A Chinese restaurateur with a cult following will open his first restaurant in Arlington in two days.
Oriental Gourmet in the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center just closed this month, but chef Peter Chang‘s team is full steam ahead in trying to transform the space into Peter Chang Arlington, set for a soft opening at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday.
Chang got his start in the U.S. cooking at the Chinese Embassy before serving his speciality, Szechuan cuisine, at little-known China Star on Main Street in the city of Fairfax. He moved around Northern Virginia to a restaurant in Alexandria and back to Fairfax, before moving to Georgia, picking up devoted followings in each area.
Chang’s followers are so devoted, and his nomadic tendencies so consistent, that a lengthy New Yorker magazine profile was devoted to them — despite Chang having never opened a restaurant north of the Mason Dixon line.
Recently, he’s started opening up Peter Chang restaurants in areas of Virginia farther south, starting with Charlottesville, Richmond, Williamsburg and Fredericksburg. Chang’s daughter, Lydia, said “Everyone is excited” for her father’s return to his Northern Virginia roots.
“We’re here to provide amazing, authentic Chinese cuisine,” Lydia Chang told ARLnow.com in the under-renovation restaurant space this morning. “Peter loves Northern Virginia and he knows there are a lot of people who appreciate authentic Chinese cuisine. He’s just here to do it right.”
Doing it right means a sit-down Chinese restaurant serving more than 100 menu items, including many of the dishes that have grown Chang’s following: dry-fried eggplant, duck in stone pot and pan-fried steamed pork belly. Lydia Chang said, if he wanted, her father “can create hundreds of different menu items.”
Restaurant openings, especially in Arlington, are notoriously fraught with long delays, often being pushed back months, even years. Some may be taken aback at how quickly Chang plans to open — just a week or two after the closing of Oriental Gourmet — but blazing his own path is nothing new for the mercurial chef.
“It’s not anybody else who wants to do this, it’s Peter’s decision,” Lydia Chang said. Pushing back the opening “is not our style. We’ve been talking about Northern Virginia for years. He’s always wanted to come back.”
The soft opening and early weeks will determine Peter Chang Arlington’s hours, Chang said. The restaurant is planning a grand opening Wednesday, March 18.
(Updated at 11:40 a.m.) Arlington firefighters are on the scene of a house fire across from Yorktown High School.
Neighbors called 911 to report the fire at 10:54 a.m., according to Arlington County Fire Department spokeswoman Lt. Sarah Marchegiani. The first units on the scene reported flames and smoke coming from the attic of the home,on the 5200 block of N. Yorktown Blvd. The fire is believed to have started in the kitchen and made its way up to the upper levels of the home.
No one was inside the house at the time and no injuries have been reported, according to Marchegiani. Firefighters, however, located two dogs in the house and brought them outside to receive oxygen for treatment of smoke inhalation. They’re being transported to an animal hospital, according to scanner traffic.
There were unconfirmed reports of a female teenager who ran into the house looking for the dogs, but who had to then run back out. She was reported to be safely out of the house by an assistant principal at the high school.
As of 11:15 a.m., the fire was reported to be under control and crews were checking for hotspots.
Chestnut Hills Park’s pre-school playground, near Yorktown High School, is expected to be torn down and replaced.
The existing playground (2807 N. Harrison Street) is “one of the most popular playgrounds in the county” according to Arlington Department of Parks and Recreation staff. It is also more than 26 years old and “beyond reasonable repair.”
The Arlington County Board will likely award a construction contract of $521,064 at its meeting this Saturday, Feb. 22. About $489,000 of the contract is for construction and design, while the remaining $31,000 is for contingency purposes.
The new playground, designed for children from ages 2-5, will have a climbing arch, crawl tunnels, “talk tubes,” sound columns, “abacus-like arches with moveable foam blocks” and a sand play area with a water feature. A swing set will remain. There will also be a new track that encircles the park, complete with traffic signs.
Images courtesy Arlington Parks and Recreation
Yorktown Defeats W-L in Basketball — Yorktown’s boys basketball squad defeated Washington-Lee on Friday by a score of 60-52. During the game Washington-Lee senior Jonah Sens scored his 1,000th career point. [Sun Gazette]
Court Orders Yelp Critics Identified — A Virginia Appeals Court last week ruled in favor of Hadeed Carpet Cleaning in a case against the online reviews site Yelp. Under the ruling, Yelp must reveal the identities of seven negative reviewers that Hadeed believes are not actual customers. Hadeed was represented by Raighne Delaney, an attorney with the Arlington law firm of Bean, Kinney & Korman. [Washington Times]
Exhibit-Goers Might Wonder ‘Y’ – An exhibit at Artisphere by artist Alicia Eggert features “a rock sit[ting] on the keyboard of a Macbook Air laptop, typing the letter ‘Y’ into infinity.” The exhibit runs through Feb. 2. [Ode Street Tribune]
Infamy for Arlington Nonprofit’s Former Logo — A former logo of the Arlington Pediatric Center, a local nonprofit healthcare provider in South Arlington, has been named one of the “15 Worst Corporate Logo Fails” by a popular online publication. [Business Insider]
Photo courtesy Becky Barnes
Strayer to Cut Tuition — Arlington based Strayer Education Inc. will cut undergraduate tuition for new students by up to 40 percent next year. The move is intended to curb declining enrollment. Total enrollment for the fall term was down 17 percent, while new enrollments fell by 23 percent. [Washington Business Journal]
Yorktown Loses in Quarterfinal — The Yorktown Patriots lost to the undefeated Lake Braddock Bruins in the Region 6A North quarterfinal regional game. The 40-7 loss left the Patriots finishing the season with a 9-3 record. This was the eighth straight year the Patriots advanced to the playoffs. [Sun Gazette]
Homophobic Message on Cake? — A couple in the District claims to have bought a cake at an Arlington bakery that sported a homophobic message. One woman ordered the cake for her partner, reportedly asking for a cluster of balloons to be replaced with the words “Happy Anniversary Lindsey! Love, Sarah.” Upon receiving the cake, it instead featured the sloppily written phrase “Lesbian Anniv. No Ballons.” The woman says she believes the mistake was intentional. The bakery was not identified by name. [The Gaily Grind, The Advocate]
A raccoon bit a woman in her backyard on Monday night, in the East Falls Church neighborhood, as her four-and-a-half year old daughter watched, horrified. A raccoon also bit a woman Wednesday afternoon in the Yorktown neighborhood. The latest victim is 5 months pregnant and was walking with a baby.
In both instances, animal control officers tried but failed to locate the raccoon.
Sandra Alboum, who was bit on Monday, says the raccoon climbed onto her backyard deck, “walked right up” to her, and started biting her foot and ankle, repeatedly. She said the animal seemed “curious,” as if it were looking for food, and unafraid of humans. As raccoon was biting her, Alboum took a box that normally holds dominoes and used it to bash the animal in the head and body until it scurried away.
“I’m just glad it wasn’t my daughter,” she said. “She was pretty freaked out, and I was too. It’s bizarre.”
Unable to drive, Alboum called 911 and was transported to the hospital, where she received nine “excruciating” rabies shots for her nearly dozen puncture wounds. She’ll have to receive at least three more shots over the next week.
While Monday’s incident took place in the area of 22nd Street N. and Quantico Street, in East Falls Church, Wednesday’s took place in the area of 25th Street N. and George Mason Drive, in the Yorktown neighborhood.
According to an account posted on Facebook, a raccoon walked up to a woman who was walking with a baby and bit her. The attack happened in the afternoon, which is notable given that raccoon are normally nocturnal. The baby was not hurt.
According to the Animal Welfare League of Arlington (AWLA), the victim is 5 months pregnant. She also went to the hospital for rabies shots.
“At this point we are not certain that the raccoon is rabid,” said AWLA spokeswoman Kerry McKeel. “Our animal control officers have not been able to catch it. The only way we will be able to tell for sure if it is rabid is if it is displaying unusual behavior and if the raccoon is caught and euthanized the results of a rabies test come back positive.”
It’s unclear if the same raccoon was responsible for both attacks. McKeel said the two incidents were “unrelated.”
File photo (top) by Bastique via Wikipedia. Photo (bottom) courtesy Sandra Alboum.
A new restaurant specializing in food from Bangladesh opened its doors today at 5169 Lee Highway.
Aladdin, in the Garden City Shopping Center near the Yorktown neighborhood, opened for lunch today with a limited menu, owner Harun Rashid said. He is planning a grand opening on Sept. 1.
Rashid and his wife, Shiuli, opened their first restaurant in 1994 in New York City. After a few years there, they moved to Atlanta, then to Rockville. They sold their restaurant in Maryland and signed their lease in Arlington in May.
He didn’t initially plan to have a soft opening before Sept. 1, but he said many of his Bangladeshi friends “were getting frustrated” that they couldn’t eat at the restaurant yet.
“We’re eager to see the local crowds,” Rashid said. “Most of our customers are American and have our lunch buffet. They love it here. In Georgia, they just go to Waffle House, Waffle House, Waffle House all the time and don’t try anything else.”
The buffet is open from noon to 3 p.m. and costs $9, Rashid said. Aladdin’s specialty, however, is the Kachi Biryani, a slow-cooked, lamb delicacy they only serve on Saturday that customers need to call and order in advance. Rashid said he already has an order for five dishes from an former Maryland customer this Saturday.
“We think we make the most authentic Biryani,” he said. “It takes six hours in total to make, and we won’t reheat it. It’s a very expensive, very tender meat, and a very unique cooking process.”
Bengali food is very similar to Indian food, Rashid said, but there are subtle differences in its texture and spice. Rashid’s two children were sitting quietly in the restaurant Thursday morning when he spoke to ARLnow.com. He emphasized that it’s a family-owned and operated establishment and he hopes to build ties to the area.
“I’m very proud to be part of the Bangladeshi community here,” Rashid said.
Yorktown Baseball Sets Record – Yorktown High School’s baseball team has finished the regular reason undefeated in the National District. With 14 victories, the Patriots set a National District record for wins in a single season. [Sun Gazette]
Crystal City BRT Named — The Bus Rapid Transit system that will serve Crystal City and Potomac Yard next year will be named “Metro Way” and will feature a blue bus design. The buses will travel from Pentagon City to Alexandria, and will run every 6 minutes during the rush hour. [Greater Greater Washington]
USS Arlington Fundraising $100K Short of Goal — So far, more than $390,000 has been donated or is expected to be pledged for a 9/11 “tribute room” on the USS Arlington. That leaves the ship’s commissioning committee more than $100,000 short of its $500,000 goal, however. Fundraising is continuing and committee member Frank O’Leary says he is “hoping to crack $400,000 this month.”
Starting tonight and continuing each day this weekend, races will temporarily close down some Arlington roads.
The Arlington County Police Department is assisting with controlling traffic during a 5K and 10K race around Yorktown High School on Sunday, April 14.
The following restrictions will be in effect from 7:30-11:00 a.m.:
- Yorktown Blvd will be closed to westbound and eastbound traffic from N. 30th Street to N. Edison Street
- N. 28th Street will be closed to northbound and southbound traffic from Yorktown Blvd to N. Greenbrier Street
- Yorktown Blvd will be open to eastbound traffic from N. Edison Street to N. 26th Street
Residents are asked to park their vehicles in driveways instead of on the street in order to reduce the congestion in the affected areas. Anyone with questions or concerns regarding the impact to the community can contact Lieutenant Bob Medairos at 703-228-4160.
Roads will also be closed temporarily for the Nottingham Elementary 5K on Saturday (April 13) and the Crystal City 5K Friday tonight. Drivers are advised to find other routes during the affected times.
The Capitals’ season may be in shambles due to the ongoing NHL lockout, but all is not lost for fans wishing to take in some hockey. The Yorktown High School hockey team is playing a home game at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex (627 N. Glebe Road) in Ballston on Friday.
The Yorktown Ice Hockey Club has been in existence since 2003. The team has not been granted sports team status at the school, but is instead considered an “interest club.” It’s part of the Northern Virginia Scholastic Hockey League, which is the premier high school level league in Northern Virginia, and was bumped up from junior varsity to varsity this year.
One of the coaches boasted to ARLnow.com about having the league’s leading goal scorer on his team. Cameron Smith has scored 17 goals in three games, including a record-setting 11 in one game. So far this year, the team is 2-2.
Friday’s game against Broad Run High School begins at 6:40 p.m. at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in the Ballston Mall. It’s free to attend.
After this Friday, there will be two more Yorktown home games at Kettler. The team will play Osbourne Park at 6:40 p.m. on Friday, January 4, and Madison on Friday, February 8.
Yorktown Hosts South County in Semifinal — In high school football action, the Yorktown Patriots will take on the South County Stallions tonight in a Northern Region Division 5 semifinal playoff game. The contest is a home game for Yorktown. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Yorktown lost to South County in the regional championship game last year. [Sun Gazette]
APS Awarded for Green Initiatives — Arlington Public Schools has “earned a Platinum Certification as a Virginia School Board Association (VSBA) Certified Green Schools Division.” The school system also placed first in VSBA’s Green Schools Challenge for large school divisions. [Arlington Public Schools]
Award for Affordable Clarendon Development — VPoint, the affordable apartment building built atop a Clarendon church, has been named the “Best Affordable Housing Development” in Virginia at the 2012 Governor’s Housing Conference. “The award is presented to a housing development that is innovative in its concept and design and exceptional in meeting the needs of the intended community,” according to a press release. [Arlington County]
Honors for Arlington VT Students — Arlington resident Liam O’Neill has been selected to be a member of the Marching Virginians marching band at Virginia Tech. O’Neill is a percussion musician and a sophomore majoring in building construction. Another Arlington native, Michelle Sutherland, has been named to Virginia Tech’s Order of the Gavel, an honor society for leaders of major student organizations. Sutherland, a junior majoring in political science, is editor of the Collegiate Times, the school’s student newspaper.
Save Your Profile Information Today — If you’re a registered user of ARLnow.com, please save any user profile information or avatars you’re currently using on the site. Changes will be made to the site this weekend and your information may be lost.
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
According to a picket schedule on its website, the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, will send members to Arlington on Monday, November 12. They’re slated to protest at Yorktown High School (5200 Yorktown Blvd) starting at 7:40 a.m., the Pentagon starting at 8:50 a.m. and Arlington National Cemetery at 10:00 a.m.
The group has made stops in Arlington before, in part to perform protests of military funerals. Such protests have been fodder for lawsuits around the country, but the group’s right to protest at the funerals was upheld by the Supreme Court last year. The church has also made headlines for its prominent anti-gay message, for lauding the 9/11 attacks and for using controversial slogans such as “Thank God for breast cancer” on picket signs.
Although the church’s protests of the Pentagon and Arlington National Cemetery may not seem surprising, some question why it is targeting Yorktown. The church offered the following explanation on its website:
“Westboro will picket Yorktown High School because we know that Doomed america has turned the school systems into institutions to teach rebellion against God. Every adult that touches the lives of your children hate them, including parents, teachers, coaches, preachers. No truth to be found on the landscape. So you will all land in hell together, and there you will remain, bitter cursing and wailing and gnashing of teeth. How sad is that?! Not to worry, WBC brings HOPE! The Bread of Life. If you loath it, too bad, it is all you get.”
Currently, there have been no reports of plans for increased security or police presence at any of the three sites where protests are scheduled. Arlington County Public Schools Spokesman Frank Bellavia did note, however, that November 12 is Veterans Day, and school is therefore not in session.
A juvenile who was waiting for his mother to pick him up in the area of Chestnut Hills Park, near Yorktown High School, was robbed at gunpoint this past Saturday night, according to the latest Arlington County crime report.
ARMED ROBBERY, 09/01/12, 2800 block of N. Harrison Street. Between 8:40 and 8:50 pm on September 1, a juvenile victim waiting for his mother to pick him up was robbed at gunpoint by a suspect in a black four door sedan. The suspect is described as a black male, late 20’s to mid 30’s in age and heavy set. The suspect was wearing a red bandana and had short dreads.
The rest of this week’s crime report, after the jump.
Just after 12:00 p.m. an elderly male driver in a Toyota Camry drove into the store’s entrance after accidentally pressing the gas instead of the brake, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. Two people were inside the vehicle at the time. No word on whether anybody was inside the store.
Damage to the store is estimated at $20,000, but a building inspector determined that there was no structural damage to the building.
No injuries were reported and no charges have been filed against the driver.
In mere days, anyone looking to dive into a new exercise routine for the new year will have another option. The Yorktown Aquatic Center is set to open on Sunday.
The facility replaces Yorktown’s older pool that had been in use for decades. Visitors now have access to an eight-lane competition pool and a separate instructional pool. There’s also a separate diving area with two springboards and a scoreboard. At least 175 people can overlook the pools from the spectator area. The facility also houses a “wet classroom” which will be available to rent for pool parties.
Sunday’s grand opening open house celebration will run during normal facility hours, from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. You can get the full operating schedule here. The pool is located on the Yorktown Boulevard side of campus, and can be accessed from the parking area on 28th Street.