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by Chris Teale August 7, 2017 at 3:45 pm 0

Just months after national chain Applebee’s closed in Ballston, its replacement, Filipino restaurant Bistro 1521, has opened its doors.

Located at 900 N. Glebe Road on the first floor of the the Virginia Tech Research Center and next door to the recently-opened Stageplate Bistro, the new spot occupies a large restaurant space, with seating capacity for 220 inside and 60 on the outside patio. It opened July 31.

The restaurant has a slew of Filipino staples, including soups, salads, rice and dishes with noodles and various meats. Bistro 1521 also has various grill and house specialty dishes including jumbo squid stuffed with tomatoes and onions; Cebu crab cakes and a “1521 Burger” with ground beef, longaniza (a Spanish sausage), atchara (pickle) and sweet potato fries.

Those behind the restaurant include Manny Tagle, bartender Jo-Jo Valenzuela and wife Christina Valenzuela, and general manager Solita Wakefield. Wakefield was previously a co-owner of Bistro 7107, a Filipino restaurant on 23rd Street S. in Crystal City, which recently closed. Jo-Jo Valenzuela said the dishes will be recognizable to those who love Filipino food.

“We want to be careful about calling our food authentic, because everyone’s mother cooks meals differently,” he said. “But we’re definitely traditional Filipino comfort food.”

The restaurant’s name refers to the year Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan discovered the Philippines, and the artwork on the wall includes references to the country’s flag and other part of its history.

Dinner service begins at 4 p.m. each day, with lunch and brunch services set to launch in the near future.

by ARLnow.com August 7, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

Clarendon is getting a new option for coffee, donuts and ice cream.

A joint Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin Robbins store is coming to a ground floor space on at the corner of Clarendon Blvd and N. Garfield Street, one block from the Metro station. The space was formerly occupied by a dining area for Pete’s New Haven Apizza, which downsized earlier this year.

Permits have been issued for the interior buildout of the store, but so far there’s no word on an opening date. The new shop will join existing, nearby Dunkin’ Donuts locations in Courthouse, Virginia Square, Ballston and Cherrydale.

In March, ARLnow reported that reps for Dunkin’ had visited the space at 3017 Clarendon Blvd and were considering a lease.

by Katherine Berko August 7, 2017 at 10:45 am 0

District Taco will donate $1 today (Monday) from every regular burrito and breakfast burrito it sells to a nonprofit that serves underprivileged children.

The event, called Back to School Burritos, will take place all day at each of District Taco’s 10 locations across the area. The money will be donated to the National Center for Children and Families, which will help purchase school supplies for underprivileged children and families in the region.

District Taco CEO and co-founder Osiris Hoil said he came from a disadvantaged upbringing and so tries to give back to the community whenever he can.

“When I was a child my parents were very poor, and it was very hard for them to buy school supplies for me and my brothers,” Hoil said in a statement. “Helping other kids makes my heart feel full and makes me extremely happy.”

Hoil started District Taco as a food cart in Arlington, before opening his first brick and mortar location on Lee Highway. It has since added restaurants in D.C. and Northern Virginia, with its first locations in Maryland and Pennsylvania both set to open this fall in College Park and King of Prussia, respectively.

by Chris Teale August 4, 2017 at 2:15 pm 0

The McDonald’s on Arlington’s western end of Columbia Pike has reopened after a renovation.

The fast food restaurant at 5005 Columbia Pike closed on June 20 for the refit, and reopened to the public on this past Monday, a spokeswoman said, with updated decor and fixtures and the addition of some new ordering technology.

During the closure, workers added self-service kiosks for customers to place their orders electronically. A spokeswoman said that technology has been rolled out in more than 2,500 McDonald’s restaurants, which includes the recently-opened one at Central Place in Rosslyn.

The restaurant also introduced table service as part of the revamp, which a spokeswoman said “provides a more relaxing and custom dining experience.”

A grand re-opening ceremony is planned from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday (Aug. 5), and will include face painting, games, food and drink and music by local Spanish language radio station El Zol.

Courtesy photos.

by Katherine Berko August 4, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

https://twitter.com/acfdpio/status/893079422403846146

The Arlington County Fire Department and its T-Rex got in on the latest viral video meme.

ACFD sent the costumed dinosaur on the “Drive by Dunk Challenge,” tweeting out a video of the escapades. The result: a five-alarm fail of a dunk attempt.

The video shows an ACFD truck driving around Arlington and stopping outside houses with basketball hoops, where the T-Rex runs over to the hoop and attempts to dunk the ball with its tiny arms before racing back to the truck.

At one point, the dinosaur falls on its side, while another time, the dinosaur climbs down the truck’s ladder and gingerly plops the ball into the hoop.

The challenge began when an Instagram user named posted a video of him dunking a basketball on strangers’ driveways. It has since spread nationally, with police officers and NBA players getting in on the action.

by Chris Teale August 3, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

Casual Adventure will be open until at least Christmas, after it signed a new short-term lease on its Virginia Square building.

Owner Eric Stern said he and his staff requested the extension from property owner 1404 Hancock Street Investment LLC, a company registered to local custom home builder BCN Homes.

The pair then agreed on the extension, in part, Stern said, because new development in the area is taking a “little bit longer than originally anticipated.”

“We’ve had a great business relationship, and we were able to extend at least for the time being,” he said. “Then we’ll figure things out from there.”

The long-time outdoor retailer had been set to close its 3451 Washington Blvd location this spring after 61 years in business. It first announced its closure in April and subsequently held an “End of an Era Sale” with large discounts.

Stern said the influx of customers and outpouring of sadness at the store’s closing showed there is still “an obvious need or want for us in this space.”

“The general support from the public has been overwhelming in a positive way,” he said. “I certainly appreciate everybody who’s come in and shared their stories of the trips they’ve taken over the years, the products they’ve bought from us over the years and the photos they’ve had from their trips.”

Casual Adventure is currently holding a summer clearance sale with merchandise marked down as much as 70 percent. Stern said fall items will start arriving shortly.

Hat tip to Buzz McClain

by ARLnow.com August 2, 2017 at 11:10 am 0

A large new coworking space will breathe new life into the former Artisphere in Rosslyn this fall.

Coworking firm Spaces expects to open its new Artisphere location in November. The location will feature 22,000 square feet of office space, an event space, an outdoor patio and a gym with showers, we’re told.

Renderings show sleekly-designed communal spaces designed for collaborative work.

“Take your creativity to new levels in uniquely inspired workspace in Rosslyn’s vibrant urban sector,” the Spaces website says. “The Artisphere’s sophisticated modern design cultivates an empowering social atmosphere that fuels innovative thinking.”

In April, Spaces opened a large coworking space in D.C.’s Uline Arena

by ARLnow.com August 1, 2017 at 5:00 pm 0

The surface parking lot of the Whole Foods in Clarendon has closed temporarily, and this afternoon it led to tempers flaring in front of the store on Clarendon Blvd.

Crews are currently working to mill and resurface the normally-busy parking lot. Customers, in the meantime, can attempt to find street parking or park in the Market Common Clarendon garage across the street. (Whole Foods validates up to two hours in the garage.)

While the lot is closed, customers have been competing fiercely for the few street parking spaces around the store.

Today, while ARLnow.com was checking out the resurfacing work, several drivers parked along Clarendon Blvd were engaged in a dispute about one vehicle parking too close to (and perhaps striking) two others.

While the parking dispute was going on, a pedestrian in a nearby crosswalk shouted curse words at a stopped driver he thought had honked their horn at him. (In fact, it was the car behind the first stopped vehicle.)

The lot is expected to reopen by Thursday, an employee said.

by Chris Teale August 1, 2017 at 1:15 pm 0

A new wine store and gourmet shop is coming to Pentagon City, according to a Virginia ABC application.

The store, called Pentagon City Wine Merchant in the application, would be located at 1330 S. Fair Street, near The Millennium at Metropolitan Park apartment building and across from Costco.

It may replace the Tutti Frutti frozen yogurt store, which closed in 2015 and had gone unfilled until now. The new store will also be next door to the Epic Smokehouse, an upscale barbecue restaurant that opened in 2012.

As of Tuesday, August 1, no building permit applications had been filed with the county.

Calls to the phone number associated with the ABC application went unreturned.

In addition to facing competition from the Costco across the street, the store will also compete with the Whole Foods store a block away.

by Chris Teale July 31, 2017 at 5:45 pm 0

The Arlington County Fire Department’s month-long donation drive for the Animal Welfare League of Arlington begins tomorrow (Tuesday).

Now in its second year, Operation Firepaws will run throughout August as firefighters across the county collect various non-perishable items for AWLA. Last year, more than 600 pounds of pet supplies was donated, a total ACFD hopes to beat this year.

The fire department and AWLA ask mostly for donations of canned food, collars, toys and some office supplies. The Animal Welfare League asked that Milk Bones, other boxed hard treats and homemade treats not be donated.

Throughout the month, the fire department will feature pet safety tips and profiles of pets up for adoption from AWLA on its Facebook and Twitter pages.

Donations will be accepted through August 31, and are encouraged between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Donation bins will be located in front of the entrances of all county fire stations:

  • Fire Station 1 – 500 S. Glebe Road
  • Fire Station 2 – 4805 Wilson Blvd
  • Fire Station 3 – 4100 Old Dominion Drive
  • Fire Station 4 – 3121 10th Street N.
  • Fire Station 5 – 1750 S. Hayes Street
  • Fire Station 6 – 6950 Little Falls Road
  • Fire Station 7 – 3116 S. Abingdon Street
  • Fire Station 8 – 4845 Lee Highway
  • Fire Station 9 – 1900 S. Walter Reed Drive
  • Fire Station 10 – 1559 Wilson Blvd

by Chris Teale July 31, 2017 at 1:25 pm 0

A new deli serving a wide range of food and drink is coming to Courthouse and could open as early as this fall.

The Chelsea Market & Deli will be located at 2250 Clarendon Blvd in the plaza near county government headquarters. It will replace the shuttered City Market convenience store, and be opposite Starbucks, Clarendon Nail Spa and GNC near the Courthouse Plaza apartments.

Owner Shawn Kim said Chelsea Market & Deli could be open sometime in October, depending on how permitting and construction goes. Kim said he is adding a full kitchen with a pizza oven, which could make things more complicated, and that he anticipates being open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The new deli will serve traditional deli food like corned beef pastrami, hot sandwiches, pizzas and salads as well as international cuisine like Jamaican food. After living in New York and being a regular at various street-corner delis and markets, Kim said he wanted to bring that back to Arlington.

“It seems like here, everything is so franchised and the food is good sometimes, but you don’t get that home cooking taste anymore,” Kim said. “I’m trying to bring that food back.”

Chelsea Market & Deli has filed an application with Virginia ABC to serve beer and wine, and Kim said it will also serve various breakfast staples like waffles, pancakes, omelets and French toast. Cheeses and other snacks will also be sold.

He added that the new eatery, which will be focused on being a carry-out market rather than a full sit-down restaurant, will try to keep prices low.

“I’ve been working in the food industry for a long time, and the need for sandwiches and pizza for a good price, it’s hard to find these days,” Kim said.

by ARLnow.com July 28, 2017 at 7:30 pm 0

Healthy fast-casual eatery Bowl’d is closing, the restaurant announced via Facebook Friday evening.

Bowl’d opened in March 2015 at 1028 N. Garfield Street, in Clarendon, two blocks off the main Clarendon Blvd drag. It served gluten-free rice and salad bowls, plus fruit juice and smoothies among other options.

More via the Facebook post:

Dear BOWL’D Friends and Family,

Thank you so much for the opportunity to serve this community for the last 2+ years. We had a mission to help serve healthy food made to order to help you eat healthier more of the time. Our intent was to provide delicious and nutritious food for people who wanted that option without breaking the bank.

We thank you for all of your support and generous feedback. We have decided to close and wish all of our countless neighbors and friends all the best on their personal journeys to a healthy lifestyle.

Sincerely,
The BOWL’D Team.

by Brooke Giles July 28, 2017 at 11:05 am 0

A new Roti Modern Mediterranean opened in Pentagon City today.

Roti is located on the ground floor of the Met Arcadia apartment building, between a Starbucks and an Orangetheory Fitness. It opened at 11 a.m. today (Friday), and will be open 11 a.m.- 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 11 a.m.-8 p.m. on Sundays.

Staff marked the occasion with balloons and various other decorations, and before 11 a.m. were doing final cleaning tasks ahead of opening the doors.

The fast casual restaurant serves wraps, rite plates and salads, with a variety of protein, topping and sauce options. It focuses on “Food That Loves You Back,” touting high-quality, healthy ingredients. It also offers an option to “try a little of everything,” allowing diners to pick as many sides as they want.

The restaurant is headquartered in Chicago and has other locations around the country, including in Rosslyn (1501 Wilson Blvd), its only other in Arlington.

More from Roti’s press release:

Rōti Modern Mediterranean is excited to announce the opening its newest location in the DC area, in Pentagon City, which opens today. This past January, Roti updated their menu to include a “try a little of everything” approach to entrees, giving customers the option to add as many sides and toppings as they’d like. This past Spring, Spicy Lamb Meatballs were added to the menu at all locations. Packed with flavor and spice, the meatballs are prepared using red quinoa, Sriracha sauce, mint, parsley, red chili, and other spices. This new offering is gluten-free and a great source of protein.

To reinforce their mission of Food That Loves You Back, Roti’s space includes enhanced food presentation, new interior design features, and a hand drawn food story mural scaling the length of the dining room. There is also additional communal seating to accommodate larger lunch and dinner groups.

by ARLnow.com July 27, 2017 at 11:30 am 0

For the latest episode of the 26 Square Miles podcast, we sat down with two of our summer interns, Brooke Giles and Kalina Newman.

We talked about why the heck they’re pursuing a career in journalism, what they think of media coverage of the Millennial generation, and what it’s like to grow up and go to school in Arlington.

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

by Katherine Berko July 27, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

Honeygrow, a healthy fast-casual eatery that serves custom salads and stir-fry dishes, has started to incorporate virtual reality when training its new employees in Arlington.

“The company is expanding so much but we still want to keep our core values,” said a spokeswoman for Honeygrow, which opened its Pentagon City mall location in 2016.

Honeygrow uses virtual reality for training to ensure that each new employee learns the company’s core values, which can be left in the dust once businesses undergo rapid expansion. Honeygrow’s first location opened in 2012 in Philadelphia but the company has grown so quickly that by the end of 2017, Honeygrow will have expanded to approximately 25 stores, spanning from Boston to Chicago and as far south as Pentagon City, which is one of two locations in the D.C. area

“This [virtual reality] has enabled us to be able to consistently train everybody,” said Brennagh Tourigney, a district manager for Honeygrow.

The virtual reality program was launched in May 2017. Honeygrow’s founder and CEO, Justin Rosenberg, was inspired to use virtual reality at his company when he received a cardboard virtual reality with his Sunday New York Times.

“It engages the team members,” said Tourigney. “This kind of keeps people excited, it sets us apart from our competitors.”

The virtual reality training does not replace hands-on training, but is an additional component. On orientation day, new workers are given the goggles and taken on a tour of a typical Honeygrow restaurant.

The video teaches trainees what the different roles of the workers are: they watch somebody make a salad, they observe a “noodler” carefully prepare noodles so they are a Goldilocks-approved “just right” — not too hard or too soft — and they see how cashiers ensure each order was correctly made. The video even has an interactive part when the goggles take trainees into the Honeygrow refrigerator.

Trainees are taught how to place food in the refrigerator, as foods served raw always go on the top. They must then use a clicker to place the different meats in correct order on the shelves and cannot go on to the next part of the video until they put fish on the top shelf, then beef, then pork and finally, chicken on the bottom shelf.

“I’ve never been in a working kitchen before, but I understand it is a very tough environment so this is a great way to assimilate new hires into a fast-paced kitchen environment, where a million things are going on at once,” said the spokeswoman.

The video was filmed in Honeygrow’s Cherry Hill location in New Jersey. Not a single person featured in the video was an actor, but were employees. Rosenberg introduces the video and gives closing remarks at the end.

“Because it’s led by our CEO and founder, it’s a great way to bring people into the community. You really feel like you’re part of the Honeygrow family from the minute you start,” said the spokeswoman.

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