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Large Restaurant and Art Gallery Space Opening Soon in Ballston

WHINO, a 6,200-square-foot combination restaurant and art gallery, is set to open its doors at Ballston Quarter next week.

First announced in August 2018, the venue will combine a 150-seat restaurant and craft cocktail bar serving dishes that “meld American and international flavors” with a pop-art gallery that invites patrons to “inhabit large-scale mural installations.”

WHINO is located on the second floor of the shopping center, at 4238 Wilson Boulevard. It is set to open on Friday, June 18.

It comes from Shane Pomajambo, the D.C.-based art curator who ran Blind Whino and other prominent galleries in the region. Arlingtonians may know him as the person behind the massive street art show in Crystal City a decade ago.

Pomajambo tells ARLnow he picked Ballston as the location for his next venture because of the “great foot traffic” and the neighborhood’s residents are its “core demographic.”

It will serve a late night crowd, at least during the latter half of the week. Thursday through Saturday, WHINO will stay open until 2 a.m.

The venue’s murals encompass a dozen different genres and focus on a new art movement known as “lowbrow/pop surrealist,” according to a press release.

A number of the murals will be rotated out regularly with new art coming in every month creating a “living art gallery,” as Washingtonian reports. The current roster of muralists includes an artist, Dragon76, who just finished a massive mural in Houston in conjunction with a United Nations project.

There will also be a retail component to the venue, with a number of limited-edition sculptures from artists across the world on sale, with prices ranging from $50 to $300.

The restaurant is set to hold 152 diners in an open floor plan that will have six different areas, including a 25-seat kitchen bar, a 51-foot craft cocktail bar, and a 11-seat beverage tasting bar.

The small plate menu comes from executive chef Eleftherios (Terry) Natas, a New Jersey-born Greek American who previously worked for El Centro in D.C. and Mike Isabella’s Graffino. A number of items are influenced by Natas’s Greek background, including smoked octopus and gyro meat wrapped in phyllo dough. There will also be handmade ricotta gnocchi, porchetta sliders and scallop aguachile.

“The menu is designed to encourage exploration as small plates afford guests the opportunity to experience more flavor profiles,” Pomajambo says.

A number of other much-anticipated businesses are planning to open in Ballston in the coming months, including The Salt Line, looking at a summer debut. The popular plant shop REWILD is planning a July opening while chicken restaurant Farmbird is starting to serve this week.

Other recent restaurant openings and anticipated openings in Ballston include Ballston Local, El Rey, Hawkers Asian Street Fare, and Quincy Hall.

Heart + Paw, a combination veterinarian, pet groomer and dog daycare, just opened last month as well.

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