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New District Brewing in Green Valley (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Green Valley’s New District Brewery is auctioning off its equipment, ARLnow has learned, but the door is not fully closed on the local brewery opening elsewhere.

Arlington’s only production brewery is putting items like tanks, pumps, a keg cleaning system, tap heads, and furniture up for auction.

“Everything to start your own brewing business,” reads the website.

The auction runs through May 1.

This is in anticipation of New District Brewery closing its doors at 2709 S. Oakland Street by the end of May, as ARLnow first reported earlier this year. A rent increase and a lease disagreement are the reasons behind the plan to shutter. An indoor dog park and bar set to take the brewery’s place.

Co-owner Mike Katrivanos told ARLnow at the time that he remained hopeful that New District Brewery would find another landing spot in Arlington with ownership continuing to search for properties to purchase. The equipment liquidation seemingly points to the brewery closing for good, but Katrivanos tells ARLnow that is not necessarily the case.

The auction is simply a contingency plan “running in parallel” with the brewery’s continued search for a new space. If they were to able to purchase a new property, ownership could hold back some of the equipment for sale.

Plus, many of the tanks, kegs, pumps, and furniture were specifically designed, purchased, and “geared” for the particular location at 2709 S. Oakland Street.

“A chunk of it won’t work in other spaces… we would need to retool if we were to move,” says Katrivanos.

New District continues to be in the market for a 4,000 to 6,000-square-foot commercial property. Katrivanos says the brewery is only currently looking in Arlington. That may limit choices, he acknowledges, but it’s where the brewery’s customer base is and where Katrivanos grew up.

“If I can’t make it work in Arlington, we will shut down permanently,” he says.

There are potentials that may be in the works and it might all be sorted out within a few weeks, Katrivanos suggested. Until then, New District will continue to prepare for its closing in two months.

While it has not been fully planned out, there will be farewell gatherings and events at S. Oakland Street. Katrivanos says he’s thinking about doing special trivia nights, a major sale of some sort, and a “big thank you party for the community.”

Plus, the brewery “fully plans to honor” its commitments to serving New District beer at the Columbia Pike Blues Fest in June and the Arlington County Fair in August, with the help of several partner breweries.

Katrivanos is hopeful it will all work out and New District will remain in the only place it has ever called home.

“I want to continue to invest in Arlington and keep the business open. We’ve got to cover ourselves [with this auction] in case, God forbid, we shut down permanently,” he says. “We are all waiting to see how it all shakes out.”

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After more than 10 years in business, Oby Lee Winery and Coffee Shop has closed in Clarendon.

When it opened in 2012, we described the eatery at 3000 Washington Blvd as the “inland version of the small chain of eponymous coffee shops owner Oby Lee once ran along the Delaware Shore.” Its website says it specializes in crepes, wine, coffee and Polish food.

A sign on the door suggests that the business was purchased — it appeared to be for sale this past fall — and that a Vietnamese restaurant, Saigon Bistro, will be taking its place.

This will be a bit of a trend reversal from previous decades. Clarendon was once known as Little Saigon for all of the Vietnamese restaurants and businesses that opened after mass migration during the Vietnam war. Many of those eateries and shops closed after Metro opened in 1979 and the neighborhood redeveloped.

Asked about the closure, Oby Lee sent the following statement to ARLnow.

Our Clarendon location is our 7th successful business location of our small chain which commenced in 1989, and like the others, we have been so fortunate to garner a loyal community following over our eleven years at The Reserve At Clarendon Centre.

For as much as we have loved this space, we were approached with an offer that we simply could not refuse, to sell this location!

We wish to thank the wonderful community for welcoming us into their lives. We’re really going to miss seeing everyone each week, or everyday for many! It’s not going to be the same for awhile, without the daily Gluten Free crepes for Michael, the Matt & Ilona signature Latte’, Chai Tea for Lee, seeing John reading his books, enjoying long conversations with Sandy & Douglas, and preparing VeryBerry for Lauren & Ed,  jokes with Gearred and Pietro, Alan never missing a Wednesday Prix Fixe, Brunch with the McCabe family and solving all the worlds problems with Ginny & Ted, in addition to the many, many honored patrons we will always keep close to heart. Over the years we’ve witnessed many of you getting married, sending your kids to college, getting a new puppy, buying a house, or moving across the states. We feel we have become much more than just a restaurant, but a part of the Arlington family. We thank our committed staff, namely our manager Mr. Bo Smulskyi, from Ukraine, who opts to stick with us as forever family to follow his dreams and build his life in the USA.

The next chapter begins…

We don’t say goodbye~ but see you later friends!

The Oby Lee Team

Hat tip to Ray Caputo

Leasing sign in front of Unleashed by Petco store near Ballston (photo courtesy Ray Caputo)

(Updated at 11:20 a.m.) The building that hosts a Ballston area pet store is being offered for lease.

A leasing flyer says the 4,666 square foot, circa-1925 commercial building at 3902 Wilson Blvd is available for new a tenant starting in January 2024. That suggests that the existing tenant, Unleashed by Petco, will be closing later this year after its lease is up.

Unleashed opened in the space in September 2013, about nine-and-a-half years ago. It replaced the quirky, homegrown burger-and-hot-dog restaurant Wiinky’s.

The flyer notes that the free-standing building was renovated in 2013, when Petco moved in, and that the property has 19 parking spaces.

The only other remaining Unleashed store in Arlington is located at 5400 Langston Blvd. It opened in 2011. A Pentagon City location closed in 2021.

Among other pet-related businesses along the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, the Loyal Companion pet store at 2509 Franklin Road in Courthouse just closed but is expected to be replaced soon by Dogma Bakery & Boutique.

Hat tip to Ray Caputo


In 1989, when Raffis Cleaners opened at 5119 Langston Blvd, the Berlin Wall came down, the Game Boy was released, and Taylor Swift was born.

Now, after 33 years, the owners of Raffis Cleaners say the business never fully came back post-Covid, forcing the alterations and dry cleaning service to close.

“We reached a point where we’re not covering our expenses,” said Eugenei Hovsepian, who owns the cleaner with her husband Harout. “We didn’t want to declare bankruptcy, we wanted to go out the right way.”

Eugenei said their landlord was a big help in keeping the businesses afloat as long as it has been: only paying half their usual rent for the last three years and getting several months in 2020 completely free.

The business also received support from the local community, with neighbors doing everything they could to help.

“We know people by their names here,” Eugenei said. “It’s a beautiful neighborhood and people really tried to help out.”

Eugenei said her husband has retired, but she’s hoping to go to Fairfax County Public Schools to work as a classroom monitor. Eugenei is in the interview process for the schools, saying she heard they needed support and wanted to help.

Raffis Cleaners closed for good yesterday (Wednesday) but will be open for the next two weeks to clear the store and return cleaned garments to customers.

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The Lot is here for a good time, not a long time — and now it’s time to begin saying farewell to the beer garden in Clarendon.

The last season for the outdoor space at 3217 10th Street N. is set to begin next Friday, March 10, weather pending. Before the drinking establishment’s namesake vacant lot is redeveloped in the near future, The Lot will be going out with a bang, with lower prices, more games and events all season long.

“The Lot will always hold a special place in our hearts,” owner Mike Bramson tells ARLnow. “We’ve met a lot of great staff and guests, some of whom have become our closest friends.”

The first major event, the ShamRock n Roll Fest, is set for Saturday, March 25. Bramson is also throwing a St. Patrick’s Day bar crawl on Saturday, March 11.

The Lot’s long goodbye will continue with the return of other events Bramson said were favorites over the years. This includes the Memorial Weekend Jam Session, The Lot Luau and “Lotoberfest,” to name a few, all without cover charges.

“We only expected The Lot to be open for two years, but we ended up with four fun years,” said Bramson, who operates a number of nightlife ventures in Arlington.

It opened in 2019, a few years behind schedule due to permitting issues. The spot remained popular throughout the pandemic, with people flocking there to drink outside as trepidation over indoor gatherings persisted.

Now, in honor of the last season, there will be no cover charges, drink prices are being lowered, and there will be a new lineup of beer and frozen drinks. The Lot is adding more games, as well, and hosting what Bramson calls the “happiest of hours” during the week. Pets will be welcome at all times now.

Food truck Rebel Taco, meanwhile, will return to serve tacos, quesadillas and nachos to the gathered crowds.

“Our goal this year is simple: for our guests and friends to reminisce on the good times at the Lot and create new memories,” Bramson said.

The Lot is part of a property cluster comprised of two small office buildings, the now-closed Silver Diner restaurant, an auto repair facility and surface parking, bordered by 10th Street N., Wilson Blvd and N. Irving Street.

This whole site, dubbed the Bingham Center site, is set to be razed and redeveloped. Applicants The Donohoe Cos. and TCS Realty Associates propose constructing an 11-story, 290-unit apartment building with 16,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and a 10-story, 229-room hotel.

Their proposal is winding through the county’s site plan process. The Site Plan Review Committee is set to review it for the second time on Thursday, March 16. Initial comments thus far include some concerns from neighbors about the height and setbacks for the buildings, as well as the amount of parking.

Arlington County anticipates the project will be reviewed by the Transportation and Planning Commissions, followed by a vote by the Arlington County Board, in the spring.


Corner Bakery Cafe has closed its last remaining Arlington location, in the Courthouse neighborhood.

Closed signs were posted on doors of the restaurant at 2111 Wilson Blvd this morning and employees could be seen inside organizing items. The fast-casual bakery-slash-cafe chain just declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy and has struggled amid the pandemic and work-from-home trends.

Known for serving breakfast and lunch to an office-dwelling crowd, and for catering meetings and other workplace events, Corner Bakery has also struggled to compete with larger rival Panera.

A sign on the door of the Courthouse cafe, which is no longer listed on the company’s website, encouraged fans to visit the nearest location, on L Street NW in the District. There are now three Corner Bakery locations in D.C. and one in Bethesda, according to the website.

A Crystal City location closed in 2015.

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It’s the day after Valentine’s Day and Janet Saedi is tired.

It was extremely busy and a bit “overwhelming” at Essy’s Carriage House last night, she tells ARLnow, while taking a breather at a white-clothed table adorned with fresh cut flowers right before the lunch rush. Janet cooks, manages, and does ordering for the restaurant.

She’s also the wife of owner Essy Saedi, who’s stepped out to go to the bank and grocery store.

After nearly five decades of serving, Essy’s Carriage House in Cherrydale will permanently shut its doors at the end of next month. The couple is retiring. The news was first reported by Charlie Clark for the Falls Church News-Press last week.

So, throughout Valentine’s Day, new diners and long-time customers alike were coming to get one last holiday meal at the long-time Langston Blvd landmark.

But, really, it’s been busy like this since Janet and Essy first started telling regulars their plans at the end of last year. It’s been tough on them.

“It’s really been fundamentally the two of us running this place,” Janet said. “But it’s been beautiful.”

The restaurant opened in 1975 with Essy Saedi fully taking over as owner a year later. It’s been a local staple ever since, serving up steak, liver, and crab cakes.

There were a few lean years in there, Janet says. The 2007-2008 recession was tough and, more recently, the pandemic forced the restaurant cut some staff. That’s left the two of them to do most of the work.

Janet and Essy were married in the 1980s and she joined him working at the restaurant later that decade. She notes with a laugh that it’s Essy who gets a lot of attention. He has a “quirky sense of humor that some people adore…and there are people who don’t quite get it.”

And he loves his customers back, she says. While he still does a lot of the prep work, sauce-making, and meat-braising, he’s most often out among the people in the dining room greeting, joking, and soaking it all in.

Janet knows it’s going to be tough for both of them when the time comes to lock the door for the final time.

“I don’t know how it’s going to feel at the end. I’m very comfortable that we’re doing the right thing,” she said. “There’s some element of relief. But it’s not going to be without emotion.”

As we talk, the phone rings while several customers come in asking for a table. It’s getting busy already and Essy is still out doing a few errands.

RJ McGlasson is one of those customers, sitting at a table by the wall. She tells ARLnow she’s been coming to Essy’s since the late 1970s with her husband.

“This is a dying breed,” McGlasson said. “It’s a great place where locals come and the food is good. It’s just like losing a member of the family.”

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Lebanese Taverna’s quick-service concept LebTav has closed in Ballston.

Workers could be seen clearing out the interior of the restaurant at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Quincy Street yesterday. It first opened in January 2020.

“I can confirm that we closed the Ballston location,” Lebanese Taverna co-owner Grace Abi-Najm Shea tells ARLnow. “It was rough opening right before Covid started and that location never gained the momentum we needed. With the workforce never returning fully to the office we were missing an essential segment of business and couldn’t make the numbers work.”

“The Shooshan Company has been great and worked with us since the beginning of the pandemic,” she added. “We are so grateful to them, and we can’t say that about many landlords.”

Other LebTav locations — including in Rockville, Annapolis, Silver Spring, and downtown D.C. — remain open, she said.

“All others aren’t going anywhere,” said Abi-Najm Shea.

The eateries offer a quick-service take on Lebanese Taverna favorites.

“LebTav offers the cozy comforts of Lebanese Taverna’s homestyle Middle Eastern cooking in a fast-casual environment. A pared down menu of falafel, shawarma, ouzi and salmon are offered as salads and bowls along with sides of hommus and other mezze favorites,” the company’s website says.

Lebanese Taverna has been Arlington-based and family-owned for more than four decades.

Loyal Companion is closing all local stores, including this one at the Mosaic District (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Both Loyal Companion pet stores in Arlington are closing within a few weeks.

Parent company Independent Pet Partners announced it was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this week and is planning to shutter all of its stores outside of Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois by the end of the month.

That includes Loyal Companion locations in Clarendon at 2509 Franklin Road and in the Lee Harrison Shopping Center at 2501 N. Harrison Street. All Fairfax County and Alexandria stores are closing as well.

The plan is for the stores to be shuttered by Tuesday, Feb. 28, per the website, but “final days of business may vary by location.”

An employee at the Clarendon location confirmed that Feb. 28 will be the final day for that location, but there was no answer at the Lee Harrison store.

The company published the following letter to customers.

To our Loyal Companion community,

With a heavy heart, we want to inform you that we’ve made the tough decision to close our Loyal Companion stores.  We have loved serving the community and supporting you on your pet wellness journey. ​

Our stores will be open through the end of February.  We will be offering liquidation discounts and we encourage you to take advantage of these great offers to get all the supplies you need.

While it’s hard to say goodbye, it’s easy to say thank you. Thank you for being part of our family. Thank you for caring about pet wellness. And thank you for supporting your local community. ​

We’ve enjoyed all the hugs and belly rubs along the way. ​

Grooming services and self-wash stations will likely be stopped in the middle of the month, the website notes.

It’s not immediately clear what liquidation sales and discounts will be available at the Arlington locations, with an employee declining to provide more information.

In 2017, Kriser’s Natural Pet Store opened at Lee Harrison Shopping Center. Less than two years later, both Arlington locations were rebranded as “Loyal Companion.”

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A well-regarded corner market in Rosslyn appears to be closed.

When ARLnow stopped by Gallery Market & Cafe at 1800 N. Oak Street earlier this week, the lights were off, chairs were stacked, and the majority of the equipment was cleared out. The phone number is disconnected as well.

It’s not immediately clear when the convenience store, deli, and dry cleaner might have closed at the corner of N. Oak Street and Key Blvd, though a tipster said it happened at the beginning of the year.

ARLnow has reached out to both the property owner and business owner but we have yet to hear back definitive word about the status of the market as of publication.

There are other Gallery Markets & Cafes in Rockville and in D.C., but they are not associated with the Rosslyn location per an employee at the Rockville store.

The small business had been open for more than a decade at least, per Yelp reviews, most of which have been positive.

“Amazing sandwiches and the nicest owners. Love coming here to support local,” reads one from this past March. “Staff is always courteous about making substitutions (: try the club combo!”

Elsewhere in Rosslyn, a newer, higher end twist on the traditional corner market opened earlier this month nearby. Foxtrot, which describes itself as a “boutique” market, cafe, and convenience store, opened its doors at 1771 N. Pierce Street. It’s about a two-block walk from Gallery Market & Cafe.

Hat tip to Matt Sinisca

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After nearly four decades, Rincome Thai is set to serve its last pad thai this month.

The Columbia Pike mainstay is closing up shop in the coming weeks, co-owner Mihee Pansiri confirmed to ARLnow.

“We’ve been here since 1985. Since the pandemic, we’ve lost some customers and some staff,” she said, who owns the restaurant with her sister Miok An. “It’s just too much for us to go on. It’s time for both of us to retire.”

It remains a bit unclear exactly when Rincome Thai’s last day might be at 3030 Columbia Pike, occupying a corner space inside of the Days Inn. Pansiri said they are talking with the landlord about getting out of the lease, but she expects they’ll stop serving some time in mid to late February.

While secure in the decision they’ve made, it’s still tough for the owners and locals alike.

“My customers are really sad. They want us to be here forever, but that’s not possible,” Pansiri said. “I just really appreciate them, they always came out even during the pandemic and even did a GoFundMe to [help me] keep my staff.”

As a thank you, she is giving out her recipes to regulars and is considering putting on a workshop in the coming weeks to teach those who are interested how to prepare some of Rincome’s most popular dishes.

“Some chefs don’t like to give out their recipes, but my customers are like family,” she said. “Some have been coming here since they were dating and now they are grandparents. Their kids are bringing their kids. I don’t mind giving away my recipes.”

Pansiri and her sister opened the restaurant in 1985 with Pansiri’s husband, who has since died. She explains they did it with just “a few dollars” and a generous loan from her parents. The sisters are Korean-American, but Pansiri’s husband was Thai. So, they created a restaurant that eventually infused both cultures onto its menu.

“We offer kimchi fried rice. It’s delicious,” Pansiri said. “It’s mom’s recipe. I don’t buy it from the store.”

The hot sauces, too, have Korean influences, she said. Pansiri can still be seen in the kitchen, working alongside a cook that’s been with her for 35 years.

To this day, Pansiri and An both live a three-minute walk from Rincome. It’s these walks to work, she said, that made her realize it was time to finally close.

“My sister and I can still walk and enjoy going on vacation,” Pansiri said. “I don’t want to quit when I can’t walk. Then, I wouldn’t be able to do anything.”

She’s also clear that Rincome closing doesn’t have much to do with all the development going on around Columbia Pike in recent years. Pansiri said it’s generally been a good thing for business, getting new customers and having “younger couples” discover her small Thai restaurant, even if she doesn’t have the heart to tell them they’ll be closing soon.

While sad that Rincome is in its final weeks, Pansiri knows it’s time to finally hang up the apron.

“I love what I’m doing,” she said. “It’s really sad and I wish I could go, but… it’s time.”


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