(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.
The event will take place outdoors, closing down a portion of Campbell Avenue. It will feature tastings from 35 area craft brewers, all of which will be from Virginia, Maryland or the District, including “several newly opened breweries.”
“New this year, all participating breweries will sport their own exhibition tents that showcase their company creations and colorful brand designs,” organizers said in a press release. “A variety of Shirlington Village restaurants and local eateries will feature their favorite springtime fare with music provided by a popular local DJ.”
The event is scheduled for Saturday, April 25. Much like Capital City’s Shirlington Oktoberfest event, the Spring Beer Festival will run from noon until 7:00 p.m., rain or shine, with taps closing at 6:00 p.m.
Tickets to the event will be available for purchase the day of the event, starting at 11:30 a.m. Tickets are $30 and include a wristband, tasting glass and 10 drink tickets. Additional tasting tickets will be sold for $1 each, with a $5 minimum.
Non-drinkers and children can attend for free.
A man was transported to Virginia Hospital Center after crashing into the fence of the Shirlington dog park this morning.
According to multiple witnesses, the driver of the Dodge sedan revved his engine on S. Oxford Street and sped into the fence of the park, smashing through the chain links, metal poles and a tree. An Arlington County Fire Department source on the scene said he suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
The driver was an employee of Arlington Collision Center, the body shop’s manager confirmed to ARLnow.com, and the Dodge was a car the shop was servicing.
Witnesses said the car barreled through the entrance to the park, but no dogs or owners were hurt in the crash. One witness said the car “wasn’t just parked and he revved his engine. He sped into the fence.”
Another witness said the driver never lost consciousness, but went into shock a couple of minutes after the crash occurred. ACFD’s rescue crew had to use its “jaws of life” device to tear the roof off the vehicle to remove the driver and place him on a stretcher.
The owner of Wag More Dogs daycare and boarding center right next to the park, Kim Houghton, told ARLnow.com employees of the collision center “race these cars” down Oxford Street “all the time.”
“From where the end of the street is to here, they just gun it with the wrecked cars they have,” Houghton said. S. Oxford Street is only a few hundred feet long. “I’ve told them they need to go slow because there are people letting their dogs out and it’s dangerous.”
The collision center’s manager declined further comment. No other injuries were reported.
The entrance to the dog park was severely damaged in the crash, and it’s unclear how functional the dog park will be until the county can repair it.
(Updated at 7:05 p.m.) Arlington County firefighters are on the scene of a two-alarm in South Arlington.
The fire was reported in the basement and first floor of condominium on the 2800 block of S. Wakefield Street. As of 7:00 p.m., firefighters on the scene reported that the fire had been extinguished, although they’re still looking for hot spots.
Two people were reportedly transported to the hospital. Several paramedic units have responded to the scene
A large plume of smoke from the fire could be seen from apartments in nearby Shirlington.
Another retailer has closed up shop in the Village at Shirlington.
Cakelove, the pastry specialty store at 4150 Campbell Avenue, has closed its doors after seven years in the shopping center. According to its website, Cakelove is closing “in in order to scale up production of our cake in a jar.”
Cakelove will still operate its location on U Street NW in D.C., but it has also closed its two Maryland locations.
Cakelove closed in December, making it the fourth retailer in the Village to close since October. First, lingerie store Bloomers closed, followed by health-conscious Lebanese restaurant Aladdin’s closed, and Periwinkle — sharing the same block as Cakelove and Bloomer’s, told ARLnow.com it wouldn’t renew its lease for 2015.
Hat tip to Stephanie
The decision came just hours after County Manager Barbara Donnellan recommended closing Rosslyn’s Artisphere next June. The County Board ultimately decided that the two arts organizations’ situations were different enough to begin a new investment as it acknowledged the failure of a previous one.
“Signature really is an Arlington treasure,” County Board Chair Jay Fisette said. “It reaches into our community and impacts our community in substantial ways.”
The theater will receive the loan at a low, 1 percent interest rate; it will no longer have to pay $411,000 in unpaid county taxes and fees; and $2.7 million of its $7.7 million debt to United Bank will be forgiven.
“Signature will pay back this loan in full and on time,” the theater’s managing director, Maggie Boland, told the Board. “We often joke that ‘hope is not a strategy’ at Signature. We don’t commit to a production plan that we can’t afford.”
Signature’s yearly debt payments will be reduced from more than $1 million to about $300,000, a difference that county Director of Management and Finance Michelle Cowen called “transformative.”
“It allows them to bulk up on their balance sheet, which is in poor shape,” Cowen said.
There were 11 speakers from the public, and eight of them spoke in support of the County Board’s action. Many of the supporters were either current or former members of the Signature in the Schools program, Shirlington business owners or those with active interests in the theater’s success.
“We believe Signature is vital to the overall success of Shirlington and the greater Arlington County community,” Ken Mosig, director of asset management for the Village at Shirlington’s parent company, Federal Realty Investment Trust, said. “Their programs attract people to the Village of Shirlington. Having Signature Theatre as an entertainment venue has helped bring 100,000 people to the area per year.”
Among the dissenters were Jim Hurysz and Tim Wise, two frequent County Board critics and opponents of government spending.
“Taxpayers who oppose public subsidies for the arts do not oppose the arts,” Wise said. “We just think the arts should pay for themselves.”
Board member Libby Garvey asked Boland why they couldn’t raise ticket prices to generate the additional revenue, needed, but Boland said that if the tickets were any more expensive, “that would be detrimental to our business.”
Although the County Board unanimously approved the loan — the money for which comes from FY 2014 closeout funds — several members indicated that this would be the last chance Signature has for county funding for some time.
“We don’t want to be here again,” Fisette said.
Photo via Signature Theatre website
The outside patio Copperwood Tavern, the farm-focused restaurant at 4021 Campbell Ave. in Shirlington, is going to have a campfire-esque feel this winter.
The restaurant, which opened last fall, has installed two propane-powered fire pits, which it will turn on every day starting at 5:00 p.m. The tables surrounding the fire pits will be first come, first served and there will be complimentary fleece blankets available, according to director of operations Jon Gardiner.
“Nobody else in the area is doing it,” Gardiner told ARLnow.com yesterday. “It looks nice and it distinguishes us even more from the surrounding businesses.”
In addition to the blankets, Copperwood is also rolling out a hot cocktail menu with outdoor patrons in mind. On the menu will be “Moonshine with coco syrup, coffee and crème; Spiced Rum with apple cider redux, lemon and nutmeg; Apple Brandy with port-vanilla syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg and orange; and Bourbon with lemon, honey syrup, orange and clove.”
Copperwood is also offering s’mores kits for customers to roast over the flames, Gardiner said.
(Updated at 12:20 p.m.) Runners participating in 5K races next weekend will weave their way through opposite ends of the county.
The Global Strides 5K sends runners into the streets surrounding Tuckahoe Elementary School next Saturday, November 1. The 5K begins at 8:00 a.m. and the 1 mile fun run begins at 9:00 a.m.
Proceeds from the Global Strides 5K will benefit Arlington Academy of Hope School in Uganda. AAH is a nonprofit organization founded by an Arlington family, aimed at improving the lives of children in rural Uganda through education and health care.
Registration is $25 and can be done online or at the race. Those who register online by next week’s deadline will receive a race t-shirt.
Also on Nov. 1, the inaugural Paws2Care 5K Family Fun Run/Walk will be held in Bluemont Park, at 9:00 a.m. The event will include free activities and giveaways like yoga, massages, face painting, music, dog treats, raffles and prizes.
The next day, on November 2, things will get a little hairy in Shirlington for the Beckett’s Irish Pub Stache Dash. Proceeds from that race go to The Movember Foundation, an organization that raises funds for men’s health programs.
The 5K begins at Samuel Beckett’s Irish Pub (2800 S. Randolph Street) at 8:00 a.m. There will be a post-race party at Samuel Beckett’s, where attendees will be provided with a mustache if they don’t already have one.
Registration is $40 and can be done online. Participants will receive a tech tee and light snacks after the race.
Periwinkle, a women’s clothing boutique in the Village at Shirlington, plans to close at the end of the year.
The shop, at 4150 Campbell Ave., is owned by Elizabeth Mason, who said she has decided not to renew her lease after being in the location for five years.
“Business is down and rent continues to go up, but it was always going to be a 5-year deal, the option to renew was never going to work for me,” Mason told ARLnow.com via email. “The landlord and I did discuss if I wanted to renew, but they wanted too much rent and as I said, this year sales have been down so it worked out to just let the lease end.”
Periwinkle also has a location in Old Town Alexandria, which Mason said is closing in November when her lease is up there. She plans to focus on Periwinkle’s online shop, her affordable online shop The Pink Armoire, and finding a new retail space in the area.
Periwinkle is the third storefront to close in the Village at Shirlington in the last two weeks, following Bloomers and Aladdin’s Eatery. Mason said “business is down” while a Bloomers employee told ARLnow.com the store may have shut down due to “a lack of foot traffic.” A manager in a nearby store told ARLnow.com that both companies have no one to blame for their closing but themselves.
“Bloomers always struggled in its execution,” the manager, who wished to remain anonymous, said. “The average female doesn’t look for lingerie and bras on the sidewalk. Periwinkle has struggled in the past year, but I heard from customers it’s because of the shop’s pricing and sizing.”
The manager, who said she had worked in the Village at Shirlington for more than five years, said foot traffic in the shopping and restaurant district has rarely been better.
“Shirlington has great foot traffic,” the manager said. “People never used to come to the side of the village with Bloomer’s and Periwinkle because they didn’t know it was there. It’s just been getting better and better over the years.”
Photo via Periwinkle
Aladdin’s Eatery, the health-conscious, Lebanese restaurant in the Village at Shirlington, has closed.
The restaurant, at 4044 Campbell Ave., is locked and had all of its furniture removed this week. ARLnow.com has been unable to confirm with the company’s corporate office whether the closure is permanent or for a renovation. There is no indication on the exterior of the building of the nature of the shop’s closing.
The location in the Village at Shirlington was Aladdin’s only restaurant in Arlington. It had recently featured belly dancing shows from Saffron Dance in Virginia Square.The closest location is in Burke, almost 10 miles away.
Anyone who wants to pick up some ladies’ undergarments and loungewear will have to look somewhere other than Bloomers in Shirlington. The store at 4150 Campbell Avenue has closed its doors for good.
When ARLnow.com stopped by today, the store had been cleared out except for some display cases and mannequins. It’s unclear exactly why the store shut, but an employee speculated it might have been a lack of foot traffic. The original store in Old Town Alexandria will remain open.
Bloomers had been in Shirlington since January 2012. A representative for The Village at Shirlington was not able to give any clues as to what might move into the former Bloomers space.
‘Damn Yankees’ Was Written in Arlington Home — The book that was the basis for the musical “Damn Yankees” was written in Alcova, a historic home in Arlington. A family of four now lives in the house, after buying it for $950,000 in 2012. [Falls Church News-Press]
Shirlington Library Temporarily Closed — Shirlington Branch Library was closed Thursday and is expected to reopen this morning following “a maintenance issue with the building HVAC system.” [Library Blog]
NBC’s Chuck Todd Gives Back in Arlington — “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd lives in Arlington and says he prefers giving back to local causes rather than national charities. Among other causes, Todd volunteers at Arlington Free Clinic. “You have a community where you have a lot of wealth in one part of the county and a lot of poverty in the other, and it’s right in D.C.’s backyard,” he said of the motivation for his volunteer work. [USA Today]
Capitol City Brewing Company is hosting the 15th annual Mid-Atlantic Oktoberfest on Saturday from noon to 7:00 p.m. on Campbell Avenue. For $30 tickets, patrons 21 or older get a tasting glass and 10 tasting tickets. Further tickets can be bought for $1 each, with a $5 minimum. Beer taps will close down at 6:00 p.m.
Capitol City says more than 65 breweries will have booths, and more than half of those breweries come from the D.C. region. The list includes Virginia staples like Port City, Devil’s Backbone and Lost Rhino, with lesser known Northern Virginia breweries like Adroit Theory, Old Ox Brewery and Heritage Brewing Company. There will also be three cider makers and a “meadery” to offer some variety in the suds options.
There will be traditional German music being played all day and specialty German food to accompany the beer in honor of the Bavarian region’s centuries-old harvest festival.
Starting at 6:00 a.m., roads in Shirlington will be closed to allow the booths to set up, and they are expected to remain closed until about 10:00 p.m. According to the Arlington County Police Department, Campbell Avenue from S. Arlington Mill Drive to Quincy Street and S. Randolph Street between Charlie Chang’s restaurant and Arlington Mill Drive will be closed off. Drivers should also be on the lookout for “no parking” signs in the area.
File photo courtesy Capitol City Brewing Company
Four projects aimed at improving pedestrian safety, removing invasive plants and more are likely to be approved at this Saturday’s regular Arlington County Board meeting.
The final four projects funded by the 2012 Neighborhood Conservation bond, approved in June by the Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee, will receive a total of $2,540,175 if the Board approves them. About $1.3 million of those funds would come from the 2012 bond, while about $1.2 million is expected come from the bond referendum on the ballot on Nov. 4.
The four projects up for approval:
- Pedestrian safety and street improvements for the intersections of N. Vacation Lane with N. Stuart and N. Utah Streets in Donaldson Run. Improvements include replacing a yield sign with a stop sign at the northeast corner of N. Stuart Street, replacing sidewalks on N. Utah Street and curb extensions at both intersections. Total cost: $608,749.
- Street improvements for N. Quintana Street between Washington Boulevard and 19th Street N. in East Falls Church. This includes constructing curbs and gutters on both sides of the road and installing a 5-foot-wide sidewalk on the east side on the street. Total cost: $756,581.
- Park improvements for Oakland Park at 3701 Wilson Blvd. in Ballston-Virginia Square. This project is meant to give the park a complete upgrade, bringing features up to Americans with Disabilities Act standards and adding new site furnishings, ornamental plantings and wood decking. Total cost: $798,845.
- Removing invasive plants from Lucky Run Stream in Fairlington-Shirlington. The project calls for creating a “pollinator habitat between the stream bank and bike trail” and creating buffers with trees on either side of the stream. Total cost: $376,000.
The four projects were selected from a pool of 26 applications from neighborhoods around the county because they scored the highest on the NCAC’s points system, which is explained in the county staff’s report.
The county also has produced a five-minute video, embedded above, in honor of the Neighborhood Conservation Program’s 50th anniversary.
“When it was created in 1964, the goal was to empower residents by having them come together to discuss and share ideas for improving their neighborhoods,” the narrator says. The video includes interviews from NCAC Chair Bill Braswell and other committee members. “Over the years, the program has moved from beautification efforts to focus more on infrastructure needs… The program enables residents to identify and plan projects in their own neighborhoods.”
Reliant Asset Management has 9 employees working from its headquarters at 2900 S. Quincy Street — behind Carlyle restaurant — and last year reported $85.1 million in revenue. That’s up from $153,125 in 2010, when it was founded, for a whopping 55,460 percent three-year growth rate.
Also known by the acronym RAM, the company rents modular housing, offices and classrooms to oil companies, hospitals, schools and other entities. Housing for oil field workers in remote parts of Texas, North Dakota and Canada accounts for about two-thirds of its business, according to Barry Roman, who co-founded the company with his brother, Michael.
“We’re very excited about it… it’s thrilling to be No. 3,” Barry Roman told ARLnow.com. “Since the first two were in El Segundo, California, we can say we’re the fastest growing company east of El Segundo.”
Roman said the company is currently helping to house nearly 4,000 oil workers, in temporary facilities that include 24-hour kitchens, gyms and entertainment options, plus integrated security and transportation infrastructure.
“It’s a self-enclosed town,” Roman said. “These oil companies are looking for oil in very remote locations and they want their workers to be well taken care of. There’s not much around.”
Roman said the company has been able to manage its stratospheric growth thanks to good planning and strategic outsourcing of functions like catering, transporation and security.
“We recognized it as a very fast-growing market so we went at it hard,” he said. The company currently has about 150 employees — most of whom are outside of Arlington — and plans to continue hiring and growing.
Roman said RAM’s headquarters is likely to remain in Shirlington, which was chosen due to its proximity to the highway, Reagan National Airport, downtown D.C., and the founders’ homes.
“We love it… it’s a great place to be,” Roman said. “It’s a Class A office building at a good rate and it’s very convenient. It’s a good place to attract employees… everyone can find it and it’s easy to get to.”
RAM has not received any sort of plaque from Inc. in recognition of the honor, but Roman said it did receive a copy of the magazine in the mail.
Other Arlington-based companies cracking the top 1,000 of the Inc. 5000 list include:
- American Wireless (No. 232) — “Provides carrier-agnostic contract and prepaid wireless plans and devices”
- Heartland Energy Partners (No. 256) — “Helps clients develop and manage programs and assets in the fields of energy and environment, IT, infrastructure protection, and health care”
- Fonteva (No. 286) — “Provides enterprise resource protocol and development tools on the Salesforce.com platform”
- R3 Government Solutions (No. 530) — “Provides large-scale program management, process improvement, and workforce management services to federal clients”
- Opower (No. 635) — “Combines a cloud-based platform, big data, and behavioral science to help utilities around the world reduce energy consumption”
- Kitewire (No. 901) — “Develops mobile device management software for government and private sector clients”