A new cajun seafood restaurant has opened in Shirlington Village at 4251 Campbell Avenue.
The restaurant is called Blue Sea Seafood and Bar, and it’s located in the former Bear Rock Cafe space. The concept behind it is “to make sure people were getting a great portion, great price and great food,” general manager Jonathan Theriault told ARLnow.com.
The restaurant opened to the public yesterday. Its menu features Cajun classics like pecan-crusted catfish and crab cakes, with entrees ranging from $18 to $31. The food and drink menu will change seasonally.
Theriault, who comes to Arlington from the Miami restaurant scene, said his team worked hard to create a cool, welcoming ambiance.
“I would like to think the restaurant has [a Miami vibe,]” Theriault said. “You walk in, you get the blue on the floor on the walls, so you feel a little Miami-ish but with a New Orleans background, too… The ambiance is hard to find something done this nicely anywhere around.”
Theriault said he hopes Blue Sea’s Shirlington restaurant is the first of multiple locations. The restaurant will eventually have outdoor seating and host live music on Saturday nights. Blue Sea plans to offer specials like all-you-can-eat shrimp and crab events and raw bar nights.
Four Sisters Grill, a Vietnamese fast-casual restaurant coming to the former Fat Shorty’s space in Clarendon, is planning to open next week.
Owner Hoa Lai, the executive chef at Four Sisters Vietnamese Restaurant in Merrifield and owner of the new venture, said he plans to open the restaurant to the public on April 17. After holding a soft opening last month, Lai told ARLnow.com he pushed back his planned opening date to “iron out some of the kinks.”
The restaurant will be open from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Sundays. There will be about 20 menu items ranging from $4 to $14 and Lai said the restaurant plans to serve beer.
A 24-year-old Arlington native has opened a new kind of food shop in the Dominion Hills neighborhood.
Taste by Katie opened yesterday at 6017 Wilson Blvd, in the Dominion Hills Centre. The store focuses on reheatable meals to bring home to the family.
Chef Katie Gilman, who has operated Taste as a home-based catering and personal chef business since February 2013, has also worked as a banquet chef at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View hotel.
Taste will specialize in “seasonal ingredients and global flavors,” and will offer vegetarian and gluten-free options. Gilman is also offering catering for parties and business events, and offers “happy hour to go,” with selections of appetizers.
“Taste is meeting the needs of busy people who don’t have time to cook but appreciate sitting down to a gourmet meal once they get home,” Gilman said in a press release. “I’ll also work with customers to provide specialized meals that meet their needs.”
Taste offers 10 percent off meals that are pre-ordered online by 5:00 p.m. Fridays for the next week (Tuesday-Sunday). Meals can also be picked up at Taste’s storefront, which is open Tuesday-Friday from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. and on weekends from noon to 4:00 p.m.
(Updated at 6:00 p.m.) The list of new restaurants and retailers coming to Reagan National Airport continues to grow.
Taylor Gourmet, &pizza, a politically themed restaurant named Grille District and a new Starbucks location are expected to open in Terminal B and C by the end of the year, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority announced this week. That’s in additional to the under-construction Ben’s Chili Bowl, Legal Seafoods, American Tap Room, Vineyard Vines, Pinkberry and Lacoste, which are expected to open within the next few months.
Along with the retail additions, Terminal A, which has been in the process of renovating, will complete its redesign by the spring of 2015, according to MWAA. The terminal will have a full-service spa, expanded security checkpoints, publicly accessible iPads and charging stations as well as yet-to-be-announced new retail and restaurant options.
The combined efforts go along with MWAA’s goal to either convert or reconstruct 95 percent of all restaurant and retail options at DCA and Dulles Airports.
Photos courtesy MWAA
Chef/owner Riyad Bouizar said he’s hoping to open the business April 15, but after a long, drawn-out construction and licensing process, the opening could be delayed even further. Bouizar signed the lease for the space in August and was hoping to open in December or January.
For the first month, Mazagan will only be open for dinner and late night, Bouizar said, after which it will start selling lunch. During the week, the bar and hookah lounge will be open until 1:00 a.m., and until 2:00 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
“This is something new to the neighborhood,” he said. “With the movie theater right next door it’s a chance for people to get a drink afterwards.”
The private hookah lounge, Bouizar said, will be a glass enclosure in the dining room. That way hookah smokers won’t feel like they are cut off from the rest of the patrons, but the non-smokers won’t have any secondhand smoke.
Spanish mini-sandwich chain 100 Montaditos (1776 Wilson Blvd) is opening its first Arlington location on Monday (March 31) in Rosslyn.
In honor of the grand opening, customers on Monday will be treated to a free “montadito,” a spanish sandwich with ingredients like chorizo and serrano ham, and a drink. The montaditos typically cost between $1 and $3.
If customers can’t make it on Monday — or want to avoid the lines free food usually attracts — the restaurant is offering a buy two, get one free deal until April 6, according to the Rosslyn Business Improvement District.
In addition to the montaditos, the restaurant offers beer and sangria, with pitchers of the fruity wine drink and domestic beer offered for $8.
Photo via Rosslyn BID
Republic Kitchen and Bar, a “modern comfort food” concept, is open for dinner in the former Leek American Bistro space in Ballston.
Republic, at 801 N. Quincy Street, is open for dinner this week at 4:30 p.m. for a soft opening and will fully open for lunch business next week, according to General Manager Anthony Catselides.
Republic opens after Leek closed in November, after only a year in business. Before Leek, Thai Terrace occupied the space across the street from the Liberty Center development. Catselides said Republic hopes to be known for its from-scratch cooking: everything in the restaurant is made from scratch every day, with the exception of the french fries.
“We’re serving high-quality good at a medium price point.” Catselides told ARLnow.com yesterday. No entrée on the menu will cost more than $20, he said, and most will cost less than $15.
Executive Chef and operating owner Alan Newton — who comes from the Charleston, S.C., restaurant scene before working at McCormick and Schmick’s, among other restaurants — said there are going to be hints of international, Asian fusion and Southern cooking in the menu. He said he’s as serious as can be about the food’s freshness.
“We’re using our microwave as a bread box right now,” he said. “It’s not even plugged in.”
Catselides said he wants Republic to be looked at as a more mature spot — somewhere for an affordable date, a lunch meeting or drinks after work — and, when the night gets later, to become more of a lounge atmosphere. The restaurant will also have outdoor seating with heat lamps when the weather warms up.
(Updated at 7:00 p.m.) A new sandwich shop has opened in Clarendon at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Garfield Street.
Le Sandwich, a venture started by Mehdi Ben, opened yesterday at 3033 Wilson Blvd, replacing Street Corner Cafe, which had replaced Paciugo Gelato at the end of 2012. Ben said he signed the lease in early 2014 and was able to open so quickly because the eatery is focused on simplicity.
“We believe that simplicity wins,” he told ARLnow.com today. “That’s why I didn’t want to choose some extravagant [concept]. Sandwiches are what we sell here.”
Ben said the concept for the restaurant is just “a regular guy” who decided he didn’t like the sandwich offerings in the area, so he opened his own restaurant. Instead of creating a list of signature sandwiches, Ben offers customers a list of meats and toppings to put on a baguette or croissant — baked daily in-house — or on a salad with a house vinaigrette.
Among the meats are roasted Wagyu roast beef, fresh herbed ham, gourmet spicy salami. The add-ons included imported dry sausage from France and brie cheese. Ben said the restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner and until 3:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.
Sultana Grill, a Moroccan restaurant at 5515 Wilson Blvd in Bluemont that closed at the end of last year, reopened this month.
New manager Mohamed Ahmed — who had been an employee under the former management — said the reason for the restaurant’s closing was the former manager’s health problems, which forced the restaurant to close some days unannounced.
“There’s basically nothing different,” Ahmed told ARLnow.com. “We’re still specializing in Moroccan food, but we’ve added some Middle Eastern menu items. Also we’ll be open seven days a week now, starting at 10:00 a.m.”
There had been speculation that the restaurant’s lack of an alcohol license had been the reason for its financial problems, but Ahmed dismissed those concerns, and said Sultana still will not be serving alcohol.
(Updated at 3:05 p.m.) The Westover Beer Garden (5863 Washington Blvd), which once struggled to stay open under onerous Arlington County regulations, plans to open a second location near Clarendon next year.
The new beer garden will open on the ground floor of the new Garfield Park apartment building (925 N. Garfield Street). It will features a “beer garden and haus,” a “butcher shop with emphasis on local farms,” and an on-site brewpub that will offer “Arlington County’s first local brew,” according to owner Devin Hicks.
The new beer garden will also serve as a music and event venue and will offer food similar to the current location, but with an expanded menu.
“Our present Beer Garden and Haus utilizes the local, grass fed meats of our in-house butcher shop,” Hicks noted. “Menu items include burgers with house-cured bacon, brisket, pulled pork, house made roast beef, corned beef, sandwiches, salads and a vast array of sides.”
The brewpub will initially offer a double IPA, an IPA, a German-style pilsner and seasonal beers, all brewed on-site, according to Hicks. The brewpub will utilize a 10-15 barrel system, he said, and a brewing line may be made available for select local homebrewers. (A 30-barrel system is typical for a new, production craft brewery.)
“Arlingtonians love their beer and… I think the area’s excited about having a local brew,” said Hicks. “We wanted to stay in Arlington and this seemed like the appropriate spot. The area is begging for a venue like this.”
The outdoor beer garden, in the semi-circular area in front of the Garfield Park building at the corner of Washington Blvd and 10th Street N., will have a 122-person capacity, according to Hicks. The venue’s indoor capacity is 210.
Hicks says he hopes to open the new location by March of 2015.
(Updated at 12:30 p.m.) Comedian Bill Cosby joined Arlington County Board Chairman Jay Fisette and other local notables in helping to open the new Ben’s Chili Bowl in Rosslyn this morning.
Cosby’s jokes and antics drew laughs from the large crowd of media and spectators that gathered to see the ribbon cutting for the iconic U Street eatery’s first stand-alone, brick-and-mortar expansion. Other attendees and speakers included the Ali family, which owns the restaurant; the ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago, late founder Ben Ali’s home country; WPGC DJ Shack Nd Pack; and Rosslyn BID President Mary-Claire Burick.
Cosby joked that as an aging Navy veteran, he was glad to have a Ben’s Chili Bowl near Arlington National Cemetery.
“The reason why this establishment has decided to open here is for me,” he said. “I’m 76-and-a-half years old. I’m going to have my 77th birthday in July… I spent four years in the Navy, which means I am eligible for a military funeral. Now, my can ghost make the trip here instead of flying over to U Street.”
“Over in that cemetery there is no cholesterol,” he continued. “There are no triglycerides. Eat as many as you like. Double down on the cheese and fries. A lot of people may not go to heaven, because this is heaven.”
Arlington County Board Chairman Jay Fisette presented Cosby and Virginia Ali, Ben’s widow, with keys to Arlington. Cosby quipped that he would use it to get out of parking tickets.
“Whoa, who put me on stage after Bill Cosby?” Fisette said, to which Cosby shot back: “your mother did.”
“Thanks for choosing Arlington… for your second spot,” Fisette said. “As I’ve always said, chili for breakfast, chili for lunch, chili for dinner and a half smoke for dessert.”
Customers flooded into the the restaurant following the ribbon cutting, leaving a large crowd outside the doors, waiting to get in. Hundreds showed up to the Colonial Village Shopping Center parking lot to see Cosby speak and get some of the first tastes of chili, half smokes, hamburgers and milkshakes after standing outside in near-freezing temperatures.
The restaurant is located at 1725 Wilson Blvd, in the former Ray’s Hell Burger space. It’s owned and operated by three sons, Nizam, Kamal and Sage, and one daughter, Vida. The family said during the ribbon cutting that the restaurant plans to stay open until 4:30 a.m.
“The chili will sober you up,” Cosby said of Ben’s likely late night customers.
Heavy Seas Alehouse in Rosslyn (1501 Wilson Blvd) opened last week and welcomed big crowds immediately.
General Manager Keith Kirkland said the restaurant has done more than $70,000 in business in just five days, including its soft opening last Wednesday. They’ve also gone through more than 50 kegs of Heavy Seas beer, he said.
“That’s much more than we expected,” he told ARLnow.com today. “Those number are even bigger considering we were shut down yesterday [during the snowstorm].”
The restaurant is open every day at 11:00 a.m. (10:00 a.m. on Sundays) and is open until 2:00 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights. In addition to the seven Heavy Seas beer offered on draft, the alehouse offers six other Virginia beers, eight beer cocktails and lunch and dinner menus.
A new location of the Little Caesars pizza chain is expected to open in the Columbia Pike Plaza shopping center at the corner of Columbia Pike and S. Dinwiddie Street.
The location is in the former AT&T Wireless store at 5025 Columbia Pike, in the shopping center across S. Dinwiddie Street from the Arlington Mill Community Center. There’s no hint of an expected opening date.
The location, when it opens, will be Little Caesars’ second current location in Arlington; its other store is at 5175 Lee Highway and opened late last year.
Paisano’s, the local pizza, pasta and sandwich chain, is coming to the ground floor of the recently-built apartment complex at 2201 N. Pershing Drive.
The eatery plans to sell wine and beer, according to a permit application.
No word yet on an opening date for the new restaurant, which is located in Lyon Park. Paisano’s has one location in Arlington — near Crystal City — in addition to two in Falls Church and one in Alexandria.
Workers erected a sign at the new Ben’s Chili Bowl in Rosslyn this morning.
The sign, advertising the landmark D.C. eatery’s half-smokes, burgers, hot dogs and milkshakes, is now up at 1725 Wilson Blvd, which was formerly the home of Ray’s Hell Burger. (Ray’s moved to a new location across the street.)
Ben’s owner Nizam Ali was originally hoping to open the location — the first in Virginia — as early as New Year’s Day. Due to construction delays the opening is now expected to take place in about two weeks.
We’re told a grand opening celebration is planned for 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 6.
Photo courtesy @hilary1121