Arlington, VA

A new Italian market is opening at Pentagon Row with a grab-and-go version of a beloved D.C. restaurant.

Napoli Salumeria (1301 S. Joyce Street) will have the sandwiches, pastas, salads and desserts of the Michelin Bib Gourmand-rated Napoli Pasta Bar in D.C. (2737 Sherman Avenue NW), but the Pentagon Row location is built around picking up food in the store and taking it home, according to owner Antonio Ferraro.

Ferraro said the location is planning to fully open on Tuesday, with the website going live Saturday night or Sunday morning for people to place orders.

“All the main dishes of Napoli Pasta Bar, we’re going to have them here, ready to go,” Ferraro said. “We can warm them up here. For now, we’re not offering sitting down yet, just picking up. But we’re going to get an outside plaza space, where ice skating is, so they can order and eat there.”

Ferraro said after the location is up and running, he plans to add delivery options at a later date.

The location was once home to A Deli, so Napoli Salumeria will be keeping a small Italian legacy alive on S. Joyce Street.

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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. Monday Properties is proudly featuring Shirlington Gateway. Say hello to the new 2800 Shirlington, which recently delivered a brand-new lobby and upgraded fitness center. Experience a prime location and enjoy being steps from Shirlington Village, a large retail hub with a variety of unique restaurants and shopping options. Spec suites with bright open plans and modern finishes are under construction and will deliver soon!

Joint Arlington-Icelandic regenerative-medicine biologics company Kerecis has reeled in a new batch of funding.

The company, which has its operational headquarters in Courthouse, is focused on a technology that might sound to some like Spider-Man villain origin in the making.

Kerecis uses “fish skin and fatty acids for tissue protection and regeneration.” The fish skin can be used to treat wounds, burns and other tissue damage.

The company’s leadership said in a press release that the technology’s eager adoption in the United States was one of the leading sources of growth over the last year. Though the product might sound fishy, Kerecis said in a press release there’s no risk of viral-disease transfer from Atlantic cod to human.

Kerecis said all of the fish it flays for human use are wild and caught off the coast of Iceland.

“The fish skin needs only mild processing for medical use and maintains its natural structure and elements, including Omega 3 fatty acids,” the company said. “The Kerecis fatty-acid-based products protect the body against bacterial and viral infections.”

The company announced that the funding is based on $15 million in credit from Silicon Valley Bank to fund the company’s capital needs, with investors and lenders providing $6 million in loans to finance expanding the company’s expansion plans in the United States.

Research into adapting fish skin as treatment for burns and other skin-damage has been promising, with some experimental treatment being done in Brazil.

“The main reason that we were once again named Iceland’s fastest growing company is the rapid adoption of our medical fish skin in the U.S. market,” said G. Fertram Sigurjonsson, founder and CEO of Kerecis. “We are excited that our products are preventing amputations and reducing human suffering.”

Sigurjonsson said the funding will go to accelerating development and marketing of products for wounds, burns and other medical needs, especially in the United States.

Photo via Kerecis/Facebook

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Ed Talk is a biweekly opinion column. The views expressed are solely the author’s.

While elementary and secondary school students across the country adjust to full-time distance learning, adults have been learning online for years.

Online courses offer adults the flexibility to continue their education while working and taking care of families. Some enroll in these courses to learn new job skills and expand their employment opportunities. Others are lifelong learners who enjoy studying the arts, literature, language, history and a myriad of other subjects offered online.

During the pandemic, these courses can be particularly helpful to adults. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. unemployment rate in July was 10.2 percent. Acquiring new skills will be critical in helping adults get back to work.

Another consequence of the pandemic is social isolation. While online courses do not provide the same connections as in-person learning, they do offer adults the opportunity to be creative and interact with those with similar interests. Many courses are synchronous, with students logging on at a specified time and participating in a live class.

Other courses are asynchronous, with students listening to pre-recorded lectures at their convenience. This includes Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), taken by millions of people across the world.

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After nearly 40 years, Joe Javidara said the future of his soccer-themed bar Summers Restaurant in Courthouse (1520 N. Courthouse Road) hinges on a permit he said is being processed through Arlington County government.

The restaurant announced on Monday that it was temporarily closed until it could get a permit for outdoor seating.

Like many local restaurant owners with insufficient indoor seating to allow for social distancing, Javidara said getting one of the county’s temporary outdoor seating requests is crucial to ensuring that customers feel safe returning to local eateries.

Jessica Margarit, spokeswoman for the Department of Community Planning, Housing & Development, said the county has received 110 applications for Temporary Outdoor Seating Area permits. Of those, 75 have been approved. Four were denied while 13 remain under review. The other 17 are listed as inactive — meaning they have not followed up with staff on requests for additional information — and one was withdrawn.

Asked about it by ARLnow, Margarit said the county had not received a new TOSA application from Summers yet.

Dear Summers friends,We will TEMPORARILY CLOSE until we get an outdoor seating permit from the Arlington, County. …

Posted by Summers Restaurant & Sports Bar on Monday, August 31, 2020

It’s a process the county has worked to make easier over the last few months, but Javidara faces a critical snag: his sidewalk is too narrow. An earlier application in June was denied because staff found that putting the restaurant space on the sidewalk would not allow enough space for pedestrians to safely maneuver.

“This time, I went to county and told them we’re going to close, we’ve closed already,” Javidara said. “We got the application. Hopefully we’ll see. They’re going to send the engineer to check it out… Without the outside seating we can’t pay the rent.”

Javidara’s solution had been to utilize the on-street parking area, removing four parking spaces to make way for tables with a cleared space on the sidewalk between the seating and the restaurant for pedestrians to pass through. It’s a move that’s been implemented in places like Clarendon and Shirlington, and in other jurisdictions like Alexandria, to the benefit of local restaurants.

He tried that approach in June, arguing that no one was coming to work in the nearby buildings anyway, but was rejected.

“We tried to open anyway, but we’re losing a lot of money and paying $20,000 in rent,” Javidara said. “And there’s no sports, so it feels like everything is against us.”

It isn’t the first time Summers Restaurant has been in dire straits. In 2014, Javidara expressed similar concerns about increasing rent possibly driving the restaurant out of business.

Now, he’s been told the application could be processed sometime in the next two or three weeks. Margarit said the average application reviews for TOSA permits take 5-10 days, sometimes less.

“They’re slow these days,” Javidara said. “By the time we get it, it could maybe be the end of October. There might still be a few weeks of nice weather. We’ve been here for 37 or 38 years, but if this doesn’t go through we’re going to go.”

Regardless, the building Summers calls home may not be long for this world: the entire block is set for redevelopment.

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The National Landing BID (née Crystal City BID) is hosting a series of drive-in movies, starting Thursday and running weekly in September.

Retro drive-ins have become a popular alternative to traditional theaters, which can be a COVID-19 hazard. In Alexandria, a similar drive-in series has already sold out all of its tickets.

For the National Landing film series — dubbed “Ride in Reels” — the venue is the empty lot at 33rd Street S. and Crystal Drive. Gates will open for moviegoers at 7 p.m.

Films scheduled for the drive-in are:

Prior registration is required to attend. Would-be attendees are encouraged to sign up for the National Landing BID newsletter; a link will appear in the Monday newsletter for Thursday’s movie. When registering, participants select their vehicle type or choose one of the non-vehicle spaces for those walking or biking to the movies.

“Please note, once you make your selection, you should complete your registration quickly because Eventbrite does not reserve ‘tickets’ that are in your cart,” the BID cautioned.

Registration for this Thursday’s showing of Little Women is currently open.

Attendees should remain in their vehicles, or in designated non-vehicle spaces, throughout the movie, the BID said. Public restrooms will not be available.

Outside food and drink is allowed, but alcohol and smoking is prohibited. Face masks are required when entering and exiting but can be taken off during the movie.

The series is co-sponsored by grocery store chain Lidl, which has its U.S. headquarters in Crystal City.

Image via Disney

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Those who mourned the closing of Finders Keepers in Westover (5906 Washington Blvd) should be happy to know a new consignment shop is coming to the same space, but with some significant new changes.

True to the consignment store spirit, Amber Scivolette is taking a second-hand retail space and breathing new life into it — Finders Keepers is becoming Blossom and Buds Consignment.

The store will serve both kids and adults. Offerings will include clothing, shoes and accessories, as well as toys, books, games, and other items.

“We’re going to have kids’ consignment as well as women’s consignment,” Scivolette said. “It’s basically two storefronts, with one whole side for kids and a kids’ play area.”

Inside, Scivolette said she has renovated the space.

“We pulled everything apart,” Scivolette said. “We just completed that, now we’re setting things into place.”

The exterior, which currently is mostly covered in plastic, is also getting spruced up. Scivolette said a new sign and a power wash are coming soon.

The new store is scheduled to open in September, possibly with a soft opening around Thursday, Sept. 10, or Friday, Sept. 11.

Though the exact details haven’t been nailed down yet, Scivolette said Blossom and Buds will implement COVID-19 safety measures. Early on, that will mean a big emphasis on selling items via Instagram, Facebook and other social media outlets. Scivolette said the store will offer contactless pickup if someone wants to buy something they spotted online.

While many locals opening new stores have had challenges, Scivolette says she’s found a silver lining.

“Opening now… it’s not ideal, but I feel like I’m not rushed,” Scivolette. “I can take the time to do what I want to do. The timing works out okay for us.”

Photo courtesy Amber Scivolette

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A month into Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse’s (2903 Columbia Pike) reopening “test drive,” the venue is moving forward with more programming, but also adapting for some of the bumps in the roads.

“We’re coming into the fourth weekend,” said owner Tim Clark. “We have kept capacity right around 25% and that seems to be working pretty well. I’m really happy with how we opened. Staff has been great in keeping things sanitized and clean, and making sure people have been adhering to policy.”

While Clark highlighted safety measures like cleaning and distancing, the truth remains that going to theaters amid a pandemic remains a risk. Despite the successful reopening, Clark said it hasn’t been easy maintaining business as customers have stayed away from the indoor venue.

“Everything is quite a bit down,” Clark said. We’ve seen a stronger attendance for the comedy shows. Movies have been hit or miss. Some have done really well, like Back to the Future. Our largest attended show was 20 people.”

Other movies, like 40 Year Old Virgin, didn’t do nearly as well as Clark was hoping, and some reliable blockbusters have also had a disappointing showing.

“Empire Strikes Back didn’t do as well as I thought last week,” Clark said. “It’s more of the cult classics that are doing well.”

The new schedule of upcoming shows highlights the shift towards 80s and 90s classics, mixed in with the Drafthouse’s bread-and-butter live comedy shows and occasional special event.

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After delays in planning and over a year of construction, Arlington’s ambitious overhaul of Mosaic Park (538 N. Pollard Street) is about a month away from its debut.

The park is planned to open, in part, in late September, according to Susan Kalish, spokeswoman for the county parks department.

The renovations convert the park behind the Gold’s Gym in Ballston to an urban plaza with an interactive water feature, children’s play area, casual use lawn, multipurpose court, and basketball half-court. Some of those new features won’t be active at the start, however, due to the pandemic.

“When the park opens the water feature, two electrical circular play elements, park lighting and multipurpose court lighting won’t be available until later in the fall,” Kalish said. “The water feature is official called a splashpad, as you can walk into it and play around. According to the Governor’s Forward Virginia guidelines, splashpad (and our spraygrounds) cannot be turned on due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The county website said the park is designed with casual “drop-in activities” in mind rather than specific sports or engagement with nature.

“Mosaic Park is specifically designed to bring a diverse community together,” the county said. “Whether laying out to soak up some rays or challenging a neighbor to a friendly game of frisbee, this park is uniquely positioned to support impromptu, casual usage.”

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Interior renovations are underway on a new Mexican restaurant called Los Chamacos, which is planning to pick up where Cantina Mexicana left off in December.

The restaurant — which translates to “The Kids” — will offer Mexican cuisine classics, like fajitas, enchiladas, molcajete, pambazo and barbacoa, according to a sign on the restaurant window. It’s located at 922 S. Walter Reed Drive

Cantina Mexicana first opened along Columbia Pike seven years ago but temporarily closed late last year due to the owners needing time off to care for a family member who suffered a stroke.

An employee inside the storefront said the restaurant is tentatively scheduled for an opening sometime in November.

Locals were bittersweet about the change on social media, lamenting the loss of Cantina Mexicana, which also previously had a location in Crystal City.

https://twitter.com/kbutler333/status/1296801492041641986

H/t to @SRtwofourfour

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The future is murky for Legal Sea Foods in Crystal City after the company took the location off its official list of restaurants.

The webpage for the Crystal City location now redirects to the chain’s Reagan National Airport outpost. Similarly, the Legal Sea Foods location in D.C.’s Chinatown neighborhood has been removed from the company’s list, and its webpage now redirects to that of the Legal Sea Bar in Union Station.

The removal of the D.C. and Arlington restaurants from the locations page was done within the past month; as recently as July 28 both were still listed.

All Legal locations in the D.C. area remain closed, at least temporarily, due to the coronavirus pandemic. The company’s locations in its home market of Massachusetts, by contrast, started reopening in June.

While the front door to the Crystal City Legal Sea Foods has a sign up saying the closure is temporary, a source with knowledge of the matter tells ARLnow that it has indeed closed permanently.

The company, which is suing its insurer over the denial of business interruption claims caused by the pandemic, could not be reached for comment.

As one door on the block closes, however, another opens. The neighboring Bowlero at 320 23rd Street S. opened in July.

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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, StartupMonday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. Monday Properties is proudly featuring Shirlington Gateway. Say hello to the new 2800 Shirlington, which recently delivered a brand-new lobby and upgraded fitness center. Experience a prime location and enjoy being steps from Shirlington Village, a large retail hub with a variety of unique restaurants and shopping options. Spec suites with bright open plans and modern finishes are under construction and will deliver soon!

Arlington startup Stacklet, started by a pair of locals who met while working Capital One, has raised $4 million in seed investment.

Stacklet helps administrators manage various aspects of their cloud network systems, like security, cost optimization, and regulatory compliance. It’s a service that could become increasingly vital as more businesses consider making pandemic-era work-from-home policies permanent.

The funding came from investor Lee Fixel’s fund Addition and Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm Foundation Capital, according to a press release.

Rather than addressing various cloud accounts individually, Stacklet allows users to manage thousands of accounts. The service also offers analytics on to show things like the trends and anomalies in cloud usage.

The project is built around Cloud Custodian, an open-source project created by Kapil Thangavelu — Stacklet’s Chief Technology Officer — and used by companies like Amazon, Microsoft and Capital One, the company said in a press release. Thangavelu created Cloud Custodian while at Tysons-based Capital One.

“Organizations struggle with how to balance their productivity desires with governance requirements,” CEO Travis Stanfield said in a statement. “Striking the right governance posture and keeping that posture up with the intense pace of innovation requires community, open source and crowdsourcing. Stacklet empowers organizations to automate cloud governance via advanced product features with commercial support. This results in self-service to cloud technologies which are properly aligned with an organization’s governance posture.”

In announcing its funding round earlier this month, Stacklet said the startup was emerging from stealth mode — an early period of developing a service before revealing it to the public.

In public filings, the company’s address is listed as a post office box in Clarendon.

Photo via Stacklet

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