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by ARLnow.com Sponsor — March 9, 2017 at 5:30 pm 0

Like Turbotax for selling your home, Homezen saves you thousands by making it easy to sell your home without an agent.

homezen logoSpring is in the air, and with nicer weather people start selling their homes — and writing big commission checks to real estate agents.

But why write that $10,000 to $60,000 check to a real estate agent?

That’s where homezen comes in. Combining technology and real estate expertise to make it easier to sell your home without an agent, the company has helped homeowners in DC, Maryland, and Virginia save an average of $20,000.

Here’s how it works: First, they run a pricing analysis to help you understand the value of your home; they dispatch professional photographers to make your home look great; and they place your listing on the MLS, and they even give you lockbox so your home literally shows itself. homezen also provides the necessary legal paperwork, and guides you all the way through closing.

How do you save all that money? Instead of charging the standard 6 percent commission fee, Homezen charges a low flat fee. Since launching last year, they’ve already saved sellers a lot of money in Arlington, Alexandria, McLean, Logan Circle, Capitol Hill, Brookland, the Palisades, Glover Park and beyond.

Homezen even helped one Arlingtonian sell his condo without an agent, and now he’s using the money he saved to travel around the world.

What would you do with all that money?

Check out the Homezen website or give them a call at 202.509.0559.

by Chris Teale — March 9, 2017 at 4:45 pm 0

A live national stage show returns to Arlington later this year, and it’s all about motherhood.

Rosslyn’s Spectrum Theatre will welcome Listen To Your Mother on May 7 in the show’s final nationwide tour. It was first produced in 2010 in Madison, Wisc.

The show features live readings about motherhood by 11 local writers and bloggers, but not all the performers are mothers. In fact, director Kate Hood said, variety of experiences is key.

Perhaps one participant talks about their grandmother, or another describes the work of a friend’s mother. It is not just a show for mothers to share their stories of motherhood.

“There’s going to be some things that will make you laugh, stories that are crazy and you’ve never heard before,” Hood said. “But I think we have some pretty powerful moments too. It’s hard to say, because each person has a unique story.”

Hood worked alongside director Stephanie Stearns Dulli — a former actor previously based in Los Angeles — to choose the cast from about 40 people who audition. Both agreed it is very hard to narrow it down to a list of less than a dozen participants.

“Every year, casting feels like separating diamonds from diamonds, and this year was no exception,” Stearns Dulli said. “[One] minute I was spellbound by heartbreak and poignancy and then five minutes later in another audition, I would be laughing so hard my stomach ached.”

After participants are selected, Stearns Dulli leads a full read-through with the entire group, then meets with each person individually to give them tips on how to present and when to pause for laughter or at poignant moments.

Then on the day of the performance, those involved are led onto the stage, told where to sit, then say their first line and last line into the microphone to get a feel for being on stage. That is the closest the group gets to rehearsing their material before the event.

“It’s not very rehearsed, it’s very authentic, I guess you’d say,” Hood said.

But Hood said audiences react positively to the experience, and feel more involved in what takes place on stage.

“One thing we hear from the audience members that we talk to is that they felt like they weren’t just watching a show, they were experiencing something as a community,” Hood said. “It’s really special. It’s not just going to be entertained, it’s going to bear witness and to feel honored that somebody is letting you into their life.”

This year’s performers will be Jennifer Andos, Ejima Baker-Morales, Lou-Ann Wattley Belk, Hannah Grieco, Jessica Haney, Taylor Harris, Lottie Joiner, LaPonda Kersey-Salisbury, Rachel Nusbaum, Nina Parrish and Alison Rascher.

Tickets are available for purchase online.

by Chris Teale — March 9, 2017 at 3:35 pm 0

Rumors of the Shirlington dog park’s demise appear to have been greatly exaggerated.

The latest round of drafts released by the county for the Four Mile Run Valley initiative include the park in the plans for Jennie Dean Park. Three alternatives put forward for a meeting of the Four Mile Run Valley Working Group held Tuesday night all include the dog park in some form.

The first option keeps the park as it is, while the second option proposed reconfiguring the dog park but keeping it the same size. The third alternative would also keep the dog park in place, but renovate it.

Notably, the second alternative would divide the dog park into two sections: one for larger animals and another for smaller.

The alternatives also make suggestions for programming to the west of South Nelson Street, which could include more arts and recreation space. It also suggests a number of amenities for the park in the site’s northeast corner, like sport courts, baseball fields, a playground and a trail. All three alternatives also propose adding to the site’s 136 existing parking spaces.

The park’s future had been the cause of some concern earlier this year on social media.

The unofficial Facebook page for the park said the county had a plan “to move the dog park and make it much smaller, or do away with it.”

The Shirlington Dog Park Page cited a presentation of early land use proposals generated in January as part of the Four Mile Run Valley planning process. However, the presentation appeared to show that the area of the dog park is being considered generally for “outdoor parks/rec/cultural” uses — which could include a dog park.

“The County recognizes the popularity and importance of the Shirlington Dog Park and does not plan to move it from the park or the park plan,” division chief Chikwe Njoku wrote in an email to a dog park page subscriber last month.

“As part of any planning effort we have to do our due diligence and evaluate the existing site in addition to making recommendations on potential alternatives that are based on a variety of factors such as environmental regulations, overall design/impact, usage, and other County standards, then make recommendations that are discussed with the 4MRV Working Group who also takes input from the community.”

The Four Mile Run Valley Working Group will meet again March 15 from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Park and Natural Resources Operations Building at 2700 S. Taylor St.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — March 9, 2017 at 2:30 pm 0

Healthy Paws

Editor’s Note: Healthy Paws is a column sponsored and written by the owners of Clarendon Animal Care, a full-service, general practice veterinary clinic. The clinic is located 3000 10th Street N., Suite B. and can be reached at 703-997-9776.

Heartworm disease is something with which some dog and cat owners will unfortunately have to deal, but there is good news: it is preventable.

The disease is caused by the parasite Dirofilaria immitis. This is a worm that lives in the heart, lungs, and surrounding vasculature. It is a serious disease that primarily affects the heart and lungs but can also affect the liver, kidneys, central nervous system, and if left untreated, can cause death. Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes: they take a blood meal from an infected animal and transmit the microfilariae (larval stage/baby worms) into another animal with subsequent blood meals. These microfilariae will then make their way to the heart where they grow into adult worms, causing heartworm disease. Mosquitoes are required for the parasite’s life cycle which means that a dog cannot re-infect itself.

Both dogs and cats can get heartworm disease from mosquitoes! A cat is an atypical host, and unfortunately many times goes undiagnosed. In some cats, 1-3 adult worms can be devastating and create respiratory issues, and one of the main risk factors for cats developing feline asthma is heartworm! The treatment that we use for dogs cannot be used in cats, so prevention is key for kitties.

What are the symptoms?

Some dogs are asymptomatic, meaning that they act normally. There are no changes in their breathing, exercise levels, or appetites. With chronic infections or heavy worm-burdens, owners can notice coughing, exercise intolerance (unable to go on a walk without stopping and/or coughing), decreased appetite, sleeping more, and even weight loss.

Clinical signs in cats can be very subtle to very dramatic. These symptoms can include coughing, asthma-type symptoms, vomiting, weight loss, lack of appetite, and fluid build up in the abdomen.

Grading Scale

There are 4 grades to heartworm disease:

  1. Grade I: Asymptomatic dog, tests positive on the annual test that is recommended by veterinarians. Chest x-rays, blood work and urine testing is normal.
  2. Grade II: Asymptomatic or mild symptoms in dogs. Chest x-rays will show some abnormalities or the pet may have mild changes on blood work and urine testing.
  3. Grade III: Symptomatic dogs, chest x-rays show obvious changes and blood work and urine testing is very consistent with chronic inflammation and parasitic infection.
  4. Grade IV: Severely symptomatic dogs, chest x-rays show enlarged and abnormal vessels; they may have fluid build-up in the abdomen and are in right-sided congestive heart failure. These pets have a guarded prognosis (and in some cases treatment may need to involve surgical extraction of the worms from the heart, through the jugular vein)

Why is annual testing recommended if my pet is on regular prevention?

Heartworm disease can be devastating. The earlier the detection, the better chances for survival. Since many dogs are asymptomatic at time of diagnosis, the only way it is found is through an annual test, which requires only a small amount of blood

All pets over the age of 7 months old should be tested for heartworm disease on an annual basis, but we start giving the heartworm preventative medication as young as 8 weeks of age.

How is heartworm disease treated?

If your dog has been found to have heartworm disease and all the testing indicates that it is safe to then go ahead with treatment, it is done with a medication called Immiticide (an arsenic derivative!). The American Heartworm Society recommends giving three injections: one injection on day one and the other two injections one month later, 24 hours apart. Post-injection care includes strict exercise restriction for 30 days (so, for a traditional treatment – that means TWO MONTHS of STRICT restrictions), keep them on all prescribed medications (often steroids to reduce inflammation in the lungs, sedatives as needed and pain medications for injection-site discomfort) for the heartworm disease, and monthly heartworm prevention.

There is no approved treatment for cats.

What is the best way to prevent this disease?

Keeping dogs and cats on monthly prescription preventatives, year round (even in the cold months), is the best way to prevent this disease. The two main ways to administer this are topical or oral medications. Both are only available as prescriptions through a veterinarian.

This is definitely a disease where prevention is a lot better (and cheaper) than treatment!

The life cycle and intricacies of treatment are a lot more complicated that the basic information we’ve provided here. If you’re interested in learning more — ask your veterinarian! At Clarendon Animal Care we work with a number of local rescue groups and manage heartworm positive dogs frequently – we’re always happy to answer any questions you may have about this disease — detection, prevention, management, and general biology/life cycle.

The American Heartworm Society is also a great point of reference for pet owners. Please visit www.heartwormsociety.org for additional information.

 

by Mark Kelly — March 9, 2017 at 1:45 pm 0

Mark KellyThe Right Note is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

At the end of February the Arlington County Board voted 3-2 to advertise a 2-cent tax rate increase. The two members who voted no did so because they wanted to advertise a higher rate.

As the County Board discussed advertising the increased rate, Chairman Jay Fisette called the County Manager’s budget the “best professional recommendation.” In reality, Arlington County rigs the budget game to ensure they can spend not only what they propose in the annual budget, but the closeout slush fund created by chronic underestimation of revenue.

In FY 2016, Arlington took $29 million more in revenue than it had projected in its fiscal year budget. The County also did not spend $6.4 million it had budgeted. That’s $35.4 million in tax revenue over and above the needs of the budget. And year after year, the County Manager and County Board spend it during the closeout process right before going to the public and saying they have budget shortfalls for the next year.

To put the closeout funds in perspective, if left unspent it would take no residential property tax increase to meet the revenue needed for the next county budget.

Taxpayers would appreciate a one-year pause on their escalating property taxes. Under the County Manager’s latest budget proposal, taxes on the average single family homeowner would increase by around 5 percent for 2017 when you account for higher assessments and a two cent tax rate increase. The tax burden is retroactive to January 1 of this year.

Annual spending over the last 15 years or so has regularly outpaced inflation plus population growth — a measure which should ensure more than adequate continuation of county services. The annual revenue spending is supplemented by the unlimited willingness of voters to approve bonds to take on about $1 billion in debt.

Many Arlingtonians express a willingness to pay even more, which should not be a surprise in a county that has elected exactly one non-Democrat to the County Board in the last 17 years. At some point however, a majority of the public may balk.

Wages for the third quarter of 2016 rose by 3.9 percent in Arlington. So not only do taxes continue to outpace population growth and inflation, they are growing faster than wages. It means most of us will probably be paying more and taking home less.

County Board member John Vihstadt rightly asked the County Manager for budget options at a lower tax level. But taxpayers should be dubious that the Board will approve any tax increase lower than the maximum two cents.

by Larry Roberts — March 9, 2017 at 1:00 pm 0

Larry RobertsProgressive Voice is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of their organizations or ARLnow.com.

By Lawrence Roberts

This May, Arlington Democrats will participate in a caucus to nominate the Democratic candidate for County Board. The winner of that nomination will, in all likelihood, have the opportunity to be sworn in for a four-year term commencing January 1, 2018.

The new Board member will be succeeding Jay Fisette, the current Board Chair who has served as a County Board member since 1998. Jay has chaired the Board on five separate occasions (2001, 2005, 2010, 2014 and 2017).

It is sometimes hard to notice progress, and even history, when it is occurring. But as Jay is about to enter the final nine months of what will be 20 years of service on the County Board, I think it is important to remember the odds that Jay overcame to become the first openly gay elected official in the history of the Commonwealth of Virginia and to reflect on how Jay has served as a “progressive voice” in Arlington and on the Board during a time of great change and progress in the County.

When I first met Jay, he was serving as the Director of the Northern Virginia AIDS Project of Whitman-Walker Clinic, a nonprofit community health center that was a leader in HIV/AIDS education, prevention, diagnosis and treatment. He had previously served as an auditor with the U.S. General Accounting Office.

Jay’s public service was inspired by the martyrdom of Harvey Milk, California’s first openly gay elected official, who was assassinated while serving on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. In 1993, he decided to run for the County Board and joined a field that included future County Board members Charles Monroe and Chris Zimmerman as well as School Board member Darlene Mickey.

Although Jay won the March 1993 caucus to the surprise of much of the Democratic establishment, he lost a special election that May by 206 votes. His opponent did not raise Jay’s sexual orientation as a campaign issue, but there is little doubt in the minds of those of us who worked for Jay’s election that even in Arlington many voters were not yet comfortable with electing a gay public official. Only two years later with another candidate, Democrats easily won back the seat in a general election.

Jay’s loss did not deter him from remaining active in electoral politics and he won many friends and additional supporters as he re-dedicated himself to Democratic politics and community service.

As Arlingtonians became more progressive in their views about sexual orientation, the electoral climate became more favorable. Jay ran again in 1997 and made history with his election to the Board – winning nearly 62 percent of the vote in the November election.

It is a testament to Jay’s successful tenure on the Board that the history he made is now almost an afterthought while he paved the way for many LGBT Virginians serving in elective office and as community leaders.

Speaking of his own future, Jay has said that he wants to work on “embracing and advancing a set of progressive values that are so important; values we have championed here in Arlington…” That serves as an excellent description of Jay’s tenure on the County Board.

He has been a consistent champion of environmental and open space initiatives, smart growth planning initiatives, multimodal transportation options, affordable housing, inclusiveness, and a strong social safety net. At the same time, he has been integral to the County’s sterling fiscal reputation and performance, maintaining its low crime rate, and the County’s increasing attractiveness to families, millennials, and seniors.

In recent years, Jay has worked to help Arlington to respond to increased competition to Arlington’s economic successes and to promote cooperation between the County Board and School Board to keep the Arlington Public Schools system among the best in the nation.

Jay will be remembered by those who lived through the experience for his steady leadership as the County and its public safety agencies responded to the September 11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon.

He also has gained respect around the region and the Commonwealth through his many leadership positions in organizations such as the Virginia Municipal League, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, and Northern Virginia Transportation Commission.

Jay will accomplish even more before stepping down at the end of the year. But as people campaign to succeed him, it is a good time to consider his many accomplishments for Arlington County.

Larry Roberts has been active in civic and political life in Arlington for nearly 30 years and is an attorney in private practice. He chaired the Arlington County Democratic Committee, a successful Arlington School Bond campaign, two successful statewide political campaigns, and served as Counselor to the Governor in Richmond.

by Peter Rousselot — March 9, 2017 at 12:15 pm 0

Peter Rousselot

Peter’s Take is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

ARLnow.com reported last week that the County Board has approved the County Manager’s request to advertise a property tax rate for 2017 up to 2 cents higher than the current rate and potentially the highest tax rate since 2001:

County Manager Mark Schwartz said the hike would pay for what he described as the “extraordinary circumstances” facing the board in increasing costs for APS and Metro.

Failing to Carry Over Last Fall’s Close-Out Surplus

The Manager’s proposed FY 2018 budget is supposedly driven by “extraordinary circumstances” attributable to increased funding demands from APS and Metro. To close this “gap,” the Manager’s proposed budget incorporates a 2-cent property tax rate increase to generate $14.8 million.

The Manager fully highlighted these “extraordinary circumstances” last fall, but he and the County Board failed to act then to address that potential budget gap.

Metro is critical to Arlington and our entire region, and our critically-important schools are experiencing dramatic enrollment increases. Without much-needed fundamental reforms, the long-term costs represented by APS and Metro will indeed put tremendous upward pressure on Arlington’s property tax rate in every year for the foreseeable future.

However, any need to increase that rate in 2017 is entirely attributable to Arlington’s failure to follow recommendations that John Vihstadt, the Civic Federation, I and others made regarding last fall’s $17.8 million “close-out” surplus.

In a column last October, I proposed that the Board defer almost all of the proposed expenditures that the Manager recommended for that $17.8 million surplus, and hold in reserve virtually all those funds for first-priority use to bridge any budget gap for FY 2018. Instead, the Board approved spending almost all that surplus. That was a mistake that should not be repeated.

Necessary Changes at APS

As John Vihstadt noted at the County Board’s February 25 meeting to advertise a 2017 tax rate, APS’ exploding enrollment will require substantially increased funding over time, but APS should no longer be permitted to rely on a blank check from the County to provide funds for APS enrollment growth just because our schools are — and we want them to continue to be — top ranked.

Instead, the time has come for the County Board to condition increased funding on APS’ willingness to implement changes — particularly with respect to new school construction — to reduce substantially the per-student cost of new seats.

Current APS practices regarding per seat construction costs for new schools are neither necessary to sustain excellent schools nor fiscally sustainable unless other core County services are to be “crowded out” and/or we are to incur successive annual property tax rate increases that further degrade affordability for all Arlington residents.

Necessary Changes at Metro

Arlington should go on record now in support of fundamental reforms of Metro funding and governance at the interstate compact level, such as those recommended by the Federal City Council.

Conclusion

Before the FY 2018 budget review process ends this April, the County Board should:

  • direct the Manager to reserve almost all of any fall 2017 close-out surplus to lessen upward pressures on the 2018 tax rate,
  • condition any increased APS funding on APS implementation this year of reforms to lower per-seat construction costs substantially, and
  • express support for Metro reforms at the interstate compact level.

Peter Rousselot is a former member of the Central Committee of the Democratic Party of Virginia and former chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee.

by Chris Teale — March 9, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

With the National Science Foundation moving out of Ballston this year, its current building is slated for renovations.

The NSF will relocate to Alexandria, starting no later than September 1, and leave its present headquarters at Stafford Place on Wilson Boulevard.

And with its federal tenant on the way out, property owner Jamestown LP is looking ahead to the future of its buildings, which it bought for a combined $300 million in 2015.

The two buildings will be renamed the Ballston Exchange, with the 12-story atrium in 4201 Wilson Blvd set for a revamp in addition to new electronic systems and elevators and new tenants for the upper and lower levels.

All told, the renovation work will cost approximately $140 million, and will include new retail space on the ground floor.

Michael Phillips, president of Jamestown, said the firm is looking to take advantage of the growth in high-tech and cybersecurity jobs in Northern Virginia when searching for new tenants.

“We have specialties in internet security and in technology around that sort of process, but we also have the associations and the lobbying groups and the private industry that have all started to make Northern Virginia home,” he said. “To provide an environment for that for both small companies to incubate ideas and large companies to be part of the campus is our goal.”

To attract those tenants, Phillips said, Jamestown will make sure the renovated space embraces the new “interactive culture” of the workplace. Phillips said the redone space will include an interactive conference center and communal spaces, as well as amenities like yoga and spin classes to help with employees’ health and wellbeing.

And despite the departure of a federal tenant and the departure of more than 2,000 NSF employees, Phillips said Jamestown relishes the opportunity to revamp its property given the apparent region-wide trend away from government work.

“We bought the building knowing they [the NSF] were going, with the intent to do what we’re doing,” Phillips said. “I think there was a time that submarket was a very high percentage of government contractors and agencies, and I think that is shrinking and being replaced by private sector companies.”

Phillips said the renovation should be complete by next spring or summer, given that it will not begin until the NSF vacates.

Helen Duong, spokeswoman for the county’s Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development, said the last permit application submitted for the NSF property was last August to remove the existing sky bridge.

Arlington Economic Development spokeswoman Cara O’Donnell said the organization is looking forward to seeing what Jamestown will do.

“We’re excited about the significant new investment Jamestown is making that will deliver high quality Class A office space as well as new ground floor retail frontage in the heart of Ballston,” she said. “Additionally, this ideally-located property is located just across the street from the new Ballston Quarter public-private redevelopment.”

The redevelopment of Ballston Common Mall across the street — and its rebranding as Ballston Quarter — means there is plenty going on in that part of the county.

Demolition of portions of the mall to make way for the new apartment tower and retail center began last year.

by ARLnow.com — March 9, 2017 at 10:05 am 0

Reeves farmhouse (photo courtesy Peter Roof)A group that wants to use the Reevesland farmhouse as an educational center is making one last push to convince Arlington County not to sell it.

Members of the Reevesland Learning Center say Arlington should be seeking to add to, not subtract from, its parks and facilities. They’ve been fighting for several years to have the farmhouse, at 400 N. Manchester Street in the Boulevard Manor neighborhood, converted to a community space where children could learn about healthy eating and the history of the Reeves farm.

In 2015, Arlington County split the 2.5 acre Reevesland property, incorporating much of the open space into Bluemont Park while the house and the land around it was to be sold to a private buyer. On Feb. 28, Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz recommended the sale of the farmhouse move forward, asking for County Board direction at the board’s March meeting.

“Our efforts to work with the Reeves Farm Conservation Society, Inc. and Reevesland Learning Center have not resulted in a viable community proposal for the farmhouse,” Schwartz said in a statement.

In a letter sent Wednesday, members of the Reevesland Learning Center disputed the county’s assertion that renovating the farmhouse for public use would be too costly and challenging.

The full letter, after the jump.

Photo courtesy Peter Roof

(more…)

by ARLnow.com — March 9, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Window washers on an office building in Clarendon

County Wary of Lifetime Dog Licenses — Virginia may soon have a new law that allows localities to issue lifetime dog licenses. However, Arlington officials say that the current 1-3 year dog licenses help remind residents to keep their rabies vaccinations up to date. [InsideNova]

Road Paving Season Begins in a Month — Arlington’s road paving season starts at the beginning of April and runs through October. Pre-paving concrete repairs have already begun. Residents whose streets are set to be paved this year can expect to receive notification letters from the county. [Arlington County]

Wait Times Improved at DMV — After a month of renovation work, the Virginia Dept. of Motor Vehicles office on S. Four Mile Run Drive reopened in January. Local and state officials held a ribbon-cutting for the renovated DMV location, which features “a new efficient countertop and workstation design to maximize customer flow and efficiency,” thus reducing wait times. [Facebook]

Native Plant Recommendations — Arlington County naturalist Alonso Abugattas has shared a list of his “favorite native plants for attracting and supporting wildlife.” [Mid-Atlantic Gardener]

Nearby: D.C. Issues Record Number of Tickets — The District of Columbia issued 2,760,482 traffic citations last year, an all-time high totalling $300 million in fines. That includes 1.1 million photo-enforced tickets, a 70 percent increase compared to a year prior. [WTOP]

by ARLnow.com — March 9, 2017 at 6:00 am 0

Osteria da Nino
2900 S. Quincy Street (Shirlington area)
Tel: 703-820-1128

There’s a lot new at Shirlington’s Osteria da Nino since we last checked in with owner Nino Pino.

The chef who’s hard at work in the kitchen started last summer, bringing some new flair to the menu, which changes with the seasons to incorporate the freshest ingredients.

The crowds have grown since this time last year, in particular those booking the private event space, which now sports a brand new 65-inch TV.

On our Arlington Agenda you might have seen one thing that started last year and is bringing in new customers, also known as future regulars: wine seminars featuring some of Italy’s best and most interesting wines.

What else drives Osteria da Nino’s increasing popularity and stellar online reviews? There’s the food, of course. It’s delicious. There’s the service, which is attentive. And then, naturally, there’s Nino.

The owner and seven-day-a-week public face/greeter/manager/avuncular converser of Osteria da Nino knows your name and possibly your birthday and anniversary and pet’s name if you’ve been to his restaurant twice. Maybe just once.

He is, as of this sentence being typed, sitting at the bar, grabbing a quick bite (it’s 9 p.m., guests come first) and conversing in Italian with a fellow who’s visiting from Italy. Nino’s practice of chatting with every guest is remarkable for its dichotomy: when he’s talking with you, he’s focused on you and how you’re doing today and how the dog/kid/business is doing, to the extent that it’s almost like no one else in the restaurant matters. But they do, and then with a “grazie” he’s off to seat a couple that just walked in or to chat with another table. Most of them, by the way, are regulars.

Before you finish your meal, he has talked and seated everyone. And then he’s back to you, with little sense of being rushed even if the place is packed, checking on just how great, exactly, your dinner (or lunch) was. It’s amazing.

There’s just one thing that bugs the most patient, Old World restaurateur in town, and that’s the relatively new habit of diners going home and giving so-so reviews online. (Nino has been running restaurants since well before the internet was a thing.)

Granted, Osteria da Nino doesn’t get a lot of bad reviews, but when he does it’s personally disappointing. Because he has checked once, twice, thrice to make sure everything is up to everybody’s expectations. And if not, he’s gracious and quick to offer to fix whatever’s wrong.

But Nino insists the customer is always right and will try to make his guests happy even after the fact, after the review — and yes, he reads every single one — is out there. Everybody has an occasional off day, a day that hasn’t gone well, that then leads you in your frustration to being particularly persnickety on Yelp because your ravioli wasn’t at your preferred temperature. And that’s okay.

Mi scusi, Nino will say the next time you’re in, above the din of conversation as Dean Martin plays over the sound system, and bentornato mio amico.

Be sure to check out mouth-watering food videos from the kitchen of Osteria da Nino, courtesy of Nino’s daughter, on the restaurant’s Facebook page. And if parking is an issue, phone ahead and see if any of ODN’s reserved parking spaces are available across the street.

The preceding was a sponsored profile of Osteria da Nino written by ARLnow.com.

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