Arlington, VA

A shuttered restaurant space in Ballston is getting a makeover now that a new wellness center with botox services is moving in.

Posters for D.C.-based Javan Wellness advertise a late summer 2019 opening for its new space space at 4000 Wilson Blvd in Ballston. Co-owner Anita Abdeshahian told ARLnow today (Wednesday) that the business is eyeing an October opening after some construction delays bumped their original September plans.

The wellness center offers botox, dermal fillers, laser hair removal, and IV hydration among other services, and the location will be Javan’s second after it debuted on U Street last year.

Abdeshahian said Ballston has a “unique vibe” and praised the energy new developments like the renovated Ballston Quarter mall and Ted’s Bulletin bring to the area.

“I personally have looked into moving to the Ballston area,” she said. “I love the atmosphere, the people, it just seems like such a great location for young professionals. They’re just happy people who want to have a good time.”

The wellness center is filling in the space which once housed Mike Isabella’s restaurant Pepita Cantina, which opened in 2015.

The Mexican restaurant closed in 2018, along with Isabella’s neighboring restaurants Kapnos Taverna and Yona after Isabella settled a lawsuit that accused him and his business partners of groping and sexually harassing female staff and declared bankruptcy.

Now Abdeshahian and her co-owner and brother Dr. Ehsan Abdeshahian are planning an October grand opening party with music and skincare product giveaways. But first, she says they’ll put the final touches on the medical space she hopes will be designed with an “artistic” flare instead of a sterile one.

“It looks like at this point we’re just waiting on some permits and certifications and things like that,” added Abdeshahian.

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As some indicators point toward another recession around the corner, local economists say Arlington would likely escape the brunt of a downturn.

The recession that kicked off after the country’s housing market collapsed in 2008 devastated communities and families nationwide. But experts say Arlington’s proximity to jobs and contracts from the federal government helped protect the county, and its growing business sector today may also help shield it from future recessions.

How the Great Recession Hit Arlington 

Alex Iams, the Interim Director of Arlington Economic Development (AED), said when it came to the last recession, Arlington was “the last in and the first out.”

“In the last recession Arlington fared pretty well from what I can see,” agreed George Morgan, a finance professor at Virginia Tech, in an interview. “It’s not to say that everything was rosy, but compared to other parts of the country, Arlington didn’t do so badly.”

“At least a third of the [local] economy originates with federal payroll or federal procurement spending or other government spending,” said Stephen Fuller, the high-profile professor of public policy and regional development at George Mason University, when asked what helped cushion Arlington during the collapse.

However, Morgan noted that office and multi-family developments saw “pretty dramatic effects” from the recession as he said some companies’ cash-flows dried up and projects were put on pause. That affected those in the real estate development and construction industries.

Morgan also noted that the education and medical sector were hit harder in Arlington than in other parts of the country, but also rebounded faster in the last 10 years. “That’s a big plus if that happens again,” he said of future recessions.

Both economists agreed that lower-wage jobs were hit hardest by the Great Recession. By 2011, the county’s largest food bank reported a record-breaking number of families seeking help.

“In the low wage industries, Arlington basically looks the same as the rest of the country,” said Morgan, of Arlington around that time. “That was not a pretty picture.”

But Fuller and AED director Iams argued that the economic impact on the county of losing 35,000 jobs through federal sequestration was greater. “Base realignment and closure was really our recession,” said Iams.

How Next Recession May Affect Arlington

While predicting economic downturns can be fraught, Iams and the professors agreed the country is prepared if another one happens soon.

“In Arlington, they’re not seeing the signs of [a] recession that you’re seeing it elsewhere,” said Morgan. “It maybe be that Arlington kind of dodges a bullet if there is a next recession.”

The damage the county would sustain would depend on what exactly would cause the next recession.

“If it’s the trade war that causes it, retail will probably suffer,” said Morgan. “But with the Arlington economy being so insulated from trade, I think if that’s the cause of a recession then the Arlington economy will still do well.”

Fuller explained that “anything that is discretionary begins to take a hit,” including elective purchases like cosmetic surgery, luxury fashion, tourism, and restaurants.

But the professors pointed out that many higher-wage industries — like cybersecurity, which is growing across the D.C. area — can actually weather recessions quite well. Morgan cited an Urban Institute report show that the county has a large share of high-paying jobs from business service companies like Deloitte and government contracting jobs via the Department of Defense.

How Amazon Would Impact a Recession

Iams noted that the county has since 2008 added even more corporate jobs as companies like Lidl, Nestle, and Amazon moved into town.

When it comes to Amazon’s massive planned headquarters, the officials said it’s another potential insulator for the county against future recessions by virtue of the 25,000 people it has pledged to hire — and the others businesses and universities its presence attracts to Arlington.

“They know that Amazon burns workers out after 4-5 years, and they’re still software engineers, so they’ll look around for other, similar-type jobs,” said Fuller. “Amazon is going to make Arlington the epicenter of the talent pool.”

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Hula Girl Bar and Grill is closing next week in the Village at Shirlington after nearly four years in business.

The Hawaiian restaurant, which opened at 4044 Campbell Avenue in late 2015, is the creation of chef and owner Mikala Brennan, who first operated Hula Girl as a food truck. Since opening the restaurant Brennan has made occasional appearances on the Food Network.

In an announcement today, Brennan said Hula Girl would be closing after Saturday, Sept. 21.

More from a press release:

Mikala Brennan, Chef/Owner of Hula Girl Bar + Grill announced that the restaurant will be closing its doors on September 21, 2019.

For four years, Hula Girl has been bringing the authentic tastes of the Hawaiian Islands to the DMV from its Shirlington location in the Village at Shirlington at 4044 Campbell Avenue.

“All I really wanted to do was to bring Hawaiian food to this area.  And I did, for close to 10 years, from the food truck to restaurant,” Chef Brennan said.  “I am just so very proud that I took this chance and I will always be thankful for the opportunity that I was given.  Connecting to a community is always so very important – and I thank our community for the support for the past 4 years.”

The restaurant will be offering specials until closing and an ‘eat the restaurant’ event on its last evening with special offers on food and beverage.

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Morning Notes

Water Main Break Near CourthouseUpdated at 8:10 a.m. — “Emergency Water Main Repairs: Crews working on a 3-inch main at 2000 N. Adams St. The area includes high-rise buildings and some 100 customers could be affected. Traffic is detoured around the work site.” [Twitter]

Gun, Drug Arrest at Pentagon City Metro — A man is facing a litany of gun and drug-related charges after being arrested by Metro Transit Police officers for alleged fare evasion at the Pentagon City station this past Thursday. [Twitter]

APS Hits Full Bus Driver Staffing — “The school year began with full staffing of drivers and bus attendants, who serve 18,000 eligible students over 154 routes, using 200 buses.” [InsideNova]

DCA Starbucks Closing Permanently — “Beginning on or about Monday, September 9, Starbucks on the Ticketing level of Terminal B/C will close to make way for construction of a steel-framed glass divider.” [Reagan National Airport]

New Permitting System Launches Today — “Arlington County is launching the first phase of Permit Arlington, a new online permitting system, on Sept. 9, 2019.” [Arlington County]

Nearby: Alexandria Metro Stations Reopening — “Alexandria Metrorail stations will reopen at 5 a.m. on September 9, with full service following Metro’s summer Platform Improvement Project. Metro closed all four Metrorail stations in Alexandria (as well as two in Fairfax County) for safety repairs on May 25.” [City of Alexandria]

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Update on 8/19/19 — Multiple sources tell ARLnow that Pizza Roma is, in fact, still open, but only in the evening. It stopped serving customers at lunchtime without notice.

Earlier: Pizza Roma, an Italian food bistro across from the Ballston Metro station, appears to have closed.

For at least two days in a row, Pizza Roma (4219 N. Fairfax Drive) has been closed around noon, despite having hours posted online saying it should be open. The phone number listed on the window rings, but eventually goes to a dead signal. The menu inside is plastered with “Not Available” sticky notes.

The restaurant averaged 3 out of 5 stars on Yelp, with reviewers praising the quality of the no-frills pizza, but generally agreeing that the restaurant’s aesthetics were pretty sparse.

Pizza Roma had been around for at least a decade, while the location next door had gone from Eat ‘n Run Deli, brgr:shack, Earl’s Sandwiches, and finally the Medina, which closed two months ago. The nearby Pizza Authentica also closed last October.

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One of two Subways in Ballston is closing, part of a widespread slimming down of the fast-food sandwich chain across the U.S. and Arlington.

The Subway at 801 N. Quincy Street will be closing on Sunday, August 25, according to an employee at the restaurant.

The location is slightly removed from the main restaurant corridors along Wilson Blvd and Fairfax Drive — where the other Subway sits directly across from the Ballston Metro station.

The nestled Subway is nestled between Urban Tandoor and the Virginia ABC store. Despite its off-the-beaten path location, it had a fairly steady lunchtime crowd, including from construction workers at nearby projects.

The closure comes on the heels of recent closures of Subway restaurants in Cherrydale, Clarendon, and Courthouse.

H/t Matt M.

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Cherrydale’s Subway restaurant — the longest surviving business at the 38 Place condo building (3800 Lee Highway) — has closed.

The chain sandwich shop, which opened on the ground floor of the development in 2012, shuttered its doors sometime last week, according to a tipster.

The franchise has been closing several locations across Arlington over the last year.

The next closest Subway is further west at 4817 Lee Highway.

House of Steep that closed on the same block and is currently undergoing conversion into a Chase Bank ATM location.

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Pete’s New Haven Apizza closed down its Clarendon eatery this weekend.

Sign posted on the front doors this weekend read “Pete’s is permanently closed.” The restaurant’s Instagram page has been taken down and online ordering was disabled for its Clarendon location as of Sunday night.

The eatery specialized in New Haven, Connecticut-style “apizza” — a thinner crust pizza known for their charred edges with simple, fresh toppings.

The eatery posted signs announcing it was shuttering its doors after first opening up shop in Arlington eight years ago.

Last year, Pete’s closed its flagship eatery in Columbia Heights as convenience chain WaWa prepared to take over the space on Irving Street NW.

The pizza joint previously downsized from its original 4,000 square foot space in the Clarendon Center development at 3024 Wilson Blvd. When the pizza joint began construction in Clarendon in 2010, it was the first Virginia location for the D.C.-based local chain.

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Longtime Clarendon watering hole Hunan Number One announced tonight that it is closing after this week.

The Chinese restaurant, noted for its especially deep happy hour discounts, says it will close on Monday, Aug. 12.

“It has truly been our honor and privilege to serve you, and we extend our heartfelt gratitude and thanks to all our loyal and faithful customers,” the restaurant said on Twitter. “Come join us now through Sunday for a final farewell.”

The restaurant, at 3033 Wilson Blvd, closed for renovations in 2015.

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Cost Plus World Market (1301 S. Joyce Street) in Pentagon Row is closing, so if you need imported beer, woven baskets, Italian coffee flavoring or Stranger Things lollipops, get them while they last.

The store is scheduled to close by Sept. 27, according to a store employee, though he noted that if they sell out of most of their inventory before then they’ll likely shutter early.

The manager said the closure came amid lease negotiations for the location, and other nearby World Market locations made the store redundant. Employees were also overheard saying the impending arrival of Amazon likely played a role in driving up rents.

The next closest Cost Plus World Market is in Falls Church (3532 S. Jefferson Street).

Every item in the store is marked with at least a 10 percent discount as the store tries to empty its inventory.

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(Updated on 08/06/19) A Ballston sushi restaurant has re-opend after being closed “for repairs” last week.

The Sushi2Go by the entrance to the Ballston Metro’s “Darth Vader canopy” on 901 N. Stuart Street had previously closed for repairs, according to a sign on its door.

The handwritten note thanked customers with a smiley face, but did not contain any information on when the eatery could re-open. On Tuesday, August 6, the eatery is now serving customers once again.

Calls for more information to the number listed on the “We’re Hiring” sign — also posted on the business’s windows — were not answered. No other contact information could be located.

Sushi2Go originally opened in the small space inside the Metro plaza back in 2015 and gained popularity for the low prices of its maki rolls — most recently for its offer of three roll combo lunch deal for $13.

Owner Unsook Kim told ARLnow at the time that she was inspired to open up the take-out business after seeing ready-made sushi chain stores in New York City.

“This is my own style,” she said. “Young people love sushi.”

Kim’s eatery replaced Prime Fresh Deli which once served up smoothies, sandwiches, and wraps in the same space.

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