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by ARLnow.com — January 19, 2017 at 10:15 am 0

Mad Rose Tavern closing party flyerAfter six years in business, Mad Rose Tavern (3100 Clarendon Blvd) is shutting its doors.

The Clarendon bar and restaurant did not look like it was going to survive long after it opened in 2011 and within weeks underwent a management change and, later, a menu change.

However, survive it did, as it focused more on nightlife and events. One memorable moment: bringing in Sisqo of “Thong Song” fame to perform in 2013.

Now, Mad Rose is closing after a final blowout party starting at 8 p.m. on Saturday. (It’s also scheduled to host a Democratic brunch on Sunday.)

Replacing Mad Rose will be a new Asian restaurant called Bao Bar, which will specialize in Taiwanese street food. As reported by the Washington City Paper, restaurant owner Social Restaurant Group, which just opened Pamplona restaurant across the plaza from Mad Rose, is planning a “major renovation” of the space but is hoping to open Bao Bar as early as March.

by Samantha Moore — January 17, 2017 at 1:45 pm 0

Signs are up for a new Japanese ramen noodle restaurant in Clarendon.

Hanabi Ramen will be “coming soon” to the former Amsterdam Falafel space at 3024 Wilson Blvd, next to the future G.O.A.T. Sports Bar.

An exact opening date for the restaurant has not been announced. In an earlier Facebook post, the owner and chef, Kenji, described Hanabi as “an authentic Japanese ramen and gyoza restaurant featuring Japanese chefs.”

“We are currently remodeling the venue to make your ramen and gyoza experience in an authentic Japanese ramen shop as great as possible,” the post says.

by Tim Regan — January 12, 2017 at 4:30 pm 0

(Updated at 4:55 p.m.) A brewery in Shirlington is planning to celebrate its one-year anniversary with a special beer release.

New District Brewing Co. (2709 S. Oakland Street) will officially kick off its four-day birthday celebration later this evening, said general manager Anna Waigand. The brewery opened its doors last January.

Abbey Ale bottle (photo courtesy of New District Brewing Company)But the focal point of the festivities will be Saturday, when the brewery begins selling bottles of a spiced Belgian beer dubbed “Abbey Ale.” The beer is the first to be made and bottled in Arlington in nearly 100 years, Waigand said.

The limited-release beer is $11.99 per bottle, and each patron is limited to buying just two.

New District’s employees spent all day last Saturday bottling and corking the beer.

“We bottled them all by hand,” said Waigand. “Saturday was a very long day. We all needed a beer at the end of that one.”

The brewery will also hold a beer-themed trivia night later this evening, revive one of its most popular IPAs on Friday and sell growlers at a discount on Monday.

“It’s like a thank-you to our community,” Waigand said.

by Tim Regan — January 11, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

Photo courtesy of Jeopardy Productions, Inc.

What does it take to win at “Jeopardy?” You ought to ask Blair Moorhead.

Last year, Moorhead, a social worker who lives in Arlington, appeared as a contestant on the hit game show twice. The episodes aired Monday and Tuesday this week.

“I was so nervous,” Moorhead recalled. “I was shaking throughout the taping.”

Despite her nervousness, Moorhead still managed to do well. In her first appearance, she came out on top and racked up more than $17,000 to her name.

“It was awesome. I was completely shocked,” she said of her win. “I did not expect it at all.”

Moorhead added that she studied up on topics like geography and the periodic table of elements to prepare for her appearance. She also bought an almanac and even read up on famous monarch lineages.

Despite all that studying, Moorhead said her strongest subject was pop culture.

“They had a category that was all about songs written about people,” she said. “I was like, oh yeah, this one’s mine.”

But Moorhead’s winning streak was short-lived. A fellow competitor bested her during the final Jeopardy round of her second appearance, she said. Still the loss wasn’t all bad. After the taping, host Alex Trebek approached Moorhead and personally reassured her.

“He was like, don’t beat yourself up,” she said. “I was in shock, so I was not sure I was able to thank him properly.”

Plus, in the end, Moorhead managed to walk away with over $19,000 in prize money — though the check hasn’t yet arrived, she added.

“I’m just going to go nuts at Costco,” Moorhead joked. In reality, the “Jeopardy” champ said she plans to use her winnings to help pay down some student debt, travel and donate to her favorite charities.

One of the hardest parts about appearing on Jeopardy, she said, was keeping her win a secret for months. Though her episodes aired this week, the tapings originally occurred in September.

“Sometimes I would say, I’m still at work, so I didn’t earn enough to retire on,” she said. “I would say you’ll have watch when it comes out.”

Additionally, to anyone thinking of trying out for the quiz show, Moorhead has this to say: do it.

“Anybody who’s thinking about auditioning, go take the online test,” she said. “It’s so much fun.”

John Avila (photo courtesy Jeopardy Productions)Moorhead definitely won’t be the last Arlingtonian to shake Alex Trebek’s hand. In fact, next Monday, local lawyer John Avila will test his knowledge by appearing on the quiz show.

That episode is scheduled to air on WJLA (ABC 7) Monday at 7:30 p.m.

Photos courtesy of Jeopardy Productions, Inc.

by Tim Regan — January 10, 2017 at 4:55 pm 0

The beer taps at Clarendon’s Sehkraft Brewing are now permanently dry.

That’s because the bar, restaurant and hangout at 925 N. Garfield Street officially closed today, with the help of the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff’s deputies showed up today around noon to evict the business, according to Major Susie Doyel, a Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman. A representative for the landlord said the business had until noon today to vacate the building but declined to give more information about the eviction.

Court records show that legal proceedings leading up to the eviction were first initiated in October.

A number of people could be seen inside the business this afternoon, talking and taking stock of the contents while workers with tools walked in and out of the building.

Sehkraft held one last hurrah for customers last night, with live music playing and the college football championship on TV. The brewpub first announced it was closing on Friday evening.

We were unable to reach a Sehkraft Brewing representative for comment. The business first opened a little more than a year ago.

by ARLnow.com — January 9, 2017 at 3:50 pm 0

A longtime Lee Highway seafood shop has closed its doors.

America Seafood Corp., a standalone store located in the Lee Heights Shops parking lot at 4450 Lee Highway, served its final customers on Dec. 31. Owners Gary and Martha Royce were clearing out the last of the store’s equipment today.

The shop has been open for nearly 35 years — a sign in the window sign says 44 years, but that’s a typo, Gary says — and has served legions of locals seeking the freshest seafood and Key lime pies around.

Royce said he his wife were planning to move back down to his native Key West within a month. He plans to stay there at least a year before potentially coming back up to Arlington and deciding what to do next.

“Just wanted to get out of here, we have been here for 35 years already,” Royce said. The response from customers, he said, has been one of shock and sadness.

“Two ladies came here crying,” he said. “The people love this place. I mean, we have been here longer than any shop in this whole place.”

The secret, according to Royce, was “good seafood, good banter.” Royce said he sourced his seafood primarily from New England and Florida fisheries, which set his offerings apart from those in grocery stores.

“We sold a lot of Florida fish: grouper, snapper, yellowtail, swordfish, tuna,” he said, listing some of his best sellers. “I sold two different size shrimp from Key West, Florida… we sold all different kinds of fish, some of them were not even the same week, sometimes we sold trout, Chilean sea bass, we sold salmon.”

“I think I sold quality stuff, that’s why the people want to know where can they go buy quality fish around here,” he continued. “I bought it all direct, nothing from around here… that’s all CO2 [carbon dioxide] treated. They inject it with stuff and freeze it then you thaw it. That’s what they sell at grocery stores.”

So where should customers go to find fresh seafood now that America Seafood has closed down? Gary wouldn’t say for publication, but he did suggest that customers weren’t happy with the recommendation.

“I tell them and they say, ‘that place is terrible.'”

Hat tip to John B.

by ARLnow.com — January 6, 2017 at 6:30 pm 0

Sehkraft Brewing in Clarendon

(Updated at 7:10 p.m.) Sehkraft Brewing in Clarendon will be closing next week, ARLnow.com has learned.

“With deep regret Sehkraft is announcing that we will be closing our doors,” assistant general manager Ricky Shepherd wrote via email Friday night. “Please come out and commemorate with us all weekend as we say goodbye to GREAT friends and to Sehkraft. Last call, last call!”

The brewpub and entertainment venue will close on Tuesday, Jan. 10, just over a year after it first opened. Located at 925 N. Garfield Street, Sehkraft’s opening was stymied by months of delays and what its owner described as regulatory wrangling with the county’s permitting office.

“[It] was an unbelievably arduous two years,” said owner and CEO Devin Hicks.

File photo

by Tim Regan — January 5, 2017 at 3:45 pm 0

There’s a new spot for Irish and Belgian fare, along with beer and whiskey, in Rosslyn.

“Quinn’s on the Corner” opened on the ground floor of the 1776 Wilson Blvd (at the corner of Wilson and N. Quinn Street) office building earlier today, according to owner Reese Gardner, the restaurateur behind other local business like Copperwood TavernDudley’s Sport and Ale and Irish Whiskey in the District.

The eatery, which Gardner describes as a “casual neighborhood pub with a food-first focus,” serves a menu of Belgian and Irish grub that includes mussel pots, fish and chips and several types of savory waffles topped with ingredients like fried lobster and creamed corned beef.

Behind a wraparound oak bar, staffers pour 27 kinds of Irish whiskeys, a selection that is one of the largest in the area, said Gardner.

“Our goal is to get up to where Irish Whiskey is,” Gardner added. “About 50 to 55 whiskeys.”

The bar also serves beer, wine and a small list of cocktails.

Though it originally was pitched as a hangout for Virginia Tech fans, Gardner said that idea was scrapped in favor of a more general sports theme. However, each weekend, the bar’s televisions will show Penn State and Virginia Tech games with sound.

“Rosslyn was a little underserved for a place to come watch the game,” Gardner said. “We’re excited about it.”

by ARLnow.com — January 5, 2017 at 11:15 am 0

Remy Munasifi in Clarendon

We often refer to Remy Munasifi as the “Arlington Rap guy.” But now that he has a prominent role in a new Netflix series, Brown Nation, we might have to tweak that description.

On this week’s 26 Square Miles podcast, we sat down with Remy to talk about his career, the making of the Arlington Rap, Donald Trump (of course), making money on YouTube and about his latest music video. (And yes, that is his wife, in her first co-starring role.)

Remy said Santa Claus was a hard act to follow on the podcast, but we gave it a try. We also forgave him for his recent move from Clarendon to Falls Church.

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

by Tim Regan — January 5, 2017 at 10:05 am 0

A beloved burrito stand on Columbia Pike has split off from its parent company and adopted a new name.

The business formerly known as Pedro and Vinny’s (2599 Columbia Pike) is now a standalone eatery called “Burrito Bros.” The change happened about a week ago, according to Richard Arnez, who co-owns Burrito Bros with Roger Coronel.

“We were kind of like a franchise,” Arnez explained. “But we just wanted to be independent.”

Since the name change, most customers haven’t noticed anything different, Arnez said. After all, they’re there for the burritos, not the branding. There are some slight changes, though. For instance, Arnez said he had to give up the recipes behind the sauces when he left the Pedro and Vinny’s family.

A visit to the restaurant yesterday revealed the burritos are indeed more or less the same as before. The sauces — though still piquant — do taste slightly different now.

Still, some longtime fans might wonder whether in-house animosity could have led to the break-up. Is a burrito battle looming on the horizon?

Probably not, said Pedro and Vinny’s owner John Rider, who still staffs the original burrito cart in downtown D.C. each day. The split was merely a business decision, he explained.

“There’s no animosity with the situation,” Rider said. “I wish him the best of luck.”

Still, Rider said he feels a twinge of pain every time he drives past his former Columbia Pike restaurant and sees it without its familiar sign.

“I was hoping that Richard would open more Pedro and Vinny’s,” Rider said. “It’s too bad it happened, but it wasn’t my choice.”

There’s no guarantee Rider, who has vowed to open another brick and mortar location, won’t return to his old stomping grounds. In fact, he said he’s eyeing a Columbia Pike storefront just down the block from Burrito Bros.

“I love Arlington. Those customers are awesome,” Rider said. “We’re looking around that area, but I don’t know where we’re going to end up.”

by Tim Regan — January 4, 2017 at 2:45 pm 0

A new tapas restaurant hopes to attract a stampede of customers when it opens next week.

The new eatery, Pamplona, is slated to start slinging small bites and drinks at 3100 Clarendon Blvd on Tuesday, Jan. 10, according to co-owner Mike Bramson. Pamplona replaced SoBe Bar & Bistro, which closed about a year ago.

When it opens, the tapas joint will bring with it some of the food and fun you might find at the annual Running of the Bulls event in Pamplona, Spain.

“We went to Pamplona and fell in love with the city,” Bramson said. “Every bar was just so vibrant and exciting that we had to bring this back to Clarendon.”

The eatery’s menu includes black squid ink seafood paella, tapas dishes and bite-sized servings of food called pinxtos. Those tiny dishes — which Bramson described as “literally just one bite” — range from $1-5.

At the bar, patrons can order eight types of sangria alongside beer, wine and cocktails.

“We’re really excited to bring our cocktail program,” said Bramson, who co-founded Social Restaurant Group, the company behind Provision No. 14 and The Prospect in the District. “We’re known for our cocktails and our food. We want to bring that vibrant atmosphere to the neighborhood.”

The restaurant, designed by David Anthony Chenault, also features Spanish tiled floors, photo murals of Pamplona’s famous event and a plethora of wall-mounted bull head busts.

by ARLnow.com — January 4, 2017 at 9:30 am 0

GOAT Sports Bar in Clarendon

We now know a bit more about The G.O.A.T., the new sports bar and lounge that’s coming to the former Hard Times Cafe space in Clarendon.

The bar is expected to open in June. The 8,800 square foot space is being completely remodeled and will seat “350 guests between three full bars and full service tables.”

The group behind A-Town Bar and Grill, Don Tito and other popular Arlington hangouts has signed a 20-year lease for the space, at 3028 Wilson Blvd.

A new press release, below, says The G.O.A.T. will “transition from a traditional sports bar to a chic and relaxed evening lounge” and will feature “daily deals, late night menus and live entertainment” among its rotating specials.

Mike Cordero is bringing the “greatest of all time” in food and drinks to Clarendon this summer. Set to open in June 2017, The G.O.A.T. will take over 3028 Wilson Boulevard, which formerly housed the Hard Times Café, and transform the current floor and kitchen layout to maximize the seating in the 8,800-square-foot restaurant space. Cordero’s MacNac Hospitality signed a 20-year lease agreement with property owner VA Properties LLC. will work on the build out and remodeling of the kitchen, ground level and second floor, and Yvette Irene Design will develop the interior décor.

The G.O.A.T. will serve gourmet American comfort food and beverages. All the menu’s recipes will feature locally sourced ingredients and homemade marinades and sauces. There will be an emphasis on craft cocktails and beers supplied from area microbreweries.

“Our mission is to offer simple yet delicious food, a variety of drinks and a relaxing environment to lounge in,” said Mike Cordero, Executive Chef and President of MacNac Hospitality. “The G.O.A.T. will be an inviting sports bar that can be enjoyed beyond game day.”

Designed with extended hours for lounging in mind, The G.O.A.T. will transition from a traditional sports bar to a chic and relaxed evening lounge. Daily deals, late night menus and live entertainment will be a regular part of The G.O.A.T.’s rotating specials.

The redesigned restaurant will seat 350 guests between three full bars and full service tables. The 200-person dining room will have a mix of high tops and long banquette style tables. The bar stools and high top table chairs will feature plush cushions and foot rests to make seating for extended periods most comfortable. To ensure all seats are “the best seat in the house,” The G.O.A.T. will feature three large viewing walls. Each wall will be entirely comprised of individual TV monitors that together display one single televised event to maximize the overall viewing potential from each table. Separate from the main floor, The G.O.A.T. will house a private function room equipped with its own bar, several TV monitors, and seating for 25.

by ARLnow.com — January 3, 2017 at 4:30 pm 0

Snake found in toilet (photo via Facebook/Animal Welfare League of Arlington)

(Updated at 1:20 p.m.) An Arlington resident found a snake — a juvenile Yellow Anaconda, to be exact — in an apartment toilet last week.

The Animal Welfare League of Arlington recounted the surprise find in a Facebook post Tuesday afternoon. It happened, at an apartment building on 31st Street S. — in the Shirlington area.

“We do not know for certain how the snake got to this particular toilet but it is highly likely that it is someone’s pet that was either abandoned or escaped from an improperly shut vivarium,” said AWLA spokeswoman Chelsea Lindsey. “The snake (named Sir Hiss) would have then gone into the plumbing looking for food.”

No one was injured and the snake was safely removed from the apartment and taken to AWLA’s shelter. The organization says they have subsequently found a specialist to care for it.

“We highly encourage anyone thinking about having a snake as a pet to do extremely thorough research to determine whether they will be able to adequately care for their snake,” AWLA advised. “Fully grown, Yellow Anacondas can be up to 13 feet long and weigh more than 100 lbs.”

More from the AWLA post:

It’s never a dull day in Arlington County Animal Control! Last week, our Animal Control team received a call about a snake in the toilet of a local apartment. Officer Brenys White was able to safely remove the snake from the toilet and brought him back to the shelter. We were all in for a bit of a surprise — we were expecting him to be a wild snake or a ball python, but the snake is, in fact, a juvenile Yellow Anaconda!

Luckily, we were able to find a specialist who is familiar with his species and will be able to give him the care that he needs. We highly encourage anyone thinking about having a snake as a pet to do extremely thorough research to determine whether they will be able to adequately care for their snake. Fully grown, Yellow Anacondas can be up to 13ft long and weigh more than 100lbs. They need specialized care and housing, and while they are non-venomous, can be dangerous when they reach full size and are not well-socialized. Plus, no one likes being surprised by a lost and confused snake in their toilet! We are glad that in this circumstance we were able to rescue this snake, and that he did not make it out of the apartment complex and into the wild. Thank you to Officer Brenys for rescuing the snake and our specialist for giving him a new home!

Photo via Facebook/Animal Welfare League of Arlington

by Tim Regan — January 3, 2017 at 2:30 pm 0

A fan of Cherrydale’s House of Steep is buying the business to keep it from closing.

Lyndsey DePalma, who founded the tea house and “foot sanctuary”at 3800 Lee Highway, announced last month she planned to close the business and “lovingly serve our last cup of tea” by Dec. 30.

Though the business did close its doors last weekend, it’s only temporary thanks to longtime House of Steep customer and Arlington business owner Patrick Vaughan.

Vaughan, a regular runner of ultramarathons, said he was in the middle of a reflexology and foot massage session when he heard that the store was slated to shutter.

“I was really saddened when I heard it was going to close,” he recalled.

Then, he had an idea: Why not see if he could buy the business to keep it afloat? So, Vaughan called up DePalma, and within just 12 hours, they shook hands on a deal.

“I’ve wanted to get into a health and bodywork kind of business for a long time,” Vaughan said. “It just clicked for me. It just really made sense.”

For DePalma, the sale represents a kind of “fairytale ending.”

“I think he’s willing to take his ideas the distance,” she said. “He seems very passionate to begin with and willing to follow through.”

Although Vaughan said he doesn’t want to change the company’s atmosphere or culture, he does plan to add some new offerings and services to the menu.

“I’d like to be able to get beyond foot massage into full-body massage,” said Vaughan, who also owns a local information technology business. “I’m definitely looking to expand the techniques of massage offerings.”

House of Steep is scheduled to reopen Jan. 9.

by Tim Regan — January 3, 2017 at 1:15 pm 0

Frozen yogurt fans who frequent the Menchie’s at Penrose Square will now have to go cold turkey.

The company closed its store at 2405 Columbia Pike on New Year’s Eve, according to a Menchie’s representative. The froyo shop opened roughly four years ago.

“We closed the location because it simply wasn’t making any money,” said company representative Camey Turpin. Menchie’s has no plans to open another location in the area anytime soon. The closest Menchie’s store is along U Street in Northwest D.C.

It wasn’t immediately clear what might replace the business. Arlington County has not recently issued any building permits for that address.

Photos by Dave Emke

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