Bistro Bistro Closes in Shirlington

by ARLnow.com September 11, 2012 at 2:30 pm 9,342 57 Comments

Bistro Bistro (4021 Campbell Avenue) has quietly closed its doors in Shirlington.

The restaurant went dark more than a week ago and had some ARLnow.com readers writing in to ask if the closure was permanent or perhaps due to a renovation. However, the windows are now covered and the space sports a leasing sign.

A marketing manager with Federal Realty, which owns the Village at Shirlington, tells us they’re not yet ready to announce what will be taking the place of Bistro Bistro. They released the following statement:

“We can confirm that we have possession of the space and our leasing team is actively working to lease the space to another exciting tenant for the Village at Shirlington. We look forward to announcing a new tenant soon.”

  • Jessie

    First Cafe Parisian, and now this. What is it with French restaurants not doing well in this area?

    • Richard Emerson

      Well, Bistro Bistro had the distinction of being both overpriced and not good. Even in an area like Shirlington where nobody cooks in their recently renovated kitchens, this is not a winning recipe.

      • novasteve

        What’s the next trend after granite countertops? Need to know what to do next!

        • Arlington cat

          The new trend is Italian marble backsplashes above the sink, and Sub Zero fridges built into the wall.

          Do you have these yet, Steve?

        • drax

          Says the guy who just posted a pic in the forums of his granite countertop!

          • novastephanie

            Which is why he wants to know what the next big thing is. He’s going to be in front of the curve this time!

          • novasteve

            Actually that wasn’t at my place. However, by the time I own a place, I’ll need to know the latest trend!

        • Ginger


      • 1

        Ha, recipe, I see what you did there.

      • Sande

        Agreed. I was surprised to see them there for so long!

    • It iz not French

      Because it is not really or good French food.

  • Clarendon Cruiser

    “…And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”


  • Salmon Ella

    I have to admit, I have not eaten there in a while, but there was a time when the food was quite good…

  • Arlington cat

    How about an olive oil emporium?

    Oh wait…never mind.

    • OldYeller


  • Lola

    I used to enjoy their brunch on occasion, but their regular menu items just weren’t good.

    • Regis

      Went there for brunch once when the gf’s parents were in town. I think I had drinks there a couple other times. Seemed like a decent place.

  • Arlington cat

    Did they serve “Freedom Fries?”

  • ballsteve

    Hopefully it’ll be replaced by the Fairlington Bar and Grille.

    • Toupee

      F-Town? A-Town’s arch nemesis.

      • novasteve

        “The story so far: As usual, Ginger and I are engaged in our quest to find out what the hell is going on and save humanity from my nemesis, some bastard who is presumably responsible.”

        • JoshR

          “How did my nemesis shrink himself? When will Ginger find a better method for discovering waterproof dwarfs? Why don’t kids’ parties have real booze anymore like they did when I was a dwarf? Find out in the next enthralling instalment of Sir Digby Chicken Caesar”

      • Very Punny

        Wouldn’t that be Z-Town ??

    • Mission Accomplished

      S-Towne Taverne

  • Suki

    Years ago, my husband used to call it Garlic Garlic due to the preponderance of that ingredient, even in their biscuits. We won’t miss them. Looking forward to its replacement. How about a good French restaurant?

    • Ballston

      There’s a Bistro Bistro in Dupont Circle that is pretty good. I wonder if the two places were related?

      • Mission Accomplished

        No, they are not related. I thought the DuPont bistro was awful. I watched the waiters have a full-throated argument about stealing tables on one slow Friday night. A slow Friday night in DuPont. The market had spoken.

        • malaka

          They used to have restaurants in Ballston (in the Willow Spot) and in Reston (ye olde towne centre) and I think they still have one in Rockville. Shirlytown was the original one though (and as you said the DC one was unrelated)

          • malaka

            Sterling – not Rockville

        • Stickler

          It’s Dupont, not DuPont.

  • Scott

    I recall them owing a ton in back taxes to Arlington –they’ll prob never see that now &/ or maybe that’s the reason for the shut down.

    • SomeGuy

      Are you thinking of Extra Virgin?

  • KJS

    Went there in January and the food was pretty mediocre. The place was the only restaurant that day that did not have a wait and it was pretty empty. As someone else said, it is surprising it lasted this long. Maybe a retail shop will go into the location. It would make a nice mix.

  • gnushell

    Agreed about the food quality there. It was mediocre at best every time I tried. After strike three I never went back. I wish The Carlyle Grand Cafe could appropriate that space for an expansion.

  • spookiness

    I used to work in Shirlington waaaayy back in the mid-90’s, and it wasn’t that good then, although Phyllis Richman liked it. I’m surprised they’ve held on this long!

    • Childless Old Bat

      She liked anything French. Good thing she retired before the advent of “Freedom Fries”.

  • chris

    I was there a couple of Sundays ago, and the air conditioner was either broken or not on at all – the waitron told me they had been complaining to the manager about it……….. was cooler outside, and it was the last sunday in august. Should have wonderred then……..

  • Sam

    We have been waiting for over a decade for this place to close! It never had a ton of people inside and we have no idea how it has stayed open this long! There are actually several places within Shirlington that owe back taxes….Extra Virgin being the largest offender!

    • Is We

      You and your corner?

  • Kemper

    The best product line for the most part for countertops is quartz a blend of natural and man made recycled product. This is cost effective and very durable. I also met allot of nice woman at bistro with live music. http://kempermartin.com

  • LuLu

    Sorry to see Bistro go… BUT what I’d like to know is when that Vietnamese place is going to open. Anyone know that?

  • Alex

    The whole paradigm of French restaurants is absurd. Why are they always on average more expensive than other cuisines? Did the French Revolution occur because French peasants were simply more used to expensive, rare foods and got upset when their access to foie gras and 200 year wine was interrupted? It’s ridiculous. Do people in France have to spend a fortune feeding themselves? NO! If you open a French restaurant, you had better provide tasty food at a reasonable price. If you insist on charging a premium for the mere sake of being a “French” restaurant then you had better really pay attention to quality and taste, because in the past, the French were the first to do that. THAT is why they got to charge more. Not simply because there is some inherent superior quality to “French” food. If you slop together some unpronounceable cheese, cream, and stale puff pastry and expect to automatically charge $2 more than an excellent tasting Italian, Chinese, or Thai meal, then I say you deserve to be off with your head!

    • drax

      J’aime les French fries et le French dressing. Vive les French cut green beans!

  • Cyrus

    Bistro Bistro – meh

  • Yeah right

    Keep in mind that BB has had at least 3 owners (probably more) and more chefs. For a while it was owned by the Village Bistro owner and it was pretty good then. Not so much now. It will not be missed.

    • ShirliMan

      I agree. It was decent many years ago.

  • TBonn

    What they really need to do is bring back the old Shirlington Deli. It used to be located almost in the same spot as Bistro Bistro.

  • Id

    They need to put a store in that sells street car maps.

  • JB

    Little Ceasars failed upscale offshoot – “Bistro, Bistro”

  • Mc

    I’m still waiting for Native Foods Cafe to open in Shirlington. Seriously excellent food. Not clear what became of their announced opening in Shirlington over a year ago?

  • ShirleyMan

    Glad to see that place go and make room for a much better restaurant that will be of par to all the others in Shirlington Village. I tried out Bistro Bistro a year ago and made the mistake of going back again recenetly, I was met both times with uninspired food and iffy service… overall the place was blah…

    • WeiQiang

      “that will be [on] par to all the others in Shirlington Village” … like Aroma?

      Let’s hope that whatever replaces BB aspires to be much better than Aroma.

      • SoArl

        What? I love Aroma.

  • JnA

    Where does the meals tax revenue go? Not to a restaurant makeover consultant, which would allow restaurants to improve and produce more meals tax. No meals tax revenue is going to the County Treasurer to fund the annual October 5th Car Tax Festival and the 2013 Car Tax Decal Festival.

  • SouthArlington

    It’s a Steakhouse !!!!!

  • $7Martini

    the best thing bistro bistro served up was available seating at their bar and $7 top shelf martinis. good riddance. i wonder what other awful restuarant will move into it’s place?


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