This year marks the 10th anniversary of District Taco, which was co-founded by Marc Wallace and Osiris Hoil. The company is marking the occasion with an event in Rosslyn tomorrow (Thursday).
“ATTN, amigos!” the company said in a social media post. “Join us back where it all started for our 10 year anniversary… from 12-1 p.m. we will be on the corner of Lynn St & Wilson Blvd, in Rosslyn, handing out tacos and giveaways! Come celebrate with us and pose for a photo with our original taco cart.”
Hoil said he also plans on celebrating by taking a trip down to Mexico in August to visit family and reminisce about his mother’s cooking — the inspiration for many District Taco recipes.
Hoil’s entrepreneurial story began when he came to the United States as an immigrant and was laid off from a construction company during in 2007, around the time of the economic crisis. He said despite his dismay at the time, he still thinks highly of the firm and hired them to build several District Taco locations.
The District Taco cart launched in 2009, but was retired in 2014. Since then, two bricks-and-mortar District Taco locations have opened in Arlington: at 5723 Lee Highway — its very first storefront — in 2010 and in Rosslyn (1500 Wilson Blvd) in 2016.
District Taco now has 14 locations, according to its website, and plans to add at least three more in 2020, according to Hoil. They also want to double their office space by 2021.
“Everything we have done is by scratch,” said Hoil. “We have learned so much from other people and big companies.”
Photo 1 via Twitter
Email may be one of the internet’s oldest technologies, but email newsletters are all the rage right now.
The reason for the recent resurgence in popularity is the medium’s simplicity: if you’re a media outlet, email newsletters let you reach readers directly, without being subject to a Facebook algorithm or a Google ranking. If you’re a reader, it’s an easy way to scan the day’s headlines without having to type in a bunch of URLs into a browser or scroll through endless social feeds.
ARLnow’s email newsletter has been around for almost as long as ARLnow itself — 9 years as of today — and faithfully delivers headlines from the past 24 hours to more than 12,500 subscribers around 4 p.m. daily.
For those subscribers — and you, if you’re not currently subscribed but would like to do so now (it’s free) — we’re thinking about ways to deliver even more cool stuff in 2019.
Among the ideas we’re currently considering:
- A monthly email version of those local coupon packs you get in the mail
- A monthly happy hour directory (now that it’s becoming legal)
- A monthly email devoted to events and things to do in Arlington for kids and families
- Other monthly emails focused on local topics like health and wellness, home and garden, etc.
Have any ideas on those or any other things we can offer through our email newsletter? Let us know in the comments.
‘Coffee With a Cop’ Comes to Clarendon, Pentagon City — The Arlington County Police Department is hosting a pair of “Coffee with a Cop” events later this month, at a Starbucks in Pentagon City and Northside Social in Clarendon. In a press release, ACPD said it “is committed to developing and maintaining strong relationships with those we serve, a vital component to ensuring the public’s trust.” [Arlington County]
Potomac Roaring Over Great Falls — Those within earshot of the Potomac River are being treated to an especially loud roar this week as the rain-swollen river “churned and even exploded into the air at Great Falls.” It also flooded parts of Alexandria and the Georgetown riverfront. [Washington Post, Twitter, Twitter]
Photo courtesy @jimcollierjr
(Updated at 11:50 a.m.) Joe’s Place Pizza & Pasta will be celebrating its 40th anniversary next week, and several state legislators and Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol are expected to be in attendance.
On Wednesday, Joe’s Place will offer its pizza, pasta and salad buffet bar at the original price of $3.99 for both lunch and dinner.
The restaurant, at 5555 Lee Highway, is the final remaining branch of a family-run chain that began in Woodbridge in 1978, a rep noted. It was founded by Joe Farruggio, who came to the U.S. from his hometown of Agrigento, Sicily. It is now managed by Joe’s nephew, Rosario Farruggio, and hosts numerous community events and fundraisers for local schools, sports teams and nonprofits each month.
A private event will also be held at the restaurant next week and is expected to feature a brief program during which a Congressional proclamation from Rep. Don Beyer’s office will be presented to the office.
“We have so much to be grateful for, especially all of our longtime staff and loyal customers,” the restaurant’s staff wrote. “Thank you!”
Instant Runoff Bill Fails in Richmond — It appeared to be headed toward potential passage, but a bill to allow Arlington County to hold instant-runoff elections for County Board was referred to another committee on a 51-49 House of Delegates vote and is effectively dead for 2018. [InsideNova]
Arlington Denies Request for 911 Recording — “Arlington County has denied a request from the family of Bijan Ghaisar to release the 911 call made after a hit-and-run crash he was involved in, before a police chase ended with U.S. Park Police fatally shooting him.” [Covering the Corridor, WTOP]
ARLnow on Kojo — ARLnow founder Scott Brodbeck will discussing the state of local news on the Kojo Nnamdi Show today. The show airs at noon on WAMU 88.5 FM. [Kojo Nnamdi Show]
A-SPAN Celebrates Quarter Century — The Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network, which started as a grassroots effort to address local homelessness, recently marked its 25th anniversary with a fundraiser and celebration in Rosslyn. [InsideNova]
Email List Hits 10K — ARLnow’s email newsletter mailing list crossed the 10,000 mark on Monday. Thank you to all of our subscribers, who are receiving our headlines free of social media filters. (ARLnow’s Twitter account reached 40,000 followers in December and our newly-verified Facebook account is on the verge of 24,000.)
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
ARLnow’s Eighth Birthday — Today is the eighth anniversary of the founding of ARLnow.com. Here is our first post ever.
Sexual Harassment FOIA Folo — In a follow-up to our FOIA request seeking any records of sexual harassment or assault allegations against senior Arlington officials since 2000 — no such records were found — we asked about any such cases, against any county employee, that were handled by the County Attorney’s office over the past decade. The response from the county’s FOIA officer: “There are no records responsive to your request because no such cases exist.” The last publicly reported case was that against an Arlington police officer in 2007.
Vihstadt Launches Re-election Bid — Arlington County Board member John Vihstadt made it official last night: he is running for re-election. Vihstadt, who is running as an independent, has picked up at least one Democratic challenger so far. However, he again has the backing of a number of prominent Democrats, including fellow Board member Libby Garvey, Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos and Treasurer Carla de la Pava. [InsideNova]
County Accepts Millions in Grant Funds — “The Arlington County Board today accepted $17.85 million in grant funding from three transportation entities that will be used for transit, bridge renovation and transportation capital projects in the County.” Among the projects is a new west entrance for the Ballston Metro station. [Arlington County]
County Board Accepts Immigration Donation — “The Arlington County Board today accepted a resident’s anonymous donation for a Citizenship Scholarship to help Arlingtonians pay the $725 federal application fee charged to those seeking to become U.S. citizens.” [Arlington County]
Man Convicted of 7-Eleven Robberies — A man arrested last year for a string of robberies has been convicted by a federal jury of three armed robberies and an armed carjacking. Among the crimes were two armed robberies of 7-Eleven stores in Arlington. [Alexandria News]
Arlington Lauded for Solar Program — The U.S. Department of Energy has named Arlington County a “SolSmart” community “for making it faster, easier and more affordable for Arlington homes and businesses to go solar.” [Twitter, Arlington County]
Flickr photo by John Sonderman
Eight years ago this month, Arlington launched its search for two “car-free diet skeptics” to take the inaugural Car-Free Diet Challenge.
What resulted were two seasons of the challenge, featuring Car-Free Todd, Matt, Ross and Kyle; a blog; and a sketch-comedy show that appeared on YouTube and local cable TV. The goal: convince skeptical commuters of the virtues of biking, walking or taking the bus instead of driving.
The show might have been silly — and intentionally so — but it did have a certain je ne sais quoi. In all, the Car-Free Diet Challenge was creative and memorable enough to warrant a mention eight years later.
And it might have had some lasting impact. After all, last year’s Bike to Work Day in Arlington set a new registration record, with 2,900 people signed up.
So what are the Car-Free Diet Challenge contestants up to these days? We received updates on three of the four.
According to a county spokeswoman, Ross moved to Boston to attend graduate school and Todd moved to Reston. Matt, meanwhile, is “working for Tysons Partnership doing Transportation Demand Management… [helping] those in the Tysons area to be car-free or car-lite.”
There’s no word on whether any of the contestants remained car-free.
A mainstay of the Clarendon bar and restaurant scene celebrates a significant milestone Friday, as Mister Days (3100 Clarendon Blvd) marks its 40th anniversary.
It first opened in an alleyway off Dupont Circle on November 21, 1977 serving prime rib, ham sandwiches, a soup and a salad. And in the years that followed, including a move to 18th Street NW between L and M Streets NW before opening in Arlington in 2000, it gained a strong following.
The bar has served famous guests like movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Washington Redskins greats like Sonny Jurgensen and John Riggins, and had live entertainment from singer-songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter early in her career.
But owner Robert E. Lee said it is the relationships he has built that are most memorable.
“It’s kind of bittersweet,” Lee said of the anniversary. “You start losing friends, not customers, but friends that you met through business. After you get out of school, you have professional relationships. In the bar business and restaurant business, you meet hundreds of people that become friends.”
Lee said that initially, he was unsure about having televisions showing sports in Mister Days, figuring it would be a distraction from the dancing and food. But when he saw customers leaving to go home and watch “Roots,” a 1970s miniseries, he began to think differently.
Instead of relying on the major network broadcasts, Lee did something new for customers by, as he put it, putting on “all games all the time.”
“We figured out how to do back-channels through satellite dishes, so we got the satellite dishes,” he said. “We started doing all games all the time. Nobody else had it. We weren’t the first sports bar, but I believe we were the first where you could get all the games. You couldn’t buy them.”
Much of Mister Days’ popularity in D.C. came from its “Rally in the Alley,” an outdoor event held in conjunction with other nearby bars that included food, drink and live entertainment and at times hosted 15,000 people.
What began as a party one St. Patrick’s Day morphed into a charity event, just one of the bar’s charitable ventures that also included paying for kids to attend basketball camps and get basketball scholarships to DeMatha Catholic High School and donating food for free Christmas and Thanksgiving meals.
“[Rally in the Alley] became a major event,” Lee said. “That’s like the acorn that became an oak tree. That was just an idea, and that’s what I love to do. You have an idea, and all of a sudden it works.”
Two Arlington Men Finish in MCM Top 3 — Arlington residents Desta Morkama and Kieran O’Connor finished first and third, respectively, in the 42nd Marine Corps Marathon yesterday. Al Richmond, the last remaining “Groundpounder” who has run every MCM since it started, kept his streak alive with a 6:48.35 finish. The race, which begins and ends in Arlington, had its start delayed by 10 minutes due to a suspicious package investigation. [RunWashington, Washington Post, NBC Washington]
No Major Incidents at MCM — Other than the short starting delay, no major incidents were reported at this year’s Marine Corps Marathon. Within the county, Arlington law enforcement and the fire department maintained a heavy presence along the course, along with Virginia State Police and other agencies. Arlington school buses were parked at key intersections to prevent anyone from driving onto the course. [Twitter, Facebook, Twitter]
Pedestrian Killed on Memorial Bridge — The Arlington Memorial Bridge was closed for more than three hours Saturday morning after a 47-year-old man was struck and killed by a car on the bridge. The driver remained on scene. Police are seeking additional information about the crash from witnesses. [NBC Washington]
Board Approves Library Renovation Project — Arlington Central Library will be getting $1.7 million in renovations, thanks in large part to a private donation. The Arlington County Board approved the project at its Saturday meeting. Per a press release, the plans include “new meeting rooms, an updated ‘tech-central’ area and a multi-purpose maker lab, a community-based space where people can share knowledge and tools to create together.” [Arlington County]
Roosevelt Memorial Anniversary Event — The National Park Service is holding a family-friendly event on Sunday, Oct. 29 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the dedication of the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial on Roosevelt Island. The event will feature food including fried chicken and Indian pudding; an address from the former president’s great-grandson, Tweed Roosevelt; a Teddy Roosevelt re-enactor; and a “Teddy Bear story time.” Shuttles will be available from the Pentagon parking lot. [InsideNova]
Library to Launch New Digital Collection — “Arlington Public Library will launch a new digital collection of Arlington women and their achievements in March 2018. The Center for Local History’s (CLH) Community Archives contains many collections pertaining to women’s history and consequently the history of Arlington County.” [Arlington County]
The county’s commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War I began yesterday with a brief ceremony at the County Building on Clarendon Blvd.
Originally intended to be at the American Legion War Memorial in Clarendon Central Park, the event was forced indoors by inclement weather.
The ceremony was part of a series of commemorative events being held by the county’s World War I Commemoration Task Force throughout this year.
County Board member John Vihstadt, the Board’s liaison to the commission, gave opening remarks, followed by commission chair Dr. Allison Finkelstein. Vihstadt spoke of the significance of World War I to Arlington, as it helped transform the county from a rural outpost to the urbanized home of the military.
“We commemorate World War I because it is not just the story of our country, but our county,” Vihstadt said.
Finkelstein said future events will look to further engage diverse segments of the community, launch community service projects and confront tough issues, like the role of racism in the war effort.
The war memorial where the ceremony was to be held segregates the 12 local men who died in World War I, with two presented away from the others and labeled “colored.” There have been discussions in the past about changing the plaque, and Finkelstein said she wanted to “find a consensus for the best way to address this plaque and respect the challenges they faced in Jim Crow’s America.”
Ed Bearss, chief historian emeritus at the National Park Service, gave the keynote address and discussed America’s involvement in the “war that was to make the world safe for democracy.”
Update on June 17 — The flyover has been pushed back to 1 p.m., according to the Coast Guard.
The United States Coast Guard will conduct a commemorative flyover of the D.C. area around noon on Friday, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of USCG aviation.
The flyover will involve nine aircraft representing the current Coast Guard fleet — painted in historic color schemes to honor Coast Guard aviation’s history of national defense and saving lives.
The aircraft will ultimately be flying to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center, near Dulles International Airport, for the museum’s Innovations in Flight display on Saturday.
Arlington is right in the flight path of the flyover, thus making places like Gravelly Point Park, the Pentagon and the Air Force Memorial ideal viewing points for the event.
The aircraft participating in the flyover include “MH-65 Dolphin helicopters, MH-60T Jayhawk Helicopters, HC-144 Casa and C-27J Spartan Medium Range Surveillance aircraft, HC-130J Hercules Long Range Surveillance Aircraft, and the C-37 Gulfstream G-5 Long Range Command and Control Aircraft,” according to the Coast Guard.