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by Tim Regan — February 23, 2017 at 5:45 pm 0

Hundreds of people will march through Clarendon to the tune of a live band this weekend as part of a massive wedding parade.

Alexandria couple Sarah Matheson and her fiance, Mike Mihalecz, are planning to hold a New Orleans-style parade after their wedding at the St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 3:15 p.m. A procession of about 125 people, some wearing masks and carrying handkerchiefs, will travel from the church at 3304 North Washington Blvd to the nearby Clarendon Ballroom, where the couple’s reception is being held.

The parade is modeled after the “second line,” a jubilant and musical New Orleans tradition usually held after weddings or funerals. Matheson describes the idea as “a walking party that goes on forever.”

“We have a four-piece band that will be playing,” she added. “We’ll have a pedicab for some of the older folks who can’t walk so well.”

The parade also will have a motorcycle police escort to safely guide revelers through the streets.

Though Matheson said she’s a fan of New Orleans culture, the idea to plan such a big parade actually came from a desire to keep people from driving to the wedding.

“We were joking around, like, how can we get people not to drive to the wedding?” Matheson said. “This just kind of blossomed from something practical.”

The parade won’t be limited to wedding guests, either. In true second line tradition, people from off the street can join in if they’d like. They’ll have to part ways when they get to the Clarendon Ballroom, however, as the reception is only open to guests of the bride and groom.

Above all else, Matheson hopes the parade will inspire lots of warm memories that last for years to come.

“They’ll all enjoy the process,” Matheson said. “I think it will be definitely unique.”

Photos courtesy of Sarah Matheson

by Tim Regan — February 23, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

(Updated at 3:44 p.m.) The Clarendon area has a new spot for haircuts.

The barbershop, Willy and Habib’s, opened at 3107 10th Street N about three weeks ago, said co-owner Habib Zaki. The shop is a short walk from the Clarendon Metro station.

Customers at the newly opened shop can get haircuts, shaves and stylings. A cut costs just $20, and the shop has flatscreen televisions, leather barber chairs and lots of nearby parking as perks for clients.

Zaki is a veteran of Pete’s Barbershop, the beloved Westover business that attracts customers from across Arlington. So far, business at Willy and Habib’s has been “pretty good,” Zaki said, a claim matched by a recent flurry of positive Yelp reviews.

by Tim Regan — February 22, 2017 at 2:00 pm 0

A new restaurant and bar dedicated to steamed buns and creative cocktails is coming soon to Clarendon.

The business, dubbed “Bar Bao,” is slated to open in the former Mad Rose Tavern space at 3100 Clarendon Blvd, according to co-owner Mike Bramson, who also co-owns Spanish tapas joint Pamplona down the street.

As the name implies, Bar Bao will serve steamed buns, dumplings and other small bites inspired by Chinese and Taiwanese street food.

“We’re going to have a heavy focus on the bao bun program,” Bramson told ARLnow.com. “We’re going to do a lot of creative takes on it.”

One example is a steamed bun filled with southern fried chicken, Bramson said. Though the rest of the menu isn’t yet finalized, he added that diners can expect lots of similarly “unique twists on street food.”

Bar Bao will also serve a long list of cocktails, Bramson said. And like the food, the drink list is to-be-determined.

“We call it Bar Bao because we’re also going to have a really nice cocktail program,” he said. “We’re going to do some creative things that nobody in the area has seen yet.”

When it opens, the new eatery’s interior will feature murals from a local graffiti artist. The interior will also showcase materials such as steel, zinc, lumber and leather “to express an architectural moment reflective of the food itself: pedestrian, flavorful, and comfortable,” a design document given to ARLnow reads.

If all goes according to plan, the new hangout will open in a little more than a month.

“We’re expecting to open in April,” Bramson said. “We’re going really quickly. We already ordered the furniture.”

by Tim Regan — February 21, 2017 at 5:00 pm 0

Pulp Juice and Smoothie opening soon(Updated at 6:58 p.m.) Virginia Square will soon have a new outpost for fruit smoothies, juices and wraps.

A Pulp Juice and Smoothie Bar is moving into the storefront at the Virginia Square Towers at 3444 Fairfax Drive. Signs advertising the new eatery went up recently.

A look through the Ohio-based company’s menu reveals a long list of smoothies in flavors such as “pulp fusion,” “peach beach” and “orange chill.” The cafe also sells wraps, which can be filled with ingredients like spicy turkey, tuna and peanut butter.

The business is slated to open within weeks, according Pulp Juice and Smoothie founder Tom Knepp.

“We are hoping to open in the first or second week of March,” he said. “We are just waiting on some of our proprietary products to get in.”

This is the first Pulp Juice and Smoothie in Virginia.

Photo by Buzz McClain

by ARLnow.com — February 21, 2017 at 1:40 pm 0

A restaurant serving “adapted versions of Indian classics” will be opening in the Pentagon City mall food court area, perhaps as early as Wednesday.

Located between Haagen-Dazs and the Garrett Popcorn Shop, Naan & Beyond will serve dishes like Tandoori chicken, biryani, meat or veggie rice plates, roti rolls, naan sandwiches, salads and other various specialties.

The restaurant is hoping to open either tomorrow or Thursday, a company rep said today at the mall.

Naan & Beyond has three existing locations in the District listed on its website,

by ARLnow.com — February 21, 2017 at 12:35 pm 0

There’s a new sandwich and salad spot on Pentagon Row.

A Deli” opened recently at 1301 S. Joyce Street, in the former Subway storefront, next to Rite Aid. The interior is relatively spacious, for a deli, and includes a number of tables for dining in and a TV for those in line, in addition to the large deli counter.

The menu includes breakfast options, hot subs, deli sandwiches and hoagies, specialty Italian sandwiches, cheesesteaks, salads, party platters, sides and desserts. Free lunch box delivery, with a five box minimum, is offered. Wine is also available for sale.

The deli’s hours are 7 a.m.-7 p.m Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. on Sunday.

by ARLnow.com — February 21, 2017 at 10:30 am 0

"Save IOTA" flyer (photo via Facebook)Fans of Clarendon’s IOTA Club and Cafe have launched a campaign to save the business from redevelopment.

The redevelopment plan, first reported by ARLnow.com, would tear down IOTA’s existing building at 2832 Wilson Blvd. In response, a “Save IOTA” Facebook page has been created and flyers are being distributed around Clarendon, encouraging supporters to attend a Clarendon-Courthouse Civic Association meeting on Thursday, Feb. 23.

Organizers say they want to block the redevelopment, which requires approval from the Arlington County Board.

A spokesman for Market Common Clarendon owner Regency Centers, however, says that it is working to ensure that IOTA — a staple of the local live music scene — remains open.

“Keeping IOTA has always been part of our plans,” said Eric Davidson, communication manager for the Florida-based company.

“We’ve been aware of IOTA’s importance to the community since before we bought the property,” said Davidson. “There’s no reason [to run the campaign.] If they want to show up and show their support for IOTA, that’s great, but we don’t plan on closing it.”

Regency has been “been doing what we can” to work with IOTA owner Jane Negrey Inge, according to Davidson, but he declined to specify how IOTA might remain open during the proposed demolition. A community meeting regarding the plans is being scheduled for March 29 at 2801 Clarendon Blvd from 6-9 p.m., he said.

Photo via Facebook

by ARLnow.com — February 17, 2017 at 2:30 pm 0

George WashingtonArlington residents and visitors will be able to remember our first president Monday by exercising their freedom to park on the street without feeding a meter.

Monday is George Washington Day in Virginia. Others know the holiday, long associated with mattress and appliance sales, as Presidents Day.

Arlington County government offices, courts, libraries and other facilities will be closed Monday. Parking meters will not be enforced.

Trash and recycling collection, however, will go on as normal.

by Tim Regan — February 17, 2017 at 1:15 pm 0

(Updated at 1:36 p.m.) A raccoon apparently took a wild ride through Arlington today.

Politico reporter Helena B. Evich first spotted an adventurous animal hitching a ride on the back of an American Disposal Services trash truck in Rosslyn a little after 11 a.m. this morning.

Naturally, she tweeted about it:

Evich also called American Disposal Services to report the creature she dubbed the “trash raccoon.” Eventually, that report made its way to Anna Wilkinson, the company’s communications director.

“As soon as we found out that the raccoon was on the truck, the driver pulled over because we didn’t want the raccoon to get injured,” Wilkinson said.

By the time the driver pulled over, the truck had traveled all the way from Rosslyn to Falls Church. Wilkinson said she then called the Falls Church Police Department’s animal control team, who came to retrieve the skittish stowaway and make sure it was out of harm’s way.

“He looked like he was hanging on pretty tightly,” Wilkinson said. “The picture is adorable.”

Wilkinson later confirmed the raccoon was removed safely and without harm.

This isn’t the first time a local raccoon has gotten into a strange situation. In fact, one found itself stuck in a drain at Wakefield High School earlier this week.

by Tim Regan — February 17, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

The Nando’s Peri-Peri in Pentagon City is set to hand out free chicken as part of a promotional event planned for next week.

The South African-Portuguese chain’s eatery at 1301 S. Joyce Street is scheduled to serve free quarter-chickens, sandwiches, wraps and pitas on Tuesday, Feb. 21, from 6-8 p.m. Sides and drinks still will cost money, however

The deal, dubbed the “Nando’s Dash,” only is available to customers who don’t take their food to go.

“Because we get a kick out of being generous, next Tuesday, February 21, we’re putting on a #NandosDash for you at our Pentagon Row restaurant in Arlington,” the chain said in a promotional email.

Photo via Facebook/Nando’s Peri Peri

by Tim Regan — February 16, 2017 at 10:15 am 0

A new barre studio is slated to offer some free workout sessions this weekend to celebrate its opening in Pentagon City.

Pure Barre will open its doors on the ground floor of the Bartlett apartment building at 520 12th St. South on Saturday, Feb. 18, according to co-owner Lauren Lafaye-Benson.

The new studio offers classes that blend techniques found in yoga, ballet and pilates.

“It’s full strength training,” Lafaye-Benson said. “You use isometric movements to fatigue your muscles and help them become stronger in the long run.”

To help get participants in the mood for moving, all of the workouts are set to music.

“It helps to not only keep you more involved in the workout, but it kind of helps to mentally clear your mind and get you to a good zone for working out,” Lafaye-Benson said.

No past dance experience is required to participate and the workout is suitable for people of all fitness levels, she added. The only requirement to join in is that clients must wear socks on the studio’s carpeted floor.

Pure Barre will offer free community classes this weekend before it begins its regular schedule on Monday, Feb. 20. Those interested in taking advantage of the deal can sign up on the location’s website.

by ARLnow.com — February 15, 2017 at 8:35 pm 0

Jim Vandehei (photo courtesy Axios)Jim VandeHei was a political writer for the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post before co-founding Politico in 2006.

A decade later, Politico is a major force in the news industry and VandeHei has moved on to found another media startup: Axios.

Launched in January and based (for now) at MakeOffices in Clarendon, Axios has made some big hires, broken some big stories and is growing rapidly, thanks in part to investment from major media companies.

In this week’s 26 Square Miles podcast, we talked with Jim about his vision for Axios, the current state of the media industry and his take on what’s happening inside the Trump White House.

Some of the initial headlines about Axios, before it launched, revolved around a number VandeHei threw out as a potential price for a subscription: $10,000 per year.

“It could be that number, it could be higher,” VandeHei told us. Large companies and lobbying groups, he said, have that kind of money to pay for information that’s valuable to their business.

For those of us who don’t have thousands to spend on enterprise-focused news and analysis (the subscription service will be launched at a later date) the site and its email newsletters, from marquee names like co-founder Mike Allen and former Fortune columnist Dan Primack, are free. The first thing you’ll notice: the emphasis on brevity. It’s a key ethos at Axios and VandeHei says the goal is to give busy people only the facts they need — “long enough to give you what you need but not so long that it bores you and turns you off.”

In addition to the subscription business, Axios is making money by holding events and by selling advertising to blue chip advertisers like Bank of America, Walmart and BP. VandeHei said that at a time when Facebook and Google are vacuuming up many of the dollars streaming into digital advertising, a diversified revenue stream is important.

On the topic of Trump, VandeHei was candid about what he described as “an unprecedented presidency.” We asked him what might happen to Arlington and the D.C. area under Trump, given the president’s rhetoric about “draining the swamp” and reducing the size of government.

“I don’t know, and I don’t know because the president doesn’t know,” VandeHei said. “I think people assume he came with a very specific plan and a very team that would carry it out, and none of those things is true. They’re making it up on the go.”

VandeHei, who together with Allen interviewed Trump last month, said the president does not have “a strong ideology” outside of immigration and trade. Other issues, he said, are “fully negotiable.”

Lest an optimist think that Trump will get his administration to stabilize and function more like those before it, after a rocky first few weeks in office, it probably isn’t going to happen, according to VandeHei.

“People need to pinch themselves,” he said. “This is not normal.”

“Having had pretty good visibility into this White House, it’s a mess and I’d say it’s arguably worse than you think it is,” VandeHei said. “It’s just competing factions, no trust… it’s a tough way to run a White House. We’re three weeks in, half the people at the senior level think they’re on thin ice and going to lose their job, the other half are angling for a better job that they can have, and none of them are focused on carrying out an agenda that’s going to be awesome for America.”

“The idea that he’s going to suddenly change and that he’s suddenly going to run a more stable White House or that he’s going have a very clear vision of where he wants things to go… there’s a very low percentage chance that that happens. I would just anticipate this level of volatility and this level of insanity until further notice.”

That all said, VandeHei defended Axios’ Trump Tower interview and Mar-a-Lago visit from others in the journalism world who criticized it for appearing too cozy with the incoming administration.

“I find a lot of these arguments silly,” VandeHei said when asked about that and about the turmoil over the news organizations pulling out of the White House Correspondents Dinner now that Trump is president.

“Most reporters are liberal, no doubt about it. Most of them are being egged on to take a very hostile stand against Trump and Republicans,” he said. “But guess what, Republicans run town, they have the House, they have the Senate, they have the White House, they’re about to have the judiciary, they have almost every state government. This is a Republican-run country and you darn well better figure out what they’re doing and why they’re doing it.”

VandeHei had the following advice for journalists in the Trump era: focus on facts, hold people accountable, avoid media “self-flogging” and “maybe stay off Twitter.”

Listen below or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google PlayStitcher or TuneIn.

Photo courtesy Axios

by ARLnow.com — February 15, 2017 at 2:35 pm 0

Virginia Square restaurant Water & Wall (3811 Fairfax Drive) has closed its doors for good.

The restaurant, which opened in November 2013 and served “creative American cuisine,” announced the closing on Facebook today.

“After 3 1/2 years, we have decided to close Water & Wall,” said the Facebook post. “We hope you’ll visit us at Kyirisan and Chase the Submarine. We have loved being a part of your lives.”

Water & Wall served its last dinner customers last night, the Washington Post’s Tom Sietsema said on his “Ask Tom” chat today.

A year ago, during an ARLnow.com-organized panel discussion on the local restaurant industry, Water & Wall owner and acclaimed chef Tim Ma was asked about keeping customers coming back after the initial excitement of a restaurant’s opening.

“Everybody was coming through the door on day one, two years later, it’s all about retention,” Ma said. “Staying relevant is probably the hardest thing. There are so many new restaurants opening, so many different areas coming back to life, staying relevant is hard.”

The restaurant has previously launched limited-time, “pop-up” menus, offering new dishes for diners to try. It brought on a new chef in June.

by ARLnow.com — February 15, 2017 at 10:10 am 0

A Nespresso boutique is coming to the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City.

The store is located adjacent to the mall’s main entrance off of S. Hayes Street, in the former Belmont Jewelers space. Demolition of the store’s interior started last month.

Belmont is relocating to a different storefront on the first level of the mall and is expected to reopen March 1.

The Nespresso store is scheduled to open at some point this spring, offering “a world of unique coffee experiences.” There are four existing Nespresso boutiques in the Washington area, according to the brand’s website: two in Tysons, one at Westfield Montgomery mall in Bethesda, and another in the Friendship Heights neighborhood of D.C.

Before it was Belmont Jewelers, the storefront was home to the Tourneau high-end watch store, which was robbed by four hammer-wielding men in 2013.

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