Those hungry for an update on the arrival of Lao and Thai restaurant Padaek may have to wait a bit longer.
There is no opening date yet for the Southeast Asian restaurant moving into the Arlington Ridge Shopping Center. The message that it is “coming soon” — which is about as tantalizing as the food looks — is splashed across a banner at its location and included in a new post on social media.
“We are waiting for one more permit from Arlington County and getting closer [to a] soft opening but first we plan for take-out,” Chef Seng Luangrath told ARLnow.
Large, bright tropical flowers are splashed across some walls of the 3,500-square-foot space at 2931 S. Glebe Road, according to Instagram. Orchids decorate large windows looking out over an enclosed patio.
Luangrath, the well-regarded chef behind Padaek in Falls Church and the renowned Thip Khao in Columbia Heights, will be bringing much of the original Padaek menu to this new location, which will also serve some Thai and Burmese dishes, Axios previously reported.
Last month, the location received the blessing of local Buddhist monks, according to photos and a video posted on Instagram. The posts depict monks, surrounded by flowers and food, performing a ceremony, while attendees followed along in prayer.
Then, everyone tucked into heaps of Lao food and sweets.
In the restaurant’s most recent post, Luangrath thanked followers, family and friends “for joining us on the special traditional ceremony and blessing day on for new space.”
There have been other signs of progress recently, including an open house a month ago for cooks.
Axios previously reported that the restaurant was targeting a mid-June opening date but that has since come and gone.
(Updated at 9:15 p.m.) Thousands were without power in and around Crystal City and Pentagon City for much of the day due to a widespread outage.
The outage was first reported just after 11:15 a.m. Arlington County firefighters investigated a possible underground explosion and treated a Dominion worker with burns from steam that came out of a manhole, according to scanner traffic.
“At 11:18 a.m. a splice in an underground cable failed causing an arc/flash and 10,000+ outages in Crystal City, Pentagon City & nearby neighborhoods,” Dominion spokeswoman Peggy Fox told ARLnow shortly before 4 p.m. “We’re working to have all customers restored as quickly as possible, hopefully in a half an hour. A worker was treated at the scene and released.”
ACFD also responded to a large quantity of stuck elevator calls in the area, owing to the outage.
More than 10,250 Dominion customers were without power as a result of the outage. The outage map extended into the Aurora Highlands and Arlington Ridge residential neighborhoods, including Oakridge Elementary.
Arlington’s parks department closed the Long Bridge Aquatic and Fitness Center and the Gunston Community Center due to the outage.
As of 5:15 p.m., Dominion said all but 1,229 customers had their power restored, with outages still reported along Crystal Drive by ARLnow readers. As of 9 p.m. all customers had been restored, per Dominion.
Transformer blew on 15th st pic.twitter.com/TUBEKFx8RW
— Rachid Maalouf (@MaaloufRachid) August 22, 2023
Can confirm, I’ve never seen so many people out on the sidewalk as all homes and businesses have lost power! https://t.co/yFeHtFooAb
— James Gethyn Evans (@jagevans) August 22, 2023
Yup. It's chaos here right now. https://t.co/CBZSZVrBdf
— Alex Matsuo 👻🏳️🌈 (@TheSpookyStuff) August 22, 2023
Arlington County police are investigating an armed robbery in the Arlington Ridge neighborhood early Friday morning.
The robbery happened around 1:30 a.m. at the intersection of S. Arlington Ridge Road and 23rd Street S.
The victim told police that he was rear-ended by a black Ford Mustang or Dodge Charger, and then two men dressed in ski masks and all black clothing got out, armed with an AK-47 or similar gun, and robbed him of jewelry.
More from an ACPD crime report:
…the victim was stopped in his vehicle at a traffic light when the suspect vehicle rear ended him. The victim exited his vehicle and approached the suspect vehicle when Suspects One and Two exited their vehicle. Suspect One assaulted the victim causing him to fall to the ground and Suspect Two threatened the victim with a firearm and demanded his belongings. The victim gave the suspects his jewelry before they reentered their vehicle and fled the scene. The victim sustained minor injuries and did not require medical attention.
Officers were unable to locate the suspect vehicle, which was believed to have been driven off in the direction of I-395 and D.C.
A small group of parents from Oakridge Elementary School are asking Arlington Public Schools to take a hard look at student achievement and teacher retention.
Student assessments show low growth and lower pass rates in math and science tests at the school in the Arlington Ridge neighborhood. Meanwhile, it has higher teacher turnover than the school system as a whole, according to the group, named Concerned Parents of Oakridge
“We’ve looked at the data as of the end of the 2022 school year and we did not see academic growth but we did see significant staff turnover and a widening equity gap,” group representative Anna Hudson told the Arlington School Board last week. “We know that many teachers will not return to Oakridge in the fall.”
Hudson is one of four parents who co-wrote a letter on behalf of this group, urging APS to hold students to higher academic standards.
APS has been talking with parents and the Arlington Ridge Civic Association about these issues, per an email that the school system shared with ARLnow.
It has developed a plan that addresses academics and staff satisfaction, as well as family engagement and behavior management, the email says. Not long after this plan was developed, a fight broke out among Oakridge parents at a fifth grade commencement ceremony.
The school began sending iPads home at the end of April so students and families can access the learning software APS has on these devices throughout the summer. Last year, Oakridge restricted iPad use at home due to inappropriate content found on the device of a student.
Before the school year ended earlier this month, English and math supervisors and other administrators began meeting regularly with teachers and making rounds at the school and teachers have quarterly planning days to prepare their lessons.
Demonstrating growth in reading and math are part of the school’s strategic plan. Oakridge committed to increasing small-group and one-on-one instruction and regular staff meetings to reach this goal.
When it comes to performance in English, Oakridge students are close to on par with their peers countywide, with 74% passing a state assessment in the 2021-22 school year, compared to the countywide average passing rate of 78%, per a state school quality dashboard.
In math, history and science, the Arlington Ridge elementary school performs lower than APS as a whole, though some of the elementary schools with high rates of children from low-income families have lower pass rates, per data from a state dashboard.
In math, 64% of Oakridge students passed state assessments compared to the APS rate of 74%, and in science, 40% pass rate compared to a 64% pass rate. Pass rates in Arlington for these subjects range from 95% to 21% and 90% to 16%, respectively.
Schools with some of the highest pass rates, like Nottingham Elementary School, registered low “growth rates,” while schools with lower pass rates register high growth rates, such as Randolph and Drew elementary schools. The Oakridge parents say they are troubled by the zero growth registered in math and science.
“Equity in education relies on strong academics. Reading, writing, math and problem-solving are critical foundations, whether you go to tech school, 4- year university or enter the workforce after high school,” Hudson said. “Low standards in elementary school lead to kids falling out in middle school and high school. Our kids are capable and they deserve better.”
(Updated at 11:20 a.m.) A physical fight among 2-3 adults marred a promotion ceremony for fifth graders at Oakridge Elementary on Thursday.
Police were called to the school in the Arlington Ridge neighborhood around 4:45 p.m. for a report of a sizable fight, involving adults and possibly children as well.
“At approximately 4:46 p.m., police were dispatched to the 1400 block of 24th Street S. for the report of a fight,” Arlington County police spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow. “Upon arrival, it was determined that adults who are known to each other became involved in a physical altercation during an event at the school. The parties were separated and no significant injuries were reported. The investigation is ongoing.”
Savage said that no children were injured, though medics were dispatched to the school for a child who may have been bitten during the fracas.
An email sent to parents, obtained by ARLnow, further describes what happened.
Dear Oakridge Families,
I wanted to inform you that an altercation occurred between two adults this afternoon during our Fifth Grade Class Promotion. Staff intervened and were able to separate the parties involved as quickly as possible. The police were called to the school to investigate the matter and there were no injuries.
If your children have questions or would like to discuss this matter with a counselor, the student support team will be available all day tomorrow.
A tipster tells ARLnow that the fight might have been a bit larger, involving three women and a group of school staff and parents trying to break up the brawl.
“There was a fight amongst the parents… that got physical resulting in parents on the ground and other parents and staff breaking up the fight,” the tipster said. “Children were crying. Police and EMS were called.”
“This isn’t safe for our children,” the tipster added.
This is at least the second significant, traumatic incident this year for the fifth grade class at Oakridge. An alleged “sexual incident” among two students during an overnight visit to the Arlington Public Schools Outdoor Lab in Fauquier County — which was investigated by local law enforcement — involved fifth graders at Oakridge, according several sources.
Photo via Google Maps
“Padaek 2.0” is planning to open in “mid-to-late June,” Axios reported Tuesday. It will feature an outdoor patio and will feature some Thai and Burmese dishes, in addition much of the original Padaek menu, according to Axios.
ARLnow was unable to reach a restaurant representative for additional information by publication time. Alexandria newspaper Zebra appears to have been the first to report the Padaek plans in January 2022.
Meanwhile, Padaek is not the only new restaurant coming to the shopping center. Posters in the window of the standalone retail building also advertise the impending arrival of Palm Berries.
The açai bowl franchise from North Carolina will be occupying a 1,000-square-foot spot next to Padaek. The Instagram page for Palm Berries lists an Arlington location as “COMING SOON!!”
(Updated at 5 p.m.) Proposed infill development for the RiverHouse site in Pentagon City is coming into focus with more renderings from the developer.
Reprising long-envisioned intentions to redevelop the expansive property, JBG Smith filed plans last year proposing apartments, senior housing, condos and townhomes on the surface parking lots on the RiverHouse site. Existing apartment towers will stay and more units within them will be set aside for affordable housing.
Arlington County has yet to officially accept JBG Smith’s application, a step that would kick off a formal community engagement and review process, which the developer anticipates will culminate in Arlington County Board review by the end of 2023.
On Thursday, more than 100 residents, neighbors, other community stakeholders attended an open house, in which JBG Smith shared renderings showing how it proposes shorter and fewer buildings than what is allowed in the Pentagon City Sector Plan, a document guiding decades of development in the area.
“As our design team has developed our plans for the RiverHouse Neighborhood, we have benefited from the active participation and input from existing residents, neighbors, and other community stakeholders,” JBG Smith said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing to collaborate in the coming months as we advance a shared vision for our neighborhood.”
After the meeting, residents tell ARLnow they are hoping for more collaboration to improve “livability” on the site and in the surrounding area, through more community benefits and supporting infrastructure, per the Arlington Ridge Civic Association President Kateri Garcia and the local group Dense That Makes Sense.
“How do we know the infrastructure in place is going to be enough to meet the demand of all these additional people?” Garcia said. “What are the benefits we most need in this area? … We already have a community center and library that is out of date. How can we use the investment to improve those facilities to right-size them for the future population?”
Some Arlington Ridge residents welcome, for instance, the lower heights. Before the Arlington County Board adopted the sector plan in February 2022, some residents rallied against the height maximums the plan would allow on the RiverHouse site, potentially blocking the skyline view some enjoy in the condos and homes that line Arlington Ridge Road.
“The October 2022 plan is a more reasonable plan than what Arlington County’s Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development (CPHD) proposed in its Pentagon City Sector Plan that was accepted by the County Board at its February 12, 2022 meeting,” according to Dense That Makes Sense, a group of residents who organized on this issue.
That said, the group said it does not endorse the 2022 plan, nor does it necessarily endorse plans JBG Smith put forward in 2019, which it says is the best of the three visions for the site. It argues that further study of the site is needed to figure out what supporting infrastructure is needed before JBG Smith moves forward.
(Updated at 4 p.m.) A pair of suspects carjacked a vehicle in the Arlington Ridge neighborhood last night, leading to a police chase into D.C.
The carjacking happened around 8:30 p.m. Saturday on the 2800 block of Fort Scott Drive, not far from Crystal City.
According to initial reports, the stolen vehicle was quickly located by Arlington County officers on northbound I-395 and a chase was initiated. While for safety and jurisdictional reasons other chases are often terminated at the 14th Street Bridge, this time a chase into the District was authorized.
The suspect vehicle crashed near the Jefferson Memorial and the Tidal Basin shortly after entering D.C., according to scanner traffic, and both suspects were taken into custody after brief foot pursuits.
One of the carjacking victims was evaluated by medics for a possible injury.
(2) Arrests were made after a short foot chase. Some @ArlingtonVaPD officers got on I-395 moments after the the carjacking on Ft. Scott Dr was dispatched at 8:27 p.m. In less than 4 mins. they spotted the SUV. The officers were given permission by a supervisor to chase into DC.
— Dave Statter (@STATter911) February 12, 2023
Late Sunday afternoon Arlington police issued the following press release about the arrests.
The Arlington County Police Department is announcing the arrest of two juveniles following an armed carjacking in the Aurora Highlands neighborhood on the evening of February 11, 2023.
At approximately 8:26 p.m., police were dispatched to the report of an armed carjacking in the 2800 block of Fort Scott Drive. Upon arrival, it was determined the male victim was sitting inside a parked vehicle when the two juvenile suspects approached, brandished firearms, and demanded the victim exit the vehicle. The two suspects then fled the scene in the stolen vehicle. A lookout was broadcast and an officer observed the suspects traveling northbound on I-395. The officer attempted a traffic stop and, after the driver refused to stop, initiated a vehicle pursuit. The suspects attempted to elude officers and subsequently crashed the vehicle in the area of 14th Street SW and D Street SW, Washington D.C. The suspects then ran from the vehicle and officers initiated a foot pursuit and took both suspects into custody. The two juvenile suspects were transported to an area hospital as a precautionary measure, however no injuries were reported. During a search of the stolen vehicle, officers recovered a firearm which had been reported stolen out of Prince George’s County, Maryland.
Petitions were obtained for the juveniles who are both 17-year-olds and of Washington D.C. They are being held in Washington D.C. pending extradition to the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The Metropolitan Police Department and D.C. Fire and EMS provided on scene assistance.
This remains an active investigation and anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact the Arlington County Police Department’s Tip Line at 703-228-4180 or [email protected]. Information may also be reported anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).
Hat tip to Alan Henney
(Updated, 12:05 p.m.) Tesla is opening its first Arlington sales and service center today.
A ribbon cutting ceremony is being held this morning at the nearly 64,000 square foot space at 2710 S. Glebe Road, just east of Shirlington. Several local officials are expected to be in attendance, including state Senator Barbara Favola and County Board member Takis Karantonis.
This is Tesla’s fourth Virginia sales center. Prior to the Arlington location, the closest was in Tysons.
ARLnow reported in early March that the electric car company was charging up to open a store on S. Glebe Road near I-395. It’s the former location of a Maserati dealership and, before that, seafood seller M. Slavin & Sons.
Tesla had to first get approval from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles to open this and two other stores in the Commonwealth.
Under state law, automobile manufacturers like Tesla are generally not able to sell their cars directly to customers. This law was originally passed, in part, to encourage competition. In fact, for a time, Tesla couldn’t sell cars at its Tysons mall showroom and employees were forbidden from even discussing purchases.
However, that changed last May when the state DMV commissioner approved the company’s request to open three sales centers in Virginia. The reasoning the commissioner gave is that there are no independent dealers in Arlington — or in Charlottesville and Norfolk, where the other stores are opening — that could operate a Tesla franchise “in a manner consistent with public interest,” according to the hearing decision provided to ARLnow.
The Arlington store will employ about 20 people initially with “plans to grow as needed to meet demand,” a company spokesperson said.
In addition to its sales and service location, there are more than 400 Tesla “supercharger” stations in Virginia, where drivers can get a quick recharge of their car’s batteries.
That number includes eight such stations in Arlington, according to a company map. Rosslyn, Clarendon, Ballston, Pentagon City, Crystal City, and the new Tesla store on S. Glebe Road all have at least one publicly available charging station.
(Updated at 10:15 a.m.) The neighborhoods around Gunston Middle School have again been the scene of a significant series of thefts from vehicles.
Thieves have repeatedly targeted the residential areas along 28th Street S., which connects the Long Branch Creek and Arlington Ridge neighborhoods, over the past month.
The latest involved the early morning theft of airbags from around 20 Honda vehicles, according to an Arlington County Police Department crime report. Airbag thefts were also reported in the nearby Aurora Hills neighborhood, not far from Crystal City.
LARCENY FROM AUTO (Late) (Series), 2022-04280050/04280074, 1400 block of 28th Street S./600 block of 26th Street S. At approximately 5:47 a.m. on April 28, police were dispatched to the late report of a larceny from auto. During the course of the investigation, it was determined that between approximately 4:49 a.m. on April 27 and 5:36 a.m. on April 28, the unknown suspect(s) forced entry into approximately 20 vehicles, all identified as Honda models, and stole airbags. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.
It the third such reported theft series in the neighborhood in April. Others include:
- Five vehicles were rummaged through after windows were smashed in Long Branch Creek and Arlington Ridge on April 25
- At least one catalytic converter theft (out of three reported total) on April 20
- Three vehicles were rummaged through after windows were smashed in the Arlington Ridge neighborhood on April 14
In November, sixteen vehicles in Long Branch Creek had their windows smashed in one presumed overnight crime spree.
Asked about the thefts and what specifically is being done in these neighborhoods to prevent additional crime sprees, a police spokeswoman provided some general information.
“Larcenies from auto, including thefts of airbags, catalytic converters, tires and rims, as well as thefts of valuables/keys from unlocked vehicles are recurring local and regional crime trends,” said ACPD’s Ashley Savage. “As time and resources permit, officers conduct extra patrols in the areas of reported incidents.”
“The department’s efforts are enhanced by the active involvement of the community,” she continued. “Community members observing in-progress criminal activity should report for police investigation by contacting the Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222 or dial 9-1-1 in an emergency.”
Savage also provided the following prime prevention tips.
Additional crime prevention information related to larcenies from auto include:
- Close and lock all windows and doors when you park. Pull on the door handle to verify it’s locked.
- Park in well-lit areas and activate exterior lights at your home.
- Take all valuables out of your vehicle.
- Do not leave your keys, key fobs, or valet keys in your vehicle. This includes keys to a secondary vehicle.
- Participate in the #9PMRoutine and encourage your family, friends and neighbors to do so too.
A follow up inquiry with Arlington County’s communications staff, with questions specific to the affected neighborhoods, yielded more detail about local outreach efforts.
“The incident summary from the Daily Crime Report and crime prevention tips have been shared by the ACPD Community Engagement Division with all civic association presidents as well as on all areas on Nextdoor,” wrote Bryna Helfer, Assistant County Manager and Director of Communications and Public Engagement. “This includes Long Branch Creek and Arlington Ridge civic associations as well as other areas in the County as [larcenies from auto] have been reported in nearly all neighborhoods across Arlington, typically during the overnight hours and can occur on any day of the week.”
ARLnow has not received a response to questions sent to the email address for the Long Branch Creek Civic Association. The neighborhood association’s Facebook page has been inactive for several years and its Yahoo Groups page appears to have been taken down.
Oakridge Elementary will get to cheer on the Washington Capitals heading into the playoffs.
More than 280 third through fifth grade students will participate in a pep rally at the Arlington Ridge school tomorrow (Friday), just days before teams begin facing off for the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The event, dubbed “Soar to the Playoffs,” is being organized by the Caps and sponsored by Boeing, which has its D.C. headquarters in nearby Crystal City. The event will run from noon to 1 p.m. and feature street hockey, as well as an appearance from Caps mascot Slapshot.
As the season winds down and playoff matchups are firming up, there’s news swirling around Alexander Ovechkin’s injury and ability to start in the playoffs. He sat out of Tuesday’s game against the New York Islanders. The team is set to play the Islanders again tonight at 7 p.m. on Long Island.