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Name Chosen for New Artisphere Cafe

by ARLnow.com March 17, 2011 at 9:31 am 3,339 43 Comments

The contest to name Artisphere’s cafe is over, the votes are in, and the winner has been revealed.

Borrowing the last four letters of Artisphere, HERE is the new name of the cultural center’s cafe. HERE will feature a “seasonal menu of comfort food with Latin flavors made from locally-sourced and fresh ingredients.”

In addition to being a restaurant, HERE will be a full bar, a nightclub and a catering service. It’s owned by Barroso, Inc., the same group that runs Guajillo on Wilson Boulevard in Rosslyn and Casa Oaxaca in Northwest D.C.

The contest to name the cafe was organized by the Washington Post Express. More than 530 entries were submitted. HERE, which was submitted by Bonnie Imlay of Silver Spring, Md., beat out two other finalists in the final public voting: “Artesano” and “Tamién.”

To celebrate the new name, Artisphere and HERE will be holding two events at the end of the month.

First, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 31, Artisphere will be hosting a “neighborhood tasting and open house” with “samplings of the restaurant’s cuisine, live music by Brazilian jazz combo Origem and hourly drawings for lunches for two and tickets to Artisphere events.”

Then, from 8:00 to 11:00 p.m. on Friday, April 1, HERE is holding a launch party with more food samplings, door prizes and music by Thunderball and DJ Rex Riddem. The free event is open to the first 300 people who register for it.

  • Just sayin’

    HERE? Oy.

  • borf


    • JamesE


  • Overgrown Bush

    I love how the winner of the naming contest is from Maryland.

  • borf

    I guess they didn’t like my idea: “ARTISP”

  • JanetW

    I’m retired and my income is $38,000 and I would like to know how long Arlington County will be subsidizing the Artisphere?

    • DT

      Change your status to “illegal alien” so the county will do more to be there for you.

    • RosRes

      No additional tax money was used for Artisphere. This was a condition for the COunt’s approval. The Rosslyn BID is kicking in $1M per year, and the County otherwise consolidated money from exsiting arts and cultural funding into Artisphere.

      • And the money from the BID that doesn’t go to the general fund increases the overall tax burden on everyone else.

        Try again.

        • RosRes

          Actually the BID money is collected from businesses inside the BID zone that self tax for the sole purpose of improving the BID (trash pick up, plantings, street ambassadors, etc.). None of that money goes into the general fund for other parts of the county, and it does NOT come from residents. So it either goes to Artisphere or other BID activities. The BID decided that Artisphere is a great attraction to the BID; thus their funding support.

      • Harry

        No additional tax money doesn’t mean no tax money. The Artisphere hires that have been on the Arlington County webpage for months now are all funded with tax money. “Consolidating” existing monies entails opportunity costs. Those same funds could be used for a police officer, nurse or firefighter. I can understand funding the arts in a small town in North Dakota with minimal cultural institutions. But as an Arlington resident, I can easily visit the National Gallery in DC and see French impressionists, Picassos, Dalis and other great works of art. Can we really compete with that? Should we try? Is that a good use of limited resources? I think not. And I’m a guy who doesn’t mind be taxed, in fact I would gladly see my taxes raised to get the classroom trailers off my kids elementary school. Subsidizing arts, sister cities, wine and cheese galas, etc, during an economic downturn is a bit much.

        • RosRes

          Artisphere is largely a performing arts center, although it does have gallery space as well. And all of the dance, theater, companies etc. must pay rent to use the space, which is in turn used to pay for things like salaries for staff, and other overhead. The rental income could not, by definition, be used to hire a nurse or figherfighter. Also, the COunty did an extensive feasbility study to determone where a cultural arts center was justified for the Arlington region. The study found that it was. Why shouldn’t we be able to see a play in North Arlingon? Also, does everyone want to live in utilitarian concrete block city where only the “practical” is supported? SOunds like the old Soviet Union to me. One of the great things about living in Arlingotn is our direct, local access to art and culture.

  • Snark

    Sorry for you not planning of retirement better?

    Not sure what you want to hear or what your fixed income has to do with the boondoggle that is the Artisphere.

    • Overgrown Bush

      So you decide to attack somebody for their retirement planning without even knowing their circumstances?? How old are you and what do you know about retirement planning or JanetW’s circumstances?

      • Just sayin’

        Well, I think the real question is what is the relevance of Janet’s personal circumstance to worthwhile collective public investments? Does she want the county to do something for her that it is not doing? Might she try going to see one of the shows there? Or is she completely uninterested in the Arts? I’m uninterested in Senior Centers, personally, but I still help pay for them.

        Artisphere is and will significantly improve the quality of life in Rosslyn and will be a draw for businesses and residents there. Not all subsidies are bad. Why don’t we wait and see what impact a flourishing Artisphere has?

      • Idi Amin Dada

        Maybe JanetW is an artist and she wants to make some extra money.

  • TuesdaysChild

    Awful name. What about “Cafe TBD”? I understand that name is available?

  • Mkt Common

    Is anyone watching Restaurant Wars? There’s one contestant who named his place “Saucy Balls” and another who named his “Hick’s”. Adding a lackluster name like “Here” to the list of stupid names means I’m guessing coming up with restaurant/bar names must be an unfathomable challenge.

    • JamesE

      I would name a restaurant ARLChow

    • local

      “Is anyone watching Restaurant Wars?”

      No, too busy watching Post-it Note Wars, Finding Something Good on the Radio Wars, and Getting Stains out of the Sofa Wars.

    • Tabby

      I’ve seen it. “Hick’s” is kinda cute but “Saucy Balls”? Goodness me, Ethel.

      And “Sports Wraps” sounded about as appetizing as an old sock.

  • Overgrown Bush

    I like Foodishere.

    • Tabby


  • TuesdaysChild

    How about “Fissete Food Follies”?

  • NorArl Res

    Dumb name…show’s a lack of thought and creativity among the judges. And a Maryland resident?!! Please!

  • RosRes

    I’m assuming everyone here is upset because you all submitted your proposed names to in the competetion?

    • Just sayin’

      Well, I did and I liked mine better.

    • SamsontheCat

      I did too and liked mine better even though I forget which thought I sent in. Not mad they didn’t picked mine. Just sad they picked HERE? Really? SPHERE would have been almost as pretentious but still better. Why the caps too? Is it because it’s “in your face”? Sorry, being loud is not the same as being art. That space isn’t really an in your face kind of of space either. More like a place to chill, have a salad, and catch some art on an afternoon.

    • Arlingtonian

      I don’t like the name, but I’ll admit the name I submitted (Hemispheres) wasn’t much better!

  • SamsontheCat

    I’m looking for partners and investors to open a competing restaurant across the street we’ll call OVER THERE.

  • Madelia Tower

    Yow, you guys play rough on this forum!

  • Wayne Kubicki

    My nomination was “Phere Itself”

    • Dan


  • Yasmin

    HERE is the stupidest name I have ever heard for a restaurant. Pretty unoriginal. Maryland residents shouldn’t have been allowed to participate at all.

  • Where?

    HERE? Seriously? It will always be the Carlee Cafe in my mind.

    Guess they missed the irony of holding the launch party on April 1.

  • Aaron

    I have a hard time believing anyone will ever call HERE by its proper name; it’ll likely always be dubbed “the Artisphere cafe” by anyone who’s actually going there.

  • John Andre

    Not too original a name…perhaps SPHERE would have been better.

  • 4Arl

    I think the name is fine, it gave me a chuckle. I’ll leave it to others to come up with what the letters stand for. With all the creative decals on ARLnow we look forward to your ideas! Oh, and on being retired in Arlington on a fixed income, the county is quite generous in discounting or waiving your property tax, though this doesn’t help renters…

    • Dan

      “the county is quite generous in discounting or waiving your property tax”
      Only if you have virtually no savings.

      If you have to live of the dividends and interest generated from your savings and not a government pension, they are about as generous as Scrooge before his encounter with the ghosts !!

      • 4Arl

        Good point about the disparity between pensions and income from savings. The county could remedy this by revising the formula. There are probably other adjustments that should be made.
        But I still think the program is generous, since other property owners are essentially footing part or all of the property tax bill for those who qualify. After all, they exclude the entire value of the property from your assets, and you can still get some benefits with an annual income of $99,000, and assets of $500K could still qualify for a deferral. How generous should others be?

        • Dan

          Assuming a 2% return on your investments, you need substantially more than the county allows you to have to achieve the same level of income from pensions.

          The disparity between the limits on savings and pension income is glaring and would like be shot down if it were to be challenged in the courts.


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