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Matchbox “Actively Searching” For Space in Clarendon

by ARLnow.com July 16, 2010 at 11:19 am 3,442 26 Comments

Matchbox, the popular Chinatown/Capitol Hill eatery, is in the midst of an expansion that may eventually include Clarendon.

The restaurant will be expanding with a huge, 10,000 square foot location in Rockville this fall, and another location in Merrifield that will deliver in 2012. But Clarendon is also a big target for co-owner Drew Kim.

“Clarendon is a hotspot for us,” Kim said. “We’re actively searching in Clarendon, we just don’t have a lease signed. There are a couple spots we’re looking at.”

Among the spots Kim is keeping an eye on is the vacant lot down the road from the Clarendon Whole Foods, which is rumored to finally be on the verge of development. Kim was also interested in a big retail space at 2350 Clarendon Boulevard, before it was snapped up by Fire Works Pizza.

Kim says he is primarily focused on the Courthouse/Clarendon area because of its central location and its ability to attract large lunchtime and dinnertime crowds.

Matchbox recently launched (or in the process of launching) two new restaurant concepts that could — if successful — be exported to Northern Virginia. Those restaurants are DC-3, a delicatessen with a focus on gourmet hot dogs, and Ted’s Bulletin, a Prohibition-era diner.

Photo courtesy of Matchbox.

  • LP

    Hope they find a spot soon in Clarendon. Ted’s is an awesome spot so I’m sure DC3 will be just as good, if not better.

    • Mike

      I was coming on here to ask what fool would think a “gourmet” hot-dog restaraunt is a great idea.

      At least I don’t have to end this with a question mark.

      • LP

        Mike-

        Did I say it was a “great idea”? No, I didn’t. I said the food would probably be just as good, if not better than Ted’s.

        Completely different ball game. Thanks.

    • JR

      the same people who thought gourmet cupcake shops were a good idea… oh wait… untapped market = huge profit.

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  • KateKirk

    Come on Matchbox and get that pizza in mah belly…

  • Scott

    “Among the spots Kim is keeping an eye on is the vacant lot down the road from the Clarendon Whole Foods, which is rumored to finally be on the verge of development”

    What rumors have you heard about future development on this site?

    • Only that something may be happening soon-ish. Do you or does anybody else have any additional insight?

      • Tom

        Only that if Matchbox wants to open for sure in less than 5 years, they should look at existing or soon-to-be existing space. Only thing that is likely possible on “the verge” for that lot is a proposal. Then there is negotiation, approval, financing, construction, buildout. Lots of options available right now.

        • Mike

          Why wait for buildout? One of the existing restataunts will fail miserably with some stupid concept or fad. One can only hope it’s the Tapas place. Goremy was right. It’s got everything but nothing good.

  • jen

    I love matchbox, but please more pizza in clarendon. Why aren’t there any rumors of any retail and only restaurant development in these new areas?

    • Tom

      I have heard this sentiment a lot about Clarendon. It sure seems like the market would be right. What types of stores and more specifically – what retailers (assuming they are identifiable) would you like to see in Clarendon ? Where do you shop for that stuff now ? Hey, someone should do a survey…

  • Craig

    I’d like to see more boutiques and fewer chain stores. Like the boutique stores around 14th and U. Problem is the rent’s too high.

  • TuesdayChild

    It would be nice to see more retail in Clarendon. I was sorry when that Garden/Gift store across from whole foods closed two years ago. It was good for gifts, etc. That said, retail in DC generally seems weaker these past 10 years, with more chains and fewer interesting/unique stores.

  • JoshS

    Dear god, I hope this is true. Sliders and pizza for dinner at Matchbox and yogurt at Red Mango… now THAT is good eating.

  • MC

    This is silly — Clarendon doesn’t need any more pizza places with all that are coming. The place is on the verge of severe over-saturation, and will drive out some decent places that are truly local. If Matchbox is so good, let people travel to Merrifield for it.

    I second the comments are retail — we need more places to shop (how about a hardware store) — people can eat only so much pizza.

    • Hammertime

      We had a hardware store. No one shopped at it. Therefore, we no longer have a hardware store.

  • JoshS

    Retail is a good idea but the area doesn’t seem to be supporting it. Several have closed. And Matchbox is a local chain. They opened their first place in DC, and their second one is in Capital Hill. They may not be an Arlington original but it’s close enough. And their food is great.

  • Mike

    Are there any Vietnamese left in Clarendon?

    I almost cried when Queen Bee closed. When Viet Garden got the boot I did.

    • Former Little Viet Garden Patron

      Nam Viet is less than a block from the Metro and is awesome: http://www.namviet1.com/

    • Skeptical

      There is a sentiment I can totally get behind, at least the Little Viet Garden part. And Dalat. Remember the garden rolls at Dalat? Queen Bee, not so much. I thought their food was a lot less interesting.

      Different ethnicity, but as long as Kabob Bazaar is there Clarendon will have at least some food that is more about the flavor and the value than the trendiness and pretension.

  • Former Little Viet Garden Patron

    Delhi Club is non-pretentious and has fantastic Indian food.

  • Brad

    Come to Shirlington! There are a few open spots that would be big enough for Matchbox!

  • With the numerous “For Lease” signs that have stayed that way for over five years, the biggest epidemic is stubborn landlords who are stuck in the big-money mindset that led to the real estate bust, instead of lowering their expectations and charging reasonable rents after the market corrections occurred. Ever since, they have lost money (and they deserve it if they’re not playing game).

  • nelliebly

    I second Brad. The Shirlington area is seriously lacking in pizza.

  • Graham

    Circa, Cava Mezze and Matchbox are all welcome additions. Continue to support these small local owners. Its the La Tosca and Cheese Cake Factory’s I could do without. As for dessert and coffee…my choice is Boccato!

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