A Panera Bread appears to be moving into the old Cosi location in Ballston, according to online permit records.
The permit, filed with Arlington County, describes the work as “interior alterations for new tenant fitout for restaurant Panera Bread.”
The restaurant will take up 3,426 square feet of space at the former Cosi outpost at the base of an office building at 4250 N. Fairfax Drive, near the Ballston Metro station.
A call and an email to Panera Bread were not returned before deadline.
Despite multiple locations within close proximity in D.C., Arlington is home to only one Panera outpost, in Rosslyn. Others ring around the county in Falls Church, Bailey’s Crossroads and Alexandria.
Cosi, the fast-casual restaurant chain built on flatbread sandwiches, closed up shop in Ballston in December 2019. Its locations in Crystal City and Virginia Square followed suit in early January of 2020.
The closures occured as the company filed for bankruptcy protection. A Rosslyn location continued operating as the sole D.C. area outpost on this side of the Potomac River until closing in early 2021.
Hat tip to Leslie K.
(Updated at 2:20 p.m.) Fans of the New York-based bakery Mah-Ze-Dahr can now enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner daily at its offshoot in Crystal City.
The restaurant at 1550 Crystal Drive broadened its menu offerings this past Thursday — two years after opening with a more limited menu of pastries, baked goods and coffee drinks.
The Crystal City outpost was initially supposed to serve breakfast through dinner, though those plans were derailed by Covid, co-owner Michael Reginbogin told ARLnow.
Since the bakery opened a year into the pandemic, when most workers were still remote, he and his partners chose to stick to baked goods — including donuts some say are New York City’s best and Oprah-endorsed pastries.
“We scaled the menu to a bakery only because the guests just would not have been there enough to enjoy them,” Reginbogin said.
Thankfully, he said, the café survived Covid and, with the expansion, can cash in on the return to in-person work and the recent opening of the first phase of its Arlington HQ2.
“We’re moving in the right direction,” he said.
Mah-Ze-Dahr, rechristened Mah-Ze-Dahr Café, now serves bread pudding french toast, salads, sandwiches, quiches, steak frites and more, all day long.
Reginbogin said Mah-Ze-Dahr Café had a successful (re)opening day last week.
“Everything has been going well. We have already sold out of a few items. The demand is definitely there,” Reginbogin said. “The all-day flexibility of the new menu seems to be hitting a homerun with locals and office workers returning to the area.”
No changes to the space were necessary beyond hiring more staff to serve more customers, Reginbogin said.
Across the river in D.C., Mah-Ze-Dahr has a bakery and a bistro called Bistro Du Jour, according to its website.
(Updated at 11 a.m.) An athletic club and coworking space totalling more than 100,000 square feet says it will be opening this summer in Clarendon.
Construction on Life Time at 1440 N. Edgewood Street has been underway for some time, following the August 2021 announcement that it was coming to a renovated office building that’s part of The Crossing Clarendon retail center.
Billing itself as an “athletic country club,” Life Time will have high-end fitness facilities including multiple studios, childcare facilities, a salon and spa, a cafe and lounge, and — rounding it out — a 28,000 square foot coworking space.
A preview center for the club is now open, Life Time says, and an opening is expected mid-summer. A press release announcing the opening is below.
Life Time (NYSE: LTH), will open its athletic country club and debut Life Time Work, the first D.C. metro area destination and coworking development, later this summer in Clarendon. A preview center, at 1440 North Edgewood Street, Arlington, is now open for prospective members to learn more about both Life Time and Life Time Work and be among the first to join the development.
The Life Time addition will be a main anchor for Regency Center’s The Crossing Clarendon, a multi-block stretch of mixed-used development with shops, restaurants and offices.
The Crossing was selected because of the vibrant neighborhood, ideal for the more than 113,000 square-foot, four-story Life Time destination featuring an 85,000 square-foot athletic country club and 28,000 square-foot premium coworking space.
“Arlington is regarded as a healthy, vibrant and growing community, and The Crossing Clarendon is consistently voted “Best of Arlington” by Arlington Magazine, making it a terrific location for Life Time and our offerings,” said Jeff Zwiefel, Life Time executive vice president and chief operating officer. “We are excited to debut Life Time here with our athletic country club and our premium workspace, which will provide our members with first-class healthy and wellness experiences for themselves and their families.”
Designed for individuals and companies, Life Time Work will feature highly functional private offices, open-plan workspaces, conference rooms, along with multiple, amenities, flexible monthly memberships and access to every Life Time athletic country club nationwide.
The breadth of programs, services and amenities at Life Time Clarendon athletic country club will include:
- Six dedicated studios hosting more than 100 weekly Life Time Large Group Classes in barre, cycle, group fitness, Pilates and yoga, with additional spaces for Signature Small Group Training programs Alpha, GTX and Ultra Fit.
- Personal Trainers to lead members through highly personalized sessions across the spacious, state-of-the-art workout floor featuring top-of-the-line cardiovascular and strength training equipment.
- LT Recovery for athletic performance and recovery featuring metabolic assessments, nutrition coaching, sports and athletic recovery treatments and chiropractic care.
- [A PR rep tells ARLnow that these items, an outdoor beach club and a basketball court, we’re included erroneously.]
- Kids Academy with infant and toddler areas and three studios for programming, including a Kids Gym, an activity/movement studio and an art/language studio for children up to age 11.
- LifeSpa salon and spa services, including hair, nail, esthetician and massage services.
- LifeCafe and Life Time Lounge with a full-service, fast casual menu featuring wholesome food from protein shakes and smoothies to salad, sandwiches and bowls, and children’s meals.
- ARORA classes, programs and community for older adults who want to stay healthy and social.
A well-regarded corner market in Rosslyn appears to be closed.
When ARLnow stopped by Gallery Market & Cafe at 1800 N. Oak Street earlier this week, the lights were off, chairs were stacked, and the majority of the equipment was cleared out. The phone number is disconnected as well.
It’s not immediately clear when the convenience store, deli, and dry cleaner might have closed at the corner of N. Oak Street and Key Blvd, though a tipster said it happened at the beginning of the year.
ARLnow has reached out to both the property owner and business owner but we have yet to hear back definitive word about the status of the market as of publication.
The small business had been open for more than a decade at least, per Yelp reviews, most of which have been positive.
“Amazing sandwiches and the nicest owners. Love coming here to support local,” reads one from this past March. “Staff is always courteous about making substitutions (: try the club combo!”
Elsewhere in Rosslyn, a newer, higher end twist on the traditional corner market opened earlier this month nearby. Foxtrot, which describes itself as a “boutique” market, cafe, and convenience store, opened its doors at 1771 N. Pierce Street. It’s about a two-block walk from Gallery Market & Cafe.
Hat tip to Matt Sinisca
Changes are happening within the Columbia Pike-based nonprofit La Cocina VA.
Over time, it widened its focus to help immigrants, refugees and unhoused people from all backgrounds. Founder Paty Funegra tells ARLnow the nonprofit was renamed Kitchen of Purpose last month to recognize that shift formally. She also gave a heads-up of some other changes slated for the new year.
Kitchen of Purpose will be putting an $80,000 grant from longtime supporter Bank of America to use to address food insecurity and support workforce development. Meanwhile, the nonprofit will be updating the menu and adding outdoor seating to the café it operates out of its facility at 918 S. Lincoln Street in a bid to attract new customers. Kitchen of Purpose moved into the facility in 2020.
Funegra says the name change was a years-long process that wrapped up last month.
“It didn’t take too long until we had applicants to our program from other ethnicities, immigrants from other places, Americans who speak good English who were interested in food service as career opportunities,” she said.
While La Cocina VA began offering classes in English by 2018, “we were always labeled as ‘La Cocina only serves the Hispanic community,'” Funegra said.
She says many of Asian, Middle Eastern and Eastern European descent — mostly women — have applied to Kitchen of Purpose’s small business incubator program.
“They already utilize food as not only a way of gathering families, but creating something,” she said.
Bank of America’s $80,000 grant will increase the number of meals Kitchen of Purpose can provide to people in affordable housing and homeless shelters, to senior residents and public schools children during the summer. A portion will support the nonprofit’s workforce development program that helps unemployed people get jobs and training in food service and hospitality.
“It definitely is a large contribution,” she said. “We project this is around 10,000 meals that we can provide our clients, using part of this grant.”
Starting in February, customers can order from the new food menu, with international flavors, Sunday brunch, plus beer, wine and cocktails. The interior will be redesigned and, by the spring, there should be outdoor seating.
“We want to bring more attention to the café,” Funegra said. “Like any other establishment, we’re surviving the pandemic… Some people know about us, but we want to come out with a new look, new name and new personnel to bring clients and raise awareness about us.”
It’s a far cry from where she started: a 167-square-foot kitchen in a church basement. To help small business owners make similar kinds of moves, she says in the near future she wants to provide microloans. That way, they can start building credit and eventually qualify for bigger loans.
“They have the talent, knowledge and passion, but because of their condition, they face barriers to obtain a small seed capital loan,” she said. “We’re exploring opportunities to create a fund that would allow us to inject capital — $5,000 to $10,000 loans — to these entrepreneurs so they can start generating business.”
A new cafe and lounge is hoping to open in Crystal City within the next couple of months, the owner tells ARLnow.
Crush Cafe at 546 23rd Street S. comes from Yoseph Abegaz, who owns Flirt Lounge next door. It’s filling a space that was once occupied by a dry cleaners and shoe repair shop. The location was first rented last June and a building permit to alter the interior was first applied for in September.
The new cafe is set to serve coffee, Abegaz tells ARLnow, as well as beer, wine, and mixed alcoholic beverages.
Abegaz described the new cafe as essentially an “expansion” of Flirt Lounge, a hookah bar and lounge that opened in 2016. He declined to give an exact timeframe about when his newest venture may open, only that they are still in the midst of licensing and permits.
It will be at least a “couple of months” before Crush Cafe can open, Abegaz said.
That strip of 23rd Street S. is known as “restaurant row.” With Amazon HQ2 moving in down the road and extensive development happening in the neighborhood, there remains some questions of the aging, low-slung retail strip’s long term viability.
Nonetheless, much like Crush Cafe, new eateries continue to set their sights there.
Beauty Champagne & Sugar Boutique just started serving bubbly earlier this month at the corner of 23rd Street S. and Fern Street. A halal restaurant franchise is hoping to open a new concept by the end of the year on S. Eads Street, just around the corner from Crush Cafe’s new home. A half block down, a Korean rice dog eatery was planning for an early 2022 opening but that appears to be delayed, with the restaurant’s website still not accepting orders.
With construction nearly complete, Bar Ivy in Clarendon is aiming to open later this month.
Tables and chairs are already out at the large outdoor cafe at 3033 Wilson Blvd, located a block from the Clarendon Metro station. Workers appeared to be putting the finishing touches on the coffee kiosk as much of the signage has also gone up.
The hope is to open Bar Ivy sometime in the second half of May, a spokesperson tells ARLnow.
Bar Ivy is aiming for a “cool, relaxed vibe of the West Coast with a Mid-Atlantic approach to ingredients,” said an April press release. It’s set to have a large 125-seat patio that will be shaded by mature crepe myrtles. There will also be a 20-seat interior bar plus several booths.
“Guests can expect an elegant but laid-back atmosphere with subtle influences from the opposite coast, with attractive garden dining, an open, airy bungalow-style interior,” the release says.
Bar Ivy is from D.C.-based Blagden Hospitality Group, which owns several popular bars and restaurants in the District as well as Hei Hei Tiger in Tysons. This is the restaurant group’s first foray into Arlington, though Bar Ivy chef/owner Nathan Beauchamp and Executive Chef Jonathan Till previously worked at Restaurant Eve and Evening Star Cafe, respectively, in Alexandria.
Bar Ivy will initially be open for dinner with a small kiosk serving coffee and pastries all day. The plan is to eventually serve lunch and brunch as well.
The menu will be “heavily influenced by seafood and vegetable-forward dishes,” according to the press release.
The beverage program will be “seasonal herb and produce-forward” along with house-made fortified wines, vermouth, and amari utilizing “self-foraged ingredients.” There will also be a separate menu dedicated to low/no-alcohol drinks.
The menu and exact hours are expected to be announced in the coming weeks. The restaurant group is already planning to open a second Bar Ivy in Bethesda.
A one-stop-shop for a workout and a post-workout meal is gearing up to open in the former Ray’s the Steaks location in Courthouse.
The forthcoming gym-café, FitDistrict, will have a little bit of everything: studios for hot yoga, cycling and interval training classes, and a diverse menu ranging from wheatgrass shots to healthified comfort classics, like shepherd’s pie.
“This has been a dream in the making for a long time,” says owner and founder Catherine Ford, who is also an Arlington resident.
Construction began about two weeks ago on the approximately 7,500-square foot space in the Navy League building at 2300 Wilson Blvd. It housed the iconic, no-frills steakhouse until that closed in 2019.
She expects to open the gym and restaurant at the same time in July.
“We’re all so busy and we are all are craving belonging and community — now more than ever — so it’s going to be fitness and food, but it’s about belonging and community,” she said. “Our tagline is ‘feel good here,’ because that’s what it’s about.”
After finishing a workout, gym members can head over to the café, which will have indoor and outdoor seating, or pick up a to-go order they placed before their workout. Ford designed the menu, which has vegan, vegetarian and paleo-friendly options.
“The whole idea came out of something I wanted in my own life and my personal struggles of fitting it all in,” she said.
As a financial planner, Ford had difficulty finding time for her two passions: attending group fitness classes and cooking healthy food. As someone who enjoyed a variety of workouts, she maintained multiple memberships to different boutique gyms.
The idea for one spot housing multiple studios and a restaurant came to her 10 years ago, when she was hungry after a barre class she had squeezed in before a meeting. She mulled the concept for years before deciding to act on it.
“I am grateful I found the courage a couple of years ago to go after it,” she said. “This has been a journey of a lifetime already.”
Ford incorporated FitDistrict in 2017 and found a bank to work with her in 2018. It took her a few years to find the right location, but she eventually signed a lease on the space a little more than a year ago. Now, she’s focused on construction and hiring for multiple positions.
She still works as a financial planner by day, but her hope is to go full time and, eventually, add locations.
The two nightlife venues replacing Whitlow’s on Wilson are gearing up to open over the next few months.
Taking over the long-time local watering hole, which closed in June after more than 25 years in Clarendon, are B Live and Coco B’s.
“We are thrilled to open B Live early spring, and Coco B’s late summer,” Bramson tells ARLnow. “We do not have anticipated opening dates yet, but construction and design are well underway for both concepts.”
Additional details will come soon, he said.
Building permits indicate B Live will occupy the first floor and possibly the basement of the space and Coco B’s will be the name of the old rooftop tiki bar at Whitlow’s. (The name Coco B’s could be a nod to the tiki bar theme, or to the noted local TikTok personality whose spats with two Arlington bars attracted considerable attention last summer.)
Bramson’s updates come after last Tuesday’s County Board approval of use permits for live entertainment and dancing at the two spots, as well as for a 48-seat outdoor café at B Live. The approvals came despite opposition from some neighbors over noise concerns.
The County Board approved the following operating hours: 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to midnight on Sundays, which a county report says are similar to those of neighboring bars.
The Lyon Village Civic Association proposed earlier cut-off times of 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, the report said.
Board members instead approved a recommendation from county staff to review these permits this November and evaluate how successful the bars are at mitigating sounds.
Bramson says the spots will have sound panels and dampening curtains and speakers will be strategically placed to lessen noise levels.
“We are a neighborhood spot and want the community to be comfortable whether they are within the spaces or living nearby,” he said. “We hope our proactive response and action have served to allay any residential apprehension and show that we are taking their concerns very seriously.”
Noise from Whitlow’s was a source of consternation for neighbors that resulted in operating hours being curtailed from 2 a.m. to midnight, plus a requirement to install sound dampening panels and curtains, county planner Cedric Southerland told the County Board last Tuesday.
“That came after years and years trying to work with them to remedy their sound impacts on the neighborhood,” Southerland said. “Additionally, that issue is what preceded the formation of the Clarendon Live Entertainment Group (CLEG), along with other bars and restaurants coming online at that time.”
Established in 2002, the CLEG brings together county staff, restaurant owners and neighbors to address concerns and coordinate code enforcement. Southerland says recently, the CLEG has been meeting fewer times per year, which he takes to be a sign that the group is addressing the concerns that led to its creation two decades ago.
But not all neighbors say mechanisms like the CLEG actually help residents enjoy their homes. Julissa Marenco told the County Board on Tuesday that staff are not sufficiently enforcing noise violations and these organizations do not actually go to bat for neighbors.
“We are all in support of music, we are all in support of living in an urban dwelling, we understand the considerations that come with living in these neighborhoods,” she said. “But it’s now at a point on Wilson Blvd, in Clarendon, that it’s having a tremendous impact on individuals.”
A new vegan food and beverage truck is serving up coffee with a cause on Wilson Blvd in Ballston.
Pink Star Cafe opened its truck window Sunday, Oct. 3. and plans to remain parked in the area until it raises enough money to open a brick-and-mortar storefront.
But selling treats and cafe drinks is not owner Mohamed Jalloh’s top priority. His mission is to use the profits to fund a health clinic in his family’s home country of Sierra Leone.
“We’re going to give general checkups, menstrual products and necessities for those who don’t have access to them,” said Jalloh, a first-generation American who grew up in the D.C. area.
Jalloh plans to set up the clinic in early January in Freetown, the nation’s capital and the city where his mother lived before emigrating to the U.S. The three-day clinic will be run by some Sierra Leonean medical professionals who are the first in their families to become medical professionals.
How much money he dedicates to the cause will depend on what his profit margins look like by January, he says.
“As we grow, the plan is eventually to create bigger and better health clinics yearly, build more water wells and get people access to food,” said Jalloh.
Here in Ballston, Pink Star Cafe serves up classic, creative and seasonal espresso drinks, from lattes to purple hot chocolate to caramel apple tea lattes. It also offers vegan pastries, including glazed doughnuts, confetti cupcakes and seasonal treats, such as pumpkin cookies.
Jalloh said vegan treats are an integral part of ensuring the cafe is “socially and economically conscious.” He gets the vegan baked goods from a husband-and-wife duo in Austin, Texas.
“I wanted to work with a company that’s just as small as I am,” said Jalloh. “I just love supporting other small businesses. ‘I’m small, you’re small, let’s get big together or let’s just stay small.'”
The entrepreneur says he has spent much of his life working in the food service industry, learning from his mother how to sell food in crowded areas and give back to his community. Opening a food truck was a natural next step.
“My mom didn’t have an education, so when she first came from Sierra Leone, she had a hot dog stand outside of RFK Stadium where the Redskins — now Washington Football Team — used to play,” he said. “Every summer, when I wasn’t in school, I would work with her. She’d give me a cooler and I would sell water and Gatorade. Eventually, she went from a hot dog stand to a food truck. She’d drive around and feed construction workers while they were building up D.C.”
The Howard University alumnus first set up shop in Los Angeles in mid-2020. The locale and clientele inspired the name, he says, since “everybody in LA wants to be a star, so Pink Star is the place where everyone gets to be treated like a star.”
But he soon felt the pull to move back to the D.C. area.
“Los Angeles is a cool place but I just love it here,” he said. “I’m also a fall person, fall is my favorite season of the year. Fall and winter, it don’t get no better than that.”
Clarendon is getting a new café and bar with an emphasis on outdoor drinking and dining.
Construction permits were approved earlier this summer for a new restaurant at 3303 Wilson Blvd, with expansive outdoor seating and a 120 square foot outdoor kiosk. The new establishment will be called “Bar Ivy” and will also feature a nearly 3,000 square foot indoor space on the ground floor, permit applications suggest.
Last October the County Board considered a request from the owner of the office building to allow an outdoor café and kiosk in an existing, sparsely-used plaza area along Wilson Blvd, near the intersection with N. Highland Street and catty-corner from the Clarendon Metro station.
From our reporting at the time:
The proposed café would have 125 seats outside and 59 seats inside, according to a county staff report.
“The outdoor café will occupy the majority of the existing plaza and be enclosed by moveable planters,” the staff report notes. “Although all existing trees will be maintained, the existing raised planter walls will be redesigned to accommodate the outdoor seating.”
The kiosk will serve “grab-and-go beverages” to both passersby as well as those dining at the outdoor café. It’s being considered by the County Board separately from the café.
“The kiosk will operate the same hours as the restaurant and outdoor café and will be located on private property at the corner of Wilson Boulevard and North Highland Street,” the staff report says.
According to a county staff report, the approval was granted on the condition that it applies to just one restaurant operator: a company called Meowlington LLC.
The LLC was formed in March 2020 by Greg Algie, records show. Algie was a business partner in the former Fado Irish Pub in D.C.’s Chinatown neighborhood and is the founder of Blagden Hospitality Group, the company behind a number of trendy D.C. restaurants including Tiger Fork, Calico, The Fainting Goat and Primrose.
Construction permits for the new restaurant were issued to Hospitality Construction Services, which counts Tiger Fork among its former projects. The company’s past projects also include the Ballston Quarter food hall and The Italian Store.
Outside 3033 Wilson Blvd today, fencing was up around the plaza and some excavation activity could be seen. Adjacent to the plaza, doors to an under-construction ground floor space were propped open.
There’s no word on when how long construction might take nor when the new restaurant may open, though such projects usually take a few months at a minimum.
A PR rep for Blagden Hospitality Group did not immediately respond to a request for comment.