There’s a new mobile food vendor in town, and it’s just one of a host of new mobile lunchtime options that are sprucing up the tired Rosslyn food scene.
BBQ Bandidos served up their first sandwich less than three weeks ago, but already they’re developing a loyal customer base.
“It’s awesome, it’s authentic… you can taste the smokiness of the meat,” said India Hubbard, who along with several co-workers were getting lunch from the truck for the second time. Hubbard said they’ll be back soon to try other items on the menu.
BBQ Banditos serves up American barbeque sandwiches and Mexican cemita sandwiches –all either $6.50 or $7.00 — along with $1 chips and $2 bottled sodas.
Co-owners Shawn Lucas and Nathan Spittal both came from the restaurant industry, where they have a combined 17 years of experience and most recently held the titles of general manager and executive chef.
Lucas said they came up with the idea for the truck just three months ago.
“We were mad that there was no good barbeque in DC,” he said, explaining the idea’s genesis. He noted that the truck licensed only in Arlington — “for now.”
“We really like Arlington, we like Rosslyn,” Lucas said. “The people around here are really friendly… we have regular customers after two weeks, it’s great.”
The truck recently went to the inaugural Curbside Cookoff in DC, and captured third place. Other than that adventure, Lucas says, the truck has not ventured far from its regular lunchtime spot in Rosslyn.
Lucas attributes the truck’s success thus far to the lack of good food choices for local workers.
“I’m not going to say any names, but they’re all on that side of the street,” Lucas said, motioning in the direction of Chop’t, whose manager allegedly threatened to call the police when the truck parked in front of the restaurant recently.
(A police officer checked on the Bandido’s permits just before our interview. It’s unclear if the officer was there after receiving a complaint.)
Rosslyn workers are “kind of tired of the same lemming line that’s impersonal and corporate,” Lucas said of his brick-and-mortar competitors.
He may be on to something. Around lunchtime today, at least four food trucks and carts were parked along Lynn Street, and all had sizable lines. With Rosslyn’s hoped-for restaurant renaissance happening at a snail’s pace, it seems that mobile food vendors are swooping in to provide more selection and sophistication — a quirky, homegrown alternative to the chains.
Rather than competing with each other, Lucas says that the food truck crowd is actually friendly and collaborative. He says he regularly talks with the guys from District Taco and the gals from Rebel Heroes. District Taco and Tasty Kabob were parked right next to each other today, but no one made any threats or called the cops. It was a peaceful utopia of mobile food and happy customers.
Lucas says he expects the truck to venture to other Arlington locales starting next week. In the longer term, he has his sights set on opening an actual brick-and-mortar restaurant.
“We don’t want to sell out of a truck for the rest of our lives,” he said.
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Arlington and its neighbors have become more segregated in the last 10 years while fair housing legislation at the state level faces significant roadblocks. Arlington’s fair housing enforcement, education, and commitment to equity practices in housing policy and programs are beginning to show signs of improvement but much more needs to be done.
Join the NAACP Arlington Branch, HOME of Virginia, and Equal Rights Center for the 2nd Annual Arlington Fair Housing Conference on April 15th to discuss the threats and opportunities to advancing fair housing policy across the state and within Arlington.
The half-day, in-person event will feature speakers from fair housing advocacy organizations and government agencies including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and focus on fair housing policy trends in Virginia and Arlington County. The conference aims to advance the understanding of issues and policies related to equity and affirmatively further fair housing among local officials, advocates, and members of the public.
2nd Annual Arlington Fair Housing Conference
Is home ownership a goal of yours in 2023? Now is the time to make it happen! Grab a (virtual) drink with the area’s top Real Estate experts, learn all about the home buying process and on how you can get $1,500 towards your closing costs immediately!
Did you know the average Arlington renter will spend $150K in 5 years of renting? Stop paying down someone else’s mortgage! Join us for a Rent vs. Buy Happy Hour on Wednesday, April 5th at 6 p.m. via Zoom. If this time doesn’t work, we also are offering times convenient for your schedule!
A lot has happened in the local market since the beginning of the pandemic. Sip on your drink of choice and learn from Northern Virginia, Arlington and Washingtonian Magazines top producing agents! We will discuss the latest market updates, the home buying process and rent vs. buy cost savings. Please RSVP by clicking here.
Call/text Manavi at 703-869-6698 with any questions!
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Congressional School to Host MONA Private School Fair Thursday, April 27 at 6:30 PM
Congressional School in Falls Church, VA is delighted to host the MONA (Mothers of North Arlington) at an upcoming Private School Fair. Private schools from around
WHS Spring Festival
Join us at the WHS Spring Festival on April 22, 2023, from 10am- 3pm at Wakefield High School(main parking lot). Come out to shop, play, and eat!
Shop local vendors, arts & crafts, new and used items, food vendors/trucks, and