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by ARLnow.com — May 27, 2015 at 11:00 am 2,242 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 1,750 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

by Ethan Rothstein — April 17, 2015 at 12:00 pm 3,117 0

District Taco, the Mexican restaurant that started as a taco cart in Rosslyn five years ago, is coming back to the neighborhood.

Owner Osiris Hoil said he signed a lease today to occupy 3,000 square feet at 1500 Wilson Blvd, in a storefront across Clarendon Blvd from Starbucks. It will be a welcome sight to District Taco’s fans in the neighborhood, who haven’t been able to partake of all-day breakfast burritos and other favorites since the cart closed last year.

“Oh man, I’m super excited for this,” Hoil told ARLnow.com over the phone this morning, hours after finalizing the paperwork. “We have a lot of customers in Rosslyn that love us, and I’m excited to go back with them.”

The space will be District Taco’s seventh location, and he’s planning to sign leases for three more by the end of the year, including another one somewhere in Arlington. Hoil’s original brick-and-mortar store is still going strong at 5723 Lee Highway, he said, and the customer service and atmosphere there is what he tries to replicate at all of his shops.

“The Arlington location is the original, and that one works very well,” he said. “We are a young company, we’re very excited, and we have a lot of energy.”

The buildout of his locations usually takes about five months, Hoil said, putting the Rosslyn store’s opening on track for mid-September this year.

by Ethan Rothstein — April 14, 2015 at 1:00 pm 2,362 0

Another new pizza place in Rosslyn opened to the public yesterday.

Spinfire Pizza, at 1501 Wilson Blvd, is in the middle of a soft opening, training staff and preparing its 90-second, custom-made pizzas starting at 11:00 a.m. every day. It joins its neighbor just a few blocks away, Wiseguy NY Pizza, as new businesses opening this month serving the Italian staple.

The restaurant offers personal pizzas with up to four toppings for $8.99, and toppings range from pizza staples like pepperoni and mushrooms to Sriracha sausage, candied pecans and dried cranberries. It also make calzones, which, like the pizzas, are baked for 90 seconds in Spinfire’s custom, rotating oven.

The restaurant is owned by Paisano’s owner Fouad Qreitem and Washington Redskins receiver Pierre Garçon. The co-owners will be in Rosslyn on April 30, when Spinfire holds its grand opening celebration.

by Ethan Rothstein — April 2, 2015 at 3:30 pm 2,476 0

Rosslyn’s only pizza-by-the-slice restaurant is now open, but only for lunch for the next few weeks.

Wiseguy NY Pizza opened quietly for lunch yesterday at 1735 N. Lynn Street, but by noon today there was a line out the door as owner Tony Errol’s sought after slices were being offered for half-off.

“We’ll get better,” a sweaty Errol told ARLnow.com as he and his new staff were deluged with customers. “We’re still training.”

Errol didn’t tell anyone he’d opened, hoping that crowds would be light to break in his new restaurant. That backfired, as Rosslyn’s pizza-starved lunch crowd learned of Wiseguy’s arrival. The pizza place will open for full hours and service on April 20, Errol said.

For now, Wiseguy is only offering slices of pizza, garlic knots and Junior’s Cheesecake, which is shipped from the legendary bakery in New York.

Wiseguy is not the only pizza restaurant to open its doors to the Rosslyn crowds this month. Spinfire Pizza, at 1501 Wilson Blvd, is planning to launch “early to mid-April.”

Spinfire — co-owned by Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garçon and Paisano’s Pizza owner Fouad Qreitem — promises to make its personalized, single-size pizzas in 90 seconds.

by Ethan Rothstein — April 2, 2015 at 10:00 am 4,002 0

Courthaus Social logo from Facebook

(Updated on 4/10/15) Velocity 5 in Courthouse has been closed for weeks, but this month it will be reborn as Courthaus Social.

The “American beer garden” concept at the sports bar space at 2300 Clarendon Blvd has been in the works for years, but owners Fito Garcia and Nema Sayadian are completing the final buildout now, preparing to open by the end of April.

“Courthaus Social is the perfect spot for a happy hour, a pit stop en route to the city or a final destination to spend an entire evening,” Garcia said in a press release. “Our beer garden is dedicated to remaining an establishment that delivers unforgettable experiences to every guest. Whether you live in Arlington or are here for a few days… Grab a boot and sip, savor, and share in the spirit of beer and great food.”

Velocity 5 in CourthouseThe opening has been pushed back from its original April 13 date, but the owners hope that by the end of the month Courthaus Social will be ready to go, serving two-liter boots and steins of 30 beers on tap, with long benches for social seating.

Sayadian told ARLnow.com that the interior will look wildly different from the Velocity 5 the area has come to know.

“It’s night and day, a 180-degree difference,” he said.

Garcia said the beer garden will have “life-size games” and will be community-focused, focusing on Virginia breweries and “humanely raised, free range” meats. It will be open from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. daily.

Photo (top) via Facebook

by Ethan Rothstein — March 31, 2015 at 4:45 pm 1,165 0

Rolls By U in the Colonial Village Shopping Center Rolls By U in the Colonial Village Shopping Center

A new sushi restaurant appears to be moving in to the Colonial Village Shopping Center, next to the IceBerry frozen yogurt shop, at 1713 Wilson Blvd.

Rolls By U has put construction paper in the windows and simple signs on the door, with the business’ name, plus “where u create,” typed out on its logo.

The restaurant’s Twitter account has tweeted just twice, but its bio says “coming to Arlington this spring” and its second tweet includes the hashtag “#createyourown,” implying a do-it-yourself sushi concept.

When Rolls By U, does open, it figures to have some competition, with Kona Grill and Sushi coming in across the street and Cafe Asia and Kanpai serving sushi just a few blocks down Wilson Blvd.

by Ethan Rothstein — March 30, 2015 at 3:30 pm 5,680 0

(Updated at 7:00 p.m.) The Curious Grape, the wine bar and shop in Shirlington, closed Saturday night, but a new restaurant will be taking its place shortly.

Coming in to the location on 2900 S. Quincy Street will be Osteria da Nino Cucina Italiana & Bar, an Italian restaurant that plans to start its soft opening on Thursday, its owners told ARLnow.com today.

The restaurant is being launched by a pair of couples and helmed by Italian chef Nino Pino, who has worked at a number of restaurants in Northern Virginia, including Palio Ristorante in Leesburg. Crews will be working around the clock until Thursday night, when Osteria da Nino hopes to get in a few practice runs before a planned Easter brunch on Sunday.

The turnaround might catch some by surprise — many restaurant openings take more than a year in Arlington. Even more so because The Curious Grape had been a Village at Shirlington staple for more than a decade.

“As most people know, running a restaurant is really a 24/7 commitment,” Curious Grape owner Suzanne McGrath said in an email. “Actively managing the restaurant has also diverted my efforts away from wine education, which is really my career focus. We have so appreciated all the support of our loyal customers and the wonderful people who enjoyed The Curious Grape.”

Osteria is looking for waitstaff, bussers and kitchen staff to join the team immediately, and is asking those interested to apply in person.

by Ethan Rothstein — March 23, 2015 at 1:15 pm 4,118 0

3400 Columbia Pike, the potential location of a Chipotle  3400 Columbia Pike, the potential location of a Chipotle

A Chipotle Mexican Grill could be coming to the ground floor of an apartment building on Columbia Pike.

A construction permit has been filed with Arlington County to build out a Chipotle restaurant in the new Pike 3400 building, at the corner of the Pike and S. Glebe Road. The building is being developed by the Penrose Group and managed by Kettler.

The permit is in the early stages — the first application was submitted on Friday — and does not necessarily mean Chipotle has signed a lease. Spring Mill Bread Co. was in talks to come to Pershing Drive in January when the property owner filed for construction permits on the business’ behalf, and RA Sushi in Clarendon is in the same situation.

The location would be Chipotle’s sixth in Arlington, with locations already in Rosslyn, Ballston, Crystal City, the Pentagon City mall and along Lee Highway.

Hat tip to Chris Slatt

by Ethan Rothstein — March 19, 2015 at 11:00 am 1,741 0

Sushi will soon be available just steps from the Ballston Metro station.

A new restaurant called Sushi 2Go is moving into the space next to Italian bakery Tivoli Gourmet, in the Metro plaza at the corner of Fairfax Drive and N. Stuart Street.

Previously in the space was Primo Fresh Deli, which served smoothies and sandwiches. According to Yelp reviews of Primo Fresh, the space is very small. Said one reviewer, “Depending on the speed of your gait, you could probably cross the whole damn place by the time you say ‘One Mississippi.'”

Any indication as to what the place will serve — outside of, presumably, grab-and-go Sushi — was not evident from the outside, nor was any notices for building or an opening date.

Hat tip to @HeatherMCarroll

by Ethan Rothstein — March 17, 2015 at 4:45 pm 3,963 0

A new, fast-casual, healthy restaurant in Clarendon has opened its doors at 1028 N. Garfield Street.

Bowl’d marries the quick, customizable serving style popularized by Chipotle with healthy, gluten-free options.

Customers can choose a base of brown or white rice, quinoa or greens, and build their own bowls with ingredients like baby kale, broccoli, garbanzo beans, carrots, mushrooms, red bell peppers and cabbage, along with chicken, grass-fed steak or tofu. Each bowl has at least two servings of vegetables in it, owner Allen Reed told ARLnow.com.

Bowl’d also offers pre-made bowls like the Mediterranean, Reed’s favorite: brown rice, garbanzo beans, broccoli, carrots, red bell pepper, red onion, mushrooms and baby kale, with sun-dried tomato olive sauce and feta cheese, for $7.75. Reed said he likes it because “it’s a bit different… it’s a bold-flavored sauce like most of our options, but different from our Asian and Southwest-inspired bowls.”

The restaurant opened to the public on Friday and will hold a grand opening on Saturday, March 21. It opens at 10:30 a.m. on weekdays and 11:00 a.m. on weekends, and closes at 9:00 p.m. every day but Sunday, when it closes at 8:00 p.m. Customers who come in during the grand opening get “a sweet treat” to go with their bowl.

“Some people who showed up on the first day have come back the next day and the next day,” Reed said. “This is a place that can be part of a person’s routine, because we’re trying to make it easier to eat better.”

All of the items are made in-house, Reed said, including the all-fruit smoothies that are sweetened with apple juice, pineapple juice or stevia, not frozen yogurt or ice cream. He’s particularly fond of the “whole kitchen sink” smoothie, made of berries, mango, baby kale, flaxseed, and rice protein powder.

“It’s a great grab-and-go portable meal,” Reed said.

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