by ARLnow.com — December 1, 2015 at 4:55 pm 0

Virginia DMV office on Four Mile Run Drive (photo via Commonwealth of Virginia)News that the Virginia Dept. of Motor Vehicles office on S. Four Mile Run Drive in Arlington will be moving to Fairfax County next year has stirred up controversy in both locales.

DMV and elected officials in Fairfax are planning a community meeting on Thursday to discuss the DMV office’s move to a busy shopping center along Columbia Pike, reports the Annandale VA blog. Locals there have expressed concern that the new DMV will cause traffic and parking problems in the area.

In Arlington, meanwhile, some residents are unhappy with the idea of having to trek out to Fairfax County to get a drivers license. In order to address the concerns of Arlington residents, Del. Alfonso Lopez (D) will be hosting a town hall meeting with DMV officials this weekend.

From a press release:

Delegate Alfonso Lopez (D-Arlington) is hosting a town hall meeting with Senior DMV Officials to discuss the relocation of the DMV Customer Service Center on Four Mile Run Drive in Arlington. The meeting will take place on Sunday, December 6th from 2:00 to 3:30 pm at the Walter Reed Community Center. The meeting will be an opportunity for members of the community to ask questions and learn more about the decision.

WHO: Delegate Alfonso Lopez, Senior DMV Officials

WHAT: A town hall meeting to discuss relocating the DMV office on Four Mile Run Drive

WHEN: 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm

WHERE: The Walter Reed Community Center’s multipurpose room (2909 16th St S, Arlington, VA 22204)

by ARLnow.com — December 1, 2015 at 3:50 pm 0

(Updated at 4:30 p.m.) A new Hawaiian-inspired restaurant has opened in Shirlington.

Hula Girl Bar and Grill, a restaurant based on a popular food truck, originally opened last week at 4044 Campbell Avenue. It closed unexpectedly over the weekend due to a power issue, but reopened for dinner last night (Monday).

Hula Girl’s furnishings are unmistakably Hawaiian, down to flip flops on the wall, surf boards hanging from the ceiling, Spam cans on the tables, surf films on the TVs and the Outrigger Canoe Club hat on chef/owner Mikala Brennan’s head.

The food menu includes Poke, a Hawaiian raw fish dish, along with a Hula Girl teriyaki plate, grilled mahi-mahi and barbecue ribs. There are also salads, sides and desserts to choose from, all island inspired.

On the beverage menu, beers from Maui Brewing and Kona Brewing are featured along with local brews. A wine menu has selections from relatively exotic non-Hawaiian locales: Texas, New York, Michigan, New Mexico and Maryland, among other more standard winemaking regions.

The cocktail menu includes plenty of tropical fruit and names like “Hawaii Kai Margarita,” “Blue HI,” “Say Pineapple 5X Fast” and “Never Below 75,” along with a signature Hula Girl Mai Tai.

While overworked, Brennan said she “feels great” about the new brick and mortar extension of her food truck vision.

“I had been looking for a location for 2 years — and we finally found our home here in Shirlington,” she told ARLnow.com. “The community has been so supportive and positive with us opening — feels like the Aloha Spirit is coming alive!”

Hula Girl is currently open Sunday through Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 5 to 11 p.m. Lunch service is expected to begin “late December.”

by Jennifer Currier — December 1, 2015 at 1:45 pm 0

With the local craft beer trend on the rise in Arlington, another homegrown brewery is working to open its doors before the new year.

New District Brewing Co. — formerly known as Metropole Brewing Company — is on track to open its 2709 S. Oakland Street location by the end of the month. The brewery is off S. Four Mile Run Drive near the Shirlington dog park and the W&OD Trail.

The 5,200 square foot space was formerly home to a moving and storage company. The garage-style building is now in the final stages of being repurposed into a fully-operational brewery with short- and long-term cold storage, a bar with 12 taps, a tasting room with tables and seating, as well as a small retail space.

Though he couldn’t give an exact opening date, co-owner Steve Katrivanos said the small company is now working on the final touches.

“We have a clear vision for what we want to do,” he said. “We’re still developing our brand as we finish up packaging and labeling. Still, we’re pretty confident in a late-December open date.”

Katrivano’s brother, Mike, first had the idea to start a brewery, and rumors of its opening started in March. The company is owned and operated by the two brothers, their father and one of Mike’s college friends. Katrivanos said they’ve also been fortunate to have the help of other family and friends to have their vision realized.

“We’re very much a DIY organization that’s been building up for quite some time,” he said. “My brother’s an electrical engineer by school, and he can build about just about anything. I’m sure he’s saved us hundreds of thousands of dollars and he’s done such a good job.”


by ARLnow.com — December 1, 2015 at 12:30 pm 0

Christmas decorated home at N. Abingdon and 16th (Flickr photo by Craig Pennington)

A North Arlington house has been named one of the “15 Most Decked-Out Holiday Homes in America.”

The house, on N. Abingdon Street at 16th Street N., near Virginia Hospital Center, is a perennial draw around holiday time. It features an array of lights, wreaths, Santa Clauses and other Christmas decorations.

The website MSN.com listed the house as No. 11 on its list of the 15 most outlandishly-decorated holiday homes in the U.S.

Flickr photo by Craig Pennington

by Jennifer Currier — December 1, 2015 at 11:30 am 0

A long-vacant Cherrydale strip mall storefront, once slated to become a gun store, has been brought to life as a pop-up vintage gift shop.

NOVA Firearms cancelled its lease and its plans to add a location at 2105 N. Pollard Street this summer, following an uproar that pitted concerned residents against both local and national gun enthusiasts.

This holiday season, however, what was once an ideological battleground is now a temporary shop.

POP Vintage opened this past Friday as a vintage shop, featuring collected, donated, estate sale and consigned items, ranging in price from $2 to $20,000. It will be open every day from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. now until Christmas Eve.

“This is a place where people can sell, barter and trade their items openly and safely, they just have to do it by Christmas,” owner Olympia Hantzopoulos said.

The store is the Rosslyn resident’s first time operating a pop-up. It’s also her first time dealing with a space with such a heated history.

Hantzopoulos said she doesn’t go a day without hearing about what the store could’ve been.

“It was such a difficult issue for both sides,” she said. “Just this Saturday two women got in an argument in the store, which was full of customers, disagreeing over whether this space should be a gun store or not.”

Despite some leftover bitterness from the gun store debate, it hasn’t stopped customers from shopping. Hantzopoulos said her first weekend open was quite busy and the experience has been a positive one so far.

“I’m overwhelmed by the community support,” she said. “I think being here and having something here is doing a lot of good for the neighborhood.”

This also isn’t Hantzopoulos’ first time working with vintage and collectible items. She also owns Miracles in the City, a hair salon in Rosslyn that’s been open for nearly 20 years. The salon also has a small boutique where Hantzopoulos sells vintage jewelry, and all profits from jewelry sales are donated to charity.

She’s adopted the same charitable model for POP Vintage — any proceeds taken in beyond what’s needed to pay the lease will be donated to charities that support women and children in the United States and around the world.

One organization Hantzopoulos plans to support sends donations to an orphanage in Afghanistan, and another provides school supplies for local students. Hantzopoulos said helping in any way she can has always been a priority.

“Thinking about the reality of how little some people have just makes me miserable,” she said. “But you can’t dwell on that, you have to just do what you can do and trust it’s helping.”

From jewelry, to paintings by D.C. artists, to chandeliers, to one-of-a-kind rugs handmade in the Middle East, to tea sets and much more, Hantzopoulos has collected enough items to offer a little bit of everything for holiday shoppers. She knows where they came from, who they belonged to and why, in her opinion, they’re valuable.

“That’s the thing about vintage,” she said. “Everything has a story. It just so happens this space does, too.”

by ARLnow.com — December 1, 2015 at 10:30 am 0

Public Shoe Store, at 3137 Wilson Blvd, will be closing soonUpdate at 4:35 p.m. — Public Shoe Store is still open, says owner S.H. “Doc” Friedman’s daughter. “Public Shoe is still operating and will continue to do so for another few months,” Karen Friedman Widmayer said this afternoon. In April, Friedman told ARLnow.com that the store would close by the end of the summer.

A new 7-Eleven store is coming to the heart of the Clarendon business district.

Permits have been filed for a 7-Eleven at 3137 Wilson Blvd, the former Public Shoe Store, which closed earlier this year is preparing to close after 78 years in business.

So far, it’s early in the permitting process and there’s no word as to when the store might open.

This will be the sixth 7-Eleven store within a half mile or so. The nearest store is a couple of blocks away, at 3000 Washington Blvd. Another is located at 2704 Washington Blvd, and three are clustered around the Virginia Square Metro station.

Hat tip to Chris Slatt

by ARLnow.com — November 30, 2015 at 3:30 pm 0

MakeOffices, the recently-renamed shared workspace company that got its start in Rosslyn, is planning to open a new flagship coworking space in Clarendon.

MakeOffices is constructing a new, 40,000 square foot, 550 seat office space on the second floor of 3100 Clarendon Blvd, across from the Clarendon Metro station and the Trader Joe’s.

The building, which is also home to running retailer Pacers and nightlife staples Mister Days and Mad Rose Tavern, formerly housed the high-security Defense Intelligence Agency.

MakeOffices Clarendon is expected to feature high-end interior furnishings, multiple conference rooms, two “bullpen” shared office spaces, dozens of private offices and a large central pantry/coffee bar.

It will be MakeOffices’ largest coworking space in the D.C. area, we’re told. (The company’s original office in Rosslyn remains open but is much smaller than its newer locations.)

The Clarendon location is expected to open in April. It is one of a number of new offices the company is planning, in D.C. and other major North American cities.

In the D.C. area, MakeOffices just opened a new coworking space in Reston and has another in the works in Logan Circle. The company also has plans to open offices next year in Chicago and Philadelphia, to be followed by new outposts in New York City and Toronto.

MakeOffices, meanwhile, will be getting some competition in Arlington, albeit a few miles away. WeWork, the largest company in the fast-growing coworking industry, is planning to open a new location in Crystal City this spring.

Disclosure: Local News Now, the publisher of ARLnow.com, has offices in MakeOffices locations in Arlington and D.C.

by ARLnow.com — November 30, 2015 at 12:00 pm 0

Chipotle Mexican Grill has opened its first Columbia Pike location in Arlington.

The burrito chain is now open at 1002 S. Glebe Road, on the ground floor of the 3400 Pike apartment building at the corner of Glebe and the Pike.

The restaurant opened to relatively large crowds, at least for the weekend after Thanksgiving. Service was sluggish as employees received on-the-job training.

The new Chipotle’s hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. Online ordering and pickup is available. The restaurant is still in the process of getting its state liquor license in order to serve beer.

Chipotle faces competition from local favorite Pedro and Vinny’s, the tiny but mighty burrito stand a few blocks down the Pike in a CVS parking lot.

by ARLnow.com — November 30, 2015 at 10:00 am 0

Virginia DMV office on Four Mile Run Drive (photo via Commonwealth of Virginia)The Virginia Dept. of Motor Vehicles office at 4150 S. Four Mile Run Drive in Arlington is slated to close next year and move to Fairfax County.

The DMV office will move to the Barcroft Plaza shopping center, at 6345 Columbia Pike in the Falls Church section of Fairfax County, about four miles away from its current location.

The new DMV is expected to open “by late spring,” at which time the Four Mile Run location will close, said DMV spokeswoman Brandy Brubaker.

Arlington County will retain its DMV Select office at the county government building in Courthouse (2100 Clarendon Blvd). The DMV Select office offers various vehicle titling and registration services, but does not issue driver’s licenses, learners permits or ID cards.

Photo via Commonwealth of Virginia

by ARLnow.com — November 25, 2015 at 4:30 pm 0

Thanksgiving wishes at Arlington Auto Care (photo by Katie Pyzyk)The ARLnow.com team, along with our contractors and freelancers, wish you and your family a happy Thanksgiving.

We’ll be back on Friday with local news coverage that you can perhaps read while standing in giant checkout lines at the mall.

In the meantime, get ready to enjoy a couple of days of free parking: metered parking and residential zone restrictions will not be enforced in Arlington on Thursday or Friday, according to the county’s list of holiday closures.

County offices, schools and courts will remain closed until Monday. Recreation centers will be closed Thursday and Friday, and will resume normal hours on Saturday.

ART buses will operate on a holiday schedule. Trash and recycling collection will not take a day off — it will go on as normal and cart off scores of turkey carcasses and other Thanksgiving dinner detritus as you sleep off your food coma.

Gobble, gobble!

by Jennifer Currier — November 25, 2015 at 3:30 pm 0

Christmas decorations outside of Nordstrom at Pentagon City mall

There are only a couple of days left to finalize Black Friday shopping plans, so it’s time to take stock of what’s open and when.

The biggest mall in Arlington, the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, has announced its holiday hours and specials for holiday shoppers. The mall’s hours for this weekend are:

  • Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26 — 6 p.m. – Midnight
  • Black Friday, Nov. 27 — 6 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Nov. 28 — 9 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, Nov. 29 — 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

On Friday, the first 100 shoppers who check in at Guest Services at the mall will receive a “Holiday Shopping Survival Kit.” The kit will include water, mints, snacks and store promotions.

Additional sales, deals and promotions will continue to be posted on the mall’s Facebook page.

by Jennifer Currier — November 25, 2015 at 11:15 am 0

The Optimist Club's Christmas Tree sale at 2213 N. Glebe RoadThe end of Thanksgiving dinner can be a signal to begin Christmas preparations, starting with getting a tree.

From grocery stores to community organizations, Arlington residents have a number of options for finding the right tree.

Local Christmas tree sales aren’t particularly well-publicized online, so for many residents the strategy is to go to where they bought their tree last year.

Here are some places in Arlington County that have been reliable vendors over the years from which to pick up your annual fir.

The annual tree sale in the Wells Fargo Bank lot along Lee Highway will open this Saturday. Its hours are from 2-8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 12-8 p.m. on Friday, and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

The Knights of Columbus will sell trees at this church near Crystal City from 6-9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on the weekends. An opening date wasn’t specified, but the sale will run through Dec. 20 or until the trees are gone, whichever comes first.

Another local Knights of Columbus organization will be selling trees in Arlington this season. Signs for the sale are up along Glebe Road, across from the Mr. Wash car wash. Last year, the sale was open seven days a week, from 6-9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on the weekends.

In previous years, this sale began during the first week of December and sold out in less than two weeks. The troop’s sale does have a Facebook page to follow for updates.

  • Food Star parking lot, 950 S. George Mason Drive

The Arlington South Lions Club has sold Christmas trees here for years, typically from the day after Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve.

  • Unleashed by Petco parking lot, 5400 Lee Highway

Christmas trees are sold from this lot along N. Harrison Street, along with other seasonal items, like fireworks around the Fourth of July and pumpkins around Halloween.

If you’re in Clarendon or Courthouse and on the car-free diet, this is the place to go. The trees tend to be on the smaller side, which presumably makes carrying them home easier.

  • Local farmers markets

Local farmers markets often stock Christmas trees, some of which are grown right here in Virginia. Here’s a list of farmers markets in Arlington.

Other popular locations just outside of Arlington include the Home Depot in Falls Church, Greenstreet Gardens on W. Braddock Road near Fairlington and Merrifield Garden Center on Lee Highway in Fairfax County.

Know of any other Christmas tree sales in the area? Let us know in the comments.

by ARLnow.com — November 24, 2015 at 3:30 pm 0

A new Potbelly Sandwich Shop in Rosslyn is planning to open its doors next week.

The restaurant, at 1735 N. Lynn Street, is set to officially open on Tuesday, Dec. 1. It will also be open for a lunchtime “oven-warming” on Monday, with 100 percent of proceeds going to nearby Key Elementary School.

In addition to offering sandwiches, shakes and salads, Potbelly plans to host live music from local performers.

The company, which has more than 300 locations in the U.S., issued the following press release about the Rosslyn opening.

Potbelly Sandwich Shop announced today the opening of a new location in Rosslyn at 1735 N. Lynn St. Set to open on Tuesday, December 1st, the widely acclaimed neighborhood hangout will feature its toasty warm sandwiches, hand-dipped milkshakes, tasty made-to-order salads and live, local music, which make it “The Best Place for Lunch.”

Earning a reputation in neighborhoods across the United States for having delicious food, fun décor and local musicians performing, Potbelly shops are also well known for their friendly and lively people. Khaled Elmeligy, the general manager of the new sandwich shop, has worked with Potbelly for two years.

“We look forward to becoming Rosslyn’s favorite neighborhood sandwich shop,” said Elmeligy. “Our toasty, warm sandwiches, hand-dipped milkshakes and market-fresh salads, will give guests the perfect lunchtime escape.”

Potbelly Sandwich Shop fans have grown to adore the brand while visiting its nearby shops in Ballston. Known for its good vibes in addition to great sandwiches, live music has been a part of the Potbelly experience since the first shop opened in 1977. Neighborhood musicians put a little rhythm into lunch at Potbelly Sandwich Shops around the country. Interested performers in and around Arlington should contact the new shop manager to apply and to schedule an audition.

“There is no doubt we are going to be a welcome addition to the area,” Elmeligy added. “We have already heard from a few locals who are excited to have us open. It won’t be long before our friends, families and neighbors in Rosslyn are calling Potbelly Sandwich Shop home.”

To celebrate the launch of the new location, Potbelly Sandwich Shop will host its traditional oven warming event. The shop will donate 100 percent of proceeds from the pre-opening event to Key Elementary School. The fundraising celebration will occur on Monday, November 30th between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. for lunch.

The new Potbelly Sandwich Shop includes about 20 staff members, ranging from customer service to managers. The shop will be open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. from Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Delivery service will be available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays with minimum orders of $25.

by ARLnow.com — November 24, 2015 at 11:00 am 0

Those who work and shop in Clarendon have a new parking option.

A new surface parking lot opened earlier this month in the empty lot along Wilson and Clarendon Blvd, between the Whole Foods and PNC Bank.

The lot is being operated by Crystal Parking, a local parking firm owned by Abraham Melles.

Melles said the new parking facility will allow the otherwise empty lot and eye sore generate revenue and help to alleviate parking issues in the neighborhood. He said the company will also consider offering a car wash service for customers.

The rate for parking is $2 for 0-30 minutes, $5 for 30-60 minutes or $6 for all day.

Melles has other local parking ventures he’s working on. In the “near future” he’s hoping to open a 400-500 space lot in the Shirlington area — no word yet on where, exactly. And in January Melles plans to launch Vaalio, an “on demand valet parking app” that will allow users to request a valet to show up, park and then bring back their car wherever they’re going.

Justin Funkhouser contributed to this report.

by Jennifer Currier — November 24, 2015 at 10:00 am 0

A casual ramen and Asian small plates restaurant is set to open in Ballston next week.

Yona will open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. starting next Monday. It will also serve dinner beginning the following Friday, Dec. 4.

The new restaurant is owned by former “Top Chef” contestant Mike Isabella, who also owns two other Arlington establishments, Kapnos Taverna and Pepita. All three businesses opened this year in the same building, at 4000 Wilson blvd.

Unlike his other two eateries, Isabella won’t be the brain behind the food at Yona. That job is for Chef Jonah Kim.

“Yona is going to be more than just a way for Jonah to show off his mastery of Japanese and Korean flavors,” Isabella said in a statement. “We are creating a concept unlike anything in Northern Virginia. Ramen may be a humble dish, but it’s one that pays back the care and attention to detail a great chef can put into it.”

The menu Kim created features a handful of ramen options, but it also features several small plates and raw dishes, including fluke and smoked hamachi.

Kim said he thinks these items will complement each other well and bring something unexpected to the restaurant.

“There’s something about a truly substantial, warm bowl of soup that people don’t expect from a ramen place,” Kim said. “That’s still the focal point, but I think guests will be surprised by a non-traditional approach to it, especially with the cold dishes on the menu.”

A full drink menu will also be available, offering sake, cocktails, beer and wine.

The space itself can seat approximately 50 people at both communal and private tables. It also has an open kitchen and interior and exterior decorations inspired by Japanese and Korean influences.

Yona will be open from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.


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