Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com May 24, 2012 at 9:10 am 5,301 81 Comments

‘SmokeHouse’ Coming to Pentagon City — Two veterans of The Palm restaurant are teaming up to create “Epic SmokeHouse,” described as a cross “between a fine dining steakhouse and a barbecue joint.” The restaurant will reportedly be located inside the Millennium at Metropolitan Park apartment building at 1330 S. Fair Street, near Pentagon City mall. [Washington City Paper]

County Launches ‘Green Streets’ Program — Arlington County has launched a pilot program to build bioretention systems into road medians, in an effort to remove pollutants from stormwater runoff before it reaches the Chesapeake Bay. [Connection Newspapers]

Hundreds Busted in HOV Crackdown — A Capitol Region HOV enforcement crackdown on Tuesday netted nearly 650 traffic summonses and arrests, including nearly 450 HOV violations. In Virginia, the enforcement was conducted by Virginia State Police, Arlington County police and other local law enforcement agencies. [CBS Local]

Expect Heavy Memorial Day Traffic — More motorists are expected to hit the roads in the D.C. area this Memorial Day weekend than at any time since the start of the recession, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic. [WJLA]

AIM Offers Video Production Camp — Arlington Independent Media is offering a summer video production camp for youth ages 10 to 13. The two week camp will allow participants to “develop a story idea, write a script, shoot footage, and edit their own short production” with the guidance of media professionals. [Arlington Independent Media]

Flickr pool photo by Damiec

  • drax

    “epic smokehouse” = $27 sandwiches

    • John Fontain


    • JamesE

      Epic prices!

    • Aaron

      That’s not *that* much higher than Rocklands or Hill Country, among others. The going rate on ordinary bbq around these parts is almost indefensible; I’d be interested in seeing what Epic could do with the concept. For what it’s worth, the little-known pit beef sandwich at Ray’s to the Third is an incredible treat for its price.

      • CW

        The state of BBQ around here is a sad one.

        • Tabby_TwoTone

          It’s a Commonwealth.

          • Jackson


      • SteamboatWillie

        A bbq sandwich at Rockland’s is not *that* much cheaper than $27? I must be going to a different location.

        And I realize that it’s fashionable to criticize Rockland’s around here, but I know bbq, my friends from home know bbq, and we all think that Rockland’s is just fine. It’s not Skylight Inn, Lexington #1, or Bill’s, but there aren’t many places in America that hold up to those joints in comparison.

    • South Awwlington

      The new place in Crystal City is decent and not too pricey. Check that out.

    • KalashniKEV

      The only truly epic smokehouse/ BBQ around here is Willard’s by Dulles Expo Center.

    • WeiQiang

      I like Pork Barrel in Del Ray.

  • John

    The highlander motel is an architectural gem.

    • Justin Russo


      But probably not long for this world.

      • Tabby_TwoTone

        There can be only one!

  • “green streets” is very cool stuff. i wish they’d plant some more small trees or bushes in road medians around here, too. *howls & digs up some dirt to help install new bio-retention system*

    • John Fontain

      dc has some of these so-called bioretention systems. they are good in concept, but often poorly designed. if you look at the picture in the article, you can see that the water retention area is largely bound by a raised curb. this obviously prevents most of the water from being able to run into the retention area.

      the bioretention systems i’ve seen in dc are often bone dry and the wetland type plants are barely thriving.

      • John Fontain

        or i should say barely surviving.

      • in the picture, it looks as if the pond is built on a negative slope, so shouldn’t the stormwater uphill of the pond drain into the gap? the only other place it could go is to just sit until it evaporates, i think.

        but yeah, i can see how it might not work very well.

        not an engineer, though. just a curious wolf. *howls & runs off into the woods where there is no civil engineering issues to worry about*

      • Josh S

        It does seem counterintuitive to have that curb there. But there must be an engineering reason. I’d love to know why.

        • ArlCivilEng


          The link should clarify the situation a bit. This project appears to be a good idea on the surface as long as positive drainage can be maintained.

          The Arlington Connection picture angle is a bit deceptive.

          • very cool, thanks for that link.

            *howls & continues digging up some dirt to help install new bio-retention systems*

          • John Fontain

            Thanks for those pics. Looks like this one is designed and working well.

          • South Awwlington

            So cool. Can’t wait to see this happening more often.

          • CW

            If this link was posted on Greater Greater Washington, there would be a 200-post thread on whether the term “curb cut” was used correctly in the last photo caption.

          • South Awwlington

            no comment on GGW. Meh.

          • Josh S


          • Josh S

            Cool. But what is the 3/4 of an acre? Is that the surrounding roadway area?

      • JohnB


        I’ve taken a look at these and you’d be right if it were a level surface, but as Captain Pup McPuppo states below, it is on a slope and the intakes are angled to catch the water as it flows down the gutter pan like any other rain gutter. This story is a bit old as that thing has been there since last year and from the picture seems to be working. I stopped by shortly after everything was finished and the plants were basically seedlings. Now it looks like they’re thriving.

    • malaka

      It would work better if they didn’t allow every last inch of Arlington to be paved over and built on.
      Anyone see 4 mile run yesterday? It never used to flood like that! And it smelled like sewage had got into it again too.

      • WeiQiang

        4MR has been notorious for flooding for many decades. A lot has been done to channel and control the flooding, but I don’t think there was really much to permanently attentuate the risk of flooding, given the density of development in ArlCo.


        • drax

          The county has been adding and preserving trees and green space near the banks of the stream to slow inflow. The bioretention systems also accomplish that.

          In some ways, channeling was a mistake. It made downstream ugly and caused new environmental problems. There’s a project in the works to fix it:


          • WeiQiang

            Gotcha. Thx. The demonstration projects were supposed to be completed in 2010, so I’m thinking that they didn’t work out the funding challenges.

            There was a third project in that area: porous pavers in my driveway, completed in 2008.

          • drax

            Cool – imagine if everyone used porous pavers.

          • Chris Slatt

            Money for starting to implement the Four Mile Run Master Plan is in the County Manager’s proposed 10 year Capital Improvement Plan. Starting in Fiscal Year 2014

          • Suburban Not Urban

            Except where the county re-zoned around the EFC metro and plans for ripping out tons of mature trees and open green space.

          • Josh S

            Except for where the Potomac and Chesapeake Bays will be a lot happier for that infill development as opposed to having it go out in Prince William Co, where it would cause way more runoff and habitat destruction.

          • drax


    • Arlingtron

      The photo doesn’t show the angle. I think there are gaps in the curb to elet water in. My question is if water ponds it would make an excellent mosquito breeding area.

      • drax

        It shouldn’t pond for long. The rocks, soil and water-loving plants should suck the water away.

        • west nile mosquito

          That’s okay – I don’t need it to pool for very long and the ponds don’t have to be very deep.

          • drax

            You require at least 9 days from being laid as an egg to emergence from a pupa as an adult.

            Doubtful that water would pool that long in this thing. It’s designed to avoid that.

    • Suburban Not Urban

      This is more of the “green is good” thinking where critical analysis seems to be thrown out in place of agenda based decision making. For real feed back from someone with direct experience with with projects(and I’m not the author):


      Is nobody looking at the same picture in the Connection article I’m looking at. It’s obvious that soil is being washed into the street here. You can see erosion on the left side and soil at the cut on the right side which means water is flowing across this – eroding the earth – that means
      1) maintence
      2) dirt washing into and fouling the storm water (sewer)/system

      The picture is also quite deceptive these things are much steeper and rougher in person than the picture portrays – I would liken them to open pit mines. They look like the kind of hazard that attracts kids to danger and any vehicle accident(car or bicycle) that impinges on them will clearly be aggrevated. I thought the street medians were part of the transportation grid safety system.

  • nunya

    remember this is RRRRRollling Thunderrrrrrrr Weekend ….

    • malaka


    • drax

      If you complain about noise it means you hate veterans.

      • nunya

        im quivering in anticipation upon seeing a sea of dawg the bounty hunter clones.

        and their bike molls.

        • WeiQiang

          dawg + molls = +2

      • drax

        So…complaining about noise means I hate veterans?

        • KalashniKEV


          • drax

            Noise isn’t freedom, it’s noise.

    • Garden City

      I’m glad I don’t live as close to Glebe Road as I used to, but there’s guaranteed to be a rollicking good time at The Highlander.

      • malaka

        They always used to go to Whiteys…..I would have loved to have seen their faces the first year they showed up to find it was now Tallula…..I don’t think it is exactly their scene

        • Dawg

          Hey brudda, you think we can’t appreciate the prosciutto-wrapped dates stuffed with gorgonzola?

          • John Fontain

            The executive chef from Tallula recently left to work at Sam’s Corner.

          • WeiQiang

            so, it’s only a part-time gig?

          • nom de guerre

            He also works part-time at the Donaldson Run Yacht Club and Arlington County One.

        • drax

          Like Baptists wandering into a gay bar. Or vice versa.

        • Tabby_TwoTone

          I went to Tallulah in 2005-6 when the old Whitey’s regulars were still toughing it out, sitting by the door and glaring at yuppies.

  • Tre

    Great photo… for a second I thought I woke up in 1973.

  • Arlingtron

    I know enforcing HOV rules is what makes that public policy work. What gets me is that the fines are larger than other traffic rule infractions that actually threaten safety (running red lights, speeding in residential areas, not using signals, driving in rain without headlights, etc.). This appears to be one of those low-hanging fruit revenue raising activities. I’m sure cops like it too since it is fairly safe an easy to conduct.

    • JohnB2

      I agree but also think that the fees are so high because people keep doing it. The people I worked with a few years ago considered it an acceptable risk. They’re willing to pay a couple hundred dollars once a quarter to use the Toll Road and/or HOV.

      If they started putting points on licences (do they already?) it might help since it would hurt their insurance rates too.

      • Garden City

        According to the VDOT website, the first infraction is a $125 fine only, but after that it’s an escalating fine and 3 points per infraction on your license.

        • Ballston

          I’m glad the fine is higher. The way I look at it, it’s a conscious decision to be a jerk. Speeding, while dangerous, doesn’t negatively affect other people 99% of the time. However, choosing the violate HOV means that everyone who did play the rules has to suffer as you clog up the roads. I could care less if someone wants to speed by me on the highway, but few things anger me more than seeing someone driving by themselves in the HOV lanes.

          • drax

            But the guy who speeds by you on the highway sometimes then crashes into someone and causes you to be stuck in a massive traffic jam. Not to mention possibly killing someone.

          • Quoth the Raven

            I think that’s why Ballston said “99% of the time”. Because said accident and traffic jam caused by a speeder is rare, I should think.

          • drax

            Rare is still too often if you’re in the jam.

            Our highway system is slowed down significantly by accidents every day of the year, and I’ll bet speed is a factor in a bunch of them.

    • Bandersnatch

      On my bike I see the police hiding at Lee & 66 from the WO&D exit… I used to try and warn scofflaws but then one of them flipped me off as I passed and then nearly hit me on his way to his ticket.

      His a%$holery is now my schadenfreude. I loves me some stopped cars to ride by.

    • WeiQiang

      I hope they scooped up those idiots who park on the Wash Blvd approaches to the HOV entrance at the Pentagon in the evening … next to the “No Stopping Or Standing Signs”.

      One guy in a BMW parks half in a travel lane and half in the grass.

  • Harry’s?

    Not that the Palm and Harry’s are on the same level AT ALL, but isn’t this a bit strange with the transition of “Harry’s” at Pentagon City to the “smokehouse” and now this new restaurant is opening almost right next door? Again, I know a froyo, burger, and pizza place on every corner so being a neighbor to your competitors means nothing in Arlington, apparently, BUT I still think this is a strange decision.

    • Ballstonian


  • John Fontain

    Read this and tell me if you are as confused as me….

    “Nice ’n’ Greasy, Steak ’n’ Cheesy”


    • WeiQiang

      You’re likely smarter than I, so I’d say I’m more confused. I live in ArlCo and the only Ray’s I’m familiar with is Ray’s The Level Of Confusion.

      It would have been nice for the ‘tonian to hyperlink to a map location or something. I’ve tried Hellburger and Steaks. Clueless about the others.

      I actually like Landrum’s approach. It’s quirky, agile and pretty effective. It differentiate’s him. However, like some comedians, you can only run a schtick for so long [*howl* … brah] before some portion of the customer base gets tired of it … or starts preferring testicles.

    • JohnB

      Not really confusing at all. Ray’s the Steaks and Ray’s Hellburger are successful enough that he can play around with other concepts until he gets them right. We should all be so lucky.

    • Aaron

      It’s almost as if the cost of working from a brick-and-mortar establishment doesn’t in fact doom him or his enterprises. How dare he experiment, revise, and resubmit for public approval!

  • novasteve

    Run over pedestrians and run red lights for veterans!

  • Mc

    Wow, would I hate to live above a BBQ place belching smoky grease. I live close enough to one of thoSe nauseating chicken roasters.


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