Pi Day in Arlington — Today is March 14, or 3/14, the day that celebrates the mathematical constant Pi (3.14159). In honor of Pi Day, the business review website Yelp is holding a “pie” event at Bakeshop (1025 N. Fillmore Street) in Clarendon, from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. [Yelp]
Red Light Cameras Play ‘Pivotal Role’ — Red light cameras play a “pivotal role” in improving traffic and pedestrian safety. Arlington County says. The county’s red light cameras — currently active at four intersections — resulted in a 50 percent decrease in red light violations at those intersections, the county said. [Arlington County]
State Awards for APS Schools — Eight Arlington public elementary schools have earned a distinction as 2013 Virginia Index of Performance award winners. The schools honored are Arlington Science Focus, Arlington Traditional, Ashlawn, McKinley, Nottingham, Taylor, Henry and Jamestown. [Arlington Public Schools]
Arlington’s All-Male Book Club — “Our Man in Arlington” columnist Charlie Clark explores “one of those rare literary phenomena — an all-male book club.” The group of 10 professional men has been meeting to discuss books in the East Falls Church/Westover neighborhood for 13 years. [Falls Church News-Press]
Photo courtesy “Westover Leftover”
The Clarendon confection store’s owner, Justin Stegall, and his mother Linda were both featured on the program, as well as Bakeshop’s oatmeal creme pie, 7-Up cupcakes, and red velvet cake. The episode was focused on nostalgic “childhood treats.”
Unique Sweets bills itself as “an insider’s peek into innovative eateries across America that are creating the most unique and exciting desserts today.” The show airs on the Cooking Channel at 10:30 p.m. on Sundays, though repeats are aired multiples times during the week.
Stegall says he got a call from the producers of the show out of the blue, asking if he wanted to be featured. A camera crew spent seven hours in the store a couple of months ago, Stegall said, and the finished, edited segment was about seven minutes.
Stegall says he was surprised by how many people have told him that they saw him on television.
“It’s kind of funny, I didn’t know cooking TV was as big as it was,” he said. “The craziest thing is that my friends… are calling up and telling me they saw me on TV, and I didn’t tell them it was going to be on.”
Screen capture collage courtesy of Lu
GOP Will Likely Control Va. Senate — Despite the clean sweep by Arlington Democrats, it looks like Republicans will pick up the two Virginia Senate seats they needed to wrest control of the state Senate from Democrats. “If the results hold, Republicans will have complete control of state government for only the second time since the Civil War,” the Washington Post reported. Meanwhile, Republicans will now have a two-thirds majority in the House of Delegates after picking up six seats there. Gov. Bob McDonnell said the GOP-controlled General Assembly will be more likely to push a “pro-life, pro-family, pro-marriage” agenda.
Hawaiians Protest Bail of Arlington Resident — Dozens of demonstrators marched through Honolulu last night to protest the release of State Department Special Agent Christopher Deedy, an Arlington resident, on $250,000 bail. Deedy, 27, is charged with second-degree murder after shooting a man in the chest during a late-night argument inside a McDonald’s in Waikiki. [Associated Press]
Closures Planned for Tuckahoe 5K — The third annual Tuckahoe 5K run will be held on Saturday morning. Rolling street closures are planned in the East Falls Church neighborhood between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m. For interested runners, limited race day registration will be available at Tuckahoe Elementary School. [Tuckahoe 5K].
Cookie Within a Cookie in Clarendon — What do you get when you place an Oreo cookie within a chocolate chip cookie? You get an ‘Oreo in a Blanket,’ which is being offered by Bakeshop in Clarendon (1025 N. Fillmore Street). [Clarendon Culture]
Clarendon’s cupcake-and-coffee store Bakeshop is now serving breakfast.
At the bright and early hour of 8:00 a.m., Tuesday through Friday, Bakeshop (1025 North Fillmore Street) will unlock the doors and start selling bagels, croissants, coffeecake and Wrecking Ball coffee. The new opening hours took effect yesterday, and we hear it was surprisingly busy for the first day.
According to Screwtop Wine Bar owner Wendy Buckley, a county zoning employee “randomly” stopped by just before 4:00 p.m. and took her sandwichboard sign.
“This sign cost me over $175!” Buckley wrote in an email shortly after the incident. “I just got a call… telling me he threw it in a dumpster.”
Also gone: the sign for Bakeshop, the cupcake-and-coffee place down the block from Screwtop. See below for the county’s explanation of why the signs were removed.
“I’m a pretty positive and easy going person,” Buckley said. “But with today’s actions I am beginning to wonder what won’t this county do to hurt small businesses?”
Buckley quickly added that the county board has been “great” and are “the only people who ‘get it'” when it comes to the needs of small businesses.
In fact, during July’s three-hour board discussion of sidewalk seating on Fillmore Street, board member Chris Zimmerman emphatically encouraged his county colleagues to be more permissive with signs, especially sandwich board signs. Zimmerman and other board members spoke specifically about using signs to attract more foot traffic to the sleepy portion of North Fillmore Street where Screwtop and Bakeshop reside.
“Each of us on North Fillmore Street has a sandwich board sign to try and attract eyeballs down from Clarendon Boulevard,” Buckley said. “I am always happy to comply with any law, but our little businesses are doing everything we can to survive on this street. I don’t see how our signs, which are out of the way, can hurt anyone.”
Update at 2:15 p.m. — The head of the Arlington County Zoning Office has responded to our story.
Zoning Administrator Melinda Artman says sandwich board signs are prohibited throughout Arlington County. Despite supportive words for the signs at the July board meeting, Artman says board members must take legislative action in order to permit the signs to be placed on county property.
Screwtop was given three warnings about its sign, Artman says. The first was issued on June 10. The last was issued within the past couple weeks, and included a warning citation that the sign was “subject to immediate removal,” according to Artman.
It is a criminal misdemeanor offense to place a sign on public property in Arlington County. Violations are subject to fines up to $2,500. Screwtop has not been fined.
Artman says the county confiscates hundreds of signs per week, but tries to warn business owners first before removing them.
“Of course we support small business here in Arlington… but the feedback we receive from the community is that sign enforcement is very important to them,” she said.
When a sign is confiscated it’s thrown out, since the zoning office has no storage capacity.
Artman says many businesses, especially in the Ballston area, openly flout the county’s sign regulations. Sign enforcement has become a cat and mouse game; recently inspectors started conducting sign enforcement randomly rather than at set times, because businesses had gotten wise to the inspection schedules. The county now deploys six inspectors on sign enforcement details for three hours each week.
Watch out, Bakeshop. Another cupcake shop is coming to Clarendon, and they’re bringing along a loyal following.
A Crumbs representative told arlnow.com that the Clarendon location is scheduled to open in May. She said she was unsure of the future store’s exact location.
Upscale cupcake bakeries are nothing new. Georgetown Cupcake, Baked & Wired, and Hello Cupcake are just a few of the gourmet baked goods establishments lining the streets of the District. Heidelberg Pastry Shoppe on 2150 N. Culpeper Street in North Arlington has won some online acclaim for its more traditional cupcakes. But Bakeshop, at 1025 N. Fillmore Street, has the distinction of being the first of its kind in Clarendon.
The store is a labor of love for chief cupcake maker Justin Stegall. Stegall’s sweets have been sold at various DC coffee shops, including Chinatown Coffee Co. (hat tip: Washington City Paper). Now, he finally has a storefront to call his own.
Bakeshop hasn’t officially opened yet, but Stegall has been inviting people to check out the store during special hours announced via Twitter. During Saturday’s snow storm, about 60 people stopped by for a so-called soft opening. Within five hours, the store was sold out.
(Pictures and an expert cupcake review, after the jump.)