Join Club

Lost Dog Café Becoming Lost Dog Empire?

What started out 25 years ago as a small neighborhood eatery in North Arlington is blossoming into a full-fledged local chain.

Lost Dog Café, which last year added a South Arlington location on Columbia Pike, is close to signing a lease for a storefront on Colshire Drive in McLean. And they’re not stopping there.

Lost Dog’s expansion is being undertaken not by the owners of the original restaurant, but by four friends who used to work there as teenagers.

Wes Clough, Mike Danner, Jim Barnes  and Mike Barnes are all graduates of Yorktown High School. Their devotion to Lost Dog Café started at age 16, when they started working there as drivers.

That dedication carried over through college, office jobs and marriages, and came full circle when Lost Dog owners Pam McAlwee and Ross Underwood gave their blessing for the friends to start the restaurant’s first franchise.

The Columbia Pike location, across the street from Arlington Cinema ‘N’ Drafthouse, opened in May 2009. McAlwee and Underwood donated the franchise fee to their charity, the Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation.

The new venture has been a success, winning awards and gaining customers at a pace well exceeding the friends’ expectations. Even this past weekend, during the height of Snowmageddon, the restaurant was packed.

Part of the success, says co-owner Jim Barnes, can be attributed to Lost Dog’s focus on serving customers. During the snow storm, Barnes personally delivered phone-in orders in his Jeep Wrangler.

For Mike Barnes, Jim’s brother, the formula boils down to this: quality food at reasonable prices. That kind of universal appeal is why he believes Lost Dog will have no problem expanding outside the safe confines of Arlington. It’s also why he and his partners are setting their sights even further.

After the McLean location opens up, the group will start planning for their next expansion.  So far the likely candidates include Alexandria and Capitol Hill.

The friends may be moving quickly, but their planning is methodical. With take-out and delivery accounting for 50 percent of Lost Dog’s business, the McLean location was chosen specifically to provide a contiguous zone of delivery service. It also helps that nearby Tysons Corner has a huge population of office workers who need to eat something for lunch.

Opening up new stores is risky, especially for four young guys with relatively tight finances, but Jim Barnes is confident that once they find suitable locations, new Lost Dog Cafés won’t have trouble finding clientele.

“A family-friendly restaurant with good food,” said Barnes, “[is] a recipe that will work anywhere.”

For additional information: Check out Lost Dog Café’s absurdly long menu, including 90 different varieties of pizzas, sandwiches, and pastas. Also, take a look at the equally-impressive beer list. Or watch the Arlington Virginia Network’s recent “Food for Thought” feature on the restaurant.

Recent Stories

It’s going to be a windy Saturday. The National Weather Service just issued a Wind Advisory for Arlington and other parts of the D.C. region, in effect until 6 p.m….

Good Friday evening, Arlington. Let’s take a look back at today’s stories and a look forward to tomorrow’s event calendar. 🕗 News recap The following articles were published earlier today…

McLean-based Golden Boot Soccer has been a leader in youth soccer skill development and fun for nearly 30 years, and this summer they’re bringing their popular summer camps back to…

Arlington County police are investigating “extensive” graffiti, including a racist word, on the roof of Dorothy Hamm Middle School. Families were informed of the vandalism via email yesterday. The principal…

It is the decision of the United States Department of Defense (DoD) Washington Headquarters Services (WHS) to implement the Proposed Action: the 2024 Pentagon Reservation Master Plan Update (Pentagon Master Plan) as the framework to guide future decisions regarding land use and infrastructure at the Pentagon site and Mark Center. The Pentagon Master Plan aims to provide an update to the existing conditions at the Pentagon and Mark Center and presents projects and revisions to land use categorizations that will address the specific needs to reduce the Pentagon’s environmental impacts and advance sustainability, security, and resilience. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review has been completed through preparation of a Final Environmental Assessment (EA) to evaluate environmental impacts arising from implementation of the projects. WHS has concluded that no significant impacts to the human or natural environment will result from implementation of any projects, and recognized negative effects will be reduced by adherence to standard best management practices, applicable permit and consultation conditions, and standard operating procedures. This decision is further documented in the Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) signed on March 20, 2024.

This notice announces the availability of the FONSI to implement the 2024 Pentagon Reservation Master Plan Update.

For further information and to request a copy of the Final EA or FONSI, please contact Brian King, Environmental and Sustainability Program Manager, WHS/Facilities Services Directorate/Standards and Compliance Division/Environmental and Sustainability Branch; (703-614-3658 or [email protected]). Please include “Pentagon Master Plan Final EA and FONSI” in the subject line.

Submit your own Announcement here.

The 3rd Annual Arlington Fair Housing Conference will feature Thomas Silverstein, renowned Fair Housing expert and Associate Director of the Fair Housing & Community Development Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

Come hear the latest news about fair housing enforcement, policy, and programs within Arlington County, Virginia, and across the country! Our expert panelists and guest speakers include fair housing advocates, elected officials, and government officials tasked with advancing housing equity at the local, state, and federal level.

Arlington has made substantial strides in advancing housing equity and improving fair housing policy with the adoption of the Regional Fair Housing Plan in 2023. Come learn what’s next to fight housing discrimination, incorporate equity for marginalized populations in our housing policies and programs, and increase awareness of fair housing rights under state and federal law.

We’ll have updates from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing federal rule, a panel discussion of fair housing progress at the General Assembly and across Virginia, and a panel of local experts discussing the progress Arlington has made and what remains to be done.
Please RSVP in advance to ensure you receive your free lunch at the conference. Free and open to the public.

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

National Chamber Ensemble – Concerto Celebration

We invite you to join us for an extraordinary evening of music at our Season Finale, “Concerto Celebration”! Enjoy several masterworks as NCE performs two famous concertos in an intimate chamber music setting, opening with a delightful work by Chevalier

“The Secret Garden”

The St. Andrew’s Players Present “The Secret Garden”

Adapted from the book by Frances Hodgson Burnett by Erin Detrick

A time-honored classic, “The Secret Garden” is the story of two indulged and neglected 10-year-olds. They are miserable souls from different

×

Subscribe to our mailing list