The second location of the Westover Beer Garden, expected to open near Clarendon in March 2015, is beginning to take shape.
The establishment will be called the Sehkraft Beer Garden and Haus, a play on words of “sehkraft,” which is German for vision or eyesight, but pronounced “say craft,” owner Devin Hicks said. The brewpub, at 925 N. Garfield Street, expects have a 10-barrel system to brew beer in-house, five taps straight from the tanks to the bar, five taps for house-made kegged beers and collaborations with other breweries, and 30 “guest” beer taps.
“We’ll do growler fills, which should be a big hit,” Hicks told ARLnow.com this morning. “Right now we’re working on getting some of our beers to be distributed so we can send them to various bars and restaurants. It’s legal in Virginia, but Arlington zoning has deemed it to not be permissible within Arlington County. We’re looking into fixing that with our lawyers that helped us with the county in Westover.”
The head brewer for Sehkraft Brewing will be John Peters, who most recently was the lead brewer for Lost Rhino in Ashburn. Peters worked with Hicks for a collaboration beer – a triple IPA with 150 bitterness units and 10.1 percent alcohol by volume – in 2012. Hicks said he already is planning collaborations with established West Coast breweries Stone Brewing and Sierra Nevada.
In addition, head chef Jay Jenks, currently the head chef at Westover Beer Garden, will be in charge of Sehkraft’s kitchen. The 10,000-square foot space will have a butcher shop, a small market, and seating for 210 on the inside and 122 in the outdoor beer garden. Hicks said he will soon be applying for a live music permit, and is in the application process for ABC permits.
“This is desired and deserved for Arlingtonians,” Hicks said. “It’s going to be really exciting for everybody. We’re going to have great beers, a lot of guest brewers from notable brewers across the country… The importance of beer gardens in Europe is pretty huge. It’s always been a social gathering spot for drinking their local beers, and we want to bring an American version of that.”
Sandwich chain Capriotti’s plans to open its storefront at 1500 Wilson Blvd on Tuesday, July 29.
The shop is currently finishing renovations, but Director of Operations for Capriotti’s D.C. franchises Joe Combs was passing out flyers to passersby last week in an effort to recruit employees.
Capriotti’s had hoped to open the Rosslyn location last January, but only announced it had signed its lease in April. The Rosslyn location will be open Monday through Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday 11:00 p.m. to 7:00.
“We’re known for our fresh pulled turkey and our fresh roast beef,” Combs said. “Our sandwich ‘The Bobbie’ was voted best sandwich in America by AOL. It’s basically Thanksgiving on a roll.” The Bobbie comes with pulled-turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing and mayonnaise.
Founded in Delaware in 1976, Capritotti’s is now based in Las Vegas and has 105 locations nationwide. Some Arlington residents may have already gotten their first taste of The Bobbie from Capriotti’s booth at Taste of Arlington.
SpinFire Pizza, the 90-second pizza concept coming to 1501 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn, is planning a fall opening.
The restaurant will use a rotating oven to cook personal pizzas for customers in less than two minutes, it says in a press release. The 2,300-square-foot eatery will also serve salad, gelato and “a robust beer and wine selection.”
The location will be SpinFire’s second when it opens; there’s another being built in Ashburn, a few miles from the Redskins’ practice facility.
“We are very excited to build our second SpinFire location in Rosslyn with its compelling resident demographics, strong daytime office population, and a true 24/7 live, work and play environment,” Garçon said in the release.
Local deli and catering chain Taylor Gourmet is officially open in Ballston at 4000 Wilson Blvd today.
After a soft opening last Friday and Saturday, in which the sandwich and salad shop offered a free meal to those who stopped in, Taylor Gourmet’s owner Casey Patten announced this morning that his ninth location would be opening to the public at 11:00 this morning.
“The response from the soft opening was great,” Patten said in an email. “Really good feedback from customers that stopped by… This was the spark the team needed to work through the weekend to get the store ready for opening ASAP. We’re excited and want folks to come by before and after the World Cup game.”
The deli, at the corner of Wilson and N. Quincy Street, will be open from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily.
Taylor Gourmet, the D.C.-area deli and catering chain, will open in Ballston “either next week or the one after,” according to owner Casey Patten.
This afternoon the restaurant — located at 4000 Wilson Blvd, on the corner of N. Quincy Street — held a soft opening, allowing some to come in and try a sandwich or salad for free. Tomorrow (Saturday) from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Taylor is offering the same deal, provided those who want to try the food first email Hilary Chattler at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Patten said he’s hoping the soft openings give his staff and restaurant — the chain’s ninth location, and second in Virginia — time to practice, since “perfect practice makes perfect.”
“We want to spend some time to get things right,” he said. After tomorrow’s soft opening, the plan is to re-evaluate, do a little more interior work, and open within the next two weeks.
The sandwich shop’s specialty is a menu full of “cooked-from-scratch” items, Patten said, including roasting its own turkey, pork and roast beef in house and having freshly baked bread delivered twice a day.
“You won’t find a freezer in any of our restaurants,” he said. “The end goal is just to make the best sandwich we possibly can.”
Taylor Gourmet’s menu includes sandwiches with ingredients like “garlicky spinach,” white bean hummus, roasted cauliflower, as well as a kale side salad and a chickpea salad. The deli will deliver to the surrounding area, caters for groups from “10 to 5,000,” Chattler said, and plans to have WiFi when it opens, or soon after.
“We’ve wanted to come to Ballston for a long time,” Patten said. “We’d been trying to find space here for about two years. It’s kind of the perfect place for us. It’s young, super hip, there’s plenty of stuff to do and has daytime businesses as well as residents.”
Five Rideshare Drivers Nabbed in Arlington — Arlington police have issued citations to five drivers of rideshare services like Uber and Lyft since June 5, the department says. The drivers were all pulled over for separate traffic infractions and admitted to driving for the services, which are currently operating illicitly in Virginia. [Washington Post]
Teens Arrested for Skate Park Vandalism — Four teenagers have been arrested and charged with causing $35,000 in damage to the Powhatan Springs Skate Park earlier this month. The teens are accused of painting “graffiti containing vulgar language” at the park, which was closed until county crews could clean it up. [NBC Washington]
Arlingtonian Wins, Then Loses at Wimbledon — For the second year in a row, Arlington resident and tennis pro Denis Kudla advanced to the second round of Wimbledon. Kudla, 21, defeated Turkey’s Marsel Ilhan in the first round of the tournament before falling to No. 10 seed Kei Nishikori of Japan in straight sets. [Wimbledon]
Wine Bar Coming to Rosslyn — Bistro 360, a wine bar and gourmet market from Cassatt’s Kiwi Cafe owner Art Hauptman, is coming to the former Cafe Assorti space at 1800 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. The wine bar will have as many as 140 seats indoors and outdoors. Bistro 360 hopes to open its doors by the end of the summer. [Washington Business Journal]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
(Updated at 1:15 p.m.) Spice, the Italian hoagie and Mediterranean food shop at 3033 Wilson Blvd, is now open.
The shop is at the former location of “Le Sandwich,” a French-style sandwich shop that was open for all of 10 days before owner Yasser Mohamed dissolved the business and dismissed its operator. After Le Sandwich closed, Mohamed planned to open Spice to showcase his wife’s “amazing cooking.”
“Right now we’re happy,” Mohamed said. “Our customers seem happy and we’re getting repeats.”
The daily menu includes a variety of Italian cold-cut sandwiches, including a duck prosciutto hoagie, with prices ranging from $7.49 to $10.99. On Monday and Wednesday, Spice sells its chicken, fish and shrimp tacos, with guacamole that Mohamed describes as “so fresh.”
Mohamed also sells his wife’s hummus, moussaka, lentil salad, baba ghanoush and specialty Mediterranean platters that come with saffron rice and salad. The Greek salad with wild Alaskan salmon has been a hit with customers, Mohamed said.
Spice will extend its hours of operation and expand its menu within the next three months to include breakfast, then dinner. The shop is currently open from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., but will open at 7:00 a.m. as soon it can accommodate the breakfast rush.
“My wife does all the cooking and she gets very tired,” Mohamed said. “We want to keep the quality high, so for now we’re just pushing lunch.”
He said he will hire more employees soon. Presently he works a 16-hour day between Spice and his neighboring business, Larry’s Homemade Ice Cream, and his wife works a 12-hour day, “but that’s business.”
Mohamed is also expecting a liquor license for Spice before summer ends, which will be essential when the restaurant eventually serves dinner. Despite the limited hours, Mohamed said he’s been selling out of food almost every day.
“Last Tuesday we were slammed at lunch,” he said. “We sold out by 3:00.”
Despite signs posted on ground floor windows at the new 3001 Washington Blvd office building in Clarendon, we’re told that Chipotle is not, in fact, coming soon to the building.
The signs appeared on the windows at the corner of Washington Blvd and N. Garfield Street yesterday. Conspicuously, they were posted on the outside of the windows.
“We don’t have a sign on 3001 that says that… we haven’t been in any discussions with them,” said John Asadoorian, whose firm, Asadoorian Retail Solutions, is handling leasing for the building’s retail spaces.
The fake signs have, however, sparked jubilation among some local residents. On the Facebook page of the 1021 Clarendon condominium building across the street, residents who are soon to be disappointed were effusive in their temporary excitement.
“My dream has come true,” said one Facebook poster. “Now just walking distance!”
“OMG!” said another.
“Praise God! I have tears in my eyes,” wrote yet another.
Though it likely won’t generate the same level of Chipotlemania, there is at least one new restaurant coming to 3001 Washington Blvd that should generate some buzz. Citizen Burger Bar is expanding from its original Charlottesville location to a new location at the corner of N. Highland Street and 11th Street. The restaurant specializes in custom burgers and craft beers, but also serves sandwiches, wine and cocktails.
Also planned for 3001 Washington Blvd is a restaurant called “Bowl’d.” The owner appears to be a Donaldson Run resident, but no other information about the restaurant or the type of food it will serve was immediately available.
(Updated at 5:50 p.m. on 6/19/14) Cafe Caturra (2931 S. Glebe Road) is expected to close in order to be converted into a Tazza Kitchen restaurant.
The restaurant opened in the Arlington Ridge Shopping Center in September 2011. It is expected to close for renovations in the near future, though no timeline has yet been set, according to co-owner Jeff Grant, the founder of Cafe Caturra. The restaurant has applied for but has not yet been granted building permits.
After renovations, it would then reopen as Tazza Kitchen, which serves cuisine inspired by the Mediterranean coast and Baja California. Tazza Kitchen currently has locations in Richmond and Raleigh, N.C., with another coming soon to Columbia, S.C.
As of December, dinner entrees ranged in price from $9.50 to $16.50, according to a glowing review by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
“No one is really doing that kind of food here at that price point,” said Lawrence Blake, a Cafe Caturra employee in Arlington.
Hat tip to @alongthepike
A restaurant called “The Celtic House,” from a company called “Green Brigade LLC,” has applied for a permit to serve wine, beer and mixed beverages at 2500 Columbia Pike, in the Arlington Village Shopping Center. That’s the current home of Manee Thai restaurant, which has been open for 13-14 years.
“Mo,” a man identifying himself as the owner of Manee Thai, told ARLnow.com today that he is in talks to sell the restaurant and retire. But he said nothing has been finalized.
“We have nothing going on yet,” he said. “We are still talking.”
No company phone number was listed for The Celtic House or Green Brigade LLC. The Virginia State Corporation Commission and Arlington County have no record of an LLC by the name of “Green Brigade.”
Another Irish-themed watering hole, P. Brennan’s Irish Pub (2910 Columbia Pike), has been open just down the street since 2010.
We, The Pizza, the pizza shop launched by former Top Chef contestant Spike Mendelsohn, is now open in Crystal City.
Located next to TechShop in the Shops at 2100 Crystal Drive, the pizza shop has only been open “a couple of days” according to a manager in the store, and it was still crowded for lunch at 1:30 p.m. today. The shop has signs posted alerting customers “Staff is training (Be Gentle).”
The shop is open from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. daily and serves slices of 16 custom pizzas, including a chicken poblano spicy Mexican pie, a Mortadella pico de gallo pie and a Cajun chicken and andouille pie. Slices of each pie cost $4 and a cheese slice costs $3. A medium full pizza of any style costs $18 and a large costs $20.
The restaurant also offers wings and salads, and boasts that many of its ingredients are sourced from local farms in Maryland, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Mendelsohn also owns the Good Stuff Eatery burger shop two doors down from We, The Pizza.
A combination Mediterranean restaurant and Italian hoagie shop could be opening at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Garfield Street in Clarendon as early as Friday.
“Spice” will occupy the same space that housed Le Sandwich for 10 days and previously was home to Cafe Wilson, Paciugo Gelato and Street Corner Cafe. Its owner, Yasser Mohamed, who also owns and operate Larry’s Homemade Ice Cream across the street, held the lease for Le Sandwich and said he saw “the store going downhill fast” and “didn’t like it,” so he decided to kick out Le Sandwich and its operator, Mehdi Ben, and give his wife the space for a restaurant.
“My wife is a great cook who always dreamed of opening her own store, so it was an opportunity for her,” Mohamed told ARLnow.com this afternoon. “She’s going to be making Mediterranean dishes and cold and hot hoagies.”
Mohamed said the hoagies will have meats shipped from different cities in Italy, as well as “apple hickory duck prosciutto,” which he described as “expensive, but very tasty.” He said the store will also have a salad bar, and most dishes will range from $7.50 to about $14.
“I think my price compared to my rent and expenses is very fair,” he said. “It’s been 24 years in the retail business, it’s all I know. We want to sell a lot and make a little. I’m not a greedy guy.”
Mohamed said some of the Mediterranean dishes will include rosemary lamb shanks, baked salmon and lemon ginger chicken, which will be served with rice and vegetables on the side. Spice will open at 11:00 a.m. and close at 9:00 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday, and Mohamed said he plans to stay open until 3:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.
The restaurant will undergo a health inspection this week, according to Mohamed, after which it could open “by Friday or Saturday. That’s when we’re shooting for.”
Graffiti Closes Powhatan Skatepark — Powhatan Springs Skatepark is temporarily closed after “graffiti containing vulgar language” was found. The park will be temporarily closed until park staff can remove the graffiti. No word yet on a reopening date.
Tejada: Three Dems on County Board — At the Arlington County Democratic Committee’s annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner over the weekend, Walter Tejada said pointedly that he is “one of three Democratic county board members,” presumably excluding Libby Garvey. Garvey was also not listed as an “Arlington Democratic Elected Official” in the program. [Blue Virginia]
Dominion Planning New Underground Power Line — Dominion Virginia Power is planning on building an underground power transmission line from Arlington to Alexandria. The $160 million project is intended to address “a local reliability load issue… that could potentially impact neighbors by 2018.” Alexandria officials are expressing objections to the project. [Washington Post]
AYDs Eye South Arlington — Arlington Young Democrats are trying to increase their outreach to women, minorities and to residents of south Arlington. The organization has appointed a new “outreach chair and communications director” who will be in charge of recruiting individuals in targeted groups and “mak[ing] them feel welcome.” [InsideNova]
Flickr pool by Brian Allen
A new restaurant that boasts serving pizzas “freshly-baked in 90 seconds” appears to be moving to Rosslyn at 1501 Wilson Blvd, next door to Roti.
Spinfire Pizza is planning on opening one of its first two locations in Rosslyn — the other is expected to open in Ashburn, Va. — but there’s no indication of when the restaurant will open its doors.
The signage on the restaurants window indicate that the pizzas will be Neopolitan-style, made-to-order, and customers will be able to choose from 50 toppings. It appears Spinfire will also offer salads, beer and wine.
A virtual tour online of the concept gives the restaurant the look of a “fast casual,” assembly line-style of eatery, which is burgeoning in Rosslyn with Roti, Chipotle, Chop’t and Tom Yum District.
Campos will now get to open up shop in the former Red Parrot space at 1110 N. Glebe Road, next to The Melting Pot with a year of free rent, an 11-year lease and a $245,000, interest-free loan from the building’s owner, Brookfield Properties.
Campos and Albisu were selected as the two finalists to compete in a final cookoff this Wednesday evening in the restaurant space that will now become Casita. They were selected from a pool of eight semi-finalists who competed in a judging panel during Taste of Arlington last month, and the two finalists’ selection generated some controversy because of confusion over the selection process.
The restaurant concept that won the most votes from Taste of Arlington attendees, Kristen Robinson’s Laurel, was not named a finalist. Despite Albisu dropping out this morning, Ballston BID CEO said Campos was declared the winner instead of Robinson being invited to the challenge.
“We decided that Casita and Christiana and her team thought they were going up against Victor, and to change that midway and say, ‘Oh we’re not going to award it to you’ and give a chance to someone else, we didn’t think it was the right thing to do,” Leone told ARLnow.com this afternoon. “They have a great plan, team and concept for that location. All the elements were there for a successful venture. We thought that was the best thing to do to award it to her.”
Albisu declined comment on dropping out of the Restaurant Challenge through his publicist. Restaurant Challenge judge and Top Chef alumnus Mike Isabella announced last week that he’d be opening a Mexican cantina, called Pepita, in Ballston, at 4000 Wilson Blvd, last week. Leone alluded to the fact that Isabella’s new venture, expected to open early next year, might have chased Albisu off.
“There were restaurant wars going on, it wasn’t quite the challenge we were putting on,” Leone said. “Things don’t always work out exactly the way you want, but we think this turned out pretty great. It’s a win for Ballston. We’re getting a Mexican restaurant and a Spanish restaurant.”
Campos described Casita on the Restaurant Challenge website as “inspired from the timeless taverns that over generations have been offering very unique, yet typical, classic comfort foods from Spain featuring top-quality and seasonal ingredients. These taverns are known for their hearty dishes and “menus del dia” (a three course meal at a reasonable cost), as well as “pintxos” (essentially snacks on a skewer).”
The Restaurant Challenge was a kind of sequel to last year’s Launchpad Challenge for startup technology companies. While Launchpad was seen as a success, Leone said there’s no certainty that another challenge is in the offing for Ballston. She also pointed out that Restaurant Challenge was the brainchild of Brookfield Properties looking to entice restaurants to its space, not an idea the BID hatched on its own.
There’s no word on when Casita plans to open. Campos will be officially announced as the winner at the BID’s annual meeting on June 23, when she will prepare an array of food as a preview for the restaurant.
Disclosure: Ballston BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser. Photo courtesy Ballston BID.