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Board Expected to Defer Pines of Italy Permit Request

by Katie Pyzyk April 18, 2012 at 2:30 pm 6,120 43 Comments

The recently-opened Pines of Italy restaurant (3111 Columbia Pike) is applying for a live entertainment and dancing permit, but it doesn’t look like the request will be granted at Saturday’s County Board meeting.

Due to concerns from police and the Arlington Heights Civic Association (AHCA), the recommendation is to defer the permit request until the board’s September 15 meeting. Police note previous violent incidents at this site, and suggest future trouble could arise based on the history with the property’s management. AHCA opposes the permit due to the potential for crime and noise to impact neighbors.

A letter from the AHCA president says representatives met with the three partners of the property to address resident concerns. The property apparently is divided into a restaurant, a hookah bar and a night club and has one partner for each entity. The partners reportedly said the entertainment permit was not needed for the restaurant or hookah bar to do business, but wouldn’t specifically say it was for the club.

County staff recommended deferring until the September 15 meeting in order to give the restaurant owner time to establish a clean track record. If there are no issues for a six month period, which began at the Pines of Italy opening in February, the county will consider issuing the permit. The owner was asked to demonstrate good management and to establish better relationships with neighbors during this time period. County staff states in the permit report that the owner has agreed to the deferral.

In its letter last month, AHCA said if no problems arise from the property for one year, it will reconsider its position on the permit. In recent years the property has been home to a succession of restaurants, including Padrino’s Fine Italian Cuisine, Club 31-11, Coco’s Italian Restaurant, Lalibela II, and Cottage Ethiopian Restaurant.

  • Andy

    Why are so many Italian restaurants named “Pines of…”?

    • Hunan #1 / Hunan Gate

      I know, right?

      • yep


    • Louise

      It’s a family run business, I believe.

      • 1234

        It used to be a local chain 20+ years ago, each named “Pines of [insert name of italian town here]” The chain divested the restaurants many years ago, some survived for a while, most didn’t. The last I know of was in the same block of the Pike. Great food, disgusting location.

    • BookGuy

      The original Pines was the Pines of Rome in Bethesda. Some people who left that restaurant opened the Pines of Naples in Arlington and others later opened the Pines of Florence which is a local mini-chain. They all have the same menu but there is no corporate connection between them..Another restaurant springing from the same Bethesda link is Vicino in Silver Spring which was begun by a former host at the Rome venue.

  • KalashniKEV

    It looks just like a Counterstrike map…

  • novasteve

    Cigarettes allowed in the hookah bar?

  • arlingtony

    Pinin for the fyords, what kind of talk is that?

  • Arlington Hall

    The Pines of Italy has a hookah bar? Funny, I don’t recall seeing falafel on Olive Garden’s menu…

    • LP

      Exactly. This place just screams weird/odd, not to mention a front for something.

      • arlingtony

        Agreed. Like an Italian restaurant.

    • JamesE

      Not enough places have falafel in Arlington

      • novasteve

        We need falafel shops like they have by NYU. Man I’d eat that stuff every single day.

        • KalashniKEV


        • TGEÖA

          A poor mans hushpuppy. We need a good pastrami joint.

          • Ty

            Spoken like someone who has never had good falafel.

          • .T-G.E.O.A

            No one has ever had good falafel (full awful), cos its shite

          • nom de guerre

            Wednesday’s daily special at Sam’s Corner is a falafel sandwich on naan. Don’t tell Karzai though.

          • Arlingtoon

            It may be the special, but Sam’s is closed on Wednesdays.

          • nom de guerre

            Just when you think they are closed they are OPEN and when you think they are open they are CLOSED. I had a fantastic falafel sandwich on naan today featuring sustainable, organic, locally sourced chick peas with tzatziki sauce. Yum!

        • Suburban Not Urban


  • Mike

    This place has to be some sort of front. It still looks like a building under construction!

    • Not so fast my friend…

      Based on the cars in the parking lot every day, it’s a front for a cab company.

  • sunflower

    perhaps the three partners are not all of the same ethnicity…

  • Cakes

    Honestly. How can investors look at this property and say “Yeah, this’ll bring in the bucks.” Its a poor investment.

    • Obi Wan

      It’s what they got……

  • novasteve

    We also need doner kebab places here.

    In israel they’ll stick french fries in your falafel sandwich.

  • Alessandro di Mariano Filipepi

    I’ve eaten here a few times and enjoyed it. The pasta sauces are excellent, and the fellow that runs the restaurant seems a very nice guy – as does his wife behind the bar. The wine list is a little light, for now, but I’ve had no problem getting a bottle at a reasonable price.

    The hookah bar, upstairs front, does seem to attract the hacking set; but they, too, seemed like nice enough people. Adequate enough to enjoy a post supper cigar and glass of port among the non-government working class of AC. I’m sure many of the know-it-alls posting here wouldn’t like it, and that’s part of the attraction for me.

    I was looking forward to the county granting the live entertainment / dancing permit so that I could listen to some Sinatra / swing dance music after my post supper cigar.

    • novasteve

      YES! Cigar means cigarettes too! yay!

    • Rob Geeeee

      [Post deleted per comment policy]

    • Brick

      this post seems oddly out of place

  • SouthPikeGuy

    Need more vibrant places like this on The Pike.

  • Agreed

    I agree there should be more places on the PIke.

  • DW

    I think this could be a great location, and I live on the Pike and would love more great locations like these. But the association of the restaurant with a club is frankly a disincentive to my going to the restaurant.

    • Josh S

      The Pike is filled with “great locations like these.”

    • novasteve

      Does anyone know what the former Bennigans was (off wilson and arlington blvd in 7 corners)?? I can only think it was some kind of sketchy nightclub too, but I think it closed. They painted it white and it was called JPs or something like that.

      • Arlingtonian

        Yeah, it was called P Club. There was some uproar in the area when it opened from people worried about noise or parking lot brawls or whatever, but to me, it looked like it was always devoid of patrons. It closed several months ago.

  • John

    Singing? Dancing? No. But please, put your homeless shelter in direct proximity to the county’s best real estate.

  • YTK

    Well, I’m Italian and the only entertainent I knew when I was growing up were the Family Reunions (which should have been banned as being too violent). Who could enjoy the home made Italian food when all the adults were screaming and cursing?

    So I would vote FOR the Pines of Italy — their kind of entertainment would not bring on indigestion..


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