New Invasive Species Found in Arlington — A county contractor has found Wavyleaf Basketgrass, a particularly prolific invasive species, in Donaldson Run Park. The plant was removed but the county is now on the lookout for more. [Arlington County]
Murky Coffee Owner Still Owes County — Nicholas Cho, the proprietor of Murky Coffee, which closed six years ago in Clarendon, recently repaid his tax debts to the District of Columbia but still owes Arlington more than $84,000 in unpaid meals taxes and interest. [Washington Post]
Lyft Sees Lift in Arlington Corporate Customers — For some reason ride hailing service Lyft is seeing a relatively large increase in business from corporate customers in Arlington. [Pymnts]
Flickr pool photo by David Giambarresi
A new independent coffee shop is slated to open at some point in the near future in the Clarendon area.
The shop, called Blumen Cafe, is coming to the space that formerly held CD Cellar at 2607 Wilson Blvd, which is about halfway between the Courthouse and Clarendon Metro stations. Signs for the forthcoming cafe state that the business is “coming soon.”
Though we were unable to contact the proprietor behind the cafe, Andira Jabbari, for comment, real estate agent Kenneth Matzkin — who helped lease the property to Jabbari — was able to provide some insight.
The cafe will bring “high-end teas and coffee” and snacks to the space as early as some time this month, Matzkin said.
“They’re putting in a boatload of money to make it look nice,” Matzkin said. “They’re also going to open it up in the front so you could walk directly to the sidewalk from the space.”
But Matzkin cautioned that the end result is still subject to change.
A building permit application has been filed to convert the former music store at 2607 Wilson Blvd — roughly half-way between the Clarendon and Courthouse Metro stations — to a coffee shop.
The permit application doesn’t name the coffee shop, but the listed permit holder, a Courthouse resident named Andira Jabbari, recently registered the domain name Blumencafe.net, according to a Google search.
A website has yet to be set up at that domain and no other information about the coffee shop was immediately available.
CD Cellar closed in January and moved its inventory to its store in Falls Church.
Hat tip to Chris Slatt
Sweet Leaf Café is planning to open another Ballston location.
The new café should open before the end of the year, but the company does not have a set opening date, said Sweet Leaf CEO Andre Matini.
The new Ballston location at 800 N. Glebe Road is about a 10 minute walk from the company’s first café in Ballston (650 N. Quincy Street).
“Our first Ballston location is doing really well. Having another one in the area will reduce some of the load for our team and for customers,” Matini said.
Sweet Leaf — which serves coffee, breakfast, sandwiches and salads — is planning to open a new café at Tysons Corner Center mall, as well. Both the Ballston and Tysons restaurants are set to open in winter 2015, as listed on the company’s website.
“We want to make healthy eating available, we also want people to be able to stop in as conveniently as possible. We think everyone wants to eat healthy,” Matini said. “Unfortunately, it can more more convenient to grab a value meal instead. Opening another location [in Ballston] will help us achieve our goal.”
The company is thinking about expanding into Rosslyn and Clarendon, Matini said, adding that the original Ballston and Courthouse locations have been doing well.
“We have had a great experience opening our first location in Courthouse and our second location in Ballston, the community has a real appreciation for health oriented, natural, tasty and affordable meals in a fast-casual environment,” Matini said.
Sweet Leaf is currently hiring for the Ballston location and is looking for chefs, assistant managers and shift leaders. Job applications can be found on the company’s website.
Hat tip to Rick Williams
The Board is scheduled to vote on the lease at its Saturday meeting. The lease calls for rent of the 1,875 square foot restaurant space inside the community center to start at $43,200 annually, or $23.04 per square foot. That will rise to more than $30 per square foot by the end of the lease.
The tenant is Alami Abderrahim, a former manager at Lebanese Taverna and owner of the now-closed Moroccan restaurant Souk on H Street NE in D.C.
“Mr. Abderrahim is a cooking enthusiast and has a cooking channel on YouTube,” county staff note in a report to the Board. “He currently owns and operates a women’s clothing store in the District, Tangerine Boutique, which he plans to continue operating.”
At Arlington Mill, Abderrahim plans to open a cafe called “Root,” which will serve “fresh and healthy Mediterranean cuisine” along with “coffee and coffee-based drinks, tea, soup, hot and cold sandwiches, salads, juices, breakfast, various entrees, and a small selection of pastries.”
The coffee, breakfast and lunch/dinner menus for Root have already been posted online. The restaurant will front Columbia Pike on the Dinwiddie Street level of the building.
The lease calls for Abderrahim to pay utility costs and real estate taxes, but the county will foot the bill for $290,000 worth of necessary construction, including a new HVAC system, vents and utility equipment.
The county estimates the restaurant will open at some point during the latter half of 2015.
The former tenant of the space, Pan American Bakery and Cafe, was released from its lease last year. The county said the owners backed out of the lease “because of personal and family health problems.”
APS Bans E-Cigarettes — The Arlington School Board on Dec. 4 voted to ban students from bringing e-cigarettes onto school grounds. Arlington Public Schools is also stepping up its effort to warn students and residents of the prospective dangers of e-cigarettes. [InsideNova]
‘Polish Night’ at Clarendon Cafe — Oby Lee, the cafe and wine bar at 3000 Washington Blvd in Clarendon, will be josting a “Polish night” on Friday. The cafe will include traditional Polish dishes like pierogi, golabki cabbage, krokiety crepes and jablecznik apple pie. [Clarendon Nights]
Stamos to Return to ACDC Good Graces — Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos is expected to be welcomed back to the Arlington County Democratic Committee within a month. Stamos and the committee parted ways earlier this year after she endorsed independent John Vihstadt for County Board. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Mrs. Gemstone
Trade Roots (5852 Washington Blvd) in Westover has expanded with a new cafe.
The fair trade store recently renovated and opened the cafe, which serves fair trade coffee, tea and baked goods from two local bakeries: LeoNora Gourmet and Vera’s Bakery. Owner Lisa Ostroff, who’s preparing to celebrate two years in business next month, says the cafe will help the store serve the community and boost foot traffic.
“The store has received a warm response from customers throughout Northern Virginia, and we wanted to make Trade Roots even more of a gathering space for the neighborhood,” she said.
The Trade Roots cafe will offer a “cup club” whereby frequent customers can bring in fair trade mug and have it hung on the wall, to be used during their next visit. The club will reduce the cafe’s use of paper products, Ostroff said.
Trade Roots carries a variety of goods — including jewelry, clothes and home goods — that are eco-friendly, sustainable and produced by artisans for a fair wage.
Photo via Trade Roots, Facebook
A new cafe is now open in Lyon Park, the only coffee shop in the mostly residential neighborhood.
Mocha Cafe & Pastry, at 2720 Washington Blvd, opened April 19, serving fresh baked goods from owner Minoo Taheri and her daughter, Fojan, as well as several types of cold and hot coffee drinks, including Turkish coffee — which Minoo Taheri said is one of her most popular items — and café glacé, a coffee, milk and ice cream drink.
Taheri’s full-time job is working for Fairfax County, but she said she would bake almost every day and bring the results into work. Eventually, she heard enough coworkers tell her to open a bakery that she decided to go through with it.
“I would bake because I was happy, but I would also bake because I was sad,” she said in her café yesterday afternoon. “It really comes from the soul for me.”
Mocha opens at 7:00 a.m. daily and closes at 9:00 p.m. It serves breakfast fare like bacon, egg and cheese croissants, and sandwiches like the Persian chicken salad — an homage to Taheri’s home country of Iran — and pesto turkey panini.
The community has already responded positively, Taheri said, and she even has a couple of customers who come in every day, use the free WiFi and drink Turkish coffee. Soon, her customers will be able to try her true specialty: eclairs. When she gets the proper fridge, she plans on serving eclairs stuffed with pistachios, caramel, mango and coffee flavors.
No Metro Work This Weekend — In an occurrence that’s somewhat rare these days, there is no Metro rebuilding work planned on the Blue, Orange or Yellow Lines this weekend. [WMATA]
New Rosslyn Cafe to Open Monday — Caffe Aficionado, a new independent coffee shop at 1919 N. Lynn Street in Rosslyn, is scheduled to officially open on Monday, according to owner Adiam Berhane. The cafe is also holding events for neighbors today and Saturday.
Chamber Joins Small Biz Shopping Initiative — The Arlington Chamber of Commerce has partnered with the organizers of Arlington Small Business Day. The Chamber will help promote the holiday shopping day, which debuted last year and is scheduled for Nov. 30. [Sun Gazette]
Flickr pool photo by Ddimick
The new Sweet Leaf Cafe in Courthouse quietly opened its doors this past weekend and handed out free food to customers who stopped in. Now, the restaurant is officially open for business.
Sweet Leaf Cafe moved in at 2200 Wilson Blvd, formerly occupied by Hikaru Sushi. It is the third location, with others in McLean and Vienna. Owner Arita Matini said she’s been wanting to expand into Arlington for a while.
“I love the young environment here, it’s so refreshing,” she said.
Matini believes the cafe stands out because it doesn’t specialize in just one food item. Customers can pick up a little bit of everything, including sandwiches, smoothies, coffee or all day breakfast items. There is also a kids menu and a variety of freshly baked treats.
“We try to do a little bit of everything but also try to keep it simple. We care about providing really good quality food and being part of the community,” said Matini. “Customer service is really big for me. I want to be sure that everyone who comes in is really happy when they leave.”
Matini grew up in Northern Virginia and was an interior design major at Marymount University. She was inspired to get into the restaurant business during her commute to and from Marymount because she felt there were too many chain restaurants in the area. She sought help from her mom, who owns Sweet Stuff in McLean. Matini says all the members of her family now play some role at Sweet Leaf Cafe.
“It wasn’t really something that we thought we were going to do, it was one of those things that kind of just happened. We all loved it and it was successful and we wanted to open another one,” said Matini. “My parents definitely helped me out. Without them, this probably wouldn’t have happened.”
From the couches in the lounge area to the doorknobs functioning as coat hooks to the pieces of an old chicken coop serving as a holder for bags of chips, Matini’s interior design education shows through. She travels around the area searching for unique antiques to adorn the restaurant. She describes the vibe as “farm fresh, country, like your mother’s home.” The free sunflower seeds placed on the table for customers to munch on also add to the country feel.
If things go well with the new location, Matini would like to expand into other areas of Arlington, such as Rosslyn. She hopes to have a grand opening celebration in a few weeks. Until then, the staff will continue serving the curious customers who have been steadily coming in.
“It’s been a good welcome to the neighborhood,” said Matini. “Everybody’s been really nice and welcoming.”
Little City Gourmet, a new restaurant and coffee shop in the East Falls Church neighborhood, is slated to hold its Grand Opening on April 15.
Located in The Crescent building at 2121 N. Westmoreland Street, three blocks from the East Falls Church Metro station and a block from the W&OD Trail, the cafe will fill a void in the neighborhood left by the closing of Bear Rock Cafe.
“Little City Gourmet will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner — with specialized kids’ menus — as well as specialty desserts,” the restaurant said in a press release. “Illy coffee, fine wines and craft beers will also be offered. The café will offer dine-in seating for approximately 20, with outdoor sidewalk seating available as well.”
Executive Chef and owner Rachelle Slotnick says the cafe will emphasize its food menu.
“Much of the food will be made daily on-site or sourced from our local business partners,” she said. “We will offer a range of meal options for our guests, from ‘grab and go’ meals for take-out or eat-in, to a chef-selected ‘daily dinner’ that can be pre-ordered online and taken home, to tapas-style dinners for groups looking to share a leisurely meal at our café.”
Little City Gourmet will be open Monday to Friday from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Free Wi-Fi and free garage parking will be offered.
Photos courtesy Little City Gourmet
Building permits are up at the former Hikaru Sushi space at 2200 Wilson Blvd, one block from the Courthouse Metro. At that location, Sweet Leaf will be competing with a nearby Starbucks and Java Shack for cafe customers, but will fill something of a salad void following the closure of Rabbit Salad and Grill in Clarendon.
Sweet Leaf’s menu includes breakfast items, sandwiches, salads, ice cream, frozen yogurt, cupcakes and other pastries, tea, coffee and espresso drinks.
Owned by Arita and Andre Matini, Sweat Leaf Cafe first opened in McLean when the siblings were just 22 and 27, according to the restaurant’s website. The Vienna location opened in 2011.
One local business owner, who didn’t want his name used for this article, lauded Sweet Leaf and its owners.
“I think it will be f–king awesome for this neighborhood,” he said. “That’s one of the places we need around here, I think it’s great news and they’re really great people.”
The Ballston location of the Marvelous Market, a small regional chain of gourmet food stores/cafes, has closed permanently.
Located at 888 N. Quincy Street, the store closed its doors for good on Monday, a tipster said. The contents of the store — including tables, signs, sinks, appliances and electronics — were promptly put up for auction.
The store was owned by a independent franchisee, not the chain’s parent company, according to Ryland Johnson, the director of operations for the Marvelous Market. There are currently 5 company-owned stores and 2 franchise stores open in the D.C. area, he said.
Johnson declined further comment.
The Ballston store is not the only Marvelous Market location to close recently. A McLean location closed in March, a Reston location and a Tenlytown (D.C.) location closed last year, and today it was revealed that the chain’s Capitol Hill franchise has severed ties with the company and reopened as “The Silver Spork.”
According to the company’s web site, the Ballston location was the last remaining Marvelous Market in Virginia.
Hat tip to @zippychance
Arax Cafe (5852 Washington Blvd) in the Westover neighborhood has closed its doors for good.
A sign in the window of the now-empty coffee shop reads: “To our extended family… we are sorry to announce we are closing at the end of the month. Thank you for 11 fabulous years!”
Arax Cafe enjoyed generally positive reviews on Yelp, where patrons raved about the shop’s Armenian specialties, including pastries and meat pies.
Hat tip to Megan F.
Senor Pan opened its doors yesterday at 922 S. Walter Reed Drive. The South American bakery/cafe serves specialty baked goods and coffee, as well as a variety of other dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The menu includes breakfast sandwiches, empanadas, pupusas, and quesadillas. There are sides like fried yucca and fried plantain. And there’s a hot bar where you choose a meat and various toppings and place it either in an arepa, tostada, tortilla, pita, salad bowl or rice bowl.
While Senor Pan is primarily South American, there are other culinary influences at work. Co-owner Andres Vives brings and Italian influence to the restaurant, and Senor Pan’s pastry chef — who hails from France — brings a French influence.
Senor Pan will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.