Arlington, VA

With snowflakes almost starting to fly, now might be a good time to provide a helpful tip for one way to avoid walking in the elements.

After much anticipation, the new Ballston Quarter pedestrian bridge opened in November. The snazzy, lighted bridge over Wilson Blvd links the second floor of the Ballston Quarter mall with the office complex and Metro station across the street, allowing people to get from one place to the other in climate-controlled comfort.

There’s no direct access from the Metro station to the office building, which means a brief walk outdoors. Also, it can be a little tricky to find on the first try. But don’t worry — we have a quick video guide on how to use the pedestrian bridge to get from the station to the mall.

Video by Jay Westcott 

0 Comments

Goodbye Mister Days, Clarendon Ballroom, Java Shack — and hello food halls, outdoor beer garden, and more restaurants than we can count.

It’s no secret that Arlington has had quite the 2019, and as 2020 gets underway, here’s some of what’s opened, what’s closed, and what’s to come in 2020. For those keeping score, Ballston appears to be the hot spot for new restaurants, in part thanks to the opening of the renovated Ballston Quarter mall.

Closing Time

Some of Arlington’s most iconic businesses closed in 2019, including:

  • Clarendon Ballroom announced it would be closing after 20 years in business, following one last New Year’s Eve bash
  • Cosi closed in Ballston.
  • A heavily-frequented Starbucks at Lee-Harrison closed in December, replaced by the county’s first drive-through Starbucks nearby.
  • Blümen Cafe abruptly closed in December, with a new cafe said to be coming soon.
  • Java Shack served its final mugs of coffee in October, but will be replaced by another coffee shop.
  • Hawaiian restaurant Hula Girl Bar and Grill closed in September.
  • The Real Housewives of Potomac-owned Oz Restaurant shuttered in June.
  • Three area Subway sandwich restaurants bit the bullet in Clarendon, Cherrydale, and Ballston.
  • Pete’s New Haven Apizza closed its Clarendon eatery in August.
  • Family Dry Cleaners on Columbia Pike shuttered in July — temporarily taking its customers clothing with it.
  • Ballston lost its Cheesetique in June (but the Shirlington location expanded).
  • Also in June, Ray’s The Steaks sizzled out, and a long line of customers showed up for its last service.
  • Fiona’s Irish Pub closed suddenly in Crystal City, later replaced by McNamara’s Irish Pub.
  • Citizen Burger Bar flipped its last patty in June.
  • On Columbia Pike, Josephine’s Italian Kitchen closed in May.
  • Rosslyn sushi bar Kona Grill rolled out in April.
  • Also in Rosslyn, Bean Good Coffee Pub brewed its last cup in April.
  • Who could forget Mister Days, which shuttered its doors in April after 40 years in business.
  • Williamsburg spot Backyard BBQ had its last cookout in February.
  • Rosslyn pizzeria Piola shut down in January.

New Faces 

Throughout the year, Arlington got everything from a fast-casual soup eatery to a healthy gelato shop:

  • Arlington welcomed its second Pupatella location, which opened on Walter Reed Drive in December.
  • Restaurant Open Road Grill and cocktail lounge Salt opened at Central Place in Rosslyn in December.
  • Happy Endings Eatery opened in Rosslyn, with some criticizing its provocative name.
  • East West Coffee and Wine opened its second location in Clarendon in December.
  • In November, a new health-focused gelato shop opened in Pentagon Row.
  • Rock-and-roll themed taco restaurant Taco Rock opened in Rosslyn in November.
  • We, The Pizza opened in Ballston with customizable pies and gelato shakes.
  • Poké it Up opened in Ballston in October.
  • The Renegade replaced Mister Days in October.
  • Arlington got its first indoor running studio in October.
  • Another fitness studio, BASH Boxing, opened in Ballston in the same month.
  • Italian restaurant Sfoglina opened in Rosslyn in October.
  • Zoup! Eatery opened in Ballston in October.
  • A new Harris Teeter opened on Columbia Pike in October, as part of the Centro development.
  • Bronson Bier Hall opened in Ballston in August.
  • South Block expanded into Rosslyn in August.
  • The cafe and Asian eatery Open Kitchen opened in Rosslyn in August.
  • Nepalese restaurant Namaste Everest touched down in Pentagon in July.
  • Sloppy Mama’s Barbeque started roasting in July on Lee Highway.
  • After some drama, The Lot beer garden opened in July.
  • Stone Hot Pizza opened in Clarendon in June.
  • Ted’s Bulletin and Sidekick Bakery welcomed customers to Ballston in June.
  • Clarendon got the three-level bar/restaurant TTT, Buena Vida, and Buena Vida Social Club over the summer.
  • Acme Pie started slicing up on Columbia Pike in June.
  • Takeshi Sushi and Ramen opened next to Delhi Dhaba in Clarendon in May.
  • All About Burger opened in Ballston Quarter in May.
  • Nearby, True Food Kitchen had its grand opening in Ballston in May as well.
  • Ballston continued to get healthy with the opening of Dirt in April.
  • Turkish and Mediterranean restaurant Maya Bistro opened on Lee Highway in April.
  • Veteran-owned Good Company cafe and donut shop Good Company opened in April.
  • Craft beer bar Rebellion on the Pike opened — surprise — on Columbia Pike in April.
  • Ballston Quarter started rolling out its first food hall options in March.
  • South Block said what’s up to Ballston Quarter in March as well.
  • Los Tios opened its doors in Crystal City in March.
  • Smoking Kow took over from Backyard BBQ in February.
  • Idido’s Coffee House and Cafe started pouring on Columbia Pike in February.
  • Thai Treasure opened in Virginia Square in February.
  • Old Dominion Pizza company opened on Lee Highway in January.

Read More

0 Comments

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

Since its inception in 2013, there have been over 300 Startup Monday columns published on ARLnow.

A part of what makes Arlington such fertile ground for launching startups — aside from being adjacent to the nation’s capital — is the county’s own resources. One such resource is BizLaunch, a program sponsored by Arlington Economic Development that works as the county’s “small business and entrepreneurial assistance network.”

Small business and startups can register to on BizLaunch and have access to over 40 workshops and seminars every year, along with personal business coaching, counseling, and education.

In 2019 alone, “BizLaunch experienced a 20% uptick in businesses seeking its services,” said Director of BizLaunch Tara Palacios. “Trends for this year are businesses who specialize in health, mindfulness and fitness. Not surprising with Arlington being named the fittest city in the U.S.”

Notable health startups featured by ARLnow in 2019 include Excella, a Courthouse-based technology firm working to put together an app to detect alcohol misuse, and Fresh Impact, Arlington’s only commercial urban farm.

Other startups that continued to grow and expand past Arlington in 2019 included Eastern Foundry, a government-contracting co-working space that launched its North Carolina location this year, and Hungry, a catering businesses that recently touched down in New York City.

Several businesses hailing from overseas saw fit to land in Arlington this past year, including digital intelligence startup Fivecast, which moved from Australia, and phone security business Sensipass, which came over from Dublin.

Another trend that might be emerging: companies moving to Arlington, citing proximity to Amazon’s HQ2, as Amify did earlier this year. Local industry figures say HQ2 should also help bring excitement and more business diversity to a local tech scene that’s heavy on government contractors and cybersecurity firms.

The top 10 most-read Startup Monday articles of 2019 were:

  1. Arlington’s Only Commercial Urban Farm
  2. Rosslyn Startup ‘Hungry’ Expanding, Looking for New Talent
  3. This Clarendon Startup Wants You To Use 3-Factor Password Authentication
  4. Rosslyn-Based Startup ‘Hungry’ Scores $8 Million in Funding with Help from Jay-Z
  5. Ballston-Based Startup Aims to be Uber for Transporting Cars
  6. Startup That Teaches Businesses to Sell on Amazon Moves Closer to HQ2
  7. Columbia Pike Startup Wants to be Uber for Oil Changes
  8. Ballston Startup Aims to Make Car Refinancing Easy
  9. Loosened FCC Regulations Open the Door for Ballston Startup’s Wireless Expansion
  10. Startup Monday: The Arlington Couple Behind The “Candygrams” Board Game
0 Comments

A new fast-casual restaurant has opened at Pentagon Row.

Bun’d Up opened Saturday at 1201 S. Joyce Street, featuring Taiwanese-style steamed buns filled with traditional Korean toppings, such as miso-braised pork belly and kimchi.

For now, Bun’d Up — which offers “a modern, Korean twist on the original Taiwanese ‘gua bao’ with handmade buns — will have limited hours from Thursday through Sunday, open for lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m.

In addition to the steamed buns, the Pentagon Row location will feature rice bowls, oxtail soup, and Korean street foods such as rice cakes and kimchi pancakes.

Bun’d Up  began as a stand at area farmers markets — including the FRESHFARM Ballston Market — and has since expanded into Union Market in D.C.

“What started out as a farmers market stall has morphed into a business I am so proud of today,” owner Scott Chung via email. “I am honored to be a part of the growing Arlington community and encourage everyone to stop by.”

Chung also owns Rice Crook in Ballston Quarter, which specializes in Korean rice bowls and wraps.

Hat tip to Jessica Strelitz

0 Comments

A current Washington-Liberty senior experience coordinator and substitute teacher within Arlington Public Schools has announced she will be running for a seat on the Arlington School Board.

With over forty years of experience in education, Sandy Munnel firmly believes “retirement is overrated.”

“I have worked with students and teachers of all grade levels,” Munnel told ARLnow.  “As such, I have a unique perspective that is not currently represented on the School Board and that will enable me to hit the ground running if I am elected.”

Heading into the November 2020 general election, two seats on the School Board are up for grabs, with neither incumbent running for reelection. Board member Nancy Van Doren and Board Chair Tannia Talento both announced they will be retiring after their terms conclude.

Prior to her current role and candidacy, Munnel was the Instructional Technology Coordinator at W-L for fifteen years. In her time there, she served on the Building Level Planning Committee (BLPC) for the 2009 construction of the new W-L complex.

Munnel’s platform for school board emphasizes four “smarts:”

  • Smart capacity planning
  • Smart services planning
  • Smart instructional planning
  • Smart fiscal planning

Addressing the issue of overcrowding, “Arlington will require good data, vision — and some hard decisions,” Munnel said.

“We have empty seats available. But they are not where we need them now. Decisions on where we build new classrooms will be critical,” she says. “My work on the Schools Committee of the Civic Federation convinced me that we have not always used the best data in taking past decisions. I want to make certain that we know what we need to know when we need to know it.”

School Board elections are nonpartisan, however Munnel hopes to receive an endorsement from Arlington Democrats at their July caucus.

Munnel will face off against the other confirmed candidate, Cristina Diaz-Torres, and anyone else who enters the race. Diaz-Torres announced her candidacy in November and is running a platform emphasizing equity and, similarly, data-driven transformation.

Photo via SandyForSchools.com

0 Comments

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

When someone places an order on Beachgoer.com, Arlington natives and 2015 Yorktown High School graduates David Moeller and Finn Cardiff drive an hour to their warehouse in Manassas to package and ship it themselves.

“Yup — it’s just the two of us,” Moeller said. “We’re either at home on our computers, or driving out to the warehouse and back again.”

In 2017 while still in college — (Moeller at Ohio State and Cardiff at Virginia Tech — the two friends put together their passions for business and software development to tackle a niche market: beach supplies.

Working with over 250,000 thousand lines of code, the two created an algorithm that analyzes millions of data points across the beach supplies industry — think, what a surfboard is going for on Amazon — to sort what they can buy at wholesale at the most efficient price.

“Starting off, we just wanted sell our own brand of products with a beach niche, but we quickly realized there was a lot more opportunity to sell online across a variety of brands,” Cardiff said.

Since then, Beachgoer has grown a hundred times in size with over 200 products for sale, ranging from high-end body boards to beach balls.

So far, Moeller and Cardiff have not raised any outside capital. The two are currently searching for investors with the eventual goal of securing $2.5 million.

“Being based in Arlington, I mean clearly we’re from here, but the area gives us so many valuable networking opportunities,” Moeller said. “There’s a lot of talent and smart people that we connect with on a daily basis to learn about the industry.”

0 Comments

2020 is almost here, and if you’re spending the holidays in Arlington, there are plenty of local options for ringing in the new year.

Ticket prices vary per event, with several opting for no cover and others starting at up to $50 per person.

For families looking to celebrate but also go to bed well before midnight, the Columbia Pike Branch Library (816 S. Walter Reed Drive) is hosting a “Ring in the Noon Year” countdown from 11 a.m.-noon. There will be games, light snacks, and a countdown to noon.

Later in the night, there are a bunch of parties big and small planned across Arlington. For those looking to pay their respects to Clarendon Ballroom, its last night in operation will be for its New Years Eve Gala — fitting, given the venue opened on the same day twenty years ago.

In Ballston, parties are planned at Punch Bowl Social, Bisto 1521, and Rustico Ballston.

On Columbia Pike, The Celtic House Irish Pub & Restaurant will celebrate with the local band Down Wilson,

In Crystal City, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, an all-out casino night is planned until 3 a.m. Close by, Freddie’s Beach Bar has two parties planned — a drag show on New Year’s Eve, and then a New Year’s Day champagne brunch the following morning. For a more relaxed vibe, McNamara’s Pub & Restaurant is offering a three-course dinner to ring in the new year for $30.

In Clarendon, in addition to the Clarendon Ballroom bash, several bars will be hosting parties including Bar Bao, Pamplona, Whitlow’s, The Renegade, Liberty Tavern, and Wilson Hardware. For a more low-key evening, Northside Social is offering a three-course dinner and wine pairing, with a live TV view of the ball dropping at midnight

A New Year’s Eve dinner similar to that at Northside Social is being held at Cheesetique in Shirlington.

0 Comments

Arlington Agenda is a listing of interesting events for the week ahead in Arlington County. If you’d like to see your event featured, fill out the event submission form.

Also, be sure to check out our event calendar.

Tuesday, December 24

Christmas Eve & Live Nativity
Mount Olivet United Methodist Church (1500 N. Glebe Road)
Time: 3-10 p.m.

Mount Olivet will host three Christmas Eve services throughout the night, starting with an interactive family worship and ending with a modern service with live music at 7:30 p.m. A live nativity scene will take place from 4-4:30 p.m.

Christmas Eve Services
Saint George’s Episcopal Church (915 N. Oakland Street)
Time: 4-11:30 p.m. 

Saint George’s Episcopal Church will be offering several Christmas Eve services. At 4 p.m., the family-friendly Holy Eucharist service will tell the story of the first Christmas through a “pick up” pageant.

Wednesday, December 25

Christmas Day Brunch
fyve Restaurant Lounge (1250 S. Hayes Street)
Time: 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

On Christmas Day, the fyve Restaurant Lounge at The Ritz-Carlton in Pentagon City will offer a festive brunch featuring traditional holiday food. Santa and his elves will also be present.

Clarendon Chanukah Menorah Lighting
Clarendon Central Park (3140 Wilson Blvd)
Time: 6-7 p.m. 

Sponsored by Chabad Lubavitch of Alexandria-Arlington, a six-foot menorah will be lit in Clarendon’s Central Park. Hot potato latkes will be serves and there will be lively Chanukah music.

Saturday, December 28

Community Red Cross Blood Drive
Arlington Chapel, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (1600 N. Inglewood Street)
Time: 7:30 a.m.-1 p.m. 

The Arlington Chapel for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints will be hosting its quarterly blood drive. Online registration is required to reserve an appointment time.

0 Comments

Three years after announcing its plans to expand, award-winning local pizza restaurant Pupatella has officially opened its second area location.

Pupatella opened its South Arlington location earlier this week at 1621 S. Walter Reed Drive, where it serves a variety of Neapolitan pizzas, gelatos, drinks, and more.

Originally founded as a food truck, Pupatella opened its original brick-and-mortar location at 5104 Wilson Blvd in 2010.

Co-owner Enzo Algarme is now teaming up with the partners behind Elevation Burger to expand via franchising. Pupatella currently has two additional locations outside of Arlington, in Richmond and Glen Allen, Virginia.

There are a few additional Pupatella locations in store for the D.C. area, including a 2,700 square-foot venture in Reston and another in the Mosaic District.

0 Comments

The holiday season can be quite stressful — but even more so when you’re a bird of prey who accidentally flies into an Arlington Public Schools operations building and can’t get out.

That happened this past Monday, at the county and APS yard on S. Taylor Street in Shirlington, but luckily Arlington County Natural Resources Manager Alonso Abugattas was on the case.

APS staff member Lauren Hassel said staffers heading out of the building that day heard banging coming from a covered, outdoor stairwell window, where the bird was seen seen frantically trying to fly out.

“Our building is about 200 yards from the Animal Welfare League but they were closed,” Hassel recounted. “A call to nearby Long Branch Nature Center led to a referral to our next door neighbors at the Dept of Parks and Recreation. Minutes later… Abugattas appeared with heavy gloves and a blanket. He spotted the bird through the window, put on his gloves, walked up the stairs and calmly retrieved the stressed out raptor.”

The county naturalist told a gathered crowd that the bird was a Cooper’s Hawk, and that it appeared to be unharmed. After a few photos, Abugattas unwrapped the bird and it flew off.

“Alonso is the ultimate wingman,” said Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services on Twitter.

According to National Geographic, the population of Cooper’s Hawks is increasing on the East Coast, especially in suburban areas.

Photo provided by Lauren Hassel 

0 Comments

The county’s arts advisory committee has made several recommendations on how Arlington can continue to provide services to its art community.

On October 31, the Arlington Community Arts Advisory Committee (CAAC) released a 60-page report, outlining the committee’s work and what the county can do better.

After two years of research, the advisory committee made four major recommendations:

  • Move the Scenic Studio — used for building sets for theatrical productions — to S. Four Mile Run Drive as part of an “Arts and Industry District” if and when the District is established. Keep it at Gunston for now and consider using it as a “maker space” during hours in which it is otherwise unused.
  • Merge the Signature Theatre and CostumeLab costume inventory and move it into 3700 S. Four Mile Run Drive.
  • Get rid of the county’s Mobile Stage truck and use vendors for mobile stages instead.
  • Create a joint scheduling mechanism for Arlington Public Schools and arts organizations to more easily manage bookings of collaborative spaces.

The fifteen members of the advisory committee were selected in 2017 based on their familiarity and dedication to the Arlington arts community — ranging from government staff, to APS workers, to independent artists.

Following a backlash to proposed cuts to the arts in the current county budget, the Arlington County Board requested the advisory group develop a transition plan for Arlington arts programs. The group was tasked with preparing a recommendation for the County Manager by October 31.

More on the then-proposed cuts, via a budget memo from County Manager Mark Schwartz to the Board in March:

…as we spend funds on the arts, we must determine whether the dollars spent make sense for the  services delivered and to make investments which can be delivered to a broader audience. Spending on new and innovative programs, such as the Arlington Art Truck, a platform that brings art to all people in the County, and our upcoming collaboration with WMATA as part of the Digital Engagement Initiative, are examples of efforts that increase accessibility and visibility of the arts at relatively modest costs.

As we continue to look at ways of bringing innovative, efficient and cost‐effective arts programs to more people, there are several long‐standing legacy programs including the CostumeLab, Scenic Studio and Mobile Stage which are rarely, if ever, provided directly by a local government. In Arlington, these services in some instances are used sparingly and episodically throughout the year, but still require intensive staff resources to operate under the current service delivery model. My proposal does not recommend removing the space or assets of these functions, but rather a re‐evaluation of how the functions are being supported by the County.

Earlier this week, local citizens group Embracing Arlington Arts released a statement supporting the CAAC’s recommendations. The group’s president, Janet Kopenhaver, and board member Sara Duke, both serve on the committee.

“After months of very productive discussions among the CAAC members, we believe we arrived at fair and equitable recommendations that were recently presented to the County Manager,” Kopenhaver said.

“It is key that the appropriate representatives sit on this committee from both the arts world and the public schools,” she continued. “Plus, they still have some critical things to iron out before we can declare the process fully successful.”

More on the group’s recommendations below, after the jump.

Photo via Flickr/Celeste Lindell

Read More

0 Comments
×

Subscribe to our mailing list