It’s been an arduous journey from conception to completion, but Devin Hicks is finally getting ready to open his homegrown Arlington brewpub and entertainment venue in Clarendon.
With a flurry of last-minute construction, Hicks is hoping to open Sehkraft Brewing (925 N. Garfield Street) on Monday, Nov. 23, in time for the Thanksgiving holiday. But he warns that that the opening date is is still in flux and admits that he hasn’t had great luck with setting opening dates.
The brewpub was originally slated to open in March. After various delays, in August Hicks promised that Sehkraft would definitely be open by mid-September — as he put it, “in time to watch the Nationals kill it in the playoffs and hopefully watch the Redskins be competitive.”
We all know how that turned out.
“We’re at the finish line, finally,” Hicks told ARLnow.com on Wednesday, as he supervised some two dozen workers, including Sehkraft’s extensive management team, an “all star crew” that includes everything from a brewmaster to a music supervisor to a cheesemonger.
“It’s been an ordeal,” he said of Arlington County’s permitting process, with which he has had plenty of trying times at his other business, Westover Market. “We’ve been through the wringer.”
Citing a need to maintain a healthy working relationship with the county, Hicks declined to get into specifics about his permitting issues. But he did acknowledge that a quirky feature at the center of the restaurant — a bulky wheelchair lift that leads only to the small entertainment stage — was the result of orders from county inspectors.
Sehkraft will be one of the more ambitious non-chain establishments to open along the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor in recent memory. At more than 9,000 square feet, with seating for 210 (including 66 on two patios outside), Sehkraft is huge. And that’s not even to mention the 10 barrel brewing system inside, or the centrally-located entertainment stage and state-of-the-art sound system.
Sehkraft will have 40 brews on tap, including 5 of its own homemade beers and 35 guest taps for a selection of beer, cider and even a honey mead. IPAs will be heavily represented on the menu, and there will be a pressurized growler fill station at the bar, allowing for take-home beer that can stay fresh for up to 90 days.
In addition to the beer, Sehkraft will have 8 wines on tap, plus others by the bottle. Just don’t come to the bar expecting hard liquor.
“Go elsewhere for Jaeger bombs,” advised one of the half dozen or so beer employees milling about on Wednesday. The beer team has an impressive pedigree, with experience at breweries like Port City and Lost Rhino, and at well-respected local restaurants like Lyon Hall and Northside Social.
The beer and wine will be accompanied by plenty of food, with three separate menus for lunch, dinner and bar fare. Expect chicken dishes, steaks, burgers, sausages and seafood, in addition to soups, salads, sides and snacks.
In such close quarters, a bar battle may be brewing — or perhaps, distilling — as the up-and-coming beverage in this case is whiskey.
Last week, Twisted Vines at 2803 Columbia Pike introduced 31 bottles of the brown liquor to its menu of wines and craft beer and is calling itself the first whiskey bar in the area.
(Copperwood Tavern, in Shirlington, may disagree.)
A short walk down the road from Twisted Vines is 2501 Columbia Pike, the home of the forthcoming Marble and Rye, a self-proclaimed wood fire kitchen and whiskey bar that’s planning a soft opening by the end of next week. Its current whiskey list includes 160 bottles and has plans to cap its selection at 200.
So, why whiskey, and why in Arlington?
“For us it’s actually a natural brand extension because we want to be a destination for fine wines, and now fine whiskey,” Tony Wagner, owner of Twisted Vines said. “People were asking for it. It’s a lot like with craft beer and wine in the sense that consumers are more knowledgable and interested in learning more about it.”
Wagner said when the restaurant first introduced its “extensive whiskey program” they started with the 31 bottles but hope to add 15 or 20 by the end of the year.
“We’re really proud of it,” he said of his whiskey plans. “Customers are becoming more sophisticated in their taste, so they want to go to a place where they can expand on that taste.”
Marble and Rye also hopes to teach locals the ways of whiskey, with a designated tasting room and cocktails that are “appealing to new whiskey drinkers and the whiskey fanatics.”
Restaurant spokeswoman Sarah Lakey described the restaurant’s menu as contemporary and locally-inspired while taking a sophisticated twist by pairing whiskeys with menu items. This is in the hopes that more customers will be encouraged to give the dark liquor a try.
“Whiskey is being enjoyed more and more as people realize there’s something for everyone,” she said.
The challenge of having a new whiskey bar as a next door neighbor, however, is welcomed.
“We are pleased that other restaurants on the Pike are expanding their whiskey offerings,” Lakey added. “Our hope is that the Columbia Pike corridor will become a destination for strong whiskey programs.”
The question of exactly how much room is on the Pike for whiskey bars, then, remains unclear. It seems that’ll be left for the drinkers to decide.
Toscana Grill is all new with its new location (3207 Columbia Pike), new management and new menu, according to general manager Abdul Khalique.
The eatery’s Courthouse Plaza location closed earlier this year and was replaced by a Vietnamese restaurant.
(3207 Columbia Pike was formerly home to Pines of Florence, another Italian restaurant that had relocated from the Orange Line corridor.)
Khalique said the new Toscana Grill is planning a grand opening event this Friday, or as soon as they receive the final license from Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control.
“It’s totally different than before, now an independent corporation with new brand management and great food,” he said. “We’re excited to bring this kind of traditional, Italian food to the Columbia Pike.”
The new menu includes beer and wine, entrees of chicken, seafood or veal, as well as a “make your own” pasta option.
According to its new website, the restaurant will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. for eat-in, take-out and delivery.
Photo via Google Maps
Tri360 opened at 2121 N. Westmoreland Street, just off of the W&OD Trail, in 2012. It sold athletic apparel, accessories and shoes — everything a triathlete needs to swim, cycle and run — and also had a “full service” bike shop.
“They were doing fine business-wise but the couple who owned it found that managing the store, etc. was overwhelming in addition other responsibilities,” she said.
The store held a big going-out-of-business sale before closing late last month. Bonzai Sports in Falls Church now appears to be the closest triathlon specialty store in Northern Virginia.
Hat tip to Carol B.
In a press release, Maryland-based Earth Treks confirmed the Crystal City location will be its fifth gym and will be “among the largest climbing gyms in the nation.”
The company has also posted a video tour of plans for the new facility.
Earth Treks Climbing Centers announces plans to open its first indoor climbing gym within the Washington, D.C. beltway. Earth Treks’ Crystal City, VA location will be its fifth gym, with three gyms in Maryland (Columbia, Timonium, and Rockville) and one in Colorado (Golden) already in operation. True to form, Earth Treks’ newest facility will be industry leading in amenities and size.
With a massive footprint exceeding 45,000 sq ft, the Crystal City location will be among the largest climbing gyms in the nation. The new gym will feature a stunning climbing wall constructed by Walltopia and designed by Jason Kehl, fitness and climbing training areas, a dedicated yoga and group fitness room, private climbing teaching areas, a fully stocked gear shop and locker rooms.
The new gym will be located at 1235 S. Clark St. in Crystal City, VA and will take full advantage of the unique space afforded by an existing health club. The high ceiling heights currently used for tennis and racquetball will soon be home to a jaw dropping 35,000 sq ft of roped climbing and bouldering terrain.
With metro access, Bikeshare, and ample parking, urbanites and suburbanites alike will applaud the new gym’s convenience to Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia. The new location is just a five minute walk from the Crystal City Metro stop off the Blue and Yellow lines, and served by numerous biking trails. On site garaged parking will serve the gym and be free during peak hours. In addition to scores of shops and restaurants in the area, the burgeoning creative community in Crystal City is an excellent fit with Earth Treks’ active and adventurous customer profile.
Earth Treks’ owner, Chris Warner, expects the new location to be immensely popular as “we’ve seen a huge response since our initial announcement to the local climbing community. We couldn’t be more pleased to be coming to Crystal City.” Earth Treks is planning a grand opening in late spring 2016.
Arlington County high school students can now submit their entries for the 2016-2017 Vehicle Decal Design Competition.
Now in its twelfth year, the annual contest is open to all students who live or go to school in Arlington.
“This contest is an opportunity to practice your design skills, as well as participate in the workings of local government,” Susan Anderson of Arlington Treasurer’s Office said in a letter to students. “It is truly a unique accomplishment for all the winners to highlight on their college applications and resumes.”
The letter also explained the winning design will be displayed on registration stickers on more than 160,000 vehicles and will become a part of a decal exhibit at the county administrative building.
Submissions are due to the Treasurer’s Office on Nov. 30 at 5 p.m, either via e-mail or a mailed CD.
Each design should be in JPEG format and have a resolution of no less than 300 DPI. Next year’s decals will have a red background with the design measuring 1.5 inches by 2.25 inches. Students must also submit an application with a short essay describing the design and why it visually represents Arlington. More detailed submission instructions are available on the county’s website.
After the submission period closes, a “Citizens Panel” will select four finalists — each will receive a cash prize — to be announced on the county’s website on Dec. 10. Residents will then vote for their favorite design online or by mailing a paper ballot to the Sun Gazette newspaper.
Voting will be open for approximately five weeks, and the winner is expected to be announced at a County Board meeting on Jan. 26, 2016.
Last year’s design contest winner was “A Nod to History” by Yorktown High School student Tommy Casey.
There’s a new pizza shop in town for those who live in the neighborhoods along Lee Highway.
Upper Crust Pizzeria has opened in the former HomeMade Pizza Company space, in the Lee Heights Shops, at 4514 Lee Highway. The restaurant quietly opened for business on Oct. 27, said Chief Financial Officer Ben Deb.
It’s the first D.C. area outpost of the small Boston-based chain since it went bankrupt and closed a former location in the District. Other new stores planned include a location on U Street NW in the District and one in Beverly Hills, California, both of which are slated to open within the next couple of months.
Upper Crust offers 25 specialty pizzas, some with D.C.-centric names, like “The GW,” “Pennsylvania Ave,” “The Nationals” and “The Dupont.” For customized pizzas, the company offers 40 toppings, nine cheeses, a gluten free dough option and three sizes: personal (10″), small (14″) and large (18″). Cheese, pepperoni and a “slice of the month” and “slice of the day” are offered by the slice.
Also on the menu are salads, baked lasagna, beer and wine. Take-out and free delivery are offered; in addition, there’s a small dine-in area and back patio.
Shawn Shenefield, Upper Crust’s Operations Director, says the opening so far has gone “really well.” He described the past two weeks as a soft opening, in which staff get on-the-job experience and training while business ramps up.
Shenefield said Upper Crust seeks to be a community-oriented business — Arlington, he noted, is comparable to Brookline, Mass., where the company has a store — and has been focusing on partnering with local schools. For instance, it has been planning fundraisers with nearby Marymount University and Glebe Elementary.
Arlington County courts, libraries, public schools and other government offices will be closed for the holiday, and metered parking will not be enforced, the county said. Arlington Transit will operate on a holiday schedule.
Trash and recycling services, meanwhile, will operate on a normal schedule.
Arlington County is joining a national effort to collect blankets and coats for Syrian refugees in Turkey.
The drive started on Saturday and will run through Dec. 4, collecting new or gently used blankets and winter coats for donation.
There are two locations in Arlington where residents can bring items to donate:
- Arlington Mill Community Center, 909 S. Dinwiddie Street
Monday-Friday: 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Sunday: 1 p.m. – 9 p.m.
- Courthouse Plaza Lobby, 2100 Clarendon Blvd
Monday-Friday: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Donated items must be clean and neatly folded. Sheets will not be accepted.
Arlington’s neighbor to the south, Alexandria, is also participating in the blanket and coat drive. According to Arlington County, more than 40,000 blankets have been collected in Northern Virginia over the past two years.
Photo via Arlington County
Lime Fresh first opened its Pentagon Row location, near the Harris Teeter, in May 2012. It promised a “signature blend of fresh, mouth-watering Mexican dishes, dynamic ambiance, stylized interiors and scrupulous service,” but garnered mixed reviews online.
Ruby Tuesday announced late last week that it was immediately closing 11 Lime Fresh locations and selling eight others in Florida. In completely divesting itself of Lime Fresh, Ruby Tuesday said it was “in our shareholders’ best interest that we exclusively operate our namesake brand restaurants.”
A new sushi and ramen restaurant is coming to Shirlington.
Signs for “Ichiban Sushi and Ramen” appeared in the windows of the former Blue Sea Seafood and Bar space at 4251 Campbell Avenue within the past couple of days. Blue Sea closed last week, after less than two years in business.
A logo on the sign appears to be the same as that of Ichiban Sushi House in Old Town Alexandria.
So far, there’s no word on an opening date for the new restaurant.
There are other changes afoot at the Village at Shirlington, meanwhile. Interior construction is underway at the new art-themed restaurant Palette 22, which is opening in the former Extra Virgin space.
Colorful new “coming soon” graphics have been placed in the windows of the restaurant while the construction takes place.
A building permit application, filed on Nov. 2, indicates that a Starbucks will be built inside the Macy’s store at the mall. Thus far it’s unclear where exactly in the Macy’s the cafe will be located.
There is already a Starbucks at the mall — an often busy kiosk in the center of the ground-level food court. There is also a Starbucks across Hayes Street, in the Pentagon Centre shopping center, and one within a stone’s throw of the mall parking lot, at the adjacent Pentagon Row shopping center.
Brendan Hurley currently lives in Ashton Heights and got engaged back in January.
However, not long before he proposed, the 29-year-old bet a friend $20 he could get John Stamos to be a groomsman in his wedding. The friend accepted the bet, and Hurley has made it his mission to win.
“I got engaged after I made the bet, and my fiancé told me she had picked six bridesmaids,” Hurley recalled. “I remembered Stamos, so I got six of my friends to sign up and told one specifically that if Stamos shows up, he’s out.”
Hurley added that sixth friend isn’t particularly happy with him, and his bride-to-be isn’t thrilled either.
“She jokingly says she doesn’t want him to come because she doesn’t want him to take all the attention,” he said, laughing. “I know she’ll be absolutely gorgeous that day, so I told her not to worry about it.”
Hurley’s making several efforts to bring Stamos to Virginia for the big day in May 2016.
The first step was getting active on Twitter — something Hurley said he would never do — by directly tweeting at the Full House celebrity. He’s used the social media platform to recruit the support of some friends and a John Stamos fan page.
He also started a blog that he updates periodically. Some of the posts mention reaching out to bigger media outlets like BuzzFeed and The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
The most recent entry was about Hurley completing this year’s Marine Corps Marathon while wearing a custom shirt that he designed and La Tee-Shirt on Lee Highway printed.
It read, “I run for Stamos.”
“That shirt got a lot of hooting and hollering,” Hurley said. “I think that’s going to be my racing shirt from now on.”
Hurley even offered to buy his plane ticket and give him the $20 for winning the bet if he shows up.
Despite his efforts, the celebrity hasn’t responded… yet.
“I’ve got some time,” Hurley said. “I’m not giving up hope.”
Photos courtesy of Brendan Hurley
The permit is for renovation of 850 square feet of office space into a “fast casual restaurant” serving meatless burgers and other alternative foods.
According to the restaurant’s nascent website, Alt’s is where “people go to eat tasty burgers without the guilt.” It lists the bacon “Altburger” with cheese as a menu item with less than 350 calories and 25 grams of protein.
The permit does not specify when the interior renovation of the space will begin.
Representatives for the restaurant could not be immediately reached for comment.
Hat tip to Martin L. Photo via Google Maps.
A new MOM’s Organic Market is opening next week on Lee Highway, within walking distance to Courthouse.
The store, at 1901 N. Veitch Street, is planning a grand opening celebration between Friday, Nov. 13 and Sunday, Nov. 15.
“Join us for a weekend of local tastings, environmental activities, henna art and more!” the company said on its website. “Five percent of Grand Opening sales will be donated to Moms Clean Air Force, a community of moms and dads united against air pollution and climate change to protect our children’s health.”
There will also be meet and greets with environmental organizations, like the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust, and live music Saturday and Sunday afternoon from Arlington singer-songwriter (and H-B Woodlawn student) Calista Garcia.
In addition to the grocery store, MOM’s is also opening a Naked Lunch storefront along Uhle Street. Naked Lunch is an organic, vegetarian and vegan-only eatery that serves soups, sandwiches, bowls and raw juices.
Other MOM’s features include free car charging stations, local beer and organic wine, and recycling drop-off for wine corks, CFL bulbs, eye glasses, plastic bags, household batteries and shoes.
MOM’s is located in the new Verde Pointe development, along with 162 luxury apartments and 36 townhouse flats.