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by ARLnow.com — December 5, 2016 at 4:45 pm 0

Virginia DMV office on Four Mile Run Drive (photo via Commonwealth of Virginia)The main Virginia Dept. of Motor Vehicles office in Arlington has closed for renovations.

The DMV office on Four Mile Run Drive closed Thursday night and is not expected to reopen until Jan. 9.

“Upgrades to the office include four additional service windows and a new countertop design that will allow for a more efficient customer flow and minimize customer wait times,” the department said in a press release (below).

The DMV is encouraging local customers to go to the new Virginia Square DMV office, which opened last month, to go to the DMV Select office in Courthouse or to conduct their transactions online.

The Arlington DMV Customer Service Center (CSC), located at 4150 South Four Mile Run Drive, will temporarily close at 5 p.m. on December 1 for an interior renovation. The CSC is expected to reopen January 9 at 8 a.m. Upgrades to the office include four additional service windows and a new countertop design that will allow for a more efficient customer flow and minimize customer wait times.

During the renovation, customers are encouraged to conduct transactions online at dmvNOW.com. More than 40 transactions are available online including vehicle and driver’s license renewals, address changes, license plate purchases, and reinstatement fee payments.

Customers who need to conduct in-person transactions can visit the new Arlington DMV Metro at Virginia Square, located at 3434 Washington Blvd., accessible via Metrorail Orange and Silver lines at Virgina Square-GMU, Metrobus 38B or ART 52. Limited paid parking is available in the area. Customers may also visit the Alexandria Customer Service Center at 2681 Mill Road. Vehicle-related transactions such as a registration renewals, title issuances or replacements, and license plate purchases, can be conducted at the Arlington DMV Select at 2100 Clarendon Boulevard; Lorton DMV Select at 8210 Cinderbed Road; or Fairfax City Select 10455 Armstrong Street.

by ARLnow.com — December 5, 2016 at 11:55 am 0

Arlington Cinema and DrafthouseThe Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike) will shift to an art-house movie model and away from showing mainstream films several months after their initial release.

The change will be formally announced in an email to customers this afternoon, Drafthouse owner Greg Godbout said.

The announcement comes three weeks after the Drafthouse began surveying customers on proposed changes to the theater’s business model, floating the idea of showing first-run movies during the summer, at a time when live comedy audiences — the Drafthouse’s bread and butter — are down.

Otherwise, when comedy acts and special events are not booked, the Drafthouse has been showing “sub-run” movies, which are movies that have been playing at the multiplexes for several months and which are, typically, close to being released to home viewers via Video on Demand.

Earlier VOD release dates have been cutting into the audience for sub-run movies, Godbout said, so he was thinking of showing blockbuster movies for a week at a time over the summer — a model many other single-screen theaters adopt (studio rules prohibit showing multiple first-run films on the same screen).

The feedback from customers, however, pointed him to indie and art-house style films rather than the typical big-budget mainstream popcorn flick.

Starting with certain movies in January, until the change is complete in May, the Drafthouse will begin showing sub-run art-house films in winter, spring and fall, while the Drafthouse continues to focus on hosting big-name national comedy acts on weekends. Then, in the summer, the Drafthouse will switch to a three week cycle of two weeks of first-run art-house and indie films and one week of older art-house films or film festivals.

The theater will continue to offer family-friendly movies and entertainment, particularly during matinee times, but the $2 discount movies on Monday and Tuesday nights will either go away completely or the price will be raised, said Godbout.

Another change in the works: the replacement of the Drafthouse’s aging seats with new office chairs.

At the Drafthouse’s new D.C. location, meanwhile, more changes: local and national standup comedy acts will continue to perform, but there will be a new focus on hosting Esports competitions — live videogame tournaments, which are gaining in popularity.

The full letter from Godbout, after the jump.

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by ARLnow.com — December 5, 2016 at 9:45 am 0

Struggling fast-casual restaurant chain Noodles & Co. has closed its location at the Pentagon Row shopping center (1201 S. Joyce Street).

The eatery closed last month after 14 years in business. The restaurant’s exterior sign has since been removed and its interior has been largely cleared out.

A sign on the front door directs customers to the Noodles & Co. location at 2011 Crystal Drive in Crystal City.

by ARLnow.com — December 2, 2016 at 6:15 pm 0

House of Steep, a tea house and “foot sanctuary” in Cherrydale, is closing after four years in business.

The well-reviewed business, at 3800 Lee Highway, is based around a number of relaxing offerings: loose leaf tea, foot soaks, massages and reflexology.

In an email to customers Friday evening, owner Lyndsey DePalma suggested that the store was not sufficiently profitable to justify remaining in business.

“The rewards are wonderful but unfortunately are not enough,” she wrote. The store is set to close on Friday, Dec. 30.

The full letter is below.

To our beautiful, loyal customers –

A deep, Steep thank you for supporting us over the past four years in our vision to spread peace and offer gentle reminders of health and wholeness to our community. Our mission has been successful and the TEAm is celebrating. The rewards are wonderful but unfortunately are not enough to continue on without innovation, which is more than our team has the capacity to do at this time. So effective December 30, 2016, we will lovingly serve our last cup of tea in our retail space.

Steep is a great company with great reviews and a loyal customer base. It’s quite difficult for small retail businesses to succeed in dynamic markets with growing real estate and workforce costs. A huge thank you for helping us defy significant odds in the start-up world and for taking the time to cheer us on along the way. Thank you for becoming our friends and for stopping in to catch up over a comfortable cup. The business has served many and created so many memories with couples first dates, moms spending cherished time with their children (or without), and so many people pausing to take advantage of the moment. Keep doing this!

A sincere thanks to the staff, as well. I don’t know of a more loved business in this area, and this is all thanks to the staff, especially Michael and his leaders who proudly served the mission and set great examples for the staff.

We wanted to give a month to anyone holding gift cards to be able to redeem for goods and services with ease (our reservation policy for foot massage/reflexology is still required). While we will serve our last cup of tea at the end of the month, a few staff members will continue to serve our wholesale accounts, as well as our online store, so you may continue to source our delicious, health-focused tea blends after we close the storefront. And we’ll continue to serve in the hearts and memories of those who appreciated us for the gentle, loving space we provided for so many years. All good things live on and we believe that to be true of Steep.

We hope you’ll come in for one last foot soak, hug, and/or a cup of healthy goodness to help lift your day. You’ve certainly lifted ours over the years.

Steeped in gratitude,
Lyndsey (and the Steep TEAm)

by ARLnow.com — December 2, 2016 at 2:40 pm 0

Jingle Bell Run logoA number of road closures are planned Saturday morning for the 2016 Jingle Bell Run/Walk 5K.

The race, which benefits the Arthritis Foundation, kicks off at 9 a.m. tomorrow in front of the Pentagon Row shopping center (1101 S. Joyce Street).

Via ACPD:

The Arlington County Police Department will close South Joyce Street and sections of Army Navy Drive for the 2016 Jingle Bell Run/Walk 5k on Saturday, December 3, 2016.

The affected streets are listed below:

  • South Joyce Street between South 15th Street and Army Navy Drive will be closed from 5:30 AM until 11:00 AM.
  • Army Navy Drive between South Joyce Street and South 25th Street will be closed from 7:00 AM until 11:00 AM.

Race attendees are encouraged to use Metro, however; if driving as a participant or spectator please utilize the parking garage at the Pentagon City Mall.

Street parking in the area will be restricted. Motorists should be on the lookout for temporary “No Parking” signs. Illegally parked vehicles may be ticketed or towed. If your vehicle is towed from a public street, call 703-558-2222.

by ARLnow.com — December 2, 2016 at 11:40 am 0

(Updated at 1:30 p.m.) Punch Bowl Social, a combination bar, restaurant, bowling alley and arcade targeted at the young professional set, is coming to Arlington.

The expanding chain, which has existing locations in Denver, Austin, Detroit, Portland, Cleveland and elsewhere, says on its website that it’s planning to open in Arlington in 2018. A D.C. location is also planned.

“Punch Bowl Social has eliminated having to choose between respectable food and beverage, and a great social experience,” says the Facebook page of one of the existing locations. “PBS brings ‘old school’ entertainment, culinary refinement and a modern beverage program under one roof.”

Founded by Robert Thompson, the original founder of Buffalo Billiards, Punch Bowl Social offers a range of beers and cocktails — including, yes, cocktails served in communal punch bowls. PBS describes its dining and beverage offerings as “food for foodies, PBR tallboys, and craft beverages.”

Entertainment options include bowling, karaoke, shuffleboard, billiards, ping pong, fussball, billiards and vintage arcade games.

There’s no word yet as to where in Arlington Punch Bowl Social will be opening. “We don’t have any specific details to share,” a publicist told ARLnow.com.

Based on size, opportunity, timing and Metro accessibility, possible locations include the renovated Ballston Quarter mall, which will be reopening in 2018; a number of new and existing buildings in Rosslyn; and the still-developing and increasingly Millennial-oriented Crystal City and Pentagon City area.

Photos via Facebook

by ARLnow.com — December 1, 2016 at 11:20 am 0

In October its owner was asking for permission to use it as a bed and breakfast.

Now, in December, it’s up for auction.

3120 N. Pershing Drive mansion (via Prime Auction Solutions)The controversial “Pershing Manor” mansion at 3120 N. Pershing Drive is being sold to the highest bidder on Tuesday, Dec. 13. We’re told that the bidding is starting at $750,000, with an undisclosed reserve.

The auction firm released a video tour of the massive home (above).

Per the auction website, the 13,700 square foot brick mansion, built on 0.42 acres in Lyon Park in 2005, features:

  • Gated Circular Driveway and 2 Car Garage
  • 4 Bedroom Suites and 2 Additional Guest Suites
  • 7 Total Full Baths and 2 Powder Rooms
  • Indoor Heated Pool & Stone Waterfall
  • Dual Grand Staircase with Intricate Cast Iron Railing & Banisters
  • Chef Inspired Granite Gourmet Kitchen
  • Theater Room with Multi-Level Stadium Seating
  • Embassy Sized Walk Out Lower Level with Wet Bar, Dance Floor and Full Kitchen

The County Board agenda item to consider allowing the home to be used as a bed and breakfast was deferred to December, to give the owner more time to discuss the proposal with skeptical Lyon Park neighbors.

Photo via Prime Auction Solutions. Hat tip to “John Fontain.”

by ARLnow.com — November 30, 2016 at 3:45 pm 0

A new fast casual Korean barbecue restaurant has opened in Crystal City.

KBQ Korean BBQ & Bar is located at 2450 Crystal Drive, next to Buffalo Wild Wings. It opened earlier today, offering a Chipotle-style experience, allowing customers to build their own rice and lettuce bowls, lettuce wraps, tofu dogs and rice burgers.

KBQ offers six proteins — from steak to pork belly to tofu — and nearly a dozen “banchans,” or sides. That’s topped off by a selection of sauces and garnishes.

In addition, there’s a separate “bubble tea shop” offering a selection of bubble teas, including taro, chai and mango, for $5 apiece. As of earlier today, the boba for the teas was not yet ready, so customers had to make do with bubble tea sans bubbles.

Though KBQ seems likely to capture a primarily lunchtime dining crowd in Crystal City, it also has a bar serving cocktails, beer, wine and “bombs” — as in soju, Jager, car and cherry bombs. The restaurant will be open nightly until 1 a.m.

Korean barbecue “is the hottest trend in the culinary world,” according to a press release announcing the restaurant’s opening today. The full release, after the jump.

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by ARLnow.com — November 29, 2016 at 4:35 pm 0

Sugar Shack Donuts on Columbia PikeYou might soon be able to enjoy a cold beer and a warm donut all in the same place along Columbia Pike.

Sugar Shack Donuts (1014 S. Glebe Road) has applied for a Virginia ABC license to serve beer on premises. The application was filed Nov. 7.

Owner Rob Krupicka wasn’t ready to discuss his beer-related plans when contacted by ARLnow.com.

“Need to see if we get a permit,” he said via email.

Krupicka’s Sugar Shack Donuts store in Alexandria has a hidden “speakeasy” bar called Captain Gregory’s, which serves cocktails and a small food menu featuring mostly savory, non-donut dishes.

by ARLnow.com — November 29, 2016 at 3:50 pm 0

ACPD Fill the Cruiser event flyer 2016Despite the wet weather, Arlington police will still be holding their second annual “Fill the Cruiser” toy drive tonight.

Police are encouraging local residents to “help make the holidays bright for Arlington County children in need” via donations.

“The Arlington County Police Department is asking community members to donate new, unwrapped toys to bring holiday cheer to children ages 1 – 17,” the department said. “Donations will be distributed by the police department throughout the month of December.”

Tonight (Tuesday), from 6-8 p.m., police will be collecting donations at the following locations:

  • Lee Harrison Shopping Center (2425 N. Harrison Street)
  • Pentagon Row (1201 S. Joyce Street)
  • Shirlington Village (2700 S. Quincy Street)

The Shirlington collection is still happening despite the fact that the Shirlington light-up night was postponed until next week due to rain.

A separate collection will take place at Our Lady of Lourdes (830 23rd Street S.) on Wednesday, Dec. 7, from 6-8 p.m. For those who cannot get to any of the events, donations are also being accepted at police headquarters (1425 N. Courthouse Road) until Friday, Dec. 16.

by ARLnow.com — November 29, 2016 at 10:15 am 0

A Washington-Lee High School graduate is one of the main characters on the new Fox television series Star.

The series, a musical drama co-created by Lee Daniels, premieres on Wednesday, Dec. 14. Among the show’s stars are Brittany O’Grady, in the role of the title character’s sister.

O’Grady graduated from W-L in 2013 but has been performing and modeling professionally since the age of 4,

Brittany O'Grady (photo via brittanyogrady.com)Up until now O’Grady’s most prominent TV appearance was a guest role on the ABC show Trophy Wife. She has also been active in the local theater scene, performing at Arlington’s Signature Theatre, Synetic Theater and Encore Stage & Studio, as well as D.C. venues like the Kennedy Center, Ford’s Theatre and even the White House.

“I was always encouraged to pursue my dreams because I’ve worked all my life to achieve them,” O’Grady said in an interview published on the Encore Stage & Studio website.

She gave the following advice to aspiring young actors: “Never EVER give up. No matter how discouraged you get and how many times you get rejected. Work hard, train hard, and know your stuff. If you are always working on improving yourself, you will get better. You will become the versatile actor you want to be. The roles will come with time.”

The Dec. 14 premiere of Star is billed as a “special early preview.” The series will air in its regular timeslot on Wednesday, Jan. 4.

by ARLnow.com — November 28, 2016 at 2:25 pm 0

Stageplate Bistro logo (photo via Facebook)A restaurant and bar called “Stageplate Bistro” is coming to Ballston.

According to web listings and an ABC permit application, the restaurant will be opening at 900 N. Glebe Road, which currently houses a new Applebee’s and the former Il Forno restaurant.

The new eatery will serve American cuisine at moderate prices and will feature a sidewalk cafe, according to the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington website. It will seat more than 150 and serve wine, beer and cocktails, according to the ABC permit application.

Stageplate Bistro is the successor to Backstage Bistro Cafe, a small restaurant near Dulles International Airport that also was the home base of a catering company that specialized in catering for events and touring entertainment acts.

Backstage Bistro closed in October and posted the following message to customers on its website.

We would like to sincerely thank all of our amazing cafe guests at Backstage Bistro Cafe Dulles for their kind support of our little cafe and catering company in Dulles, VA. Most of our guests knew we were incubating our first restaurant out of our retail little cafe which sits in front of our Dulles catering kitchen. We are so happy the cafe was so well received and greatly appreciate all of your feedback on our menu, style and concept! We are now very excited and proud to announce that our little café, Backstage Bistro Café Dulles, is all grown up and will now proudly be a full-service restaurant in Arlington, Virginia!

Our new full-service restaurant and bar will be located at 900 N. Glebe Road, Arlington, VA 22203 and is slated to open in December 2016. We hope to see you there!

There was no answer this afternoon at a phone number listed for the restaurant.

Despite hopes of opening next month, based on past restaurant opening precedent — owing in part to over-optimistic owners and a persnickety Arlington County permitting office — we would expect Stageplate Bistro to open no sooner than early 2017.

Logo (top) via Facebook

by ARLnow.com — November 28, 2016 at 10:25 am 0

Lee-Lex Service Center (photo via Google Maps)

The Lee-Lex Service Center, a well-reviewed, long-time automotive business at the corner of Lee Highway and N. Lexington Street, has closed.

Lee-Lex’s website, which has remained largely unchanged for the past 12 years, says that the service center has “been a good neighbor in our Arlington community since 1978 and consistently receive[d] excellent ratings by consumer magazines.”

The service center was open for part of last week but closed just before Thanksgiving. This morning the shop’s technicians were clearing out their belongings and preparing to move to nearby service centers; signs were being posted on the windows, to let customers know who moved where.

Sources tell ARLnow.com that the property is being purchased by Southland Corporation, the parent company of 7-Eleven. It could not be immediately confirmed that a 7-Eleven store would be replacing the service center.

Photo (top) via Google Maps

by ARLnow.com — November 28, 2016 at 9:45 am 0

Virginia DMV office on Four Mile Run Drive (photo via Commonwealth of Virginia)An issue with the Virginia Dept. of Motor Vehicles’ statewide computer system led to some long waiting times at the Arlington DMV office on Four Mile Run Drive this morning.

The glitch came after a long holiday weekend — DMV offices have been closed since Thanksgiving.

Just after 8:30 a.m. — the office opened at 8 a.m. — a customer told ARLnow.com that some 150 people were waiting around as employees tried to figure out how to get the computers to work.

Luckily, the problem was resolved shortly thereafter.

“We had a brief issue this morning, but it was fixed a little before 9 a.m. and offices should be back up and running,” said Virginia DMV spokeswoman Brandy Brubaker.

by ARLnow.com — November 23, 2016 at 1:15 pm 0

Streetlights out near the West Village of Shirlington condo complex

Arlington County says it’s hoping to get a stretch of non-working streetlights near Shirlington switched back on by the end of the year, but residents are complaining that the repairs have taken too long.

The dark streetlights are located along the S. Four Mile Run Drive service road, in front of the West Village of Shirlington condo complex.

Last Thursday, condo management sent an email to residents, encouraging them to press the county to expedite repairs, saying that the lights “have been out for over a year now.”

Hello Residents,

As many of you are aware, Management has made several attempts to have the county make repairs to the street lights on S. Four Mile Run Drive. Unfortunately, we have not been able to make any headway. The County representatives continue to advise us that these repairs are not a priority for them.

In our experience, it is usually helpful for (tax paying county) residents to contact the county. Fortunately, one of your neighbors has done so, and has provided the contact information below. So please bombard the County with your sincere concerns about the community’s safety. Please do remember to include the fact that these lights have been out for over a year now.

Residents say they are concerned about their safety.

“It is pitch black for those walking our pets or those walking to/from our cars,” said resident Chrissy Limetti. “How disappointing to read that resident safety is not a priority.”

The county, however, says that they’ve been working on the issue and expect the lights to be back on by the end of the year.

“Preliminary work on the streetlights in this area has occurred and crews will begin underground repairs in the next month,” Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Kathryn O’Brien tells ARLnow.com. “Repairs are expected to be completed by the end of December.”

The repairs are taking longer than usual because of the nature of what caused the outage in the first place.

“In this particular case, the outage is an underground issue caused by an old cable that will be replaced,” O’Brien said. “The complexity of the underground issue determines the response time which may take 45 days or longer. For an above ground issue (e.g., bulb replacement), repairs take about 14-21 days but more extensive equipment is required to repair an underground utility problem.”

O’Brien could not confirm whether a county employee actually said that the repairs weren’t a priority.

“To our knowledge, no one on our streetlights team told this person that their issue wasn’t a priority,” she said. “We are still investigating this to see if they may have spoken to someone else. Every outage is a priority and the type of outage and availability of crews and equipment determines the completion time.”

Streetlight outages can be reported to the county online.

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