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by Chris Teale December 12, 2017 at 1:45 pm 0

(Updated at 4:25 p.m.) A mainstay Ballston bar and restaurant will close its doors at the end of the year.

Front Page, in business at 4201 Wilson Blvd since the early-to-mid 2000s, will shutter at the end of the month, according to multiple tipsters. Reached by phone, employees confirmed the news to an ARLnow.com reporter.

Front Page has been a popular after-work watering hole for Ballston workers and residents. It serves lunch and dinner each day as well as weekend brunch and serves traditional American fare. The restaurant is on the ground floor of Stafford Place I, the now-former headquarters of the National Science Foundation that is set for a revamp.

We’re told that Front Page declined to renew its lease on the space, and so it will close.

The closure comes shortly after the National Science Foundation moved to Alexandria and shortly before the renovated Ballston Quarter mall reopens across the street with new entertainment and dining options.

“It’s more of a lease thing,” one employee told ARLnow.com. “They took our patio away, and business-wise, it’s the decision that was made. We feel bad for the guests and employees; it’s not something we wanted to happen.”

We’re told that Front Page will stay open as normal between now and midnight on either December 30 or 31. No word yet on whether a closing party of any kind will be held.

by Chris Teale December 11, 2017 at 4:30 pm 0

A longtime Mexican restaurant in Crystal City has closed its doors.

Cantina Mexicana at 515 23rd Street S. shuttered late last month. An employee who answered the phone at the restaurant’s location just off Columbia Pike confirmed the closure, which he said happened “a couple of weeks ago.”

He added that several employees from the Crystal City eatery had made the switch over to its other location, on Columbia Pike. That location has been open since 2013 and a sign on the door encourages patrons to continue visiting it.

“Thanks for the memories!” the sign reads. “It’s been a great journey. We sincerely appreciate your friendship and all your patronage the last 40 years!”

The restaurant served “fine Tex-Mex cuisine,” and had been in business in various guises since 1978. In 1995, former dishwasher Gloria Arias bought the restaurant, then known as The Taco House, and in 2005 changed its name to Cantina Mexicana.

Hat-tip to Michael H.

by Chris Teale December 11, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

Pancho Villa Mexican Cuisine has apparently closed in Rosslyn.

The restaurant at 1850 Fort Myer Drive opened last year in the former home to the short-lived Secret Chopsticks restaurant. It is across the intersection from Arlington Temple United Methodist Church.

As of Monday morning, the restaurant’s chairs and tables were still in place, but the inside looked bare and the bar area had been stripped of all its bottles and draught beers. A sign on one of the outside windows appeared to have been ripped down.

The phone number listed on its website is also out of service.

Pancho Villa served made-from-scratch Mexican food. Its menu included staples like tacos, burritos, enchiladas and fajitas, as well as so-called “special dinners” for customers to have different combinations. It also had an extensive drinks menu.

by Chris Teale December 5, 2017 at 1:45 pm 0

A CVS in Rosslyn will close early next year.

A sign on the door of the pharmacy and store at 1555 Wilson Blvd says it will shutter on January 3.

The CVS is on the first floor of a soon-to-redevelop office building, alongside the now-shuttered Quiznos Subs and Domino’s Pizza.

Developer Penzance is planning to raze the current building and replace it with two apartment buildings, ground-floor retail and the new Fire Station 10.

The site is also close to the Wilson School, future home of the H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program, where construction is underway. Both properties are a part of the broader Western Rosslyn Area Plan, a vision for development in that section of the neighborhood.

The other CVS in Rosslyn is located at 1100 Wilson Blvd.

Hat-tip to Allix H.

by Chris Teale November 28, 2017 at 1:45 pm 0

Local all-hybrid taxi service Envirocab is no more.

A tipster reported calling the Columbia Pike-based company last week, but getting a message on the phone saying they were no longer in service.

Calls to the company this week yielded the same result, while its website is “Temporarily out of service.”

“We are sorry to inform you that this service is no longer in operation. Thank you,” the message said. Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage said Envirocab closed on November 1.

The 50-cab service was sold in 2013 to transportation conglomerate Veolia Transportation, which operates more than 2,400 taxicabs around the country. It began in 2008, and back then was the first all-hybrid fleet in the country. Since then, hybrid cabs have become more commonplace among local taxi fleets.

A Yelp review of Envirocab posted last month complained that the “service continues to deteriorate” and that “the last two times I attempted to use Envirocab, they failed to show up.”

by Chris Teale November 21, 2017 at 1:45 pm 0

(Updated at 4 p.m.) One of the last remaining businesses has departed the Buck property in Virginia Square, ahead of potential redevelopment of the site.

The Jumping Joeys children’s gym closed its doors at 1425 N. Quincy Street, across from Washington-Lee High School, on Sunday, November 12, according to a post on its website. It was part of the “Quincy Street Technology Center,” which included gyms and an Arlington Public Schools building and is zoned for light industrial use.

Still open in Falls Church, Jumping Joeys lets children bounce on soft play equipment, and is available for “Open Bounce” sessions open to the general public as well as for private parties and events.

That followed another closure in late August, when the NOVA MMA/CrossFit Arlington gym in the same building shuttered.

It sets the stage for the long-discussed redevelopment of the Buck property, a conversation that the county’s Joint Facilities Advisory Commission continued earlier this year.

Last month, Arlington County sold $34 million in revenue bonds to fund the purchase of the Buck property.

The deadline for the final payment of $27 million for the property was yesterday (November 20). A county spokeswoman said the county closed on the transaction as planned.

The Buck property could could allow for a building to be used by Arlington Public Schools, as well as provide space for the Office of Emergency Management and other public safety agencies, while some offer bus parking for both APS and Arlington Transit (ART).

One business remains at the site: Dynamic Gymnastics. It received an extension to its lease, which will terminate on May 31, 2018.

by Chris Teale November 15, 2017 at 4:35 pm 0

High-tech workshop TechShop filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy today (Wednesday), with all its locations, including in Crystal City, now closed.

TechShop, which had a 20,000-square-foot space at 2110-B Crystal Drive, opened in Arlington County in 2014. The company was founded in 2006, and at one stage had 10 locations in the United States and four more overseas.

It offered access to high-tech equipment like 3D printers and laser cutters, and had monthly and annual memberships for use of its facilities, as well as classes for non-members to learn how to use the equipment.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy means a court-appointed trustee will now sell all TechShop’s assets. Anyone who left personal items in one of its locations will be contacted with a time to come and collect them.

In a statement, founder Jim Newton said the business was no longer financially viable.

“I’m very proud of what my team and I did to build TechShop,” Newton said. “I’m very sad that we were not able to make TechShop into a sustainable business. It is my prayer that each of the people we touched will take those little sparks they received while they worked on their dreams at TechShop, and turn them into their own grand experiment.”

According to figures provided by the company, TechShop provided access to over $1.4 million of high quality tools and machinery to its users for a membership fee of less than $4 per day. It had more than 9,000 active members in the United States, and engaged more than 100,000 people, including through memberships, classes and youth programs. It also helped train more than 3,000 veterans.

“As a veteran myself, I’m proud to say that TechShop has provided membership and training to over three thousand returning veterans,” TechShop CEO Dan Woods said in a statement. “This program enabled veterans to develop skills and experience–preparing them for jobs in advanced manufacturing and helping dozens of vets to launch their own companies.”

by Chris Teale October 30, 2017 at 3:15 pm 0

Chester’s Billiards, Bar & Grill is no more after its landlord put its building in Nauck up for sale.

The billiards hall and neighborhood bar at 2620 Shirlington Road closed on Wednesday, October 25. Signs outside show the building, now abandoned, is up for sale. The Chester’s sign remains.

Chester’s had gone before the Arlington County Board on Tuesday, October 24 for a three-month review of its live entertainment permit. County staff had recommended before the meeting for a second time this year that the Board deny an extension of the permit.

But at the meeting, Rebecca Lewis, a managing member at Chester’s, said the building’s owner has decided to sell their property. Lewis said he did so because of the ongoing issues with the building’s elevator, which has led to criminal charges and will take more than $250,000 to fix.

Lewis also questioned staff’s data on calls to the Arlington County Police Department, as well as the violation of its ABC license. She said that several of the five police calls involved an employee who was caught embezzling funds and is now the subject of criminal proceedings, and said that there were people in the community who wanted to “sabotage the business.”

“It seems that there seems to have been, especially with the police department, a wanting to shut down this business,” Lewis said.

Adam Watson, a staffer at the county’s Department of Community, Planning, Housing and Development, also noted that Chester’s hosted two dance parties with 40-50 people despite not holding a permit to do so. In response, Lewis said that those events were music shows that did not qualify as dance events.

“It’s almost impossible to tell people when music is playing that they can’t move their bodies,” she said. “[We] never encouraged or had something that we called a dance event.”

In a brief statement to the Board, Chester’s manager David Breedlove stood by the bar’s arrest record, and said he was grateful to the police for their help.

“I want to thank the Arlington police department for setting me straight, but never, one time, was there an arrest at that bar,” he said. “Yes, there were problems down below.”

Board member Christian Dorsey said it is clearly “difficult” to run a business, but said he hoped the bar’s managers try again soon. In a unanimous vote, the Board denied an extension to the bar’s permit.

“Clearly this didn’t work out for you or the community, which is why we are where we are today,” Dorsey said. “But I certainly wish you luck in any future endeavors you are about to take.”

by ARLnow.com October 24, 2017 at 8:30 am 0

Belmont TV Closing — Belmont TV, located at 4723 King Street on the Arlington-Alexandria border, is planning to close its doors at the end of the month, after about 75 years in business. [Washington Business Journal]

APS Having Trouble Hiring Bus Drivers — “The strong local economy is creating some challenges for Arlington Public Schools’ efforts to fill out its bus-driver and bus-assistant ranks. There are still ‘nine routes that don’t have permanent drivers,’ said John Chadwick, the school system’s assistant superintendent for transportation, at the Oct. 19 School Board meeting.” [InsideNova]

Northam, Roem Speak at Freddie’s — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam and House of Delegates candidate Danica Roem spoke last night at an LGBT-focused campaign event at Freddie’s Beach Bar in Crystal City. Also attending the event were state Sen. Adam Ebbin, Del. Mark Levine and Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette. [Washington Blade]

History of the Pentagon Cable Crossing — A cable crossing, marked with large signs along the banks of the Potomac River, dates back to the construction of the Pentagon in early 1940s. [Atlas Obscura]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

by Katie Pyzyk October 2, 2017 at 10:30 am 0

Dave’s Seafood & Subs, at 3235 Columbia Pike, has permanently closed.

The take-out restaurant located in a strip mall at the corner of Columbia Pike and S. Glebe Road was especially popular with regular customers for its fried seafood platters.

Although the owners of Dave’s didn’t wish to go into details about the business or its closure, a loyal customer told ARLnow.com that the owners have decided to retire.

Dave’s served its last meals on Saturday (September 30). So far there’s no word on what will replace the restaurant.

by Katie Pyzyk September 29, 2017 at 1:00 pm 0

After more than 23 years of bringing live music to Arlington, Iota Club and Cafe in Clarendon will close for good this weekend. But not before a farewell bash on Saturday, jam-packed with music.

Starting at noon tomorrow, the venue will host more than a dozen performers. Tickets are listed at $10 and can be purchased at the door. Iota’s website lists the following line-up of performers:

JOSE MIGUEL CONTRERAS
(OF BY DIVINE RIGHT)
~LAST PERFORMER~
JUSTIN JONES

EL QUATRO

ALEX PAREZ

TWO TON TWIG

NO SECOND TROY

MIKE FERRIO
(OF TANDY)

LAUREN CALVE

JUMPIN JUPITER

THE COWARDS CHOIR

MARY BATTIATA AND LITTLE PINK

DELARCOS

GIST

METROSONGS

FUZZ QUEEN

MARGOT MACDONALD

A sign on the door at Iota shows that the venue will also be open on Sunday from noon until 8 p.m., for “beer/wine sales on/off premises and other stuff.”

Posters on the outside of the building list the performers Iota has hosted over the years.

Earlier this month, Iota owners Jane Negrey Inge and Stephen V. Negrey announced that they would close the venue when their lease expires on Sept. 30 rather than relocate during a planned revamp of the Market Common development.

Following a “Save Iota” campaign, Market Common owner Regency Centers promised that Iota would not be demolished during the refurbishment. However, Inge and Negrey decided to close rather than temporarily relocating the club during renovations and then paying higher rent upon returning to the old space in Clarendon.

by Chris Teale September 27, 2017 at 9:45 am 0

A former Afghan restaurant in Crystal City is set to become a pawn shop.

A “Royal Pawn” store is coming to the former restaurant at 507 23rd Street S., according to signs and a permit application.

An existing store with the same name and logo is open at 6116-A Franconia Road in Alexandria, south of the Beltway in Fairfax County. It sells jewelry, electronics and instruments, tools and precious metals like gold, silver and platinum.

As of Tuesday, much of the restaurant’s furniture and decorations were still inside and a temporary Royal Pawn sign was covering the former “Grill Kabob” sign. Grill Kabob first opened in September 2015.

Previously, a restaurant and dance club called “Sin and Saint” was expected to replace Grill Kabob. The establishment was to have a dance floor and DJ on the second floor for Friday and Saturday nights, though those plans appear to have fallen through.

Royal Pawn will be at least the third pawn shop in Arlington. Two First Cash Pawn stores are already in the county, on Lee Highway and on N. Glebe Road in Buckingham.

by Chris Teale September 12, 2017 at 2:30 pm 0

A branch of Capital One Bank on Lee Highway is set to close later this year.

Multiple readers reported receiving letters from the bank at 5222 Lee Highway — its intersection with N. George Mason Drive — telling them the branch will close on November 18.

And a teller at the bank confirmed the news on Tuesday, saying that with another branch at 4700 Lee Highway, the company made the decision to consolidate its services at that location.

“We have another branch right down the street, so it just doesn’t make sense to have two so close together,” the teller said.

The bank is across the street from a strip mall — the Garden City Shopping Center — and a couple of blocks from the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center. No word yet on what might replace the bank.

A company spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment.

by ARLnow.com September 8, 2017 at 9:05 am 0

(Updated at 9:25 a.m.) Arlington’s most active live music venue is closing its doors this month.

The owners of IOTA Club and Cafe in Clarendon announced this morning they have decided to close after 23.5 years in business. The venue’s lease expires after Sept. 30, which will be IOTA’s last day in business.

Despite a campaign to “Save IOTA” earlier this year, Market Common Clarendon owner Regency Centers is proceeding with a plan to revamp the retail and office development, including IOTA’s space along Wilson Blvd. IOTA called the changes “much-needed building repairs and improvements.”

In a press release, IOTA owners Jane Negrey Inge and Stephen V. Negrey said that while Regency Centers tried to make accommodations, they ultimately made the difficult decision to close the club rather than temporarily relocate during renovations and pay higher rents upon moving back.

IOTA will host concerts to raise money for the Red Cross’s hurricane relief effort tonight and tomorrow starting at 8 p.m. Currently, the last item on IOTA’s performance calendar is an open mic night on Wednesday, Sept. 27. A “grand closing” event is planned for Sept. 30, though the details have not yet been announced.

“Watch [our] website and social media for announcements,” said Inge.

More from the press release:

IOTA Club & Cafe’s main mission has been LIVE MUSIC for 23-and-a-half years. IOTA has presented some of the most creative and talented musicians from across America, including many rising stars and dedicated artists exploring and-or earning a living making music. IOTA also has hosted acts from Canada, Mongolia, England, Ireland, Scotland, Japan, Niger, China, the Scandinavian countries and others. IOTA’s top priority has always been seeking artful, original and creative live music experiences. In addition, IOTA has showcased catalytic bands, and to a lesser extent DJs, all who put on good shows for a good time for the people.

Owners Jane Negrey Inge and Stephen V. Negrey believe they have made a contribution to their hometown Arlington, Virginia through a dedication to live music and hard work at the restaurant and bar business, the mainstay of the endeavor. They believe that creative and interesting options for consumers make communities better. They view their many years fighting for the life of IOTA as well worth it and peaking in a triumph of arts and entertainment through independent small business.

The countless performances and participation of local artist-musicians in the DC Metro Area have brought joy and good times to many thousands and have sustained IOTA. Jane and Stephen are especially grateful to these musicians in addition to the touring musicians that have inspired and entertained so many.

Regency Centers, the new owner/developer of Market Common Retail (since 2016, owner of the spaces leased by IOTA since 1993 on Wilson Boulevard), have announced their plans to make improvements to the block in order to make space available for tenants at more up-to-date market levels. Regency Centers kindly offered IOTA Jane and Stephen a six-months lease extension at rock-bottom rents, ending September 30, in order for them to review their situation. They determined they would not be able to afford to participate due to the cost of a temporary relocation, much-needed building repairs and improvements, and new higher rents. Besides, IOTA’s beloved and irreplaceable ice machine, The Hoshizaki KM-630MAF, is about to bite the dust!

The support of hundreds of SAVE IOTA participants has been amazing. Jane and Stephen have not wanted to let these IOTA fans down and hope they will watch the website and social media for upcoming events and other ways Jane and Stephen hope to support LIVE MUSIC in the future and continue to participate in art activity.

Jane and Stephen are grateful for the financial and other support from friends and family that has helped IOTA prevail since March 15, 1994. They shout out big respect to three trail-blazing music venues who opened before IOTA and have been their idols: Black Cat, 9:30 Club, and especially The Birchmere. It has been an honor to share the road with these great independent businesses, rocking in the free world, where people really get off on live music, the power, art and fun of it, and the community and fellowship it creates.

by ARLnow.com September 5, 2017 at 8:35 am 0

Today Is ‘Terrible Traffic Tuesday’ — Today is the Tuesday after Labor Day, when students in Arlington and around the region go back to school. As a result of the extra school buses, parents and students on the roads, and the end of summer vacations, it is also dubbed “Terrible Traffic Tuesday” by AAA Mid-Atlantic. In reality, however, the day after — which now has a name: “Woeful Wednesday” — is worse in terms of commuting times, and next week should be even more woeful. [Washington Post, WTOP]

Chili’s Dying Out in D.C. Area — The Chili’s in Bailey’s Crossroads has closed. The restaurant chain closed its Crystal City location last year and its Reston location the year before that. The nearest Chili’s to Arlington is now along Route 1, outside the Beltway, in Fairfax County. [Twitter]

Roosevelt Profiled by Conservative Media — GOP candidate Adam Roosevelt is getting some attention from conservative media outlets. Roosevelt “is a moderate Republican running for the Virginia House of Delegates against current Democratic Delegate Alfonso Lopez, who has never before faced a GOP opponent during his six years in office,” writes the Daily Caller, calling the district he’s running in, which includes part of Arlington, “far left.” The lead sentence in Newsmax’s article about Roosevelt has a different focus: “A conservative Republican candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates, who happens to be black, has recently emerged as one of the most spirited advocates of keeping Confederate statues up in the Old Dominion State.” [Daily Caller, Newsmax]

Webb Removed from Civ Fed Debate — School Board candidate Mike Webb has had his invitation to tonight’s Arlington County Civic Federation debate — the unofficial kickoff to campaign season in Arlington — rescinded because he reportedly “failed to return required paperwork in time to allow participation.” Allison Dough, the other candidate to challenge Democratic endorsee Monique O’Grady, has said she has other commitments and will be unable to attend the debate. [InsideNova]

Arlington Man Evicted From ‘Big Brother’ House — Arlington resident Matt Clines, 33, has been evicted from the Big Brother house. Clines had advanced about half-way through the CBS reality show before being voted off. [Reality TV World, Parade, Hollywood Reporter]

DeVos to Make Big Announcement in Arlington — Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is reportedly planning to make a “major announcement on Title IX, the campus gender equality law,” from George Mason’s Antonin Scalia Law School in Arlington on Thursday. [BuzzFeed]

Flickr pool photo by Jim Webster

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