(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.
The rustic restaurant and its outdoor patio will seat 218 people. The bar will serve 20 draft beers, up to 20 wines by the glass and about 20 American whiskeys. The food menu includes $15-25 lunch entrees, $29-35 dinner entrees and a weekend brunch.
First announced in April, Copperwood Tavern is located at 4021 Campbell Avenue, in the former Bistro Bistro space. It’s owned by the company behind Wilson Tavern in Courthouse and The Mighty Pint and Irish Whiskey in D.C.
More about Copperwood Tavern, from a press release about the opening:
Designed by local artist Maggie O’Neill of O’Neill Studios to feel like your entering the wilderness in southern Virginia, Copperwood Tavern will feature seasonal farm to table menu options, 20 draft beer favorites, craft bar program and inviting atmosphere including front porch dining for you and your pet. Copperwood Tavern is scheduled to open on September 30, 2013.
This rustic tavern, which will seat 218 people, will feature prime cuts of local game, farm-raised poultry, beef and fresh fish accompanied with hearty, shared sides.
Copperwood Tavern will offer 20 draft beers, 30 small-batch whiskeys and a superb wine selection, its 30‐foot craft bar is also stocked with southern Virginia’s white whiskey, also known as moonshine.
Copperwood Tavern interior will be a dramatically warm and unique tribute to the best place in everyone’s life: The home away from home. Hunting and fishing accents will be seen throughout the décor, complete with all the charm and texture that comes with places that make you long to hang out longer.
With a “woodsy retreat” atmosphere, Copperwood wouldn’t be complete without the option to bring your loyal hunting companion — patrons will be encouraged to bring their pets along. Copperwood Tavern will feature a 56-person, dog-friendly porch with copper dog bowls and house-baked dog treats.
The restaurant is currently hiring servers, according to a Facebook post.
Photo via Facebook
Tutti Frutti franchise owner Geoff Trout is betting on it. He hopes to open shop on South Fern Street, next to the Post Office in the Millennium at Metropolitan Park apartments, in late August or early September.
The self-serve frozen yogurt trend hit Pentagon Row earlier this year when Yogiberry replaced Maggie Moo’s ice cream. The Tutti Frutti concept is similar — a rotating menu of flavors combined with 35 to 40 fruit and candy toppings.
“I feel very confident in the product,” Trout said. “I don’t think Pentagon Row is close enough. This is a company that has really taken off.”
The Los Angeles-based company claims it’s the largest self-serve frozen yogurt chain in the world, with 584 franchises.
The good news is they’re preparing to open soon. The bad news is you’ll have to wait a few more weeks.
Here is the current list of seasonal openings for Arlington’s popular rooftop establishments:
- Arlington Rooftop Bar & Grill – April 1.
- Whitlow’s – Although the website says the opening will be March 8, an employee told us it will actually be St. Patrick’s Day, March 17.
- Clarendon Ballroom – There is no firm date. Management will decide after the threat of frost has passed, which could be anytime from March through the beginning of May.
- Eventide – Late April is when regularly scheduled evenings will begin. However, the rooftop will be ready starting March 15 and may open on especially warm evenings.
Cafe Caturra, a Richmond-based coffee shop/wine bar/soup-salad-and-sandwich restaurant, is now open in the Arlington Ridge Shopping Center. The 3,400 square foot eatery, which features a decor partially made from reclaimed materials, officially opened its doors to customers on Friday.
Located at 2931 S. Glebe Road, Cafe Caturra offers specialty coffees, 24 boutique wines, two draft beers, and 20 bottled beers. The restaurant is offering mimosa specials on Sunday and is planning to eventually offer a weekday happy hour, according to marketing director Melissa Kirkpatrick.
The food menu includes soups, salads, paninis, pizzas, brioche sliders, small plates, cheese, charcuterie and desserts.
The restaurant will be hosting local musicians between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m. on Wednesdays. It also has a local art program that will display works from local artists. Founder Jeff Grant says he hopes Cafe Caturra becomes a neighborhood hangout.
“We’ve built a strong heritage as a gathering spot for people in the communities we serve,” he said.
Cafe Caturra opens at 11:00 a.m. seven days a week. It closes at 10:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 9:00 p.m. on Sunday.
The company announced today that its grocery store at 1109 N. Highland Street will open at some point in November. The store is 12,300 square feet in size and will offer underground parking.
Interior construction started early last month. Freezer cases and other food-related accoutrements are now visible inside the under-construction store.
With the opening forthcoming, Clarendon residents will soon start receiving Trader Joe’s sales flyers.
“Many area residents after the store opens can expect to receive a copy of the Trader Joe’s ‘Fearless Flyer’ in their mailboxes,” the company said. “The Fearless Flyer is a somewhat irreverent description of a timely selection of Trader Joe’s products. It’s been called a cross between Consumer Reports and Mad Magazine.”
There are more than 350 Trader Joe’s stores in 30 states.
Interior construction has happened at an impressively rapid rate since the restaurant first announced an ambitious mid-September opening date earlier this month — but the opening is still at least two days before schedule.
The Alabama-based, Greek-inspired restaurant chain offers soups, salads, sandwiches, pitas and lunch/dinner entrees. The menu includes chicken kabobs, Greek salad, tuna salad, freshly-made hummus, a “club pita,” chicken pita pizza, spinach roll-ups and a turkey Reuben sandwich.
Zoë’s is located in the former Aladdin’s Eatery space, across one block from the Ballston Metro. This is the company’s fifth location in the D.C. area, with more locations planned.
American Tap Room (3101 Wilson Blvd) is putting the finishing touches on its new Clarendon location in hopes of opening after the long holiday weekend. Today the restaurant is doing a trial run for friends and family, but ARLnow.com got a sneak peak.
Dozens of taps line the wall of the bar, which opens up into a large dining room. Beyond the dining area is a glass-enclosed martini bar. During warm seasons, patrons can head outside to the sizable patio and get toasty next to the three fire pits.
“We’re excited to be a part of the Clarendon community,” said Vice President of Marketing Wade Breaux. “We can’t wait to see everyone in a few days.”
Breaux says there’s not any one thing that will set apart American Tap Room from the many other restaurants in the area. Instead, he said, it’s more about the overall experience. He notes the welcoming atmosphere, more than 60 beers on tap, martini room, patio and moderate prices as some of the special features.
“We’re not trying to be the cheapest and we’re not trying to be the most expensive,” Beaux said. “We want to have broad appeal.”
There are still some tweaks necessary before the expected opening on Tuesday, such as getting phone lines up and working. American Tap Room plans to hold a formal grand opening sometime in the next few weeks, when everything is running smoothly.
This is the company’s third American Tap Room location, in addition to locations in Reston and Bethesda.
The new Pinkberry frozen yogurt store in Clarendon (pictured) is planning a post-work froyo giveaway on Thursday, one day before its planned opening.
Pinkberry will give out free samples from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday. The store then plans to open to the public at 11:00 a.m. on Friday. Offerings include 6 different flavors of frozen yogurt and numerous toppings.
The Clarendon Pinkberry will be the California-based chain’s third D.C.-area location.
Pentagon City’s new post office opened on S. Fern Street today.
The post office, complete with woodgrain accents and plenty of light thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows, replaces an old, dingy post office at 1720 S. Eads Street. With today’s opening, the Eads Street post office is now closed to customers.
The new post office, at 1301 S. Fern Street, is located in the ground floor of the the Millennium at Metropolitan Park apartment building, across from Costco.
Cava, a new upscale Greek eatery in Clarendon, will open to the public on Saturday.
The restaurant obtained its liquor license today. Owner Ted Xenohristos says he expects to open the doors at 5:00 Saturday evening. See Cava’s dinner menu here.
Cava is located at 2940 Clarendon Boulevard.
Tonight is the public opening for “Contain, Maintain, Sustain,” a gallery of contemporary art inspired by sustainability. Among the pieces in the exhibit are beautiful gas cans, inspiring rubbish receptacles, a free-floating trash bag, magazines made into mountains and a box-laden bicycle.
The exhibit — a partnership between Artisphere, the Washington Project for the Arts and the Washington Sculptors Group — features the work of 24 international and locally-based artists.
Tonight’s opening reception is open to the public from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. The exhibit will be on display through July 17. More photos after the jump.
That’s the word from Neighborhood Restaurant Group, the company that runs Buzz and its next door neighbor on the 4000 block of Wilson Boulevard, Rustico. Buzz is expected to open its doors as early as 7:00 a.m. on Monday, with plenty of free samples of coffee and baked goods.
The 2,000 square foot shop will have many of the same features and menu items of the original Buzz location on Slaters Lane in Alexandria, but will add treats like breakfast pop tarts, made-to-order waffles, individual serving quiches, homemade ice cream, sorbets, popsicles and “take-and-bake” products.
See more information on Buzz’s Ballston location from the company’s press release, after the jump.
Photo courtesy Neighborhood Restaurant Group
There’s finally an opening date in sight for Buzz Bakery in Ballston.
“Coming soon” signs have been up at the storefront on the 4000 block of Wilson Boulevard for almost a year now. Next-door sister eatery Rustico opened in October while Buzz remained closed. Now, at long last, comes word that Buzz will start serving cupcakes and cappuccinos early next month.
Neighborhood Restaurant Group spokeswoman Jennifer Eberline says the company expects to announce an official May opening date “very, very soon.”
The will be NRG’s second Buzz Bakery. The first, on Slaters Lane in Alexandria, serves breakfast, baked goods, paninis, coffee, tea, wine and beer.
Ruffino’s Spaghetti House (4763 Lee Highway) will tonight for the first time following months of renovations. An answering machine message says the restaurant will open at 4:00 p.m.
The new Clarendon location of BGR: The Burger Joint (3024 Wilson Blvd) is undergoing a final inspection today and hopes to open next week — perhaps as soon as Monday, if the inspection goes well. The restaurant’s interior is complete and employees are wrapping up preparations for the opening.