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by ARLnow.com — October 9, 2015 at 3:45 pm 762 0

The paper has been taken off the windows at Secret Chopsticks in Rosslyn, but when is it opening? Well, that’s a secret.

A restaurant representative declined to speak on the record to an ARLnow.com reporter this afternoon and declined to allow photography inside the soon-to-open contemporary Chinese eatery. Inquisitive members of the public, however, can walk up and see the interior for themselves by looking through the large plate glass windows.

Secret Chopsticks (1850 N. Fort Myer Drive) was originally slated to open last summer. We were told in August that construction and permitting delayed the opening by more than a year.

The restaurant will feature authentic modern Chinese cooking, Secret Chopsticks’ Robin Li said previously.

“Whatever they are cooking in China now, we are going to cook,” he said.

Update at 4:15 p.m. — Secret Chopsticks general manager Malia Milstead explains via email: “We are striving for perfection and want to do [a] preview for press in a couple of weeks.”

by Heather Mongilio — October 9, 2015 at 2:00 pm 0

Five photographers are inviting people to watch the evolution of Columbia Pike neighborhoods through the lens of a camera.

The photographers, who work as the Columbia Pike Documentary Group, have compiled photographs of Columbia Pike and the surrounding neighborhoods, taken over the last eight years, for a book, “Living Diversity: The Columbia Pike Documentary Project.” The group is also displaying 50 photos from the book as part of an exhibit at the Arlington Mill Community Center (909 S. Dinwiddie Street) next week.

“Photographers Lloyd Wolf, Aleksandra Lagkueva, Xang Mimi Ho, Paula Endo and Duy Tran (working as The Columbia Pike Documentary Project) us[ed] evocative images from their recently published book, ‘Living Diversity,’ to help the viewer experience the spirit of the Pike,” Arlington County said in a press release.

Living Diversity: The Columbia Pike Documentary Project will open as part of a pop-up art gallery at the community center on Saturday, Oct. 17. There will be a presentation to unveil the photographs at 3 p.m. The exhibit will run for a month.

The photographers will be joined by County Board members, chair of Arlington School Board Emma Violand-Sánchez and Del. Alfonso Lopez to unveil the new exhibit. After the presentation, the five photographers will be available for book signings.

The exhibit opening is free to attend, but guests are asked to register beforehand. Light refreshments will be served. Copies of the photography book can be found on Amazon for a little under $29 and will be available for purchase at the exhibit opening.

The exhibit will be open Monday through Fridays from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and on Sunday from 1-9 p.m.

by ARLnow.com — October 9, 2015 at 11:25 am 467 0

Starbucks at 2690 Clarendon BlvdStarbucks applied this week for a liquor license at its Clarendon cafe.

The license, if approved, would allow the Starbucks at 2690 Clarendon Blvd to serve beer and wine.

The company had earlier applied for Virginia ABC permits at two South Arlington locations, as part of the “Starbucks Evenings” program it’s rolling out. All three permit applications are still pending.

Starbucks Evenings stores will serve beer, wine and a selection of small plates at night, in addition to the usual coffee, tea, pastries and breakfast foods.

by Heather Mongilio — October 7, 2015 at 4:55 pm 656 0

Gun violence memorial at First Presbyterian ChurchThere will be 155 t-shirts on display on the lawn outside of the Rock Spring Congregational United Church of Christ starting Sunday, a memorial to those lost to gun violence in the D.C. area.

Each t-shirt represents a victim of gun violence in the District, Maryland and Northern Virginia in 2014. Each will have a name, age and date of death on it.

“The display is set up to encourage people to walk among the shirts and reflect on those victims and their loved ones,” Rev. Kathy Dwyer said.

The T-Shirt Memorial to the Lost will remain in place from Oct. 11-24. It’s part of a project led by Heeding God’s Call, an organization that advocates for “common sense” gun laws. The church has asked its members to help it set up the display after morning services this Sunday.

“It seems like every time we turn around there’s another act of senseless violence,” Dwyer said.

There will be 75 white shirts for D.C., 23 yellow shirts for Northern Virginia and 57 blue shirts for Maryland. Outside of the District, the victims are from places like Arlington County, Alexandria, Culpepper and Woodbridge in Virginia and Laurel, Ellicott City, Columbia and Gaithersburg, Maryland. Baltimore, which has a high rate of gun violence, is not included.

This is the second time the t-shirt memorial has been erected in Arlington, Dwyer said. First Presbyterian Church held the memorial last year. This year there are 11 fewer shirts.

Dwyer will discuss gun violence as part of her sermons on Sunday, Oct. 18 at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Members of the congregation have told Dwyer they want to do more than pray for a solution to gun violence, she said, a call that sparked the church to hold the memorial.

“[We see people] really reacting to the violence we see with more violence, and we want to be part of a different path,” she said.

The church has included national issues in sermons and discussions before. The church previously had talks about the intertwining of race and religion, which concluded this past Sunday.

by ARLnow.com — October 7, 2015 at 3:45 pm 3,217 0

Despite signs on the door and statements to the press to the contrary, the new TargetExpress store in Rosslyn is now open.

Even at mid-afternoon today the store wasn’t lacking for intrepid customers who figured out that they could just walk right past the “Opens October 11” sign on the door. An employee described it as a “soft opening.”

The 23,000 square foot store, at 1500 Wilson Blvd, stocks a selection of groceries, beer, wine, personal care items, clothing, tech gadgets and other sundry goods. It also boasts the area’s third Starbucks store within a one block radius.

by Heather Mongilio — October 7, 2015 at 1:45 pm 553 0

Billiards may return to Shirlington as a new pool hall looks to open next week.

Chester’s Billiards Bar & Grill is opening in the same building that housed pool hall Lucy’s ARL until 2013, said co-owner Derrick Fulghum, Sr.

The restaurant hopes to have “a busy atmosphere with great food,” said Fulghum. It’s currently waiting on some permits from the county before it can open, but hopes to have those by Thursday.

In the meantime, Chester’s owners are hanging the restaurant’s new sign and putting the final touches on its menu.

The menu currently includes appetizers like chicken tenders, buffalo wings and crab cakes, salads, soups and a raw bar. The restaurant is opening with a special of barbecue and “all you can eat salad” for $8.75.

The menu will mostly contain American cuisine, “and everything is pretty much under $10,” Fulghum said.

Once open, the restaurant is planning to serve food from 11 a.m. midnight Monday through Wednesday, and until later at night on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It will be open until 11 p.m. Sunday, according to Fulghum.

by ARLnow.com — October 7, 2015 at 10:30 am 677 0

Varius, a 13-year-old black lab, is retiring from the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office tomorrow after 11 years of service as a narcotics-sniffing K-9 officer.

The dog “will remain in the care of Deputy Patrick Grubar, who has been his partner since teaming up at the U.S. Customs Service K-9 Training Academy in 2004,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a press release. “The duo shared in the Arlington County Crime Solvers 2013 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award.”

Varius, who’s a senior citizen in dog years, “plans to spend his days watching Animal Planet with his pug ‘little sister’ and keeping up with fans on his Facebook account.”

by ARLnow.com — October 6, 2015 at 12:15 pm 653 0

Dudley’s Sport and Ale, a new sports bar that’s coming to the Village at Shirlington, is tentatively aiming to open in March.

Dudley’s owner Reese Gardner, who also owns Copperwood Tavern in Shirlington, told nearby residents via Facebook that Dudley’s will be “huge,” with Shirlington’s first rooftop bar.

“The space is huge and I’m doing a complete rework of the space and adding a rooftop,” Gardner said. “Trust me I live in walking distance also and I’m just as excited.
March will be the soonest.”

In addition to the rooftop bar, Dudley’s will feature more than 40 flat screen TVs and a private party area. So far there are no plans for live music at the bar, Gardner said.

On its website, Dudley’s says it’s starting the hiring process for all positions.

“We’re looking for smart, hard working and passionate people to join our team,” the site says. “Please send your resume if you are interested in any position from Chef to Server to Bartender to Prep Cook and beyond.”

Dudley’s is located at 2766 S. Arlington Mill Drive, in the former Bungalow Sports Grill space.

by Heather Mongilio — October 6, 2015 at 11:10 am 622 0

Swiss Time at Fashion Centre at Pentagon City (Courtesy of Eric Kim)(Updated at 12:00 p.m.) Watchstyle, a luxury Swiss watch store, is closing down its store in Ballston Common Mall ahead of major renovations that are coming soon to the aging shopping center.

The store will close this coming Sunday, said owner Eric Kim. He plans to open a new store called Swiss Time in the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City five days later on Friday, Oct. 16.

Kim changed the name of the store because the storefront at new location is much more visible to customers walking in the mall, and he wanted to emphasize the Swiss brands of watches he sells, he said.

The new store in the upscale Pentagon City small allows Kim to sell some of his higher-end luxury Swiss watches, he said. Watchstyle was already one of the most expensive stores in Ballston Common Mall without selling his full stock. At Swiss Time, watches will be priced at anywhere from a couple hundred to thousands of dollars.

Despite the new location and new name, Kim plans to honor warranties on watches bought in Ballston, and customer service will stay the same, he said.

“I worked very hard to be the only five-star rated watch store in Arlington, and I plan on keeping it that way,” Kim said.

The watch store owner plans to return to Ballston Common Mall once the mall is renovated. He anticipates opening his second Swiss Time around April 2018 in Ballston.

“The Ballston mall management has been very kind to me,” he said.

by Eleanor Greene — October 6, 2015 at 10:00 am 511 0

Halloween decorations (Filckr pool photo by Ddimick)Fairlington Dental will be buying back candy after Halloween this year.

Kids can bring their Halloween candy to the dental office from Nov. 2-5, where they will be paid $1 per pound.

The candy will be sent to Operation Gratitude in California, a program that sends care packages to troops serving overseas. Dawn Patrick, patient concierge at Fairlington Dental, said that the candy is used as filler in boxes that mostly include personal cards, games, hygiene products and snacks.

This is the 10th year Fairlington Dental has bought back candy, and the office has donated to Operation Gratitude since it started the program.

Fairlington Dental will also donate a portion of the candy to the Mattie Miracle Foundation, Patrick said. The foundation collects candy for a free snack cart for children and families at the MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, as well as for other hospitals and cancer wards, according to the website.

The dental practice used to buy candy for $3 per pound but dropped the price to $1 per pound as the program became more popular. The office also pays for the shipping, which can get pricey with such heavy packages.

“Back then, we were getting about 100 pounds,” Patrick said. “Now our biggest year has been around 600 pounds.”

The office asks that the donations are capped at five pounds for the buy back program.

Donors also have the option to donate their candy as an entry in a contest where groups can win an $100 pizza party for selling back the most candy. Patrick said a group Fairlington mothers has won the contest for the past few years, with a group donation of about 35 pounds of candy.

The key for eating candy and other foods high in sugar is to do so in moderation, Patrick said, adding that a one-time pizza party is much better than eating candy for days or weeks after Halloween.

Instead of sugar, Fairlington Dental tries to encourage eating candy with xylitol, a sweetener that breaks down bacteria instead of feeding it.

A full list of local dental practices that buy back candy can be found on the website halloweencandybuyback.com.

Filckr pool photo by Ddimick

by Heather Mongilio — October 5, 2015 at 6:15 pm 1,556 0

AMC Theater in ShirlingtonThe AMC movie theater in the Village at Shirlington (2772 S. Randolph Street) will be closed through November for renovations.

The movie theater is expected to reopen mid to late November, said AMC Theatres spokesman Ryan Noonan.

Once renovations are complete, the movie theater will have plush reclining seats in all of its auditoriums, new bathrooms and hot food options like chicken fingers and french fries.

AMC may also add a bar that will serve cocktails, wine and beer, Noonan said.

“The entire movie experience will be enhanced,” he said.

The company expects business to pick up in Shirlington as a result of the changes, Noonan said.

“We found that guests love our upgraded movie-going,” he said. “People really enjoy the recliner seating.”

The theater will offer reserved seating. Moviegoers will be able to choose their seats when buying tickets online or at the box office.

“The easiest way to make sure everyone gets a ticket and everyone gets the seat they want is to use reserved seating,” Noonan said.

An AMC theater in Courthouse went through similar renovations in 2012.

by Heather Mongilio — October 5, 2015 at 4:45 pm 1,388 0

New Starbucks on Columbia Pike

Starbucks customers may be able to order a glass of wine with their Pumpkin Spice Lattes at two Arlington locations in the next few months.

Starbucks has filed liquor license applications for its new Penrose Square (2413 Columbia Pike) and Arlington Ridge Shopping Center (2925 S. Glebe Road) locations. If approved, the stores will be able to serve beer and wine, in addition to the coffee and tea drinks the company sells.

Starbucks is offering beer and wine at select stores as part of its new “Starbucks Evenings” service, which also includes small plates.

According to a sample menu, the coffee chain will sell various red, white and sparkling wines by the bottle and glass, as well as craft beers. Small plates include truffle mac and cheese, bacon-wrapped dates, chicken skewers and truffle popcorn. Menus vary by region.

License applications for the two stores are currently pending, according to the Virginia Department of Alcohol Beverage Control.

Wine and beer will come to the Long Branch Creek location in “probably a few months,” said a supervisor at the store but she could not provide any additional information. USA Today reported in August that Starbucks is launching Starbucks Evenings at more than 2,000 of its 12,000+ U.S. stores, with many opening by the end of the year.

A Starbucks spokesman stopped short of confirming that the two South Arlington stores will in fact be serving beer and wine in the near future.

“Just as each customer is unique, so are our stores and we consider a broad range of products and experiences for each neighborhood,” said the spokeswoman. “And, as you’ve probably seen, we’re in the very early stages of considering our stores at 2413 Columbia Pike and 2925 S. Glebe Road for the Evenings menu. It’s a long and thoughtful process and the permit filing is just one of many steps we take.”

by Heather Mongilio — October 2, 2015 at 3:35 pm 1,491 0

A new pizza joint has opened on Lee Highway, replacing a Little Caesars franchise location at the corner of Lee Highway and N. George Mason Drive.

Fillmore Pizza opened its second location at 5175 Lee Highway five days ago, said owner Bahruz Ahmadbayli. The Lee Highway location is the restaurant’s second in Arlington — the first is at 923 S. Walter Reed Drive.

The new restaurant sells pizza, pasta, sandwiches, salads and wings and uses high quality and expensive ingredients, Ahmadbayli said. A small, 10-inch cheese pizza sells for $7.75, while a extra large, 18-inch pizza costs $14.95. Fillmore also sells gourmet pizzas, which start at $11.75 for a small, 10 inch pizza.

“The pizza is totally different from other stores,” he said.

The reason the pizza is better than other places is because of the cheese Fillmore Pizza uses, Ahmadbayli said.

“The main ingredient in this business is cheese,” he said. “Our cheese is the best quality and expensive.”

The restaurant runs daily pick up and delivery specials, and customers can order online. The new Lee Highway restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

The Little Caesars, which previously occupied the space, opened in 2013. The company has another Arlington location on Columbia Pike.

by Heather Mongilio — October 1, 2015 at 3:35 pm 1,364 0

S. Walter Reed Drive is now home to 14 condominiums and eight townhouses.

Construction has finished on  a five-story building at the corner of S. Walter Reed Drive and 11th Street S. The new development, Columbia Place, has 14 two-bed, two-bathroom condominiums and eight townhouses.

“Just a few miles to D.C. and just steps from fabulous dining and shopping locations, Columbia Place offers everything a downtown buyer wants without the downtown pricing. With condos starting in the $500s, Columbia is well-suited for a variety of lifestyles,” developer Evergreene Homes said in a press release.

The 14 condos sit on 3,000 square feet of retail space, which will house two “shopping opportunities,” Evergreene said on its website.

The developer will hold an open house this weekend from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, which will include a guided walkthrough of the new building. Refreshments will be provided.

“When you live at the corner of Columbia Pike and S. Walter Reed [Drive], you live in the center of Arlington. And that means saying goodbye to long commutes and embracing a life where work, shopping, dining and entertainment are all just moments away,” Evergreene said. “For those looking to own in Arlington there is no better-located community than Columbia Place.”

Disclosure: Evergreene Homes is an ARLnow.com advertiser.

by Heather Mongilio — October 1, 2015 at 11:05 am 462 0

New Sweet Leaf location on N. Glebe Road in Ballston

Sweet Leaf Café is planning to open another Ballston location.

The new café should open before the end of the year, but the company does not have a set opening date, said Sweet Leaf CEO Andre Matini.

The new Ballston location at 800 N. Glebe Road is about a 10 minute walk from the company’s first café in Ballston (650 N. Quincy Street).

“Our first Ballston location is doing really well. Having another one in the area will reduce some of the load for our team and for customers,” Matini said.

Sweet Leaf — which serves coffee, breakfast, sandwiches and salads — is planning to open a new café at Tysons Corner Center mall, as well. Both the Ballston and Tysons restaurants are set to open in winter 2015, as listed on the company’s website.

“We want to make healthy eating available, we also want people to be able to stop in as conveniently as possible. We think everyone wants to eat healthy,” Matini said. “Unfortunately, it can more more convenient to grab a value meal instead. Opening another location [in Ballston] will help us achieve our goal.”

The company is thinking about expanding into Rosslyn and Clarendon, Matini said, adding that the original Ballston and Courthouse locations have been doing well.

“We have had a great experience opening our first location in Courthouse and our second location in Ballston, the community has a real appreciation for health oriented, natural, tasty and affordable meals in a fast-casual environment,” Matini said.

Sweet Leaf is currently hiring for the Ballston location and is looking for chefs, assistant managers and shift leaders. Job applications can be found on the company’s website.

Hat tip to Rick Williams


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