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.
The new location of Bread & Water had a “soft opening” the past weekend on Pentagon Row (1201 S. Joyce Street).
The eatery, the original location of which is in the Belle View section of Fairfax County, sells pastries like fruit bars, danish, muffins, key lime pie, plus sandwiches, salads, and more.
The artisan bakery regularly sells at local farmer’s markets in Ballston, Crystal City, and Columbia Pike. Additional farmer’s market stops are as far apart as Dale City, Va., and Silver Spring, Md.
Signs for the bakery initially went up in January. It is located at Pentagon Row’s central plaza, in a space formerly occupied by a sunglasses store and a Capital Teas shop.
The store’s Facebook page lists hours of operation between 7 a.m.-7 p.m. The company also caters.
According to a sign, the bakery and cafe is opening in one of the glass-and-steel kiosk building of Pentagon Row’s central plaza, which was formerly occupied by Capital Teas and sunglasses store Specs.
The bakery has an existing bricks-and-mortar location in the Belle View section of Fairfax County, south of Alexandria. It also is a regular fixture at local farmers markets, including Crystal City, Ballston and Columbia Pike.
Bread & Water’s menu includes freshly-baked breads, breakfast items, salads, soups, sandwiches, pastries and desserts.
No word yet on an opening date.
A Clarendon bakery closed at the beginning of this year ahead of its move into local stalwart Northside Social’s new Falls Church location.
A sign posted on the door of LeoNora (1108 N. Irving Street) said it closed as it prepares to open a new bakery at the forthcoming Northside Social in Falls Church (205 Park Avenue).
“In preparation for the opening of our custom-built bakery at Northside Social Falls Church, LeoNora Bakery is closed effective immediately,” the sign reads. “Please visit us at Northside Social Arlington, just across the street at 3211 Wilson Blvd, for our freshly baked pastries and breads.”
The bakery, next to O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub, described itself on its Facebook page as “the result of a never ending search for the best breads and pastries in terms of flavor, freshness and texture.”
There has been recent construction activity in the space, a tipster told ARLnow.
The website for the business does not appear to be active at this time, however.
File photo of Mother’s Macaroons Bakery in 2015
A new pie store is now open along Lee Highway.
In April, two Arlington moms, Wendy MacCallum and Heather Sheire, opened Livin’ The Pie Life on 2166 N. Glebe Road. “We are happy to be here, it’s our dream home,” said MacCallum.
Before opening up their store, MacCallum and Sheire sold pies at the Clarendon and Westover farmers markets. Sheire also has a food blog that she said has contributed to the growth of the business.
They sell both savory and sweet flavors; customers are able to choose from a variety of sizes and flavors, which rotate seasonally. Large sweet pies range from $24-36.
Some flavors include strawberry rhubarb, Wendy’s Key Lime Pie or their most popular flavor, apple. Livin’ The Pie Life makes certain that the ingredients they use to bake the pies of the highest quality, with fresh, locally-sourced fruit in season or top quality frozen fruit out of season. One of their biggest mottos is that “if it’s in the name it better be in the pie,” said Sheire.
In addition to pies, the store offers coffee from Virginia-based Red Rooster Coffee. Plus, there are t-shirts for sale.
For both MacCallum and Sheire, one of the most important things to them is the strong bond that they have with their customers.
“The most rewarding thing is that we’ve met really great people who have become consistent customers at the shop,” said Sheire. For die hard customers the store offers a Pie of the Month Club — $370 for a year’s worth of pies.
Aside from just dropping by the store, customers can order pies online for delivery or pickup.
The Spring Mill Bread Company is expected to open its doors on Pershing Drive on Saturday.
The bakery’s owner tells ARLnow.com that final preparations are underway and the aroma of freshly-baked bread should begin wafting from the 2209 N. Pershing Drive location in Lyon Park tomorrow.
Mother’s Macaroons Bakery, an institution in North Arlington for 28 years, will close on Friday.
Owner Kay LoMedico decided to hang up her apron this week after a trying year in which her husband — who owned the Sunoco gas station nearby — passed away and three longtime employees left the shop.
“It was a series of things, and it hit me like a bag of rocks,” LoMedico told ARLnow.com today from her bakery at 2442 N. Harrison Street, across from the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center. “When I opened this bakery I was in my 30s. Now with the stress of the bakery and owning the Sunoco, I sort of fell out of love with it.”
The bakery, which serves all kinds of cookies, brownies and sweets as well as coffee, juices, breakfast and lunch, was sold 10 years ago when LoMedico’s mother died. Two weeks later, she regretted the decision, and six months after that she was able to buy it back and reopen.
Through almost three decades of keeping her customer base plied with sugary goods, LoMedico said she will miss the community and independence the most.
“My favorite part was I was able to make what I wanted,” she said. “I’m going to really miss the community. They have been wonderful for me all these years and helped me to grow.”
Although the bakery is closing, LoMedico said she’s not sure what she wants to do next, and it may not be goodbye for good.
“I’m going out with my name and my recipes,” she said. “Who knows, I may be back.”
If you have a sweet tooth, get ready to spend time hanging out at a new shop coming to Westover. “Village Sweet” bakery is preparing to move in at 5872 Washington Blvd.
Owner Dawn Hart has operated a customized sugar cookie business online since 2006. She had wanted to expand her offerings and to secure a brick-and-mortar location, which would allow her to stop renting commercial kitchen space. It was her dream to open in Westover, the neighborhood where she lives, but she didn’t think any space would open up. It just so happened that the day after she talked to her husband about the prospect of opening a bakery in Westover, he ran into the landlord for the space Village Sweet now will occupy.
“We’re very excited and the location honestly could not be better,” said Hart. “It’s such a happening place.”
Although customers can continue to order the customized cookies Hart made so popular with Monster Cookie Co., the shop will serve a wide variety of sweets. Donuts, guava and cotija cheese pastries, seasonal granolas and dark chocolate cookies with steal cut oats are some of the goodies Hart plans to offer. She’s still playing around with the full menu and will do small recipe taste test events until the shop opens.
“We’re pairing some things a lot of people probably have not had before and opening up some unique flavors,” Hart said.
Something she’s passionate about is making sure the treats taste good, but also are baked on-site each morning with quality, local ingredients. There will be gluten-free and nut-free options for customers with allergies.
“We’re baking foods you’re going to feel good about eating. They’re not loaded with preservatives. They’re the best quality pastries you can possibly get. It’s just an updated version of your’s mom’s baking,” said Hart. “If you’re going to put a doughnut in your mouth, you should feel good about it. It’s so important to me, the quality of what people are eating.”
During the day the shop will have seating for customers, but certain nights will be designated for groups to rent out the space for custom cookie decorating parties. The bakers will come up with custom sugar cookies for nearly any occasion — such as kids’ birthdays, book clubs and holiday parties — and customers get to ice and decorate the cookies however they choose.
Village Sweet does not yet have a firm opening date, but Hart hopes it will be in January. There will be a grand opening celebration once she feels operations are running smoothly.
Strayer to Cut Tuition — Arlington based Strayer Education Inc. will cut undergraduate tuition for new students by up to 40 percent next year. The move is intended to curb declining enrollment. Total enrollment for the fall term was down 17 percent, while new enrollments fell by 23 percent. [Washington Business Journal]
Yorktown Loses in Quarterfinal — The Yorktown Patriots lost to the undefeated Lake Braddock Bruins in the Region 6A North quarterfinal regional game. The 40-7 loss left the Patriots finishing the season with a 9-3 record. This was the eighth straight year the Patriots advanced to the playoffs. [Sun Gazette]
Homophobic Message on Cake? — A couple in the District claims to have bought a cake at an Arlington bakery that sported a homophobic message. One woman ordered the cake for her partner, reportedly asking for a cluster of balloons to be replaced with the words “Happy Anniversary Lindsey! Love, Sarah.” Upon receiving the cake, it instead featured the sloppily written phrase “Lesbian Anniv. No Ballons.” The woman says she believes the mistake was intentional. The bakery was not identified by name. [The Gaily Grind, The Advocate]
Street Lighting Complaints Continue — At its meeting on Saturday, the County Board addressed the complaints it continues to receive over the new LED streetlights being installed throughout the county. The Board has heard a number of types of complaints, including the lights casting a harsh glow and being too bright. County Manager Barbara Donnellan acknowledged the complaints but didn’t have any immediate solutions. She said the new lights save a lot of money. [Sun Gazette]
Red Truck Bakery Profile — Earlier this month, web magazine Slate — a division of the Washington Post Company — profiled Arlington resident Brian Noyes, the founder of Red Truck Bakery. Noyes restored a Cherrydale farmhouse and began his bakery business there while still working for Smithsonian magazine. He began in 2009 by selling goods out of the back of a 1954 Ford pickup truck and eventually found a brick and mortar location to work in Warrenton. Noyes, who has baked treats for the likes of President Obama, plans to open a new location in The Plains soon. [Slate]
NORAD Exercise Tonight — Arlington residents may hear unusual noises tonight as the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) conducts training exercises. The training flights are designed to hone NORAD operations and to test its systems and personnel. The flights are scheduled to begin at 11:30 p.m. and run through 5:30 a.m. tomorrow (Wednesday). [U.S. Department of Defense]
Flickr pool photo by J Sonder
The Ballston location of the Marvelous Market, a small regional chain of gourmet food stores/cafes, has closed permanently.
Located at 888 N. Quincy Street, the store closed its doors for good on Monday, a tipster said. The contents of the store — including tables, signs, sinks, appliances and electronics — were promptly put up for auction.
The store was owned by a independent franchisee, not the chain’s parent company, according to Ryland Johnson, the director of operations for the Marvelous Market. There are currently 5 company-owned stores and 2 franchise stores open in the D.C. area, he said.
Johnson declined further comment.
The Ballston store is not the only Marvelous Market location to close recently. A McLean location closed in March, a Reston location and a Tenlytown (D.C.) location closed last year, and today it was revealed that the chain’s Capitol Hill franchise has severed ties with the company and reopened as “The Silver Spork.”
According to the company’s web site, the Ballston location was the last remaining Marvelous Market in Virginia.
Hat tip to @zippychance
The Bluemont location of Castro’s Bakery is no more.
The family-owned bakery closed about a month ago, we’re told. Signs have been taken down from the storefront at 5515 Wilson Boulevard and all equipment has been removed from the interior.
An employee at Castro’s Seven Corners location (6276 Arlington Blvd, Falls Church) confirmed that that location has remained open. So far, there’s no official word on why the Arlington location closed.
Senor Pan opened its doors yesterday at 922 S. Walter Reed Drive. The South American bakery/cafe serves specialty baked goods and coffee, as well as a variety of other dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The menu includes breakfast sandwiches, empanadas, pupusas, and quesadillas. There are sides like fried yucca and fried plantain. And there’s a hot bar where you choose a meat and various toppings and place it either in an arepa, tostada, tortilla, pita, salad bowl or rice bowl.
While Senor Pan is primarily South American, there are other culinary influences at work. Co-owner Andres Vives brings and Italian influence to the restaurant, and Senor Pan’s pastry chef — who hails from France — brings a French influence.
Senor Pan will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.