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by Ethan Rothstein — October 16, 2014 at 3:00 pm 2,968 0

Amsterdam Falafelshop, a fast, top-your-own-dish D.C. restaurant chain, is opening its newest location in Clarendon this afternoon.

The shop, in the former BGR: The Burger Joint space at 3024 Wilson Blvd, opens to the public at 3:00 p.m. this afternoon, according to CEO Arianne Bennett, who was celebrating the new space with a friends-and-family lunch this afternoon. The location will be open until 3:00 a.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, 2:30 a.m Tuesdays and Wednesdays and midnight on Mondays.

The eatery has been in the works for months, and Bennett said her two D.C. locations — in Adams Morgan and on 14th Street NW — were fielding calls every day asking when her first Virginia shop would open.

“When we started doing tastings outside yesterday, there was a flock of people,” Bennett said. “People have been telling us they can’t wait until we open.”

The excitement is over a simple concept: a customer walks in and orders either a falafel sandwich in a regular or wheat pita, or a falafel bowl. They can then load up with toppings like hummus, cucumbers and onions, baba ghanoush, pickled beets and cabbage, cole slaw, imported pickles, pickled turnips and pickled cauliflower. A regular sandwich costs $6.55, a small costs $5.55, and both come with unlimited toppings. A bowl is charged by weight. The shop also serves Dutch-style fries and brownies.

“Our friends moved to Amsterdam years ago, and when we visited, there were falafel shops everywhere, like pizza places here,” Bennett said. “And everyone was topping for themselves, it wasn’t done for you. So we just wanted something like that.”

The walls are covered in paintings by G. Byron Peck, the lead artist for many wall murals in D.C. There are photographs on the walls and laminated onto the tables — Bennett said they are all vacation photos from her and her husband’s trips to Amsterdam.

The Clarendon shop is the first Amsterdam Falafelshop franchise owned by David Rosenstein, but he said he has a five-franchise deal and is looking more around the D.C. area for his next shops. He’s targeting Georgetown for his second franchise, but said he wasn’t sure about the locations for the other franchises.

“We’re going to take it one store at a time,” Rosenstein said. “We’re looking for the right combination of office, housing and nightlife, and in the right spot with the right people.”

by Ethan Rothstein — October 15, 2014 at 2:30 pm 3,614 0

The former owner of Kitty O’Shea’s in Courthouse is bringing a new Irish Pub to Arlington, this time along Columbia Pike.

Danny McFadden owned the Courthouse pub until it closed in 2011 and he moved it to Tenleytown after a dispute with the landlord, the Schupp Companies. He no longer owns the Kitty O’Shea’s in D.C., according to his business partner, Mike McMahon, and has thrown his energy into The Celtic House, the pub that is planning to replace Manee Thai at 2500 Columbia Pike.

McMahon, McFadden and a former chef at Ireland’s Four Courts are the three founding partners of the restaurant, McMahon told ARLnow.com today, and he said the pub should be open “within a few weeks.” A new bar is being built and the remaining work is “just cleanup and waiting for permits,” he said.

“We like the area,” McMahon said in his Irish brogue. “It’s upcoming and there are a lot of young people here.”

McMahon said between the three partners, they combine for more than 100 years of restaurant experience, almost entirely in Irish pub-style restaurants. He said the menu will be “very broad,” and feels there’s enough room for customers despite P. Brennan’s Irish Pub being just a few blocks away.

“We’re going for very traditional Irish food with some American dishes, too,” he said. “We want it to be welcoming for everyone, to bring their families, children, grandparents and the like.”

Hat tip to @EmmaK84

by Ethan Rothstein — October 2, 2014 at 3:30 pm 1,233 0

Future Highline bar in Crystal City (photo courtesy Robert Mandle)The newest food and drink option coming to Crystal City, Highline, hopes to open by the end of the year.

The bar is opening in the former Bailey’s Pub space at 2010 Crystal Drive. It’s owned by Bedrock Bars, which also owns the Continental in Rosslyn, CarPool in Ballston and Buffalo Billiards, RocketBar and Penn Social in the District, among others. Highline would be Bedrock’s 25th restaurant.

“The number one thing people want in their community is a place beyond work and home — what we call the ‘Third Space,’” said Geoffrey Dawson, one of the bar’s co-owners. “We want Highline to be a place where people can literally and figuratively get outside of their box either to hang with friends, collaborate with colleagues or meet new people.”

Highline will consist of 7,300 square feet of indoor floor space. It is being imagined as a “neighborhood meeting house,” with whiteboards and post-its for business lunches and coffee meetings, and the capability to shift to a happy hour, relaxed feel in the evenings.

The concept isn’t yet complete, however. Dawson and his co-owner, Peter Bayne, said they plan on hosting “pop-up happy hours” throughout Crystal City to solicit ideas for the bar from the community. Bayne calls it a “crowd-sourced social space.”

“Highline will be uniquely designed for and unique to Crystal City,” Bayne said in a press release. “We want to hear from the people who work and live in Crystal City — find out what they want our space to offer.”

Highline plans to offer a selection of craft beers and cocktails, but there’s no word yet on how many taps the bar will have or if it will have the games like shuffleboard and skeeball that have become Bedrock’s other D.C.-area offerings’ signatures.

File photo courtesy Robert Mandle

by Ethan Rothstein — September 26, 2014 at 3:30 pm 4,200 0

Beacon at Clarendon West constructionA late night healthy food option could be on its way to Clarendon.

Toss’d, a new salad business, is planning to open in the ground floor of the new Beacon at Clarendon West apartment building near the corner of Washington and Wilson Blvds. The company launched a Kickstarter page this week to raise $50,000 to help with the cost of building the restaurant’s interior.

“I’ve noticed that the fast food salad industry is sort of at its infancy stages of growing, so I thought it was a good chance to enter the market,” Jason James, one of the restaurant’s owners, told ARLnow.com today. “Something we’re really trying to do is not just bring in the healthy concept of a salad shop, but something farm fresh and GMO-free.”

James said he plans to keep Toss’d open until 3:00 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, to serve as a late night option for the bar crowds in Clarendon. The location is less than two blocks from Clarendon Ballroom, Clarendon Grill, Spider Kelly’s, Mad Rose Tavern and O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub, among other popular watering holes.

“In Clarendon, there are 22 bars that are open, and when all those let out at 2:00 a.m., there are two places that people can get food,” James said. “There’s Goody’s Pizza and Bronx Pizza, so we thought we could be a healthy alternative. We’ll change up the atmosphere and music for late night crowd, and give them something different.”

James said the $50,000 Kickstarter goal — the funding round closes Oct. 25 – is just part of the investment that will go into the restaurant; he also has secured bank loans and private investors. He also said he’s using Kickstarter as a way to market the business. Another marketing strategy he plans to use: during Toss’d’s grand opening weekend, he plans to give away salads to residents and office customers in the area for free.

“We just want to get our name out there,” James said. “That way people can be excited for a new alternative to fast food in the Clarendon area.”

Toss’d is still negotiating the lease with the building’s retail manager, Asadoorian Retail Solutions, but once the space is confirmed, James estimates a four-month buildout period.

File photo

by ARLnow.com — September 26, 2014 at 9:00 am 1,377 0

A woman and her dog at last week's Pups and Pilsners event in Crystal City (Flickr pool photo by Rob Cannon)

Cherry Trees Planted at Library — As part of its Neighborhood Tree Planting Program, the National Cherry Blossom Festival and the Japan-America Society of Washington planted three cherry trees in front of Arlington Central Library yesterday. The program “is an effort to celebrate and share the gift of cherry blossom trees throughout the DC-metro region… and helps create new National Cherry Blossom Festival traditions beyond the Tidal Basin,” festival organizers said in a statement. [Facebook]

Whole Foods Deli, Chicken Counter Stay Closed — The main grocery store and much of the prepared foods sections at the Clarendon Whole Foods (2700 Wilson Blvd) are open following Tuesday’s fire, but county officials say the market deli and chicken counter will stay closed until the health inspector approves its reopening.

County to Consider Privatizing Volunteer Agency — Changes may be coming to Volunteer Arlington, the county’s volunteer agency. Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan is establishing a new advisory task force “to look into whether Arlington’s volunteer office is the right business model to meet community needs.” The task force will consider whether outsourcing Volunteer Arlington “would enhance volunteer activity in the community.” [Arlington County]

Restaurant Exceeds Kickstarter Goal — SER, the winner of Ballston’s Restaurant Challenge, has exceeded its $15,000 Kickstarter goal. The Spanish comfort food restaurant, coming to 1110 N. Glebe Road in Ballston, has so far raised $17,145. It also received a $245,000 interest-free loan as the prize for winning the Restaurant Challenge. [Kickstarter]

Arlington GOP Blasts Olympic Bid — Arlington Republicans do not share Democratic officials’ enthusiasm for the regional bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics. “It’s not a great idea,” said local GOP chairman Matt Wavro, citing costs and security concerns. [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by Rob Cannon

by Ethan Rothstein — September 24, 2014 at 4:30 pm 857 0

Ben's Chili Bowl opens in Reagan National AirportReagan National Airport is not done adding outposts of popular D.C. restaurants; El Centro, Cava Mezze Grill and Lebanese Taverna are among the eateries expected to open by next summer.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which operates DCA and Dulles International Airport, announced today that it would be opening five new restaurants, including Kapnos Taverna, a Greek restaurant also planning to open in Ballston, and Clarendon’s upscale sports bar, Bracket Room.

The five eateries will go with recently opened Ben’s Chili Bowl, Legal Seafood, Vineyard Vines, American Tap Room and Pinkberry, plus under construction Taylor Gourmet, &pizza and Grille District as part of MWAA’s efforts to spruce up the airport’s food options.

“From the beginning of the Concessions Redevelopment Program at Reagan and Dulles, the Airports Authority has been committed to enhancing the passenger experience at both Reagan and Dulles,” Steve Baker, MWAA’s vice president of business administration, said in a press release. “Whether passengers are looking to recharge themselves or their cell phones, we are providing bright, enticing opportunities with exceptional service for our customers’ shopping and dining pleasure.”

In addition to the new food options, MWAA is planning to overhaul three food courts, at Terminal B (gates 10-22), Terminal B/C (gates 23-34) and Terminal C (gates 35-45). Each food court will offer “grab and go snacks,” alcohol and express eating options, like Say Si Bon Gourmet Market, crêpe shop Magic Pan and Asian shop Wow Bao. The food courts will be similar, MWAA says, to the larger redevelopment that is underway at Terminal A.

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by ARLnow.com — September 18, 2014 at 9:20 am 1,202 0

Helicopter over the Key Bridge

Metro Work This Weekend — Arlington’s Metro lines will be impacted by significant maintenance work this weekend. Riders on the Orange Line should expect trains to run every 24 minutes, while trains on the Blue Line will run every 20 minutes. The Yellow Line, meanwhile, will only run between Huntington and Mt. Vernon Square. [WMATA]

Bracket Room Expanding to DCA — Bracket Room, the upscale sports bar in Clarendon that opened last summer, is expanding with locations in Reagan National Airport and Dulles International Airport. “The two new restaurants will mirror the Arlington location’s upscale, stylish environment complete with infinity-edge televisions making it the ideal spot to grab a meal and watch a game while waiting for a flight,” according to a press release. No word on an opening date. [PRWeb]

Library Lit Ball Will Have 007 Theme — Library boosters Friends of the Arlington Public Library are planning a James Bond theme for the group’s second annual “Lit Up Ball” fundraiser. The event will take place Saturday, Oct. 18 at Artisphere and will benefit the library’s early literacy initiatives. Tickets are $30. [Friends of the Arlington Public Library]

Clarendon Apple Store Camper — Someone is already camping in front of the Clarendon Apple Store, in anticipation of tomorrow morning’s launch of the iPhone 6. [Twitter]

by Ethan Rothstein — September 3, 2014 at 3:45 pm 1,739 0

(Updated at 4:05 p.m.) Bistro 360, the wine bar, bistro and gourmet market coming to the former Café Assorti space (1800 Wilson Blvd), is hoping to open by Oct. 1.

Bistro 360 owner Art Hauptman, who also owns Cassatt’s Kiwi Cafe (4536 Lee Highway), said the bistro section to the right of the store will serve entrees and appetizers, seat 50-60 and be open for dinner every night and brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. The wine bar section, in the back of the shop, will have seating for about 30 people and be open during the day and the evenings.

The shop section, which will have more than 120 different wines in addition to beer, coffee, tea, charcuterie and cheese, will also be open during the day and evening.

“It’ll be a gourmet-style market with sort of high-end items,” Hauptman told ARLnow.com today. “It’s not Dean & DeLuca, but it will be more than your corner market.”

The wine bar and bistro will serve food inspired from a variety of international cuisines, but “largely focused on Mediterranean,” Hauptman said. “The idea is exploration and travel lead to the mingling of cuisine. Some will be traditional dishes and some will be fusion.”

The restaurant will be quiet and respectful of the community, Hauptman said, but he hopes to get a mix of middle-aged and mid-20s customers who enjoy a quiet glass of wine.

“It’s not going to be a Clarendon-style place,” he said. “I don’t like noisy restaurants, even though I know people drink more in them.”

Initially, Hauptman was looking to move Cassatt’s during lease negotiations with its current landlord. After he and the landlord were able to agree on a deal, Hauptman had already done location research, he said, so he decided to open up a second restaurant. He chose the Rosslyn location because he owns it, he said, and “landlords are a pain the ass.”

by Ethan Rothstein — August 27, 2014 at 1:00 pm 1,419 0

Tina Leone and Casita owner Christina Campos at the Ballston BID's annual meeting 06/23/14Christiana Campos, the new restaurateur who won the Ballston Business Improvement District’s Restaurant Challenge this year, plans to open her new restaurant this winter.

Originally branded as “Casita,” Campos’ project at 1110 N. Glebe Road, next to The Melting Pot, will now be called “SER,” an acronym for “Simple, Easy, Real,” and a play on words with the Spanish verb “to be.”

As part of the Restaurant Challenge prize package, SER received a year of free rent from the building’s owner, Brookfield Properties, and a $245,000 interest-free loan. Campos told ARLnow.com that the restaurant needs “a bit more,” than the loan, so she has launched a Kickstarter campaign for another $15,000.

“The money we raise here [will] be used for the design and renovation of the place,” the Kickstarter says, “for an open kitchen where you can watch the cooking magic happen before your very own eyes, patio furniture… tables, chairs, lighting, a new dishwasher… an indoor herb garden, frames for our walls (with photos of friends, family and neighbors), linens, plates, glassware.”

As of this morning (Wednesday), SER has raised $2,925 of its goal. The fundraising round will close on Oct. 20. Among the perks that donors can receive:

  • For pledging $2,500, a donor will receive a five-course tasting dinner party for eight people and an invitation to SER’s soft opening.
  • For $800, the donor and a guest will get to shadow SER’s chef for a day, plus a five-course tasting meal for two and an invitation to SER’s soft opening.
  • For $500, the donor and a guest will be given a blind tasting menu; they will be given dishes by SER’s chef while blindfold, and receive an invitation to SER’s soft opening

The restaurant will specialize in “authentic, comfort Spanish food that goes beyond tapas,” Campos said in her email, adding that it is planned to be a casual, neighborhood spot, but the food will be “a gastronomical journey and cultural adventure throughout every region of Spain.”

File photo

by Ethan Rothstein — August 25, 2014 at 10:00 am 1,905 0

Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop opens in Rosslyn at 11:00 a.m. today (Monday), and customers are already lining up to get free sandwiches.

The Delaware-founded and Las Vegas-based chain is opening its first location in Virginia, and to celebrate the occasion, it is offering free sandwiches to the first 100 people in line. The first 50 people in line will, according to a press release, receive certificates granting them free “Bobbies” for a year. The Bobbie is the shop’s most popular sandwich, a hoagie with roasted turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and mayonnaise.

The shop, on the ground floor of 1500 Wilson Blvd, is the chain’s second in the D.C. area after opening a storefront at 1800 M Street NW earlier this year. It offers subs of 9, 12 and 20 inches.

The line started to form at 3:30 a.m., when Jackie Miller parked in front of the building and set up a reclining camping chair. She “went to bed really early, got up at 2:30 in the morning and drove here from Alexandria.” She told ARLnow.com she has never had a Capriotti’s sandwich.

“I made subs when I was younger in Buffalo,” she said. “That’s what I always look forward to when I visit my relatives, going to my old sub shop. I’ve been looking for a really good sub since I moved here.”

As of 9:45 a.m., there were enough spots left for people to walk up and earn free sandwiches, twice a month, for the next year. At 10:30 a.m., the Nationals’ president mascots will be there to greet customers. The shop will open at 11:00 a.m.

by Ethan Rothstein — August 21, 2014 at 5:00 pm 2,995 0

A new restaurant from a new restaurateur is planning to open at 3001 Washington Blvd by the end of the year.

“Bowl’d,” with its storefront at the corner of N. Garfield and 11th Streets, will specialize in affordable, healthy food that’s made-to-order within five minutes. Owner Allen Reed, who is also the president of local executive recruiting firm Reed & Associates, said he had the idea for the concept while on the road and unable to find healthy, fast food options.

“I wanted something that was hot and satisfying with more vegetables and proteins,” Reed said, “so people could feel good about something they’re eating, but also make it delicious and enticing.”

Bowl’d will start with bases like rice, quinoa or lettuce, then layer in marinated proteins like chicken, beef and tofu, with an assortment of vegetables and “sauces and garnishes to give it a bang of flavor,” according to Reed. The dishes will range in cuisine from Mediterranean, Asian and Tex-Mex.

“We’re going to be working across different flavor profiles and inspirations,” Reed said.

The restaurant won’t serve beer and wine — “there are enough neighboring establishments that serve liquor,” Reed said — and will offer vegan and low-gluten options for those interested.

Reed said he hopes to be open before the holidays, but avoided giving a firm opening date because of the inevitable construction delays most new restaurants face.

by ARLnow.com — August 21, 2014 at 10:05 am 1,714 0

(Updated at 11:40 a.m.) “Highline R&R,” a new bar that bills itself as the future “social anchor” of Crystal City, is coming to the former Bailey’s Pub space at 2010 Crystal Drive.

A permit application reveals that the establishment will have a seating capacity of more than 150. The company behind the application traces back to the offices of Bedrock Management, which operates numerous well-known local bars, like the Continental in Rosslyn; CarPool in Ballston; and Penn Social, Iron Horse Tavern, RocketBar and Buffalo Billiards in D.C.

“Highline will be an industrial themed, craft beer and signature cocktail bar and restaurant that will serve as Crystal City’s social anchor,” according to the bar’s Facebook page, which was created on July 29.

Multiple calls to Bedrock Management have not been returned.

The R&R in the name stands for railroad — echoing the bar’s industrial theme – but it might also stand for “rock and roll.” Located in a large space above McCormick and Schmick’s, Highline is rumored to be a potential live music venue.

No word yet on a potential opening date. An interior demolition permit for the space was approved on Monday.

by ARLnow.com — August 19, 2014 at 2:00 pm 1,614 0

Bonefish Grill (1101 S. Joyce Street) is now open on Pentagon Row.

After a few “soft opening” days, the seafood restaurant opened to the general public Monday night. Today (Tuesday) is its first full day in business, with lunch and dinner service. While there are other Bonefish Grills in Northern Virginia and suburban Maryland, the new Pentagon City location is the only one inside the Beltway.

The restaurant has a total of 216 seats, with 16 on a sidewalk patio and 54 at the bar. In addition to a newly-revamped menu – with wood-grilled fresh fish and steak along with signature dishes like the Bang Bang Shrimp appetizer — Bonefish offers 45 wines, 15 bottled beers and four draft beers.

Founded in Florida in 2001, Bonefish Grill is now owned by Bloomin’ Brands, the owner of Outback Steakhouse and Carrabba’s Italian Grill. Most of its nearly 200 locations are in the south and eastern United States, although it has recently been expanding to the western U.S. as well.

by ARLnow.com — August 14, 2014 at 9:00 am 1,738 0

Reagan National Airport Metro station (Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick)

Traffic Impacts Due to Military Funeral — Military officials are warning of possible traffic impacts in Arlington due to a full honors funeral at Arlington National Cemetery. Army Maj. Gen. Harold Greene will be laid to rest today beginning at 2:00 p.m. A Falls Church resident, Greene was killed on Aug. 5 in Afghanistan; he’s the highest-ranking U.S. military casualty since Vietnam. Officials say Greene’s funeral could impact traffic on Washington Blvd at the Fort Myer exit and on Route 110 at Marshall Drive.

Partisans Support Nonpartisan Redistricting — Democrat Rip Sullivan and Republican Dave Foster, candidates for the 48th District House of Delegates seat, agree on at least one thing: that Virginia’s redistricting process should be nonpartisan. While support for nonpartisan redistricting may be growing, it is unclear if it could pass the General Assembly. [InsideNova]

Capriotti’s Opening Nears – Originally slated to open on July 29, the new Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop at 1500 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn now has a new opening date. A spokeswoman says the shop — the Delaware-based chain’s first in Virginia — will first open to the general public on Monday, Aug. 25.

County Fair Carnies Profiled — Who are those smiling carnival workers working the rides and games at the Arlington County Fair? They’re fun-loving nomads who sleep in bunkhouses and travel throughout the East Coast and the South during fair season. [Washington Post]

Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick

by Ethan Rothstein — July 31, 2014 at 3:30 pm 1,493 0

The site of a possible new ABC store in Courthouse The site of a possible new ABC store in Courthouse

A Virginia ABC store may be coming to the Courthouse area.

The state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control is negotiating a lease for a liquor store in the new 1919 Clarendon Blvd building, an ABC official confirmed. That’s a block away from the Colonial Village Shopping Center, where another ABC store closed last year.

ABC has applied for a construction permit for the space, but it has yet to be approved.

The store, if it does finalize its lease, would move into the new building alongside Lucky Pot Asian restaurant, Oasis Nail salon — both under construction — and European Wax Center, which is already open. Also moving into the building, according to Elevation DC, is a location of H Street NE Lebanese eatery Shawafel, which also has a booth at Nationals Park.

Shawafel, owner Alberto Sissi told Elevation, plans to have two counters — one for its savory food items and one for sweets — along with a fresh juice station.

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