Arlington, VA

(Updated at 5:30 p.m.) On Thursday, a new music, food, and drinks festival will take over a street in Ballston.

Hosted by the Ballston BID, the Ballston Street Bash and Mega Market is scheduled to run from 3-8 p.m. at Welburn Square, along N. Stuart Street. It will include live music, a beer and wine pavillion, and the regularly-scheduled Thursday farmers market.

Admission is free, while drink tickets are $5.

The festival incorporates the weekly Ballston FreshFarm Market, which includes vendors selling fresh produce and food stands from DMV Empanadas and Timber Pizza Company.

A concert is planned, with performances from several local bands, including White Ford Bronco and Jumpin’ Jupiter.

Additional activities include a free VIDA Fitness SweatBox Class at 6 p.m., with pre-registration required.

Photo provided by Ballston BID

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Morning Notes

Purse Snatching Outside of Whole Foods Saturday — “The male suspect approached the victims near their vehicle and attempted to engage them in conversation before entering their vehicle. One victim confronted the suspect, who then threatened them, before attempting to steal a purse from the vehicle and flee. With the assistance of two bystanders, the suspect was stopped and the purse was recovered. The suspect was subsequently chased away from the area prior to police arrival.” [Arlington County, Twitter]

Arlington Man Dies in Route 7 Crash — “A 92-year-old man has died as a result of injuries from a crash that occurred around 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 24 in the 5600 block of Leesburg Pike. Donald Buzzell, 92, of Arlington, was operating a 1997 Mercury Marquis eastbound on Leesburg Pike when his vehicle hit two cars that were stopped in front of him, in traffic. The crash contributed to an additional three vehicles being hit.” [Fairfax County Police]

‘Pumpkin Patch’ Event in Ballston This Weekend — “Celebrate fall with a Pop-Up Pumpkin Patch at Ballston Quarter featuring live music, specialty drinks, crafts and of course, pumpkins! All pumpkins will be sold for $5 (cash only), with all proceeds going to Arlington Food Assistance Center. ” [Ballston Quarter]

N. Va. Atop State in Tourism — “Virginia’s tourism industry generated a record $26 billion in tourist spending in 2018 — and 40% of that, or $10.3 billion, was spent in Northern Virginia… Arlington County, Fairfax County and Loudoun County rank as the top three counties in Virginia for individual tourism spending.” [WTOP]

Winter Hours for Arlington National — Starting today, October 1, Arlington National Cemetery will close at 5 p.m. as part of its winter hours, which are in effect until the end of March. The Arlington Cemetery Metro station, meanwhile, will close at 7 p.m. during that time. [Twitter, Twitter]

ALXnow Launches Today — Our new Alexandria local news site, ALXnow, launches today at 8 a.m. Want to keep up with everything happening from Old Town to Potomac Yard to the West End? Follow ALXnow on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and sign up for our daily newsletter.

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Completion of the Ballston Quarter pedestrian bridge over Wilson Blvd could be delayed by another three months.

The Arlington County Board is set to discuss extending the completion deadline of the under-construction bridge from September 1 to December 1 at its meeting tomorrow (Saturday). The delay is at the request of the mall’s owner, which is building the bridge as a condition of Ballston Quarter’s recent renovations.

The company cited “difficulties associated with the complexity, constructibility issues of the design, field modifications, and the current status of construction” as reasons for the extension, according to as staff report to the Board.

This will be the second time the bridge project has been delayed. Originally, the walkway was scheduled to open last fall so it would be ready for the first shops to open at Ballston Quarter. Then the deadline was pushed to September of this year.

A spokeswoman for mall operator Brookfield Properties told ARLnow they are “on track for a November opening” for the bridge, pointing interested locals to a blog with periodic bridge construction updates.

It’s been more than two years since the original Wilson Blvd bridge was torn down. Once the new walkway is completed, it will link the mall to the Ballston Metro station.

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(Updated at 12:40 p.m.) Arlington County Police say there was no shooting last night in Ballston, just a panic caused by a single juvenile male.

In a press release Sunday morning, ACPD said the boy walked into a movie theater playing IT Chapter 2 at Ballston Quarter mall and shouted about a shooter. There was no mass shooting, just a mass panic and a mass exodus from the mall as dozens of police and emergency responders swarmed the area.

“As word of the incident spread, patrons from all areas of the Ballston Quarter began to self-evacuate,” police said. “One individual suffered a minor injury while self-evacuating from the building and was transported by medics to an area hospital for treatment.”

Police searched the theater and the mall well into the night, encountering some patrons who had locked themselves into back rooms or even freezers. They did not find evidence of any violence.

Mall customers and employees were left standing outside the cordoned-off block around the mall, with personal property still inside the building and cars parked in the closed parking garage, which did not reopen until after midnight.

Police say items left inside businesses should be retrieved from those businesses, while property left inside the Quarter Market food hall can now be claimed by calling the police non-emergency line at 703-558-2222.

More from the ACPD press release:

The Arlington County Police Department completed a thorough investigation and determined that no shooting occurred at the Ballston Quarter on the evening of September 14, 2019.

At approximately 8:38 p.m., police were dispatched to multiple emergency calls reporting a possible shooter inside the movie theater at the Ballston Quarter located at 4238 Wilson Boulevard. Upon police arrival, the theater was placed under shelter in place status while a systematic search of the entire Ballston Quarter was initiated. The search concluded with negative results and no evidence of a shooting or any victims of a shooting were located.

The preliminary investigation suggests that an unknown juvenile male entered a theater playing the movie ‘IT Chapter Two’ and shouted that there was a shooter, causing patrons to run from the theater yelling for people to call 9-1-1. As word of the incident spread, patrons from all areas of the Ballston Quarter began to self-evacuate. One individual suffered a minor injury while self-evacuating from the building and was transported by medics to an area hospital for treatment.

Patrons who left personal property inside of Ballston Quarter businesses during the incident should claim their property through the individual businesses. Those who left property in the public food hall area of the Ballston Quarter should call the Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222 to facilitate retrieval of their items at the Police Department, located at 1425 North Courthouse Road.

This remains an active investigation. Anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

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(Updated at 12:30 p.m.) Arlington County Police responded en masse to an incident at the Ballston Quarter mall Saturday night.

In a 8:50 p.m. emergency alert, Arlington County described the incident as a “possible shooting.” Initial reports suggest a panic at the Regal Cinemas movie theater after a group of teens started shouting about an active shooter.

No evidence of a shooting was found, though police continued to search the theater throughout the night.

On Sunday morning, police said one juvenile male shouted about a shooter during a movie, leading to the panic. No shooting actually occurred, police confirmed.

The panic prompted people to flee and hide, though many sheltered in place in the theaters. In the Quarter Market food hall, below the mall, police responded to a report of people who had locked themselves in freezers. Some neighboring businesses including the Shake Shack across the street locked their doors while customers sought shelter.

One person suffered a minor injury as the mall was evacuated, police said.

Speaking to reporters, a group of Yorktown High School students who were watching IT Chapter 2 in the theater said the screen suddenly went blank and officers entered the theater, saying they were investigating a possible active shooteriVideo shows the students and other patrons walking out of the theater with their hands above their head, at the direction of police.

“It was scarier than the actual movie,” one teen said.

Another video, taken from across the street from the mall shortly after the initial report of a shooter, shows people running from the mall as sirens blared.

The panic spread as police responded to at least two other reports of armed suspects along the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor.

Around 9:15 p.m., numerous officers responded to the Uncle Julio’s restaurant in Ballston for an unconfirmed report of either a man with a gun or an active shooting. Scanner traffic later suggested that it was actually an angry customer, not a shooting.

Earlier, police also responded to the Clarendon Trader Joe’s for a report of a man with a gun and body armor. A suspect was detained but later released after an investigation determined he was legally open carrying a gun, a police spokeswoman said.

The U.S. Park Police Eagle 1 helicopter could be seen flying overhead Ballston during the incident, assisting with the search for any possible suspects, but was later cleared to return to D.C. Park Police, Metro Transit Police, Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority Police, the Federal Protective Service and Falls Church Police were among the law enforcement agencies that responded to the initial shooting reports with ACPD.

Roads around the mall are blocked by police. Officers have cleared crowds of pedestrians from outside the front of the mall, though many — including large groups of mall employees — were still standing along Wilson Blvd on either side of the mall more than an hour after the first 911 call.

There is no timetable for the mall, its parking garage and the roads around the mall reopening, Arlington County Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage told ARLnow shortly after 10 p.m., noting that officers were still conducting a “thorough” search of the building.

Video (top) courtesy Gibson L. Video (below) courtesy Naki Mendoza. Screenshot via @JasonSurbey/Twitter.

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This content was written and sponsored by The Keri Shull Team, Arlington’s top producing residential real estate team.

In the latest Neighborhood Spotlight, Jamie FitzGerald of The Keri Shull Team gives us the details on The Local Oyster in Ballston.

Whether you are a hardcore oyster fan or completely new to the shucked shellfish, there’s something for you at The Local Oyster.

The roots of The Local Oyster are clear from the name, according to manager Will Brewster, who says that they “started about four years ago […] shucking oysters on the side of the road.” In the time since, the Local Oyster opened its first permanent location in Baltimore, before bringing their delicious fare to join the other great spots in Ballston Quarter several months ago.

The oyster experts have made sure that their featured critters are indeed local, including their house oyster, the Skinny Dipper. This Maryland catch, which Brewster describes as an “intersection of briny and sweet,” joins a wide selection of oysters from the DMV area and beyond.

For those of you who are not fans of raw oysters, don’t worry! The Local Oyster’s robust menu boasts a full complement of mouth-watering seafood, including steamed jumbo gulf shrimp, whole lobsters and a crab cake that was touted as one of the twenty best in Baltimore — high praise indeed!

The local focus extends beyond the seafood, too! The Local Oyster is quickly gaining a name as a spot for craft beer lovers, with a rotating tap of local craft brews. The hip joint also offers a robust list of spirits, making it one of the only places in the Ballston Quarter to boast a full bar.

In particular, Brewster recommends the Crush, a drink that The Local Oyster brought with them from Baltimore. This drink, which features freshly hand-squeezed juices, is a perfect refreshment as we reach the end of the hot summer.

The Local Oyster has plenty of specials to enjoy throughout the week, including Happy Hour and Dollar Oyster Days — and Brewster is hoping to add to that list in the near future.

No matter if you’re looking to shoot back some local oysters and high quality spirits, or just shoot the breeze with your pals over a craft beer, make sure to check out The Local Oyster in Ballston Quarter.

Are you interested in living in Ballston, or any of the wonderful surrounding neighborhoods? Contact The Keri Shull Team at 703-952-7653 or [email protected], and we’ll help put you in a home to meet all of your needs!

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Mothers of North Arlington (MONA) will soon start hosting free, monthly social events for Arlington families in The Plaza at Ballston Quarter (4238 Wilson Blvd).

The local online moms group announced the new event series earlier this week. This month’s event will take place on Saturday, September 14 and will feature donuts from District Donuts and entertainment by children’s magician The Great Zucchini.

“Bring along your family and friends and enjoy a morning of mixing and mingling, while the kids are entertained,” says an event page.

The socials will take place every second Saturday of each month from 11-12 a.m. During cold or rainy weather, the event will be held inside on the second floor of the mall.

The event will be open to the public and families with young children are especially encouraged to attend, according a news release.

“With our monthly socials, we hope to enable families to get together, build connections and create long lasting friendships, while the kids are entertained,” said MONA president Mrinal Oberoi.

MONA is a non-profit support and social group for mothers in six Arlington ZIP codes (22201, 22203, 22205, 2207, 22209 or 22213), with over 2,200 members, according to the group’s website. Membership costs $30 per year, with a $20 initial registration fee.

Anyone from the area, no matter the zip code, can attend the monthly Ballston Quarter socials for free, the group said.

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The newly rennovated Ballston Quarter mall will host showings of classic movies on its outdoor front plaza this fall, starting next week.

Movies will be shown for free on Thursdays, starting at around 8 p.m., in front of the mall at 4238 Wilson Blvd.

The series will start next Thursday, September 5, with the movie Grease, and will continue showing films every Thursday until October 31.

The complete list of scheduled films is below.

  • Grease — September 5
  • The Parent Trap — September 12
  • Home Alone — September 19
  • The Princess Bride — September 26
  • Mrs. Doubtfire — October 3
  • E.T. — October 10
  • Sound of Music — October 17
  • Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory — October 24
  • Hocus Pocus — October 31

Event organizers noted in a email to ARLnow that food purchased from the Quarter’s many new restaurants is allowed in the plaza area.

Image via YouTube

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This content was written and sponsored by The Keri Shull Team, Arlington’s top producing residential real estate team.

In this Neighborhood Spotlight, Libby Bish of The Keri Shull Team takes us to True Food in Ballston Quarter.

True Food Kitchen combines conscious nutrition with delicious dining.

As General Manager Quinn Edgar says, “Eat better, feel better and celebrate a passion for better living.”

All kinds of diets are accommodated here: vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free — even keto and paleo. At other restaurants, conversations about your dietary restrictions with servers can be a prolonged hassle, but True Food Kitchen makes it easy.

True Food takes care to get sustainably farmed ingredients from reputable sources. Naturally, the menu rotates with the seasons to serve whatever is abundant and fresh at that time of year. True Food’s summer menu is currently in effect, including delicious craft cocktails full of fruit flavors and organic wines and spirits.

Some of Quinn’s favorite dishes include:

  • Charred Cauliflower with harissa tahini sauce. Served with dill, pistachio and mint.
  • The Poke bowl with wild-caught albacore tuna, avocado and cucumber. The poke bowl’s ponzu sauce has quinoa rice, cucumbers, pickled ginger, a lot of great summer flavors
  • Tomato and watermelon salad with heirloom tomatoes with DNA from before 1950. This one’s also got the same delicious ponzu sauce as the poke bowl above.
  • Ancient grains bowl: Quinoa, sweet potatoes, onions, avocado. This one’s perfect if you’re dairy free.

True Food Kitchen also has a bar and house cocktails. 

Quinn recommends some of True Food Kitchen’s refreshing non-alcoholic beverages, which receive all the care and thought that mixologists usually devote to inventing cocktails:

  • Medicine Man with green tea, pomegranate, black cherry and honey.
  • Pomegranate Chia Limeade, a healthy twist on a summer classic. 
  • Lavender iced tea, with pea flower and lemon. 
  • Hangover Prescription, with pineapple, orange, honey and coconut water. 

If you want a meal that makes you feel better- not worse — stop by True Food Kitchen in Ballston Quarter.

Want to live in Ballston or other incredible Arlington neighborhoods, surrounded by great spots like this? Contact The Keri Shull Team at 703-952-7653 or [email protected] and we’ll help you find your next new home!

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A new trendy clothing and accessories store is now joining the ranks of businesses opening up in the Ballston Quarter mall.

Called Francesca’s, the new store opened today (Friday) and sells women’s apparel as well as shoes, hats, jewelry, and hair accessories.

Ballston is one of several D.C. area locations for the chain, which also has opened up shop in the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, as well as in D.C, Tysons, Springfield, and Alexandria. Despite the local expansion, the company has also faced some recent struggles.

The new store occupies a 1,600 square foot space on the second story of the mall, across from another women’s clothing store, Gossip Boutique, and watch retailer Bering.

A PR rep told ARLnow that the store is offering a buy one, get one 60% off deal through Wednesday, August 21.

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For some diners, Ballston ends at Glebe Road, and a handful of restaurant owners at the western end of the neighborhood are feeling left out.

As numerous businesses have sprung up in the central part of Ballston, the western edge has suffered a series of high-profile closures.

The epicenter of the new restaurant openings is the newly-redeveloped Ballston Quarter mall and the ground floor of Ballston Exchange, just across Wilson Blvd from the mall — both in the central portion of the neighborhood, where several new residential and office buildings are also under construction.

“The gathering place is on the other side of Glebe Road,” said Brian McBride, one of the owners of Mussel Bar and Grille (800 N. Glebe Road). He listed off a number of places near his restaurant that have closed.

Cheesetique, which closed in June, is the most recent example. The storefront is still vacant, with lingering signs advertising long-gone desserts. Applebee’s and Il Forno along the same stretch of Glebe Road have both also closed over the last few years.

Manny Tangle, owner of Filipino restaurant Bistro 1521 (900 N. Glebe Road), said the improvements and changes taking place across Glebe Road have had no discernible effect on his businesses — for better or worse.

Restaurateurs along the west side of Glebe Road almost unanimously agreed that the biggest challenges for local businesses all stem from traffic issues. McBride and Tangle both agreed it can be difficult for visitors to find the right places to park. The parking for Mussel Bar and Grille, for instance, is only available by making a somewhat complex set of turns behind the building.

For Bistro 1521, the big frustration is being stuck between the “No U-Turn” signs at Fairfax Drive and Wilson Blvd, so if someone misses their turn to get to the restaurant, it’s several more blocks before they can turn around and make another pass.

Even at Good Company Doughnuts and Cafe (672 N. Glebe Road), which had a stronger than expected first few months, co-owner Kate Murphy said most of their customers came from the residential areas west of Glebe Road. The sparse number of crosswalks and perpetual construction meant the eatery didn’t see as much foot traffic from people visiting the Ballston Quarter area across the street, according to Murphy.

But it’s not all gloom and doom for these restaurants. Mary Marchetti, owner of Stageplate Bistro (900 N. Glebe Road), said the challenges of the west side of Glebe Road also come with some unique opportunities.

“Our side of Glebe Road tends to be more affordable to the independent restaurateur,” Marchetti said. “SER, us, Mussel, Bistro… would any of us have been able to afford Ballston Quarter? No, the rents are too high and we don’t have that kind of clout. So here we are, on our little independent strip of restaurants.”

If anything, Marchetti said the biggest challenge for the archipelago of independent restaurants is overcoming the reputation that west-of-Glebe is where eateries go to die.

“Ending that stigma will help drive businesses here,” Marchetti said. “The dining scene in Ballston has so much to offer. Ballston should be a dining mecca.”

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