2012 ABBIE Award Winners Announced

by ARLnow.com November 27, 2012 at 3:45 pm 8,024 103 Comments

The 2012 winners of the annual Arlington’s Best Business Awards (ABBIES) were announced at this afternoon’s Arlington County Board meeting.

The contest organizer, Arlington Economic Development, said residents cast more than 5,000 online votes for their favorite local businesses. The nominees in each of the 17 categories can be found here.

The big winner today was Mark Fedorchak, co-owner of Liberty Tavern and Northside Social, who walked away with three awards. ARLnow.com also won an award.

The winners are as follows:

  • Best Place for Arts & Culture: Signature Theatre
  • Best Bargain Restaurant: Lost Dog Café
  • Best Boutique: Artisan Confections
  • Best Brunch: The Liberty Tavern
  • Best Business Lunch: The Liberty Tavern
  • Best Coffee: Northside Social
  • Best Community Non-Profit: Animal Welfare League of Arlington
  • Best Customer Service: Arlington Public Library
  • Best Dessert: Heidelberg Pastry Shoppe
  • Best Family-Friendly Spot: Arlington Public Library
  • Best Happy Hour: Westover Beer Garden & Haus
  • Best New Business: Trader Joe’s
  • Best Online/Social Media Presence: ARLnow.com
  • Best Place to Pamper Yourself: Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa
  • Best Pizza: Pupatella
  • Best Place to take a Date: Arlington Cinema & Draft House
  • Best Place to Work Out: Thomas Jefferson Community Center

  • Harrison

    Is there a place we can nominate worst places in Arlington?

    • WeiQiang

      I think that you found it.

    • bum

      I nominate Advanced Towing for Worst Customer Service.

      • JamesE

        Friendly staff and great prices!

      • Ralph

        I like Advanced Towing. They make sure people don’t park illegally.

  • ClarendonDweller

    Congrats, Arlnow!

  • CW

    Congrats ARLnow on another great year!

    • Thank you. FWIW, we’re working hard to work out the bugs in the new site and appreciate everybody’s feedback.

      • Brian K

        Have you ever thought about including opinion pieces on your website?

  • Mary-Austin

    TJ the best place to work out???

    • Buff

      I know brah! Totes should have been CrossFit Potomac!

      • Josh S

        Something about “totes should have been” is giving me a headache…..

        • Buff

          So the sarcasm wasn’t detected with the “brah”? I figured the “totes” combined with the “brah” would have made that clear.

  • TJLinBallston

    I congratulate myself for excellent choices. Except for “Elizabeth Arden” and TJ Comm. Center, most of my favorites are now enshrined in glory.

  • Quoth the Raven

    I know they do good things for dogs, but there is no way Lost Dog should win anything when it comes to food. That place is just gross and dirty.

    • JamesE

      I don’t think it should have won either but you must not get around much if you think Lost Dog is gross and dirty.

      • Quoth the Raven

        I’m not saying other places aren’t grosser or dirtier. But that doesn’t mean Lost Dog is clean and tasty, either.

      • SomeGuy

        I would defer to Clarendon Skank’s judgment. She gets around more than any of us.

    • Nevermore

      Nonsense. Lost Dog is a great spot for a beer and a sandwich or pizza.

      • Paco

        Yeah, a $12 beer and a sandwich that might be sort of close to the one described on the menu.

        • Nevermore

          $12 beer? You’re doing it wrong.

  • Columbia Pike Y’all

    Fedorchak is deserving. Lost Dog is not a bargain.

  • MrMeow

    At least the Artisphere didn’t win the moneypit award.

  • Wilbur

    Lacking: anything outdoors – Anything non commercial – anything old arlington. Apparently to qualify for a ‘best of’ nomination, you pretty much need to be a developer. Chop down the trees and pour the concrete!

    Best bargain: Lost Dog Cafe?? Um – have you looked at your bill the last time you went or do you just mindlessly swipe the plastic.

    And AWLA?? That’s just sad.

    • CW

      Yep, nothing better than a restaurant that limits how many beers you can order, and a “non-profit” that gets paid to NOT enforce County laws.

      • Drunky

        Uhm, the limit on beers is to keep the belligerent morons, like yourself I’m guessing, from loitering in a laid back, family friendly restaurant.

        • KathyinArlington

          Well said!

      • Mona

        It’s just sad that people have nothing but negative things to say. You seem like an alcoholic that needs to be cut off when you have one too many drinks and a know it all about state laws… sad and pathetic. You should be nicer… Santa is watching. Congrats to Lost Dog & AWLA…

        • KathyinArlington

          Another comment well said.

        • JamesE

          Grandma go back to bed!

        • CW

          Right, I sound like an alcoholic for stating that a TWO beer limit is a bit silly. Well, you sound like an old hag because you’re acting like an old hag. Cheers. Maybe if you keep voting, they’ll bring back the good old days of prohibition.

          For the record, I don’t dislike the policy because it impacts me personally. If I ever went to the place, which I won’t, I would have at most one drink because I would have to drive. Why I don’t like the policy is because it implies an underlying distrust of their customers. It’s basically saying “we don’t trust you to control yourselves”. Well then, I’m not going to patronize a place that assumes I’m up to no good and have no self-control, because they’ve insulted me before I even walk in the door.

          As to AWLA, I stand by my comment. What the County has done with AWLA is akin to giving oversight over building permits to a major developer. It’s the fox guarding the henhouse. No, they don’t enforce the leash laws or any other laws because they love fuzzy wuzzy little doggies. So then you have everyone knowing full well they can let their 100 pound german shepherd run loose all over the place, and it creates problems.

          • Douglas Parker

            Agree Completely.

          • Brian K

            Lost Dog has a two beer only policy?

            Is that new? I have def had more than 2 beers there before.

          • Arlington Cat

            And the AWLA encourages everyone to approach strange animals, trap them, and cart them off to the AWLA shelter. It blows my mind how they don’t give a damn for human safety as long as they get their “kennel charge.”

            They also don’t give a damn about misinforming the public.

          • CW

            Sorry, it is THREE beers. It may have been two at some point in the past.


            My sentiments still remain. I don’t like that they’re basically accusing their clientele of being up to no good.

          • 3Beers

            “For our customers’ safety and your enjoyment, we limit our patrons to three (3) alcoholic drinks.”
            Frankly, the fact that this offends you as a customer is exactly why the policy is in place. And I’m glad you won’t patronize them so you can’t bother me while I am enjoying their tasty food and delicious beers.

          • CW

            You’re still missing the point. You, just like lost dog, are assuming that someone has no self control and will go crazy if they have a few beers. You are casting negative assumptions about an entire population.

            Three american beers is only about 2oz more than one liter at Oktoberfest.

          • 3Beers

            You win. You’re the smartest and most right. Run for office, you have my vote.

            Yes, that’s EXACTLY what they’re saying! It’s their business and they are choosing to reduce the amount of potential riff-raff by establishing a policy.

            Would you feel better if they didn’t make their policy public and only enforced it at the time of service – “the right to refuse service” – like any over-served or intoxicated individual that is no longer served alcohol at a bar?

          • CW

            I absolutely would agree with that policy. There is a big difference between assuming that I am “rif-raff” as you put it, to the extent of writing it on he menu, and removing patrons who are behaving in a disruptive manner. The only question I have is, can they apply that same rule to screaming children too? No better, no worse than loud, drunk adults. I’d like that they both be removed when they become a nuisance. But if someone is sitting there quietly sipping his 4th beer, let him be.

          • arlingtonanimals

            you want people who hate animals running the shelter and enforcing animal laws? people without passion? how would that work? maybe if they had more then one animal control officer at a time there would be less complaints from people like you

          • 3Beers

            It is not the same – removing a drunk vs. preventing a drunk.
            They’re getting ahead of any issues that may be. You’re saying they should let the problem occur then deal with it.
            Would you have the police stop spending money on Kevlar vests with the idea of performing surgery after being shot to remove a bullet? You can’t discriminate against innocent bullets that are flying around NOT trying to hit people.
            As far as screaming kids, absolutely. If they decide that’s their policy, then by all means. Do not allow kids. It’s THEIR choice. Maybe limit a family to only 2 screaming kids!

          • Brian K

            Kind of strange for them to have that policy. I’m not turned off by it, though. 3 beers is enough there. if I am getting after it one night I I certainly won’t spend more than a few hours for dinner at Lost Dog anyway.

            I usually just go there for dinner or lunch and have a beer or two, anyway.

          • CW

            This is getting weird so I will step out now. I don’t think drinking 4 beers is quite the same as shooting at police, but whatever floats your boats.

            And no, I don’t think that people who hate animals should run anything. I do think that leash laws should be enforced. Currently, they are not in many cases.

          • 3Beers

            It’s the policy you have an issue with – and your stance is to allow the problem to occur and have to handle a drunk person, while risking other patrons’ pleasure.
            I’m simply drawing a comparison to how ridiculous you sound that it’s wrong to have a policy to prevent a problem and would rather solve a problem later….

          • CW

            I guess I am just in favor of individual freedoms. That is my policy perspective. I would use punishment for negative actions as a deterrent. An example is that I would be in favor of much higher speed limits, but very strong punishment for anyone who causes an accident by driving negligently. You seem to be in favor of, dare i say it, a “nanny state” (this from a lifelong Democrat). Now, where can I smoke in a bar around here?! Kidding, kidding.

          • 3Beers

            I feel ya. But this is not a State or Federal run restaurant, like a speed limit.

            Nanny state – we can dump the screaming kids on them!

          • arlingtonanimals

            CW: As I said, with only one Animal Control Officer on duty at a time it is impossible for that ONE person to patrol all 100 something parks and plots of land in our 30 square mile county at all times. Maybe you should complain about the department being short staffed instead of accusing that one person of not doing his job.

        • drax

          You need a third beer, Mona.

      • Arlington Cat

        “non-profit” that gets paid to NOT enforce County laws. Or make up their own laws.

        • idislikecats

          paid not to enforce laws? can they stop paying the woman who comes to the park by my house every morning to check for dogs off leash? Lola likes to chase the squirrels!

        • volunteer

          Arlington Cat you are the one misinforming the public. Get informed on the current AWLA policies and procedures before you keep running your mouth.

        • dalek

          could you elaborate on what you mean by not enforcing laws? Also how do they encourage the public to approach animals?

    • malaka

      jsut how old does it have to be? Heidelberg has been here since 1975! Liberty and Northside have done a good job on restoring old Clarendon buildings (and Northside has a great outdoors area which you also claim is lacking)

      • Clarendude

        Good point on the reuse of old buildings. It seems obvious now to most, but to invest in an older building and pay$ to retrofit sometimes awkward spaces to be a restaurant takes someone who recognizes that that old stuff has character and value. It’s what has made it possible to retain that stuff and I appreciate it. Luckily we have many in Clarendon that saw that including the Liberty Tavern/Northside/Lyon Hall and Whitlows and Clarendon Grill and Ballroom, etc.

  • Pizza

    Never been to Pupatella. Is the pizza that good? Love Lost Dog pizza as well as Liberty Tavern and Faccia Luna for pizza as well.

    • JamesE

      Yes, Pupatella is amazing.

    • CW

      It’s real good.

    • Quoth the Raven

      Pupatella is great if you like Neapolitan style pizza. Some people don’t, so that’s why I say that. It’s uncut, and is a bit damp in the middle.

      • Pizza

        Thanks for the feedback. I will put it on my list. Did try Pizzeria Orso in Falls Church a few weeks ago and that was good stuff. Good beer selection too. Does Pupatella have a good beer selection? Good beer selections is part of the equation on where we go to dinner….

        • Quoth the Raven

          Beer selection is poor. Just a few options, and none on tap (I think). Orso has many more to choose from. But a note – they may have more beers now that they’ve taken over the place next door (there is a little bar in there now) but I haven’t checked that out yet –

          • Nevermore

            Nonsense. The beer selection at Pupatella is not bad and the beer prices are great (though there are none on tap).

          • Larchmont

            Poor compared to many other places but remove the comparison and it isn’t bad. Decent selection for their limited offering. I haven’t been since they expanded their space. You probably won’t be disapointed, or have time for more than 2.

          • Deadite

            I’m pretty sure they added taps with their expansion.

          • Dubbs

            There have always been taps.

          • drax

            Pupatella does have beer on tap now. There’s a little bar in the back of the new “wing.” Only a few taps though.

        • Libby

          Watch yourself concerning inquiries about beer. Mona will label you a sad and pathetic alcoholic!

      • PIzza Cutter

        Their pizza is not uncut.

        • Quoth the Raven

          So this is interesting to me. Traditionally, Neapolitan pizza is uncut, and Pupatella used to serve it that way. But I went last night and they cut it! At the same time, there are tons of Yelp reviews of Orso, where people are whining about how their pizza wasn’t cut and it tremendously offended them. So I wonder if Pupatella bowed to the masses and decided to start cutting the pizza…..

          • CW

            Is Orso still good? I had heard it fell off a cliff after the super pizza dude, whatever his name is that goes jumping from place to place around here, left.

  • Arlington Local

    Surprised about the Artisan Confections win under boutique? Between “No Place like Home”, “Current” Boutique and “Covet” it seems odd. La Union should’ve won for best bargain!!

  • CrystalMikey

    Congrats ARLnow!!!

  • Larchmont

    Another win for the Westover Beer Garden & Haus! It looks like tonight will be another 3 to 6 pint night!

    Mark’s wine prices make Devin’s beer prices a bargain.

    Congrats to everyone as I enjoy them all.

  • oldtimearlington

    how is trader joes a “new” business? so lame arlington, so lame. and a chocolate shop is not a boutique, not that artisan confections isn’t great but someone needs to work on the categories of this shindig.

    • TJ’s

      Well it’s new in Arlington. By your definition does it have to be the first store in the United States to be new?

      • oltimearlington

        By my definition it needs to be a NEW business “TJ” – not one that is over 50 years old. And as far as being “new to Arlington” – please , you can easily choose from two separate locations in Falls Church. – which is probably easier than parking in Clarendon anyway.

        • Anow

          Well, your definition is wrong. Trader Joe’s NEW location in Clarendon has kicked ass, and is the best NEW thing in Clarendon. And no, we can’t walk to the Fall’s Church locations.

  • LibraryLady


  • Atownwill

    Carlyle should have one an award, by far the best food and dessert in all Arlington. Hands down super clean and great service all day everyday. Bread pudding the best in the area for sure!

  • Wendy

    Congratulations ARLNOW! and everyone who won! 🙂 All great places to shop and eat!

    • Thanks Wendy! And thank you to everybody who voted for us.

  • Sunshine

    Pupatella has great pizza as does Orso. I always forget about Faccia Luna but it is pretty solid as well. Heidelberg Pastry is very good but I prefer German Gourmet on Columbia Pike but it is in Falls Church. They have a much better selection of all of the stuff you remember and love from Germany. Artisan Confections is spectacular but I don’t get how it is best boutique. It sure makes a great gift for a chocolate lover though. Lost Dog? I’m stumped. They are average at best IMO but what do I know? Happy for all of the winners. I hope they stay around for may years to come!

    • George

      Wow – sunshine – cool – someone whose views on this totally match mine. Except – since price was not necessarily a factor – I love Pastries by Randolph for desserts.

      • Sunshine

        Never been to Pastries by Randolph. I’ll have to try them.

        • Lee-n-Glebe

          Personally, I’ve always found Randolph to be superior to Heidelberg. Heidelberg’s pastries have always seemed to me to look a lot better than they taste. Not that they taste bad, they just don’t have much flavor, despite the fact that they do a great job with presentation. I think you’ll like Randolph’s a lot.

    • SteamboatWillie

      I hated seeing the German Gourmet store close on Lee Highway in Falls Church

      • nom de guerre

        The German Gourmet moved to another location on Columbia Pike near Bailey’s Crossroads.

        • SteamboatWillie

          Actually, the German Gourmet opened a second location on Columbia Pike, operated two branches for a while, then closed the original Lee Highway location.

  • JimPB

    Kudos to ARLNow.Com:

    Best Online/Social Media Presence: ARLnow.com

    Who were the competitors?

    • Thank you! The competitors were: Arlington Public Library, Click2Mail and Lava Barre.

  • Coraline

    dear people,


    sincerely, me

    • Coraline



      love, me

      • Malaka

        faithfully myself

  • Douglas Parker

    Trader Joe’s is considered new business? What’s the timeframe for these awards? Century?

  • Sammy

    Don’t get me wrong – I love me some Lost Dog but when you pay $8 – $11 for a sandwich and it doesn’t even come with a pickel or chips….it is NOT the best bargain in town!!!

  • Arlingtoner33

    Congrats to Pupatella! Amazing pizza and great customer service. They’ve come a long way since just having a cart outside Ballston mall

  • elecricbill

    I have nothing against Heidelberg Pastry Shoppe, but I think Best buns should have beat them out. I’m about the same distance to both of them (closer to Best Buns, but not by much)and I always go to Best Buns. The cupcakes and the staff are both fantastic.

  • SteamboatWillie

    I haven’t been back to Heidelberg since I found fur baked into my pretzel two years ago. And it looked a lot like rat fur – course and straw-colored – as opposed to fine mouse fur. The response from the staff when notified was disappointing to say the least.

    • electricbill

      Yuck! All the more reason to go to Best Buns!

      • Sunshine

        The Epi bread at Best Buns is fantastic. I have no idea how they get it into that shape. Perhaps it is a mold? The tomato basil mozzarella sandwich is really good too. Double yuck on the rat fur. I think I will stick with German Gourmet.

  • BlueSkies

    Congratulations, ArlNow!!

  • Marie Antoinette

    Yay Arlnow.com! great site! Really enjoy reading; keep it up.


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