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by ARLnow.com February 19, 2018 at 11:00 am 0

(Updated at 11:45 a.m) Darna Restaurant and Lounge in Virginia Square has been ordered temporarily closed by the county building inspector.

A recent inspection of the nightclub at 946 N. Jackson Street “revealed that there were numerous violations of the Building, Fire, Zoning and Environmental Health codes, affecting the health, safety and welfare of the public,” according to county staff.

A bright orange sticker on the door of the lounge warns that “this structure is unfit for habitation.” A separate sign says “Darna Lounge will be closed for repairs to our sprinkler system.”

Detour Coffee, on the first floor of the building, was open as of Monday morning.

The Arlington County Board is expected to review Darna’s live entertainment and dancing permit at its upcoming February meeting, a month ahead of schedule. Among the likely topics of conversation are the building inspection findings and complaints about noise.

“During the last County Board review in October 2017, staff received correspondence from a neighboring citizen with concerns about loud music during and after the hours of live entertainment and dancing,” a county staff report notes. “Several calls to the police for noise and other complaints were identified during the last County Board review.”

Darna has been open for about six years, and has since expanded, adding an open air patio on the second floor.

Hat tip to Chris Slatt

by Anna Merod February 15, 2018 at 9:45 am 0

A new, casual eatery is coming to Virginia Square.

In a couple months the Atrium Cafe will open in the former Jen’s Kitchen space in Virginia Square, according to cafe owner DJ Lee.

The Asian-fusion style cafe that sells coffee and sandwiches already has 8 locations in D.C., Lee said. The new establishment is currently applying to sell beer and wine, something its D.C. locations do not serve. There will also be more desserts at the Virginia Square location, Lee added.

Jen’s Kitchen closed in late December and posted a sign that it would reopen in late January under new management. Jen’s Kitchen opened in 2015 following the closure of Metro Cafe and Gourmet.

by ARLnow.com February 2, 2018 at 2:00 pm 0

Long-time Arlington food truck Bada Bing is calling it quits.

The truck, one of the first of its kind in Arlington, starting serving cheesesteaks and spiedies to customers in 2010. It helped to kick off a wave of mobile dining options that captured considerable public attention and eventually prompted changes to county regulations.

In a lengthy Facebook post, Bada Bing owner Nicholas Terzella blamed unscrupulous fellow food truck owners, parking problems, and issues with county regulations and communications for his decision. He said he will be moving to the Binghamton, New York area and opening a bricks-and-mortar restaurant.

“The restaurants and restaurant lobby has a huge stranglehold on the govt and are making it very difficult for trucks to operate,” he wrote. “That among other issues is why we REFUSE to continue to do business in Arlington and collect tax for them anymore.”

“Please come visit us if you are ever in the Binghamton area,” he added. “We love you all so much and appreciate you more than you may ever know.”

Hat tip to Christina R.

by Anna Merod February 1, 2018 at 1:45 pm 0

Ristorante Murali is “closed forever,” according to the Italian restaurant’s website.

The signs on the restaurant’s building in Pentagon Row have been taken down with only a small sign in the door remaining.

The Italian restaurant had been open for 14 years before closing recently.

“After many years in business, we are forever closed. Thank you for your loyalty and we wish you well,” wrote the website.

by Chris Teale January 30, 2018 at 2:45 pm 0

A historic pharmacy in Nauck is closed, reportedly for renovations.

A sign on the door of Green Valley Pharmacy at 2415 Shirlington Road said it “will reopen in the near future” once work is done. A reader said it has been closed since the end of last year.

The pharmacy earned local designation as an Arlington Historic District in 2013, after a request by longtime owner Dr. Leonard Muse.

“When Green Valley Pharmacy opened, no other pharmacies in Arlington welcomed the black community,” county staff wrote. “Typically, black customers had to use rear entrances and were not treated well with their medical prescriptions. Green Valley served both black and white customers, and it was especially popular for its dine-in food counter, where breakfast, lunch, dinner and an abundance of ice cream desserts were served. In the early days, an order of two hot dogs cost just 25 cents.”

But Muse died in August at the age of 94 after operating the pharmacy since 1952.

by ARLnow.com January 30, 2018 at 8:35 am 0

Local bicycling retailer and bike ride organizer Freshbikes has closed.

The store’s Ballston location, at 3924 Wilson Blvd, is shuttered. The Freshbikes location in Bethesda has also reportedly closed. Its Mosaic District store in Fairfax County closed last year.

A message on the Freshbikes website thanked customers and said the closing was “due to circumstances outside of our control.”

Thank You For a Great 11 Years!

For the past 11 years, it has been our honor and our pleasure to serve you. Effective immediately, due to circumstances outside of our control, all Freshbikes locations are closing permanently.

A special thanks to Arlington County for supporting our Tuesday Night Ride through the years.

Lastly, we thank our our outstanding staff, as we couldn’t have done any of this without this team of  dedicated professionals.

Scott & The Freshbikes Team

Several years ago Freshbikes was sued by a former employee who alleged sexual harassment. The suit was later settled and the store posted an apology on its website.

File photo

by ARLnow.com January 29, 2018 at 1:45 pm 0

Electronics and gadget retailer Brookston closed its store in the Pentagon City mall over the weekend.

Signs in the store indicate that it closed Saturday after a 70 percent off clearance sale. Customers are encouraged to shop at Brookstone.com for their drone, electric scooter and Cordless Heated Gronk Shiatsu Massager needs.

The store’s shuttering appears to be one of a recent spate of closings for the company from coast to coast. It was located in one of the mall’s most heavy foot traffic areas, between the main entrance and the escalators to the food court.

by Chris Teale January 17, 2018 at 2:45 pm 0

A branch of PNC Bank in Rosslyn will close in mid-March.

A sign on the door of the bank at 1801 N. Lynn Street said it will permanently shutter on Friday, March 16.

The sign directs customers to nearby PNC branches in Clarendon (2601 Clarendon Blvd) and Georgetown (1201 Wisconsin Ave NW).

An anonymous tipster also reported receiving a notice about the closure when they logged into internet banking.

by Chris Teale January 5, 2018 at 11:30 am 0

A Clarendon bakery closed at the beginning of this year ahead of its move into local stalwart Northside Social’s new Falls Church location.

A sign posted on the door of LeoNora (1108 N. Irving Street) said it closed as it prepares to open a new bakery at the forthcoming Northside Social in Falls Church (205 Park Avenue).

“In preparation for the opening of our custom-built bakery at Northside Social Falls Church, LeoNora Bakery is closed effective immediately,” the sign reads. “Please visit us at Northside Social Arlington, just across the street at 3211 Wilson Blvd, for our freshly baked pastries and breads.”

The bakery, next to O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub, described itself on its Facebook page as “the result of a never ending search for the best breads and pastries in terms of flavor, freshness and texture.”

by Chris Teale January 4, 2018 at 9:45 am 0

The ongoing uncertainty over the future of Virginia Square outdoor store Casual Adventure could be close to resolution, according to its owner.

Owner Eric Stern told ARLnow that after receiving several extensions on its lease at 3451 Washington Blvd, the company is now close to signing a lease on a new location. Stern declined to go into specifics, but said there could be more progress in the near future.

He added that television commercials noting Casual Adventure’s lease extension are correct, but he did not say for how much longer it will last. The long-time outdoor retailer had been set to close last spring after 61 years in business. It first announced its closure last April.

“We’re still in the process of getting it all signed and sealed,” Stern said. “We have a location in mind and a backup if it falls through.”

The store continues to be open as normal, with its winter stock marked down by as much as 70 percent off regular price. A sign also indicates that Casual Adventure is looking to hire new staff.

by ARLnow.com January 2, 2018 at 2:45 pm 0

Furniture store Random Harvest has closed its location at 4522 Lee Highway.

The store, in the Lee Heights Shops, carried “an exceptional handpicked selection of furniture and accessories.” It closed just before the new year.

“It has been a pleasure to have been part of the Lee Heights community over the past 10 years,” a sign on the door reads. “But all good things must come to an end and this location of Random Harvest is now closed.”

The sign says the store’s inventory will transferred to the company’s remaining locations, in Bethesda, Georgetown and Alexandria. However, a 50 percent off “pop up sale” is planned at the Lee Highway store Jan 18-21 and 25-28.

by Chris Teale December 29, 2017 at 2:45 pm 0

Months after going on an apparent and indefinite “hiatus,” Ray’s Hell Burger appears to be officially leaving Rosslyn.

The restaurant at 1650 Wilson Blvd is now available for lease, albeit with the Ray’s awnings and signs still up, including one noting the hiatus.

Earlier this year, the Washington Business Journal reported that owner Michael Landrum wanted out of his lease on the spot, across the street from the redeveloping Wilson School site. That storefront was across from the original Hell Burger, which was visited twice by then-President Barack Obama.

Customers can still visit a Ray’s Hell Burger on K Street NW in D.C., as well as Ray’s the Steaks at 2300 Wilson Blvd in Courthouse. The latter received renewed praise from Northern Virginia Magazine earlier this year as one of its 50 best restaurants of 2017.

Landrum declined to comment further.

by Chris Teale December 14, 2017 at 4:45 pm 0

A wood fire kitchen and whiskey bar on Columbia Pike will close at the end of the year, staff confirmed.

Marble and Rye at 2501 Columbia Pike will close on December 31. A staff member said it will shutter after Sunday brunch that day. Staff in the restaurant declined to comment on a reason for the closure.

It opened in late 2015 at the Penrose Square property, replacing RedRocks Neapolitan Bistro.

The menu features pasta, pizza and seafood dishes as well as sandwiches and burgers. It has more than 150 different whiskeys and whiskey-based cocktails, in addition to its wine and beer selection.

When it opened, Marble and Rye had been hailed as part of a growth of whiskey bars on Columbia Pike.

Events company Magnolia Open Mics will host its final open mic night at Marble and Rye this Sunday (December 17), in conjunction with the Songwriters Association of Washington. The event begins at 6 p.m., and includes a raffle.

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.

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