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Pickleball at the Walter Reed Community Center (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Arlington County has spent more than $150,000 on acoustic fencing to help manage the noise coming from pickleball courts.

In recent weeks and months, acoustic fencing has gone up around multi-use courts at five different parks around the county. That includes Glebe Road Park, Marcey Road Park, Hayes Park, Virginia Highlands Park, and Walter Reed Community Center, which were installed just last week — and two years ahead of schedule.

Fort Scott Park will also have fences installed “in the coming weeks,” Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) spokesperson Jerusalem Solomon told ARLnow via email.

Solomon noted that Glebe Road Park’s fencing went up in mid-April, and “neighbors and players have shared that it has been working well to dampen noise from pickleball play.”

In all, $153,913.25 has been spent on the fencing so far. The Walter Reed Community Center installation alone cost $41,235.70, Solomon said.

“In determining a way to balance the demand for pickleball while also being sensitive to the surrounding community, the County decided to make this investment as a way to help alleviate some of the impacts that noise from pickleball play has on neighbors,” Solomon wrote. “This is why fencing that faces homes that are less than 300 feet away were prioritized in the planning for installation.”

Along with putting up fencing, DPR crews are also restriping tennis courts for pickleball at four of those parks — Fort Scott Park, Marcey Road Park, Hayes Park and Virginia Highlands Park — in accordance with the Arlington Outdoor Courts Assessment Project. That study determined those parks were the best places to re-strip tennis courts for pickleball. It was a recommendation that was first made back in April.

At least one civic association disagreed with how the process played out, though. Earlier this summer, the Donaldson Run Civic Association sent a letter to DPR arguing that there wasn’t “any real opportunity for input from our neighborhood” before restriping courts at Marcey Road Park.

This came on the heels of the Old Glebe Civic Association also suggesting some sort of legal action against the county for much the same reason. Additionally, a group of neighbors near Walter Reed Community Center contemplated a lawsuit because of the plan to bring more courts to the facility.

Arlington’s pickleball problem has received recent national attention, from a New York Times story to a discussion on NPR’s nationally syndicated show 1A to fodder for jokes on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. However, it appears some of the emotions have since cooled.

Old Glebe Civic Association president Howard Solodky told ARLnow in an email that the recently installed fencing and the closing of a few courts have helped quiet the noise.

“The combination of closure of the standalone pickleball court that was closest to the homes on N. Tazewell, the placement of sound insulating material around two sides of the tennis/pickleball courts and reduced hours at Glebe Park has proven satisfactory to the affected homeowners, while not perfect,” Solodky wrote.

At Marcey Road Park, fencing has also recently gone up. Donaldson Run Civic Association president Bill Richardson told ARLnow that while it’s too early to tell how much impact the fencing will have on mitigating the noise, he does appreciate the county considering their concerns. He hopes the thousands of dollars the county has spent on acoustic fencing is worth it.

“There is a debate about whether [the fencing] is or isn’t effective. The county says they have studies that have shown that acoustic fencing is effective,” Richardson said. “I don’t know who’s right on that, but that’s one of the things that we will be watching.”

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A road near Penrose Park is once again a hot spot for Mexican food, with the opening of a new truck serving up gorditas.

It was during the pandemic when the corner of S. Courthouse Road and 6th Street S. became the home of La Tingera, a popular birria taco food truck that would often see long lines. Then, in late 2021, it moved to a permanent location in Falls Church and started earning regional recognition.

But owner and chef David Andres Peña had always said that Arlington was home, and now he’s helping another food truck stake its claim to that unassuming street corner in South Arlington just off Columbia Pike.

Las Mexican gorditas, as the name suggests, serves up hand-made, on-the-spot gorditas, elote (Mexican corn), and aguas frescas (fruit drinks). It started serving in August, employees told ARLnow, and will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.

And it’s run and operated by Peña’s mother.

The gordita truck is separate from La Tingeria, but employees from the brick-and-mortar location in Falls Church are helping the truck get on its feet. Several employees were donning La Tingera t-shirts when ARLnow stopped by Saturday afternoon. Peña also gave his mom his old trailer.

This isn’t the first time Peña and his mom have worked together. During La Tingera’s days along S. Courthouse Road, his truck was often accompanied by an aguas frescas stand which his mom operated.

La Tingera first got started more than a decade ago, serving up tacos from a truck that traveled around Arlington, primarily in Ballston, Courthouse, and Rosslyn. In July 2020, after closing for several months due to the pandemic, he began to serve again, this time in a stationary spot along Courthouse Road near Penrose Park.

The truck became the talk of the neighborhood, and Peña looked to expand. After securing the Falls Church location, he signed a contract with Audi Field to serve tacos at all D.C. United, Washington Spirit, and D.C. Defenders games. Peña also began looking to open more eateries, including potentially in Woodbridge, Fairfax City, and, now, Fredericksburg.

But, for the moment, he’s helping his mom again make S. Courthouse Road the home of some of the most popular Mexican food in Arlington.

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Chip City’s new location in Shirlington (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

(Updated at 4:55 p.m.) Cookie shop Chip City is making its move into Shirlington.

The New York-based cookie purveyor is opening a location in Shirlington at 4014 Campbell Avenue, next to Best Buns Bread Company. That’s the former home of Yogi Castle, which closed last year.

The 1,023-square-foot-shop is set to open in January 2024, the company tells ARLnow. The possibility of Chip City raising its flag in Shirlington was noted in May when ownership announced it was also moving into Clarendon. That location is set to open later in November of this year, we’re told.

“We liked Shirlington because it is a great neighborhood with lots of families and restaurant co-tenants,” a Chip City spokesperson wrote in an email.

Chip City is known for its “big, gooey five and half ounce cookie,” as CEO Peter Phillips told ARLnow earlier this year. It has a rotating weekly menu encompassing 40 different flavors, including classics like Chocolate Chip and Triple Chocolate and more unique flavors like Pina Colada, S’Mores, and Italian Rainbow.

Chip City’s rotating weekly menu (image via Instagram/Chip City)

Its move into Arlington is part of a big expansion effort that will see at least a couple of other Chip City locations opening in the region.

Shirlington has recently seen a mini-boom in notable eateries opening in the private, open-air development. Jeni’s Ice Cream, Our Mom Eugenia and Taco Bamba all have opened within the last nine months, while Astro Beer Hall in the old Capital City Brewing Co. space is aiming for next month.

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Toby’s Homemade Ice Cream is now open in Pentagon City (photo via Toby’s/Instagram)

Toby’s Homemade Ice Cream has started serving scoops at its new Amazon HQ2 location.

The local ice cream shop held a “soft opening” this past weekend at its newest spot at 510 14th Street S. in Pentagon City. On both Saturday and Sunday, Toby’s served up scoops to hungry and hot locals from noon until 3 p.m. at the storefront facing Met Park.

There’s no word yet on when or if there’s an official grand opening being planned.

A number of the new businesses at Amazon HQ2 have opened or are planning to open in the coming weeks. District Dogs and Conte’s Bike Shop started rolling earlier this summer followed by Good Company Doughnuts in July. Peruvian Brothers is aiming for a soft opening later this month. Mae’s Market and Taqueria Xochi have yet to announce their plans.

An outpost of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA) Arlington will also be opening its doors at Amazon HQ2. That opening may be delayed until the fall, a source told ARLnow.

It was back in April when Toby’s Ice Cream announced it was expanding to a third location. The original opened in Westover in 2008, while a second location started serving over a year ago in Vienna.

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The much-anticipated “tropical glam bar” Coco B’s in Clarendon hopes to open this weekend, co-owner Christal Bramson tells ARLnow.

Ownership is in the process of getting final permits before the doors can be thrown open, but the belief is that everything will be ready for the coming weekend.

The long-planned companion bar to B Live — or, for the moment, “Beach Bar Live” — at 2854 Wilson Blvd was originally supposed to start serving a full year ago. It was delayed a few times, however, due to construction and permits. But now the wait appears to almost be over.

Judging by photos, Coco B’s is set to be Arlington’s pink palace of nightlife. The color covers the 6,000 square feet of space, from the walls to the chair to the umbrellas, that the business is set to occupy inside and atop the building that was once Whitlow’s on Wilson.

While it’s the rooftop — featuring a mural of a flamingo wearing a hat — that many locals might be looking forward it, Bramson said the rest of the bar might actually be the real draw.

“I don’t think people realize that Coco’s is not only a rooftop, but has nearly 4,000 square feet directly below the rooftop (next to B Live),” Bramson wrote ARLnow in an email. “It’s a collection of three bays, with two gorgeous bars, dining room, and a stunning back patio.”

The main floor will feature pink chandeliers and clamshell chairs, while another bay is the “Bubble Bar,” a champagne-forward bar with lots more pink. The third bay is for private events.

The Carribean-inspired menu is set to be curated by Chef Juan Olivera, who previously worked at D.C.’s Lupo Verde. It will feature Caribbean delicacies like jerk chicken, ceviche, and Jamaican oxtail patties, Arlington Magazine reports.

Coco B’s will have signature cocktails, including the Dac-Dac-Doc. It will be served in half coconut shells with Caribbean rum, passion dragon fruit syrup, and coconut foam.

The opening of Coco B’s will mark another expansion of Christal and Mike Bramson’s Arlington nightlife empire under the B Social Hospitality banner. B Live opened last spring as a live music venue but has since shifted away from original acts to live karaoke. It also changed concepts, at least temporarily, earlier this month.

The Bramsons also own Pamplona on Clarendon Blvd, Roll’d in Ballston, run operations at Clarendon Ballroom, and are celebrating local beer garden The Lot’s last season before redevelopment happens on the site. The couple owns several restaurants in the District as well, including Rebel Taco and soon-to-open The Cove in the District’s Navy Yard neighborhood.

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(Updated at 12:30 p.m.) A new vape shop is set to open in the coming months in a prominent Courthouse storefront on Wilson Blvd.

“Tobacco Vape Cigars” is moving into the former home of SuperStar Tickets at 2305 Wilson Blvd, the very visible building at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Wayne Street.

Where there once was SuperStar Tickets’ name in black, there’s now a new white, red, and yellow declaring the business set to waft in soon. The shop is in the midst of a build-out and isn’t open yet, building owner Omar Sider told ARLnow, but it is expected to start selling in the coming months.

SuperStar Ticket hasn’t shuttered but simply no longer needs a prominent, large storefront due to employees now working remotely, Sider told ARLnow. He owns SuperStar Tickets as well as the building. He said the business is doing quite well, with some live events setting attendance records.

“Live events are bigger than ever,” Sider said. “Covid’s silver lining… is that it gave us a reset button to restructure.”

With no reason to work out of the building, leasing out the space provided a chance for cash flow. There was other interest in the building but the vape shop was able to move in immediately, Sider noted.

The shop owners own “60 or 70” other businesses across the country. The lease is for three years, though the business owners initially wanted a longer commitment.

“We will see how it goes. They are paying what we are asking,” Sider said. “And they were pretty adamant.”

Sider was born in Arlington and currently lives in the Woodmont neighborhood. He’s owned the building since 2010 and put it back on the market in 2017, though he never ended up selling it.

Sider understands why some would want a business besides a vape shop in that prominent storefront but, he says, the building sat unused essentially for the last three years.

“It has to have some cash flow,” Sider said. “At least for now, it will be [a vape shop], but maybe in a couple of years, we will think about building it out for something different in the community.”

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Carbonara, soon to open in the Ballston/Virginia Square area (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

As we move through the dog days of August, several highly anticipated local restaurants are looking ahead to openings in the coming late summer or early fall.

Coco B’s is finally set to open on the roof of Clarendon’s B Live next week, pending permits, co-owner Christal Bramson confirmed to ARLnow. Besides the roof, the “tropical glam bar” consists of nearly 4,000 square feet of bars, dining rooms, and a back patio. Coco B’s has been in the works for a year and was originally supposed to open this past spring. This comes as B Live continues to revamp, including shifting away from hosting original acts and debuting a new beach bar concept this weekend.

Astro Beer Hall in Shirlington was also finally hoping for an opening this month, but that’s being pushed back at least a few weeks. While no exact timetable has been set for the two-level bar and coffee shop, a spokesperson confirmed a debut is likely coming next month. So, it will be a bit before its donut robot starts its world takeover, one pastry at a time.

Peruvian Brothers is aiming for a “soft opening” at Amazon HQ2 as soon as later this month, co-owner Giuseppe Lanzone told ARLnow. A grand opening is scheduled for September in Pentagon City, he said. It was July 2022 when the fast-casual Peruvian restaurant announced it was moving into 1400 S. Eads Street. The initial hope was to open earlier in the summer, but permitting is again the culprit.

Westover Taco also had planned to start serving this month, but that’s been pushed back. Co-owner Scott Parker told ARLnow that the new spot in Westover will “for sure” open this year but couldn’t provide an exact timetable yet. It was almost exactly a year ago when ARLnow first reported that Parker, along with owners of Lost Dog Cafe, was taking over the space once home to Forest Inn.

Carbonara, the self-described “old school” Italian restaurant in the Ballston area, is now aiming for a November debut, a spokesperson told ARLnow. The Italian eatery and wine bar is moving into the former home of Next Day Blinds on Wilson Blvd and was originally supposed to open this summer. But “difficulty with [the] mechanical system” and permitting hang-ups has pushed it to later in the fall.

Wagamama in Clarendon is coming along. While the British restaurant chain has announced several timelines for opening, none have proven to be the case. Construction does appear underway, but a spokesperson declined to give ARLnow any substantial information. “There are no updates to share regarding the opening timeline for Wagamama Arlington,” they wrote in an email.

Several other notable restaurants are also looking to open later in 2024, including Kirby Club in Clarendon and Yunnan By Potomac in Pentagon City. They are both aiming to open in the spring.

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A popular noodle restaurant is leaving Alexandria and making the move to Pentagon City.

Yunnan By Potomac is looking to start serving its contemporary Yunnan cuisine on the ground floor of the new Milton building along 15th Street S. by March 2024, owner and executive chef Shao Bruce told ARLnow in an email.

The restaurant is relocating from its home in Old Town Alexandria, where it’s been since early 2019.

“We chose to relocate to Pentagon City because it offers us a wide base of both residential and office business to draw from and is projected to be one of the fastest growing markets locally,” Bruce said in response to why they decided to move.

Bruce said the Alexandria location will remain open until the 2,015-square-foot Pentagon City space is ready to be moved into.

Last year, Yunnan By Potomac was named one of the 100 best restaurants in the country by Yelp reviewers. The eatery specializes in mixian, a rice noodle popular in southwest China that often comes with braised meat, broth, and different sauces. Bao buns, dumplings, and shaokao barbecue are also on the menu.

“Yunnan By Potomac Noodle House strives to be an ambassador for the people and culture of Southwest China and add to the story of what it means to be Chinese-American through our lens on contemporary Yunnan cuisine,” the website says.

The Milton is an 11-story, 253-unit building with ground-floor retail that is part of the multi-phase redevelopment of the Pentagon Centre shopping center, which includes the perpetually busy Costco store. The apartment building opened for move-ins at the beginning of June and units remain available for leasing, a building employee tells ARLnow.

Two other retail spaces in the Milton have been leased so far, per a recent leasing brochure. First National Bank and a salon named “Sparkle & Pop” are also moving in along 15th Street S.

Three other spaces remain available in the building, including a 1,649 square foot space intended for a “fast casual restaurant” and a much larger 5,375 square foot space for a “full-service restaurant.”

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Colada Shop is opening in Clarendon early next year (staff photo by Matt Blitz)

The Cuban-inspired Colada Shop plans to open a Clarendon outpost early next year.

The Sterling-based Cuban cafe is moving into a 2,200-square-foot space next to Tatte and Seamore’s at the intersection of N. Edgewood Street and Clarendon Blvd. The hope is to open by “early 2024,” per a spokesperson.

This will be the fifth Colada Shop location, including one that opened in the Mosaic District in 2021. The bar space at the Clarendon shop will be what separates it from the other locations, a press release notes.

“The Clarendon store boasts a spacious interior and available seating on the inviting patio. The highlight of this new location is undoubtedly the bar space, which has been thoughtfully designed to create a lively and convivial atmosphere for guests to relax, mingle, and indulge in an array of delectable Cuban-inspired libations,” the release reads.

The exact address is 1440 N. Edgewood Street, Suite 160 and no other Arlington locations are being planned at the moment, a spokesperson told ARLnow.

Colada Shop is known for its coffee, cocktails, and Cuban-style empanadas, croquetas, and sandwiches. The first location opened in Sterling in 2016 before quickly expanding to D.C.

The building that Colada Shop is moving into dates back to 1941 but has been renovated and rebranded in recent years. Along with Tatte, Seamore’s, and now Colada Shop, Life Time fitness center and cafe opened there last month.

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A new live music and events venue is opening in Ballston this weekend.

The small, 50-seat Filling Station at 4201 Wilson Blvd is opening its doors on Friday night. It’s owned by brothers Ian and Eric Hilton, who also own the adjacent restaurant El Rey.

The venue will focus on hosting live music, comedy, and private events, per its website.

“Filling Station is an intimate venue with an elevated stage that will be host, with no cover charge, to a rotating schedule of musicians, bands and comedians,” says a press release.

“Set with community-style and small group tables, the rustic interior harkens to mid-century culture with the walls filled with that era’s album and magazine covers and music posters,” the press release continues. “Large screen TVs and mounted televisions will show NFL football games and sports this fall.”

Friday night’s inaugural show will feature Cowpoke, a country rock and folk band from Leesburg. Saturday’s show will feature Arlington-based funk-rock band Skip House.

Food will be available from the next-door El Rey, including quesadillas, nachos, torta sandwiches, fries, wings and 17 beers on tap.

ARLnow first reported last month that Filling Station’s opening was imminent, though signs had been up dating back to August 2022.

The venue is part of the Hilton brothers’ burgeoning local restaurant empire. Cafe Coline on Langston Blvd was named one of Washingtonian’s Top 100 restaurants earlier this year. El Rey in Ballston opened in late 2021 as a second location of the popular D.C.-based taqueria.

Arlington’s live music scene has seen some changes in recent months.

B Live opened in May 2022 as a music venue and restaurant in the former Whitlow’s space in Clarendon. But this summer, the venue announced it was shifting to featuring more live karaoke and becoming a “beach bar,” at least temporarily.

The Renegade in Clarendon, which opened in 2019, also features live music.

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Thirsty Bernie is turning into Ocean Shack (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

(Updated on 9/5/23) Local watering hole Thirsty Bernie is becoming Ocean Shack.

The former home of the neighborhood bar and restaurant at the corner of N. Glebe Road and Langston Blvd is being turned into a cajun seafood restaurant, a spokesperson said.

Ocean Shack is from the owners of Ocean Crab in Chantilly. That restaurant serves crab, fried oysters, scallops, fried baskets and other seafood. Ocean Shack will be a different concept, we’re told, but have a somewhat similar menu.

Construction is underway in the 1,767-square-foot space at 2163 N. Glebe Road. The plan is to open in late November or early December, depending on how quickly Arlington County processes the required paperwork, according to the spokesperson.

Thirsty Bernie closed back in May after about 15 years of serving pints at Glebe Lee Shopping Center. Co-owner Gobind Ghai told ARLnow then that sales were not high enough to make it financially viable to renew the lease.

The Adagio Ballet School of Dance was also once open in that shopping center before closing in May 2020. It has since rebranded and reopened as the Virginia Dance Conservatory on Little Falls Road near Rock Spring Park.

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