Arlington, VA

Nicklas Backstrom is loving dad life in Arlington.

Last month Backstrom signed a new five-year, $46 million contract to remain with the Washington Capitals. In addition to being the second all-time scorer for the Caps and one of hockey’s top players, the 32-year-old Swede and father of two is an Arlington resident.

A video from the Caps’ “Beyond Hockey” series was recently posted on YouTube and shows Backstrom at home in his red brick, north Arlington house. He spoke highly of the neighborhood.

“We have lived here for 10 years, actually — or I have lived here for 10 years, and Liza has lived here for 7 or 8,” he said, referring to his fiancée.

“We love it around here, on typical days we usually just — kids go to school until 2 or 3 in the afternoon, and then keep them activated and run around,” he said. “That’s when they get the best sleep too.”

Backstrom purchased the home, near the Fairfax County border, for $2 million in 2010.

In the video, he also reveals that Liza is pregnant with the family’s third child. For her part, Liza says the family “has a lot of good neighbors.”

Backstrom is not the only Arlingtonian on the team to talk up the county on video. In October, Caps winger and Bash Boxing co-owner Tom Wilson, who signed his own $31 million contract extension in 2018, appeared in the Beyond Hockey series and spent much of the video driving around Arlington.

“The offseason always flies by, but when you drive in and Arlington’s buzzing you realize how much you’ve missed it here,” Wilson said. “It’s a great feeling to have a place like that that you’re fortunate enough to come back to every year. There’s lots of stuff to do.”

The Caps may play at Capital One arena in D.C., but the team’s offices and its practices are held at MedStar Capitals Iceplex in Ballston.

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A new premium cigar store is open in the Ballston neighborhood.

Cigar Unlimited (4215 Fairfax Drive) sells a wide range of premium cigars, which are handmade and rolled in dried tobacco leaves. The cigars are manufactured in Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic and the U.S., some of which are made specifically for the shop, Mo Fakhro, the owner, told ARLnow.

The store is the only cigar shop that has a personal relationship with their manufacturers in the D.C. area, Fakhro claimed.

“You’re not going to find [these cigars] anywhere else, except to come visit us in the store,” Fakhro said.

Fakhro also owned Cigar Connection, a shop previously located nearby, at the corner of N. Randolph and Fairfax streets in Ballston. The shop opened in 2004 but was forced to close in 2014 after the lease expired, Fakhro said.

The new store will include house blend cigars, which were not sold at the old store.

Cigar Unlimited is not fully stocked yet, Fakhro said, adding that the store plans to hold its grand opening sometime next month.

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The old warehouses that once stood along S. Eads Street, between 12th and 15th streets, are no more.

The buildings have been torn down over the course of the past month to make way for the first half of Amazon’s permanent HQ2, which is expected to open in 2023.

A Reddit user who lives near the site captured a unique, bird’s-eye view of the demolition, posting a minute-and-a-half video showing the warehouses being methodically leveled over time.

The video was shot on a GoPro in timelapse mode, the user said.

“Hopefully you signed like a 10 year price lock lease because your rent is probably going to skyrocket,” another user said in the comments.

Demolition for the Amazon invasion has started in Arlington – View from my apartment from nova

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Long-time Columbia Pike dance venue The Salsa Room is moving.

The Latin nightclub and bar at 2619 Columbia Pike will host its last party in Arlington on Saturday, March 7. It is moving to the current Palladium space at 1524 Spring Hill Road in Tysons.

The grand opening in Tysons is set for March 25, according to a social media post.

The loss of The Salsa Room will mean less nighttime activity along the Pike’s main business district. It is also the second major dancing and nightlife venue to close in Arlington following the recent closure of the Clarendon Ballroom.

“After 20+ years in Arlington, and countless, amazing memories, TSR would like to thank all of the artist, dancers, instructors, DJs and you for supporting us,” The Salsa Room said.

View this post on Instagram

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT.• WE’RE MOVING After 20+ years in Arlington, and countless, amazing memories, TSR would like to thank all of the artist, dancers, instructors, Djs and you for supporting us. We invite you to join us March 4-7 for the closing parties. Our new home will be in Tysons Corner. (1524 Spring Hill Rd McLean ,VA) Grand Opening Weekend & Get Your 2020 VIP Card Night March 25 -29. Tickets will go on sale Friday Feb. 21 www.tsrtickets.com Visit our social media for more details. @salsaroom 2619 Columbia Pike Arlington, VA #thesalsaroom #salsaroom #salsa #bachata#salsadancing #sensualbachata #zouk #bachatadancing#tsr #salsaclasses #bachataclass #bachatasensual #tsr #bachatademo #bachatadance #tsrinterviews #tsrangels @salsaroom

A post shared by The-Salsa Room (@salsaroom) on

Image via Google Maps

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(Updated at 12:10 p.m.) With In Style Pet Salon and Commonwealth Restorations coming to Williamsburg Shopping Center (2902 N. Sycamore Street) the retail block is now 100% full.

“It feels great,” said Nick Kalis, who runs the shopping center as part of the Kalis Development Corporation. “In years past, it was very normal, but retail leasing today is more of a challenge.”

Kalis said the In Style Pet Salon, a pet grooming location, should open sometime in the next 30-60 days. Commonwealth Restorations — a home design, renovation and construction firm — should open in 60-90 days, he said.

Kalis also emphasized that Commonwealth Restorations isn’t closing their office at 2430 S. Kenmore Street, but this second location will operate as more of a showroom and opportunity to interface with the public.

Kalis said challenges in the retail industry have led to more emphasis on service-oriented tenants for shopping centers.

“The bigger story here is that shopping centers face two challenges,” Kalis said. “A lot of people build these big warehouse parks with phony retail because they’re not properly zoned for a lot of uses but compete with us for tenants. The second challenge is every retailer in Arlington moving more to finding service-oriented tenants… So more and more, you’re finding service [and restaurants] in these shopping centers.”

Other tenants at the shopping center include Smoking Kow BBQ, Jin’s Dry Cleaner, Williamsburg Deli, 7-Eleven, Deli Italiano, Two The Moon, Peking Pavilion, Zinga Frozen Yogurt, Tenley Nails, United Bank and the Williamsburg Barber Shop.

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A lot has changed for Grace Rubinger, an Arlington native who has been working for Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) since she graduated college.

Rubinger started her career as an intern in Rep. Beyer’s office the fall after she graduated from Elon University in 2016, just before President Trump was elected. Four years later, she is now a legislative assistant to the congressman, working behind the scenes in various policy areas Rep. Beyer is passionate about.

She recently began taking on more responsibility in specific issue areas. Currently, she is handling the congressman’s work on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

“When we’re in session there will be any given number of hearings for that committee during the week,” Rubinger told ARLnow.
“I’ll spend my time preparing for [the hearings], reading the background materials and witness testimonies and then coming up with questions that I’d like for the congressman to ask the witnesses.”

Rubinger also advises the congressman when deciding which bills he should support.

Rubinger’s interest in politics goes back to her upbringing near Cherrydale, where she attended Taylor Elementary and Williamsburg Middle School. Politics was always right across the Potomac River, she said, and at home her parents were in tune with current events. There would often be a nightly discussion of the news at the dinner table.

Her interest in policy, however, was shaped at Elon. In her senior year, Rubinger wrote a thesis on the intersection between the Catholic Church’s view on birth control and the women’s movement.

“Writing that thesis and figuring out my own views was the turning point for me,” Rubinger said.

Rubinger’s tenure at Rep. Beyer’s office has come at a unique time in history. Her work as an intern began prior to the 2016 election, and has stretched into what is now the third presidential impeachment trial in American history — an impeachment process her boss has been particularly vocal about.

“It is interesting to look back and see how many things have changed,” said Rubinger.

“The one thing that I’ve noticed just in my different capacities in the office is just how much more engaged people are,” she said. “People are so outraged all the time about different things that are going on and I think [public engagement] is probably the one bright spot in everything that’s going on. People are reading the news more and staying more engaged and calling us and writing us more.”

“That is something that might have been missing beforehand,” she added.

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The lights are off at Stageplate Bistro (900 N. Glebe Road), but the tables are already set for the Ballston restaurant to reopen in March.

“We had to close to regroup to come back better than ever,” said general manager Mary Marchetti.

Marchetti said the restaurant had to close for hiring and staff training, as well as some internal reorganizing. It took a little longer than expected, she admitted, but they are planning for the reopening to coincide with the first day of spring on March 21.

Springing off that, Marchetti says there will be a new seasonal menu and she’s excited to open the patio back up for the warmer weather.

This isn’t the first time Stageplate Bistro, which opened in 2017, has had a brief hiatus. The restaurant was closed over the summer in 2018. Restaurants west of Glebe Road have lamented not getting the same attention as their eastern cousins, but Marchetti said she remains optimistic and is looking forward to reopening.

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It’s time for another Cupid update! As you know, we had a goal to raise $6,500 for Cupid’s care. Now after two days, multiple interviews and Cupid’s story reaching across the country, we just found out our current fundraising total – but you’ll have watch the video below to see how much money we have raised so far because of Cupid! Cupid continues to do well today and is switching between naps, snacks, and snuggles. He now has his own Instagram account, @savingcupid, where we will post daily updates. From now on we’ll just post weekly updates here on Facebook. We are so, so, SO grateful to everyone out there who has supported and/or donated because of Cupid…we are completely overwhelmed by your generosity and could not be happier to be a part of this community. THANK YOU!

Posted by Animal Welfare League of Arlington on Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Update at 5 p.m. on 2/20/20 — AWLA now says more than $80,000 has been donated.

Earlier: People have fallen in love with Cupid, an injured kitten brought to the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, and opened their wallets to help pay for his care.

The shelter near Shirlington received a call from a fellow animal rescue group in West Virginia on Friday — Valentine’s Day — that they had a seriously injured orange tabby that they were unable to care for. Cupid, as he was named, had been shot in the head with an arrow.

The Animal Welfare League brough Cupid to Arlington, paid for his expensive surgery, then asked the public for donations to help defray the costs.

AWLA set out to raise $6,500. In a Facebook post yesterday evening, above, the nonprofit’s CEO announced that it had received $65,000 from donors.

“This is fantastic… this is beyond my wildest expectations,” said AWLA CEO Samuel Wolbert, while making the dramatic reveal. “Thank you guys, Cupid is a fighter and as long as he’s fighting we’re going to do what it take to give him the care he needs.”

“Anything that we don’t use for Cupid, we’re going to be able to help so many other animals,” added AWLA spokeswoman Chelsea Jones. “We’re going to be able to say ‘yes’ when we get phone calls like this and to help when we need [to].”

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It’s that time of year again — spring is around the corner, Shamrock Shakes are officially back at McDonald’s as of today, and Girl Scout cookies are currently on sale all around Arlington.

So where can you restock on your favorite seasonal baked goods? As in years past, local Girl Scouts are setting up shop all over the county. Most cookie-selling stations are located around grocery stores and Metro stations.

Here are some of the places around town you can get your grubby hands on those delicious cookies.

  • Ace Hardware (2001 Clarendon Blvd) — Saturday, Feb. 22: 12-4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 23: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Arlington Soccer Tournament (3600 N. Harrison Street) — Saturday, Feb. 29, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Ballston Metro station (901 N. Stuart Street) — Weekdays: 3:30-7:30 p.m., weekends: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Cathedral of Saint Thomas More (3901 Cathedral Lane) — Sunday, March 1: 8 a.m.- 12 p.m.
  • Central Place Plaza Rosslyn (1800 N. Lynn Street) — Thursdays and Fridays: 4-7:30 p.m.
  • Crystal City Metro station (1750 S. Clark Street) — Weekdays: 3-7 p.m., weekends: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Courthouse Metro station (2100 Wilson Blvd): Weekdays: 3:30-7:30 p.m., weekends: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • East Falls Church Metro station (2000 Sycamore Street) — Weekdays: 3:30-7:30 p.m.
  • Giant Food (2501 9th Road S.) — Fridays: 4-8 p.m., Saturdays: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Giant Food (2901 S. Glebe Road) — Fridays: 4-8 p.m., Saturdays: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sundays: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Giant Food (3115 Lee Hwy) — Fridays: 4-8 p.m., Saturdays: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sundays: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Giant Food (3450 Washington Blvd) — Fridays: 4-8 p.m., Saturdays: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sundays: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Market Common Clarendon (2800 Clarendon Blvd) — Saturday, Feb. 22: 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 23: 1-5 p.m.
  • Market Common near Playground/B&N (2801 Clarendon Blvd) — Sunday, March 1: 1-5 p.m.
  • MedStar Capitals Iceplex (627 N. Glebe Road) — Saturdays: 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Sundays: 1-6 p.m.
  • Meridian Pint (6035 Wilson Blvd) — Friday, Feb. 21: 4-8 p.m.
  • Pentagon City Metro station (1200 S. Hayes Street) — Weekdays: 3:30-7 p.m., weekends: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Pentagon Centre (1201 S. Hayes Street) — Saturday, Feb. 22: 4-7 p.m, Sunday, Feb. 23: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Safeway (2500 Harrison Street) — Fridays: 4-8 p.m., Saturdays: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sundays: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Safeway (3717 Lee Hwy) — Fridays: 4-8 p.m., Saturdays: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sundays: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Safeway (1525 Wilson Blvd) — Sundays: 1-6 p.m.
  • Safeway (5101 Wilson Blvd) — Fridays: 4-8 p.m., Saturdays: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sundays: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Westover Market (5863 Washington Blvd) — Saturdays: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

You can find a full list of places where Girl Scouts are selling their wares here.

File photo

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Work is underway on a new “World of Beer” in Ballston, two blocks from its original location along N. Glebe Road.

World of Beer, a restaurant that offers a large selection of beer from around the globe, is coming to the former Ted’s Montana Grill space at 4300 Wilson Blvd. That’s just down the street from Crafthouse, which rebranded in 2017 after formerly being a World of Beer location.

Late last week workers could be seen inside the space, which had been largely cleared of the former Ted’s decor. As construction continues, World of Beer has already applied for a Virginia ABC permit; the filing suggests that the restaurant will serve beer, wine and cocktails and will have a seating capacity of more than 150.

The chain applied for construction permits this past fall. So far there’s no word as to an expected opening date.

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International foodies in Rosslyn will have another eatery option with the upcoming expansion of Fava Pot.

The restaurant — Egyptian Street Food by Fava Pot — is expected to open in September, just in time to celebrate the local chain’s 3rd anniversary, according to owner Dina Daniel.

The restaurant is rooted in Falls Church, where it has a sit-down location, and it also just opened a new pop-up in Union Market this past November. Before that, the eatery started as a food truck, which still frequents lunchtime hotspots Rosslyn, Courthouse, Ballston and Crystal City.

Daniel hasn’t yet announced exactly where the eatery will be located in Rosslyn.

We are still in negotiations,” she said, adding that they will likely announce its exact location in two to three weeks.  Still, she said that the eatery will have both sit-down options and food for take-out.

Unlike the Falls Church sit-down location, the Rosslyn location will be geared towards working professionals who have fast-paced workdays, according to Daniel.

“It is meant to be a quick bite but not fast food,” she said.

Over the years, Fava Pot has been the recipient of numerous awards and was recognized nationally for its food truck cuisine. All Fava Pot’s ingredients are made fresh in-house, according to Daniel.

Daniel said her favorite item is the Táamya, which she considers to be the eatery’s specialty. She called it an “Egyptian falafel” — the tiny ball has a crunchy exterior with a soft veggie-filled inside. Unlike other types of falafels, the snack is made with fava beans instead of chickpeas.

Yesterday (Feb. 13), Voice of America Asia featured Fava Pot on its YouTube channel as part of its Food Bites mini-series.

As an Egyptian immigrant, Daniel acts as a cultural ambassador for the community, helping people to experience new cuisines and understand more about Egyptian culture.

“I believe America has misconceptions of Egyptians,” she said, noting that Egypt has a distinctive cultural identity from the rest of the Middle East. The walls of the Falls Church location are covered with the stories of famous Egyptians, including athletes, academics and musicians.

To give back, some proceeds from the restaurant will go toward Coptic Orphans, an organization that assists underprovided kids in Egypt.

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