(Updated at 9:35 p.m.) A new CVS Pharmacy is open at the revamped Central District Retail shopping plaza, also known as “Crystal Square,” in Crystal City.
The store opened on Sunday, Feb. 28, a JBG Smith spokesperson confirmed. It is part of a major redevelopment that the property owner has planned for a block of Crystal Drive between 15th and 18th streets.
Signage appears to now be up for two more occupants: Mah-Ze-Dahr, a bakery said to have some of New York City’s best doughnuts, as well as a yet-unnamed specialty grocery store. The first D.C. outpost of the NYC bakery opened in Navy Yard in the fall.
JBG once more declined to comment on which grocer will be filling the space. Permits indicate that the store will offer prepared foods like packaged salads, sandwiches, entrees and soups, as well as various beverages. The permits further specify that the store will have “self app check-out.”
A spokesperson previously confirmed that the specialty grocer will sell produce, meats and poultry, frozen foods and baked goods. Taken as a whole, the concept sounds similar to that of Amazon Fresh stores, a new bricks-and-mortar retail offering of the tech giant, which is currently constructing its HQ2 up the street.
The store will be built in the existing office building at 1550 Crystal Drive, according to the county. The new one-story retail area will replace a 1990s-era strip and will link the grocery store to a planned Alamo Drafthouse movie theater at 1750 Crystal Drive.
The theater chain recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, but a company spokesman tells ARLnow the planned Crystal City location is owned by a franchisee “which has not filed for bankruptcy.”
“There are no changes to its development plans at 1750 Crystal Drive,” the spokesman said.
A spokeswoman for Solidcore confirmed that the gym is slated to open this summer.
“Central District Retail will enhance the street-level experience with new dining, shopping and entertainment options on Crystal Drive,” Amy Rice, senior vice president of Retail Leasing at JBG Smith, previously told ARLnow in a statement. “It will serve as the retail heart of National Landing and a vibrant destination for people throughout the region.”
Photo (2) courtesy Car-Free#HQ2/Twitter
The company recently filed for a permit to build a new bakery within the existing building, adding new interior partitions and finishes throughout the facility.
Tatte Bakery and Cafe is a small bakery franchise with around 18 locations, mostly around Boston. The cafe offers pastries and desserts along with brunch and some dinner offerings, like maple chicken and potatoes.
Staff at Tatte Bakery’s lone D.C. location, at 1200 New Hampshire Avenue NW in the West End, said the Arlington location will open in July if all goes well with permitting and renovations. The Arlington location will have the same menu as the D.C. location.
When Chef David Guas of Bayou Bakery in Courthouse delivered food to the security personnel in the District on Monday, it took two-and-a-half hours and many phone calls — even to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser — to pass each checkpoint.
“When I arrived the Commander of that unit and the policeman literally cheered, [saying] ‘Bayou Bakery is here,'” Guas tells ARLnow.
Bayou Bakery and Arlington-founded District Taco are helping nourish the 25,000 servicemen and women, along with law enforcement, deployed to protect the nation’s capital during the 59th Inauguration.
The homegrown Mexican chain donated 2,000 burritos to the National Guard on Monday. The day before, Guas said he and his crew worked into the night to prepare biscuits and sandwich lunches for the Monday delivery.
The two join about 30 D.C.-area restaurants distributing meals to the multitudes, hailing from Maine to Guam. The heightened security is in response to the mob of Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6.
District Taco donated burritos that were pledged during a “Buy One, Give One Burrito” campaign in December.
On Monday, CEO and co-founder Osiris Hoil cashed in all 2,000 BOGO burritos to feed the National Guard. He said they were so popular that supplies ran out long before the lunch hours ended.
“When I saw the brave servicemen and women protecting the Capitol building, I knew exactly where I wanted those pledged burritos to go,” Hoil said in a press release.
District Taco also donated hundreds of burritos to essential workers in hospitals and food banks last October and November. Hoil said he is proud to continue this longstanding tradition of giving back.
“Thanks to the support of our community, our restaurants are still open,” Hoil said.
“Not having served in the military myself — but having grandparents that did — I’ve always jumped at the opportunity to help our men and women in uniform who protect our freedom,” he said.
Guas credits his involvement to Micheline Mendelsohn Luhn and Spike Mendelsohn, his friends and two of the family members behind We, The Pizza. The duo told ABC News that D.C. restaurants — despite struggles during the pandemic — are pitching in to provide fresh food to upwards of 5,000 people, who might otherwise have to rely on pre-packaged military meals, each day.
We now have 30 #DCrestaurants teaming up to donate thousands of warm, delicious meals to our @NationalGuard & first responders protecting #CapitolHill. I couldn’t be more proud of the DC community coming together to spread some joy to the brave heroes protecting our home🙏❤️ pic.twitter.com/BW7r5WlkIf— Spike Mendelsohn (@chefspike) January 20, 2021
Photos (1) via District Taco, (2-3) via Bayou Bakery
JBG Smith is giving a block of Crystal Drive between 15th and 18th streets — also known as “Crystal Square” — a facelift and a new name: Central District Retail. The redevelopment, approved by the County Board in 2018, will blend retail, public spaces and transit services, according to the developer’s website.
“Central District Retail will enhance the street-level experience with new dining, shopping and entertainment options on Crystal Drive,” Amy Rice, senior vice president of Retail Leasing at JBG Smith, said in a statement. “It will serve as the retail heart of National Landing and a vibrant destination for people throughout the region.”
The specialty grocery store in Central District Retail will have produce, meats and poultry, frozen foods, baked goods and prepared foods, Justina Lombardo, a PR rep for JBG Smith, said. At 15,000 square feet, it’s more the size of a Trader Joe’s than a full-service Giant, for instance.
Through Lombardo, JBG declined comment on which grocer will be filling the space.
The store will be built in the existing office building at 1550 Crystal Drive, according to the county. The new one-story retail area will replace a 1990s-era strip and link the grocery store to a planned Alamo Drafthouse movie theater at 1750 Crystal Drive.
According to permits filed with Arlington County, Central District Retail is also getting the second Washington, D.C.-area location of Mah-ze-Dahr. The popular New York City bakery serves brioche-style doughnuts and other baked goods endorsed by Oprah Winfrey. Founder Umber Ahmad, a former Goldman Sachs executive, opened the first D.C. location in Navy Yard this September.
Permits also indicate that Crystal City will get a CVS, what appears to be an outpost of New York City taco chain Tacombi, and the boutique fitness gym Solidcore, which has locations in Clarendon and Buckingham.
There will also be a retail shop that will sell packaged salads, sandwiches and soups.
It’s unclear when the new shops and restaurants might open.
“The first phase of Central District Retail has been delivered to tenants for build-out,” Lombardo said. “JBG Smith typically defers to tenants on their individual timelines.”
The overall goal is to continue turning Crystal City into a neighborhood that’s more than just a 9-5 destination for office workers.
“The project’s purpose is to turn the area into a vibrant gathering spot — complete with approachable and comfortable retail, an Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, dynamic public spaces, and a new entrance and public plaza for the Crystal City Metro station,” says JBG Smith’s project information website. “Central District will create a sense of community and bring a true neighborhood feel to Crystal City.”
Eclairons, a new French pastry shop, opened in the former Bean Good space in Rosslyn earlier this month.
The restaurant, at 1737 Wilson Blvd in the Colonial Village Shopping Center, serves coffee and baked goods. Signs posted earlier this year, near the start of the pandemic, said it would also serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.
A new sign above the front door says the business is now hiring.
Eclairons does not yet have a functioning website, but the business has started to post on social media.
“At Eclairons you can enjoy a fine selection of desserts, pastries, and coffee rarely found at other pastry shops,” says the restaurant’s Facebook page. “Eclairons is managed by Maurice Pastries — serving the D.C. area with the finest pastries for over 35 years.”
More via social media:
This just in – Pumpkin is here! Enjoy a specialty pumpkin milkshake, pumpkin latte, or pumpkin chai latte as part of our seasonal menu :)See you soon!
Cinthia’s Bakery II has closed shop in Arlington amid road construction and the pandemic, but will continue to serve local customers at its original Bailey’s Crossroads location.
The restaurant announced the closure of its second location (5037 Columbia Pike) on its Facebook page this week. A sign in the window says it closed on Aug. 31.
“Cinthia’s 1 will open normally 7 days a week at 5860 Columbia Pike, Falls Church,” the sign adds. The driving distance between the two locations is just six minutes.
In addition to the pandemic hurting local restaurants, there has been ongoing construction and detours along Columbia Pike, in front of Cinthia’s Bakery II.
In January, a bakery employee told WJLA that the business saw “a significant drop off in the number of customers and an increase in empty tables due to construction.”
Staff photos by Jay Westcott. Hat tip to @bgannon97.
Courthouse’s Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar and Eatery has reopened after its storefront was remodeled with COVID-19 precautions in mind.
During the restaurant’s nearly five month closure, its kitchen was remodeled to allow for physical distancing between employees and to minimize the amount of germs in the air. With the changes in place, Bayou opened its doors on Monday for takeout and patio dining.
Shelves now hang 10 feet above the floors, a new ventilation system whirs between the walls and an industrial fan maintains air flow throughout the space. A touch-free faucet was also added to the store’s bathroom, and a hands-free mechanism was installed to open its door.
The restaurant’s landlord provided funding in recent lease negotiations to make the remodel possible. Owner and chef David Guas said these changes were a must for Bayou Bakery to operate amid the pandemic.
“I feel it would have been negligent to not have put these measures into place before reopening our doors,” Guas said. “These newly adopted practices are going to be necessary moving forward — our industry now carries a very important responsibility when it comes to safety.”
Bayou Bakery originally closed its in-person dining on March 16, following a statewide order from Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam. According to Guas, sales dropped by 70% between March 16-31 and the restaurant cut its 2o person staff to 10.
While Bayou Bakery still offered takeout, curbside pick-up and delivery during this time, Guas said staying open became unsustainable. On April 1, the restaurant fully closed.
Despite not serving customers, Guas used his facilities to support Chefs Feeding Families. He co-founded the project, which provides free grab-and-go meals to local school children and their families impacted by the pandemic, with McLean-based group Real Food for Kids in March as schools began to close.
“Key Elementary Schools is near my restaurant — there were about 300 kids on the meal plan when the school shut down,” Guas said. “I looked at my employees in the kitchen and thought of their children who went to that school. I asked myself how would they and so many others be fed? How many more would be affected?”
Guas said the project allowed him to keep four employees working, and Bayou Bakery has served about 400-500 meals a day to families impacted by school closures and job losses.
Since March 17, six other restaurants including Silver Diner, Rasa Grill and Pizzeria Paradiso have joined the effort. According to Bayou Bakery, Chefs Feeding Families has served over 90,000 meals at its 21 D.C. region pickup locations as of August 25.
All meals are vegetarian and no ID or proof of need is required to pick one up.
“It was important to us that we were presenting healthy and inclusive options that would appeal to as many people as possible,” Guas said. “I have faith in people and those who came out of their way to get a meal, so the honor system is the way we approached [giving out meals]. By not requiring ID, it opened the doors for us to reach so many more families in need.”
Now, while continuing to support Chefs Feeding Families, Bayou Bakery is open for “Grab N’ Geaux” takeout, delivery and socially distant dining on its patio. Meals like buttermilk biscuit sandwiches and chicken and smoked gumbo are available on an abbreviated menu.
Photos courtesy Bayou Bakery
Dorsey on Death of George Floyd — Arlington County Board member Christian Dorsey posted the following on Facebook Sunday afternoon: “Why is it when we are bird watching, retrieving mail, swimming in a pool, walking down the street, or living in our own homes that you view us as a threat? Why do these routine activities see us being reported to police and losing our lives? It is a question my daughters ask, as do the children of every black person in America. Yet that question needs to be seriously be pondered non-Blacks. We then need you to transform episodic outrage into all-the-time anti-racism.” [Facebook, Blue Virginia]
House Fire in Hall’s Hill — “1800 block of N. Cameron St — crews encountered fire in attic. Fire was quickly controlled, 6 occupants escaped without injury and one dog was rescued in good condition. @RedCross called in to assist occupants.” [Twitter]
County Creates Badges for Mask-Requiring Businesses — “In response to Gov. Ralph Northam’s Executive Order that face coverings must be worn inside public places, the County created the ‘We Are Covered’ program. This gives Arlington businesses, multi-family residences, and houses of worship a way to show they have pledged to protect the people who come through their doors.” [Arlington County]
Tables, Tents in CC Sports Pub Parking Lot — “With outdoor seating now permitted as part of Phase One, Finlay and his staff worked to turn the restaurant’s parking lot into a patio. Outdoor tables are all set up six feet apart. ‘We’re lucky and blessed to have a parking lot that’s big enough to accommodate that type of spacing and still have the social distancing and be able to abide by all the rules and regulations we have to go by,’ he said.” [WJLA]
ACPD Releases Photo of Car That Struck Girl, Dog — On Sunday, Arlington County Police released photos of the dark-colored sedan that struck a girl and killed her dog Friday in the Donaldson Run neighborhood. ARLnow also obtained video of the car. [ARLnow]
Bayou Bakery Donates Thousands of Meals — “Back in 2005, [Bayou Bakery owner David] Guas saw first hand how Hurricane Katrina impacted his hometown and the importance of rapid response in rebuilding the community. In March 2020, when COVID-19 closed school doors, he knew he needed to provide the same fast-acting relief to area children and families left underserved.” [Washington Life]
Discussion with AED’s Telly Tucker — “We talked with Telly Tucker, the new head of Arlington Economic Development, about Friday’s reopening, what’s going on with the local economy, the plight of small businesses during the pandemic, and the growth of tech companies in Northern Virginia.” [Facebook, Apple Podcasts]
When the shop opened, in 2010 during the middle of the Snowpocalypse, it was just him in the kitchen and a guy working in the front. Over the next ten years, that staff grew and each of them left their mark on the bakery. A tableau of printed pictures on wall is a silent testament to the years of memories.
This Sunday, Jan. 26, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Bakeshop will celebrate ten years in business with a community-oriented celebration. Bakeshop staff said they are planning to pass out cake and ice cream samples, along with cookies. The celebration will have a photo booth and — permit pending — a fire truck to entertain children could make an appearance, staff said.
The shop now operates in two locations, the original one in Clarendon and one at 100 E. Fairfax Street in Falls Church. Stegall said he has no immediate plans to open more, but he enjoyed the expansion and will do it again if the moment feels right.
Looking back on the last ten years, Stegall and his staff said it was a lot of long hours and difficult work that made the shop viable.
“I went into it thinking it would be a lot of fun, and it is, but it’s a lot of hard work,” said Alyson, an employee at Bakeshop. “You’re in the ovens, it’s hard work, and you’re carrying trays… You make all these delicious treats, but for the bakers, it’s a lot of hard work.”
As Sol Schott from Acme Pie on Columbia Pike could also attest, staff said the work involves working long, odd hours.
“Bakers get in really early,” Alyson said. “A large part of that is there are orders you have to bake for the day or people picking up cakes on the way to work. It’s early mornings and late nights.”
When Bakeshop opened during that blizzard, Stegall said one of the first orders was a couple for a cake, which he walked through the snow to deliver to them. The couple still comes into the shop, he said with pride.
(Bakeshop launched around the same time as ARLnow, which is also celebrating its 10th anniversary this month, and our company’s paths have occasionally overlapped — like the time we ordered a cake decorated with a waving chalk body outline as a farewell present to an outgoing Arlington police spokeswoman.)
“I believe towns need these kinds of things,” Stegall said. “It gives Arlington a little community spot for the neighborhood, for kids and adults, for people that want to work there and bake. Now we constantly have a crew of awesome kids that come through, go to college, and come back.”
For the last few years, pie chef Sol Schott has relied on the kitchen space at Columbia Pike’s Twisted Vines Bar and Bottleshop to whip up his wares — now, his Acme Pie Company is taking over the storefront.
Schott told ARLnow that he signed a five-year lease this week for the space at 2803 Columbia Pike. It’ll be the first brick-and-mortar location for his baking business, after he spent years selling his pies wholesale and offering them up at local farmers markets.
“It’s really terrifying, but weird and exciting,” Schott said. “This just sort of fell into my lap.”
Schott said he’d been toying with the idea of opening a physical location for a while now, but he felt compelled to act as he faced a stark choice at the start of the new year: “I had to either move the kitchen or take over the lease.”
That’s because Twisted Vines owner Tony Wagner decided to shutter the wine bar at the end of last year, along with the nearby BrickHaus beer garden, to focus on his new Italian restaurant in Penrose Square. Schott had relied on Wagner’s oven for his pie-baking ever since he launched Acme back in 2013, and he suddenly found himself without a home when Wagner closed up shop.
Though he examined other potential locations, Schott said he ultimately decided to try and stay put in the Pike space (he lives in nearby Douglas Park, after all) and he was eventually able to strike a deal with its landlord.
Schott is now envisioning a “1920s or 1930s pie bar” for the store, befitting his business’s throwback name. He’s also planning a bit of an old-school schedule as well — Schott hopes to keep his wholesale business going, so he’ll be hard at work baking pies from about 5-10 a.m. each day.
If anyone stops by the store while he’s slaving away at the oven, he’ll run upstairs and sell them a freshly baked pie.
“I’ll have a baby monitor or something out front so they can talk to me,” Schott said. “People used to do that back in the day, they’d ring a bell or something… It’s unconventional, but it makes no sense for me to just be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day.”
When the store is open (likely starting around 2 p.m. each day), Schott hopes to still serve whole pies and pies by the slice, with many of the same flavors he currently bakes up. Options include everything from sour cherry to Scottish apple.
With the new store, he also plans to offer some “fancy sodas” and other sweet treats as well.
“If you’ve got pie, you should probably have ice cream,” Schott said. “And if you have that, it’s pretty easy to make milkshakes.”
He expects to offer limited coffee options, buying his beans from Misha’s Coffeehouse in Old Town Alexandria. But he doesn’t think he’ll get more complex than just drip coffee or a french press.
“As long you don’t come in there and think you’re going to get a vanilla macchiato or whatever, you’ll be OK,” Schott said. “I don’t know anything about it, I can’t compete with those other coffee places.”
So long as all goes well, he plans to open the shop for hungry customers by April 1. Schott says he has some painting to do “to make the place not feel like a wine bar anymore,” but otherwise already has many of the permits he needs from the county.
And considering that Schott says he’s already heard from a bevy of friends and customers excited about his new venture, he expects it should draw a crowd right away.
“I want it to be a fun place, a place for the community,” Schott said. “But my idea is kind of off the wall.”
The new Ted’s Bulletin restaurant that will soon open up shop in the Ballston Quarter development also looks to be getting an attached bakery.
Signs posted at the storefront, located at 4238 Wilson Blvd, advertise a new “Sidekick Bakery” bound for the space next to the Ted’s location.
Details about the bakery, and how it might differ from the baked goods offered at other Ted’s Bulletin locations, are sparse at the moment. The local chain is already renowned for its homemade Pop-Tarts and other pastries (in addition to its array of comfort food offerings and alcoholic milkshakes), but “Sidekick” appears to be a new concept for the restaurant.
Federal records show that Ted’s Bulletin filed for a trademark for the “Sidekick Bakery” name last May, but the application offers few other details on the bakery.
The restaurant chain did not respond to a request for comment seeking more information on Sidekick.
Signs posted at the soon-to-be Ted’s location at Ballston Quarter say that the restaurant is set to open sometime this spring. The chain won permission to set up outdoor seating at the development last fall.
The new eatery will be located just above entrances to the newly opened “Quarter Market,” the development’s much-anticipated new food court. One restaurant is now open in that “food hall” space, but it remains unclear when the other 13 restaurants bound for the food court will start serving up meals.
Other stores at Ballston Quarter have slowly been opening to customers since the fall.