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(Updated at 10:20 a.m.) The new Dunkin’ store at 3300 Wilson Blvd, near Clarendon, is now open.

The standalone Dunkin’, which features its own parking lot and a drive-thru window, officially opened on Tuesday, a company spokesman said. The coffee and donut purveyor was open this morning, serving a trickle of customers who notice the “now open” sign.

The building — which was previously a Dunkin’ Donuts, before it closed and was succeeded Peruvian chicken restaurant Pio Pio, Indian-Pakistani-Bangladeshi restaurant Naan Kabob, and, briefly, Red Hook Lobster Pound — was completely renovated over the past few months.

The new interior includes a steel “Arlington Runs on Dunkin'” sign and “next generation” Dunkin’ features like a front-facing bakery case and tap-based iced coffee, nitro cold brew, and iced tea pours.

The new store, which is about halfway between the Virginia Square and Clarendon Metro stations, takes the place of the previous, more central Dunkin’ location at 3009 Clarendon Blvd in Clarendon, which closed earlier this month.

A company spokesman says Dunkin’ is planning “a two-part grand opening celebration for the end of the month.”

“On [Thursday], Sept. 30 and Saturday, Oct. 2, we’ll be hosting a Free Medium Hot or Iced Coffee offer from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.,” the spokesman said. “We’ll also be offering guests Dunkin’ swag from the Dunkin’ Prize Wheel, photos with Dunkin’ mascot Cuppy and more.”

The grand opening will also include the presentation of a $2,500 donation to the Capital Area Food Bank from Dunkin’ franchisee DDC Management LLC, we’re told.

Given Arlington County’s propensity for encouraging more pedestrian-oriented and less car-oriented facilities — including county staff push-back on a proposed second drive-thru lane for a busy McDonald’s along Langston Blvd — the new Dunkin’ drive-thru is something of a curiosity. According to Transportation Commission Chair Chris Slatt, the use of the drive-thru window was grandfathered in, given that the building previously featured one.

ARLnow observed the drive-thru already in use this morning, as an Arlington police cruiser was seen making a U-turn on Wilson Blvd and then pulling up to the order lane, apparently after the driver saw the “now open” sign.

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(Updated at 10:15 a.m.) Work is nearly complete to convert a dilapidated former restaurant space near Clarendon to a “next gen” Dunkin’ store, while a nearby location has closed.

Signs — including “now hiring” — are up at the renovated storefront at 3300 Wilson Blvd, which will feature a drive-thru window for those who want their coffee and donuts on the go. The space was once a Dunkin’ Donuts, before it closed and was succeeded Peruvian chicken restaurant Pio Pio, Indian-Pakistani-Bangladeshi restaurant Naan Kabob, and, briefly, Red Hook Lobster Pound.

After only a few months of construction, the store is now expected to open at some point this month, according to a company spokesman. No exact date was given, but it could be as soon as this week.

A sign on the front door of the Dunkin’ location 3009 Clarendon Blvd, in Clarendon, says the store — which also housed a Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop — is now closed and customers should instead head to other Dunkin’ locations in Courthouse, Ballston or at 3300 Wilson Blvd. The latter is opening this coming Friday, Sept. 10, the sign says.

Located about halfway between the Virginia Square and Clarendon Metro stations, the new Dunkin’ will have some of the company’s “next generation” store features, which typically include things like front-facing bakery cases, tap-based iced coffee and tea pours, and mobile order pickup areas, a spokesman previously told ARLnow.

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Morning Notes

New Rosslyn Food Hall Now Open — “Assembly, the area’s latest food hall, located above the Rosslyn Metro stop in Arlington, hopes to entice you by taking a something-for-everyone approach, including plenty of healthy-ish options. Their lineup includes Great Lake Diner; Charo’s vegetarian tacos; Asian street food stall Beng Beng; GiGi’s salads, smoothies, and grain bowls; Big Day Coffee; sandwich joint Sammy Pickles; modern-minded bodega PNTRY; and Fog Point, a 40-seat sit-down oysters and seafood restaurant with a separate entrance.” [DCist]

Abduction Suspect Arrested in Va. Square — “The victim was inside a business when the suspect approached and attempted to engage her in conversation. The suspect then left the business, but remained seated outside. When the victim left the business, the suspect followed her into a neighboring building and onto an elevator, where he again attempted to engage her in conversation, advanced towards her, grabbed her waist and touched her buttocks. The victim attempted to step away but the suspect prevented her from exiting the elevator.” [ACPD]

Courthouse ‘DMV Select’ Office Reopening — “‘DMV Select’ services operated by the Arlington Commissioner of Revenue’s office in conjunction with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles will reopen Sept. 7 after an 18-month COVID shutdown. The office will operate by appointment Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Ellen M. Bozman Government Center, 2100 Clarendon Blvd.” [Sun Gazette]

How Ashton Heights was Sold — “‘Build Your Love Nest in Ashton Heights, Virginia,’ read the ad in the Evening Star a century ago. ‘$500 cash will finance your home; $20 will reserve your lot.’ Exclusive sales agents at the D.C.-based (all female) Kay-Alger Co. were luring federal employees to join the automobile generation’s embrace of suburbanization, to ‘get away from the crowded city and enjoy the freedom of a most picturesque surrounding.'” [Falls Church News-Press]

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The Arlington Forest neighborhood woke up Monday morning to find numerous cars were broken into overnight.

Cars on at least three blocks of the neighborhood near Route 50 were targeted by thieves, who opened doors and rummaged through the belongings inside, stealing cash. In all, around 18 vehicles were entered, according to the Arlington County Police Department.

Police are now searching for two suspects in the case. From an ACPD crime report:

LARCENY FROM AUTO/GRAND LARCENY AUTO (SERIES), 2021-08020041, 200 block of N. Edison Street / 5100 block of 1st Street N. / 200 block of N. Emerson Street. At approximately 5:02 a.m. on August 2, police were dispatched to the report of suspicious persons. Upon arrival, it was determined that the reporting party observed two unknown male suspects looking into parked vehicles. Arriving officers located a vehicle with open doors and items that had been rummaged through. A canvass of the area located approximately 18 vehicles which has been entered and rummaged through. Several victims reported an undisclosed amount of cash was stolen from their vehicles, as well as personal items displaced. During the course of the investigation, one victim vehicle was reported stolen but was subsequently located in the area and recovered. Suspect One is described as a Black male, approximately 5’10” tall with short hair and a long beard, wearing a white t-shirt. There is no description for Suspect Two. The investigation is ongoing.

Arlington experienced a rash of vehicle break-ins and thefts during the pandemic last year, though some arrests have since been made and — anecdotally, at least — such reports have become less frequent.

Also in Tuesday’s crime report, the police department noted a theft of a half-dozen motorized scooters from a scooter and motorcycle dealership in the Clarendon area.

GRAND LARCENY AUTO (SIGNIFICANT), 2021-08010105, 3200 block of 10th Street N. At approximately 10:19 a.m. on August 1, police were dispatched to the report of a grand larceny auto. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 11:20 p.m. on July 31 and 5:42 a.m. on August 1, three unknown suspects forced entry into the business and stole 6 motorized scooters. No other items were reported stolen or damaged. There are no suspect descriptions. The investigation is ongoing.

What’s old is new again: a vacant restaurant space near Clarendon that was formerly a Dunkin’ Donuts is soon going to be home to a “next generation” Dunkin’ store.

Exterior modifications are currently underway on the standalone restaurant space at 3300 Wilson Blvd, about halfway between the Virginia Square and Clarendon Metro stations.

The space — which has parking and a drive-through — was once a Dunkin’ Donuts, before it closed and was succeeded by a procession of other eateries including Peruvian chicken restaurant Pio Pio, Indian-Pakistani-Bangladeshi restaurant Naan Kabob, and (very briefly) Red Hook Lobster Pound. It has been vacant for at least a year.

A PR rep for Dunkin’ confirmed to ARLnow that the Massachusetts-based chain is making a triumphant return.

“The store is slated to open toward the end of summer,” the rep said, adding that it will be one of Dunkin’s “next generation” store concepts.

Next generation Dunkin’ stores typically feature front-facing bakery cases, tap-based iced coffee and tea pours, and mobile order pickup areas.

There is no shortage of coffee shops in the area. Among others, local favorite Northside Social is two blocks away, and a pair of existing Dunkin’ locations — one in Clarendon and another in Virginia Square — are each about six blocks away.

Hat tip to G. Evan Pritchard. Photos (2, 3, 5) courtesy of Dunkin’.

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A couple was robbed in Arlington’s Ashton Heights neighborhood over the weekend by a gun-toting man in a distinctive white mask.

The robbery happened around 1 a.m., according to a police report and an account of the robbery by the victim, which was obtained by ARLnow after being posted on Nextdoor.

“Around 1 a.m. on Saturday morning, my boyfriend and I had just parked… when we were robbed at gunpoint,” the victim wrote. “The car pulled up quickly, blocking our car from moving, and he ran up to the driver side where I was, threw open the door, pointed the gun in my face and told me to stop screaming or he’d kill us.”

“He took everything we had an said ‘Y’all have a blessed day’ before driving off and taking a right down Irving toward Arlington Blvd,” the victim continued. “Through Find my iPhone we were able to track him into DC, into Maryland where he stopped for gas, and back into the city before my phone was erased. He has not been caught, but I have reported all this information to the police.”

The victim added that the man was wearing a “full white mask” similar to those worn by the Jabbawockeez, a well-known dance group. He was driving a Toyota RAV4 with what appeared to be temporary paper tags, she said.

More from today’s Arlington County Police Department crime report:

ARMED ROBBERY, 2020-12050007, 3200 block of 1st Place N. At approximately 12:56 a.m. on December 5, police were dispatched to the report of an armed robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victims were inside their parked vehicle when they observed the suspect vehicle pass them and stop in the middle of the street. The suspect exited his vehicle, approached the victims and forcefully opened the door to their vehicle. He displayed a firearm, threatened one of the victims and demanded items of value. The suspect stole personal belongings from both victims, then fled in his vehicle prior to police arrival. The suspect is described as a Black male in his 20’s, average height, medium build, wearing a black sweatshirt with the hood up, and a white face mask. The suspect vehicle is described as a black or dark colored, newer model Toyota Rav4. The investigation is ongoing.

Also in today’s crime report, a driver in Pentagon City allegedly spat on a pedestrian he nearly ran over, before deliberately backing in to him. More from ACPD:

ATTEMPTED MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2020-12050091, 1000 block of S. Hayes Street. At approximately 1:46 p.m. on December 5, police were dispatched to the report of a hit and run just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim was crossing the street in a crosswalk when the driver of the suspect vehicle turned and almost struck him. The suspect then turned his vehicle around, parked, and approached the victim. A verbal dispute ensued, during which the suspect spit on the victim. The suspect returned to his vehicle, and, as the victim attempted to take a photo, began to reverse towards him. The victim attempted to back away, however he was pushed by the vehicle into oncoming traffic. The suspect vehicle then fled prior to police arrival. The victim was not injured. The suspect is described as a young Black male, 20-25 years old, with a slim build, short hair, and approximately 5’7″. The vehicle is described as a white, four door sedan. The investigation is ongoing.

Additional weekend crime report items, including a series of car thefts, are below.

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Homes on N. Jackson Street in Ashton Heights may put up Halloween decorations this year, but most will not hand out treats in order to discourage trick-or-treating and follow state and national health guidelines.

The Virginia Department of Health recommends that people avoid traditional trick or treating because it is a “higher risk activity.” North Jackson Street neighbors — noted for having the most elaborate Halloween decorations in Arlington — decided that respecting this guidance would mean foregoing the usual Halloween revelry.

The street has been a popular destination for trick-or-treating for decades. Homes between Wilson Blvd and Pershing Drive deck out their houses with witches, pumpkins and skeletons galore, create a haunted house, and give out enough candy to keep pediatric dentists in business.

“Halloween is a treasured tradition in our community,” said Scott Sklar, president of the Ashton Heights Civic Association.

Some homes will be decorated on N. Jackson Street, but Sklar said he anticipated many others along the street and in Ashton Heights may avoid decorating, to discourage crowds.

“We regret seeing a scaled-back Halloween, but want to be good neighbors and do our part to keep our community safe,” he said.

Sklar said he hopes his neighborhood can bring back the ghouls, ghosts and graveyards next year.

COVID-19 is slightly dampening the spooky spirit in Arlington County. A recent ARLnow poll found that of more than 2,000 respondents, nearly half are not planning to hand out candy this year. Another poll found that more than a third of locals who usually decorate for Halloween are either skipping it or scaling it back this year.

The county’s guidance encourages people to decorate, but discourages them from going door-to-door for candy, walking through haunted houses with screaming people, and attending large, in-door parties.

“Everyone planning to celebrate Halloween this year should avoid close contact with people who do not live in their household, wear a mask, keep 6-feet distance and practice frequent and proper hand washing,” said Arlington County Public Health Director Dr. Reuben Varghese. “There are still ways to celebrate Halloween, but it will have to be on a more limited scale.”

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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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(Updated at 7:15 p.m.) A teenage boy was struck by a speeding driver this morning on a residential street in Ashton Heights, near Virginia Square.

The hit-and-run happened just before 11:45 a.m. on the 600 block of N. Kenmore Street and was caught on a neighbor’s home surveillance video system. Miraculously, the teen escaped with only minor injuries.

The video, provided to ARLnow by the victim’s mother in the hopes of helping to identify the driver, starts with the sound of squealing tires. A four-door Chevy sedan can then be seen speeding down the street, followed by the 17-year-old victim tumbling down the roadway after being struck.

The teen was crossing the street when he was struck, according to his mother. The driver did not stop and fled the scene.

The boy — a Washington-Liberty High School student — suffered lacerations and road rash and “is in a lot of pain,” but was not seriously injured, we’re told. He was unable to spot the license plate number.

An Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman echoed the mother’s account of what happened and said the crash is under investigation.

“The driver of the striking vehicle failed to stop at the scene of the crash and fled traveling south on Kenmore Street,” said Ashley Savage. “The pedestrian was transported to Virginia Hospital Center with non-life threatening injuries. The striking vehicle is described as a white sedan. The investigation is ongoing.”

The incident comes a day after a woman was struck and killed by a driver while crossing the street in Pentagon City.

Anyone with information about the incident can call the Arlington County non-emergency line at 703-558-2222 or can provide an anonymous tip to the police department by calling 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

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Arlington County firefighters are on scene of a large, outdoor gas leak near Ballston.

A 2-inch gas line was ruptured on the 500 block of N. Pollard Street, ACFD says. Washington Gas is working to shut off the leaking gas line.

At least one local resident says he can smell a “strong” odor of gas in the Ballston and Virginia Square areas.

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(Updated at 1:35 p.m.) Someone defaced a sign promoting racial justice, placed by a church near Clarendon.

The vandalism happened overnight in front of the Clarendon United Methodist Church (606 N. Irving Street).

A photo sent to ARLnow (above) shows the words “It’s OK to be white” scrawled in block letters on the second of a pair of banners. The banners are signed by parishioners and declare: “Clarendon United Methodist Church is committed to fighting against systemic racial injustice. I will be part of the solution.”

The church tells ARLnow that it was able to successfully remove the graffiti this morning.

“We lament that anyone would choose to deface our sign but we are glad that they have given us further opportunity to affirm our stand against systemic racial injustice and our commitment to be a part of the solution,” a church employee said via email. “We restored the sign to its original intended message this morning.”

The church’s pastor, Rev. Tracy McNeil Wines, also released the following statement.

The murders of George Floyd and countless other Black men, women, and children have further brought to light a long history that bears the unmistakable stains of exclusion, oppression, and violence. We are called by conscience and by God to rise up and stand with those whose pain is etched onto the heart of our nation. We recognize the significant disparities in opportunity for all people of color in education, housing, health, and employment, and in restricted access to security and justice. As people of faith in Jesus Christ, it is essential that we act to dismantle racism.

At Clarendon United Methodist Church, we are committed to the fight against systemic racial injustice. We acknowledge that racism is a sin that works in direct opposition to the gospel of Jesus Christ, and we join in the call to resist its powerful influence. Together we yearn for a world that reflects God’s will for just treatment and full inclusion of all persons. We resolve to resist evil, injustice and oppression, and so we cannot rest until the work of dismantling racism is done. Courage and conviction are required in the fight, and we pray that God’s Spirit may empower us with grace equal to the task.

We must take both communal and individual responsibility for justice. Change ultimately begins with transformed hearts. Therefore, we commit to opening our hearts to the transforming grace of Jesus Christ. Deep repentance is required. We will seek to educate ourselves and others — to discern the breadth of racism’s impact, to see and acknowledge its effects, and to uncover its influence in our own lives and in our shared life together. We will follow equal employment practices, and intentionally increase opportunities for the voices of Black people and all people of color to be heard in the life and leadership of our church. We will work to tear down the entrenched racial and economic divide that is present in Arlington County and beyond, dedicating resources to aim at both the effects and the root causes of injustice. We affirm that this effort must be an ongoing commitment.

None of us can move forward if one of us is left behind.

This is the second such vandalism of a racial justice sign on church property in as many weeks in Arlington. The “Black” in “Black Lives Matter” was cut out of a sign in front of Rock Spring Congregational church last week. In D.C., meanwhile, a mural “lifting up the names and legacies of Dorothy Day and MLK Jr.” in front of a church was found ripped down this morning.

Photo (top) courtesy anonymous, (bottom) courtesy Clarendon United Methodist Church

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