Arlington, VA

Ballston Quarter will be hosting a festive, day-long “Holiday Kick Off” event this Saturday, December 7 from 11 a.m.-6 p.m..

Across all four levels of the mall, there will be family-friendly holiday activities — “from holiday movies, to crafts (for all ages), to photo ops, and of course a special appearance from Santa.”

Beginning on the lower level in Quarter Market and outside plaza, there will be a snowman ice sculpture and photo booth, along with face painting, glitter tattoos, and a hot chocolate bar from District Doughnut.

On level M1, there will be a “Ballston Quarter Gingerbread House” for take-home photo ops. In addition, children can write letters to Santa and leave it in the “Ballston Quarter mailbox for special delivery,” per the event website.

On M2, crafting opportunities include making holiday ornaments with local art studio Art House 7 along with special Ballston greeting cards.

Starting a 11 a.m., there will be a pajama party at the Regal Cinemas with a free movie screening of the animated Disney movie, The Polar Express, as well as train rides around the M3 level of the mall until 5 p.m. (Seats for the movie are reserved, so advanced tickets are required).

Continue Saturday’s festivities into the evening at Ballston Exchange (4201 Wilson Blvd), where the Ballston Business Improvement District has begun pop-up weekly holiday movie nights.

“Each movie will be held in our pop-up theater in Ballston Exchange, so bring your own chair, and blanket to complete your experience,” the BID said. “DIRT, Shake Shack, CAVA, We The Pizza, Philz Coffee will have food and drink specials prior to showtime for moviegoers. Guests will also enjoy free popcorn, candy, and drinks in the theater. For the adults in the family, Movie Night is BYOB!”

The movie schedule is:

  • December 7: A Christmas Story (PG)
  • December 14: The Polar Express (G)
  • December 21: Elf (PG)
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A new fast-casual Mediterranean restaurant is opening soon in Ballston Quarter.

Mezeh Mediterranean Grill is expected to open before the new year, according to Director of Marketing Patrick Mika.

“You could say we’ll be a good spot to hit up for those New Years resolutions,” Mika said. The assembly-line style restaurant specializes in bowls featuring fresh ingredients and local produce, such as hummus, caramelized eggplant, and tabbouleh.

The regional chain first announced its Ballston location last year during the initial rollout of new restaurants in Ballston Quarter mall. Once open, it’ll be its eighteenth location — Mezeh currently operates across Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina. Inspiration for the Ballston location came after finding success at its first Arlington location in Crystal City, said Mika.

“Ever since we opened in 2015, we’ve had great success,” Mika said. “We’re very excited about our new location.”

Mezeh will have some familiar competition in Ballston. Just across Wilson Blvd there is a very similar fast-casual restaurant — Cava.

In 2017, Cava Group Inc. sued Mezeh, claiming its logo and stores unfairly copied one Cava’s intellectual property. Per a press release from Mezeh, one of the accusations was thrown out by a judge and the rest later rejected by a federal jury.

“Mezeh is unique because of our bold flavors, our variety of toppings, and the warm feel in our dining experience,” co-founder Steve Walker said in the release.

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As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, the Ballston Quarter and Pentagon City malls are shifting their hours and offering special activities.

At the Fashion Center at Pentagon City (1100 S. Hayes Street), the hours will vary by day, with the full holiday weekend schedule as follows:

  • Thursday, Nov. 28: 5 p.m.-1 a.m.
  • Friday, Nov. 29: 6 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Nov. 30: 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, Dec. 1: 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

On Black Friday (Nov. 29), shoppers can present their receipts at “Santa’s Grab Bag” for a chance to win prizes like retailer gift cards, American Express gift cards and more. In addition, there will be hot chocolate and freshly baked cookies.

In the meantime, Santa arrived earlier this month and is available for photos with children on the first level of the mall, near Nordstrom. And this weekend, the “Snow Sisters” will be joining Santa, according to the mall’s social media account.

At Ballston Quarter (4238 Wilson Blvd), the mall will be closed all day on Thursday (Thanksgiving), except for Onelife Fitness, Regal Cinema, and Macy’s.

On Black Friday, the entire mall is expected to be open by 10 a.m., with the exception of Macy’s at 6 a.m. and Scout & Molly’s at 7 a.m. Stores, restaurants, and more across the mall will be offering exclusive specials:

  • True Food Kitchen, buy $100 in gift cards and receive a $40 bonus card
  • Sloppy Mama’s BBQ is offering a $20 gift card with the purchase of a $100 certificate.
  • Scout & Molly’s will have staggered discounts throughout the day — from 7-9 a.m., 40% off an entire purchase, then 30% off from 9-1 p.m., and from 1-9 p.m., 25% off.
  • Steadfast Supply will have 15% off the entire shop, with special gifts offered at tier purchases.
  • Gossip will have 40% the entire store all day
  • Special Cookology classes, with a $10 voucher towards a bottle of wine.
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Delayed by about a year, the opening of the new Ballston pedestrian bridge finally happened this week.

The snazzy, lighted bridge over Wilson Blvd, connecting the second floor of the renovated Ballston Quarter mall with the office complex and Metro station across the street, officially opened on Monday, a mall spokesperson said.

In addition to providing a refuge from the weather, the bridge also affords a view of traffic below on Wilson Blvd — with benches in the middle for that very purpose.

“We are excited that the Ballston pedestrian bridge opened this week and the community is making great use of it as a connector between Ballston Quarter and our neighbor, Ballston Exchange,” the mall spokesperson said. “The bridge has already made Metro and retail access more convenient for our guests and is a beautiful symbol of community connection.”

(The new bridge connects the mall to the Metro station via another, older pedestrian bridge from Ballston Exchange.)

Tina Leone, the CEO of the Ballston Business Improvement District, said the bridge enhances the pedestrian experience in the neighborhood.

“To say we are thrilled with the reopening of the newly redesigned Ballston Pedestrian Bridge would be an understatement,” said Leone. “It makes navigating around the heart of our vibrant neighborhood so much more seamless. It truly bridges together our community, making us more connected and we’re already enjoying the enhanced walkability experience the bridge provides.”

Besides offering bird’s-eye views and a warm, dry walk to and from the mall, the bridge also figures prominently into the overall streetscape of Ballston, providing a decided visual upgrade from the dated, previous bridge, which was torn down in 2017.

“The new design is extraordinary and it serves as another proof point in solidifying Ballston as a best-in-class destination for locals and visitors alike,” Leone said.

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After over a year in development, the Compass Coffee and Union Kitchen locations in Ballston Quarter look to be opening soon.

Representatives from Compass Coffee declined to comment on when the store would be open but said the delay in opening was “due to the unpredictable nature of construction.” Most of the interior of the cafe looks to be near completion, with lights installed and the counter set up.

Compass Coffee specializes in craft coffee, offering drip coffee, cold brew, classic espresso drinks, tea, and other food and drink options. The beans are imported seasonally and roasted locally in D.C.

Ballston will be the Compass Coffee’s twelfth location, ten of which are currently in D.C. Its only other Virginia location is in Rosslyn at 1201 Wilson Blvd.

Union Kitchen did not respond to several requests for comment, however, the location is now hiring, with several job listings posted online.

The retail food outlet will be the first Virginia location for the D.C.-area food business incubator. Union Kitchen features locally-sourced produce, meats, and to-go options such as sandwiches and a salad bar.

Both stores will be located at the corner of N. Randolph Street and Wilson Blvd.

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The Arlington County Police Department is kicking off its annual Fill the Cruiser holiday toy drive tonight.

ACPD is “asking community members to donate new, unwrapped toys to bring holiday cheer to children ages newborn-17,” the department said in a press release. “Donations will be distributed by the Police Department throughout the month of December.”

Three events are being held this week, starting tonight at Ballston Quarter mall. A fourth is planned on Black Friday — Nov. 29 — at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall.

More from ACPD (emphasis added):

Officers will collect toys at the following locations:

  • Tuesday, November 19, 2019 from 5 to 7 p.m. — Ballston Quarter — 4238 Wilson Boulevard — A cruiser will be located on the sidewalk between Ted’s Bulletin and True Food Kitchen
  • Wednesday, November 20, 2019 from 6 to 8 p.m. — Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church — 830 23rd Street S.
  • Thursday, November 21, 2019 from 6 to 8 p.m. — Lee Harrison Shopping Center — 2425 N. Harrison Street
  • Friday, November 29, 2019 from 2 to 4 p.m. — The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City — 1100 S. Hayes Street — A cruiser will be located in the food court next to the Christmas tree

Those wishing to donate toys, but unable to attend the Fill the Cruiser events can drop off donations at Police Headquarters, located at 1425 N. Courthouse Road, until Friday, December 13, 2019 at the 2nd Floor Administrative Support Unit Front Counter.

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Despite a Tornado Watch and a forecast calling for severe weather, dozens of Arlingtonians descended on Ballston Quarter to trick-or-treat in the shopping center on Halloween.

ARLnow was there and some costumed characters posed for our cameras.

Popular costumes included classics such as superhero characters, Disney princesses, and animals. Many paid homage to our recent World Series champions and several families, impressively, came in fully coordinated costumes.

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Bash Boxing’s second Arlington location is now open at Ballston Quarter, after some delay.

First word of the boxing-focused workout studio’s newest location at 700 N. Randolph Street was reported last August. The studio, which has room for up to 44 people, had its grand opening celebration over the weekend.

“We’re thrilled to open our second location. It’s been busy all weekend, and we’re just getting started,” said co-owner Scott Parker, who also manages several Arlington restaurants.

The studio splits its workouts between boxing on a water-filled training bag and high-intensity interval training, generally lasting 45 minutes.

Bash opened its first studio in Rosslyn last January at 1550 Wilson Blvd, replacing the former Cafe Asia.

Bash Ballston joins a slew of new businesses joining Ballston Quarter in the coming months, including a new poke restaurant and a pet care business.

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

For this Neighborhood Spotlight, we’re joining Sean Sneed of The Keri Shull Team as he gives us the rundown on Punch Bowl Social, a hot new spot for food, drinks and games in Arlington.

Originally founded in Denver, Colorado, Punch Bowl Social has expanded to include many locations across the country, each with its own unique theme in decor and menu. The Arlington location — which sits in the Ballston Quarter alongside some of our previous spotlights — is designed with a circus in mind.

Brett Ramsdell, the general manager of Arlington’s Punch Bowl Social, shed some light on this design choice. The team became fascinated by the “Great Elephant Escape” — an event that saw 4 elephants escaping from a traveling exhibit in 1906, in the area that is now known as Arlington. Though the elephants were eventually rounded up after several days, some managed to travel dozens of miles from their enclosures.

This circus theme is a perfect fit for the whimsical atmosphere inside Punch Bowl Social. With its bright lights and vast collection of games, Punch Bowl Social is a bastion of pure fun. Customers can pay to play table tennis, sing karaoke, or even go bowling inside the arcade, all while sipping on a signature cocktail.

For the retro-inclined, Punch Bowl Social also offers a traditional arcade experience of cabinet-mounted video games.

What’s more, Punch Bowl Social is also equipped with a full collection of classic and modern board games, all of which customers can play for free at their tables.

Punch Bowl Social doesn’t skimp on fun when it comes to food and drinks, either. Customers can enjoy any of the three signature punches — or the Punch of the Day — in a shareable bowl, true to the arcade’s name. For food, Ramsdell recommends the Knockoff Burger, a two-patty sandwich that’s designed to mimic an iconic fast food meal.

Don’t feel like drinking punch? That’s okay! Punch Bowl Social also boasts an enormous menu of wines, beers and mixed drinks, all made with the freshest possible ingredients. And if you’re worried about missing work tomorrow, don’t fret — the drink menu features an impressive collection of non-alcoholic beverages, made with the same craftsmanship as the stiffer stuff.

With so many options for artisan food, delicious cocktails and games for all ages, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better place to unwind after work than Punch Bowl Social.

Are you interested in living in Ballston, or any other of the unique neighborhoods in the D.C. Metro area? Contact The Keri Shull Team today to learn about how we can help you find your dream home — for a price you’ll love!

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A “reimagined pet care” business is eying a 2020 opening in Ballston Quarter.

Heart + Paw will offer veterinary care, a grooming spa, and a pet day care, according to the Ballston Quarter website. Its interior will be an “elevated space designed using the latest research on low stress environments.”

Heart + Paw is headquartered in Philadelphia, and Ballston Quarter will be its first D.C. area location. The company has “ambitious national growth plans with an initial focus on the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.”

The business will be located on the second floor of the mall. A wrap along the outside of the storefront advertised an “early 2020” opening and a special discount to those who book services before the store’s grand opening.

Heart + Paw applied for a construction permit in August, per county records.

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Ballston is set to get not one but — now — two new poke restaurants.

Details are scant but a restaurant called Go Poke has filed permit applications to open at Ballston Quarter mall (4238 Wilson Blvd).

“We can confirm ‘Go Poke’ will be opening in 2020 at Ballston Quarter in Quarter Market,” a spokeswoman for the mall said. It’s unclear where exactly in the food hall it will be located.

Go Poke looks to be the county’s fourth dedicated poke restaurant, offering its spin on the Hawaiian raw fish dish. Existing poke spots include Poké it Up in the Pentagon City mall food court, Poke Bar in Rosslyn and — soon — another Poké it Up in Ballston, at 4401 Fairfax Drive.

Other restaurants in Arlington offer poke bowls among a broader selection of food options.

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