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by Mariah Joyce — July 6, 2015 at 1:45 pm 8,208 0

Italian eatery Vapiano’s Ballston location (4401 Wilson Blvd) has closed.

Vapiano had occupied the Ballston location for the past eight years. According to a sign in the building’s window, the last day of business was June 30.

The Vapiano signs on the building’s facade have been removed, and the space is currently being cleaned out in preparation for its next occupant.

The Wilson Blvd location was the only Arlington outpost for the international chain, which is based in Germany.

Vapiano locations in Reston (1875 Explorer Street) and Sterling (21100 Dulles Town Circle) remain open, as well as both of the restaurant’s locations in the District, on M Street NW and in Chinatown.

by Heather Mongilio — July 2, 2015 at 10:20 am 948 0


Arlington County has added eight new buses to its fleet in order to provide more frequent bus service along several routes.

Additional bus service will be added to the ART 41 (Columbia Pike, Ballston and Courthouse), 43 (Crystal City, Rosslyn and Courthouse) and 87 (Pentagon Metro, Army Navy Drive and Shirlington) routes starting Monday, July 6, according to press release.

The new bus service on Columbia Pike is just an initial step in improving transit on the Pike, said Eric Balliet, spokesman for the Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services.

“This is definitely one of the first steps we can take to show our commitment to the corridor and our commitment to transit,” he said.

The ART 41 route will have more frequent service with the bus coming every 15 minutes during the day and every 23 minutes during weekday and Saturday nights.

The enhanced service is one way Arlington is addressing the transit needs that remained after the streetcar program was cut, Balliet said.

The ART 43 route will have buses run about every 10 minutes with extended service until 10:35 a.m. during morning rush hour and 7:47 p.m. during the evening commute.

The ART 87 will be getting new Sunday service, which will run from 7:14 a.m. to 7:11 p.m. The route will also have extended service until 11:41 p.m. on weekdays and 11:53 p.m. on Saturdays. On the weekends, the service will run to the Pentagon City Metro Station instead of the Pentagon Metro Station.

The county is also adding a new ART 87P line, which will run between the Pentagon and S. Lang Street. During rush hour, service will alternate every 10 minutes between the full ART 87 line and the ART 87P line.

“Anything we can do to make [commuting] more convenient, we think customers will appreciate,” Balliet said.

In order to provide the advance service, the county added eight new 40-foot buses to the ART fleet. The new buses are 5 feet longer than the standard ART buses, which allow for more seats and more standing room, he said.

The new buses are being added to routes with high ridership.

“These bus service improvements are a first step in meeting the current transit needs for Columbia Pike and Crystal City-Pentagon City, as we work to create vibrant, sustainable neighborhoods along these corridors,” County Board Chair Mary Hynes said in a statement. “Every day ART helps thousands of Arlingtonians get to work, school and other activities, and the additional service will make ART an even more reliable transportation choice all week long.”

by ARLnow.com — July 1, 2015 at 9:15 am 3,172 0

"Pops for Pets" concert at Lubber Run Amphitheater (Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman)

Whole Foods Eying Ballston Development? — Whole Foods is reportedly considering leasing a 43,000 square foot retail space in a new 12-story, 431-unit apartment building that’s set to replace the Rosenthal Mazda dealership at the corner of N. Glebe Road and Wilson Blvd in Ballston. The organic grocer is said to be “in advanced talks” to fill the space and is “very bullish” on Ballston in general. [Bisnow]

Car Drives Off I-66, Into Woods — A car drove off the eastbound lanes of I-66 and into the woods yesterday afternoon. Nobody was hurt in the accident, which happened between the Monroe Street bridge and Spout Run. [Twitter]

More Opposition to Fire Station Move — Residents of the Old Dominion community aren’t the only ones opposed to a proposal to move Fire Station 8 to the neighborhood. Some residents of the Hall’s Hill/High View Park community, where the fire station is located, say that it is a “hub of the neighborhood” and should stay put. Fire Station 8 has some historic distinction, as the first African-American-run firehouse south of the Mason-Dixon Line. [Falls Church News-Press]

Metro Proposes Blue Line Boost — The good news: Metro is proposing changes to its rush hour service that would have trains on the overcrowded Blue Line run every eight minutes instead of every 12 minutes. The bad news: the proposal would increase the headway between trains on the Orange, Silver, Green and Yellow Lines, from six minutes to eight minutes. [Greater Greater Washington, WAMU]

Arlington Startup Raises $21 Million — Ballston-based Distil Networks, a cybersecurity startup founded in 2011, has raised $21 million in a “Series B” venture round. The company is planning to add 100 new employees over the next 12 months. It has offices in Arlington, San Francisco and Raleigh, N.C., and has plans to open another office somewhere in Northern Virginia. [DC Inno, Tech Crunch]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

by ARLnow.com — June 30, 2015 at 9:30 am 3,321 0

Sen. Bernie Sanders (photo via Facebook)Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is scheduled to be a special guest speaker at a policy forum in Arlington next week.

The discussion, entitled “Rebooting Our Policy Agenda To Reclaim The American Dream,” will take place from 7-9 p.m. on Thursday, July 9, at the National Rural Electrical Cooperative Association, at 4301 Wilson Blvd.

Sanders will be joined by Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), a fellow member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

“This event is a free-of-charge policy discussion by leading progressive voices, not an endorsement of any candidate for public office,” an event page notes.

The event is at capacity and registration has closed.

Photo via Facebook

by Mariah Joyce — June 29, 2015 at 12:45 pm 2,519 0

Courage wall in AlexandriaBallston residents are about to get the chance to be more courageous — or at least more honest.

The Courage Wall, an interactive community art piece previously housed in Alexandria, is moving to Ballston and will be unveiled at 4 p.m. on Thursday (July 2) at the Ballston farmers market.

The wall is an 8 by 12 foot chalkboard with the words ‘I wish I had the courage to…’ stamped across the top. Below are spaces for passersby fill in what they wish they had the courage to face up to, using the chalk that will be made available.

Alexandria native Nancy Belmont first erected the Courage Wall in May, in the Del Ray community, to “create a conversation about fear and allow those passing by to reflect on what is holding them back from achieving their dreams.” It quickly went viral and was featured on Good Morning America and the Today Show.

While in Ballston, the wall will be located in Welburn Square, across from the Ballston Metro station. The current plan is for the wall to stay in the square until July 31.

Piedmont Office Realty Trust and the Ballston Business Improvement District worked together to bring the wall to Arlington. The BID says it hopes the wall will provide “an opportunity for reflection as the community begins celebrating the Fourth of July.”

The wall will be erased when it is full of entries, but prior to that a photo of the filled-in wall will be taken and posted to Facebook and Instagram.

Photo via nancybelmont.me

by Mariah Joyce — June 25, 2015 at 11:00 am 2,521 0

Those looking for Eastern European food should look no further than Ballston restaurant Rus Uz, which is now offering a specialty market right next door.

According to general manager Abraham Rakhmapullaev, the restaurant owners had been looking to open a specialty Russian/Uzbek market in the area for some time. Opportunity knocked when Cigar Connection — Rus Uz’s next-door neighbor — closed.

After some renovations to the space, Rus Uz Market opened for the first time earlier this week. (The restaurant opened in 2012.)

The market offers a wide range of goods ranging from pasta to deli items to imported Uzbek honey and Russian chocolate. The owners have also applied for a liquor license which they hope will come through within the next couple of months.

Rus Uz Market is located on 1000 N. Randolph Street near the Ballston Metro. Store hours are 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and Rakhmapullaev said that an opening ceremony is being  planned for sometime in the next two weeks.

by ARLnow.com — June 23, 2015 at 11:45 am 1,566 0

Chef Mike Isabella is preparing to open his latest Arlington restaurant later this summer.

Pepita Cantina — located at 4000 Wilson Blvd in Ballston, next to Isabella’s Kapnos Taverna, which opened in January — is holding an “open call” for job seekers today (Tuesday) and tomorrow. Interviews will be conducted at the under-construction restaurant between noon and 6:00 p.m. on both days, according to a Craigslist post.

Servers, bartenders, bussers and barbacks are being sought.

“Pepita Cantina is set to open this summer in Ballston, right by the already open Kapnos Taverna,” the job post notes. “This establishment will be a tequila, mezcal craft cocktail bar along with traditional Mexican food with a twist!”

So far, no official opening date has been set.

“We hope to announce an opening date in the coming weeks,” a PR rep told ARLnow.com “Stay tuned!”

Isabella’s company, Mike Isabella Concepts, is also planning on opening a “full-service, Japanese noodle bar and small plates restaurant” called Yona at 4000 Wilson Blvd, under the leadership of chef Jonah Kim. The ramen-centric eatery is currently under construction and is expected to open in “early fall,” we’re told.

Photos via Twitter

by ARLnow.com — June 19, 2015 at 9:15 am 1,653 0

Stormy sunset over Rosslyn (Flickr pool photo by Joseph Gruber)

Janitors to Rally with Candidates in Ballston — About 150 part-time janitors will rally in Ballston this afternoon for a new union contract. The rally is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. in front of the National Science Foundation at 4201 Wilson Blvd. Democratic County Board candidates Katie Cristol and Christian Dorsey are expected to attend the rally to lend their support, according to a press release from the 32BJ SEIU union.

Arlington Man Killed in D.C. Pedestrian Crash — An Arlington man, 31-year-old George Mina, has died several days after being struck by a car on Wisconsin Avenue NW in D.C. Mina, a pediatric phlebotomist, was struck by the driver of a Jaguar while crossing Wisconsin at Veazy Street NW on June 10. A rally for pedestrian safety was held in the area last night, with advocates calling for D.C. to implement pedestrian safety measures currently in use in Arlington. [NBC Washington]

No Opponent for Commonwealth’s Attorney — A potential independent candidate for Arlington Commonwealth’s Attorney came up just a couple of verified petition signatures short of the 140 he needed to qualify for the ballot. Criminal defense attorney Frank Webb said he will drop his bid to get on the ballot. Incumbent Democrat Theo Stamos is now running unopposed. [InsideNova]

WW2 Vets Boogie at DCA — Video posted on YouTube shows a group of World War II veterans, in a Reagan National Airport terminal last month awaiting their honor flight back to Kentucky, dancing to a live rendition of “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.” [Patch]

Flickr pool photo by Joseph Gruber

by ARLnow.com — June 12, 2015 at 11:45 am 3,026 0

(Updated at 12:00 p.m.) The driver of an SUV ran into a forklift on the back of a flatbed tractor trailer in Ballston around 11:00 this morning.

The incident happened on N. Glebe Road near the I-66 ramp. Photos show the hood of the SUV crumpled under the back of the forklift.

As of 11:55 a.m., southbound Glebe Road was closed at 13th Street N. as crews worked to clear the scene. Initial reports suggest one person suffered minor injuries in the wreck.

Photos courtesy Arlington County Police Department, Allan Yankosky/1411 Media Inc.

by ARLnow.com — June 9, 2015 at 11:45 am 7,124 0

Ted's Montana Grill in Ballston (photo via tedsmontanagrill.com)Saturday will be the last day for Ted’s Montana Grill in Ballston.

The bison-centric restaurant chain decided not to renew its lease at the Ballston Point building at 4300 Wilson Blvd, according to Ted’s President and COO Kristi Martin. It will close this coming Saturday, June 13, and the staff will be transferred to a soon-to-open location in Gaithersburg, Md., Martin said.

The new Ted’s is expected to open in Gaithersburg’s Downtown Crown development in August, said Martin.

“Team members at the Ballston Point location are aware of this closing, and all team members have been offered positions at the Gaithersburg or other Northern Virginia locations,” she said. “We look forward to expanding our Big Sky Spirit to the Gaithersburg community — an area that we see as a strategic fit for the growth and future of our company.”

Ted’s currently has two locations in Arlington — the Ballston location and another at 2200 Crystal Drive in Crystal City. No changes are planned for the Crystal City location, according to a PR rep for the restaurant.

Photo via tedsmontanagrill.com

by ARLnow.com — June 3, 2015 at 10:00 am 4,722 0

Pizza Vinoteca in BallstonJust six months after opening, Pizza Vinoteca has closed.

The eatery, at 800 N. Glebe Road in Ballston, moved here from New York City and opened in December. It received a mostly negative review from the Washington Post’s Tom Sietsema in January.

The 4,500 square foot restaurant sat 130 and offered grilled pizza and value-priced wine. Though promising value, speedy service and specialty pizzas cooked in a custom designed, 900-degree grill, the concept failed to catch on in what is a relatively low foot traffic portion of Ballston.

“It closed because, while it had a good core group of fans, it didn’t have enough business to keep it going,” PR rep Jill Collins said.

by ARLnow.com — June 2, 2015 at 1:30 pm 1,779 0

Tuesday Night Ride logoA month after an uproar over its postponement, the Tuesday Night Ride series sponsored by Freshbikes in Ballston is back.

The summer bike rides, featuring hundreds of cyclists who ride from the store to hilly Military Road and back with an Arlington County Police escort, will return tonight (June 2). Cyclists will meet at Mosaic Park, just behind the store, and depart at 6:30 p.m.

After originally blaming county staff and a few resident complaints for the ride’s cancellation, Freshbikes is now effusive with praise for the county and the cycling community that rallied around the rides.

“A heartfelt Thank You to the great folks at the Arlington County Special Events Committee for working with us, helping ensure the ride will be safer than ever and speeding our permit through after Freshbikes admittedly submitted paperwork late,” Freshbikes said in an email to riders. “Also, I would be remiss not to give a huge shout out to the cycling community for your passion!”

(The county said that while there have been complaints from residents about the ride, the delay in issuing the ride’s special event permit was due to Freshbikes submitting its paperwork late.)

New this year, Freshbikes has codified a code of rider responsibility for the event. The rules and regulations include “stop at all stop signs and obey traffic signals without exceptions,” “ride no more than two rides abreast,” “never, ever, ever pass the police motorcycles” and “do not swarm cars that may be on the route.”

“After this hard winter, we want to ride!” the email said. “Freshbikes really wants to eliminate as many complaints from the community at large as possible, and keep this community ride viable and supported.”

by Heather Mongilio — June 1, 2015 at 6:10 pm 8,019 0

John Bocek setting an unofficial pullup record

A new world record may have been set in Arlington over the weekend.

A D.C. man claims to have set the world record for most pullups done in a 24 hour period, recording the feat on video at the Ballston Crossfit gym at 1110 N. Glebe Road.

John Bocek, a D.C. resident, reported completed 5,801 pullups, setting a new unofficial record. The Guinness World Records still has to approve Bocek’s record before it is an official world record, said Tucker Jones, the owner of Ballston Crossfit.

The last official record was 5,101 pullups set by Michael Tufo on May 3 of this year.

“He smashed the record,” Jones said of Bocek.

Bocek started his pullups at the crossfit gym at 6 p.m. on Saturday and finished at 6 p.m. on Sunday. He initially set out two years ago to break the world record, but the number of pullups for the record increased a couple of times, he said.

His original goal was 5,000 pullups but last month the record was broken again, prompting Bocek to raise his goal to 6,000. While he did not reach that goal, he was very happy with 5,801 repetitions.

“That’s a lot of pullups over 24 hours,” Jones said.

Three hours from the end of his record attempt, an article surfaced saying another unofficial record of more than 5,700 pullups had been set, so Bocek knew he had to make it past that mark to set the record.

At that point, he was past his physical limit but the support from family, friends and viewers around the world kept him going.

“It was probably the toughest thing I’ve done,” Bocek said.

Via donations, the record attempt raised money for a cause championed by Bocek: the Panama Mission Foundation, a non-profit that builds churches and works to spread the Christian gospel in Panamanian rainforest villages.

Bocek says he trained throughout the two years for the pullup challenge, training at different gyms and at least once a week at Ballston Crossfit. He would go to the gym in the middle of the night and train for about six hours, Jones recounted. Training in the middle of the night helped him get ready for doing pullups for 24 hours without sleep.

The training was more intense than his prior preparation for the 100-mile marathons, Bocek said. His strategy for breaking the record was to do 2,500 pullups in the first seven hours, which he was confident of because of his training, then sets of 500 between 15 minute breaks.

As he neared the end, it got increasingly difficult, and Bocek said there were repetitions that didn’t count because he couldn’t get his chin above the bar.

Although he reported being very sore on Monday, Bocek said would “absolutely” be up for another world record attempt, should anyone break his new record.

Screen capture via YouTube

by Tim Regan — May 21, 2015 at 10:00 am 1,767 0

A new sushi restaurant is now open just steps away from the Ballston Metro station.

Sushi 2Go, named for its daily selection of carryout sushi, is located in the former Primo Fresh Deli space in the Metro plaza at the corner of Fairfax Drive and N. Stuart Street.

The restaurant’s menu includes nigiri, classic sushi rolls, and a range of specialty rolls. Patrons can either order freshly made sushi at the counter, or grab a pre-made roll from a to-go cooler.

To celebrate its opening, Sushi 2Go is offering reduced prices until May 30. Under the special, nigiri and sushi rolls are currently both $4, and specialty rolls cost either $6 or $8.

Owner Unsook Kim says she got the idea for the to-go concept after visiting a Wasabi franchise in New York City. After seeing how popular the franchise was, Kim decided to open her own take on the sushi-to-go concept.

“This is my own style,” Kim says. “Young people love sushi.”

Kim says that by this winter, she’ll add other Korean and Japanese specialties like bibimbap, yakisoba noodles, and teriyaki dishes to the menu.

by ARLnow.com — May 19, 2015 at 1:00 pm 10,013 0

Ballston Common Mall, set to undergo a major renovation project next year, will be rebranded as “Ballston Quarter.”

Mall owner Forest City revealed the new name at the International Council of Shopping Centers convention in Las Vegas on Monday, as first reported by Bisnow.

The new mall’s most defining feature will be an open-air plaza running through the middle of what is now enclosed shopping space.

A recently-deployed Ballston Quarter website, which includes the slogan “Life Uncommon” and a slick preview video, lists the features of the airy shopping center:

  • “An open-air, urban environment coupled with a remodeled interior concourse”
  • “An open-air, public plaza gathering space and an intimate mews entrance along Wilson Boulevard”
  • “Activated streetscape to engage the community including street-entry stores and restaurants, some with sidewalk, terrace or rooftop dining options”
  • “A unique and vibrant mix of stores, restaurants, entertainment venues – 365,000 SF in addition to Macy’s”
  • “A residential tower with over 380 apartment homes and stunning amenities will top the new Ballston Quarter”

Macy’s, Rock Bottom Brewery, Panera Bread, Sport & Health, Regis Hair Salon, Regal Cinema, Noodles and Company, CVS, Kettler Capitals Iceplex and Shiki Sushi are all expected to remain open during the renovations. Most other mall retailers are expected to close after the end of the year.


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