Arlington, VA

Two more Cosi locations have closed in Arlington.

The Cosi restaurants in Crystal City (2011 Crystal Drive) and Virginia Square (3503 Fairfax Drive) appear to have closed.

The closures follow the shuttering of the chain’s Ballston location late last month. Additional Cosi closures have been reported in D.C.

As of today (Monday) the Cosi in Rosslyn was still open.

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Goodbye Mister Days, Clarendon Ballroom, Java Shack — and hello food halls, outdoor beer garden, and more restaurants than we can count.

It’s no secret that Arlington has had quite the 2019, and as 2020 gets underway, here’s some of what’s opened, what’s closed, and what’s to come in 2020. For those keeping score, Ballston appears to be the hot spot for new restaurants, in part thanks to the opening of the renovated Ballston Quarter mall.

Closing Time

Some of Arlington’s most iconic businesses closed in 2019, including:

  • Clarendon Ballroom announced it would be closing after 20 years in business, following one last New Year’s Eve bash
  • Cosi closed in Ballston.
  • A heavily-frequented Starbucks at Lee-Harrison closed in December, replaced by the county’s first drive-through Starbucks nearby.
  • Blümen Cafe abruptly closed in December, with a new cafe said to be coming soon.
  • Java Shack served its final mugs of coffee in October, but will be replaced by another coffee shop.
  • Hawaiian restaurant Hula Girl Bar and Grill closed in September.
  • The Real Housewives of Potomac-owned Oz Restaurant shuttered in June.
  • Three area Subway sandwich restaurants bit the bullet in Clarendon, Cherrydale, and Ballston.
  • Pete’s New Haven Apizza closed its Clarendon eatery in August.
  • Family Dry Cleaners on Columbia Pike shuttered in July — temporarily taking its customers clothing with it.
  • Ballston lost its Cheesetique in June (but the Shirlington location expanded).
  • Also in June, Ray’s The Steaks sizzled out, and a long line of customers showed up for its last service.
  • Fiona’s Irish Pub closed suddenly in Crystal City, later replaced by McNamara’s Irish Pub.
  • Citizen Burger Bar flipped its last patty in June.
  • On Columbia Pike, Josephine’s Italian Kitchen closed in May.
  • Rosslyn sushi bar Kona Grill rolled out in April.
  • Also in Rosslyn, Bean Good Coffee Pub brewed its last cup in April.
  • Who could forget Mister Days, which shuttered its doors in April after 40 years in business.
  • Williamsburg spot Backyard BBQ had its last cookout in February.
  • Rosslyn pizzeria Piola shut down in January.

New Faces 

Throughout the year, Arlington got everything from a fast-casual soup eatery to a healthy gelato shop:

  • Arlington welcomed its second Pupatella location, which opened on Walter Reed Drive in December.
  • Restaurant Open Road Grill and cocktail lounge Salt opened at Central Place in Rosslyn in December.
  • Happy Endings Eatery opened in Rosslyn, with some criticizing its provocative name.
  • East West Coffee and Wine opened its second location in Clarendon in December.
  • In November, a new health-focused gelato shop opened in Pentagon Row.
  • Rock-and-roll themed taco restaurant Taco Rock opened in Rosslyn in November.
  • We, The Pizza opened in Ballston with customizable pies and gelato shakes.
  • Poké it Up opened in Ballston in October.
  • The Renegade replaced Mister Days in October.
  • Arlington got its first indoor running studio in October.
  • Another fitness studio, BASH Boxing, opened in Ballston in the same month.
  • Italian restaurant Sfoglina opened in Rosslyn in October.
  • Zoup! Eatery opened in Ballston in October.
  • A new Harris Teeter opened on Columbia Pike in October, as part of the Centro development.
  • Bronson Bier Hall opened in Ballston in August.
  • South Block expanded into Rosslyn in August.
  • The cafe and Asian eatery Open Kitchen opened in Rosslyn in August.
  • Nepalese restaurant Namaste Everest touched down in Pentagon in July.
  • Sloppy Mama’s Barbeque started roasting in July on Lee Highway.
  • After some drama, The Lot beer garden opened in July.
  • Stone Hot Pizza opened in Clarendon in June.
  • Ted’s Bulletin and Sidekick Bakery welcomed customers to Ballston in June.
  • Clarendon got the three-level bar/restaurant TTT, Buena Vida, and Buena Vida Social Club over the summer.
  • Acme Pie started slicing up on Columbia Pike in June.
  • Takeshi Sushi and Ramen opened next to Delhi Dhaba in Clarendon in May.
  • All About Burger opened in Ballston Quarter in May.
  • Nearby, True Food Kitchen had its grand opening in Ballston in May as well.
  • Ballston continued to get healthy with the opening of Dirt in April.
  • Turkish and Mediterranean restaurant Maya Bistro opened on Lee Highway in April.
  • Veteran-owned Good Company cafe and donut shop Good Company opened in April.
  • Craft beer bar Rebellion on the Pike opened — surprise — on Columbia Pike in April.
  • Ballston Quarter started rolling out its first food hall options in March.
  • South Block said what’s up to Ballston Quarter in March as well.
  • Los Tios opened its doors in Crystal City in March.
  • Smoking Kow took over from Backyard BBQ in February.
  • Idido’s Coffee House and Cafe started pouring on Columbia Pike in February.
  • Thai Treasure opened in Virginia Square in February.
  • Old Dominion Pizza company opened on Lee Highway in January.

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Cosi Closes in Ballston

A long-time Cosi location has closed in Ballston.

The restaurant at 4250 Fairfax Drive, near the Ballston Metro station, closed over the holiday break.

“Thank you for being such wonderful Cosi supporters over the last 2 decades,” a sign in the window reads. “We still have 3 locations around Arlington, VA and many more in DC… Happy holidays, and thank you for letting us serve you!”

Cosi’s remaining Arlington locations are in Rosslyn (1801 N. Lynn Street), Crystal City (2011 Crystal Drive) and Virginia Square (3503 Fairfax Drive).

The Boston-based chain — which serves flatbreads, sandwiches, soups and salads — declared bankruptcy three years ago but has been opening new locations this year.

A Cosi location in Courthouse closed in 2016.

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Clarendon Ballroom Is Closing

(Updated on 12/13/19) Clarendon Ballroom will be closing after one last New Year’s Eve Bash on Dec. 31.

The long-time Clarendon nightlife venue announced via social media Wednesday night that it will be shutting down for good after ringing in the new year (and the new decade).

“It has been our pleasure to be part of the Clarendon community for the last 20 years,” the business said on Instagram. “This area has changed a great deal since we first saw a furniture and fabric store built in the 1930’s as a Woolworth Department store and thought that it would make an excellent music and events venue.”

The Ballroom was perhaps best known as a live music venue and a nightclub with a popular rooftop, but it was also a private event venue that hosted everything from weddings to ceremonies to community events.

Peter Pflug, one of the owners of the Ballroom, declined to give a reason for its closure.

“For now we are not commenting further than the fact that we are closing,” Pflug told ARLnow. “Instead we are focusing on making the last weeks fun and memorable.”

The business appears to be preparing to auction off its gear in early January.

“Iconic night club is shutting its doors and making a complete liquidation,” says a page on a local auction company’s website. “Audio equipment, very large kitchen, catering equipment, several bars & much more. Arlington, VA local pickup only.”

More on the closure from the Instagram post:

To our Clients, Vendors, Patrons, and Friends:

After over 19 years in business, the Clarendon Ballroom will be closing in January. Our 20th New Year’s Eve Bash on December 31st, 2019 will be the last night that we are open for business.

It has been our pleasure to be part of the Clarendon community for the last 20 years. This area has changed a great deal since we first saw a furniture and fabric store built in the 1930’s as a Woolworth Department store and thought that it would make an excellent music and events venue.

A big thank you to all of the special event clients, nightclub patrons, vendors, and most of all, the staff (seems like a poor word – after you work with the same people for 20 years, you feel much more like family) that joined us and supported us in this adventure.

To go out with a bang, we have planned a couple special closing events leading up to our New Year’s Eve Bash. Please come out and help us say goodbye:

On December 27th, one of the greatest bands to every play the room, Mr. Greengenes, is playing a final show for us. Please see Here for details and start resting up now!

On December 28th, our House DJ and the man responsible for way too many legendary nights, DJ Lil Fos is playing with some of his other DJs, so you can show off your dance moves on the floor one last time (No cover for this show). And if you really want to say goodbye the way it all began–our first night open to the public was New Year’s Eve in 2000–get your tickets now for our big gala. We will be featuring an awesome band–Liquid A–and DJ Lil Fos. This one has sold out every year for 19 years, and we hope you can join us, so get your tickets now.

Thank you again for helping us become a part of the community, and we hope you come see us before our “last call.”

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The Starbucks store at the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center has closed, to make way for a new location down the street.

It was business as usual at the coffeehouse chain’s location at 2441 N. Harrison Street this morning — right up until it closed at 10 a.m. and employees started politely asking customers to leave.

The closure precedes the opening of a new stand-alone Starbucks at 5515 Lee Highway, currently planned for Thursday. That store will have a drive-thru window and its own parking lot, though construction was still well underway this morning.

For Starbucks aficionados who need their Frappuccinos, there’s another location in the Safeway store across the street, at 2500 N. Harrison Street.

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Arlington Community Federal Credit Union (ACFCU) is closing its Ballston branch, 6.5 years after it opened.

The branch is closing on Dec. 31, ACFCU announced this week. The credit union plans to open a new branch in Arlington by late 2020.

“We are still in the process of searching for the perfect branch location to serve our members, so we’re not able to confirm a neighborhood yet,” said an ACFCU spokeswoman.

In the meantime, the Ballston staff will relocate to ACFCU’s other branches, at 2130 N. Glebe Road and 5666 Columbia Pike.

“Our team will miss serving members in Ballston, where we have been proud of this neighborhood’s exciting growth,” the credit union’s CEO, Karen L. Rosales, said in a press release. “We look forward to opening a new, innovative branch to continue our mission to empower the financial lives of our members in Arlington and beyond.”

In addition to its branches, ACFCU operates three stand-alone ATM machines in Arlington, including two in Courthouse and one in the Virginia Hospital Center food court.

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The Gold’s Gym in Courthouse will be closing Dec. 1, according to a letter to members obtained by ARLnow.

The letter, sent today (Friday), says that the fitness chain made “several attempts to come to a lease renewal agreement with the landlord” but ultimately made the decision to close. Members will instead be transferred to the Gold’s Gym on N. Fillmore Street in Clarendon.

Gold’s also has a gym in Ballston and earlier this year announced a new, 30,000 square foot location next to the Rosslyn Metro station, to replace an existing location nearby.

The Courthouse Gold’s Gym, at 1310 N. Courthouse Road, changed its branding from Fitness First in 2013. Last year ARLnow reported that the gym was listed for lease by a commercial real estate firm, though at the time we were told that the company was “optimistic” about keeping it open.

The full letter about the closure is below.

Dear Gold’s Gym Member,

After several attempts to come to a lease renewal agreement with the landlord, we had to make the difficult decision to permanently close our Gold’s Gym Arlington Courthouse location at 1310 N. Courthouse Road. We will continue standard operations at the gym through December 1, 2019.

To ensure that there are no interruptions to your fitness journey, we will be transferring your membership to Gold’s Gym Clarendon, located at 1220 N. Fillmore St.

Gold’s Gym Clarendon is ready to become your new home gym and has all the amenities and services you have grown accustomed to. You will also have access to our other area locations including Gold’s Gym Rosslyn and Gold’s Gym Ballston.

During this transfer, there will be no change to your membership dues. We are committed to helping you reach your potential through fitness.

Plus, we are excited to announce that you will have access to our Gold’s Gym Rosslyn City Center location opening in 2020. This location will include GOLD’S STUDIO® , our boutique studio offerings along with state-of-the-art cardio and strength equipment, and much more!

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Gold’s Gym Arlington Courthouse General Manager, Denis Hernandez, at 703-276-0000 […]

Thank you for choosing Gold’s Gym and we look forward to supporting your fitness journey

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Naan Kabob near Clarendon is closed — at least for now.

The Indian, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi buffet-style restaurant at 3300 Wilson Blvd has posted a sign saying it is “closed for renovations” on its front doors. However, a staff member told ARLnow in an email yesterday (Wednesday) that the restaurant is closed “permanently.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, the tables and chairs were gone from the dining room. Calls to the store’s phone number for more information went to voicemail — which was full.

The restaurant replaced the Pio Pio in 2017 after the Peruvian restaurant closed temporarily several times before shuttering for good. Since then, Naan Kabob has generated mixed reviews on Grubhub and Yelp.

It has been a busy week of kabob-related news in Arlington. Just down the street in Courthouse, the Afghan Kabob House is closing permanently after the owner accused food trucks and delivery apps of cutting into his business. Another kabob restaurant — Courthouse Kabob — is expected to replace it as early as this week.

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Courthouse’s Afghan Kabob House is shutting down the grills this week after just over a decade in business.

Restaurant owner Akbar Madany, who describes himself as the “creator” of the restaurant, said his business at 2045 Wilson Blvd will officially close at midnight this Thursday, October 31.

“There are food trucks in front of my restaurant — six or seven of them — for the past almost three years now, selling my similar food right in front of my restaurant,” said Madany, when asked of what led him to close up shop in the space the restaurant occupies between the UPS location and Ireland’s Four Courts.

Afghan Kabob House is known for its array of grilled meats, hookah tables, and for staying open until 3 a.m. — whether it’s for Iftar or your average workday — for the last 11 years.

In 2015, the restaurant joined a coalition of area restaurants that urged more regulation on food trucks to prevent the mobile food vendors from hurting brick-and-mortar restaurants — a disagreement that gained an edge later that year when a food truck hit one of the Afghan Kabob House’s food delivery cars.

Since then, the county has loosened regulations on food trucks, allowing the vendors to operate along more Courthouse streets and serve up grub for longer hours.

“I fought with the county… about this for many years,” Madany told ARLnow today (Monday). “We had many many meetings, but we got nowhere with them.”

The restaurateur also said that business struggled as third-party delivery apps like Postmates flooded the market.

“They took a lot of my deliveries away,” he said, noting that he tried joining Uber Eats but the company’s high rates didn’t help. “I had to partner with them, but I don’t make money out of them because of the commission they charge — 33% commission.” 

Madany added that rising rents around the area meant offices moved away, taking regular customers with them. Still, he told ARLnow that he wanted to thank people for their loyalty, saying, “it breaks my heart to sell something that I love so dearly but the time has come.” 

In 2011, the county profiled his business for a county TV segment on how he hand-marinates and grills the meat.

“Ever since I came to the States it was a dream for me to open a restaurant because I grew up in the business,” he said in the video. “I wanted to create something on my own, something I could call home, something I could feel a part of.”

Now, he says watching the video “just makes me sad.”

Update on 10/30/19 — “Courthouse Kabob” will be opening in Afghan Kabob House’s place shortly after it closes.

Image via Google Maps

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The Java Shack, a beloved local coffee shop in the Lyon Village neighborhood near Courthouse, is planning to close.

Commonwealth Joe, which took over the cafe at 2507 N. Franklin Road from its original owner five years ago, made the announcement Friday morning after informing staff of its plans.

Java Shack will serve its final mugs of coffee on Nov. 24, unless Commonwealth Joe can find a buyer for the business “that understands and respects the rich heritage of the cafe and the important role it plays in the community.”

One frequent customer said the loss of Java Shack would be a detriment to the sense of community that unique local businesses like it help to build.

“I live down the street from Java Shack and it’s a huge loss for me to know that they’re closing,” Jacob Gersh told ARLnow, noting that he recently filled his fourth punch card at the shop, marking 40 cups of coffee. “It’s such a powerful feeling of connection to the community to be able to sit in their garden.”

Commonwealth Joe says it was not able to negotiate a new lease that would allow it to continue operating Java Shack. It will instead focus on its Pentagon City cafe, near Amazon’s future HQ2, and its growing coffee keg business.

Maintenance of the aging building on Franklin Road — which once housed the headquarters of the American Nazi Party but is now home to Java Shack, a barber and a pet store — has been a challenge for the cafe’s owners.

“The Java Shack holds a special place in our hearts,” said Commonwealth Joe co-founder and CEO Robert Peck. “However apart from the great memories and successes we had at the cafe, our building lease brought some hardships.”

The full press release is below, after the jump.

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Morning Notes

Heavy Seas Alehouse to Close — “Heavy Seas Alehouse, the restaurant affiliated with the Baltimore-area brewery, will close its doors in Rosslyn by the end of October, one of its principals said Thursday. The restaurant plans to close Oct. 27, said Mike Morris, a partner in Monogram Hospitality, which operates Heavy Seas Alehouse.” [Washington Business Journal]

Real Estate Costs Going Down? — “In every major jurisdiction of the local area, the median per-square-foot price for housing for the January-through-September period declined, in many cases by double digits, according to new figures reported Oct. 11… Arlington led all local jurisdictions for the nine-month period, but its median per-square-foot cost of $436 was down 6.8 percent from $468.” [InsideNova]

Kaine to Talk Vaping at Arlington School — “On Friday, October 18, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine will hold a roundtable discussion on efforts to address the epidemic of youth e-cigarette use. The discussion at Montessori Public School of Arlington will include students, teachers, counselors, parents, health experts, and Virginia Secretary of Education Atif Qarni.” [Press Release]

Road Closures for Festival in Shirlington — “The Shirlington Shucktoberfest, sponsored by the Copperwood Tavern, will take place on Saturday, October 19, 2019 from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.  Set up will begin at approximately 6:00 a.m. and cleanup should be completed by 7:00 p.m. The Arlington County Police Department will conduct the following road closures…” [Arlington County]

Arlington Woman’s Alleged Killer Charged — “The killer of Pamela Butler, a Washington, D.C., federal worker who disappeared before Valentine’s Day in 2009, has been charged in the 1989 death of his wife. Marta Haydee Rodriguez-Cruz disappeared from Arlington, Virginia, in 1989. Her remains were found along Interstate 95 in Stafford County in 1991 but weren’t positively identified until 2018. Her husband, Jose Angel Rodriguez-Cruz, also dated Butler for a time.” [NBC 4]

Arlington Man Convicted in Child Sex Sting — “An Arlington man is among more than 300 people arrested worldwide in connection with a website that authorities describe as the largest child sexual exploitation operation of its kind ever discovered in terms of the volume of content. Ammar Atef H. Alahdali, 22, pleaded guilty in the Eastern District of Virginia to receipt of child pornography and was sentenced to serve five years in prison and ordered to pay $3,000 in restitution.” [Patch]

Nearby: Birding Store Near Fairlington Closing — “After 33 years, birding and nature store One Good Tern (1710 Fern Street) near Fairlington is closing as longtime owner Charles Studholme faces a grim kidney failure diagnosis.” [ALXnow]

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