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New Restaurant Coming to Former American Flatbread Space

by ARLnow.com July 21, 2011 at 1:52 pm 8,315 87 Comments

A new American gastropub called The Green Pig Bistro is coming to the former American Flatbread space in Clarendon.

Located at 1025 N. Fillmore Street, the restaurant is off the main Clarendon drag and will be limited in terms of outdoor seating, but chef/owner M. Scot Harlan says he’s confident he’ll be able to draw in customers with quality food.

Describing the planned cuisine as “sustainable American comfort food with high-quality ingredients and reasonable prices,” Harlan says he’s investing in the food, not the marketing.

“I’m trying to put all my extra money in ingredients and staff, and not put it into things like marketing, glassware and advertising,” he said. Harlan, a fourth-generation Arlingtonian, has spent the past 10 years working in restaurants, from Bouchon in Las Vegas to 2941 in Falls Church and Inox Restaurant in Tysons Corner.

Residents of the Zoso Flats apartment building, above the restaurant, were notified yesterday about the restaurant’s planned construction, which is expected to begin next week. Harlan says the Green Pig will likely open in either November or January.

Hat tips to anonymous and Nicole & Dan O.

  • Awesome!!

    Is anyone else picturing an Angry Birds Pig logo?

    • Tabby

      No, Jodie the pig in Amityville Horror. Aaaaah!

    • CrystalMikey

      I am…damn that game.

  • FREDTERP

    Zoso Flats apartment building. What kind of knucklehead created that name. FREDTERP

    • Zed Leppelin

      Robert Plant, perhaps?

    • doodly

      You calling yourself a knucklehead?

    • R. Griffon

      “How you like living there?”

      “Meh … it’s Zoso.”

    • Ed Pete

  • CW

    I hope it really is reasonably priced in absolute terms, not “reasonably priced” from the perspective of someone who spends all their time at 2941 and Inox.

    Given the success of his places, one would think more restaurateurs would follow the Michael Landrum business model. You know, the one where you give customers a good value. Eccentricity and occasionally being a jerk to customers not required. Let’s hope this guy is going down that road.

  • TJ

    Yeah, Inox was really expensive.

  • Oooh – exciting news. I hope the owners also un-cheapen the interior and jazz it up with better floors, lighting, walls, etc. American Flatbread looked like it was sponsored by IKEA.

    • Vicente Fox

      “I’m trying to put all my extra money in ingredients and staff, and not put it into things like marketing, glassware and advertising”

      Or decor.

    • CW

      You can sit in the “nice walls” section and pay the “nice walls prices”. I’ll sit wherever and on whatever they put me, as long as I get a good value.

  • Quintanaroo

    Sounds like a good idea. Looking forward to see what they come up with.

  • JamesE

    Still waiting for “Top of the Muffin to You!” to open in Clarendon, would fit right in.

    • CrystalMikey

      Just don’t donate the stumps to the homeless shelter.

      • PikerShorts

        It’s not top of the muffin, TO YOU!

    • AllenB

      I love muffin tops – just not the kind on people.

  • doodly

    Now we have a green turtle and a green pig. Just need a purple cow.

  • OX4

    I miss American Flatbread. Whatever you do Green Pig, do NOT attempt to seat people outside. The neighbors are cranky in them neck of the woods.

    • Robert

      Hope the new owner is business savvy enough to realize that pissing off your immediate neighbors – who happen to be the bulk of your customers – is a bad business model.

      • CW

        That’s somewhat silly. I’m not even sure anymore which specific neigbors it was that were complaining – probably the cookie-cutter rowhouse set. Probably 100 people max could hear it. I live directly above 2 places with outdoor seating and don’t hear a thing. Much ado about nothing, I say; the noise drops off in 100 feet and a good restaurant would bring in people from a mile or so. There’s no way those immediate neighbors weee the bulk of their customers.

        • Robert

          I disagree. The fact is that Flatbread would have killed to have had 100 regular customers. The place was always empty once they alienated themselves from the neighbors. Not trying to rehash the outdoor seating debate. That issue has been settled. Just saying that success in that particular location is dependent on the neighborhood customers more so than outsiders. It only stands to reason that you would want to develop a good relationship with your neighbors if they are the ones keeping you in business.

          • CW

            I live 2 blocks away and could have never heard the noise, especially considering there are 3 places on my own block with outdoor seating. Would I have been considered an outsider?

          • Westover05

            I wish they could put an all night rave there. I mean how much noise can an outdoor pizza patio generate? I don’t think you and your neighbors will be happy with any business there.

        • Cranky Crankypants

          It’s not so much the complaining neighbors as the building site plan and use permits. So if you want to complain about something, complain that the owners of the building decided to try to pull in ground floor retail with emphasis on restaurants whose business model ran counter to what said owners agreed to with the County, based on the full-throated involvement of the neighbors and anyone else who felt like showing up to the planning meetings.

          • R. Griffon

            +1

            It wasn’t about noise complaints – it was that they weren’t zoned for an outdoor patio in the first place. Big difference.

          • Westover05

            Why would the neighbors be against an outdoor patio there???

  • ClarendonBlvd

    Hopefully they’ll at least have a functional web site….

    • CW
      • Jackflops

        God bless you 1000 times for turning me on to this site. Priceless.

      • ZoningVictim

        That is one of the funniest sites I’ve seen.

        • Tabby

          You’re at work. You want to see a menu WITH PRICES and you want to know which metro stop it’s near.

          What do you get? Music blaring out of speakers for your entire floor to hear, no prices, cutesy BS, and driving directions only!

          Go car free Arlington and DC!

      • ArlingtonNative

        Aww cr*p … now I’ve just spent 45-mins reading thru The Oatmeal and snarffing my coffee out the nose!
        Hilarious … & another great way for me to waste my time on this here internet-thingy!

  • John Fontain

    I could give a rat’s ass about the “sustainable” part. It’s a meaningless marketing term designed to trick gullible customers into paying more for food.

    As to the “reasonable prices” part, we’ll have to see about that. I’ve heard the same thing from other new restaurants such as Mad Rose. I don’t think a menu with entrees north of $20 should be referred to as food at reasonable prices.

    What the neighborhood desperately needs is a true neihborhood restaurant that people can *frequent* without emptying their bank account.

    • CW

      There are a few; they’re just all “ethnic”, as people would say. Fine by me – that’s where I end up eating most often anyhow.

    • JamesE

      Taco Bell was a true neighborhood restaurant that people could frequent without emptying their bank accounts, RIP.

      • CW

        Stop it, it pains me to think about this.

        • Ouch

          It pains my bowels to think about this. That place should be called “The Runs.” Disgusting.

          • JamesE

            Heretic

          • CW

            You talk about this like it is a bad thing.

            In other news, I hear Delhi Club is re-opening soon.

          • Maria

            What do you eat there? I’ve literally never had any bowel issues after eating at Taco Bell, and sadly, I’ve eaten there a LOT in my lifetime. I don’t get it!

      • John Fontain

        You quiero…

      • Tre

        I say we all ante up, buy out Pio Pio (or deport all the prostitutes) and open up a Taco Bell there. Who’s in?

        • CW

          To whom shall I address the check?

          • John Fontain

            The owner of Arlington Auto Care. They own the PioPio property.

    • The Clarendouche are all over crap like this marketing.

  • Tre

    I’m not sure how this fits into the pizza-burger-froyo-cupcake requirements

    • Hattie McDaniel

      I know. Must be destined to fail.

  • JimPB

    Who eats at home anymore?

  • R. Griffon

    Well there go my hopes of a Lost Dog Cafe & Pizzeria in that space. They even had the clay oven and everything. A boy can dream.

    Either that or a good coffee & bagel shop. Someplace where you don’t mind hanging out for a while (like Northside, just closer to the heart of Clarendon). This sounds like pretty much the opposite.

    But I’ll look forward to trying it still. Never been to Inoxx but have always had good experiences at 2941.

    • CW

      Oh man, you want to see the most short-lived restaurant in history? Try opening a place in Clarendon that limits its patrons to three beers.

      I’ve never set foot in that place and never will. They want to insult their customer base by effectively telling them that they’re not adults, can’t control their behavior, and are a bunch of belligerant drunks? Then no thank you, you can go impose your high-and-mighty pseudo-temperance moral stance on someone else.

      • Maria

        Which place does that?

        • Maria

          Oh never mind. Saw the answer below.

      • R.Griffon

        Doesn’t bother me one iota. I can’t even remember the last time I had more than three beers with a meal ( or heck – more than 2!). And if I was going out to get my drunk on it sure wouldn’t be there. Good for them for keeping out the drunks.

        I guess nobody else seems to mind either – last time I was there for lunch we had to wait for a table.

  • BlueSkies

    But will they serve green eggs and ham?

  • YTK

    Hmmm.. The Green Pig– sounds like a pork chop that someone forgot to put back in the fridge……

    • Michael H.

      That was my first thought too. The name doesn’t make the restaurant sound very appetizing. I’d be less likely to try out a place with that name.

  • Arli

    What place in Clarendon limits patrons to 3 beers?

    • CW

      None…but the Lost Dog Cafe does. That’s the comment I was addressing.

      • Westover05

        Yeah, they limit you to 3 beers yet have over 1,000 to choose from. Never understood it.

        • Found Cat

          That’s because you have to drive to get there.

          • CW

            Wow, I didn’t know that there were laws passed recently eliminating public transportation, criminalizing the use of taxis, prohibiting people from living within walking distance of that restaurant, and limiting the occupancy of a vehicle to one person. I must have been asleep during that last state legislative session.

          • Lou

            It’s more like Ross is just a horse’s you-know-what.

        • Stephen

          The Lost Dog North location in Westover has a 3-beer limit sign because they want to encourage people to eat and leave, not hang out like a bar. More turnover = more cash. Personally I have never been told I couldn’t have another beer, nor have I ever been hurried out after my meal.

          As far as I know, the other two Lost Dogs (South Arl. and Mclean) do not have these signs.

          • JamesE

            I work right next to the McLean one, if you see my text start to slur after lunch time you know they don’t have a 3 beer limit.

      • ArlingtonNative

        They’ve had the sign about “3 Beer limit” up since they opened … and I’ve been a patron pretty much since they’ve been opened. I’ve never been cut-off after the third beer. My guess is that was done largely to placate the neighbors when they first opened as that was long before Arlington became trendy and “night life” in every neighborhood was deemed a social necessity. At that time, Luna Park was for the ‘drinkers’ and Lost Dog was more the ‘good-food/family’ establishment.
        (and The Forest Inn was/is the dirty little secret that nobody talked about).

        • CW

          Mkay, based on your experience I will take your word for it. But I’ve heard enough anecdotal experiences and read enough reviews to the contrary to make me question if that’s their M.O. for everyone.

  • fofanda

    If this guy is truly a “fourth generation Arlingtonian,” he’d know that a restaurant set back from Clarendon Blvd will NOT survive without advertising. What makes him so special? I’ll bet American Flatbread thought they’d sourced the best ingredients, too.

    • CW

      Probably his high-end restaurant cooking pedigree. Frankly, while I, personally, would like to see a place with good value for the money, as I’ve posted above, what would be smart business-wise would be for him to really go for the high end of the market. Arlington is sorely lacking in fine dining. Considering that the corridor is $1.5M houses and $750k condos as far as the eye can see, it’s pretty sad that all we have that even gets mentioned in restaurant critic circles is Eventide, Lyon Hall, and Liberty Tavern. I bet a place along the lines of Blue Duck or Vermillion, albeit maybe a bit smaller than the former, would do just fine around here. You don’t think the people around the corner that just razed the old trees to build their new houses can spend a couple hundred on dinner once in a while? And that, if they do, they necessarily want to go to D.C. to do it? I think there’s a sweet spot in the market that someone could fill.

    • Tre

      True, but foot traffic is going to go up once the Garfield Park apartments are constructed at Washington/10th intersection.

    • Stephen

      Right, because Ragtime hasn’t done well at all.

  • karzai

    CW laments that the only restaurants that rate around Clarendon are Eventide, Lyon Hall, and Liberty Tavern. Ok, CW, but let’s not forget that not a single one of those three existed two years ago. So, yes, we’re still coming from a low base, but the trend is clearly upward. And Cava Mezze is certainly no slouch when it comes to food quality and taste, and that has only been open two weeks.

    This Green Pig thing sounds great and my view is we should have an open mind about it and judge it when it opens. If it is good, word of mouth will make it do well, even if it is set back from Clarendon Blvd.

    What needs to happen is for someone to buy out the disgusting, pathetic, property-value killing Highlander Motor Inn and redevelop it. It is a piece of filth that is destroying our neighborhood and it needs to go. Now.

    • Tabby

      How about Circa?

    • CW

      All of those places are mid-tier, at highest. I’m talking fine dining – look at the examples I gave. Circa is just a bar 90% of the time and Cava is going to be a family-packed kid zoo.

      • karzai

        I agree that there is need for at least one or two fine dining places in Clarendon. I will not be patronizing such very often, if at all, as I am more inclined to want to see “cheap eats” stay or even increase in Clarendon. A lot of the cheap eats places have been replaced by the trendy, pricey places.

        • CW

          Oh, I agree too. I’d not be patronizing them very often myself. I was just saying it’s good business sense. Average home value in the area is over $1M and everyone has birthdays, anniversaries, company visiting from out of town, etc. It would be nice to be able to walk down the street to someplace that is truly in the upper end of the D.C. dining scene.

  • Tabby

    A climbing center/rock wall sort of place would go well in the Highlander/Mario’s area.

  • MC

    Sounds like an upgrade to the International House of Pancakes in Ballston. Wish it would simply replace that joint.

  • We are very happy to have a new neighbor. Our business has thrived on this street and the neighborhood is very welcoming and filled with a lot of great people. I’m sure if he focuses on quality “friendly” staff and good food he’ll do just fine. I can’t wait to see the new decor & lighting!

  • Mish

    Woo Hooo!! I think the Green Pig Bistro is going to amazing! I can’t wait to see what they do with the place and taste the amazing food!!!

  • Neighbor

    Wondering if this project is still on track. There was an initial burst of activity to gut the interior over a month ago. Idle since then.

  • PlethoraOfPinatas

    Harlan was recently interviewed by a WaPo food blogger and from the outside it looks like there is much activity at Green Pig Bistro. The WaPo article says that they are expecting an early January opening

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