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by ARLnow.com — August 30, 2016 at 1:30 pm 0

Hendricks Gentlemen's Barbershop (Photo courtesy Tim Donaldson)

Clarendon is getting a new upscale spot for men to get their hair cut and their beards trimmed.

Hendricks Gentlemen’s Barbershop, which is billing itself as Clarendon’s only high-end barbershop, is planning to open in just over a week.

Hendricks is the creation of Melanie St. Clair and Lisa Dahl, owners of Smitten salon in nearby Lyon Park.

“At Smitten we have a large male clientele so we know a barbershop is something Clarendon needs,” St. Clair tells ARLnow.com. “Hendricks… will offer men’s haircuts, beard trims and hot [straight razor] shaves. The concept is a throwback to old school barbershops, in a comfortable upscale setting.”

“Hendricks boasts a wall projector screen with ESPN as well as an original 100 year old barbershop chair from my great great grandfather’s barbershop in Baltimore,” St. Clair added. “We have experienced barbers on staff and will be opening Wednesday, September 7. Once the website is live this week, clients will have the convenience of online booking.”

Hendricks is located at 3000 Washington Blvd, near the 7-Eleven store, in the former Primp by Smitten space. Primp has since relocated to the main Smitten salon on N. Pershing Drive.

Photo courtesy Tim Donaldson

by ARLnow.com — August 29, 2016 at 4:40 pm 0

The triviality of cable news is the latest target of Arlington’s foremost libertarian satirical rapper, Remy Munasifi.

Remy, together with his colleagues at Reason TV, has released a new music video entitled “This is CNN.” The auteur of the timeless “Arlington Rap” skewers CNN in the video, making the point that in the era of clickbait and social media navel-gazing, news of actual international consequence is taking a backseat to petty controversies and zero-calorie election tidbits.

While CNN is singled out in the video, above, fellow cable nets MSNBC and Fox News are also implicated by unspoken association.

“Cover the news, shake up the ranks,” Remy implores. “Rome is engulfed and we’re sitting here fiddling.”

by Tim Regan — August 29, 2016 at 3:30 pm 0

A restaurant in East Falls Church is looking to shake the idea that French cooking is unhealthy.

Chef Jacques Imperato, who took over Côte d’Or Café (6876 Lee Highway) earlier this year, hopes to show off “the healthier side of French cooking” with seasonal menus and a lighter approach to making food.

Imperato, who attended culinary school in Nice, France and previously owned Chalet de la Paix and Mediterranee restaurants in Arlington and Great Falls, aims to achieve his goal by cooking with seasonal ingredients and low-calorie alternatives in a “modern classic Burgundy style.”

That means instead of making sauces with heavy cream, for instance — butter, cream, flour and cheese are hallmarks of French cuisine — Imperato uses healthier oils.

“The Burgundy cooking style uses less cream than other French regions use in their cooking,” he said. 

In place of processed or prepared foods, the chef prepares dishes with “fruits, vegetables, and herbs that are fresh and in-season.” Last week, Imperato served a dinner where peaches starred as the primary ingredient in every dish, for example.

Grass fed beef is also now on the menu, Imperato noted.

“Grass fed beef is all they had when Burgundy style cooking was concocted and that kind of beef adds an earthy taste to the dishes,” he said. “When you substitute poor corn fed beef the dishes lose the taste that is essential in this style of cooking.”

by ARLnow.com — August 29, 2016 at 2:15 pm 0

2016 hardest-working cities table (image via SmartAsset)Arlington County is the hardest-working “city” in the United States, at least according to a new set of rankings.

The financial website SmartAsset has Arlington ranked No. 1 on its list of the “hardest-working cities in America.” The website ranked 113 U.S. cities by labor market data on the average number of hours worked in a week and the average number of weeks worked per year.

The four hardest-working cities after Arlington were Anchorage, Alaska; Lincoln, Nebraska; Plano, Texas; and Virginia Beach, Virginia. Detroit ranked last on the list

People in Arlington work an average of 41.5 hours per week and 40.15 weeks per year, according to SmartAsset. The company said that Arlington benefitted from steady employment at the Pentagon and other federal government offices.

Thanks in part to a large federal government presence, the Arlington, VA economy is largely immune to the economic shocks which sometimes rock the rest of the country. Government agencies like the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security are headquartered here. In fact, the Pentagon where the Department of Defense is headquartered is the largest office building in the world.

In Arlington people work an average of 41.5 hours per week. This figure is the highest in the country and a big reason Arlington comes in as the hardest-working city in America.

The largest private companies (in terms of employees) in the city are Deloitte and Accenture. Other large private companies owe their presence to the nearby Department of Defense, like Lockheed Martin. All in all, workers in Arlington work an average of 1,431 hours per year.

by ARLnow.com — August 26, 2016 at 9:45 am 0

(Updated at 2:25 p.m.) A resident of Arlington’s Williamsburg neighborhood has caught a mangy canine on a wildlife camera.

Giles Crimi says he set up the camera to find out what was eating mice in his backyard, and discovered that it was an apparent coyote (or perhaps a fox).

“I’ve had some field mice destroying equipment covers in my shed,” Crimi explained. “I’ve had the problem before and noticed after they had been trapped and I tossed them outside, their bodies went missing pretty quickly.”

“This time I set the mice out and set up my field game camera, which shoots on motion detected,” he continued. “Now I know it is a mangy coyote in the neighborhood that is taking the free meal.”

There have been a number of coyote sightings in Arlington over the past few years, including one video that was shot and verified by county naturalists.

by Andrew Ramonas — August 25, 2016 at 3:30 pm 0

Nook Play Space (Photo via Facebook/Nook)An Arlington mom is set to bring a “modern” play place to a Lee Highway storefront this fall.

Nook Play Space is slated to open at 5649 Lee Highway in mid-October, providing an alternative to play areas like Chuck E. Cheese, owner Maria Vogelei said.

She said that many of the D.C.-area play places she and her young daughters have visited are overcrowded and in dark, windowless spaces that are “completely outdated.”

At Nook, Vogelei said, children can engage in creative play without overstimulation.

Inside the 3,000-square-foot space, children who are five years old or younger can visit corners dedicated to art, construction, costumes, the senses and the city. For example, kids can build with white Lego blocks, explore a “forest” of bungee cords or play on structures that resemble an art installation of cardboard boxes, Vogelei said.

The design elements are “pleasing to the parent’s eye,” she said. “It’s a place parents would enjoy, too.”

Parents can buy monthly Nook memberships online for $120 for one child, with discounts for multiple kids. Day passes are $20.

Vogelei plans to keep the play space open seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Photo via Facebook/Nook

by ARLnow.com — August 25, 2016 at 11:00 am 0

Clarendon Grill signWith plenty of turbulence in the Clarendon restaurant scene this summer — opening, closings, rumors — it’s worth noting that some long-time establishments are doing just fine, thank you very much.

Clarendon Grill, which has been in business since 1996, is still among the local winners. The cover band, trivia night and happy hour destination, at 1101 N. Highland Street, just extended its lease.

Owner Peter Pflug says Clarendon Grill is continuing to do well enough that he decided to extend its lease by five years, through March 2022.

Pflug, who has been dubbed the “one of the godfathers of Clarendon nightlife,” chalks the recent turmoil up to an “oversupply of restaurants” in the area.

He said normal supply-and-demand dynamics aren’t working in Clarendon because once there’s an oversupply of restaurants it’s hard to get back to an equilibrium.

“Once a retail space becomes restaurant space, it usually stays that way,” he said. “It’s expensive to put in ADA bathrooms, kitchens, etc.”

Additionally, with the bricks-and-mortar retail industry on the decline thanks to competition from online retail, non-restaurant retailers are not rushing to fill empty space. Who is filling empty space? In some cases it’s savvy restaurant operators who execute well and are effective at carving out their local niche; in other cases it’s owners who are new to the Clarendon market and “may not be the best at doing their homework.”

Yes, rents are high, but that’s not the most important factor at play.

“I don’t think rental rates are nearly as important as oversupply,” Pflug said.

Clarendon Grill, which was renovated in 2010, continues to have a full slate of live entertainment on tap, including the aforementioned cover bands, “hilarious” Wednesday trivia nights, karaoke nights and salsa dancing nights.

by Adrian Cruz — August 24, 2016 at 4:45 pm 0

"We Are Still Tornadoes" cover (Photo courtesy of Amazon.com)Arlington lawyer Susan Mullen’s journey to becoming a novelist began with an encounter with an old friend on Facebook.

Mullen reconnected with fellow lawyer and University of Virginia School of Law alum Michael Kun, who sought her help with what became “We Are Still Tornadoes,” a novel about best friends who follow different paths after high school. Kun, an author whose books include “The Locklear Letters” and “My Wife and My Dead Wife,” shocked Mullen with his writing proposal.

“I thought, ‘Why would you want to do that?'” Mullen said. “He’s a successful novelist, and I’ve never written anything before. We talked it through and basically agreed that we’d be honest with each other, and if it wasn’t going well, we’d just say, ‘Well this was fun,’ and move on.”

The novel centers around Scott and Cath, who grew up together in a small Maryland town. Through the use of letters between the friends, Mullen and Kun weave together a story of what happens when Cath goes to Wake Forest University and Scott stays behind to follow his musical dreams.

In order to keep the concept of writing letters back and forth a realistic one, the book is set in 1982, before online communication became widespread.

“It was a time when people wrote letters,” Mullen said. “It had to pre-date email because I don’t think that email has the same charm as writing letters, although members of the younger generations might disagree.”

To add authenticity to the missives, Mullen and Kun actually sent letters to each other throughout the writing process, with Mullen drafting Cath’s dispatches and Kun penning Scott’s notes.

Mullen and Kun discussed little beyond the novel’s framework and basic plot before starting the process, leaving the rest to the individual writer.

“We exchanged letters back and forth, and we just let it evolve,” Mullen said. “We surprised each other with the letters to a certain extent, and we would give each other a little bit of feedback along the way.”

The exchange of letters took over three years, something that Mullen attributes to both her and Kun’s busy lives as lawyers with families.

“I would only write when I had a significant block of time to really sit down and pay attention to do my best work,” Mullen said. “I really wanted to respect the process.”

When she was writing, Mullen’s oldest daughter was beginning her freshman year at Harvard University, giving her somebody to base the collegiate experience on. Both of her daughters also provided feedback in terms of how authentic the letters sounded. One major change was the inclusion of profanity, something her daughters felt came off as more authentic.

“Mike previously had a rule that he did not want his characters to curse because he wanted his daughter to eventually read his books,” Mullen said. “When my girls read it, they were like, ‘Mom, they have to curse, its just not realistic. It’s the way teenagers talk.'”

One challenge they faced while writing the book was finding a way to describe events that occurred while both characters were in the same location.

“You’re not going to write to each other about things that you have experienced together,” Mullen said. “It’s challenging sometimes to describe events with enough detail to be interesting to the reader and at the same time not include so much detail that its unrealistic from a letter-writing standpoint.”

At the same time, she said that the epistolary format helped make the writing process easier for her as a rookie novelist.

“I only had to write one letter at a time,” Mullen said. “For a lot of first-time authors, what stops them is trying to figure out what they’re going to say from start to finish.”

“We Are Still Tornadoes” is set to come out Nov. 1.

Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

by ARLnow.com — August 24, 2016 at 10:30 am 0

Now is your chance to own a piece of the former Hard Times Cafe in Clarendon.

The restaurant closed last month after many years in business directly across from the Clarendon Metro station.

Hundreds of items from the restaurant are now being auctioned off online — just about everything you can imagine, including signs, tables, chairs, beer taps and kitchen equipment.

Most items currently have bids under $10.

by ARLnow.com — August 23, 2016 at 12:05 pm 0

(Updated at 2:50 p.m.) Heavy demolition is underway at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Randolph Street, as portions of the old Ballston Common Mall are demolished to make way for the renovated Ballston Quarter shopping center and apartment tower.

Demolition crews from Celtic Demolition are at work tearing down the corner of the building that contained one of the mall’s main entrances and the former Macy’s furniture store. Crews are hosing down the debris with water to reduce dust.

One tipster who works across the street from the mall, at the National Science Foundation, said yesterday — after demolition started — that the close proximity of the demolition to moving traffic was concerning.

“You have to see the way they are demolishing the Ballston Mall,” the tipster said. “It is such a recipe for disaster. The debris is falling onto [the street] as cars and buses are driving by.”

The extensive renovation project is expected to wrap up in 2018.

by ARLnow.com — August 23, 2016 at 11:00 am 0

Matchbox American Kitchen + Spirit will be opening in Pentagon City on Thursday, according to a spokeswoman.

The restaurant, which is the company’s tenth Matchbox location, will launch with an updated menu.

Located in the newly-expanded portion of the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall, at 1100 S. Hayes Street, it will feature an expansive, 12,000 square foot, multi-level dining space with a second floor patio.

 

More from a press release:

matchboxfoodgroup will roll out new offerings in all of its matchbox American Kitchen + Spirit locations in August, including the company’s tenth and eleventh matchbox locations, scheduled to open in Arlington, VA and Short Pump, VA in late summer.

matchbox will debut in Arlington, VA in the bustling Fashion Centre at Pentagon City (1100 S Hayes Street) with a sprawling 12,000 sq. ft. restaurant, set across two levels with an elevated outdoor dining terrace. Deepening the brand’s roots on the east coast, the company will also debut near Richmond with matchbox slated for Short Pump Town Center (11720 W Broad Street) in a freestanding 7,000 sq. ft. multi-level dining space complete with an outdoor patio. Both locations will prominently feature wood-fired masonry ovens as well as reclaimed materials – highlights of the concept’s signature open, energetic design.

Stephen Lyons, Vice President of Culinary Operations, has spent the summer developing original spins for the concept’s updated menu, and will introduce a number of new sandwiches, entrees and salads. The restaurant’s all-day menu will include two grinders, each served on stuffed and baked wood-fired pizza dough, with flavors such as Italian with salami, prosciutto, and capicola or meatball. The sandwiches join a new fried chicken cobb and seared salmon salad, as well as chicken + walnut pesto fettuccine. Longtime favorites like the 3.6.9 mini burgers and artisanal pizzas continue to anchor the revitalized menu, due to roll out progressively in late summer beginning with matchbox 14th street in Washington, DC.

In 2013 matchbox announced a partnership with famed California winemaker Jed Steele, creating its proprietary “matchbox blend” red wine. This month the partnership expands with a white wine blend, which Steele expects to fully roll out in fall with limited availability beginning late summer. matchbox Co-Founder Ty Neal shares, “Outstanding wine does not have to be expensive, and we are so happy with the blend Jed has developed for us. It’s approachable and refined, and we are proud to serve it.”

The brand’s proprietary bottled wines join a focused list of American craft spirits and beers, as well as an innovative draft wine system that is now standard at new locations.

by Tim Regan — August 23, 2016 at 9:00 am 0

Photo by Studio FBJ Photography

Elizabeth Peace — also known as Mrs. Arlington and Mrs. Virginia — wants to become Mrs. America, but she doesn’t care much about the recognition that comes with the title.

Instead, she wants to help make the world a better place by using the pageant as a platform to educate people about preventing child sex abuse.

Peace, who lives in South Arlington, will spend this week in Las Vegas rehearsing, donning evening gowns and answering judges’ questions, all in an effort to win the Mrs. America crown.

A native of Idaho Falls, Idaho, Peace moved to Arlington in 2014 after her husband was sent to Japan on a military assignment. Though still somewhat new to the area, she won the title of Mrs. Arlington earlier this year. Months later, she was crowned Mrs. Virginia.

(The reigning Ms. Virginia also lives in Arlington.)

Peace said that getting into the world of pageantry was a little daunting at first, and not even her idea.

“Mrs. Virginia 2014 is a friend of mine,” she said. “She is the one who asked me to compete for Mrs. Virginia. I said no at first.”

After all, Peace is pretty busy. She spends her days working as a communications director on Capitol Hill. On the side, she’s a facilitator with child sex abuse prevention organization Darkness to Light.

“That was something that I went through the majority of my childhood and that is why it matters so much to me,” Peace said. “The biggest thing for me is letting people know that… it doesn’t have to ruin the rest of your life.”

Once she realized she could use the opportunity to promote the things she feels strongly about, Peace said she was all in.

“I think most people would wonder… why in the world would you do a pageant?” she said. “When I realized what you can do with that title and how many people you can talk to, to me, it was worth it.”

And wearing evening gowns and walking in high heels can be fun, too, Peace said.

Could she beat out 51 other women to become Mrs. America? Peace said she feels like the odds just might be in her favor as they were when she won her previous titles.

“I feel like my chances are good,” she said. “If I don’t win, I still feel like I am going to go in there being 100 percent myself.”

If Peace wins top prize in Vegas, she’ll head to South Korea for the Mrs. World pageant.

Locals who want to watch this year’s Mrs. America competition can tune in on the pageant’s website this Sunday Aug. 28, at 8 p.m.

Photo by Studio FBJ Photography

by ARLnow.com — August 22, 2016 at 11:40 am 0

The Arlington County Fair wrapped up its five days of annual summer fun on Sunday.

The fun was interrupted by a couple of rainstorms this year, but otherwise went off without a (reported) hitch.

Two of our Flickr pool’s best photographers, Kevin Wolf and Dennis Dimick, contributed some great shots from this year’s fair, above. Enjoy!

by ARLnow.com — August 22, 2016 at 10:20 am 0

Freecycle logoFreecycle.org is a website that allows members to give things away to neighbors for free. It’s like Craigslist, but only for free stuff.

The Freecycle group for Arlington has nearly 3,500 members and more than 550 items offered either for giveaway or as “wanted.”

Among the recent items: a replica of the Declaration of Independence, a broken necklace, a bunch of unwanted coffee filters and a rug that’s had black paint spilled on it.

But one particular, unique item on the site caught a reader’s eye: a life-sized poster of communist revolutionary Vladimir Lenin.

The “souvenir from Soviet times” is more than six feet tall and is in “very good condition.” It’s available for pick up from a home in the Lyon Park neighborhood, near Clarendon.

“Only in Arlington,” said the reader who spotted it.

by Tim Regan — August 18, 2016 at 5:00 pm 0

My Arlington app screenshot, photo via Arlington County 2Arlington residents are now able to check the status of road work, look at traffic conditions and access information on local real estate development projects on the County’s mobile app.

The county this week added these and a few other new features to My Arlington, the app for iPhone and Android devices that launched in February.

Users can now use the app to access real-time information on paving and milling operations on county-owned streets, view traffic camera feeds and get traffic updates using data from Google Waze, said Shannon Whalen McDaniel, a communications manager for Arlington County.

“County staff enters data into Waze daily, noting if a street is partially or fully closed, along with an estimated time of completion,” Whalen McDaniel added.

Other recent additions to the My Arlington app include:

  • Voting information, with Arlington polling and precinct locations.
  • A county staff search directory.
  • Information on development projects with county site plans.
  • Notices about stop work orders and unsafe buildings.

Screenshot via Arlington County

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