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by Chris Teale August 3, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

Casual Adventure will be open until at least Christmas, after it signed a new short-term lease on its Virginia Square building.

Owner Eric Stern said he and his staff requested the extension from property owner 1404 Hancock Street Investment LLC, a company registered to local custom home builder BCN Homes.

The pair then agreed on the extension, in part, Stern said, because new development in the area is taking a “little bit longer than originally anticipated.”

“We’ve had a great business relationship, and we were able to extend at least for the time being,” he said. “Then we’ll figure things out from there.”

The long-time outdoor retailer had been set to close its 3451 Washington Blvd location this spring after 61 years in business. It first announced its closure in April and subsequently held an “End of an Era Sale” with large discounts.

Stern said the influx of customers and outpouring of sadness at the store’s closing showed there is still “an obvious need or want for us in this space.”

“The general support from the public has been overwhelming in a positive way,” he said. “I certainly appreciate everybody who’s come in and shared their stories of the trips they’ve taken over the years, the products they’ve bought from us over the years and the photos they’ve had from their trips.”

Casual Adventure is currently holding a summer clearance sale with merchandise marked down as much as 70 percent. Stern said fall items will start arriving shortly.

Hat tip to Buzz McClain

by ARLnow.com July 28, 2017 at 7:30 pm 0

Healthy fast-casual eatery Bowl’d is closing, the restaurant announced via Facebook Friday evening.

Bowl’d opened in March 2015 at 1028 N. Garfield Street, in Clarendon, two blocks off the main Clarendon Blvd drag. It served gluten-free rice and salad bowls, plus fruit juice and smoothies among other options.

More via the Facebook post:

Dear BOWL’D Friends and Family,

Thank you so much for the opportunity to serve this community for the last 2+ years. We had a mission to help serve healthy food made to order to help you eat healthier more of the time. Our intent was to provide delicious and nutritious food for people who wanted that option without breaking the bank.

We thank you for all of your support and generous feedback. We have decided to close and wish all of our countless neighbors and friends all the best on their personal journeys to a healthy lifestyle.

Sincerely,
The BOWL’D Team.

by Chris Teale July 24, 2017 at 11:45 am 0

A Thai restaurant in Ballston shuttered late last week.

Tara Temple at 4001 Fairfax Drive closed Friday, July 21. It offered a variety of Thai foods including noodles and curries, as well as what it called a “sizable menu” of Japanese options. The restaurant offered a carry-out option, as well as delivery after 5 p.m. on weekends.

It was located on the ground floor of the Quincy Street Station office building, next door to fellow tenant Cafe Tirolo.

As of Monday, tables and chairs had been removed from the restaurant while materials from inside the kitchen were being brought out for removal. The eatery’s patio was still intact, but with items from inside starting to pile up nearby.

Calls to the restaurant’s main phone number went unanswered.

Hat tip to Brent Murray

by Chris Teale July 20, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

A small grocery store at the Dominion Hills Centre shopping plaza will close at month’s end, another business to depart the neighborhood strip mall.

The Dominion Hills Grocery & Deli at 6035 Wilson Blvd will close at the end of July after 13 years. The store’s owner said the closure is because of a sudden rent increase by the property owner.

A sign on the store’s front door reads:

To our friends, neighbors & customers at Dominion Hills Centre,

This is to inform you all that Dominion Food-Mart will be closing on July 31, 2017. We deeply appreciate the loyalty and the support from you all for the past 13 years.

It has been a great pleasure knowing and being friend[s] with you.

We will miss you all very much!

The store is the latest to depart the shopping center, months after Little River Yoga Studio, Great Harvest Bread Company and the florist all shuttered.

Those storefronts are still listed as being for rent by the property’s owner, Rosenthal, but all are still vacant.

A reader emailed to say that she and others in the Dominion Hills community are concerned that the shopping center will “go the way of Clarendon,” which has seen the departure of long-time businesses as rent has increased.

by Katherine Berko July 19, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

Zaika, an Indian restaurant in Clarendon, has closed.

Located on the second level of the Market Common Clarendon shopping center, Zaika described its menu as modern Indian food, with eastern flavors and a western twist. Dishes included classic Indian entrees, such as Chicken Tikka Masala, as well as Indo-Chinese options, like the Manchurian: “A classic Chinese dish with authentic Indian spices.”

Zaika’s phone number has been disconnected and OpenTable no longer allows people to make reservations to eat there. Yesterday the restaurant was empty and dark, with no explanation for the closing posted in the windows or on the business’s Facebook page.

Zaika’s Twitter account, meanwhile, has been converted to an account for Angeethi, an Indian restaurant in Herndon.

by ARLnow.com June 22, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

The concession stand at the Crystal City Water Park has closed.

The concession’s last day was Friday, after landlord Vornado declined to renew vendor Adel Ishak’s lease, we’re told. Ishak, who was a prominent attorney in Egypt before he fled to the United States with his family due to safety concerns, had run the kiosk for at least six years.

ARLnow.com has learned that landlord Vornado — soon to be JBG Smith — is planning an expanded retail presence in the park, perhaps a more full-featured restaurant or a beer garden. A major residential redevelopment anchored by an Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is planned across the street.

Some local residents who heard that the concession stand would be closing started a petition calling for it to remain open, but to no avail.

“Rain, sleet, snow and shine, Adel was there,” one customer lamented to ARLnow.com. “He has built this business from the ground up – he started with nothing and now has run the stand year-round because of his customers. My hope is… that perhaps Vornado can move his concession to another part of Crystal City or Arlington.”

by ARLnow.com June 20, 2017 at 9:05 am 0

ACPD Releases New Video of Sex Assault Suspect — Arlington County Police have released new video of the man suspected of sexually assaulting a woman in her Rosslyn condo last month. Police are still seeking more information about the suspect. [Twitter, YouTube]

Big Brother Contestant Is From Arlington — One of the contestants on the upcoming season of CBS’ Big Brother is Matthew Clines, a 33-year-old renovation consultant from Arlington. The show premieres on Wednesday, June 28. [CBS, Hollywood Reporter]

Nam-Viet Closing in D.C. — The Cleveland Park outpost of Arlington’s Nam-Viet restaurant is closing, citing “competition to remain significant and relevant in this fast-paced D.C. restaurant market.” There have been a number of restaurant closings in the neighborhood as of late. [PoPville]

New Cafe in Takoma Park Draws Arlington Talent — A new coffee, beer, wine and cocktail spot called Takoma Beverage Co. has opened in Takoma Park, Md. The cafe features a bevy of Arlington restaurant vets, including alums of Northside Social and the former Sehkraft Brewing in Clarendon. Helping to fund the venture is Mothersauce Partners, the restaurant investment firm and consultancy founded by Nick Freshman of Spider Kelly’s. [Eater]

Flickr pool photo by Bekah Richards

by Chris Teale June 13, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

A gym that opened last year along Columbia Pike closed late last month.

True Health and Wholeness replaced the former World Gym at 1058 S. Walter Reed Drive, but itself closed two weeks ago, on May 30.

True focused on holistic approaches and family-friendliness, and looked to be a “one stop shop” for all health and fitness needs. In an email to the community, co-founders Nina and Christian Elliot blamed “some unexpected and blindsiding events the last couple weeks” for the closure.

“The hardest part is the sour stomach of realizing how many people we’ve let down, and the relationships we’ve come to cherish that are now at best, interrupted,” the pair wrote. “There are no words to convey how sorry we are to make this announcement.”

A reader alleged in an email that the pair cancelled all its classes without explanation and that members would not receive any refunds. The reader added that members with pre-paid memberships were told to ask their credit card companies for a chargeback.

Nina Elliot did not respond to requests for comment. The gym’s website is still operational.

Despite the closure of their business, the Elliots promised to return to the wellness business.

Business owners, and in particular Elliots, are a resilient breed. We are weary and wounded right now, often unable to finish sentences without crying, but we didn’t suddenly forget everything we know about health and changing people’s lives. We have not lost our love of this work. We have learned so many lessons from the school of hard knocks the last 12 years and we promise not let those lessons go to waste. We believe we have a sacred duty to help as many people as we can.

by Brooke Giles June 6, 2017 at 4:30 pm 0

An aromatherapy store in Clarendon has shuttered after 20 years in business.

Cosmic Energy at 1114 N. Irving Street provided a “one-stop-shopping” experience for metaphysical and aromatherapy products. Those products included oils, incense, sacred herbs, teas, body care products and more.

Although the business’ website is still operational, the building is empty and there is a for rent sign in its window. Cosmic Energy’s phone number is no longer in service and instead directs callers to similar stores nearby.

by Chris Teale June 6, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

A 7-Eleven on Lee Highway in Cherrydale will close by the end of the month, and local residents are concerned for the future of other business nearby.

Multiple anonymous tipsters said they heard the 7-Eleven at 3901 Lee Highway will close. One said the new landlord is refusing to sign a new lease with the convenience store. Former landlord Kostas Kapasouris sold the properties earlier this year, and confirmed in an interview Tuesday morning that the 7-Eleven will close by the end of June.

County property records indicate that Naqibullah M. Ismail bought the shopping plaza and the stores across N. Pollard Street from it in February. The plaza sold for $3 million, according to those records. Ismail, an Arlington resident whose LinkedIn page says he is the CEO of an Afghanistan-based contractor to the Dept. of Defense, did not respond to requests for comment.

Kapasouris also owned the buildings that housed Billy’s Cheesesteaks, Bistro 29 on one side, and the former Drug Fair building, which houses Sun & Moon Yoga, Sterling Frames, Company Flowers and almost housed the NOVA Firearms gun store until its lease was cancelled in 2015. He said the other stores should “hopefully” stay open for the foreseeable future.

Jim Todd, president of the Cherrydale Citizens Association, said that while all he has heard is “second hand or rumor” around the stores’ future, he hopes any possible redevelopment plans are consistent with previous guidelines approved for the area.

“Whatever happens, we hope that any redevelopment that might be coming follows the design guidelines set out in the Cherrydale Revitalization Plan and the Cherrydale Neighborhood Conservation Plan, and promotes the vision for the future of Lee Highway set out by the Lee Highway Alliance,” Todd said. “We also want to express our support for and continue to work with Kostas and all our locally-owned Cherrydale businesses.”

7-Eleven media relations staff did not respond to requests for comment.

by ARLnow.com June 2, 2017 at 8:30 am 0

Free Donuts Today — Today, June 2, is National Donut Day. To celebrate, Dunkin’ Donuts and Duck Donuts are offering a free donut with the purchase of any beverage. Sugar Shack is offering a free donut for those who wear a Sugar Shack hat, t-shirt or other article of clothing with the company logo. [Dunkin’ Donuts, Duck Donuts, Facebook]

Stabbing on Columbia Pike — Arlington County Police are investigating a stabbing that occurred near the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Rolfe Street early this morning. The victim suffered non-life-threatening injuries. [Fox 5, WJLA, ACPD]

Owner Wants Out of Ray’s Hell Burger Lease — Michael Landrum, owner of Ray’s the Steaks and Ray’s Hell Burger, wants out of the Hell Burger lease at 1650 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. The restaurant closed and went on “hiatus” last month. Landrum’s company owes the landlord just over $300,000, according to a bankruptcy filing. [Washington Business Journal]

Why Arlington and Alexandria Couldn’t Collaborate on a Pool — Sharing the costs of an indoor aquatics center seemed like a good idea in theory, but ultimately those in Alexandria did not like the idea of using their taxpayer dollars to build a pool in Arlington. Now Arlington’s planned Long Bridge aquatics center is moving forward while Alexandria’s plans to build an indoor pool are on hold. [Washington Post]

New Tenants to the Rescue in Courthouse — “Adding Reston-based VideoBlocks to its tenant roster was a good get for the owners of Courthouse Tower, but as it turns out, the lease was part of a larger plan to avoid letting about three quarters of the building’s office space go dark.” [Washington Business Journal]

Metro ‘Prepares for Life After SafeTrack’ — We’re a day and a half into June and there have been no major Metro service disruptions so far, something the transit agency hopes is the norm. From a press release: “As the yearlong SafeTrack program winds down, Metro is preparing for a new era of less disruptive preventive maintenance and planned capital work to ensure that the rail system remains in a reliable state for years to come.” [WMATA]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

by ARLnow.com May 30, 2017 at 10:45 am 0

The Applebee’s restaurant in Ballston has closed, just under a year after it opened.

Signs on the door suggest the restaurant closed for good Saturday evening.

Applebee’s replaced a former Greene Turtle location at 900 N. Glebe Road. Both restaurants seemed to suffer from a lack of foot traffic on the western side of Glebe, combined with a cavernous space that was hard to fill with customers, particularly in an urban area where higher-end restaurants are de rigueur.

This Applebee’s also suffered from poor reviews online. No word yet on what might replace it.

Photos courtesy Phil McGeehan

by Chris Teale May 25, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

A long-time diner closed its doors today after 32 years in business.

Arlington Diner, at 2921 S. Glebe Road in the Arlington Ridge Shopping Center, will now no longer serve its all-day breakfast — nor lunch or dinner. On Thursday morning, workers were in the building removing various appliances and other fixtures and fittings.

A sign on the door of the eatery announced the closure.

To our beloved customers,

The crew of Arlington Diner wants to thank you for 32 years of friendship and great memories.

We regret to inform you that we will be closing our doors on May 25, 2017.

We will miss you but we will remember you fondly.

It has been a pleasure serving you! Thank you very much.

In an interview with the Arlington Connection earlier this year, owner Louie Alpos said he was not able to negotiate a financially feasible lease renewal with his landlord.

The diner, a fixture of a shopping plaza that also includes a Domino’s Pizza and a Giant grocery store, was open every day except Christmas Day.

Hat tips to Thomas N. and Christina R.

by ARLnow.com May 25, 2017 at 9:20 am 0

Kal Penn Spotted at A-Town — Eddie Lacy wasn’t the only famous person spotted at an Arlington bar over the past week. Actor and former Obama administration official Kal Penn was photographed hanging out at A-Town Bar and Grill in Ballston this past weekend.

NKD Pizza Closed in Ballston — The NKD Pizza restaurant on N. Quincy Street in Ballston is closed. The struggling chain’s Pentagon Row location closed a year ago. [Yelp, Twitter, Twitter]

Monday Properties Refinances Rosslyn Portfolio — “Monday Properties has completed an $888 million refinancing of its Rosslyn portfolio… resolving one of the largest chunks of expiring commercial real estate debts taken out before the recession.” Meanwhile, Monday says that Nestle moving its corporate headquarters to 1812 N. Moore Street “has prompted other prospects to consider Rosslyn that wouldn’t have in the past.”  [Washington Business Journal]

Arlington’s Bond Rating Affirmed — “For the 17th year in a row, all three credit ratings agencies have reaffirmed Arlington County’s debt ratings of Aaa/AAA/AAA — the highest rating. Arlington is one of just 45 Counties in the United States, and 9 in Virginia, to receive the highest rating from all three credit agencies for its bonds.” [Arlington County]

Nearby: Video of Fire in Falls Church — Arlington County firefighters assisted on a shed and house fire in the Falls Church section of Fairfax County last week. The blaze was caught on video by a neighbor. [Statter 911]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

by Chris Teale May 19, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

Since opening Filipino grocery store Fiesta Oriental in 1991, Fred Sunga and his family have done much more than sell food and provide other services to a bevy of loyal customers.

“When you have a Filipino business, your country people, they come to you for information,” he said. “They always call you, if they have a problem they will call you. Even if sometimes their car won’t start they will call and ask if I know a mechanic.”

But next month marks the end of an era, as the 67-year-old Sunga is set to retire on June 30 and close the Arlington Forest staple at 4815 1st Street N. That means that the area’s growing Filipino community must go elsewhere for groceries or to send money and packages to family back in the Philippines.

Sunga moved to the United States in 1978 and started working in a bank before opening Fiesta Oriental. He prides himself on staying true to his Filipino roots, right down to watching television shows from the Philippines in the store and speaking to customers in Tagalog, the country’s official language, or one of its many dialects.

And in addition to Filipinos, who come from as far away as Manassas and Maryland to shop at his store, local schoolchildren will now have to go elsewhere for their after-school snacks.

“When the school bus stops there, the kids are going to come and get their candy and soda,” Sunga said. “Just last week I told them that I’m closing up the store next month, and they said, ‘Why? Why are you doing this to me?'”

For the family, Fiesta Oriental was a major part of growing up in Arlington. Sunga’s three daughters, Audrey, Alyssa and Angelica, all worked there at least part-time from elementary school onwards and helped on Sunday when they would cook and sell homemade Filipino dishes.

The store is open every day from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., except Sundays, when it closes at 6 p.m.

Audrey Sunga, who has a 2-year-old son, Emmett, and another baby due in August, said it is a shame that the family business will close before they are old enough to appreciate it.

“We’re going to start buying rice for the first time in our lives,” she joked. “For Emmett and the baby on the way, it’s kind of sad they won’t be able to see this. We grew up with it our whole lives, so it’s sad to see it go.”

Fred Sunga, meanwhile, said he is looking forward to being a “stay-at-home grandpa,” and enjoying more time with his family. Both Audrey and Alyssa work in Arlington and graduated from VCU, while Angelica is still there studying electrical engineering.

While he is excited to start the next chapter of his life, Fred Sunga said it is hard when customers are clearly upset he is leaving.

“I’m going to miss the store that I’m doing every day,” he said. “Especially when my customers, when they come here and I’m telling them I’m retiring next month, I feel so sad when they say, ‘Oh my God, I’m going to miss you.’ Some old people, they cry when I tell them I’m retiring.”

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