A new pizza joint has opened on Lee Highway, replacing a Little Caesars franchise location at the corner of Lee Highway and N. George Mason Drive.
Fillmore Pizza opened its second location at 5175 Lee Highway five days ago, said owner Bahruz Ahmadbayli. The Lee Highway location is the restaurant’s second in Arlington — the first is at 923 S. Walter Reed Drive.
The new restaurant sells pizza, pasta, sandwiches, salads and wings and uses high quality and expensive ingredients, Ahmadbayli said. A small, 10-inch cheese pizza sells for $7.75, while a extra large, 18-inch pizza costs $14.95. Fillmore also sells gourmet pizzas, which start at $11.75 for a small, 10 inch pizza.
“The pizza is totally different from other stores,” he said.
The reason the pizza is better than other places is because of the cheese Fillmore Pizza uses, Ahmadbayli said.
“The main ingredient in this business is cheese,” he said. “Our cheese is the best quality and expensive.”
The restaurant runs daily pick up and delivery specials, and customers can order online. The new Lee Highway restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
The Little Caesars, which previously occupied the space, opened in 2013. The company has another Arlington location on Columbia Pike.
(Updated at 2:00 p.m.) The Boston Market store at 2046 Wilson Blvd in Courthouse has closed.
A sign on the door says the restaurant closed on Sept. 20. A reason for the closing is not listed. The sign directs customers to the Boston Market at 3233 Columbia Pike, which remains open.
The low-rise commercial building that housed Boston Market is just a block from the Courthouse Metro station and has been said to be a likely target for future redevelopment.
The restaurant business in Courthouse is no tea party: restaurant owners have been complaining that food trucks are hurting their lunch business, which is critical to their survival amid high rents.
Hat tip to Eric LeKuch
Willow restaurant in Ballston will close its doors this month.
The eatery at 4301 N. Fairfax Drive announced its end in an email, saying that after 10 years and six days, the restaurant will “close for good” on Sept. 19.
“We plan on going out the same way we came in, with graciousness, generosity and positive energy… all sprinkled with some great food, wine & company,” Willow’s management team said in the email.
Nosh @ Willow, a small plates bistro within the restaurant, will also close.
The restaurant will offer specials and promotions leading up to it closing. In the email, the staff thanked its customers for the many years of support.
Willow Restaurant has been featured in several food events this year, including a Taste of Arlington, the Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week and the DC BRGR Bash, where it won for the third year in a row.
“For us, this adventure has always been about the people and the relationships that have grown out of Willow,” restaurant management said. “Whether it is a one time guest, a wedding reception, our amazing regular customers or our rock star staff, what stands out the most is how truly blessed we have been to have such amazing people in our lives.”
Willow opened in 2005, under the leadership of chef and co-owner Tracy O’Grady. ARLnow.com has reached out to O’Grady for more information on why the owners made the decision to close.
Charlie Chiang’s has closed in Crystal City.
The Chinese restaurant, at 320 23rd Street S., has posted signs on the doors directing customers to its Shirlington location at 4060 Campbell Avenue..
“Thank you for your years of patronage!” the signs say. “We have consolidated our operations with our Village at Shirlington location — Ping by Charlie Chiang’s… Please visit us there!”
Another sign on the door says that a new restaurant will be replacing Charlie Chiang’s and will be “opening soon.”
The new restaurant will be called Amannisahan and will serve Uyghur cuisine, according to the sign. In an indication that a quick reopening may indeed be in the works, Amannisahan says it’s currently hiring restaurant managers and waiters.
Uyghur food is a blend of Middle Eastern, Central Asian and Chinese cuisines, serving dishes like kebabs and noodle soups.
ABC Distributors, Inc., a lumber yard near Shirlington, will be closing its doors at the end of the summer.
The 50-year-old company is currently holding a liquidation sale to sell off the store’s entire stock. The sale started today and will last about six weeks, said Bernard Lynch, the president of the company and one of the owners.
Merchandise has been marked down by 10 to 40 percent, depending on the item, and prices will be reduced as the sale goes on, Lynch said.
“So everything has to go,” he said.
The store is also raffling off a 60-inch Visio Smart TV; customers can enter to win when they buy something.
The business’ closure comes after the owners of the property it sits on decided to sell. ABC Distributors is a part owner, but it owns a much smaller percentage of the property than those that decided to sell, Lynch said.
“It’s been a struggle, to be honest with you, in the last seven years to stay in business,” he said.
The home building business has been struggling as well after housing market crashes, Lynch said. He has seen multiple customers who were contractors go out of business or lose their jobs. And others just do not have the need to shop for housing materials as often because fewer people are building houses, at least according to Lynch.
ABC Distributors must be out of its location by Sept. 1, Lynch said. There are no current plans to bring the business to a new location.
The property was bought by an investors group, but Lynch said he does not know what their plans are.
The bohemian women’s clothing store Free People closed its Clarendon location as of the end of last week.
The clothing store’s staff could be seen packing away the stock last Thursday. There are now signs up in the window of the store, at Market Common Clarendon (2700 Clarendon Blvd) indicating that Free People will be moving to a space in Georgetown next month.
The store’s new address will be 3009 M Street, NW.
The Market Common location was one of two Free People stores in Arlington; the other location (1100 S Hayes Street) remains open.
The Corner Bakery at 2200 Crystal Drive in Crystal City has closed.
It’s unclear when exactly the eatery shut down, but as of Monday its signs had been taken down and part of its interior had been removed.
The only other Corner Bakery in Arlington, at 2111 Wilson Blvd in Courthouse, remains open.
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
The LA Fitness club at Pentagon Row is set to close on Friday, June 26, according to signs posted at the gym.
“This club will be relocated on Friday, June 26 at 2 p.m.,” the sign says. “Your membership will be honored at any LA Fitness location in Virginia (excluding Signature locations).”
The nearest LA Fitness location for members is the Crystal City location at 3550 S. Clark Street.
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.
The bar, at 2915 Wilson Boulevard, served its last patrons Sunday night. It is closed today, following the expiration of its ten year lease, manager Ian McInnes told ARLnow.com.
McInnes said there were no special events held on the last night, and staff “just went about our business.” He said Ri Ra was unable to negotiate a favorable lease and, with rising rent and sluggish business, the company made the decision to close.
There are nine other Ri Ra locations listed on the company’s website, including one in Georgetown and others from Maine to Las Vegas. McInnes said the company has no plans to reopen in Clarendon and is looking beyond the Irish pub to other, more current restaurant concepts — like a sports bar and a craft beer and whiskey bar.
“The market has changed dramatically over ten years,” he said.
Clubs and other organizations that regularly met at Ri Ra — like a Liverpool FC boosters club — are currently being notified of the closure. Other regularly-scheduled events at the pub which are now canceled include a weekly pub quiz and standup comedy night.
The pub posted a goodbye message on Facebook:
We are sorry to say that RiRa Clarendon has pulled its final pint, and is now closed. A huge thank you to all of our friends in and around Clarendon, as well as the wonderful staff, for what was 10 fantastic years. We are sorry to be leaving, but the Clarendon pub and the people that made it such a great place to spend time in have left us with great memories that will stay with us forever.
Sincerely, The Rí Rá Owners
McInnes said he wishes Ri Ra’s customers and the future tenant of its now-former location well.
“Change is a good thing,” he said. “As we move on I’m sure that there will be another business that will complement the other businesses in the Clarendon market. We’ve had a good run, I hope people have enjoyed us being here and we hope they enjoy the next business that comes here.”
Johnny Rockets has closed its doors in Shirlington.
A sign posted in the window of the retro burger restaurant at 4251 Campbell Ave this weekend stated that it had closed its doors permanently. No reason for the closure was given.
Johnny Rockets is the seventh business to close in Shirlington since last October. Other shuttered businesses have blamed high rent and slow business.
Photo top via Google Maps. Photo right courtesy @EdwardRyder.
A new art piece will lambast the closure of Artisphere on the venue’s final day of live performance.
Artist Carolina Mayorga can neither confirm nor deny that she will assume the form of the Virgin Mary apparition during a performance titled “Our Lady of the Vanishing Arts.” But Mayorga, who’s dressed as the holy figure before, says there’s a good possibility a divine apparition could materialize at 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 6.
“[The Virgin Mary] is thinking about making an apparition at Artisphere,” Mayorga says, chuckling. “She might appear. She’s thinking about it.”
During the performance piece, which lasts an hour and precedes a musical performance by Stooges Brass Band and Black Masala, Mayorga will perform mock holy rituals and anoint Artisphere attendees.
“I have these cardboard letters that spell the word art,” explains Mayorga. “and I’m going to burn them in a little metal tray, mix that with oil, and use a brush to [paint dollar signs on attendees’ foreheads].”
A live organist will play Catholic mass classics such as “Ave Maria” alongside the performance.
“I call it Ash Saturday,” says Mayorga.
The point of the performance, explains Mayorga, isn’t to belittle religion. Instead, it’s to mourn the loss of a local artistic institution.
“I benefitted from Artisphere for a long time,” she says. “I did an artist in residency with them in 2013. They’ve always been supportive of my work.”
Some of the art from Mayorga’s residency still clings to the gallery’s walls as a permanent installation.
“When you want to do a special performance, you need a venue like Artisphere,” Mayorga says. “It really hurts to lose it.”
Photo courtesy of Artisphere.
The Tutti Frutti frozen yogurt store at 1301 S. Fern Street in Pentagon City, across from the Costco, has closed.
The store closed recently and as of Monday it appeared that the furniture and froyo machinery had been cleared out.
The Tutti Frutti Pentagon City location first opened around the beginning of 2013. A north Arlington Tutti Frutti location, which is not owned by the same franchisee, remains open at 2439 N. Harrison Street, in the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center.
A crowd of locals swapped memories, shared beers and even fought back some tears while saying goodbye to longtime neighborhood hangout Jay’s Saloon on Monday.
Jay’s Saloon first opened its doors in the fall of 1993, and became famous throughout Clarendon for $8 pitchers of beer during happy hour, cheap eats and a no-frills dive bar aesthetic.
In 2011, the bar received news that the building that houses it could be demolished and replaced with a mixed-use development. Last summer, that news became reality. The new development, called 10th Street Flats and located at 3132 10th Street N., is planned to have 135 residential units, 3,660 square feet of retail, almost 5,000 square feet of office space and nine live/work units.
Kathi Moore, who co-owned Jay’s with her ex-husband, spent the night slinging beers and hugging old friends.
“This is my life,” said Moore. “I spent half my working life here.”
For Moore, the closure of Jay’s represents an end, but also a new beginning. “[It’s] another phase of my life,” she said. “I’ll get another job.”
Moore’s patrons spent the night toasting the bar’s iconic status as the last dive bar in Clarendon.
Charlie Heitman, who manages the condo across the street from Jay’s, ate lunch there three or four days a week for more than a decade. To Heitman, the bar’s closing means one less place for locals to feel at home.
“It’s not a corporate bar, where everything is pre-programmed,” Heitman said. “I’m more sad about this than my last divorce.”
Last Saturday, Heitman served as auctioneer as bar sold off memorabilia and keepsakes.
“We sold almost everything off the wall. It was a frenzy,” said Heitman. “People [wanted] just a little piece of Jay’s to take home with them.”
“We know all the waitresses, we know all the bartenders,” said longtime regular Elaine Ethier. “There’s no other place in Arlington like this.”
Jacki Barnett, who was a bar regular since 2007, spent the night savoring the minutes before last call. Even though she knew the doors would close for good, Barnett said she will always keep in touch with the people she met over the years.
“I’m going to take a big deep breath, I’m going to shed a tear, realize that all these people are still my friends,” Barnett said. “I’ll see them around the corner in just a minute.”