Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

GMU to Expand Va. Square Campus — “George Mason University wants to transform its Arlington campus into an ‘innovation district’ as it kicks off an Amazon-inspired overhaul… Mason expects to use the expansion to add 3,000 to 4,000 graduate students to the campus by 2024.” [Washington Business Journal]

Man Arrested For Assaulting Police in Ballston — “At approximately 8:32 p.m. on September 11, police were dispatched the report of a disorderly subject inside a restaurant who had allegedly been throwing items and threatening staff. Upon police arrival, the business staff requested the subject be banned from the property. While speaking with the subject, he threatened an officer and took a defensive stance. While placing him under arrest, the subject became combative, kicked and spit at the officers.” [Arlington County]

Home Inventory Tight in Arlington — “New listings in Arlington declined 16.5% in August compared with last year, said Chris Finnegan, vice president at Bright MLS. The median sale price for all home types in the 22202 ZIP code, where Amazon is building and staffing up HQ2, was $749,000 in August. It’s a 23% jump since the company made its HQ2 announcement in November 2018.” [Washington Business Journal, InsideNova]

Coffee Beanery Open in Va. Square — Coffee Beanery, a coffee chain with locations across the northeast, has opened a new location at 3444 Fairfax Drive in Virginia Square. [Facebook]

Tech Company Picks Arlington for U.S. HQ — ” Varjo, the technology leader in industrial-grade VR/XR headsets, today announced the opening of its U.S. headquarters… in Arlington, Virginia, located just outside of Washington D.C.” [Varjo via Potomac Tech Wire]

Potomac Kempo Now Open — Martial arts studio Potomac Kempo yesterday held a grand opening ceremony for its fifth location, at 3650 S. Glebe Road, in the Potomac Yard area. The studio started holding classes on Aug. 31, we’re told. [Facebook]

Video: USS Arlington Crew Welcomed at Fire Station — “Crew members from the USS Arlington were welcomed at Arlington’s Fire Station 5 before running in the The Arlington Police, Fire & Sheriff 9/11 Memorial Race. The USS Arlington honors the 184 victims and the thousands of emergency, fire and rescue personnel of Arlington County and localities in the National Capital Region who provided critical emergency assistance after the attack on 9/11.” [YouTube]

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A fresh new cafe and Asian eatery called Open Kitchen is now open in Rosslyn.

The cafe is tucked away on the ground floor of Arlington Tower (1300 17th Street N.) but seemed relatively busy this morning (Monday), with several customers ordering their coffee and heading upstairs. In addition to Lavazza coffee and espresso drinks, the cafe serves tea and fruit smoothies.

Open Kitchen is open Monday-Friday from 6 a.m.-3:30 p.m. for breakfast and lunch. Breakfast offerings include oatmeal, omelettes and egg sandwiches. Lunch items include bibimbap and Japanese bento boxes for around $10.

The little cafe opened last Monday (Aug. 5) and is still working out some of the kinks; staff said wifi for guests is still in the works.

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A Sense of Place Cafe is considering catering to the happy hour crowd by serving wine and beer in the evenings.

Earlier this month, the independent coffee shop at 4807 1st Street N. in the Arlington Forest Shopping Center submitted an application to Virginia ABC to serve wine and beer on premises.

Owner Kim Seo said the cafe was still awaiting an inspection and that she doesn’t expect to receive a permit decision until early August, but that hasn’t stopped her and her sister from planning ahead.

Seo is hoping to cater to an after-work crowd, potentially staying open in the evenings (the cafe currently closes at 3 p.m.) for a happy hour and light appetizers.

“Once we get the license we will work on our actual menu,” said Seo.

Seo said she and her sister, Kay, decided to rethink the hours of operation after taking note of how many people visit the shopping center in the evening, after Sense of Place closes for the day.

For now, A Sense of Place will continue with its usual hours of operation: from 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, Saturday from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

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(Updated at 6 p.m.) The “Coming Soon” sign in front of the Bob and Edith’s Diner at 5050 Lee Highway could be a bit premature.

The space was once home to Linda’s Cafe, which closed after Bob and Edith’s owner Greg Bolton bought the property last May. A faded sign for Linda’s Cafe is still on display outside of the store.

At the time, it was estimated that the new location could open within six to nine months. But one year later, the inside of the building looks much the same as it did as Linda’s Cafe.

Rebekah Steele, a representative of the restaurant, said that they would not offer an update on the status of the location, but that more information could be available during the summer.

An employee at another Bob and Edith’s — which has diners on Columbia Pike and 23rd Street S. in Crystal City, in addition to other Northern Virginia locations in Alexandria and Springfield — said customers have been asking regularly about the Lee Highway location, but the only timeline they have been told is that the company plans to open within the year.

Avid local Twitter followers may wonder whether the delay has anything to do with a hex, of sorts, from the infamous @LindasCafeVA account, which made it clear that there was some bad blood between the former restaurant and its planned successor:

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There’s nothing posted about it on the door or on social media, but Bean Good Coffee Pub in Rosslyn is closed, perhaps permanently.

Tipsters tell ARLnow the independent coffee shop quietly closed its doors within the past week.

“The furniture is gone, the place is empty, and it looks like they moved out,” one tipster said.

Bean Good’s phone number directs callers straight to a full voicemail box. Its formerly active social media accounts have gone silent.

The cafe was located at 1737 Wilson Blvd, in the Colonial Village Shopping Center. It opened in 2011 after replacing the former Greenberry’s cafe, which had been open for 8 years prior to its closure.

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A new cafe and bar is coming to Clarendon.

“East West Cafe” is slated to open at 3101 Wilson Blvd, in at least part of the space that was once the American Tap Room, according to owner Mehmet Coskun.

Coskun also opened coffee-and-pastry joint Central Coffee Bar in Rosslyn (1901 N. Moore Street) two years ago. Since then he’s expanded opening hours and added alcoholic beverages to the menu.

Coskun, who lives in Pentagon City, previously told ARLnow he wanted to give Arlington a local alternative to Starbucks and had plans to expand to Clarendon and beyond.

He did not say East West would open, but that he expects the new Clarendon establishment to “open soon.” Records indicate Coskun registered East West Coffee LLC last month and applied for a county building permit on Tuesday.

Coskun said the new cafe’s namesake is its selection of both wine and coffee.

“I feel like the wine belongs to the west and the coffee comes from the east,” he Coskun, referring to Yemen’s early production of “mocha” coffee and the rise of wine in ancient Greece.

Several businesses have been rumored to fill the former Tap Room space since its closure in 2016, including a Verizon store and a gym, but thus far neither have come to fruition.

Image via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Snow Coming This Weekend — Gas up the snowblowers: accumulating snow is likely this weekend. By county ordinance, all snowfall under 6 inches must be removed from sidewalks within 24 hours of the last flakes. That gets bumped up to 36 hours for 6 or more inches of snow. [Capital Weather Gang]

New ‘Best of Arlington’ List — The 2019 “Best of Arlington” list is in. Among food-related winners, Ambar was named Best Restaurant, Barley Mac was named Best for Date Night and Matt Hill of Liberty Tavern Group and Hungry was named Best Chef. [Arlington Magazine]

AWLA Dog Featured in People Magazine — “One of our AWLA alums, Lucy, is featured in People Magazine this week! Here’s the online article about her weight loss journey after being adopted — her owner helped her go from 26 lbs to 14 lbs.” [Twitter, People]

Case of the Disintegrating Coffee Cups — On four separate occasions, a Washington Business Journal reporter had a coffee cup from Compass Coffee in Rosslyn start to disintegrate and leak in her hand. The company says they were sent a bad batch of paper cups and are working to remove all of the faulty cups from their cafes. [Washington Business Journal]

Va. Legislature to Consider Housing Bills — “A new surge in development in parts of Northern Virginia could come next year under a proposal to overhaul 2016 proffer legislation in this year’s General Assembly… Another proposal would ban discrimination by local governments through land use decisions against low-income or other specific types of development.” [WTOP]

Power Issue at Ballston Metro Station — There are reports that power was out at the Ballston Metro station this morning, meaning no working elevators, escalators or fare kiosks, and only minimal lighting. [Twitter, Twitter]

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Morning Notes

First Incumbent Voted Out in 21st Century — Democrats had few negative things to say about County Board member John Vihstadt during the past few months of campaigning, but voters nonetheless decided to vote him out of office last night, a relatively rare event in Arlington. Per the Sun Gazette: “The last County Board incumbent to be defeated for re-election was Mike Lane, a Republican who in the spring of 1999 won a special election for the seat of Al Eisenberg (who took a post in the Clinton administration) but later that year was defeated by Democrat Charles Monroe.” [InsideNova]

O’Leary Nailed It — Former Arlington County Treasurer (and amatuer election prognosticator) Frank O’Leary was spot on on his analysis of how yesterday’s local voting would shake out. O’Leary “opined that if the Arlington electorate was so large that 100,000 votes were cast for County Board, Democrat Matt de Ferranti would win with about 53 percent of the vote. Presto: Arlington voters indeed cast just over 100,000 votes in that race, and de Ferranti ended up with 53 percent, according to unofficial results.” [InsideNova]

Other Reasons Why Crystal City is Good for Amazon — Should Amazon announce Crystal City as the destination for a major new office campus — despite the disappearance of an event tent that seemed like it might be intended for such an announcement — there are a number of reasons why the neighborhood likely won over Amazon execs. One reason not as widely discussed: Crystal City is already a high-density, mixed-use neighborhood with a relatively small residential population and a long-term plan for more density. In other words, it’s a big green light for Amazon to build out the HQ2 of its dreams, without having to worry much about the NIMBYism that might delay plans elsewhere. [Brookings]

Progress on the Pike for IdidoIdido’s Coffee Social House is getting closer to its opening along the Columbia Pike corridor. This week the cafe filed a Virginia ABC permit application to serve beer and wine.

Questions About Local Nonprofit — A new report is questioning why Bethesda-based nonprofit Alley Cat Allies felt the need to buy two residential properties in Arlington. [Chronicle of Philanthropy]

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A man who was “making verbal threats” against customers of a Clarendon cafe was tasered by police Monday morning.

The incident happened around 10:30 a.m. at the Peet’s Coffee at 3003 Washington Blvd, but it was preceded by a police dispatch less than an hour earlier, according to an Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman.

“At approximately 9:47 a.m., police were dispatched to the 3000 block of Washington Boulevard for the report of a suspect making verbal threats to customers inside a restaurant,” ACPD’s Ashley Savage told ARLnow.com. “Upon arrival, officers made contact with the suspect and he was subsequently banned from the property.”

She continued: “At approximately 10:28 a.m., police were again dispatched to the location for the report of trespassing as the suspect had returned to the restaurant and was causing a disruption. As officers attempted to place the suspect into custody, the suspect became combative and a struggle ensued. The suspect did not obey the lawful commands of the officers and a Taser was deployed.”

The suspect, whose name has not yet been released, was transported to a local hospital for evaluation. He is under police custody and charges are currently pending, Savage said.

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The unusual overnight burglary of an Arlington Forest coffee shop has left its owners scratching their heads about what prompted the theft.

Employees at the Sense of Place Cafe, located at 4807 1st Street N. just off Arlington Blvd, arrived early this morning (Wednesday) to discover the glass in their front door smashed in and the cash register emptied. Co-owner Kay Kim expects the thieves made off with about $150 in all.

However, Kim was puzzled that the burglars left the restaurant’s expensive espresso machines untouched, and showed no interest in the iPad the cafe uses for customer orders.

Yet her notebook full of recipes and notes on the precise way to roast various types of coffee beans, one of her most prized possessions, is missing. She stored it in a desk drawer in the cafe’s back office, and she expects only someone intimately familiar with the store would know to look for it.

“It makes us feel like the target wasn’t money,” said Anna Seo, Kim’s niece and an employee at the store. “It’s all very strange.”

Neither Kim nor her sister and co-owner, Kim Seo, can think of any former employees who might’ve harbored a grudge after leaving the cafe, which has been open for just over a year now. Arlington County police spokeswoman Kirby Clark said the department is investigating the incident, but doesn’t have any description of the suspect (or suspects) just yet.

“This has never happened before and we never thought about it,” Kim Seo said. “This area in Arlington was supposed to be pretty safe. It’s very weird and scary.”

Nevertheless, she says the business is open as normal, even if it is still missing the glass from its front door.

Anna Seo notes that the whole incident “could’ve been much worse,” all things considered. But she is still frustrated that her aunt would lose so much hard work, so suddenly.

“Each of our roasts change, based on the season and the temperature, and she had that all written down,” she said. “Now, she’ll basically have to start from scratch.”

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(Updated 7:30 p.m.) It isn’t easy being an independent coffee shop with only a handful of part-time employees, especially one outside of a Metro corridor in chain-heavy Arlington.

But Arlington Forest’s Sense of Place Café, which opened eight months ago, is making a go of it and has slowly been gaining both popularity and solid Yelp reviews.

The cafe was full for a Wednesday at mid-morning (March 28), and two baristas scrambled to fill orders quickly while chatting with an ARLnow reporter. On a normal day, the shop sees about 50 customers.

Most customers who walked up to the counter had something positive to say about Sense of Place Café, even if they hadn’t yet tried the shop’s specialty coffee.

“You’re getting a lot of great press on the Mothers of North Arlington listserv,” one woman said to a barista as she ordered coffee, adding that she hadn’t heard of the place until recently but was happy to have more options in the area.

The coffee shop is located at the Arlington Forest Shopping Center, at 4807 1st Street N., and difficult to get to if one doesn’t live in the neighborhood or have a car.

“The size of this mall, it’s not a really busy mall,” explained the coffee shop’s co-owner, Kim Seo, pointing out the next door Brick’s Pizza as the shopping center’s main attraction. “It’s kind of frustrating, not many people come here.”

It’s about 1.2 miles away from the Ballston Metro station, which, according to Google Maps, is a 24 minute walk away. A lot of customers are within walking distance, Seo explained, but many Arlingtonians aren’t aware of the shop or how to get there.

But Seo has found ways to stand out, even if the shop faces geographical challenges. She focuses on the store’s own unique Enzymo Coffee brand, which ferments for two weeks before in-house roasting, and a mushroom tea with “high levels of antioxidants.” She also posts frequently on the shop’s social media channels.

Seo added serving a variety of flavors has helped her and her sister, Kay, the shop’s licensed barista, grow the business.

Listening to customers’ needs, like expanded weekend hours, has also helped. Previously, the coffee shop was open Monday-Saturday, but now has dropped the Monday hours and is open Tuesdays-Fridays from 7 a.m.-3 p.m., and Saturdays-Sundays from 8 a.m.-2 p.m.

Kim did this to capture the weekend crowd, which she says is easily her busiest time, and now she sees more people come and enjoy a cup instead of rushing to work.

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