Arlington, VA

The details are scarce, but a new restaurant appears to be coming to Ballston Quarter mall.

Permits have been filed for a restaurant called Superette at 4238 Wilson Blvd, the mall’s address. The restaurant will seat somewhere between 1 and 100 people and will serve beer, wine and cocktails, the permit suggests.

No other details about the restaurant, which does not yet have a public web presence, were immediately available.

An LLC associated with the new restaurant, however, is linked to local restaurateur Sam Shoja, who owns Emile’s in D.C. and, according to Eater, “three D.C. area franchises of Jinya Ramen Bar and two locations of kebab Sheesh in Northern Virginia.” Shoja also previously owned a stake in Ballston Quarter eatery Hot Lola’s.

Noted chef Kevin Tien recently split from Emile’s, which he founded and co-owned with Shoja. Eater noted that in return for Tien’s stake in the restaurant, “Shoja has given Tien his 40 percent share in Hot Lola’s, the chef’s Sichuan-style hot chicken sandwich brand with a stall in a Ballston food hall.”

A retail broker whose contact information was listed on the permit for Superette did not respond to a request for comment.

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Arlington County firefighters are on scene of a large, outdoor gas leak near Ballston.

A 2-inch gas line was ruptured on the 500 block of N. Pollard Street, ACFD says. Washington Gas is working to shut off the leaking gas line.

At least one local resident says he can smell a “strong” odor of gas in the Ballston and Virginia Square areas.

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Ballston is getting a new taco spot later this summer.

Chef Victor Albisu has scrapped plans to open Huevos, an all-day egg restaurant concept, and is instead going with the tried and true: a fifth location for his popular Taco Bamba chain. The 1,500 square foot eatery at 4000 Wilson Blvd will feature a 35 seats, another six at a bar, and a small patio.

The decision was made due to the financial pressure restaurants are facing during the pandemic, as well as the popularity of a Taco Bamba drop-off zone in Ballston, Albisu said.

More from a press release:

Award-winning chef Victor Albisu announces plans to bring the next location of his popular taqueria, Taco Bamba, to The View at Liberty Center in the Ballston neighborhood of Arlington, Va. this summer. Located at 4000 Wilson Blvd., Suite C (entrance on N. Quincy St.), the 1,500-square-foot fast casual will feature a bar program, a small patio and a brand new menu of nuestros tacos, in addition to the taqueria’s traditional favorites. The space was slated to be the first location of Albisu’s all-day egg concept, Huevos, but he pivoted to an existing concept in light of the pandemic’s impact on the hospitality industry.

“As restaurants struggle to find a foothold during this unprecedented time, we felt it was a better business decision to open another location of a well-known and trusted concept, rather than introduce a new one,” Albisu said. “Our team has been working on the Huevos menu for months. We even took first place at the Coca-Cola Beachside BBQ at South Beach Wine & Food Festival in February with a Huevos dish. It was a tough decision, but we’ll find another location for Huevos.

Right now, we are excited to bring a new Taco Bamba menu to Ballston. Arlington is a neighborhood where I’ve always wanted to open a location. We’ve been operating a weekday satellite drop zone outside the space since April, and it’s been very popular. My favorite part of opening any new Taco Bamba location is creating the new menu for that neighborhood, and this has been an especially fun one to write.”

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This past Saturday was a heck of a time to open a new gym.

Despite a globe-spanning pandemic keeping Arlingtonians at home, despite delays in the construction, VIDA Fitness has opened at 4040 Wilson Blvd in Ballston.

General Manager Richie Poe didn’t shy away from saying COVID-19 and other factors made opening the location — the first non-D.C. location for the high-end local fitness chain — a challenge. But he said the gym’s budding community has been supportive.

“The opening was originally challenging,” Poe said. “This is the third VIDA location I’ve opened, but this is much different. Opening the gym was challenging. We have a lot of construction delays and COVID-19. But once we were able to finally get the doors open, the members have been happy and positive.”

Part of that opening process has been regular health inspections to ensure that the gym’s equipment is properly spaced and mechanisms are in place for frequent cleaning.

“We had to have a health inspection specifically for what we’re doing in response to COVID-19,” Poe said. “We were prepared for that and had everything in place. We’re following the mask policy for indoor use, social distancing orders by putting equipment out of service. Every day we switch the out of service equipment to make sure people are 10 feet apart and we have hand sanitizer stations around the club.”

Poe said the gym follows protocols above and beyond the state requirements, like using a machine that creates a sort of disinfectant fog that cleans the dumbbells between uses. So far, Poe said that’s paid off with support from gym members.

“A member just emailed me and said she felt safe and comfortable,” Poe said. “It was really nice to hear. She commented on all the protocols in place and that she felt comfortable. Members I’ve talked to feel safe and comfortable here.”

Poe noted that VIDA Fitness offers a delay in membership to people who don’t feel coming to gyms yet but don’t want to cancel their services.

“It does affect our revenue, but because this club is brand new, we were able to modify the budget to accommodate those things,” Poe said. “We’re not making money, but hoping to continue to build the trust in the community. We want to make sure people are safe.”

Another challenge Poe said he’s facing is signage, noting with a laugh that it seemed to be one of those specific regulations Arlington County seemed very intent on enforcing. There’s very little signage outside the building directing patrons around the side to where the gym entrance is, but Poe said he’s looking into putting up sandwich boards or some other form of wayfinding reminders.

Further east, a new VIDA Rosslyn at the Highlands development is still in the works. Poe said the plan was to launch the gym later this year, but with everything that’s going on, it would not be a surprise if the Rosslyn opening date gets pushed back to 2021.

Photo via VIDA Fitness/Facebook

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Two officers required medical attention after a pair of incidents in Arlington last week.

The first, early Thursday morning in Ballston, involved a 24-year-old suspect who was seen walking in the street. Brought to a local hospital for evaluation, the suspect then allegedly “struck an officer with a closed fist multiple times,” according to an Arlington County Police Department crime report.

The second incident, early Friday morning in Buckingham, involved a 39-year-old suspect accused of shoplifting, being drunk in public, and throwing liquid at arresting officers. The suspect later allegedly bit an officer while being transported from the hospital “for medical clearance,” per ACPD.

More from the crime report:

ASSAULT ON LAW ENFORCEMENT, 2020-06250035, Washington Boulevard at N. Glebe Road. At approximately 4:02 a.m. on June 25, police were dispatched to the report of a suspicious person acting aggressively to a passerby. Arriving officers made contact with the male subject, who was standing in the roadway and moved him to the sidewalk for his safety. The subject repeatedly attempted to walk back into the roadway as traffic was passing. He was transported to an area hospital for medical evaluation, where he allegedly began acting disorderly and struck an officer with a closed fist multiple times. With the assistance of additional officers, the suspect was placed into handcuffs. The officer sustained minor injuries requiring medical treatment. John Steele, 24, of No Fixed Address, was arrested and charged with Assault & Battery on Police.

ASSAULT ON LAW ENFORCEMENT, 2020-06260004, 200 block of N. Glebe Road. At approximately 12:13 a.m. on June 26, police were dispatched to the report of a larceny just occurred. A lookout was broadcast, and officers located an individual matching the suspect description nearby. While investigating, the suspect denied having stolen anything and began walking away. The officer attempted to stop the suspect, however, he became combative, allegedly threw liquid at the officers and fled on foot. The officer caught up to the suspect, and, with the assistance of additional arriving officers, he was taken into custody. The suspect was transported to an area hospital for medical clearance, where he continued to act disorderly. The suspect then refused to get into the transport vehicle and had to be lifted in by multiple officers, during which he bit an officer. Deandre Davis, 39, of Arlington, Va., was arrested and charged with Assault & Battery on Police (x2), Obstruction of Justice, Petit Larceny: Shoplifting and Drunk in Public. He was held on no bond.

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A unique concert for the pandemic era is scheduled Saturday in Ballston.

The roving concert will be held along 9th Street N. and will feature dueling piano players from Bobby McKey’s Piano Bar, plus a special guest: Ballston’s own blues legend Memphis Gold.

The dueling pianos will be on wheels and will make their way down the street between 6:30-8 p.m., weather permitting, a spokeswoman said.

“Ballston residents are encouraged to enjoy the concert from their balconies, the traveling dueling pianos will be on 9th Street and are likely to stop at the major intersections Stafford, Randolph and Quincy,” said the spokeswoman.

In addition to socially distanced viewing in person, the performance will be livestreamed online.

More from an event webpage, below.

Are you ready to beat the blues? You’re invited to join Ballston’s 9th Street Rocks event on June 20th! Enjoy the full piano bar experience as we bring the famous Bobby McKey’s Dueling Pianos to Ballston. Grab dinner and a cocktail to-go from one of Ballston’s many restaurants, and watch this roaming performance from your balcony on 9th St N.

We are very excited to present a special performance by Ballston’s own blues legend, Memphis Gold! Ballston knows his high-energy blues from his Friday night serenades during the COVID-19 stay-at-home order. He’s continuing to bring his music to the streets on June 20th. You won’t want to miss this!

Whether you want a better view or to request a song, be sure to follow along with the live stream on Ballston’s Facebook and Instagram.

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Hundreds of union members are expected to participate in a caravan from Ballston to the U.S. Capitol around lunchtime Wednesday.

The Workers First Caravan for Racial and Economic Justice is being organized by a number of major labor organizations. Participants will be gathering at the Ballston public parking garage at 627 N. Glebe Road — plus a second staging site in Silver Spring, Maryland — to affix signs to their vehicles. At 11:45 a.m., they will drive to and circle the Capitol building in D.C.

“More than one thousand union members will travel to Washington, D.C. for the Workers First Caravan for Racial and Economic Justice, the headline event of a massive national mobilization with hundreds of actions calling for bold policies to confront the three crises facing America: a public health pandemic, an economic free fall and long-standing structural racism,” organizers said in a statement.

“Representing those employed in health care, public education, public service, hospitality and more, workers will call on lawmakers to act now to save our nation, save our economy and save workers’ lives,” the statement continues. “The Workers First Caravan is organized by AFSCME, AFT, IUPAT, IBT, UFCW, UNITE HERE and the AFL-CIO.”

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It appears that Stageplate Bistro in Ballston may have taken a final bow.

The restaurant at 900 N. Glebe Road was well reviewed but struggled to attract customers to the western side of the busy street since opening in 2017. It took a brief intermission in 2018 but reopened, before closing temporarily again earlier this year.

“We had to close to regroup to come back better than ever,” general manager Mary Marchetti said in February. ARLnow reported that Stageplate, which gets its name from its owners’ entertainment industry catering experience, was “planning for the reopening to coincide with the first day of spring on March 21.”

Then, of course, the pandemic happened.

As of last week, the Stageplate Bistro logos had been removed from the windows, and a leasing sign was up. The restaurant’s website produces an error message and its phone number has been discontinued.

The tables remained set inside, however, waiting for diners that may not get a chance to dine there again.

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Morning Notes

Vigil Planned Saturday in Green ValleyUpdated at noon — “Delegate Alfonso Lopez, Black Parents of Arlington and Yolande Kwinana will be hosting a vigil at Dr. Charles R. Drew Elementary School Field, to honor those who have died at the hands of police. Speakers will enlighten the community on what they can do to help enact change in our Arlington.” [Facebook]

Ballston Macy’s Redevelopment Proposal Delayed — “The owner of air rights above the [potentially for sale] Macy’s building in Ballston will have additional time to move forward with a planned redevelopment of the space, if County Board members act on its request June 13. Board members are being asked to extend until July 2023 the ability of the owner to come to the county government with a development plan. The current site plan, which sets out development parameters for the parcel, was set to expire in several weeks.” [InsideNova]

Local CrossFit Gym Speaks Out — “Replacing one CEO for another is not real change. We welcome the retirement of CrossFit CEO Greg Glassman as a step in the right direction, but we find it woefully inadequate. The appointment of Dave Castro as new CEO is unmistakably a tone deaf move that is shying away from making any difficult and meaningful change.” [@crossfitsoutharlington/Instagram]

Op-Ed: Parking Proposal Not Fair to Green Valley — “While millions marched for equity and racial justice last week, the Arlington County government posted a board agenda item that turns these actions into mere slogans. A license agreement would have the county government turn a newly acquired $1 million property in the Green Valley community into a parking lot for WETA. This action is but one in a series of events that draw attention to the inequity systemic within the county.” [InsideNova]

Caps Resuming Practices in Ballston — “The Washington Capitals have announced their date for small group activities to resume: Thursday, June 11. The announcement comes a day after MedStar Capitals Iceplex, the team’s practice facility, posted it would begin the state’s Phase 2 reopening plan this weekend. According to the Capitals, MedStar Capitals Iceplex will remain closed to the public.” [Russian Machine Never Breaks, Washington Capitals]

Nearby: Fairfax Co. Expects Office Vacancy Spike — “Fairfax County’s office vacancy rate is likely to suffer as remote meetings continue to be the norm, the county’s economic development chief warned in early June. Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, delivered that warning to the county board of supervisors during a June 2 meeting.” [Washington Business Journal]

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Want to go out and watch a movie, while staying safe and keeping close to home? An event this weekend in Ballston may be for you.

The Ballston Business Improvement District is hosting a “retro drive-in movie night” on Saturday, in the parking lot of Gold’s Gym, &pizza and Spokes Etc. The timeless 80s film The Princess Bride will be shown starting at dusk.

The cost of admission is not quite as retro as the format: it’s $40 per car, though it’s free for members of the BallstonConnect Club. (The club is free for residents of certain apartment buildings and employees of some office buildings, $120/year for others.)

More from the event webpage:

Tired of staying in? Join the BallstonConnect Club for a retro drive-in movie night! That’s right, the drive-in is back, and coming to a neighborhood near you. Grab your date and cruise down to Ballston to watch an exclusive screening of The Princess Bride on Saturday, June 13th.

What date would be complete without dinner? Don’t forget to place your order from &pizza before the screening begins. The event kicks off at 8:15 PM, and the screening begins at dusk.

Space for this event is limited, so get your tickets soon!

Photo via Google Maps

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Undeterred by the pandemic, a new outpost of a bánh mì sandwich chain is getting closer to opening.

As we reported in January, Lee’s Sandwiches is coming to 801 N. Quincy Street in Ballston, where a Subway sandwich shop closed last summer. Signs are now up outside the restaurant entrance, one of which says it is “coming soon.”

Lee’s serves “Asian-Euro sandwiches” including its flagship Bánh Mì, and is also noted for its fresh-baked baguettes and Vietnamese iced coffee. The chain opened its first East Coast store at 3037 Annandale Road in Falls Church in 2016.

“Founded in 1983 in San Jose, California, Lee’s Sandwiches is a quick-serve restaurant chain specializing in Bánh Mì, Vietnamese sandwiches and other Euro-Asian food products,” a press release said at the time. “From its beginnings as a food truck, Lee’s Sandwiches is now the largest Bánh Mì chain with over 60 locations in Arizona, California, Las Vegas (Nevada), Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, and Taiwan.”

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