Il Forno Ristorante (900 N. Glebe Road) in Ballston has some great specials lined up for the holiday season.
To celebrate the Feast of the Seven Fishes, an Italian-American tradition, Il Forno will be serving fish specials Christmas week.
To make the last night of 2014 memorable, Il Forno has a special evening planned for New Year’s Eve. For $55, a three-course, prix fixe menu will be served from 5:00-7:30 p.m. and from 8:00-10:00 p.m. The latter seating will also have a five-course option for $75 — as well as a champagne toast.
(Prices do not include tax and gratuity.)
The restaurant’s non-seasonal specials are just as exquisite: weeknight happy hours from 4:30-7:00 p.m. offer cocktail specials developed exclusively for Il Forno by Francesco Amadeo. There’s also a rotating list of wine and beer specials, which fit well with its small plates menu.
The small plate specials include pork belly with caramelized green apple ($1) and Brussels sprouts with confit turnips, apple vinaigrette, fresh nutmeg and parmesan ($4), to name a few.
Executive Chef Jason Mayle, formerly the corporate executive chef with D.C.’s Stir Food Group, took over the kitchen earlier this year. Since then, Il Forno has seen dramatic changes — particularly with its new brunch menu.
Delivering “tantalizing, new twists on fresh, locally sourced foods,” Chef Mayle makes his goal for the new Sunday Brunch clear: “to take the ordinary and make it extraordinary, including new twists on traditional brunch favorites … like our new, truffle chicken bowl with a ‘truffle-icious’ sunny side up egg, avocado, tomatoes, toasted faro and quinoa, and goat cheese.”
Il Forno is the perfect venue to host luncheons, dinners, or even cocktail parties for holiday festivities. Chef Mayle is offering custom menus for large parties, while guests can enjoy an airy, modern dining space and or semi-private area for special occasions.
For more information, visit www.myilforno.com or call (703) 807-2050.
ATR’s permit renewal request was pulled from the Board’s “consent agenda” for non-controversial items by County Board member Mary Hynes. It was instead heard individually on Tuesday, giving Hynes, a nearby resident, a chance to inquire about a couple of noise complaints she had received from her Lyon Village neighbors.
The Board was assured by an ATR manager that the bar has addressed the noise issue and that it in fact doesn’t host any live entertainment anymore — instead it’s seeking to hang on to the permit “just in case.” That was enough assurance for Board, which took little additional time to approve the routine renewal request.
While it won the battle, it’s unclear if ATR in Clarendon will win the war. Restaurant and commercial real estate industry sources have told ARLnow.com that American Tap Room has been seeking a buyer to take over its lease.
We’re told that the company pays more than $650,000 per year in rent for the Clarendon location, which has not enjoyed the same level of success as its locations in Bethesda and Reston. The latter two locations are “crushing it” and the company may simply be looking to focus on more profitable ventures, a source says.
However, everything seemed business as usual with the ATR manager who spoke at the County Board meeting. He gave no hints of any possible changes to come.
Responding to an inquiry sent to a media representative, an ATR manager contacted ARLnow.com last week. The manager said the Clarendon location is not closing, but declined to speak on the record and sought assurances that an ARLnow.com editor was not recording the call.
American Tap Room opened its Clarendon location in 2011.
Update at 11:55 p.m. — A “tacos, tequila and beer” venue called Don Tito will replace Eventide. It’s expected to open by March.
Eventide Restaurant (3165 Wilson Blvd) served its last meals last night.
The Clarendon restaurant has permanently closed, according to an announcement on its website.
“It has been a great pleasure to serve Arlington and the broader Washington community,” the announcement says. “Thank you to all of our customers, our vendors and especially our employees.”
Local restaurant message board operator Don Rockwell first reported last night that the Eventide space will be taken over by the operators of Ballston’s A-Town Bar and Grill.
“[A-Town owner] Mike Cordero has bought the business and the lease,” Eventide co-owner confirmed to ARLnow.com this morning.
Restaurateurs potentially interested in taking over the space were seen touring Eventide in September, a tipster told ARLnow.com at the time.
Some on Rockwell’s message board were skeptical of an A-Town-style bar in Clarendon. A-Town has faced scrutiny from Arlington County as a result of numerous noise complaints and a number of police incidents. It was dubbed “the most troublesome establishment in Ballston” by county staff.
“It’s my sincere hope the new owners don’t try and replicate A-Town in the space… turn[ing] it into a frat house,” one message board user wrote following the news. “Otherwise that block genuinely will turn into essentially Adams Morgan.”
Despite the concerns, A-Town remains a success story. The business is regularly packed with customers, validating the gamble Cordero and two partners — his son, Nick Cordero, and Scott Parker — made when converting the financially-sound Caribbean Breeze to A-Town in 2012.
Wizards Practice Facility in Arlington? — There’s a potential plan for a Washington Wizards basketball practice facility in Arlington, reports NBC4’s Mark Segraves. However, the more likely plan for the practice facility is for it to be built in D.C.’s Shaw neighborhood. Wizards owner Ted Leonsis also owns the Washington Capitals, which has a practice facility at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Ballston. [NBC Washington]
Arlington Warns of ‘Potential Severe Traffic’ — Arlington County is warning residents about “potential severe traffic” today due to the massive crowds expected for the Concert for Valor on the National Mall, along with Metrorail service changes and numerous road closures in D.C. that are in place for the Veterans Day event.
Cherrydale Abuzz Over Sound Check — The Cherrydale community email listserv was “going crazy with complaints about the sound check” for the Concert for Valor last night, a tipster tells ARLnow.com. We’re told the neighborhood could hear bass and feel vibrations from the sound check. “One person reported that the Arlington County police were getting so many calls they were telling people to call the D.C. police who then told people to call [U.S.] Park Police,” the tipster said.
Cost of Thanksgiving Dips in Va. — Virginia families will save about $5 per person this year on Thanksgiving dinner thanks to lower food prices, according to the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. [InsideNova]
Lyon Park ‘Sewer Justice’ Petition — A group called Arlingtonians for Sewer Justice — which represents 11 Lyon Park households that are being compelled to pay $10,000-20,000 for a new sewer connection because the county says it will no longer maintain a failing, private sewer line behind their homes — has created a new petition. The petition, which has so far gathered 95 supporters, calls for Arlington County to pay for the upkeep of privately owned sewer lines via a bond referendum. [Change.org]
Flickr pool photo by Ian Livingston
Tree Predicts Cold Winter — Local folklore holds that the seeds of the American Persimmon tree can predict how harsh the coming winter will be. According to Arlington County naturalist Alonso Abugattas, the seeds are predicting an especially cold winter. [Arlington County]
‘Purple Out Day’ in Arlington — Today is Arlington’s second annual Purple Out Day, which encourages residents to wear purple to promote domestic violence awareness. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. [Arlington County]
Security Stepped Up at Tomb — The military increased security at the Tomb of the Unknowns yesterday following the fatal shooting at the Canadian war memorial in Ottawa. [WJLA]
Lane Closures on GW Parkway — Between 9:30 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. today, a northbound and a southbound lane of the GW Parkway will be closed in the area of the Yellow Line Metro bridge, for underside inspection of the bridge.
Donnellan Wins Leadership Award — Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan has been recognized with a Visionary Leadership Award. The award, from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, “recognizes top government officials for their outstanding contributions to metropolitan Washington and their home jurisdictions.” [MWCOG]
Arlington Arby’s Sells Smaller Smalls — The Arby’s restaurant at Ballston Common Mall — and elsewhere, apparently — sells small fountain beverages that are labeled on the outside as “22 oz.” but which actually hold only 21 ounces of liquid. [Consumerist]
Three Arlington Restaurants in ‘Dining Guide’ — Three Arlington restaurants are in Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema’s annual Fall Dining Guide. The eateries getting the honor: Green Pig Bistro, Thai Square and Water & Wall. [Washington Post]
Arlington Woman Wins Army Ten-Miler — An Arlington woman was the top female finisher in the 30th annual Army Ten-Miler on Sunday. Kerri Gallagher, 25, won the race with a time of 54:50. Two other Arlington women cracked the top 10: eighth place finisher Samantha Diehl, 26, and tenth place finisher Amy Laskowske, 27. [Stars and Stripes, Army Ten-Miler]
Rare Photo of Arlington House Slave — The National Park Service unveiled a rare photo of Selina Norris Gray, a slave at Robert E. Lee’s Arlington House, over the weekend. The photo was purchased on eBay by a Park Service volunteer, who recognized Gray in the photo. It was sold by a seller in England who had found a box of “unwanted” photos at a yard sale. [Washington Post, WJLA]
Home Sales Up, Prices Down — The average home sale price in Arlington slid 2.8 percent in September, compared to one year prior, but the volume of sales rose by about 10 percent. [InsideNova]
Demolitions in Historic Districts — Since the beginning of the year, applications have been filed to demolish at least 25 homes in historic districts in Arlington. “The looming demolition of these houses and buildings represents an incredible loss of history, architecture, time, energy and materials,” the group Preservation Arlington said in a blog post. As previously reported, home demolitions are on pace for a record pace this year. [Preservation Arlington]
Tallula, EatBar Closing — Tallula and EatBar, which first opened in 2004 in Lyon Park, will be closing on Sunday, Oct. 26. The restaurants’ owner says they were “unable to reach an agreement with the landlord on renewing Tallula’s lease.” [Eater, Facebook]
Civ Fed Skeptical of Housing Effort — The Arlington County Civic Federation’s revenues-and-expenditures committee released a scathing critique of the county government’s “Public Lands for Public Good” affordable housing effort. The committee’s report said Arlington “couldn’t, and shouldn’t, try to solve all the region’s problems on its own.” It also said that “the county appears to be placing greater weight on the desires of non-residents who wish to move to Arlington ahead of the needs and wishes of its own citizens.” [InsideNova, PDF]
E-CARE This Weekend — Arlington County will hold its biannual Environmental Collection and Recycling Event (E-CARE) on Saturday, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The event allows residents to “safely dispose of household hazardous materials, bikes, small metal items, shoes, clothing and other recyclable items.” [Arlington County]
Pop-Up Dinners in D.C. for Ballston Restaurant — Before it officially opens in Ballston early next year, Pepita — a new “Mexican cantina” from former Top Chef contestant Mike Isabella — will be holding a series of “pop-up dinners” to test its menu. The dinners will held starting Oct. 30 be at Isabella’s G Sandwich restaurant at 2201 14th Street NW in D.C. [Washington Post]
Former County Controversy, Now Hardly a Blip — In 2008, Arlington was roiled by a long political fight over accessory-dwelling units, or “granny flats.” The County Board was considering whether to allow homeowners to build ADUs, which often house elderly family members. The Arlington Civic Federation opposed it, with critics warning that ADUs could turn quiet neighborhoods into overcrowded slums. The County Board ended up voting to allow ADUs by permit, but set a limit of 28 approvals per year. Since then, “less than a dozen” have been built. [InsideNova]
Roosevelt Bridge Inspections — The District Department of Transportation is conducting inspection work on the Roosevelt Bridge today and tomorrow. Route 50 drivers can expect some short-term lane closures during non-rush hour periods while the inspections are performed. Work vehicles associated with the inspections will be parked along the GW Parkway.
Flickr pool photo by Joseph Gruber
ACPD Promotes Domestic Violence Awareness — Arlington County Police cruisers are displaying purple ribbon magnets in October to mark Domestic Violence Awareness Month. [Twitter]
Closed Ballston Restaurant Expanding in Maryland – Red Parrot Asian Bistro, which closed in Ballston last year, now has locations in Hanover and Ellicott City, Md., with a third set to open in Baltimore. Owner Wendy Cheng says Ballston and another closed location, in Baltimore, were shuttered “due to location and performance issues.” SER, the winner of the Ballston Restaurant Challenge, is set to open in Red Parrot’s former storefront this winter. [Baltimore Sun]
Arlington High Schools in Playoff Hunt — With just over half the season left to play, all three Arlington public high school football teams are on pace for playoff berths. [InsideNova]
Wakefield QB Transferred from Yorktown — Wakefield High School’s football team, a perennial also-ran, is in contention this year at least partially thanks to the play of quarterback Riley Wilson. Wilson transferred from Yorktown, a perennial playoff contender, for the chance to start as quarterback. [Washington Post]
Photo courtesy @mikematyas
Perhaps best known for its pizza and beer, Fire Works is tackling what it sees as an underrepresented market — artisanal cocktails. The new cocktail menu (below) offers modern takes on classic cocktails like the sidecar, the old fashioned and the gin and tonic.
“The inspiration for the cocktail menu is simple… classic cocktails that seem familiar but are reimagined for contemporary times,” Fire Works mixologist Jason Silerto said. “Twists on an old favorite that will have you curious enough to want to try something new, yet recognizable enough so you sort of know what’s in store.”
“Seasonal ingredients are always key to a successful menu,” Silerto continued. “Lighter, more quaffable drinks may dominate a summer list, whereas heavier, throat-warming concoctions feel more apropos come the cooler months.”
Fire Works will hold a Roaring ’20s party next Wednesday, Sept. 24, at 6:00 p.m., to celebrate the cocktail menu launch. The restaurant will serve complimentary hors d’oeuvres from 6:00 to 7:30. A special price for the new cocktails will be in effect from 6:00 to 9:00.
The event is open to the public and attendees are encouraged to dress as “flappers and dapper gentlemen.” You’ll know you’re in the right place when you see the red carpet and rope line and hear the live jazz band. You might also see the well-dressed crowd at the photo booth inside.
The new cocktail menu features the following:
- Peach-Habanero Manhattan (peach-habanero-infused Makers Mark / sweet vermouth / gin barrel-aged orange bitters)
- Rosewater Negroni (Boodles Gin / Campari / sweet vermouth / rosewater)
- Watershed G&T (Catoctin Creek Watershed Gin / house-made orange and fennel Tonic / club soda / cucumber slices / celery bitters / fresh-ground pepper garnish)
- Calm Before the Storm (Goslings Black Seal Rum / Cointreau / fresh lime juice / Maine Ginger Brew)
- Let it Slidecar (Flor de Cana Rum / Remy VSOP / Cointreau / fresh grapefruit juice / basil leaf / basil sugar rim)
- Jasmine Tea & Elderflower Gin Rickey (Plymouth Gin / St. Germaine Elderflower Liqueur / jasmine tea simple syrup / fresh lime juice / club soda)
- Old Sappy Fashioned (Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye Whiskey / maple syrup / Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters / orange slice / cherry)
- Mediterranean Bloody Mary (Bakon Vodka / Mediterranean Bloody Mary mix)
- Peruvian 75 (Macchu Pisco / St Germaine Liqueur / blackberry brandy / Brut Champagne)
- Unprovincial (Ketel One Orange / creme de violette / white cranberry juice / lemon juice / cherry juice)
- Ward 2.0 (rye whiskey / orange juice / fresh lemon juice / house-made rosewater grenadine)
Stabbing Reported in Nauck — Three people, a man and two women, were reportedly stabbed in Arlington’s Nauck neighborhood late last night. The stabbing followed an argument among a group of people. One man was taken into custody following the incident. [WUSA9]
Pedestrian Signal Coming to George Mason Drive — The County Board is expected to approve a new HAWK pedestrian signal for S. George Mason Drive at the Army National Guard Readiness Center. The safety device will cost about $300,000, 80 percent of which will be paid by the federal government. [InsideNova]
New ‘Pop-Up’ Menu for Water & Wall — Water & Wall is launching a new “pop-up” lunch menu, featuring dishes with southern and mid-Atlantic influences and ingredients. The launch of the new menu follows the Virginia Square restaurant’s successful pop-up Chinese menu in August. [Eater D.C.]
Photo via Textron AirLand
Slice n Dice, a restaurant that served up salads, sandwiches and pizzas in the Crystal City Shops, has closed.
The restaurant appears to have closed earlier this month. Its entrance, inside the shopping center on the 2100 block of Crystal Drive, is now covered in a plastic sheet.
“We appreciate all our loyal and worderful [sic] customers we have met and got to know of the past years,” said a sign posted inside the restaurant, a photo of which was uploaded to the restaurant’s Yelp page on Aug. 13. “We are sorry [about] the closing of our store. We will miss our customers and neighbors.”
From August 11-17, diners can enjoy a three-course prix fixe lunch for $20.14 and dinner for $35.14. The full list of participating restaurants in the area and their menus can be found online, along with links to make reservations for many of the restaurants.
Here’s the list of participating restaurants in Arlington:
- The Curious Grape — 2900 S. Quincy Street, 703-671-8700
- Epic Smokehouse — 1330 S. Fern Street, 571-319-4001
- Fyve at The Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City — 1250 S. Hayes Street, 703-412-2762
- Il Forno — 900 N. Glebe Road, 703-807-2050
- Jaleo — 2250 Crystal Drive, 703-413-8181
- La Tasca — 2900 Wilson Blvd., 703-812-9120
- The Liberty Tavern — 3195 Wilson Blvd., 703-465-9360
- Lyon Hall — 3100 N. Washington Blvd., 703-741-7636
- Me Jana — 2300 Wilson Blvd., 703-465-4440
- The Melting Pot — 1110 N. Glebe Road, 703-243-4490
- Morton’s The Steakhouse — 1750 Crystal Drive, 703-418-1444
- Murali — 1201 S. Joyce Street, 703-415-0411
- Ruth’s Chris Steak House — 2231 Crystal Drive, 703-979-7275
- Sushi Rock — 1900 Clarendon Blvd., 571-312-8027
- Willow — 4301 N. Fairfax Drive, 703-465-8800
Virginia Square restaurant Water & Wall, located at 3811 N. Fairfax Drive, is offering a “pop-up” Chinese menu for lunch until Aug. 29.
The “Uncle Paul’s Kitchen” menu, named for Water & Wall co-owner Tim Ma’s uncle, debuted almost three weeks ago at the restaurant, Ma said. It includes Chinese-inspired dishes, like Kung Pao Pork Belly, and more traditional Chinese fare, like “Uncle Paul’s Zha Jiang,” with prices ranging from $6 to $10.
The Zha Jiang is like a Chinese ragu, which Ma said the Chinese community jokingly calls “Marco Polo noodles, because Marco Polo came to China and took the recipe back, and that’s where Italian pasta comes from.”
The dishes from Uncle Paul’s Kitchen are smaller than regular entrees, reminiscent of dim sum, which allow customers to order two or three at a time. The lunch menu is available daily from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
“We are essentially running two restaurants here,” Ma said. “We have the kitchen divided for the Chinese stuff and then the rest of the storage space and refrigeration is for the regular restaurant stuff.”
Water & Wall opened eight months ago for dinner, and served only its French-inspired dishes. In mid-June, Ma, his parents, their “old school Chinese” air conditioner repairman, and some Chinese cooks were having a Chinese dinner and had the idea for the pop-up menu, Ma said.
“We were joking around, saying ‘Well this is more like a Chinese restaurant than an American or French place,'” Ma said.
From the idea’s inception, it took Ma two weeks to create the menu, which drew from dishes that his uncle served at his traditional Shandong restaurant “Paul Ma’s Kitchen,” in New York in the 1980s, Ma said.
“He had incredible success there with these homemade recipes,” Ma said. “It was like impossible to get a reservation there.”
The food Paul Ma cooked for his nephew, while living with him at Tim’s Virginia home, also inspired Ma’s lunch menu for Water & Wall.
“He continues to tell me things that I should tweak and things that I should add,” Ma said.
Ma also owns a restaurant serving American food in Vienna called Maple Ave Restaurant. For now, Ma is not sure whether Water & Wall will debut its planned lunch menu of French fusion dishes at the end of the month, or create something else closer to the pop-up menu’s choices.
“This has been really well received thus far,” Ma said. “We have a better response with the dishes my uncle created back in the day.”
Silver Line Now Open for Business — Metro’s Silver Line opened Saturday, with local officials, reporters and curious residents crowding the new stations in Reston and Tysons to get a ride on the first Silver Line trains. So far this morning, on the first big commuting day of its debut, the Silver Line seems to be functioning normally, without incident. Over time, the Metrorail line is expected to bring further economic development to Tysons and Reston. [Reston Now, Washington Post, InsideNova]
Nation’s Oldest Female Vet Visits Arlington — The nation’s oldest female veteran, 108-year-old Army Staff Sgt. Lucy Coffey, visited the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery over the weekend. [Stars and Stripes]
Pizza Vinoteca Opening Delayed — Pizza Vinoteca, a New York City-based gourmet pizza restaurant, will not be opening in Ballston this month, as originally planned. The pizzeria is now expected to open at 800 N. Glebe Road by the end of August, according to a PR rep.
Lebanese Taverna, which began as a single storefront in Arlington operated by an immigrant couple and their five children, is celebrating its 35th anniversary with events and specials over the next two months.
On July 28 and 29 at the Westover location (5900 Washington Blvd) and Aug. 6 and 7 at Pentagon Row (1101 S. Joyce Street), Lebanese Taverna will serve dishes from its 1979 menu with the original prices to commemorate the year the restaurant opened.
The restaurant is also currently taking submissions for a social media contest, in which longtime customers can email the restaurant their favorite Lebanese Taverna memory and then vote on their favorites by liking them on the restaurant’s Facebook page. A limousine will chauffeur the winners to different Lebanese Taverna locations for a five-to-six course meal, Shea said.
“We’re celebrating our uniqueness,” said Lebanese Taverna Vice President Grace Shea, the youngest child of founders Tanios and Marie Abi-Najm. “Thirty-five years is a long time for a restaurant to be open.”
Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) will present a congressional proclamation of congratulations to the Abi-Najm family at a private event Friday evening, Shea said. The Westover restaurant will be open Friday at 6:30 p.m. for a kickoff event with the 1979 prices for invited guests from local civic associations and members of the public who happen to stop by.
“I’m proud of my family and what they’ve accomplished over the years,” Shea said. “When my parents came here they had five kids, $500 and spoke no English.”
The Abi-Najm family came to Arlington in 1976 to escape the civil war in Lebanon. Marie Abi-Najm worked as a teaching assistant and Tanios Abi-Najm did odd jobs and painted until they saved enough money to open their own restaurant in 1979, in the same storefront they still occupy just down the street from their house, Shea said.
“My dad always loved food and it was a way for him to bring a piece of Lebanon here to us,” Shea said. Her mother came from Dfoun, Lebanon, a village famous for producing chefs.
At first, Lebanese Taverna served pizza and subs and operated under “Athenian Taverna,” the name used by the previous tenants. Shea’s parents and her four siblings in high school were the only employees during the first year, causing business to suffer, she said.
In 1979, the restaurant only offered shish kabob and hummus as menu specials because they were novelties for most Arlington residents. However, their traditional food starting piquing customers’ interests after their first year in business, inspiring the Abi-Najm’s to change the restaurant’s name and put Lebanese fare on half their menu, according to Shea.
“We’d sit down for our family dinners at the restaurant and customers would say, ‘Wow, what is that? We want some of that,'” Shea said. The restaurant kept its half-Italian menu until 1983.
Once the restaurant was officially Lebanese Taverna, a second location opened in 1990 on Connecticut Avenue in D.C. It later expanded to include the Lebanese Taverna Market in D.C., catering division, six restaurants and four cafés it has today.