(Updated Feb. 23 at 9:45 a.m.) A new Vietnamese restaurant plans to take over the space currently occupied by Toscana Grill in Courthouse.
The owners of Pho Deluxe, which has locations in Fairfax and Tysons Corner, told ARLnow.com that Toscana Grill is closing April 1, after which they will move in.
They hope to be open a month afterward at 2300 Clarendon Blvd, facing Courthouse Plaza.
Owners Hue and Dan Nguyen said the restaurant will specialize in the beef noodle soup, as well as rice dishes and noodle dishes. It will also have a full bar.
Toscana Grill had briefly closed in fall 2013, but reopened under new management.
Next door, meanwhile, Velocity Five’s conversion to Courthaus Social is about to get started. Co-owner Fito Garcia said this morning that the sports bar will be closing “in the coming week” to begin its remodeling to an “American beer garden.” Garcia said he expects the remodeling and staff training to be complete in time to open in April.
A previous version of this story stated Toscana Grill would close March 1. That has been corrected.
Long-Time Clarendon Shoe Store to Close — Public Shoe Store, at 3137 Wilson Blvd in Clarendon, is expected to close in May. The store, which primarily sells “comfort shoes,” has been in business for 75 years. Its owner, 82, is retiring and is looking for a new tenant for the building, which his family owns. [Washington Business Journal]
Home Sales Continue to Rise — The number of home sales in Arlington in January was up 10 percent and the average sales price up 18 percent compared to one year prior, according to new data. The average sales price for all properties is $621,242. For single family homes, it’s $932,253, a hike of nearly 25 percent compared to 2014. [InsideNova]
Arlington Store Makes Top Chocolate Shop List — Artisan Confections, at 1025 N. Fillmore Street in Clarendon, has been named one of DCist’s “favorite local chocolate shops.” The shop “specializes in handmade truffles formed into impeccable squares and imprinted with delicate geometric or nature-inspired patterns.” [DCist]
More Metro Issues — Due to a “medical concern” at East Falls Church, there were delays on the inbound Orange Line this morning. The delays resulted in a very crowded platform at Clarendon. Some delays were also reported on the Blue Line. [Twitter]
Same-Sex Marriage Stats in Arlington – One in nine marriage license applications in Arlington — 11 percent of the total — have been from same-sex couples since October, according to Circuit Court Clerk Paul Ferguson. The first legal same-sex marriage in Arlington took place on Oct. 6, 2014. [InsideNova]
Disease False Alarm at Lubber Run — County officials were informed last week that two children in a preschool program at Lubber Run Community Center had been diagnosed with Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. In response, parents of children in the preschool and a daycare program at the center were notified, toys and surfaces in facility were disinfected, and toys that could not be disinfected were thrown away. Within a day, however, county officials say they were told that the diagnosis was wrong and that the children did not, in fact, have the disease.
Sweet Leaf Now Open in Ballston — The Sweet Leaf Cafe at 650 N. Quincy Street in Ballston opened last week. The cafe is open Monday through Saturday from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and on Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., according to owner Arita Matini.
Storytime with Caps Player at Library — Washington Capitals forward Eric Fehr stopped by the Westover Branch Library Monday night for a reading of his new children’s book, The Bulliest Dozer. Fehr signed books, hockey sticks and at least one library card. [Arlington Public Library]
Citizen Burger Bar, at 1051 N. Highland Street, is now open for business.
The restaurant, which is the second location for the Charlottesville, Va.-based business, officially opened on Thursday. It will remain open seven days a week, serving dinner until 10:30 p.m. and drinks until last call on the weekends.
“The idea is to broaden people’s horizons when it comes to simple, ‘classic American’ fare,” said owner Anderson McClure, an Alexandria native, told ARLnow.com in November. “We want to serve great food and drinks, and do it in a way that might also change people’s perception and standards.”
Among its menu items is “The Executive,” a $24 burger topped with foie gras, bacon, black onions, a fried egg, garlic aioli and truffled brioche. The other menu items range from $6-$15, and burgers can come with an assortment of toppings, like Maine lobster (for $8), fried pickles, chili and one of seven cheeses.
Hat tip to @ChrisKinard
Rosslyn: Hub of Hillary Intrigue — Rosslyn is home to an organization devoted to helping Hillary Clinton’s presidential prospects, an organization that spends much of its time trying to dig up dirt on Hillary, and a news organization that is covering the 2016 presidential race. This has created some awkward moments at Rosslyn’s few after-work watering holes. Concludes a magazine article: “The epicenter of the country’s great Hillary debate remains a small, charm-deficient enclave across the river from D.C.” [National Journal]
State Legislators Pass Uber Bill — Both houses of the Virginia General Assembly have passed a bill that would allow ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft to operate legally in the Commonwealth. [Washington Business Journal]
Bachelor Contestant Is From Arlington — Jillian Anderson, a now-former contestant on this season of ABC’s “The Bachelor,” is an Arlington resident. Anderson, 25, is described as a competitive weightlifter and an “outspoken gym junkie.” [WJLA]
Crystal City: City of the Future? — Paul Singh, founder of Crystal City-based Disruption Corporation and its Crystal Tech Fund, says he wants to model a “sustainable model for an American city of the future” in Crystal City. “Our efforts in the city should be a 100-year legacy,” he said. [Technically DC]
Flickr pool photo by Jim Webster
(Updated at 5:10 p.m.) All that stands between Crystal City’s newest bar and its future, thirsty patrons is an Alcohol Beverage Control Board inspector.
Highline RXR, on the second floor of 2010 Crystal Drive, is built out with reclaimed wood and windows from barnhouses and industrial facilities across the country. Co-owner Peter Bayne said once the ABC inspector comes, he must order about $30,000 worth of beer and liquor and set them all up before opening. He predicts the bar will open this weekend.
Walking up the staircase — designed to look like an industrial train car and painted by a local artist — to the entrance of the large space, you’re greeted with several arcade games, including Monopoly pinball. In a back room, there’s Big Buck Hunter, Golden Tee and Ms. Pacman. The space is open and lined with giant windows.
The bar is broken into a front and back area. The front, where patrons enter, has a space for a stage and the major tap system, which includes 24 standard taps and six beer taps on a separate system that will be rotated more frequently and feature rarer beers. There will also be four red and four white wines on tap. Next to the bar is a custom-built shelf that will have 20 to 30 board games from Monopoly to Settlers of Catan.
To enter the back area, patrons must cross through a floor-to-ceiling “window wall,” built with windows from an old factory. The wall can open to create one big space, or close for private parties or when the back room’s windows are open. The windows in the back room can open enough to make it feel “almost like you’re outdoors,” Bayne said. People on the street will be able to see and hear the activity in the bar above.
“Part of the challenge of this place was finding a way to get people up to the second floor,” Bayne said. “By opening this window, it lets us engage with the street so people can really see that activity.”
There are 72 total beer taps — with two dozen in the back area as well — and if Bayne decided he didn’t want to duplicate, he could offer more distinct draft beers than any other restaurant in Arlington. But “that would take a lot of coordination.” He paused for a second, “maybe we could do it for an Oktoberfest party. That would be amazing.”
Bayne is the co-owner of Bedrock Bars, which also owns the Continental in Rosslyn, Carpool in Ballston and Penn Social and Buffalo Billiards in D.C. Despite his wealth of experience opening bars in the area, Bayne oozes enthusiasm over his newest venture.
“We just want to be the best bar in the area,” he said. He looks across the street at Disruption Corporation and the new startup economy beginning to breathe life into Crystal City and can’t help but get excited. “They’re bringing a creative, young energy to this area. We hope to give them a fun bar to go to.”
“Top Chef” contestant Mike Isabella’s first restaurant venture in Arlington is finally opening its doors tomorrow (Tuesday).
Kapnos Taverna was announced September 2013 and planned for summer 2014. As most openings in the local restaurant industry go, delays pushed Kapnos Taverna’s debut back significantly — Isabella said they were waiting for the building at 4000 Wilson Blvd to finish construction.
The two-story 165-seat restaurant will feature small plates of largely southern and coastal Greek food. (Kapnos in the District, sister eatery to the new Ballston location, specializes in northern Greek fare.)
Isabella said he wants people to think beyond gyros and souvlaki when they think of Greek food.
“My goal is to tell people what Greek food is,” he told ARLnow.com while taste-testing dishes last week. “I want to show people aspects of the cuisine people aren’t aware of. There’s so much more to it than people think.”
The menu for Kapnos Taverna includes shellfish “platters” and “towers” for $75 and $125, respectively, and Isabella said the sauces and spreads are being brought over from Kapnos. The small plates range in price from $6 to $15 and tables can also order spit-roasted chickens — one of Isabella’s favorite menu items, along with the swordfish kebabs — and full lamb shoulders.
There will be a full cocktail program, four beers on tap as well as a moschofilero white wine on tap.
Two more Isabella-owned restaurants in Kapnos Taverna’s building will soon be opening. Pepita, the Mexican cantina that Isabella calls more “drink-centric” is in the pipeline for this spring. Yona, a restaurant that will specialize in ramen, won’t have Isabella behind the menu and plans to open this summer.
“We’re going to focus on these three concepts for a while,” Isabella said. “This is going to be our hub, and after opening these, we’re probably done in Arlington for a while.”
Whole wheat bakery and cafe Spring Mill Bread Co. might be the latest local retail chain to make the Pershing Drive section of Lyon Park its new home.
Spring Mill Bread has locations on Capitol Hill and in Bethesda and Gaithersburg. It’s in discussions to move into a vacant retail space at 2209 Pershing Drive, ARLnow.com has learned.
Hat tip to Chris Slatt (@alongthepike)
Kona Grill, an Arizona-based sushi and seafood restaurant chain, is planning to open its next location in Rosslyn, across from the Colonial Village Shopping Center.
Building permit applications were filed in November and are undergoing review by county planning staff. If it opens as planned, the location could be Kona’s second in Virginia and first in the D.C. area. The chain has one restaurant near Richmond and one in Baltimore.
Kona’s menu features its sushi and cocktails, but also has gluten-free, vegan and “skinny” options, as well as fusion dishes like beef bulgogi tacos, Hawaiian ribeye steak and, for “Pulp Fiction” fans, a Big Kahuna cheeseburger.
Hat tip to Chris Slatt (@alongthepike)
The Board is scheduled to vote on the lease at its Saturday meeting. The lease calls for rent of the 1,875 square foot restaurant space inside the community center to start at $43,200 annually, or $23.04 per square foot. That will rise to more than $30 per square foot by the end of the lease.
The tenant is Alami Abderrahim, a former manager at Lebanese Taverna and owner of the now-closed Moroccan restaurant Souk on H Street NE in D.C.
“Mr. Abderrahim is a cooking enthusiast and has a cooking channel on YouTube,” county staff note in a report to the Board. “He currently owns and operates a women’s clothing store in the District, Tangerine Boutique, which he plans to continue operating.”
At Arlington Mill, Abderrahim plans to open a cafe called “Root,” which will serve “fresh and healthy Mediterranean cuisine” along with “coffee and coffee-based drinks, tea, soup, hot and cold sandwiches, salads, juices, breakfast, various entrees, and a small selection of pastries.”
The coffee, breakfast and lunch/dinner menus for Root have already been posted online. The restaurant will front Columbia Pike on the Dinwiddie Street level of the building.
The lease calls for Abderrahim to pay utility costs and real estate taxes, but the county will foot the bill for $290,000 worth of necessary construction, including a new HVAC system, vents and utility equipment.
The county estimates the restaurant will open at some point during the latter half of 2015.
The former tenant of the space, Pan American Bakery and Cafe, was released from its lease last year. The county said the owners backed out of the lease “because of personal and family health problems.”
Target Eyes Rosslyn — A vacant storefront at 1500 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn may become home to the D.C. region’s first TargetExpress, a smaller, grocery-oriented version of the big box retailer’s stores. So far, Target has not confirmed the news. The storefront has previously hosted Rosslyn BID-sponsored pop-up market events. [Washington Business Journal]
Key Bridge Rehab Planned — The D.C. Department of Transportation is planning to begin a two-year rehabilitation project on the Key Bridge this spring. Most of the work will focus on the bridge’s substructure so traffic impacts will be limited. Other planned work includes new LED streetlights, stronger barriers between the road and the sidewalk, and a new paint job for the bridge’s fence. [Georgetown Dish]
Sub $2 Gas in Arlington — The average price of a gallon of regular grade gasoline in Virginia fell to $1.99 over the weekend, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic. That’s the lowest statewide average price since May 2009. So far in Arlington, only one gas station is reported to have $1.99 gas: the Arlington Auto Service station at 5200 Columbia Pike. [VirginiaGasPrices]
AYD to Hold SOTU Watch Party — Arlington Young Democrats will be holding a watch party for tonight’s State of the Union address. The party starts at 7:30 p.m. at Mad Rose Tavern in Clarendon (3100 Clarendon Blvd). President Obama’s address is scheduled to start at 9:00 p.m. For those looking for an ostensibly non-partisan watch party, Busboys and Poets in Shirlington (4251 S. Campbell Ave) is holding a “community watch event” starting at 8:00 p.m. [Arlington Young Democrats]
Blind Woman’s Luggage Returned Thanks to TV Station — WJLA’s “7 On Your Side” segment helped a blind Arlington resident retrieve her lost luggage at Reagan National Airport. The bag, reportedly containing all of Jessica Kyriazis’ winter clothes, was lost for several days by American Airlines due to circumstances arising from “bad weather.” [WJLA]
Taylor Gourmet Now Open at DCA — A Taylor Gourmet is now open at Reagan National Airport. It’s the latest in a line of trendy local restaurants that are opening at the airport this year, including Cava Grill, &pizza, Bracket Room, Lebanese Taverna Grill, Kapnos Taverna, and El Centro D.F. [Washington City Paper]
Flickr pool photo by Brian Allen
Brixx Pizza is planning on opening its second location in the D.C. area in a new building next to the alleyway behind CVS. The site is owned by Gene Roberts, who also owns the CVS, and is already under lease to Brixx Pizza.
The restaurant will be the building’s sole occupant and take up 3,700 square feet of space, Roberts told ARLnow.com this afternoon. Roberst is looking at a mid-summer opening.
“I was very impressed with [the owners] when I met them last year,” Roberts said. “It’s good pizza.”
The business offers carryout but not delivery, and its focus is on sit-down customers at the restaurant. The location is expected to serve beer and wine, and, according to the chain’s website, it has a “Masters of Beer Appreciation” loyalty program and offers several craft beer options.
Brixx hopes to distinguish itself from the Clarendon pizza scene already occupied by Goody’s, Pete’s Apizza and Bronx N.Y. Pizza.
Sweet Leaf Cafe is preparing to open its second location in Arlington next month in the county’s most popular spot for new restaurants.
The location, at 650 N. Quincy Street, will be one building over from 4000 Wilson Blvd, which houses Taylor Gourmet, which opened in July, and upcoming restaurants Kapnos Taverna, Pepita Cantina and ramen restaurant Yona.
Sweet Leaf’s fourth cafe will have the same menu as the others — the original was in Vienna and there’s another in McLean — but owner Arita Matini said the menu for all of her restaurants will change next week.
Matini has been planning on opening in Ballston for a while — the Courthouse location surprised her with how quickly it became a popular lunch destination — and is excited about the other restaurants coming in.
“We welcome the competition,” she told ARLnow.com today. “It’s crazy, the whole area is really changing. The more that’s there, the more that people will be attracted to the area.”
Matini said she’s exploring opening more locations in Great Falls or potentially D.C.
A permit has been filed for a new restaurant — “Texas Jack’s Barbecue” — at 2761 Washington Blvd. That’s the former address of Tallula and EatBar, which closed in October after the owner was “unable to reach an agreement with the landlord on renewing Tallula’s lease.”
Texas Jack’s co-owner Steve Roberts talked to ARLnow.com Tuesday afternoon and said he hopes to open the restaurant by April or May. Roberts said Texas Jack’s will be a neighborhood-centric restaurant serving “classic central Texas barbecue.” Roberts noted that he has no plans for making Texas Jack’s a franchise — rather, he and his business partner plan on treating it as their “second home.”
Roberts, a Montana native who describes himself as a restaurant veteran and a long-time Virginia resident, says Texas Jack’s is named after Texas Jack, a famous Virginia-born Texas cowboy who also served as a courier and scout during the Civil War.
Texas Jack’s will be open for lunch, dinner and late night bar service (until 2:00 a.m.). The original Whitey’s bar, used by EatBar, will remain.
Roberts said he an his management team have a “love and a passion for barbecue.” He anticipates utilizing Southern Pride barbecue smokers, which will be in use “all day long.”
“We want to do it right,” he said.
Flickr pool photo by Dan Brown
Rosslyn is finally getting a restaurant that serves pizza by the slice.
Wiseguy NY Pizza is opening a location, at 1735 N. Lynn Street, in the former Quiznos Subs location. In October, Wiseguy owner Tony Errol told Eater.com that the shop should open “in about three months or so.” So far, Wiseguy has not replied to a request for comment from ARLnow.com.
The pizza place’s first location is on 3rd Street and Massachusetts Ave. NW in the District, where it has received plaudits for coming close to replicating authentic New York-style pizza. It claims to make its pizza with “New Yorkinized water” thanks to a “special filter system.”
The eatery also offers garlic knots — a rare sight in the District — and cheesecake from New York staple Junior’s Cheesecake.