Press Club

Updated at 10:30 p.m. — The person who was barricaded inside an Arlington Heights home has been taken into custody, police say.

Earlier: Two streets north of Columbia Pike, in the Arlington Heights neighborhood, are blocked due to a reported barricade situation.

A person reportedly suffering from a mental health issue is inside a house on the 300 block of S. Fillmore Street and refusing to come out. Fillmore, an arterial street between the Pike and Route 50, is blocked by police south of 2nd Street S. as a result, while parts of 2nd Street are also blocked.

Arlington County police have established a command post on 7th Street S., near the Montessori Public School of Arlington. That street is blocked as well, west of S. Walter Reed Drive.

The incident started before noon and as of 3 p.m. is still ongoing. Both police and fire personnel are on scene, as negotiators try to coax the person out peacefully.

Police, meanwhile, are assisting students in the neighborhood as schools — including Thomas Jefferson Middle School and Fleet Elementary — are let out for the day.

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Ruthie’s All-Day (courtesy photo)

Eighteen Arlington restaurants are participating in this winter’s Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week from Jan. 17 to 23.

As in the past, there are usually three different tiers of menu: lunch or brunch, dinner, and a higher tiered dinner menu. More information and most menus are available on the event’s website.

With Covid cases continuing to break records, many local establishments are offering their restaurant week menus for take-out and delivery, in addition to dine-in options.

The Arlington restaurants listed as participants are below, sorted by neighborhood.

Arlington Heights

Ballston

  • Rustico is offering a three-course, $40 dinner menu, along with cocktail and wine pairings. There’s also take-out and outdoor dining available.
  • SER Restaurant is offering a three-course, $25 lunch menu and a $40, three-course dinner menu with $15 wine pairings.
  • The Melting Pot is offering a three-course lunch menu for $25 and a three-course dinner menu for $40 per person. For an extra $5, get chocolate fondue.
  • The Salt Line in Ballston, which opened in October, is offering a two-course lunch menu for $25 and a three-course dinner menu for $40. The heated outdoor patio space is available for dining.

Clarendon

  • Spice Kraft Indian Bistro is offering special Pongal Festival menus, a five-course vegetarian meal for two for $45 and a non-vegetarian meal for two for $55. There’s also special wine and cocktail pairings. The menus are available for take-out and delivery.
  • TTT Clarendon is offering a lunch for $25 that comes with a protein, two sides, and a dessert and a dinner for $40 that comes with all of that plus a margarita.
  • Ambar, known for Balkan cuisine, has an “unlimited plates” lunch option for $25 and a dine-in option for $55. Plus, a take-out option for two for $60 or, add in a bottle of wine, and get it for $70.

Crystal City

  • Crystal City Sports Pub, which narrowly avoided a fire last month, is doing a three-course menu priced at $40 for one or $70 for two people. There is outdoor seating and the menu is available for take-out.
  • McCormick & Schmick’s on notes it is participating, including with take-out options, but no menu has been posted as of publication.

East Falls Church

Pentagon City

  • Matchbox is offering a $40, three-course dinner and outdoor seating remains available.
  • Epic Smokehouse on S. Fern Street is offering a $55, three-course dinner with wine and cocktail pairings.

Shirlington

  • Big Buns in Shirlington (as well as its location in Ballston) is offering $25 lunch and $40 dinner menus, all available for dine-in, take-out, and delivery.
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A man walked up to an American flag outside of a home in the Arlington Heights neighborhood early Friday morning and lit it on fire.

Arlington County police and fire investigators are now trying to find the suspect, a younger man who was wearing a hooded windbreaker and a backpack at the time. The motive for the crime is unclear.

The incident happened around 3 a.m., in the residential neighborhood several blocks away from Thomas Jefferson Middle School. It’s being investigated as arson.

“The unknown suspect approached an American flag on the victim’s porch and set it on fire,” said an ACPD crime report. “A witness observed the flag on fire and extinguished it. The suspect is described as a White male, 18 – 30 years old, 5’4″ – 5’11” tall and wearing a dark hooded windbreaker, jeans, white sneakers and carrying a backpack. A joint investigation with the Fire Marshal’s Office is ongoing.”

The resident of the home, who did not wish to be named, recounted what happened to ARLnow.

“We awoke to a neighbor banging on our front door and a burning flag, which had spread to the bush in our front yard,” he wrote. “Our neighbor put out the fire with a hose. We then saw the video of the person lighting the flag on fire.”

The video was shared with neighbors on an email listserv.

“No idea,” the resident said, when asked why someone would do this, adding that nothing like this has ever happened before in the area.

Hat tip to Smiley456

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Live music, theatrical performances and fair food are all on tap as Arlington County Fair returns two weeks from today.

After being canceled due to the pandemic, the event will return to the Thomas Jefferson Community Center and grounds, at 3501 2nd Street S. The fair kicks off Wednesday, Aug. 18 at 5 p.m. and concludes at 10 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 22.

“We weren’t sure we were going to be able to have the Fair this year but we made the decision a few short months ago and have been working tirelessly ever since to plan some exciting things for our community to enjoy,” said Arlington County Fair Board Chair Barbi Broadus.

For five days, people can experience county fair classics such as face painting and bounce houses, or try newer, trendier activities, such as axe throwing and goat yoga.

Fair attractions include:

  • Goat yoga — Saturday and Sunday starting at 9 and 10:30 a.m.
  • New District Brewing Company beer garden — opens Wednesday and Thursday at 5 p.m, Friday at 3 p.m., and noon on Saturday and Sunday
  • Robotics demonstrations — Friday, Saturday and Sunday
  • The Miraculous Magical Balloon performance from Synetic Theatre — Thursday at 5 p.m. and Saturday 4 p.m.
  • Pie eating championship — Saturday from noon to 2:30 p.m.

All things kids can be found at the “kids court,” where there will be face painting, bounce houses and magic performances from Drew Blue Shoes.

Meanwhile, attendees can browse exhibitions of talented bakers and artists, who will receive awards on Saturday at 7 p.m.

While admission is free, rides and activities may require tickets that can be purchased on-site or online, where a detailed schedule of events can also be found.

After living through shutdowns, attendees can expect sizable crowds.

“For the past 45 years, the fair has been one of the largest free events on the East Coast with over 84,000 attendees from Northern Virginia and the Washington metro area,” said a fair representative in a press release.

The fair is working with Arlington County to ensure the event is as safe as possible, according to a press release. Federal and state Covid-19 guidelines will be followed.

In Arlington, case rates are starting to rise and Northern Virginia health officials are recommending people wear masks regardless of vaccination status. There is no renewed statewide mask mandate, however.

This year’s event will have some on-site parking spaces for fairgoers in the Alice West Fleet Elementary School garage on 115 S. Old Glebe Road. Overflow parking will be available at the Faith Lutheran Church (3313 Arlington Blvd).

For those looking to help out, the fair is looking for board members, volunteers, donations, sponsorships and local vendors.

The hours for the fair are:

  • Wednesday, Aug. 18: 5-10 p.m.
  • Thursday, Aug. 19: 5-10 p.m.
  • Friday, Aug. 20: 2-11 p.m.
  • Saturday, Aug. 21: 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Sunday, Aug. 22: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Outdoor entertainment consists of a daily lineup of musicians, from jazz and funk to rock and pop. The music schedule is below.

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A former Columbia Pike business has inspired a state bill that would allow localities greater say over liquor licenses.

HB 2131 was introduced in the Virginia House of Delegates last month by Del. Alfonso Lopez, who represents Arlington — including portions of the Pike — in the 49th District.

It has since passed the House unanimously and is now in the Virginia State Senate.

The bill is a response to a number of incidents, including multiple shootings, that took place in 2020 at the nightlife venue Purple Ethiopian Restaurant & Lounge at 3111 Columbia Pike.

Despite “a series of disturbing events” and much to the chagrin of the Arlington County Board, the venue was given its liquor license back by the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority in September.

While the Purple Lounge has since closed, HB 2131 would allow greater input from localities about what businesses are granted liquor licenses by the Virginia ABC. It would add “chief administrative officer of a locality” to the list of those sent license applications. In Arlington County’s case, that’s the County Manager.

It also would expand the definition of “criminal blight,” meaning a condition on the property that endangers the public health or safety of local residents, thus making it easier for a license to be denied in cases of criminal activity.

Delegate Lopez tells ARLnow that he believes that this is the most important part of the bill.

“We’ve tightened the firearm section. In the past it had said repeated use of firearms,” says Lopez. “What we’ve done is [added] the simple discharge of a firearm once now it rises to the level of the criminal statute.”

The bill also adds “in possession” of a controlled substance, as opposed to just “under the influence,” and includes criminal activity that takes place on the property — like, in the parking lot — as opposed to simply in a building.

“It is easier now for community groups to give proof [of criminal activity],” says Lopez. “It’s easier for localities to meet the threshold by which they can report a bad actor establishment to ABC.”

Virginia ABC remains the only agency that can suspend or revoke liquor licenses.

While the frustration in the community over the Purple Lounge directly influenced this bill, Lopez says that he’s heard of similar situations in other Virginia jurisdictions.

Kristi Sawert, President of the Arlington Heights Civic Associations, is one of the local leaders that helped bring attention to the matter. She says “a lot of bad things were happening” at the Purple Lounge that were upsetting and scaring residents.

Sawert says too often she felt that the local civic associations were “kind of shut out of the process” when it came to the Virginia ABC making decisions and settling liquor license disputes. She applauds this bill since it gives Arlington County more tools and more say in preventing businesses like this from operating in neighborhoods.

She also thinks it would be advantageous to include civic associations on the list of those that would receive liquor license applications.

“99.9% of the time, there’s no issue at all with any type of business getting their alcohol license,” says Sawert. “This would give another opportunity for civic associations in Arlington a chance to weigh in on what’s going on in their boundaries. I think it’s just more information.”

Arlington County Board Chair Matt de Ferranti also agrees with the bill.

“Arlington was supportive of this legislation, which is why Board Member Takis Karantonis provided testimony before the House General Laws Committee on behalf of the Board,” he writes to ARLnow. “We appreciate Delegate Lopez’s efforts on behalf of our residents in this matter.”

The bill was referred to the Committee on Rehabilitation and Social Services in the Virginia State Senate on Feb. 4.

Lopez remains optimistic that it will pass the Senate, be signed by the governor, and become state law.

“I am hopeful that it will pass the Senate,” he says. “But, you know, the Senate is very different than the House.”

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A smaller-format grocery store is now part of the plan for the redevelopment of the Westmont Shopping Center.

The strip mall, at the busy corner of Columbia Pike and S. Glebe Road, is set to be torn down and replaced with a six-story mixed use building with 250 housing units and 22,500 square feet of retail space. The redevelopment plan was approved by the County Board last fall.

The project’s developer is coming back to the Board this weekend to request modifications that would allow a grocery store to occupy the retail space.

More from a county staff report:

The use permit allows the construction of a six-story structure containing 250 multi-family residential units, approximately 22,500 square feet of retail, and two levels of structured parking. The Applicant is pursuing a grocery store tenant to occupy the ground floor tenant space of the building, and these amendments are necessary to accommodate the grocer’s delivery trucks. The grocery store’s delivery model requires the use of large, 53-foot delivery trucks, which requires the alley’s egress and proposed public access easement area to be widened east of S. Glebe Road and results in an undergrounding of the existing at-grade transformers. The proposed underground utility vault and ventilation grates will encroach into the proposed widened public access easement.

Given the smaller size of the retail space, one could expect a grocery store more along the lines of a Trader Joe’s, as opposed to a full-service supermarket.

The new grocery store would be located between the Giant at Penrose Square and the new Harris Teeter at the Centro development (Columbia Pike and S. George Mason Drive).

County staff is recommending the Board approve the requested changes. The staff report does not specify when work on the project is expected to begin.

Hat tip to Chris Slatt

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(Updated at 2:15 p.m.) The newest entrant into Arlington’s restaurant scene has opened its doors.

Ruthie’s All-Day, located in the Arlington Heights neighborhood and owned by a pair of fine dining vets, is now accepting dinner reservations and takeout orders.

The restaurant is a bit off the beaten path: it’s located along S. Glebe Road at 3411 5th Street S., in a single-story, historic building that once served as a chocolate factory.

Ruthie’s aims to be a neighborhood destination, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner in a place that’s blocks from the nearest sit-down restaurant and a half hour walk from the Ballston Metro station.

Despite the understated name, “RAD” has a menu that is more culinary than quick-service.

Starters include Southern staples like deviled eggs, cornbread, hushpuppies and pimento cheese, mixed in with tuna tartare and wood grilled octopus. Pork, chicken and brisket sandwiches are joined on the menu with entrees like wood fired bacon wrapped trout, roasted diver scallops, and smoked Rohan duck breast.

Though Ruthie’s doesn’t have barbecue in its name, it does have two all wood burning smokers and a custom wood hearth, fed by North Carolina hickory and oak wood. It offers meat by the pound and half pound, including brisket, pulled pork and chicken, as well as racks of ribs.

In addition to the food, the restaurant will have eight local beers on tap, on a rotating basis, in addition to seasonal cocktails and a curated wine list.

Ruthie’s, which is touting its COVID precautions as it opens amid the pandemic, also has a large patio for outdoor dining. It plans to roll out coffee, breakfast, brunch and lunch service at later dates.

More from a press release:

We are pleased to announce the official opening of Ruthie’s All-Day by Chef Matt Hill and Partner Todd Salvadore. This will be Chef Matt’s and Todd’s first solo restaurant after working in the industry for more than twenty years. […]

As a full-service, family friendly, all-day neighborhood restaurant and bar with a custom-built wood-burning hearth, Ruthie’s All-Day will offer coffee/counter, lunch, brunch, and dinner service scratch made food with an emphasis on locally-sourced ingredients. “We are beyond excited to finally open our doors to Ruthie’s All-Day! We plan to open in phases. Currently, we are open for dinner and takeout. In the coming weeks, we will be introducing Counter Culture coffee, breakfast/lunch counter, and brunch service,” says Chef Matt Hill.

The opening dinner menu is Chef Matt Hill’s modern take on a meat and three with 100% wood smoked barbecue and grilled meats including: smoked pulled pork shoulder with scratch made milk bread; wood fired citrus marinated 1/2 chicken with a raisin caper vinaigrette, smoked brisket; and smoked half rack sticky spare ribs. These are accompanied by twos and threes: buttermilk biscuits; mac and cheese; pulled pork pinto beans; anson mills grits; crispy brussels in fish sauce vinaigrette; hand cut fries; or charred kimchi dirty rice. Super tasty starters, such as skillet cornbread, hot hushpuppies with shrimp and roasted jalapeno, wood grilled oysters, and brunswick stew are also featured. The menu will showcase delicious entree salads, including fried chicken cobb salad and nice grilled salmon salad, as well as several sandwiches including Chef Hill’s crispy fried chicken sandwich with gojuchang aioli, bread and butter pickles, and slaw. The beverage program led by Todd Salvadore offers Cocktails with twists on classic favorites, and a rotating eight draft beer program from local breweries.

In the coming weeks, in the morning, the take-out counter will feature an evolving menu with our ridiculously delicious breakfast biscuits and bowls, think stone ground grits, house-made sausage, crispy fried chicken, and brisket, egg and cheese biscuits, alongside Counter Culture coffee from Chef Hill’s (and Ruthie’s) home state of North Carolina. Lunch time brings a mix of fresh ground burgers, sandwiches and entree salads with greens from local farmers and producers, packed with seasonal superfoods.

Both indoor and outdoor seating are currently available. “While following the CDC, WHO, and VA government guidelines, our number one priority is keeping our guests and staff safe,” says Todd Salvadore.

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A 40-year-old Arlington man is accused of a sex offense after police say he touched a girl inappropriately in the Arlington Heights neighborhood late last year.

The incident happened around 5 p.m. on Dec. 10, 2019. Police say the girl and two other juveniles were walking down the 300 block of S. Irving Street, near Thomas Jefferson Middle School, when the suspect approached the group and grabbed the girl from behind.

Playford Ray Resh, 40, was arrested near Clarendon last week, the Arlington County Police Department announced today. He’s now facing an Aggravated Sexual Battery charge.

More from ACPD:

The Arlington County Police Department’s Special Victims Unit is announcing the arrest of a subject charged with a sex offense involving a juvenile. Playford Ray Resh, 40, of Arlington, VA was arrested and charged with Aggravated Sexual Battery. He is being held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Facility.

At approximately 5:12 p.m. on December 10, 2019, police were dispatched to the 300 block of S. Irving Street for the report of an assault that just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined that three juveniles were walking in the area when the suspect allegedly began to follow them. The suspect then approached the female victim from behind, grabbed her buttocks and placed his hands around her, pulling towards him. The victim pushed the suspect away and yelled for help. The suspect fled the scene on foot prior to police arrival and a canvas of the area returned with negative results.

Detectives assigned to the Special Victims Unit began a thorough investigation into the incident. A review of witness interviews, tips from the public and crime scene evidence led detectives to identify Mr. Resh as a suspect. He was taken into custody without incident in the 3300 block of Wilson Boulevard on the evening of August 13, 2020.

This remains an active criminal investigation. Anyone who has additional information related to this investigation or may have had past inappropriate encounters with this suspect is asked to contact Detective S. Gomez at 703-228-4173 or [email protected] Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

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Several vehicles were damaged Wednesday afternoon after a woman in a vehicle that was reported stolen twice tried to ram her way out of traffic stops, according to police.

The incident started shortly after 4 p.m. in the Buckingham neighborhood.

Police say the woman stole a car that was left idling and unattended, near the intersection of N. Henderson Road and N. Thomas Street, and was subsequently spotted driving north of N. Glebe Road near Route 50.

She refused to stop for officers, but was followed through Ballston by police in unmarked vehicles, as witnessed by an ARLnow reporter. Police tried to block her in on N. Monroe Street, near the Arlington Arts Center, but she reportedly hopped the curb and kept driving. The mirror of a parked vehicle, as well as the front of a police SUV, appear to have been damaged in the process.

An Arlington County Police Department crime report details what happened next.

“Officers briefly lost sight of the vehicle, but located it again when the suspect backed into a parking spot in the 3300 block of 2nd Street S.,” near Thomas Jefferson Middle School, according to the crime report. “The suspect refused to exit the vehicle and began to drive again, striking a cruiser blocking it into the spot.”

“Spike sticks were deployed as the driver attempted to flee again by reversing the vehicle onto the curb behind it,” the crime report continues. “Following multiple attempts to have the suspect exit the vehicle, officers forced entry and took her into custody without incident.”

“Latia Hill, 27, of No Fixed Address, was arrested and charged with Grand Larceny: Motor Vehicle Theft, Eluding Police and Reckless Driving, and held on no bond,” the crime report concludes. “During the course of the investigation, it was determined that the suspect also struck a parked vehicle in the area of Wilson Boulevard and N. Monroe Street.”

A Virginia State Police trooper assisted with the final traffic stop, according to scanner traffic. No injuries were reported.

Arlington County police recently warned residents of a wave of thefts of unattended vehicles, many of which are delivery vehicles.

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An ambitious new restaurant is coming to an unlikely place: a former chocolate factory and paint store.

Ruthie’s All-Day — a family-friendly neighborhood restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner — plans to open this fall at 3411 5th Street S., a historic building that most recently housed a Sherwin-Williams store, in the front parking lot of the newly-renovated Dominion Apartments.

Behind the restaurant are two veterans of the local food scene: Matt Hill, formerly Executive Chef for Liberty Tavern Restaurant Group, which operates The Liberty Tavern, Northside Social, Lyon Hall and Liberty Barbecue; and Todd Salvadore, formerly a general manager for Chef Robert Wiedmaier’s RW Restaurant Group. Both Hill and Salvadore also worked at Charlie Palmer Steak in D.C.

Located along S. Glebe Road, between Columbia Pike and Route 50 in the Arlington Heights neighborhood, Ruthie’s will be a sit-down restaurant with a bar, a takeout counter, an outdoor patio, and a wood-burning hearth. It is expected to open in phases, starting in September with outdoor dining, takeout and catering.

Signature offerings include wood-smoked barbecue and southern-style dishes, in addition to seasonal cocktails, a curated wine list, and a rotating selection of draft beer.

“Ruthie’s All-Day will feature a take-out counter with Counter Culture coffee, ridiculously delicious breakfast biscuits, stone ground grits, house-made sausage, crispy fried chicken sandwiches, vinegar spiked pulled pork sandwiches, and hearty salads,” said an announcement Wednesday morning. “In the evening, Ruthie’s will be Chef Hill’s modern take on a meat and three which will include pepper smoked prime grade brisket, fresh Chesapeake rockfish, char-grilled gochujang rubbed spare ribs, southern style mac and cheese, white-soy braised greens, and more.”

A full press release is below.

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A North Carolina man wound up in jail after allegedly declaring independence from his trousers Saturday night.

Just before midnight on July 4, police were called to the 1200 block of S. Eads Street in Pentagon City for a report of a man exposing himself.

“Arriving officers located the suspect, who attempted to walk away from them. He then turned back and allegedly exposed himself to officers, who then took him into custody without incident,” according to a new Arlington County Police Department crime report.

A 36-year-old man from Fayetteville, North Carolina “was arrested and charged with Indecent Exposure and Drunk in Public,” the report continued. “He was held on no bond.”

On the morning of the Fourth of July, a 29-year-old D.C. man was arrested on the 100 block of S. Fenwick Street, in the Arlington Heights neighborhood, after another alleged indecent exposure incident.

“At approximately 7:04 a.m. on July 4, police were dispatched to the report of an indecent exposure,” said the crime report. “Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim observed the male suspect allegedly touching himself inappropriately. Arriving officers located the suspect and took him into custody without incident.”

The suspect was charged with Public Masturbation and held on no bond, the crime report said.

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