Arlington, VA

Arlington Chamber of Commerce is organizing its second annual Arlington Restaurant Week later this month.

Arlington Restaurant Week will run from October 19-26. During the week, diners can try set menu items from many local restaurants, at a discounted price. The idea is for diners to find a new to-go place for dining out.

“The Chamber is thrilled to celebrate and showcase the diverse restaurant scene in Arlington through hosting the second annual Restaurant Week event specifically for the Arlington community,” said Chamber President Kate Bates. “Now, more than ever, restaurants need our support… We are proud to support and highlight the importance of the entire local restaurant community, particularly during this trying time.”

The current list of participating restaurants includes:

  • Ambar
  • Bonefish Grill
  • Celtic House Irish Pub & Restaurant
  • Colony Grill
  • Copa Kitchen & Bar
  • Fire Works Pizza
  • Good Company Donuts & Café
  • Heidelberg Pastry Shoppe
  • La Moo
  • La Côte D’or
  • Potomac Social
  • Rien Tong Thai
  • SER
  • Smokecraft Modern Barbecue
  • Rocklands Barbecue
  • Thai Select
  • TTT Mexican Diner

(Colony Grill, as we reported yesterday, is planning to open Oct. 14. Potomac Social, on which ARLnow has not previously reported, is the restaurant connected to the Crowne Plaza hotel in Crystal City. Potomac Social opened earlier this year, then closed, and then reopened in August.)

Diners can stay up-to-date on participating restaurants and the event by following the Chamber’s Facebook page or visiting its website.

The full press release about the second annual Arlington Restaurant Week is below.

The Arlington Chamber of Commerce is excited to announce our second annual Arlington Restaurant Week, happening on October 19-26. Through this event, diners will enjoy some of the best food the area has to offer at special prices. This is a great opportunity for participants to take the week to explore the diverse restaurant scene in Arlington and find a new go-to place for dining out.

Now, more than ever, restaurants need our support. Arlington Restaurant Week is designed to help local restaurants gain exposure through extensive media promotion and to attract new patrons through experiencing their food. This event runs differently from your average Restaurant Week in that it is open to all restaurants from fast-casual spots to five-star dining establishments. Restaurants pick their own price point, market their menu on our website, and offer both dine-in and carry-out options. The Chamber is pleased to offer free participation for member restaurants, courtesy of our sponsors.

“The Chamber is thrilled to celebrate and showcase the diverse restaurant scene in Arlington through hosting the second annual Restaurant Week event specifically for the Arlington community,” said Kate Bates, President & CEO of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce. “This event offers participants the opportunity to try a variety of dining experiences and culinary options at discounted rates, and in return, restaurants gain exposure and are able to expand their customer base. We are proud to support and highlight the importance of the entire local restaurant community, particularly during this trying time.”

The current list of participating restaurants and their menus can be found here. Visit the Chamber’s website and follow the Arlington Restaurant Week event page on the Chamber’s Facebook to keep up-to-date on the event. Diners are encouraged to further support the restaurants by posting a picture of their dining experience to social media. Make sure to tag the location, tag the Chamber @ArlVAChamber, and use the hashtag #ArlRestaurantWeek.

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After two years of planning and preparation, a husband and wife team are almost ready to open the doors of their new nail salon in Rosslyn.

Kevin Donohoo, a retired Army veteran, and Amber Donohoo, serial entrepreneur, former NASA project manager and owner of Dogtopia in Springfield, Va., are now the owners of Paint Nail Bar (1520 Clarendon Blvd) in Arlington.

With an opening party planned for Saturday, Oct. 24, the Donohoos are just weeks away from bringing a new luxury nail salon experience to the area.

“At PAINT, we understand that we are not a ‘nail salon,’ although we do nails. We do not look, feel, or smell like a traditional nail salon. From our custom-built furniture to our odorless environment, unparalleled staff development and engagement strategies, nails may be the trade, but relationships and client experience are the business,” the salon’s website says.

The Donohoos are franchisees of the Florida-based chain, which has locations in 13 states, including one in Leesburg.

The time of the opening party in Rosslyn is still to be determined, but once opened, the hours of operation will be as follows:

  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Wednesday: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Thursday: 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
  • Friday: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Saturday: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Sunday: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

The Donohoos say they’re actually looking forward to opening during the pandemic.

“I think it’s actually going to work in our favor that we are in a pandemic because our sterilization is far above and beyond any other nail salon in the area,” said Amber. “We use a hospital grade, heat sterilizer that is going to ensure that we are the cleanest salon around. I think that’s one of the things that people are looking for these days.”

“You have to feel safe enough to leave your house and go into a business, so having that knowledge that we are not only clean but sterile, I think is going to be a selling point for people coming in,” she added

Paint Nail Bar will be unique in other ways. It hosts special events — “fundraisers, birthday parties, bridal showers, baby sprinkles, or just a great time get together” — and has applied for a Virginia ABC permit to serve beer and wine.

Plus, the couple says, it’s more conscientious of wellness and the environment.

“The products are very, very important,” said Kevin. “The products that we use are free of a lot of the chemicals and they’re healthier for you; they’re healthier for your nails. It’s a fume-free, non-toxic environment, so you don’t get overwhelmed with that chemical punch in the face when you walk in to your typical salon. We don’t use pedicure thrones, we have basins that don’t have jets. The jets are pretty, they feel good, but there’s lot of potential for bacteria build-up in those and so we eliminate that and the infections that could come from the bacteria in those things by having a straight water basin.”

“I think that we’re in a time right now where self-care is so very important,” Kevin continued. “This is a simple and amazing way for people to get out of their homes and to a safe environment and be treated to a little slice of luxury and walk out feeling good about themselves… walking out with great looking nails, feeling refreshed before they go back to the work day.”

“It’s going to be an experience that [customers] will not forget,” Amber said.

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Over 8,000 books, CDs, DVDs, and vinyl records will be on sale this Saturday (Sept. 26) at the annual Rosslyn Reads Book Festival.

The festival is an annual fundraiser for Turning the Page, a non-profit that aids underserved students in the community. Carpe Librum, a non-profit used bookstore, will be partnering with Rosslyn BID this year to contribute to the fundraiser.

From 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, attendees can buy “gently used” items at a price range of $2 to $6 in Central Place Plaza (1800 N. Lynn Street).

Several procedures will be in place to promote social-distancing:

  • Attendees must pre-register for a one-hour time slot to shop and provide confirmation of registering upon arrival
  • Review Rosslyn BID’s COVID-19 Safety Protocols before registering
  • Those who do not pre-register must sign a waiver before entering
  • A maximum of 50 people will be allowed inside the plaza to shop at a time
  • Masks will be required for all attendees
  • Hand-sanitizer stations will be available at the entrance
  • Attendees will be required to follow a one-way flow of foot traffic

Photo via Rosslyn BID/Facebook 

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A longtime Arlington boutique recently hosted “Chic in Shirlington,” an event for local women to model its clothes after seeing a decline in customers during the pandemic.

Sheyla’s Luxury Boutique has been a part of the Arlington community for 16 years, but over the past few months, Sheyla Voye, owner of the boutique, hasn’t seen many of her customers.

“I have a lot of customers that buy from me, but not even 5% of those people are coming because people are not in the need of clothing,” said Voye. “Because of the pandemic, no one now is going to work. Most of my business was running because people were going to work, events, dinners, galas — and unfortunately because all of that has not been allowed yet, it’s becoming to be extremely challenging and difficult.”

“Chic in Shirlington,” hosted earlier this month, called for women in Arlington to model Sheyla’s clothing in front of the Shirlington fountain.

“Sheyla’s Luxury Boutique seeks models to celebrate as we come safely outside again. We welcome friend groups, sisters, mother/daughter duos or come on your own! Don’t you miss dressing up to go out,” the event listing said.

Models were able to try on clothes, get their hair and makeup done, walk the runway, take pictures and receive a gift certificate to the store.

Kim Honor Matkovsky, a Waverly Hills resident and loyal Sheyla’s customer, said the event brought together women of “all shapes, ages, styles” in a celebration of fashion — and the store.

“Sheyla… is a phenom,” she told ARLnow. “I have been a customer for 16 years and am trying to help her to weather this economic storm.”

“The Boutique is what Loehmann’s used to be: a fun and rewarding treasure hunt for women who wanted quality and style without the price tag,” Matkovsky wrote. “And Sheyla is the special sauce.”

Since the pandemic started, Voye has faced many challenges including moving locations in Shirlington and losing employees.

“I used to be on Campbell Avenue before moving to another building. The [storefront] that I have now is a month-to-month lease, not a permanent lease. Permanent leases are too high for me and I can’t afford it,” said Voye. “I’m working literally by myself. Right now, I can’t afford to have an employee and I’m working seven days and sometimes it is extremely tiring. I have a family and I have little opportunity to spend time with them.”

Although Voye has faced many challenges, she said she refuses to give up.

“It’s been hard, but I’m still going. I’m not willing to quit,” said Voye.

“Sheyla has been knocked down, denied loans, lost her lease, and even ran her business out of a truck for a few years,” Matkovsky noted. “She is dogged by a lack of access to patient, affordable capital and has worked around issues by taking temporary leases on retail space. Sheyla recently paid off a small business loan through a nonprofit lender that charged her 14% interest.”

“It takes a special person to keep fighting,” she said.

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A grieving mother in Arlington turned her pain into a passion of raising awareness for pediatric cancer while contributing to a fundraiser for research.

Michele Fleming lost her son, Nathan, to cancer a week after his 18th birthday last September.

“Nathan was unbelievably strong, never wanting to reveal his pain or be defined by his cancer. He remained positive and a joy to be around throughout his struggle,” Fleming said about her son’s battle with cancer. “Nathan’s resilience, compassion and fierce determination to fight and overcome, motivates me everyday to do what I can to help other kids and their families win their battle with Nathan by my side.”

Since losing Nathan, Fleming has partnered with Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and 1,641 other fundraising teams to host the foundation’s “Million Mile” event that raises awareness and provides funds to researchers for pediatric cancer cures.

The collective goal for this month-long event is to log one-million miles from virtual races and raise $1 million for the organization’s childhood cancer research fund.al

“Turn awareness into action, by joining The Million Mile, the largest childhood cancer awareness challenge that funds researchers so they can find better treatments and more cures for kids battling cancer,” the website said.

Nathan’s Cancer Slayers” is ranked #3 out of 1,641 teams, with a goal of contributing $50,000 to the foundation’s research fund, according to Fleming.

“We’ve recruited 169 members from Arlington to Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Illinois, California, North Dakota, and London to participate in ALSF’s Million Mile event,” said Fleming.

Although they have not quite hit their goal yet, Fleming said she is thrilled with the amount of support the team is receiving.

“So far, we’ve raised an amazing $44,789, which will fund 896 hours of critical research! We’re blown away by all the support and I know that Nathan is cheering us on” said Fleming.

Numerous local businesses have contributed to the fundraiser, despite the pandemic hurting the finances of many.

“Arlington’s Arrowine, Harris Teeter, Pastries by Randolph, Lyon Hall, Massage Envy, Pupatella, Cook Architecture, Andre Chreky Salon Spa, and Taqueria El Poblano,” have all donated gift certificates or directly to the fundraiser, Fleming said. The Starbucks at the Lee Heights Shopping Center and Capital Laser & Skin Care in Bethesda also donated, and Pie-Tanza is donating 10% of its sales every Tuesday during the month, she added.

“We’re overwhelmed by all the support from the community,” said Fleming.

Additional donations can be made all month long by joining Nathan’s team. The donations are being matched by Volvo from Sept. 24-27, according to Fleming.

Photos courtesy Michele Fleming, Michael Fleming and Lyle Kimms

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Roasted corn stand “Shuck Shack” will soon be serving local residents on wheels.

The Florida-based franchise opened its first Arlington location in the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City last October. The owner of the local stand announced the food truck addition on Instagram last week.

The restaurant declares itself the “home of the world famous Mexican street corn,” and its employees “cornistas.” Menu items include roasted corn with salt and pepper, Old Bay seasoning, lime-marinade and parmesan cheese, and more — nearly 30 corn flavorings in all.

Vincent Johnson, the owner of the stand, said mall customers responded well to its opening last year.

“Business was really good when we first opened. We got a really good, warm welcome from the community when we first opened. People were really interested in corn and that went well up until January, when the mall began to get kind of slow,” Johnson said. “And of course in March, the mall shut down.”

Since the mall has reopened, Johnson said he’s served customers from around the country.

“Pentagon City mall is an attraction when people come to the area, so we get people from all over the place. And now with the pandemic going on, we’re getting people that are from New Orleans, Texas, Chicago, and California that are coming to the mall and they’re all like ‘I just couldn’t stay in the house anymore. I’ve had enough and I just wanted to go somewhere,'” Johnson said. “It’s really interesting how people have had it with this pandemic.”

Johnson said adding a food truck was something he always envisioned.

“I had a friend who had his own food truck for several years and he did pretty well, so after I opened up in Pentagon City mall, it was kind of a natural progression,” Johnson said. “We’re getting really good feedback in the mall, but of course with the pandemic, some people don’t want to come in the mall, and the thing that I love about the truck is that I can go to where the people are and that’s something that I’m really looking forward to.”

The Shuck Shack food truck will have varying hours of operation, while the restaurant’s hours in the mall will remain the same.

“We have a general plan right now to do daytime, maybe start around 11 a.m., and then maybe around 4 p.m. or 5 p.m. during the week,” Johnson said. “We’re going to start in the downtown Arlington area and try to do lunch around the city. We’re going to add on to our staff and we’re going to have people working in the mall or working on the truck.”

The grand opening for the Shuck Shack food truck is planned for Wednesday, Oct. 14, at the mall in front of Zara and Sugar Factory. The time of the grand opening is still to be determined, but Johnson said customers can follow on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter for more announcements.

Once the truck is up and running, Johnson said he’ll be able to serve “100 to 200 cooked ears every hour.”

Photo via Shuck Shack/Instagram

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An Arlington-based organization wants people to join them for a peaceful protest on wheels.

Arlington for Justice, is asking community members to “Ride for Black Lives” on Saturday, Sept. 26, as they pedal about 14 miles in the name of justice.

The ride will begin at 3 p.m., starting at Drew Elementary School (3500 23rd St. S.) and is expected to end around 5 p.m. in front of the county courthouse (1425 N. Courthouse Road).

The route will take riders by sites in Arlington that are of Black historical significance, organization member Yolande Kwinana said.

Arlington for Justice wants the ride to:

  • Call attention to racial injustice and the need for criminal justice reform in Arlington.
  • Celebrate Black resilience and history in Arlington.
  • Advocate for the elimination of School Resource Officers.
  • Advocate for the community’s involvement in selecting a new police chief who is committed to justice system transformation.
  • Advocate for ending police intervention in mental health crises.

Kwinana said there will be a rally at the end of the ride, upon arrival at the Courthouse.

“We ride together with our partners, MOMS Demand Action, Black Parents of Arlington, VA Coalition for Transforming the police, WofA, APS Reform and many more. There will be multiple speakers at the rally including elected delegates who have recently submitted bills,” Kwinana said.

County police will escort the cyclists and close some streets along the route, according to Kwinana.

There will also be a shorter ride for those with kids.

“We will have a FAMILY RIDE at the tail end of the protest,” says the event’s Facebook page. “Families can meet at 4:00 PM at the parking deck at Washington-Liberty High School… The family ride will process out towards Courthouse around 4:15-4:30 PM, joining the main ride. The ride will be about 2 miles with gentle hills. MASKS ARE REQUIRED.”

All participants are asked to bring face masks, portable bike-repair tools, and water. Water will also be handed out, and there will be first-aid volunteers along the way.

Photo via Asya Vee/Unsplash

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With a mission to create educational, yet fun games, Arlington-based Semper Smart Games has a hit on its hands: a board game called Election Night!

Jim Moran, the creator of Semper Smart Games, is a retired Coast Guard officer and SAT and ACT tutor (no, he’s not the former local Congressman of the same name). Moran turned his passion for helping students learn math into games.

Election Night! was created to give students a better geographical, mathematical and mechanical understanding of the Electoral College. The game, launched as a result of a successful Kickstarter campaign, has recently seen its sales ranking rise on Amazon, as the presidential election nears.

In 2019, after it debuted, the Parents’ Choice Foundation awarded Election Night! a Parents’ Choice Gold Award.

The company has even attracted the attention of Shark Tank star and FUBU founder Daymond John, who recently interviewed Moran live on Instagram.

Moran told John that the game was made for “age groups eight and nine, but college students are loving it.”

Thanks Daymond John for the great interview! Other than my phone cutting out and then messing up the amount of Electoral Votes California has (If you play the game you will know why I said 48 instead of 55!) you can see the whole interview @thesharkdaymond in his IGTV https://www.instagram.com/p/CEmnF2FHL-l/

Posted by Semper Smart Games on Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Election Night! and Moran’s other games — including PlaySmart Dice and Blobby’s Pizza, his newest — can be purchased on the company’s website.

Photo via Semper Smart Games

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The annual Rosslyn Jazz Fest is not being held as the usual large public event this year. But it is returning in a different form next week.

Now called the Jazz Supper Club, it has been transformed into a virtual and socially-distant event. On Wednesday, Sept. 23 and 30, there will be outdoor jazz in Rosslyn — albeit in smaller settings. Groups will play at two outdoor dining venues around dinner time, with the performances live-streamed online.

The scheduled artists, locations and times are:

Reservations for the first night are now available online.

More from the Rosslyn Business Improvement District, which organizes the annual jazz festival:

Mark your calendars for the first ever Rosslyn Jazz Supper Clubs! With these curated experiences at Rosslyn restaurants, we’re reinventing our usual Jazz Festival format to one that supports virtual streaming and limits in-person attendance. To promote the safety of all attendees, guests are asked to wear masks when not seated and to practice physical distancing in accordance with Arlington County’s and Virginia’s guidelines.

Please review the Rosslyn BID’s and each restaurant’s individual COVID-19 policies and expectations before making a reservation. By making a reservation, you are agreeing to abide by the COVID-19 policies and expectations of the Rosslyn BID and each individual restaurant.

If you’re uncomfortable attending the Supper Clubs, we’ll be livestreaming each experience so you can enjoy the evening from home.

Photo via Jens Thekkeveettil/Unsplash

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A new hair salon that helps natural hair to thrive has opened in Ballston despite the pandemic

After initially hoping to open on June 19 to commemorate Juneteenth, Thrive Hair Bar (1010 N. Glebe Road) first opened its doors on Aug. 9.

“Thrive Hair Bar provides two-strand twists, braids, and leave out styles for kinky, coily, & curly haired naturalistas on the go. Embracing your hair texture with an emphasis on hair health,” the website says.

The website said Thrive Hair Bar aims to “revolutionize the luxury hair salon experience.”

Located inside the Sola Salon Studio, which hosts a number of solo entrepreneurs, the salon services its clients during a one-on-one, client and stylist experience.

“Our goal isn’t just for us to give them a hairstyle and they walk away, it’s really to help educate women on how to maintain their hair and care for their natural hair,” said Ajia Minnis, owner and founder of Thrive Hair Bar.

However, the single stylist and client combination is not the experience Minnis envisioned.

“It was definitely something that we had to adjust to. I had envisioned a salon with at least three to four stylists,” said Minnis. “I did definitely want to keep it small, to have that personalized experience, so the stylists themselves wouldn’t be rushed and because we’re just starting. But with the coronavirus, I realized that that wasn’t going to work. It just didn’t seem like the safest thing to do and I recognized that.”

Getting used to the restrictions on who can be in the salon wasn’t the only challenge Thrive Hair Bar faced.

“We still haven’t had our grand opening event yet because I had envisioned doing something where we featured local artists in the community and with the coronavirus, that doesn’t seem like the safest thing to do, even with masks,” Minnis said.

The good news is that clients have responded to Thrive’s policies positively.

“I think they like being the only one in the salon,” Minnis said. “Nobody likes having to wear a mask all day but it’s for the benefit of not only our customers, but for our stylists too. We want to make sure that they’re safe, so everybody has been respectful and keeping their masks on. We’re also using disposable capes — one-time use and throw it out. We’re disinfecting all chairs, door handles and anything that anybody touches after every single client, and then obviously staying within normal salon standards for disinfection with using Barbicide.”

“I think our clients have been comfortable with the precautions that we’ve been taking,” Minnis said, adding that she is optimistic about the future of the business as the country continues to make progress in the coronavirus fight.

Photos courtesy Ajia Minnis

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