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Podcast: Scott Parker and Alex Trakas of BASH Boxing

Local nightlife king Scott Parker is branching into fitness, launching BASH Boxing with fitness instructor and manager Alex Trakas.

We asked Parker and Trakas about their new venture, which officially opens on Friday, Nov. 16 in Rosslyn and is also coming to Ballston Quarter mall. We also talked with Scott about the state of the local bar scene and about that time the Washington Capitals brought the Stanley Cup to Don Tito in Clarendon.

Listen below or subscribe to the podcast on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher or TuneIn.

Courtesy photo

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New ‘Open Road’ Restaurant in Rosslyn Skyscraper Pushes Back Opening to Next Year

A new bar and restaurant bound for the ground floor of the CEB Tower in Rosslyn is pushing back its opening date slightly, now aiming to start serving patrons next year.

The Metropolitan Hospitality Group, which also operates Circa Bistro in Clarendon, announced plans to bring a second “Open Road” restaurant to the area last summer. The firm had hoped to open it up sometime this fall, but MHG President Matt Carlin told ARLnow that “the permit process has definitely taken longer than we thought.”

But he says the project is still moving forward, and the company is “expecting our permit at the end of the month.”

“Then it will be approximately [a] six-month buildout,” Carlin wrote in an email. “And [we’re] hoping to open in May/June 2019.”

The company first brought the concept, which features a vast beer selection and Southern-style menu options, to Merrifield several years ago. However, Carlin says the Rosslyn location will be a bit different than the original.

The restaurant itself will be located in the plaza area directly in front of the building, with awnings and outdoor seating accompanying it. Then, below the plaza, MHG is also planning a separate bar attached to the restaurant dubbed “Salt,” which will be accessible via N. Lynn Street.

The tower itself is the largest building in Rosslyn, and only just opened last year. It’s currently in the process of adding new office tenants, and has already signed other retailers including Compass Coffee and Cava.

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County’s Vacuum Leaf Collection Starts Next Week

Get ready to start raking in the leaves: the county’s leaf collection starts next Monday (Nov. 12) for some neighborhoods and continues through mid-December.

The vacuum truck will operate Mondays through Saturdays, except for Thanksgiving, and will complete two sweeps on a set neighborhood schedule. The first pass runs from Nov. 12 to Dec. 4. Immediately afterward the second collection pass begins and run until Dec. 20.

Look for yellow signs posted three to seven days ahead of the first pass and then orange signs for the second one. Leaves should be at the curb at the start of the collection window and stay there until they are collected.

Residents can prepare for leaf collection by raking leaves to the curb — and away from storm drains and water meter covers — the weekend before the scheduled collection. The brochure reminds residents to remove stones, branches, litter and other debris from the pile and to reduce fire hazards by not parking cars on leaf piles.

Residents can also recycle leaves by placing them in green organics carts or paper yard bags at the curb by 6 a.m. for pickup on regular trash collection days. The weight cut off is 50 pounds for bags and 200 pounds for carts. The recycled leaves become nutrient-rich mulch that residents can pick up for free either at the Solid Waste Bureau near SHirlington or near Marymount University at 4712 26th Street N.

The county will not collect leaves in plastic bags.

“Yard trimmings collected in Arlington County are composted and used to make top soil for use in county projects. Plastic bags and other inorganic materials contaminate the end product,” a blurb on a county brochure reads.

The county’s free bag distribution started last week (Oct. 29) and runs until Jan. 18 while supplies last at the following locations:

  • Aurora Hills Community Center, 735 18th Street S., 703-228-5715
  • Courthouse Plaza, 2100 Clarendon Blvd, 703-228-3000
  • Lee Community Center, 5722 Lee Hwy, 703-228-0552
  • Long Branch Nature Center, 625 S. Carlin Springs Road, 703-228-6535
  • Madison Community Center, 3829 N. Stafford Street, 703-228-5310
  • Solid Waste Bureau, 4300 29th Street S., 703-228-6570
  • Thomas Jefferson Community Center, 3501 2nd Street S., 703-228-5920

Flickr pool photo via wolfkann

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Barley Mac Waiter Lauded for Saving Patron from Choking on Cauliflower

Barley Mac is earning high marks from diners these days for perhaps the best possible reason — one patron says a waiter at the Rosslyn restaurant saved her life a few months back.

A woman with the Yelp username “Taylor E.” posted a review of the eatery last Thursday (Nov. 1), awarding Barley Mac a full five stars not only for a quality meal, but in commemoration of the time a server at the restaurant saved her from choking on a particularly large piece of cauliflower.

“I immediately stood up and began to choke, needing immediate [Heimlich] assistance,” she wrote. “The waiter immediately ran to me and gave me the proper assistance and saved me from passing out. He was so helpful and really was prepared for the situation at hand.”

Milos Mihajlovic, now a manager at Barley Mac, says he remembers the incident quite well — after all, it isn’t often he gets a chance to save a life. He estimates it happened around lunchtime five or six months ago, when he was still waiting tables at the restaurant.

“I was taking care of another table right next to it, and everyone stepped away from the table and started screaming,” Mihajlovic told ARLnow. “The girl was in tears and her friends were yelling that she couldn’t breathe.”

Luckily, Mihajlovic once worked as a lifeguard, so he says he was no stranger to the Heimlich maneuver. Between that and the training he received upon starting at Barley Mac, he says he was able to get Taylor breathing again after just a few seconds.

“It was this huge piece of cauliflower that got stuck in her throat,” Mihajlovic said. “She started crying after that and was so thankful… and all her friends left a very generous tip.”

Mihajlovic says he’s even seen Taylor return to the restaurant since that fateful day, so it would seem the incident hasn’t dissuaded her from returning to Barley Mac. He adds that it’s not exactly commonplace to need to leap into action as he did with her, but he’s been sure to be vigilant ever since.

“We always tell our servers to always it have on their mind that if something like that happens, you need to be there to help,” Mihajlovic said.

File photo

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Ballston Shake Shack to Open This Weekend

At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 2018, the new Ballston Shake Shack will open its doors.

The company says it’s planning to open its new location at Ballston Exchange (4201 Wilson Blvd) at 11 a.m. on Sunday, which only coincidentally coincides with the 100th anniversary of the World War I armistice.

Shake Shack is donating proceeds from its soft opening and a portion of sales of one of its desserts to Arlington’s Lucky Dog Animal Rescue, the company said in a press release. A t-shirt giveaway will also be held on opening day.

More from the press release:

Spreading the Shack love! Shake Shack® is thrilled to announce it will open the doors to a new location in the heart of Ballston on Sunday, November 11th at 11 a.m. The Shack will be located at 4201 Wilson Blvd Suite 0180, Arlington, Virginia 22203 in the prominent Ballston Exchange development.

Shake Shack is a critically acclaimed, modern day “roadside” burger stand known for its 100% all-natural Angus beef burgers, chicken sandwiches and griddled flat-top dogs (no hormones or antibiotics – ever), fresh-made frozen custard, crispy crinkle cut fries and more. A fun and lively community gathering place with widespread appeal, Shake Shack has earned a cult-like following around the world.

In addition to the classics, the Ballston Shack will be spinning up a unique selection of frozen custard concretes:

  • Pie Oh My: Vanillas custard with a slice of Livin’ the Pie Life seasonal pie
  • Short & Sweet: Vanilla custard, salted caramel sauce, banana and shortbread cookie
  • Shack Attack: Chocolate custard, fudge sauce, chocolate truffle cookie dough, Mast Brothers Shake Shack dark chocolate chunks, topped with chocolate sprinkles

Guests can wash their burgers down with local brews from Port City Brewing Company and DC Brau, plus Shake Shack’s exclusive Brooklyn Brewery ShackMeister® Ale. Wine lovers can enjoy a glass of Shack RedTM and Shack WhiteTM wine from the Gotham Project.

As part of Shake Shack’s mission to Stand For Something Good®, The Ballston Shack will donate all proceeds from soft opening, as well 5% of sales from the Pie Oh My concrete throughout the life of the shack to Lucky Dog Animal Rescue, a volunteer-powered nonprofit dedicated to rescuing homeless, neglected, and abandoned animals from certain euthanasia and finding them loving forever homes.

The 2,803 square-foot Shack will feature an outdoor covered patio and ample seating for guests. In keeping with Shake Shack’s commitment to green architecture and eco-friendly construction, the Ballston Shack’s tabletops will be made by CounterEvolution using reclaimed bowling alley lanes; chairs will be designed by Uhuru using sustainable materials; and booths will be crafted by Staach using lumber certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

Snag some swag! The first 100 people in line when doors open at 11AM will receive a custom T-shirt — on us!

Shake Shack is now hiring full-time and part-time team members – no previous experience required! Apply online at ShackCareers.com

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Artists Paint New Murals on Exterior of Goody’s in Clarendon

Update, Friday at 8:30 a.m. — After this article was published, a county spokeswoman told ARLnow that zoning officials were “not aware of the mural at Goody’s.”

“A zoning enforcement inspector will be visiting the site to further investigate this matter,” spokeswoman Helen Duong wrote in an email.

Earlier: Artists are currently hard at work adorning the exterior of longtime Clarendon pizzeria Goody’s with some new murals.

The artwork depicts all manner of ingredients and menu offerings. Mushrooms, tomatoes and basil are all prominently featured, as are gyros and hamburgers.

Goody’s is adding the new exterior artwork roughly six months after new ownership took over the Clarendon institution and fully renovated its interior.

Its previous owners, Nick and Vanessa Reisis, sold the business back in April, leading to a brief closure for the pizzeria. The Reisis’s were long fans of seasonal drawings on the restaurant’s windows, though that artwork generally didn’t include the pizzeria’s walls as well.

Similar murals on Arlington businesses have attracted scrutiny from county zoning officials in the past. The county once tangled with Wag More Dogs on S. Four Mile Run Drive over a mural on its walls, which was deemed to be “advertising” that was therefore not allowed under local sign regulations.

There’s no word yet from a county spokeswoman on whether Goody’s might be subject to similar permitting requirements for its new artwork.

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Wendy’s on Columbia Pike Closes for Major Renovations

The Wendy’s on Columbia Pike has temporarily closed for major renovations.

Workers are currently in the process of fully overhauling the fast food restaurant, located at 3431 Columbia Pike, stripping away some of its exterior and clearing out its interior as well.

Signs on the property say that the Wendy’s is “closed for a refresh” and will be “opening soon.” A tipster first alerted ARLnow to the closure on Monday (Nov. 5).

The Wendy’s is one of three in the county, with other locations at 5050 S. Chesterfield Road and 5066 Lee Highway.

There’s also a restaurant just over the Fairfax County line in Seven Corners at 6349 Seven Corners Center.

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Smoothie Shop in Virginia Square Closes for the Season, Leaving Future in Doubt

Pulp Juice and Smoothie Bar has temporarily closed in Virginia Square — but that closure could someday become a bit more final.

The smoothie shop neighbored Extreme Pizza in retail space below the Virginia Square Towers apartments at 3444 Fairfax Drive.

The store closed for the season last Wednesday (Oct. 31) after losing $250,000 since it opened last year, a principal agent of the franchise for Pulp Juice and Smoothie told ARLnow, adding that the smoothie shop may come back to the space in March or close permanently.

The store had cash flow issues as it struggled with brand recognition in the area, he said.

Pulp Juice and Smoothie was a five-minute walk away from competitors Tropical Smoothie Cafe and JRINK. In addition to smoothies, the Arlington location sold cold wraps, side bowls, salads and fresh juices.

The Ohio-based company’s opening in Virginia Square last March marked the first store in Virginia for the franchise. Pulp Juice and Smoothie’s website lists 30 locations — one in Pennsylvania, one in South Carolina and 28 in Ohio.

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Health Food-Focused ‘Dirt’ Plans Expansion in Ballston Exchange Next Year

A new eatery coming to Ballston is inviting diners to eat “Dirt” — not quite literally, though.

The Miami-based restaurant plans to open its first location outside Florida in the Ballston Exchange development, located at 4121 Wilson Blvd, according to a press release.

Dirt will move into an 1,800-square-foot space in the office building, and expects to be ready for customers by spring 2019. The newly redeveloped building, once home to the National Science Foundation, will welcome a spate of new retailers in the coming months, including a Shake Shack, Philz Coffee and We the Pizza.

The chain’s backers were inspired to move to Ballston by “the energy of the neighborhood,” and the sudden proliferation of new businesses at both the Ballston Exchange and Ballston Quarter developments, the release said.

The restaurant is health-food focused, with offerings including breakfast dishes and toasts (both served all day), salads, bowls, smoothies, juices and even vegan “mylkshakes,” made with almond milk ice cream. Dirt will also offer a “full espresso bar and tea program,” the release said.

The eatery’s founders dub Dirt a “counter casual” restaurant, presenting it as a blend of a sit-down restaurant and up-scale fast food restaurants like Chipotle.

“We have a different service model than the omnipresent Chipotle-style assembly line that people have become inundated with,” JJ McDaniel, the chain’s director of operations, wrote in a statement. “You order at the counter, and although we don’t have formal servers, from there it’s very much a full-service experience. We bring your order to you, with real plates and silverware and linen napkins, check on you during your meal and clean your table after you leave. Trays and bus tubs are purposely absent from the Dirt dining experience.”

The Ballston location will be the chain’s third overall, after opening two restaurants in the Miami area starting in 2015.

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Bob and Edith’s on Columbia Pike Reopens, As Owner Insists Diner Will Stay Put

The original Bob and Edith’s Diner on Columbia Pike is back open after a brief closure for maintenance, and its owner is looking to reassure nervous fans that the restaurant isn’t going anywhere any time soon.

The diner closed for maintenance last Tuesday (Oct. 30), leaving would-be patrons a bit mystified. But Ryan Brown, a lawyer for Bob and Edith’s owner Greg Bolton, told ARLnow that the closure only lasted two days, to allow for the installation of a new grease trap.

He also stressed that the diner, located at 2310 Columbia Pike, “is subject to a long-term commercial lease,” in a bid to quell speculation that the restaurant could soon be on the move. Those rumors first started churning when the diner and its property was listed for lease in late September, but Brown made it clear that the nearly 50-year-old eatery isn’t in any danger.

“Bob and Edith’s has no plans to relocate or close that location, or any of its other locations,” Brown wrote in an email.

The restaurant chain previously made headlines when Bolton opted to buy a property along Lee Highway that was once home to Linda’s Cafe, in a bid to expand there in the near future.

Brown added that Bolton will have an update on that new eatery in the “near future.” He initially predicted that the new location could open either before the year is out, or in early 2019.

Beyond the Columbia Pike location and the planned expansion on Lee Highway, Bob and Edith’s operates restaurants in Crystal City, Alexandria and Springfield.

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Bethesda Bagels Opens Its Doors in Rosslyn

A new Bethesda Bagels location opened its doors yesterday (Nov. 6) across from the Rosslyn Metro station.

Located at 1851 N. Moore Street, this is the first location in Arlington for Bethesda Bagels, which has two shops in D.C. to go along with the original in Bethesda, Md., founded in 1982.

About 15 customers showed up for the store’s 6:30 a.m. opening, and “long lines” formed throughout the rainy morning, Danny Fleishman, president of Bethesda Bagels, told ARLnow.

Sandwiched between Nando’s and McDonald’s, Bethesda Bagels offers passersby a glimpse into the bagel-making process with a storefront window near the kitchen. Fleishman said he plans to put a counter by the window for seating.

The menu centers around its two dozen varieties of handmade, New York-style bagels. The shop offers an all-day breakfast menu of egg sandwiches and smoked fish sandwiches and “lunch goodies” including pizza bagels and “bagel dogs.”

For first-time customers, Fleishman recommends the egg sandwiches or the smoked salmon sandwich, which uses smoked fish from Ivy City Smokehouse in D.C.

“Everything we do is homemade and true New York-deli style and is delicious,” he said.

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Aabee Express Now Open at Pentagon Row

A new restaurant has opened at the Pentagon Row shopping center in Pentagon City.

Aabee Express is now serving Mediterranean cuisine in the former Nkd Pizza storefront. The diminutive restaurant, next to the F45 gym, opened on Nov. 1.

More from a press release:

Federal Realty Investment Trust (NYSE: FRT), recognized leader in the ownership, operation and redevelopment of high-quality retail based properties, announces today the opening of Aabee Express at Pentagon Row, a 300,000-square foot open-air shopping destination with a unique combination of specialty retailers, modern fitness concepts, best-in class spas and exciting restaurants. The new Mediterranean fusion style dining (Grab n’ Go) option will be open seven days a week from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. starting on November 1, 2018 and is located on 1101 S. Joyce Street.

Aabee Express is a chef driven restaurant with over 27 years’ experiences in gourmet food. The menu is produced homemade to order or pre-packaged prepared from whole food and unprocessed ingredients. Aabee Express accommodates vegetarian, vegan and gluten free customers with zero added preservatives, additives or MSG. The menu includes fresh soups, salads, kabobs, fresh baked flatbread, family portion platters, desserts and more. The restaurant will accommodate pick up (carry out), curbside pickup, catering, and delivery.

“Pentagon Row is truly a gathering place for locals and tourists alike. We largely credit that to our amazing dining and shopping tenants that provide an array of services to the community. We are thrilled to continue to build upon those options with the opening of Aabee Express,” said Kari Glinski, Director of Asset Management for Federal Realty Investment Trust.

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Coffee and Juice Bar Serving Up Smoothies, ‘Superfood’ Debuts in Clarendon

A new shop serving up smoothies, coffee and “superfood” recently opened in the lobby of an office building in Clarendon.

The Waterhouse Coffee and Juice Bar debuted last Tuesday (Oct. 30) with a soft opening for the office building tenants to sample the food and drink, Connie Kim, the owner and manager, told ARLnow.

Located at 3033 Wilson Blvd, customers use the street entrances on Wilson Blvd and N. Garfield Street or the sliding doors in the lobby of the office building to reach Waterhouse.

The tenants have come back since the soft opening, Kim said. While Kim said she is familiar with tenant customers from her first and, now-closed, business in the building shared by CNN and the U.S. Department of Education, these customers surprised her.

“I never knew tenants could be this intimate and regular,” she said.

The menu spans hot and cold coffee and teas to smoothies and freshly squeezed juice for drinks. The “natural fruit smoothies” are made from ice and fruit juice, while the “power boost smoothies” pack in about seven different ingredients, Kim said. Food options include toasts, salads, sandwiches, acai bowls and all-day breakfast.

“I wanted to do really good coffee, really good juice and smoothie bars, where it’s a very comfortable place,” Kim said.

The name “Waterhouse” popped into her head while sitting in an airport about four years ago, Kim said. Initially, she wanted to open a taco place, but then decided a coffee shop would be a better fit for the space by the Clarendon Metro station. Previous establishments at the space include a cafe and deli known for its vegan sandwiches and an Italian hoagie and Mediterranean food shop.

Waterhouse seats about 15 people inside the shop, with an additional 15 seats in the lobby. Kim plans to have four tables outside in the spring.

The shop is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day.

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Punch Bowl Social Looks Set to Open in Ballston Quarter Next Month

Punch Bowl Social, a combination bar and entertainment venue that’s a key part of the new Ballston Quarter development, now seems set to open its doors next month.

Details remain scarce on when the newly revamped Ballston Common mall will open its doors, with the development blowing past proposed opening dates in both September and October. But new ads for Punch Bowl Social posted inside the Ballston Metro station indicate the establishment is planning a “grand opening” on Dec. 8.

A spokeswoman for Punch Bowl did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether that date is accurate. The company’s website still lists the location as “coming soon.” The Ballston Quarter website also describes Punch Bowl as “coming soon,” without additional details.

What that means for the other retailers opening up in the development remains unclear, however. A spokeswoman for Forest City, the developer backing Ballston Quarter, said that the firm will have an update on when the whole development will open soon, but still doesn’t have a concrete date ready.

The restaurant first announced plans to expand to the new development two years ago, promising a 25,000 square foot space complete with “eight bowling lanes, one bocce court, three private karaoke rooms, a custom-built 360-degree bar” and more.

Punch Bowl operates 14 other locations across the country, in cities ranging from Atlanta to San Diego. It also is planning a D.C. location, set to open sometime next year.

Forest City has previously billed Punch Bowl as one of four companies set to transform the mall into an “entertainment hub.” The developer has previously announced a variety of other restaurants and retailers moving into the space, and had leased roughly 75 percent of the development as of September.

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Sichuan Wok in Ballston Appears to Have Closed

The Sichuan Wok Chinese restaurant in Ballston seems to have closed.

The restaurant, located at 901 N. Quincy Street, has been closed during normal business hours for the last two days and caution tape now blocks off its entrance. No one answered the phone at Sichuan Wok this morning (Friday).

Readers first alerted ARLnow to the closure yesterday (Thursday), and one tipster said movers were busy clearing out the restaurant.

The property has long been home to the restaurant, with county records suggesting it’s had the same owners since at least 1987.

County permit records don’t offer any indication of what might take its place.

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