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by ARLnow.com — February 12, 2016 at 3:45 pm 0

George Washington(Updated at 10:30 p.m.) County offices, courts and schools will be closed Monday for the Presidents Day holiday.

Officially called “George Washington Day” in Virginia, or “Washington’s Birthday” on the federal level, the holiday celebrates the birth of our first president, who was born on Feb. 22, 1732. Today, Feb. 12, is Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, which is often mashed up with Washington’s birthday for the colloquial Presidents Day.

All county government offices, courts, libraries and facilities will be closed Monday for the holiday. Parking meters and zoned parking will not be enforced. Trash and recycling collection, however, will continue as normal.

Other county-level closures or service modifications are noted on Arlington’s holiday schedule page.

ARLnow.com will not be publishing on Monday, except in the event of breaking news.

by ARLnow.com — February 12, 2016 at 1:30 pm 0

Sign announcing a new restaurant on the former El Rancho Peruvian Chicken eateryA sign on the recently-closed El Rancho Peruvian Chicken restaurant (3610 Columbia Pike) suggests that a new chicken eatery may be opening there soon.

The sign touts “Sofia’s Charcoal Chicken” as “coming soon.” The restaurant will also offer pupusas, tacos, burritos, baleadas, “and much more.”

The restaurant is just down the street from a new Chipotle location.

No word yet on when the new eatery may open. Attempts to find a phone associated with the new business were unsuccessful.

Photo courtesy Terry Belt

by Andrew Ramonas — February 11, 2016 at 3:50 pm 0

Arlington County has released a behind-the-scenes look at its battle against “Snowzilla” last month.

With the help of snowplows, a snow melting machine and other equipment, workers cleared 2.37 million cubic yards from area streets during the January blizzard. That’s enough to fill 47 football fields with 30 feet of snow.

But “fatigue becomes a big issue,” Mark Gundersen, the county’s operations manager, said in the video. Snow removal crews worked 12-hour shifts for seven consecutive days, he noted.

“We have great pride in all our staff,” Gundersen said. “The staff has great pride in what they do, and it shows in their work.”

Snowzilla Graphic (Image via YouTube/Arlington County)

Image via YouTube/Arlington County

by ARLnow.com — February 11, 2016 at 11:30 am 0

"Ballston Quarter" mall rendering

(Updated at 11:55 p.m.) It’s still somewhat business as usual at Ballston Common Mall, despite impending major renovations.

A number of stores, restaurants and the much-maligned movie theater remain open. But the scene will be changing this spring, when work on the project to convert aging shopping mall to a modern shopping center with open-air plazas, called Ballston Quarter, begins.

“Our schedule continues to proceed according to plans,” said Gary McManus, spokesman for Cleveland-based Forest City, the mall’s owner. “Forest City has not wavered from its plans and timeline to begin demolition on the Ballston Quarter site in May/June of this year.”

Mass store closures inside the mall were expected after the end of 2015, but many stores have remained open and intend to stay open until just before demolition starts.

“The stores that remain open are doing so at their request and we were able to accommodate that request as we wade through the permitting process leading to demolition in the spring,” McManus said. “It never was and still is not our intention for all stores at the mall to close.”

Businesses with an exterior entrance — Macy’s, Regal Cinemas, Rock Bottom Brewery, Noodles & Co., Panera Bread, Sport&Health Club and CVS Pharmacy — are expected to remain open during the renovations.

Construction is expected to take about two years and Ballston Quarter is expected to open in time for the holiday shopping season of 2018.

by ARLnow.com — February 9, 2016 at 5:15 pm 0

Rosslyn BID Executive Director Cecilia Cassidy at the 2011 Light Up Rosslyn CelebrationThe Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization has a new leader following the sudden resignation of former executive director Takis Karantonis last month.

Cecilia Cassidy has been tapped as the group’s interim executive director, effective immediately, CPRO announced today.

Cassidy was formerly the executive director of the Rosslyn Business Improvement District. She retired from that post in 2013.

In a press release, after the jump, CPRO notes that Cassidy is a longtime resident of Arlington Village, along the Pike.

(more…)

by ARLnow.com — February 9, 2016 at 11:55 am 0

Trendy salad purveyor Sweetgreen will be opening the doors of its new Crystal City location (2200 Crystal Drive) this Thursday, Feb. 11.

The store will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., offering organic salads and seasonal bowls. During the grand opening, Sweetgreen will be donating 100 percent of the day’s proceeds to FRESHFARM Market’s Matching Dollars program.

Another popular and growing local fast casual restaurant chain, Taylor Gourmet, is expected to open next door later this winter.

by ARLnow.com — February 9, 2016 at 10:00 am 0

El Rancho Peruvian Chicken, at 3610 Columbia Pike, appears to have closed.

A neighboring business owner told ARLnow.com that the restaurant closed a couple of weeks ago and has not reopened since. Inside the eatery around noon yesterday, the doors were locked and chairs placed on top of the tables.

No explanation was given for the restaurant’s closure and no signs announcing the closure were posted on the windows at the time of ARLnow.com’s visit.

El Rancho has had its share of problems over the years — there were at least two notable fires there since 2012.

by ARLnow.com — February 8, 2016 at 10:30 am 0

Mother Teresa / Tran Anh Phuong (photo via Snopes)The internet has inexplicably confused Mother Teresa with a Vietnamese resident of Arlington.

A viral image that has been making its way around the web since January, mostly via email, purports to be a photo of the late Catholic missionary at age 18.

In actuality, it is an old photo of a local resident named Tran Anh Phuong, who died in 2008.

Prolific online rumor killer Snopes could only find a tangential connection between the two women: an obituary of Phuong that included a quote from Mother Teresa, who died in 1997.

“God’s Gift to you is the Gift of Life. What you do with your Life is your Gift to God.” — Mother Teresa.

Our beloved Mother, Tran Anh Phuong, passed away on April 20, 2008 after a long illness. She was the eldest child of Reverend Te Ngoc Tran and Mrs. Tot Thi Nguyen. She resided in Arlington, VA for the past 33 years.

Our Mother attended Southeast Asia Union College in Singapore, majoring in English. From 1968-1972, while raising a young family, she served as a Vietnamese instructor at Ft. Bliss, TX preparing military officers to serve in Viet Nam. After a 19 year career as Executive Assistant for the Commission on Engineering and Technical System at the National Academy of Sciences, she retired in 1992.

by ARLnow.com — February 5, 2016 at 4:50 pm 0

The 2016 Crystal Couture fashion show and boutique sale is underway in Crystal City.

This year, the show is taking place at the Crystal City Shops at 1750 Crystal Drive. It features models walking the runway, sporting cutting edge fashions from local designers. There’s also music from DJ Neekola, a bar with beer and wine, and pop-up shops from designers and retailers.

Above are some photos from Thursday night’s event.

Crystal Couture will be taking place Friday from 6-10 p.m., with television’s Paul Wharton hosting, and Saturday from 2-10 p.m., with 94.7 Fresh FM’s Tommy McFly hosting. Local media personality Sarah Fraser hosted on Thursday.

(Fraser will also be hosting ARLnow.com’s conversation with new County Board members Katie Cristol and Christian Dorsey next week.)

Saturday’s event includes the option for indulging in a VIP experience.

Disclosure: Crystal Couture host Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser.

by ARLnow.com — February 5, 2016 at 1:30 pm 0

(Updated at 2:10 p.m.) The Johnny Rockets in the Pentagon City mall has apparently gone the way of sock hops and McCarthyism.

The 1950s themed burger-and-shake restaurant has been closed and boarded up for the past several days. While the Pentagon City location’s Facebook account is still publishing generic food photos, it has been removed from the company’s website and customers asking about the closure earlier this week have gotten no response.

There was no answer at the restaurant’s phone line. We’re still awaiting confirmation that the eatery has closed for good.

A Johnny Rockets in Shirlington closed last year.

Update on 2/6/16 — A PR rep for the mall writes in an email to ARLnow.com: “Johnny Rockets has been a valued eatery at Fashion Centre at Pentagon City for many years. We expect to make an announcement on plans for the space very soon. Further questions should be directed to Johnny Rockets.”

by ARLnow.com — February 4, 2016 at 11:15 am 0

Want to see for how much your neighbor just sold her house? That’s one of the streams of information in Arlington County’s new mobile app.

My Arlington, the recently-released app for iPhone and Android devices, “puts popular County information about events, real estate, permits and more in the palm of your hand,” says a county press release.

Among the noted features are:

  • “County Board and commission meetings, searchable by geographic location, date and other criteria”
  • “County sponsored events, searchable by geographic location, date, age group and other criteria”
  • “Permits information (status, permit type, description of work, contractor, location owner, etc.), searchable by geographic location and permit type”
  • “Real estate sales and assessment information, searchable by geographic location, price and property type”
  • “Newsfeeds for County Government and Arlington Public Schools”
  • “Alerts, including Arlington Alerts and transit-related alerts and updates for WMATA and ART”
  • “County contact information including links to the County’s Service Directory and a feedback form for the app”

“My Arlington is a terrific new tool that will help us better engage and communicate with our community,” Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz said in a statement. “We are already working on making the app even more robust – we think this, and other technologies we are looking into, will help us better serve residents and make County government more accessible and transparent.”

The county is “already working on adding more functions to the app, including: traffic disruptions, crime statistics and other useful information.”

My Arlington will supplement other county apps like the ArlingtonVA Service Requests app, which launched in 2014 and allows residents to report potholes, trash collection issues and other non-emergency problems.

by ARLnow.com — February 4, 2016 at 10:30 am 0

Sign at 'The Pink Palm' in McLean noting its move to Clarendon (photo courtesy Lindsey W.)Clarendon will be getting a new clothing and accessory store later this year.

The Pink Palm will be moving from Old Dominion Drive in McLean to the Market Common Clarendon shopping center, as soon as mid-to-late spring. The store will be located at 2871 Clarendon Blvd, in the former Knightsbridge Trading Co. space.

The Pink Palm stocks clothes, accessories and gifts for well-heeled customers from brands like Lilly Pulitzer, Barbour, Lifeguard Press and Natty Beau.

Aside from McLean, the company has existing locations in Alexandria, Bethesda, Charlottesville and Richmond. Its employees are known as the Pink Palmettes and its website lists four small, fluffy dogs as “store mascots.”

Photo courtesy Lindsey W.

by ARLnow.com — February 3, 2016 at 6:35 pm 0

Arlington Forest Fox (Flickr pool photo)Arlington County animal control is seeking a man and a woman who may have been the victim of a rampaging fox.

According to an unnamed witness, a fox apparently attacked a couple pushing a stroller on N. Glebe Road in the Chain Bridge Forest neighborhood, near the northern tip of Arlington.

Animal control officers would like to talk to the victims and are trying to locate the fox.

From an Animal Welfare League of Arlington spokeswoman:

Arlington County Animal Control is seeking information regarding a fox incident that occurred Tuesday, 2/2/16 in the 4400 block of North Glebe Road at approximately 11am.

A witness saw a man and a woman with a stroller who may have been attacked by a fox in the street. The man tried to scare the fox away and may have been bitten. Animal Control has posted flyers in the neighborhood.

If you have any information regarding this incident, please contact animal control immediately at 703-931-9241. In addition, if you see a fox acting abnormally in this area, please contact us.

A small cluster of fox attacks in the area close to the Arlington/McLean border have occurred. On Monday night two people were attacked by a fox on the Custis Trail at North Nelson Street.

Fairfax County police have also reported that a fox bit and scratched a woman in the 1400 block of Laburnum Street in McLean.

File photo

by ARLnow.com — February 3, 2016 at 3:50 pm 0

(Updated at 4:15 p.m.) Park Lane Tavern, a new European-inspired restaurant in Clarendon, opened for lunch this afternoon with some Scottish-inspired windy and rainy weather.

But that didn’t dampen the spirits of the restaurant’s four partners, who were all on hand for the opening and enthusiastic about their prospects in Arlington.

Located at 1200 N. Irving Street, tucked away on the ground floor of the Beacon at Clarendon apartment building, Park Lane Tavern is essentially across the street from Northside Social and just down the block from O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub.

Whereas if you were to speak to the owners of O’Sullivan’s you’d hear some authentic Irish brogue, the owners of Park Lane Tavern are all American. What they bring to the business, instead, is extensive restaurant industry experience and a good deal of European travels from which they gained inspiration for their expanding business. Just don’t call Park Lane Tavern a theme restaurant — call it “European inspired.”

“We’re not trying to be a themed business,” said Greg Knox, one of the partners. “Our inspiration for this business is the great pubs and taverns of Europe.”

The comfortable interior of Park Lane Tavern feels a bit more like an upper-middle-class country club than anything you’d find in, say, central London, but it is in fact modeled after an actual hotel bar in Paris, Knox said. He declined to reveal which one.

Continuing the pan-European inspiration, the interior includes typical pub carpeting from Britain and light fixtures from Spain — plus a modest collection of flat-screen TVs tuned to ESPN.

This is the third Park Lane Tavern location, but the closest yet to a major city. The others, which opened in 2009 as “The Pub” before being rebranded in 2012, are in Fredericksburg and Hampton, Va. The partners also own other eateries, from a Brixx pizzeria in Virginia Beach to a seafood restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Park Lane Tavern’s cuisine is described as “approachable comfort food” that’s “chef-y” but not overly presumptuous. Expect some familiar dishes from across the pond — bangers and mash, fish and chips, jagerschnitzel — along with a sizable menu of soups, salads, appetizers, burgers, pizzas and sandwiches that are mostly American with a sprinkling of European influence (think: fried Brie instead of mozzarella sticks.)

Prices are mid-range if not a bit lower for Clarendon: appetizers are in the $9-12 range, while burgers, pizza and sandwiches are in the $11-16 range. Entrees start at $15 and top out at $28.

On the beverage side, there are about two dozen draft beers sorted by country of origin, along with a rotating cask ale. Beer quality is a big focus: draft lines are cleaned weekly and all pint glasses are washed with filtered water before pouring. The restaurant’s “Beverage Bible” also includes a wine list, more than 40 Scotch whiskeys and a big selection of Bourbons and Irish whiskeys.

Imported draft beers range from $7 to $11, while a 3-6 p.m. happy hour brings the price of select draft beers and glasses of wines down to $5.

The Beverage Bible — a spiral-bound notebook of alcohol options — includes a page devoted to a curious creation: the “breakfast shot.” Take a shot of Jameson whiskey and butterscotch schnapps, followed by a shot of orange juice, followed by a piece of bacon, and it apparently tastes like a pancake breakfast. Despite the name, the shot is suitable for evening consumption, Knox assured us.

For those with a sweet tooth, the desserts are made to order. The signature dessert is a Jameson Irish Whiskey bread pudding.

Park Lane Tavern is open seven days a week, starting at 11 a.m. It’s open until midnight Sunday through Wednesday, until 1 a.m. on Thursday and until 2 a.m. on weekends. A Sunday brunch service is expected to begin next month.

by ARLnow.com — February 2, 2016 at 4:25 pm 0

3111 Columbia PikeThe name of the restaurant at 3111 Columbia Pike will be changing once again.

“Purple Ethiopian Restaurant & Lounge” will be opening at the location, according to a recent ABC license application. It’s the latest in a procession of eateries that double as nightlife spots to occupy the two-level restaurant space at 3111 Columbia Pike.

In the past, neighbors have been critical of excessive noise and crime at the location, which has at times hosted nighttime events. It didn’t help that a manager of Pines of Italy, one of the former establishments, apparently called Arlington County Board members “c-cksuckers” after a vote to revoke the restaurant’s live entertainment permit in 2014.

No word yet on when Purple might be opening.

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