(Updated at 5:20 p.m.) Two local chefs have been named semifinalists for a prestigious James Beard award.
Rahman “Rock” Harper of Queen Mother’s Fried Chicken on Columbia Pike and Kevin Tien, owner of Hot Lola’s in Rosslyn and Ballston, were both recognized as semifinalists for “Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic” in this year’s James Beard awards. The nominations were announced last week.
Named after the famed American chef, the national award recognizes “exceptional talent and achievement in the culinary arts, hospitality, media, and broader food system.”
The Alexandria native Harper is the owner and head chef at Queen Mother’s Fried Chicken, located inside the local incubator Kitchen of Purpose at 918 S. Lincoln Street, just off of Columbia Pike, in the Alcova Heights neighborhood.
It opened in late 2020 with a menu, as might be expected considering the name, focused on fried chicken sandwiches.
Harper is also an author and winner of the third season of the cooking reality show “Hell’s Kitchen.” He told ARLnow that being named a James Beard semifinalist was a “pleasant surprise” and that the response from critics and diners alike has been “surreal.”
“They remind me that while pursuing my passion for telling Black stories through food, we will be rewarded with positive feedback along the journey,” Harper said via email. “Columbia Pike and Arlington have been incredibly supportive and welcoming to Queen Mother’s and I look forward to being here for many years! I hope this can serve as an example to customers, restaurateurs, elected officials, and developers that the future of Arlington and Northern Virginia dining is pretty bright.”
While Tien was actually nominated for his cooking at D.C.’s Moon Rabbit, he’s also known for Hot Lola’s and its two Arlington locations. The fast-casual restaurant also serves fried chicken sandwiches, but Tien’s blends Sichuan spices with the traditional Nashville recipe, creating his own brand of hot chicken.
The first Hot Lola’s location opened in the Ballston Quarter food hall in 2019, while the Rosslyn restaurant opened this past summer. Another location is coming to Fairfax County’s Lincolnia neighborhood.
Tien told ARLnow that being nominated for a James Beard award is an “amazing accomplishment” and represents “more than just good food and service.“
“It represents the commitment we make to our team, our community, our purveyors that we are cooking with purpose and for a cause,” he said via email. “To have a restaurant in Virginia with two other amazing Virginia chefs, Rock Harper and Joy Crump whom I love so much is incredible. The Arlington and NoVa dining scene is amazing and I am happy to be a small part of it.”
Ruthie’s All-Day chef and owner Matt Hill was named a Mid-Atlantic semifinalist last year as well.
It’s been a big month for local restaurant recognition. Four Arlington eateries were included in Washingtonian’s 100 Very Best Restaurants list for 2023 last week, while Charga Grill on Langston Blvd was named the area’s best casual restaurant by Washington Post food critic Tim Carman earlier in January.
Sandwich and salad spot Poppyseed Rye is revamping its menu and bringing on a new chef in the kitchen and as a partner.
Greg Lloyd, who worked as Executive Chef at D.C.’s busy Le Diplomate since 2016, is now the Ballston restaurant-slash-flower-shop’s chef and managing partner.
“At Le Diplomate Greg oversaw a kitchen team of 125 people, and ran one of the busiest kitchens in Washington,” a press release notes. “Prior to Le Diplomate he ran Parc in Philadelphia and Buddakan in [NYC], other properties of restaurant magnate Stephen Starr.
“This is a dream addition to our team. Greg’s talent and tenacity know no bounds,” said Poppyseed Rye partner and local serial entrepreneur Scott Parker. “He’s someone we’re looking forward to growing with, and he has revolutionized our offerings at Poppyseed Rye. We’re really thrilled to bring one of D.C.’s top chefs to Arlington, and specifically Ballston.”
Lloyd said in a statement that he wants to “make bellies happy.”
“Greg’s new menu kicks off at Poppyseed Rye effective immediately, it’s already live,” said the press release. “It features breakfast all day, with all new breakfast sandwiches and awesome classics like biscuits and gravy. He’s also added some of his favorite sandwiches and will run daily specials.”
Other menu items include a bahn mi sandwich, mushroom tart toast, and pork belly biscuit breakfast sandwich.
Poppyseed Rye has changed its hours, focusing on lunch and later breakfasts.
“To coincide with the changes, Poppyseed Rye is now open daily from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., and has added a coffee menu to go with the new food,” the press release said. When it opened last November, the hours were 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Parker and Lloyd have their sights set on other ventures, as well. The team is now “busy concepting upcoming restaurants… to be announced in the coming months, including one project in Fells Point, Baltimore.”
Chef David Guas was like many of us when he saw the images coming out of Ukraine — upset and desperate to do something.
“My wife was tired of me yelling at the TV… she says, ‘You should text José [Andrés] to let him know you want to do something,”’ the owner of Bayou Bakery in Courthouse and occasional television personality tells ARLnow. “And a couple of hours later, there was an email saying David was on his way to Poland. There was no turning back.”
Guas spent 15 days last month in Poland working with World Central Kitchen, the nonprofit founded by Andrés, to help feed Ukrainian refugees as they fled their war-torn home. Earlier this week, the Arlington-based chef also donated $21,000 from his Community Spoon initiative to WCK to help continue its mission in Europe.
“It’s going to be used to buy food. Beef, borscht, cabbage, some potatoes…It’s going to continue to just fuel them financially, so they can continue to think big,” Guas says about his donation.
This isn’t the first time that Arlington’s resident celebrity chef has helped during hard times. In the early part of the pandemic, he formed Chefs Feeding Families, which provided free, plant-based meals to underserved Arlington families. Then, he served up meals to the National Guard and local law enforcement protecting the Capitol. Last year, he put together Community Spoon, which was initially founded to help feed Afghan refugees coming into the region.
Then, came Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the heartbreaking images of people fleeing their homeland.
Upon arriving in Poland, Guas was stationed at a WCK facility in the city of Przemyśl which is only about seven miles from the Ukrainian border. There, he cooked and made biscuits, soup, applesauce cake, and meat to serve to volunteers and refugees crossing the border.
“[We were making] a lot of broths, a lot of soups, and a ton of vegetables,” he says. “Beef stocks, pork stocks, chicken stocks, beef cheeks, beef shoulder, and a lot of chicken. Basically, a soup or broth every single day.”
There was also hot chocolate, served both in the morning and at night.
“Everyone needed a little sugar and a little chocolate,” Guas says.
He admits the work was hard and could be monotonous. For more than two weeks, his days were on repeat with him starting at 7 a.m., working 12 to 14 hours, trying to decompress, and going to bed. Then, he would start it all over again.
There were days when he spent hours defrosting hundreds of pounds of beef cheeks, but Guas knew this is where he needed to be.
“I was there because this is who I am… needing to help,” he says.
Local Chef Now in Poland — “Bayou Bakery’s David Guas started the day the way he starts many days — before dawn with a table full of biscuit dough. This Friday morning, though, the New Orleans-native stood in a kitchen in Poland — far from his Arlington, Virginia, cafe… working with José Andrés’s organization World Central Kitchen (WCK). Guas is spending two weeks volunteering in Poland with WCK, cooking and packaging food for the tens of thousands streaming in from Ukraine.” [Eater]
Cars Collide Multiple Times on Bridge — From Dave Statter: “Caught on camera… this was a pretty wild #crash on the 14th Street Bridge (I-395N) at 2:15 this morning. Looked like bumper cars… You’ll see one car slowing down almost to a stop in VA b4 the bridge waiting for the 2nd car. Was this a #DragRace that went bad or #RoadRage or a little of both?” [Twitter]
Signs Up for New Target — The new Target store in the former Bed, Bath and Beyond space in Pentagon City is set to open on Sunday. New Target signs were just put up in advance of the opening. [Twitter]
Marine Corps Marathon Returns, Sells Out — “You’ve missed your chance if you haven’t already signed up to run the Marine Corps Marathon this year.The 47th-annual running of the famous marathon will be held in person this year, the first time since 2019, and nearly 20,000 runners from all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and 47 countries are now set to run in the event. ‘We are thrilled to announce that the 47th MCM is officially sold out…’ said Rick Nealis, director of Marine Corps Marathon Organization.” [Potomac Local]
APS Announces Staff Award Winners — “Each year, Arlington Public Schools recognizes the hard work and dedication of our staff through our Principal, Teacher and Support Employee of the Year awards… We will be honoring the winners at our Celebration of Excellence reception and ceremony on May 4, 2022, starting at 5 p.m. at Washington-Liberty High School.” [Arlington Public Schools]
Local Barber Shop Moving — Rosslyn Metro Barber Shop said via social media last month that it will be moving to Foggy Bottom from its location at 1700 N. Moore Street. [Facebook]
It’s Thursday — Chances of rain throughout the day, with storms expected in the afternoon and evening. Some storms may be severe. High of 70 and low of 55. Sunrise at 6:55 am and sunset at 7:32 pm. [Weather.gov]
Police Oversight Board Appointed — “The Arlington County Board is excited to announce the newly appointed members of the Community Oversight Board (COB)… The Oversight Board will consist of seven voting members who are residents of the County and reflect our demographic diversity along with two non-voting members with prior law enforcement experience.” [Arlington County]
Local Chef Feeding Ukraine Refugees — Bayou Bakery owner and chef David Guas is on “the frontlines in Przemyśl, Poland with [José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen], to give a helping hand to the emergency food relief for #UkraineRefugees crossing the border. Guas will be preparing and providing meals to help nourish those communities.” [Instagram]
Large Fight Near TJ Middle School — “3500 block of 2nd Street S. At approximately 3:47 p.m. on March 21, police were dispatched to the report of a large disorderly group of juveniles who appeared to be preparing to fight. Upon arrival, officers were approached by two juvenile victims who stated that they were physically assaulted by two juvenile subjects. Officers located the subjects in the area, detained them and determined one had sustained minor injuries consistent with being struck with BB gun pellets.” [ACPD]
Convoy Rumbles Through Arlington Again — From public safety watcher Dave Statter yesterday: “#TruckersConvoy2022 has made its presence known on I-395N, noisily crossing the 14th St. Bridge. @DCPoliceDept has the usual ramps blocked & #traffic is slowing.” [Twitter]
It’s Wednesday — A cloudy morning, then rain starting in the afternoon. Gusty winds and storms possible later tonight. High of 61 and low of 45. Sunrise at 7:08 am and sunset at 7:24 pm. [Weather.gov]
Beyer’s Statement on Ukraine — From Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) last night: “Praying for the Ukrainian people tonight. America stands with Ukraine.” [Twitter]
HQ2 Phase 1 to Feature 14 Retailers — “JBG Smith also revealed Tuesday that it has identified and executed leases with 14 retailers set to open by the end of 2023 at Metropolitan Park, though it didn’t identify those brands. That’s a jump from what the real estate company had announced in November during a tour of the HQ2 site, at that time noting plans for between seven to 12 retailers on the ground floor. Two of those retailers have been announced: District Dogs and Rāko Coffee Roasters.” [Washington Business Journal]
More Details on HS at HQ2 Phase 2 — “During a recent community meeting about the project, county staff said Amazon will provide 26,500 square feet of space for the school in one of its HQ2 office buildings at the PenPlace site. The plan calls for Amazon to construct the school’s space and to provide a rent-free lease to the county for a minimum of 30 years… ‘We’re being told it will be the fall of 2026,’ Thompson said when asked when Arlington Community High School would officially make the move to HQ2.” [WJLA]
Local James Beard Nominees — Two chefs with Arlington restaurants have been nominated for a prestigious James Beard Award. Peter Chang, of the eponymous restaurant in the Lee-Harrison shopping center, has been nominated for a national award for Outstanding Chef. Ruthie’s All-Day proprietor Matt Hill, meanwhile, has been nominated in the category of Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic. [Eater, Washington Business Journal]
December Death Investigation Update — “The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled the manner of both deaths as accidental with cause being narcotics-related. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, help is available.” [Twitter, ACPD]
County Employee Vax Deadline Approaching — “County Manager Mark Schwartz said the number of employees who neither have gotten vaccinated, nor won an exemption, is down to a miniscule number (six, he said on Feb. 15). Ninety-six percent of permanent government employees have met the vaccination mandate, with 135 more receiving accommodations required under federal law.” [Sun Gazette]
Mask Guidance from APS Superintendent — “As communicated last week, families will be able to opt their students out of wearing a mask in school beginning next Tuesday, March 1, in accordance with the recently passed Virginia law, Senate Bill 739. As this new law takes effect, I ask everyone to practice patience and understanding for others with respect to mask choice. We are one community, unified by our shared commitment to student success, health and well-being.” [Arlington Public Schools]
It’s Thursday — Cloudy with a chance of sleet today. A chance of rain and snow in the morning, then rain likely in the afternoon. Little or no accumulation of frozen precipitation. A slight chance of sleet in the evening, plus rain and patchy fog. High of 44 and low of 32. Sunrise at 6:49 am and sunset at 5:57 pm. [Weather.gov]
Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups, founders, and other local technology news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1812 N. Moore Street in Rosslyn.
Territory Foods, a meal delivery service that lets consumers personalize to their diet, recently announced it raised $22 million in a recent funding round.
Territory delivers its healthy meals directly to consumers through “a decentralized back-end marketplace” that partners with local chefs in the communities served by the company.
The Rosslyn-based startup caught the interest of investors that have put their money behind companies such GoPro, the online consignment service thredUP, the vegan “meat” alternative Beyond Meat and the fast-casual salad chain Sweetgreen. Two retired sports celebrities, soccer player Abby Wambach and NFL tight end Vernon Davis, also invested.
Territory Foods has enjoyed 250% year-over-year growth and is poised to increase its footprint nationwide, according to Rick Lewis, a general partner of U.S. Venture Partners, the investment group that led the funding round.
“We’re thrilled to partner with Territory Foods, a mission-driven brand who has built an incredibly distinctive business model by tapping local chefs who make healthy-eating attractive, tasty and attainable to consumers around the country,” Lewis said in a statement. “More than ever, we need true innovation in the food space.”
The new round of funding will allow Territory to expand the number of chefs it works with and provide customers more meal options, said CEO Ellis McCue.
“We go to great lengths to create optimized, personalized meals for each consumer and empower our chefs with data about our customer’s taste and nutritional preferences so they can tailor each meal, ultimately providing more variety than other delivery options out there,” McCue said in a statement.
The startup has raised $44 million to date, which Territory Foods said is the most venture funding raised by a female-led company in the ready-to-eat food category.
According to the company, Territory’s meals are made from scratch using responsibly-sourced ingredients.
“Territory’s ever-rotating, regionally curated menus always feature fresh non-inflammatory ingredients that optimize whole-body health, support a wide variety of dietary preferences, and have minimal to zero environmental impact,” the company said.
The startup launched in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria in 2012 but the company now lists its headquarters as being based at the WeWork in Rosslyn (1201 Wilson Blvd). Territory Foods has grown to serve over 20 major U.S. markets from coast to coast.
Partner chefs and restaurants hail from all over the U.S., and D.C.-area customers will recognize one partner restaurant — local restaurant chain Founding Farmers. Of Territory’s partner food-service companies, McCue said that 42% are women-owned and 38% are led by people of color.
Territory Foods also partners with Feeding America, donating proceeds, meals and volunteer hours to fight food waste and hunger in the U.S., according to the website.
Territory announced last winter that it was recognized as a Best Company for Women and McCue a Best CEO in a 2020 awards competition from the startup Comparably. The awards recognize workplaces that are good for women, have a diverse workforce and promote work-life balance, among other categories.
Photos via Territory Foods
Still No Back to School Date Set — From Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Francisco Durán: “Return dates for additional student groups have not been set yet… I am committed to making these transitions as soon as it is safe enough to do so — looking not only at the health metrics, but all available information regarding health and safety, mitigation, instruction and operations — knowing that there are risks in every scenario.” [Arlington Public Schools]
N. Va. Leaders Call for Vaccine Changes — “A coalition of local governments in Northern Virginia is calling on Gov. Ralph Northam to streamline the release of COVID-19 vaccine doses and provide more transparency and equity into the process. The letter signed by 14 local government leaders was sent by the Northern Virginia Regional Commission to Northam on Sunday.” [InsideNova, Twitter]
More Buzz for Local Fried Chicken Sandwich — “A local chef is getting a lot of attention for his fried chicken sandwich… Rock Harper is the owner and chef of Queen Mother’s restaurant in Arlington, Virginia. ‘To fry chicken better than me you gotta be a woman, at least 67, and have a lace apron, if you don’t at least meet that criteria you can’t deal with me,’ Harper says.” [WJLA]
Car Flips on GW Parkway — From Tuesday afternoon: “ACFD is on scene with a crash involving an overturned vehicle on the northbound GW Parkway near Key Bridge. An additional ambulance has been requested to the scene.” [Twitter]
New Arlington Police Recruit Class — “ACPD’s 23 recruit officers in Session 144 at the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Training Academy started their journey to become police officers today with the commencement of classes. Best of luck Session 144!” [Twitter]
Preservation of Rouse Estate Still a Long Shot — “Even if Arlington government leaders get behind the effort – and that remains a big ‘if’ – efforts by preservationists to save the Rouse estate on Wilson Boulevard from the wrecking ball may simply run out of time. ‘What you have going on is a race,’ County Attorney Stephen MacIsaac told County Board members on Jan. 23, a race between owners of the estate demanding the county government approve a demolition permit on the one hand, and preservationists seeking to have the site designated a local historic district on the other.” [InsideNova]
Hope: No Impeachment Filing Yet — Updated at 9:50 a.m. — Del. Patrick Hope (D) says he’s delaying filing articles of impeachment against Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D), who is facing two accusations of past sexual assaults. “An enormous amount of sincere and thoughtful feedback… has led to additional conversations that need to take place,” Hope said. [Twitter, Twitter, Twitter]
More Trailers for Arlington Tech — “Students coming into the Arlington Tech program at the Arlington Career Center for the next two years may find themselves spending more time in trailers than they had thought, and more time than School Board members are happy about.” [InsideNova]
Auction for Restaurant Items — The former furnishings of now-shuttered Rolls By U are up for auction by Arlington County, to help pay its overdue tax bill. [Arlington County]
Car vs. Columbia Pike Restaurant — It appears that a car ran into the front of Andy’s Carry Out restaurant on Columbia Pike. [Twitter]
State Split on Northam’s Fate — “Virginians are deadlocked over whether Gov. Ralph Northam (D) should step down after the emergence of a photo on his 1984 medical school yearbook page depicting people in blackface and Ku Klux Klan garb, with African Americans saying by a wide margin that he should remain in office despite the offensive image, according to a Washington Post-Schar School poll.” [Washington Post]
Beyer on Face the Nation — “Democratic Virginia Reps. Don Beyer and Jennifer Wexton renewed their calls for Gov. Ralph Northam and Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax to step down over their respective controversies” on CBS’s Face the Nation Sunday morning. [CBS News]
Local Chef on CBS This Morning — Chef David Guas of Bayou Bakery in Courthouse made an extended appearance on CBS This Morning Saturday, talking about his food, his restaurants and how his aunt inspired his love of cooking. [CBS News]
Flickr pool photo by TheBeltWalk
New Restaurants Coming to Rosslyn — A bunch of new restaurants and a cafe are coming to Rosslyn as part of the under-construction Central Place project. Fast casual eateries Sweetgreen, Nando’s Peri-Peri and The Little Beet are signing deals with developer JBG. A Compass Coffee is also set to open and negotiations are reportedly underway with Cava Grill. [Washington Business Journal]
Sidewalk Cafe for Pike Beer Garden — The Arlington County Board last night approved a use permit that will allow the future beer garden at the corner of Columbia Pike and Walter Reed Drive to operate a 32-seat outdoor cafe. The outdoor seating will “enliven the restaurant space and provide greater activity on this corner” of Columbia Pike, county staff wrote. County Board members expressed enthusiasm for the business, from the owner of nearby Twisted Vines, with Jay Fisette calling it “a fabulous use for this site.” [Arlington County]
Neighborhood Conservation Projects Approved — Last night the County Board approved $4.7 million in funding for six neighborhood conservation projects. The projects include a neighborhood sign for the recently-renamed Arlington Mill neighborhood; street improvement projects in Yorktown, Waverly Hills and Lyon Park; new LED streetlights in Arlington Heights; and a vegetation and sidewalk project in Boulevard Manor. [Arlington County]
Guas Appears on ‘Chopped Junior’ — Chef David Guas of Bayou Bakery in Courthouse was back on national TV last night, starring as a judge on the Food Network show “Chopped Junior.” [Patch]
WERA Anniversary Nears — Arlington’s own community radio station WERA will be celebrating its first anniversary in just over two months. The low-power FM station is “having an impact,” with some ninety producers generating local programming. Fundraising for the station, however, has been sluggish. [InsideNova]
Fmr. Sen. Warner to Endorse Clinton — At an event in Alexandria this morning, five-term former U.S. Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) is expected to endorse the presidential ticket of Hillary Clinton and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.). It will be the first time Warner has endorsed a Democrat for president. [Politico]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
ACFD Battles Fire on Patrick Henry Drive — On Thursday morning Arlington County firefighters assisted in battling a two-alarm blaze at an apartment building on the 3000 block of Patrick Henry Drive, just across the border in Fairfax County. [Twitter, Twitter]
Arlington Doubling Down on Startups — Arlington Economic Development plans to use the $1.5 million in one-time additional funds it’s allocated in County Manager Mark Schwartz’s budget to target early-stage tech companies and help them lease offices between 5,000 and 20,000 square feet. [Washington Business Journal]
W-L Alum to Direct Sci-Fi Film — Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams has selected Washington-Lee High School alum Julius Onah to direct “God Particle,” a new sci-fi thriller being produced by Abrams’ production company. Onah was named one of the top 10 “Up and Up Feature Directors” in 2013. He’s also signed up to direct an upcoming Universal Pictures film, “Brilliance.” [Blackfilm.com, Indiewire, Twitter]
Local Chef Nominated for Big Award — Peter Chang, whose eponymous restaurant opened last year in the Lee-Harrison shopping center, has been nominated for a prestigious James Beard Award for “Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic.” [Patch]
Shirlington Profiled by Post — As part of its “Where We Live” series, the Washington Post has profiled Arlington’s Shirlington neighborhood. Shirlington earns high marks for having a variety of walkable entertainment, dining and shopping options, and for having only six crimes of note over the course of 12 months. [Washington Post]
More on Nauck History Project — Arlington County’s Nauck Green Valley Heritage Project has already received dozens of photos in its new online photo archive. A vibrant, historically black neighborhood since before the Civil War, Nauck has been changing — some say gentrifying. “Today, we’re probably less than 32 percent African American,” noted the community’s civic association president. [WJLA]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf