tupelo Honey Cafe will bring southern food and craft cocktails to Arlington with its planned opening on Monday.

The restaurant plans to open June 1 in its new Rosslyn location at 1616 N. Troy Street. It will be the 10th Tupelo Honey Cafe and first in Virginia.

“Joining the Arlington community is a very proud moment for us,” said Tupelo Honey Cafe Founder and CEO Steve Frabitore in a press release. “Our new location continues the legacy of the original restaurant with its scratch-made southern fare, yet embraces the area’s hometown flavor through local art, food and brews.”

The menu includes southern food such as roasted duck breast with a cherry port wine sauce, pan-seared sea scallops and grilled French lamb chops. The restaurant series also recently introduced small plates to its menu, said Kevin Summers, a regional director for Tupelo, which is based in Asheville, N.C.

Summers recommends that customers order the country ham wontons and the lamb meatballs, two small plates he often eats.

At nearly 6,600 square feet, the restaurant has 202 seats, a full bar and an “inviting outdoor patio.” The bar features a “custom metal honeycomb backsplash and reclaimed wood bar front.”

The restaurant aims to be targeted toward the area’s population. There’s a “pretty young, vibrant demographic in the area,” Summers said.

With that in mind, Tupelo Honey Cafe will offer a “Moonrise brunch” on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 p.m. to midnight. The menu offers breakfast small plates and cocktails, including the opportunity for guests to create their own, according to the press release.

The restaurant will also have 24 taps at the bar, many of which are locally-based, Summers said. Tupelo Honey Cafe also created a special drink for the Arlington location — a drink dedicated to former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

The “Ode to Eleanor Roosevelt” has white brandy, sparkling wine, Jack Ruby Elderflower tonic syrup, citrus sour, bitters and fresh thyme. It has a herbal flavor and the components play very well together, said Tyler Alford, the beverage specialist for Tupelo Honey Cafe.

“Every cocktail should have a beginning, middle and end,” he said.

Alford recommends pairing the drink with the roasted beet small plate.

The name comes as a nod to Arlington’s proximity to Washington, D.C. The restaurant company wanted a drink that included D.C. but didn’t delve too deep into politics, Alford said. The company also agreed with many of Roosevelt’s fundamentals.

“And Eleanor Roosevelt deserves a good drink in her honor,” he said.

by ARLnow.com — May 27, 2015 at 11:00 am 3,124 0

HomeMade Pizza on Lee Highway(Updated at 11:10 a.m.) Boston-based Upper Crust Pizzeria is planning on opening a new location in the former HomeMade Pizza Company space on Lee Highway.

HomeMade, which offered bake-at-home pizzas, closed in 2014 after about five years in business at 4514 Lee Highway. It was part of a company-wide shutdown for the Chicago-based chain.

Now, another regional pizza chain that has gone through financial troubles is coming in.

Upper Crust shuttered 10 locations, including one at 1747 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in D.C., during a bankruptcy in 2012. It’s apparently now on the rebound, under new ownership and management.

Upper Crust Pizzeria has applied for a permit to sell wine and beer at its new Lee Heights Shops storefront. There are no records of any construction permits being applied for so far.

Upper Crust currently has six locations, all in the Boston area. Ben Deb, the company’s CFO, says the Lee Highway location will be the first of what they hope will be several D.C. area locations.

“We’re looking at multiple spots in the D.C. metro area,” Deb told ARLnow.com. “The brand had a great following when it was there. We get inquiries on our website all the time.”

Construction is expected to begin next week and the company is targeting an opening in Arlington as soon as mid-July, according to Deb. He said Upper Crust’s freshness and thin crust pizza style sets it apart from other pizza joints.

“The product is second to none… we make our dough fresh on site everyday and use fresh ingredients,” he said. “We’re really looking forward to being a part of the Arlington community.”

Upper Crust’s menu includes pizza by the slice, specialty pizzas by the pie, lasagna, salads and calzones.

by Tim Regan — May 21, 2015 at 10:00 am 1,767 0

A new sushi restaurant is now open just steps away from the Ballston Metro station.

Sushi 2Go, named for its daily selection of carryout sushi, is located in the former Primo Fresh Deli space in the Metro plaza at the corner of Fairfax Drive and N. Stuart Street.

The restaurant’s menu includes nigiri, classic sushi rolls, and a range of specialty rolls. Patrons can either order freshly made sushi at the counter, or grab a pre-made roll from a to-go cooler.

To celebrate its opening, Sushi 2Go is offering reduced prices until May 30. Under the special, nigiri and sushi rolls are currently both $4, and specialty rolls cost either $6 or $8.

Owner Unsook Kim says she got the idea for the to-go concept after visiting a Wasabi franchise in New York City. After seeing how popular the franchise was, Kim decided to open her own take on the sushi-to-go concept.

“This is my own style,” Kim says. “Young people love sushi.”

Kim says that by this winter, she’ll add other Korean and Japanese specialties like bibimbap, yakisoba noodles, and teriyaki dishes to the menu.

by ARLnow.com — May 15, 2015 at 9:00 am 1,980 0

View of Key Bridge, the Potomac River and D.C. from the Waterview building in Rosslyn

‘Hula Girl’ to Open Shirlington Restaurant — The founder of the Hula Girl food truck, which specializes in Hawaiian style food, will be opening a new brick-and-mortar restaurant in the former Aladdin’s Eatery space in Shirlington. Mikala Brennan says Shirlington is “a very friendly place for families and dogs and everyone, and I always thought it’d be a great fit for what I do.” [Eater]

Bike to Work Day is Today — Hundreds of people stopped by the half-dozen Arlington pit stops for Bike to Work Day this morning. Among them were Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and a guy on an old-timey penny farthing.

Candidates Want Manager to Live in Arlington — The candidates for Arlington County Board said they would like Arlington’s next county manager to live in Arlington. Retiring county manager Barbara Donnellan lives in Clifton, Va. [InsideNova]

by Ethan Rothstein — May 11, 2015 at 4:30 pm 3,440 0

The old Extra Virgin space in Shirlington (photo via Google Maps)A new restaurant that puts a focus on the arts is planning to move into the Village at Shirlington, in the former Extra Virgin space.

The venture, called Palette 22, was announced by Village at Shirlington’s owner, Federal Realty Investment Trust. The new restaurant, at 4053 Campbell Ave., will be the first business in the corner storefront since Extra Virgin closed in March 2013.

In between, Italian restaurant La Tagliatella had signed a lease to move into the vacated shop, but the international chain’s planned U.S. expansion fizzled out, and it never moved in. It has since closed its location in Clarendon.

It’s unclear when Palette 22 will open, or who will be running it when it does. Multiple calls to Federal Realty today have not been returned.

“Palette 22 combines food, art and fun, focusing on modern street food small plate dishes with an international flavor,” The Village at Shirlington’s website says. “It will integrate local art and artists into the whole dining experience.”

by ARLnow.com — April 28, 2015 at 11:25 am 6,256 0

Red, Hot & Blue in RosslynThe partners behind A-Town Bar and Grill and Don Tito are planning to open a new restaurant and bar in Rosslyn later this year.

“Barley Mac” is expected to open in the former Red, Hot & Blue space at 1600 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn by December, co-owner Scott Parker told ARLnow.com Monday. It’s described as a “high-end tavern” that will serve Italian-American fusion cuisine and have a beverage program that emphasizes beer and bourbon.

Barley Mac will target a slightly older customer base than A-Town or Don Tito and will be the partners’ “most restaurant-centric, food-driven” establishment yet, according to Parker.

Parker said he and his partners decided to open Barley Mac because they see Rosslyn as lacking places to eat and have a few drinks after work.

“There’s a market in Rosslyn that’s being underserved served right now,” Parker said. One only needs to look at the crowds at the one-year-old Heavy Seas Alehouse, he said, to see that Rosslyn workers and residents are looking for more places at which to hang out.

“They’re doing tremendous business right now,” Parker said of Heavy Seas. And despite the new competition, Parker observed, local stalwarts like Cafe Asia are continuing to do well.

“It’s a no-brainer,” said Parker — especially considering the success of the partners’ other Arlington ventures.

At 5,000 square feet, Barley Mac will be slightly smaller than A-Town and about half the size of Don Tito and its three floors. (Don Tito, which opened last month, is far exceeding expectations, Parker noted, while A-Town “continues to do much better than we ever expected.”)

Whereas Don Tito was a “flip” that required relatively simple interior changes, Barley Mac will be “built from scratch” and will thus require months of renovations. The owners are hoping to open as soon as mid-November, though December may be a more likely target.

by ARLnow.com — April 21, 2015 at 9:15 am 3,213 0

Lightning over Rosslyn (Flickr pool photo by J. Peterson)

Australian Restaurant Coming to Clarendon — Oz, a new Australian restaurant, will be opening in the former La Tagliatella space in Clarendon late this summer. The restaurant is owned by Australian native Michael Darby, co-founder of Monument Realty, and his wife Ashley Darby, the 2011 Miss District of Columbia winner. [Washington Business Journal]

New Ballston Apartment Project in the Works — Saul Centers, which developed the Clarendon Center project, is planning a new residential and retail development on the Orange Line. The developer is in the early stages of proposing a 12-story, 431-unit apartment building to replace the Rosenthal Mazda dealership at the corner of N. Glebe Road and Wilson Blvd. [Washington Business Journal]

Parking Lot Hit-and-Run Case in Court — A court hearing was held Monday for Alexandra Mendez, the woman accused of running over a man in a Columbia Pike parking lot and then fleeing the scene. Prosecutors showed the court a cell phone video of the incident, which nearly killed 40-year-old Noormustafa “Noor” Shaikh. A doctor testified that Shaikh’s “bones were like shards” after being run over by Mendez in her SUV. [WJLA]

Arlington Highly Ranked by AARP — Arlington County is the 6th most livable place in the U.S. with a population between 100,000 and 500,000, according to a new survey by AARP. Also in the AARP survey, Arlington ranked No. 1 in the “Best Cities for Staying Healthy” category, thanks to an abundance of exercise opportunities. The survey targeted Americans age 50 and older. [WTOP]

VHC and County Considering Land Swap — Virginia Hospital Center and Arlington County have started discussing a possible land swap. The swap would trade soon-to-be-vacated county properties adjacent to the hospital — which would allow VHC to expand — for hospital property elsewhere in the county. Virginia Hospital Center, meanwhile, is getting kudos from the federal government. According to new hospital rankings from Medicare, VHC is the only “four star” hospital in the D.C. area. [InsideNova, Washington Post]

Flickr pool photo by J. Peterson

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