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(Updated 9/23) Just a 20 minute walk away from the existing shop at Courthouse, growing cafe chain For Five Coffee Roasters is planning to move into Rosslyn.

The New York City-based coffee company is opening at 1735 N. Lynn Street, next to Chopt. It will be filling a gap on the block left by the closures of Cosi and Starbucks earlier this year.

East West Coffee Wine also closed recently, ahead of the redevelopment of its building at 1901 N. Moore Street, leaving Compass Coffee at 1201 Wilson Blvd as one of the only dedicated coffee shop options without hiking up the Wilson Blvd hill.

For Five Coffee Roasters was founded in 2010 in Queens, New York and has since branched out to Chicago, Los Angeles, D.C. and Northern Virginia. The chain’s Courthouse location opened last May with Nutella-stuffed cookies and an espresso bar.

Barron Bazemore Jr., chief marketing officer for For Five Coffee Roasters, said the plan is to open the Rosslyn location early next year.

“All I can share at this time is that the café will open [in the first three months] of 2022,” Bazemore said.

Hat tip to Edward M.

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The National Landing Oktoberfest is making a comeback next weekend in Crystal Cit.

The event will feature German beer and food and some more unique local traditions, like dog-themed events tied in with the event’s support for the Animal Welfare League of Arlington (AWLA).

The Oktoberfest is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 2 in the Lidl parking lot at the intersection of Crystal Drive and 33rd Street S. The event is free to attend, and drink purchases at the event will benefit AWLA. The event is scheduled to be held rain or shine, and tickets are non-refundable.

“From live bands and crisp German Lagers to a Barktoberfest dog-run for pup-friendly activities and a variety of games to entertain all ages, this event has a little something for everyone,” the National Landing Business Improvement District (BID), host of the event, said on the event’s website. “So, break out your lederhosen, and come enjoy the fall weather, as well as a variety of food trucks and vendors serving traditional (and not-so-traditional) German fare.”

The National Landing BID and the AWLA are co-hosting the event with local brewery New District Brewing.

Pre-registration is required and there is an attendance cap in place for the event. Attendees will also have to show proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test within the preceding 48 hours. Unvaccinated attendees and children under 12 will be required to wear a mask.

Photo via National Landing BID/Facebook

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Levi’s in Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, courtesy photo

For those venturing back to the mall for the first time in awhile, the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City might look a little different than you remember, thanks to some recent additions.

Four new stores have recently opened in the mall, at 1101 S. Hayes Street, with two more expected to open sometime in the next few weeks.

On the first level, denim retailer Levi’s has set up next to Altar’d State, overlooking the food court.

On the second level, luxury goods retailer Vince has set up next to Pandora and home décor store Casa Furniture has opened on the opposite side of the food court.

Down in the bottom-floor “dining pavilion” — the mall’s new term for its food court — there are a few additions underway. As Kelis attested in 2003, milkshakes are a popular attraction, and the new Day & Night Cereal Bar is offering a dozen specialized milkshakes and cereal bowls, along with coffee and flights of bacon.

The cereal-centric eatery has some unique combinations, like Marty McFly — a combination of Apple Jacks, Fruit Loops and gummy bears. Its website says it also offers oat milk and almond milk substitutions for those who are dairy averse.

A Subway had previously closed in the food court, but a new franchise for the sandwich chain is expected to open in November, a mall spokesman tells ARLnow.

Lastly, as previously reported, Mediterranean restaurant Sante’ is planning to open sometime this fall in the adjacent Ritz-Carlton hotel at 1250 S. Hayes Street.

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Adam Theo, independent candidate for the Arlington County Board (courtesy photo)

In heavily-blue Arlington County, independent candidate Adam Theo faces an uphill battle to pry local voters away from the incumbent Democrats in favor of his libertarian platform.

Theo said his multi-year campaign strategy has a pretty simple tactic at its heart: showing local progressives they have more in common with him than with the current County Board members.

Theo is a freelance communications consultant and media producer who is running for the County Board right as he finishes his nine-year contract with the Department of Homeland Security. He is on the general election ballot this fall with incumbent Takis Karantonis and independent candidates Audrey Clement and Mike Cantwell, but Theo said his real plan is to use this year to set up the groundwork for a full run in 2022 or 2023.

“It is really getting off to a start here,” said Theo. “I’m using 2021 as an opportunity to launch my organization website and start meetings. In 2022 or 2023 I’ll be running for a seat on the County Board. Even if that’s next year: i’ll be ready with a good campaign and solid foundation.”

Independent and Republican candidates typically get trounced in Arlington elections, where 80.7% of voters last year voted for Joe Biden and 71.6% voted for incumbent Democrat Libby Garvey. Theo said he’s taking inspiration from one of the few times in recent memory an independent successfully wrested a local seat from the Democrats in Arlington: when John Vihstadt won a special election in early 2014.

(Vihstadt went on to hand local Democrats a defeat that fall in the general election before ultimately losing his reelection bid in 2018.)

“[John] Vihstadt really set the precedent in winning two elections,” Theo said. “I think there is an appetite for the right kind of candidate.”

Arlington in 2021 is a different political landscape in many ways than 2014, though, and Theo and Vihstadt himself both said there are several factors that will make it more difficult for an independent to repeat that 2014 victory. In 2014, the proposed half-billion-dollar streetcar project for Columbia Pike became a rallying cry for locals concerned about the County Board’s spending habits.

Theo admitted he doesn’t have as convenient a campaign centerpiece.

“Right now in the county there are a bunch of issues people are concerned about and angry over,” Theo said. “First and foremost is response and recovery from COVID. In many ways, Arlington is doing well with vaccination rates, but barely so. We need to be doing a hell of a lot better with getting people vaccinated, getting people back into schools. Small businesses have suffered and affordable housing is not doing well. It’s not one issue like it was with the streetcar, it’s many issues. The challenge that I have is to build a coalition, to build a campaign around.”

Vihstadt said another challenge independent candidates face in 2021 is the looming specter of Donald Trump.

“It was certainly kind of an unusual alignment of the stars for me in 2014 when I won the special election, and then a full four year term that November,” the former County Board member told ARLnow. “I had issues on the overspending and projects that were nice to have but not essential, like the streetcar and the Artisphere, and people were concerned about insular group thinking. The chemistry today is a little different. Part of the problem today is that Donald Trump, who I never supported and spoke out against in 2016, has so polarized the electorate.”

Vihstadt said he’s hopeful that as the memory of Trump fades and the state works on bipartisan redistricting, independents could be back in vogue.

Theo said, for his part, distancing libertarians from the GOP is part of that.

“There’s an ideological preference for Democrats in the county,” Theo said. “That’s why the GOP continues to dwindle and do poorly election cycle after election cycle. It’s largely with ideology. The good thing with libertarians is we have a lot of overlaps with democrats, liberals and progressives. We fight for civil liberties and civil rights, and affordable housing. The whole zoning battle and the missing middle, is where the libertarians have a lot of overlap with progressive warriors in the county. I don’t think it’s an impossible task. I’m not going to pretend it will be easy, it’s the fight of a lifetime.”

Theo’s vision for affordable housing reform, though, looks somewhat different from the vision expressed by incumbent Democrats.

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Arlington County is launching an awards program that aims to publicly recognize locals who stepped up to the plate to help their neighbors through the COVID-19.

Nominations for the “Community COVID-19 Hero Awards” are currently open online or in-person at any library.

Anyone who lives, works, or just spends “significant time” in Arlington can submit their nominee by Thursday, Sept. 30. According to a press release, the awards “honor Arlington residents, community groups and businesses which have made significant impact in the fight against the effects of the pandemic.”

Winners will be recognized at the October 16 County Board meeting.

“The County is home to many unsung heroes who have continually sacrificed to support others throughout the pandemic while enduring their own hardship — from driving neighbors to vaccine appointments, to donating meals from their small businesses, to organizing groups to share reliable health and safety information with those who may not otherwise have access to it, and beyond,” Aaron Miller, Director of the County’s Department of Public Safety Communications and Emergency Management, said in the press release. “We want to thank them for all they’ve done and use their stories as examples of exemplary citizenry to encourage others to do the same.”

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Throughout this fall, there could be a few new faces around Shirlington as high-intensity gym F45 and some other businesses plan to launch in the next few months.

The gym is scheduled to have its grand opening at 2800 S. Randolph Street on Saturday, Sept. 11, according to a press release, though staff working amid a torrential downpour earlier this week said the gym had a soft launch last Saturday.

The grand opening is scheduled for 8 a.m.-noon, and will include free classes, a chance to win a raffle after each class, and exclusive membership offers.

The gym’s fitness program centers on high-intensity interval training, circuit training, and functional training — increasing the heart rate to boost metabolism and burn fat effectively, said the press release.

Just around the corner, Bearded Goat Barber is scheduled to open at 4150 Campbell Avenue sometime this fall. The Shirlington location, next to Samuel Beckett’s Irish Gastro Pub, will be the third for the barbershop, which first opened in Ballston in 2019.

Bearded Goat is aiming for an opening on Friday, Oct. 1, said co-owner Scott Parker, though the exact opening date remains a moving target.

Also coming this fall is CHIKO, a Chinese/Korean fusion restaurant at 4040 Campbell Avenue. The restaurant features a mix of dishes from both countries, like bulgogi stir fry and “orange-ish” chicken.

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Santé interior rendering, courtesy The Brand Guild

A restaurant specializing in cuisine from across the Mediterranean is planning on bringing that seaside vision to this side of the Potomac.

Santé, a restaurant described in a press release as “Mediterranean-inspired”, is scheduled to open in The Ritz-Carlton (1250 S. Hayes Street) in Pentagon City sometime this fall.

“Santé will be a destination in the Arlington area, whether you’re looking for an after work drink with friends, or a spot for an intimate dinner,” Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City General Manager Matthew Felix said in the press release. “We’re creating an atmosphere that will offer something unique for those who work and live in the neighborhood, along with visitors and hotel guests.”

The restaurant will center around seafood dishes — like grilled oysters and roasted sea bream, but will also have a variety of cocktails, wines and beer. The restaurant will have a range of breakfast to late-evening options.

The press release noted that the dining room will have enough seating for 64 people, with additional bar and lounge seating and a private dining room for groups up to 48 people.

The full press release is below.

Today, Santé, a new Mediterranean-inspired restaurant concept, announces its upcoming arrival in Northern Virginia. Slated to open in Fall 2021, the forthcoming culinary destination will call The Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City home, further establishing the property as an inspired neighborhood gathering place.

An expression often used to toast to health and happiness, Santé represents this sentiment and the Mediterranean way of life, while also celebrating the moment and those that you’re with. The concept brings the ease and elegance of the coastline region to life in the Arlington neighborhood, offering a sophisticated, yet approachable atmosphere.

“Santé will be a destination in the Arlington area, whether you’re looking for an after work drink with friends, or a spot for an intimate dinner,” said Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City General Manager, Matthew Felix. “We’re creating an atmosphere that will offer something unique for those who work and live in the neighborhood, along with visitors and hotel guests.”

Santé will invite guests to savor the flavors of the Mediterranean region through shareable dishes like the Grilled Oysters, and innovative mains including the Roasted Whole Sea Bream alongside a collection of craft beer, distinctive wine and handcrafted cocktails. Helmed by Executive Chef, Phil Skerman, the restaurant will offer breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, and an evening experience in the fireside lounge. With an emphasis on the present moment, Santé will offer an exceptional culinary experience and an ambiance that transports guests to the seaside.

Designed in partnership with designONE studio, Santé’s main dining room will feature seating for 64 people, with additional bar and lounge area seating, as well as a private dining room for groups up to 48. The space is accented with warm wood tones and varying coastal blues.

Santé will be located at 1250 S Hayes St, Arlington, VA 22202. For more information, please visit MeetAtSante.com, and follow Santé on social media at @meetatsante.

About Santé:

Led by Executive Chef Phil Skerman, Santé is a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant based in Arlington, Virginia. Showcasing the flavors of the coastline region, Santé offers inventive shareable meze-style dishes, handcrafted cocktails, unique wines and craft beers, in a lively yet elevated and approachable setting. For more information, please visit MeetAtSante.com, and follow Santé on social media at @meetatsante.

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Vienna-based Peruvian restaurant Inca Social is opening a new location in Rosslyn.

The restaurant and bar is coming to the former Kona Grill space at 1776 Wilson Blvd. We’re told the plan is to open sometime this fall.

Inca Social will have a selection of Virginia beers and various pisco cocktails, along with Peruvian food like the octopus-based pulpo anticuchero, according to Eater. The Rosslyn location will also have a sushi-and-ceviche bar, Northern Virginia Magazine reported.

Staff at Inca Social told ARLnow that the plan is for the Arlington location is to open in around two months — or late October — but that no definitive opening date has been set yet. Updates will likely be posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page closer to the opening date.

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Grime-covered wall on the Mount Vernon Trail, (Photo via Friends of Mount Vernon Trail/Twitter)

Like a lot of us, the Mount Vernon Trail has gotten a shabby and unkempt over the last year, and the Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail group is looking for some local help to get it back into shape.

The group is planning to meet this Saturday, Aug. 14, from 8-10 a.m. at Crystal City Water Park (1601 Crystal Drive).

According to the event sign up, volunteers will help remove vegetation blocking visibility along the trail, remove fallen limbs — presumably tree limbs — and remove mud from the trail.

“No special skills are needed,” the Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail said on the post. “We’ll teach you how to help in just a few minutes.”

Those interested in helping out should bring:

  • Work gloves, though some will be available to borrow
  • Pruners or limb loppers, if you have them
  • Sunscreen
  • Water

Long sleeves and pants are recommended.

Other vegetation clearing events are also planned over the next month. Another one is planned for the intersection of the Mount Vernon Trail and Four Mile Run Trail on Saturday, Aug. 21. If arriving by car, the group noted the closest place to park is in the lot at 3920 Potomac Avenue.

The sign up page noted that dense vegetation near the intersection has been a frequent problem for trail users.

“Volunteers will remove vegetation near the trail that is blocking the sight line for people at the junction of the Mount Vernon Trail and Four Mile Run Trail,” the group said. “This area has been identified as a high crash area due to poor sightlines combined with multiple turning movements.”

The group is also planning to power-wash a moldy bridge near the Washington Sailing Marina later this month. Along with the usual vegetation removal, the group is planning to meet on Saturday, Aug. 18, to remove vegetation and debris from a wooden bridge that often becomes slick during inclement weather.

Photo via Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail/Twitter

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The good news for users of the Mount Vernon Trail is that a proposed widening project was selected for state funding. The bad news? It will be 2026 before work even starts on the project.

As anyone who has bicycled or walked along the popular trail could likely attest, there are parts that can feel dangerously narrow. Last year, the National Park Service released a report recommending widening. The report noted that there were 225 reported bike and pedestrian crashes on the trail between 2006 and 2010, many of them at crash hotspots near National Airport and the 14th Street Bridge.

Some spots along the trail are in notoriously poor condition, like the infamous Trollheim Bridge section south of Roosevelt Island, where the trail’s wooden planks often become slick in icy or rainy conditions.

The goal of the approved project is to improve and reconstruct approximately 6.5 miles of the trail, from the access point to Roosevelt Island down to Jones Point Park in Alexandria. One of the most narrow stretches of the trail, a single-lane tunnel under Memorial Bridge, is on Columbia Island, which is technically part of D.C.

According to the application, the project would “widen the trail’s paved surface from between seven and eight feet to 11 where feasible.”

The total project cost is estimated at $33 million, with $29 million funded by the Virginia SMART SCALE grant — which doesn’t fund the needed improvements on Columbia Island. The grant was on the list of projects approved by the Commonwealth Transportation Board at a meeting on June 23.

The widening is likely a few years down the road. The National Park Service previously said work could begin on the trail starting in 2026, Greater Greater Washington reported.

https://twitter.com/TrailsCoalition/status/1417887666671128578

 

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Rep. Don Beyer recognizing Arlington first responders at a County Board meeting (via Arlington County)

Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) swung by the Arlington County Board last week to recognize 60 local first responders who responded to the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

It’s the latest step in a complicated dance for the congressman, facing a new primary challenger, as Democrats nationwide grapple with how to balance public safety concerns with outcry over police killings and accusations of brutality.

One particular slogan from nationwide protests last year has divided Democrats.

“The ‘defund the police‘ slogan is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard,” Beyer told ARLnow, adding: “I do think it’s completely fair and appropriate to continue to look at ways of making policing more effective.”

The cry to cut police funding took center stage last year after the murder of George Floyd. Advocates say the slogan is part of efforts to shift resources away from heavily militarized police departments to housing, mental health programs and other services.

Beyer said police reform can include making how much departments spend to settle with victims of police brutality more transparent, which is part of the Cost of Police Misconduct Act. But generally, Beyer’s approach to police reform includes more carrots than sticks.

Part of that approach is evident in the Jabara-Heyer No Hate Act authored by Beyer, which offers grants to police departments for reporting hate crime statistics.

“Greatly strengthens reporting of hate crimes,” Beyer said. “Rather than punishing police for not collecting hate crime data, [the bill] gives them funding for doing it.”

Beyer said he supports the widespread use of body cameras, pushing to fund a pilot program in Alexandria and helping to ensure that U.S. Park Police are outfitted with body cameras after the shooting of Bijan Ghaisar. The congressman has been outspoken about seeking justice for Ghaisar’s family.

Beyer said he also believes in increased pay for police. Nationwide, police salaries have been increasing over the last few years. In Virginia, the mean income for police and sheriff’s patrol officers in 2020 was $60,190, though that doesn’t account for overtime.

“It’s about investing in the police to make them stronger and more effective, and part of that is increasing their incomes,” Beyer said. “There is strong research about the amount of education a police officer has and the likelihood of them being involved in police misconduct. What’s going to draw them? Better incomes.”

Beyer noted that members of the Capitol Police with whom he speaks regularly say they’re facing the same morale crisis that police departments are seeing nationwide, following outrage over a series of high-profile police shootings and violence. Last year, for instance, the Arlington County Police Department was called into D.C. to clear out protestors from Lafayette Square before they were recalled by county leadership.

“They’re really good people who are struggling right now,” Beyer said of the police force in general. “I read about the departures from police departments all over the country. That’s not sustainable. We have to make sure our police feel respected, and that includes independent citizen review. I was thrilled with Fairfax and now Alexandria set up independent citizen review. As we’ve seen too many times, it’s really hard to ask your peers to pass judgement on what you just did.”

The County Board voted last week to establish a new Community Oversight Board and Independent Policing Auditor, with subpoena powers, to investigate community complaints about police officers. The vote was criticized by the local NAACP for not going far enough in ensuring accountability.

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