Arlington, VA

Oz restaurant, owned by “Real Housewives of Potomac” stars Ashley and Michael Darby, is closing after this weekend.

The Clarendon restaurant, which specializes in Australian cuisine and boozy brunches, first opened at 2950 Clarendon Blvd in 2015. Despite some televised internal turmoil, Michael Darby told ARLnow in 2017 that the couple turned things around with the hiring of a new chef, Northern Virginia native Brad Feickert.

In a statement today, Ashley and Michael said the imminent arrival of their first child (Michael has two adult children from a previous marriage) prompted the restaurant’s closure.

Michael and Ashley Darby announce, with regret, that they have decided to close Oz Restaurant and Bar. As you all know, both Michael and Ashley are involved in multiple businesses and are expecting a baby boy in the very near future.  They have decided that there was just not enough time to dedicate the right amount of time to raising their son and continuing to run the restaurant.

‘It has been four years since the restaurant opened and we have had the best employees anyone could ask for and we have made so many new friends who have patronized Oz.’ said Ashley.

‘I’m sad to see my little slice of Australia disappear but I have so many good memories of people enjoying the Australian experience at Oz. We are replacing one Aussie baby with a new one-half Aussie baby.’ said Michael.

Oz will serve its last meal this Sunday with an extended brunch. Please come in this weekend to say goodbye.

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On Sunday, June 30 at 4 p.m., the Starbucks at Pentagon Row (1101 S. Joyce Street) will close permanently.

“We would like to thank you for being part of our store community, you are the heart of who we are at Starbucks,” a letter posted on the door said, the wording identical to a letter posted at Pentagon Centre Starbucks in March.

The cafe did not meet its sales requirements for months and was therefore one of 150 Starbucks slated for permanent closure in 2019, individuals familiar with the situation but not authorized to talk to the media told ARLnow.

The letter directed Starbucks customers to the Pentagon City mall location in the food court and the Starbucks in The Arcadia at 1201 S. Fern Street, a block east of the mall.

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Cheese store and wine bar Cheesetique has closed its Ballston location at 800 N. Glebe Road after three years in business.

The restaurant served its last customers last night (Sunday), though the company’s Shirlington and Alexandria locations remain open.

Restaurants on the western side of N. Glebe Road have struggled to stay in business amid an increasing number of dining options on the other side of the busy street, closer to the bulk of Ballston’s office and apartment buildings.

More on the closure from Cheesetique’s Facebook page:

After three years in operation, Cheesetique Ballston will be closing after dinner service this Sunday, June 16th.

We’re sad to leave our Ballston neighborhood, but hope you can come by for one last visit this weekend. And after that, we look forward to hosting you at one of our other cheese-tastic locations (Cheesetique Del Ray, Cheesetique Shirlington, Cheesetique Mosaic).

Thank you to all of our loyal Ballston patrons. We’ll see you soon!

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With the announcement that Ray’s the Steaks would be closing Saturday (June 15) after 17 years, finding seating at the iconic restaurant has become a herculean challenge in its final days .

Last night (Thursday), owner Michael Landrum stood outside the restaurant with a clipboard, taking orders from dozens of locals hoping for a spot at the restaurant in its closing weekend.

Ray’s the Steaks is a no-frills steakhouse tucked away in the Courthouse neighborhood. In its final two weeks, the restaurant has stopped taking reservations and is working on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The system left hopeful carnivores herding to the entrance, leaving their names and table-sizes with Landrum. Either he would eventually find a spot for them or, if not, tell them to try again the next night.

A paper sign taped to the front door informed the gaggle of stranded steak-hungry locals when the next tables would be open. However, a new sign eventually replaced it, announcing the closure of the waitlists, with the hopefuls left to try again Friday.

Outside the restaurant, Landrum was too busy to talk, but noted curtly that “any interview questions you might have should be answered by the crowd outside.”

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Medina, a small eatery offering “shwarma, falafel and beyond” at 4215 Fairfax Drive in Ballston, is closed and entirely vacated.

The sign still remains above the building, but all remnants of the restaurant, except a now-outdated “Open 7 Days/Week” sign, have been removed and the inside is completely empty.

It was a short life for the eatery that opened in August, replacing Earl’s Sandwiches.

The restaurant was fairly highly rated, receiving four stars on Yelp with users calling it a good spot for chicken shwarma that wouldn’t break the bank.

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Two months after opening, Fiona’s Irish Pub (567 23rd Street S.) in Crystal City has closed — possibly for good.

“Due to circumstances beyond our control, we will be closed today, Sunday, June the 9th,” said a notice on the bar’s door. “We apologize for the inconvenience.”

But the establishment has not reopened and the pub’s website says it has closed permanently.

Earlier today a local beer vendor who had worked with the pub and staff at another nearby restaurant milled around outside the establishment swapping theories in the absence of any official reason. The timing coincided with the permanent closure of the pub’s other location at 5810 Kingstowne Center, though Covering the Corridor, a local blog, reported a representative said the Arlington location would remain open.

It was a sudden closure for a restaurant that had faced a series of delays, opening in April after missing a planned opening before St. Patrick’s Day. The closure also comes nearly a year after King Street Blues, another restaurant from the same owner, closed in Crystal City.

Fiona’s enjoyed favorable online reviews, though some noted a lack of customers.

Why Fiona is closed, and whether the Arlington location’s demise is permanent, remains unknown. The location was formerly home to long-time local bar Tortoise and Hare.

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Clarendon’s Citizen Burger Bar is now closed, per a sign on the door.

“Our time with you has come to an end,” reads the sign on the front doors of the restaurant at 1051 N. Highland Street. “We want to thank you so much for visiting us and supporting us for the last 5 years!”

The notice said its last day was Sunday. Phone calls to the eatery went unanswered, and the number appeared to be disconnected.

The restaurant posted a copy of the sign on its Facebook Friday, noting it was “a sad day for us here in Clarendon.”

Inside the restaurant, chairs could be seen stacked up between cleaning materials last night (Monday). The unlit sign of Mister Days, which closed in April across the street, reflected in the burger joint’s windows.

Clarendon was the second location for Citizen Burger Bar’s Charlottesville, Va.-based business. The Arlington location opened in February 2015, expanding its menu two years later.

Owner Anderson McClure told ARLnow.com before the restaurant opened that his goal was to “broaden people’s horizons when it comes to simple, ‘classic American’ fare.”

The closing adds to the agony this week for local connoisseurs of the bovine, who are mourning the impending closure of Courthouse staple Ray’s the Steaks.

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Morning Notes

Ray’s the Steaks Closing — “Washington will soon lose a carnivorous institution. Ray’s the Steaks, an unfussy Arlington chophouse that’s operated in the neighborhood for 17 years, will close after service on Saturday, June 15, says chef/owner Michael Landrum.” [Washingtonian]

DOJ Announces APS Settlement — “Today the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia announced a settlement agreement with Arlington Public Schools that will bolster English language services to the district’s approximately 5,000 students who are not proficient in English.” [Dept. of Justice]

Flags Fly Half Mast for Va. Beach — Flags at Arlington County buildings are flying half mast in honor of the victims of the Virginia Beach mass shooting. [Twitter]

Parking Is Point of Contention for Redevelopment — “Some surface parking at the Crystal House apartments is set to stick around, even as the Crystal City property gets redeveloped — and that’s worrying Arlington planners reviewing the project.” [Washington Business Journal]

‘Move Over’ Month in Arlington — “Move Over Awareness Month, recognized each June, is a statewide safety campaign designed to reduce the risk of injury or death to emergency personnel by raising motorist awareness of Virginia’s Move Over law.” [Arlington County]

New Priest for Arlington Cathedral — “Effective Thursday, June 27, 2019 and in accordance with the clergy appointments made by the Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop of Arlington. the Very Reverend Patrick L. Posey, V.F., will be leaving his current position as Pastor of Saint James Catholic Church in Falls Church, to become the new Rector of the Cathedral of Saint Thomas More in Arlington.”

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The Washington Sports Club in Clarendon is closing down for good later this month.

The gym at 2700-2800 Clarendon Blvd is slated to shutter its doors by June 30, staff told ARLnow today (Monday) after notifying members this weekend of its plans.

Gym manager Diamond Thompson said that memberships are transferable to chain’s other sports clubs.

Clarendon, however, is Washington Sports Club’s only location in Virginia, according to the franchise’s website. The company also operates six gyms in D.C. and three gyms in Maryland.

Thompson said he couldn’t comment on why the gym was closing. A spokesman for the company could not be reached in time for publication.

The gym is across the street from the ongoing Market Common Clarendon renovation project. Crews are turning the building into a four-story office retail development called The Loft which is expected to open by next summer.

High-end gym Equinox is reportedly planning to open at Market Common Clarendon, but so far few details about the plans have been revealed.

Screenshots via Google Maps

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Kora — an Italian eatery at 2250 Crystal Drive in Crystal City — seems closed, but with no visible indication of whether the closure permanent or not.

In addition to the doors being locked and the website saying “closed,” staff at Jaleo — the tapas restaurant next door — said the restaurant had been closed for at least a couple of weeks.

Kora bills itself as a restaurant, bar and lounge, with a menu offering various pizzas and pastas. The restaurant was founded by Morou Ouattara, a quasi-celebrity chef who also owns Lily and the Cactus in D.C.’s NoMa neighborhood.

The restaurant was most recently in the news this past January when it, along with several other Crystal City restaurants, offered free food for federal employees affected by the shutdown.

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On Sunday, Josephine’s Italian Kitchen (2501 9th Road S.) closed its doors for good and marked the end of an era for a Columbia Pike restauranteur.

The restaurant opened in Penrose Square last October as the newest eatery for Tony Wagner, who also owned Twisted Vines Bottleshop & Bistro and BrickHaus.

Both Twisted Vines and BrickHaus closed last year, which at the time Wagner said was part of a plan to regroup and focus on the new Josephine’s Italian Kitchen. All of the restaurants were located within a few blocks of each other on Columbia Pike, where Wagner lives.

(Twisted Vines has since been replaced by Acme Pie Company while BickHaus has been replaced by Rebellion on the Pike.)

Wagner said the decision to close was brought about by family issues and he hopes that the closure will allow him more time to focus on other priorities.

Following the closure, Wagner said he’s still on the lookout for new opportunities in the area, but for now, there’s nothing planned.

Wagner is still deciding what to do with the neon “Gelato” sign in Josephine’s, which he called the “most Instagrammed” thing in the restaurant.

“It might find a place in our home,” Wagner said.

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