With cabin fever setting in after weeks of mostly staying at home, large crowds gathered yesterday, on Cinco de Mayo, to pick up to-go tacos, margaritas and other Mexican fare at restaurants across Arlington.
Among the popular spots: Uncle Julio’s in Ballston, District Taco in Rosslyn, Guapo’s in Shirlington, and TTT and Don Tito in Clarendon. For some, it was a welcome boost for some local businesses. For others, it was an unnecessary danger.
“What a nightmare,” one social media user said.
While some worried about an increased coronavirus risk, those who gathered did so outdoors and appeared to be mostly keeping the recommended six-foot distance from one another, while many wore masks. It was a bit of a different story in D.C., as more crowded conditions on sidewalks prompted police responses.
More photos of the Arlington crowds via social media:
— Put Captain Solo in the cargo hold (@ProfWeston) May 5, 2020
Don Tito’s is worse. Packed line goes around the block. pic.twitter.com/HcGBi3hZZ7
— PAUL : In Pre-Production (@HuginsPL) May 5, 2020
Cinco de Mayo was a test of everyone’s social distancing and we all failed. Line outside @districttaco in @RosslynVA. Sidewalk and street blocked. @ArlingtonVaPD came by but just told cars to move for 15 min then left. What a nightmare. @PoPville @ARLnowDOTcom pic.twitter.com/pcWWhe0LVi
— Nick Doty (@nldoty) May 6, 2020
— Doris (@yungsusbae) May 5, 2020
Photo courtesy John B.
While coronavirus has disrupted the businesses of local restaurants across the country, a new one is popping up in Shirlington despite the tough times for the industry.
“TACO + PINA’s is a labor of love which has been in the works for almost a year and a half now” said owner Graham Bartlett, a protégée of famed chef and restaurateur Richard Sandoval. “While some may question opening during a pandemic I believe it is our destiny to launch on Cinco de Mayo, which this year also falls on Taco Tuesday.”
“We’ve been overwhelmed by the support and constant positive encouragement from the Village of Shirlington community asking when we will open,” Bartlett continued. “We have an opportunity to offer truly great food with high-quality ingredients, and we get to do something positive for our new neighbors during this anxiety-driven time.”
The restaurant will be open from 11 a.m.-10 p.m., according to the website.
Bartlett said the restaurant will offer contactless pick-up and delivery. Takeout options include:
- Tacos: fried chicken, pina+taco; “chile relleno,” ribeye asado, and baja bahia.
- Enchiladas with rice and refried beans: garlic sambal chicken, roasted mushroom + cheese
- Nachos: crab chilaquiles, shrimp + chorizo nachos, hot mess nacho fries
- Party Size (6-8 people): chips + salsa, roasted poblano queso dip, and guacamole.
The press release noted that TACO + PINA will also offer a “backyard party” package for $55, which will serve 4-6 people. The package includes:
- Chips, salsa and guacamole
- Two taco proteins (pork, mushroom, fried chicken)
- 24 corn tortillas with rice and beans, salsa and cream
Tequilas, frozen margaritas, wines, Mexican imported beers, and local craft beers are also planned to be available for takeout starting Tuesday.
Photo via Taco and Piña/Facebook
Kaine Event at Federico’s — Updated at 8:55 a.m. — “On Monday, May 13, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine will hold a roundtable in Arlington with fair housing advocates to discuss the work ahead to ensure equal access to housing for all Americans and address discrimination that LGBTQ Americans continue to face as they search for homes.” The event is now being held at 9 a.m. at Federico’s Ristorante Italiano (519 23rd Street S.) in Crystal City, per an updated media advisory.
Amazon Hiring for Alexa Job in Arlington — Among other open job positions for Amazon’s HQ2 in Arlington, the company is now hiring a “Principal Product Manager” for its Alexa Experience team. [Amazon]
Puppy Recovering from Pike Crash — “Earlier this week Yoda ran into oncoming traffic after escaping his leash. I ran after him in attempt to save him, which resulted in both of us getting hit by a car. I am okay but Yoda was not so lucky. He has two major fractures in his back leg which lead him into surgery. He is resting but having a difficult time.” [GoFundMe]
Satisfaction with Metro Rebounds — “Metro’s reputation in the region has improved dramatically in the past two years and has almost reached the positive levels it enjoyed before a fatal smoke incident in 2015, according to a Washington Post-Schar School poll… A 68 percent majority of Washington-area residents rate Metrorail positively, up from 42 percent in 2017. In 2013, 71 percent had positive ratings of the subway system.” [Washington Post]
Post Endorses Tafti — The Washington Post has endorsed challenger Parisa Dehghani-Tafti over incumbent Theo Stamos in the Democratic Commonwealth’s Attorney primary. [Washington Post]
SoberRide Record for Cinco de Mayo — “Nearly 800 (792) persons in the Washington-metropolitan area used the free safe ride service, SoberRide, this Cinco de Mayo as opposed to possibly driving home drunk.” [WRAP]
The nonprofit Washington Regional Alcohol Program has partnered with ride-hailing service Lyft to provide free rides home from 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 5 through 4 a.m. Monday, May 6.
WRAP announced instructions for how Lyft users can access the free rides:
During this twelve-hour period, area residents age 21 and older celebrating with alcohol may download Lyft to their phones, then enter a SoberRide code in the app’s “Promo” section to receive their no cost (up to $15) safe transportation home. WRAP’s Cinco de Mayo SoberRide promo code will be posted at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 5 on www.SoberRide.com.
This year marks the fifth in a row that the organization has organized free ride-hailing for party goers during the holiday.
WRAP said in a statement last month that 897 people in the Greater Washington area used the free rides they organized during Cinco de Mayo last year.
“Over one-quarter (28%) of all U.S. traffic fatalities during Cinco de Mayo 2016 involved drunk drivers according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,” Kurt Erickson, WRAP’s president, said in a statement. “Nearly one-fourth (20%) of U.S. drivers in fatal crashes during the 2016 Cinco de Mayo period had BACs of .15 or higher.”
Steve Taylor, Lyft’s D.C. general manager, said in a statement that the company was “proud” to help reduce drunk driving in the D.C. area.
“Here in the D.C. area, partnering with the Washington Regional Alcohol Program allows us to take our commitment to providing reliable, convenient, and responsible transportation a step further, particularly during times of the year when people are out celebrating and in need of a ride home,” Taylor said.
As it does for other holidays, the Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP) is sponsoring the free rides to prevent drunk driving by revelers who may have had a few too many beers or margaritas.
The service will be available from 7 p.m. on Saturday (May 5) until 4 a.m. on Sunday for trips worth up to $15. The promo code for the complimentary rides will be available on WRAP’s website starting at 5 p.m. on Saturday.
WRAP says that 676 people across the D.C. region took advantage of its Cinco de Mayo Lyft partnership last year.
Pedestrian Hit, in Critical Condition — Police closed a ramp to Washington Blvd and southbound I-395 during a portion of the Monday morning rush after a vehicle hit a pedestrian in the area of Columbia Pike and Queen Street. The man was taken to the hospital in critical condition. [WJLA, WTOP]
Woman With Cerebral Palsy Finishes First Marathon — Arlington resident Jamie Watts has completed her first marathon, finishing the New Jersey Marathon in 14 hours and 33 minutes. Watts, 36, has cerebral palsy and started participating in races a few years ago to get in shape for a family trip. She has since worked her way up to half marathons and now a full 26.2 miles. [WUSA 9]
Homebuyers’ Cost Per Square Foot Increases — Arlington homebuyers’ cost per square foot increased by 3.6% during the first quarter of 2018, compared with the same time last year. Those buying homes within the county paid a median $462 per square foot, which is more than in any other Northern Virginia jurisdiction. [InsideNova]
Taekwondo Legend Dies in Arlington — “Grandmaster Jhoon Rhee, the man known as the ‘father of American Taekwondo,’ died Monday after a long illness. He was 86. His son, Chun Rhee, said his father died in hospice care in Arlington, Virginia.” [Associated Press]
Cinco De Mayo Options in Arlington — Ragtime, Pamplona and Bar Bao are a few of the Arlington options for celebrating Cinco de Mayo and the Kentucky Derby this weekend. [Eater]
During that time, area residents aged 21 and older celebrating with alcohol can download Lyft to their phones, then enter the code CINCODC in the app’s “Promo” section to receive a ride worth up to $15. The code is valid for the first 1,500 Lyft users who enter it.
The program, known as SoberRide, made the switch in March from using local taxicabs to Lyft, a competitor of market leader Uber.
“In 2015 and according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly a third of all U.S. traffic fatalities during Cinco de Mayo involved drunk drivers,” said WRAP president Kurt Erickson in a statement. “Worse, 51-percent of male drivers ages 21-to-34 killed in U.S. Cinco de Mayo crashes over the last half-decade were drunk.”
WRAP said that 225 people participated in its Cinco de Mayo SoberRide program. The charity also offers SoberRide on St. Patrick’s Day, Independence Day, Halloween and from December 15 through and including New Year’s Eve.
That same day, the Arlington County Police and Fire Departments will host a joint interactive event to highlight the dangers of drink driving. The event will take place at the intersection of N. Hudson Street and Wilson Blvd in Clarendon beginning at 6 p.m. and is free.
Police will close N. Hudson Street from Wilson Blvd to 1200 N. Herndon Street in front of The Clarendon apartment building from 5 p.m. Friday to 3 a.m. Saturday to accommodate the event. Temporary “No Parking” signs will be in the area, and illegally parked cars may be ticketed or towed.
Arlington Resident, 101, Goes to First Caps Game — Gert Friedman, who’s 101 years old and has lived in Arlington since 1940, attended the Washington Capitals playoff game Saturday night and even got to ride around on the ice resurfacer during the first intermission. It was the first time Friedman had attended any NHL game. [Yahoo Sports]
Hernick Gets GOP Nod — GOP congressional candidate Charles Hernick will challenge Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) in November. Hernick, an environmental consultant, was nominated at the 8th District Republican convention Saturday. Hernick’s opponent for the GOP nod, Mike Webb, said in a press release that he was “bamboozled.” [InsideNova]
County’s Reaction to Metro Track Plan — County leaders released a statement about Metro’s “SafeTrack” maintenance plan on Friday. It said in part: “We saw during the March all-day shutdown of Metrorail that our region is resilient and alternatives are possible. Our residents and businesses are resourceful and inventive. And Arlington’s emphasis on providing many travel options, which we’ve developed over many years, will continue to serve us well during this challenging time.” [Arlington County]
APS Plan Identifies Pressing Needs — Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy presented his proposed 2017-2026 Capital Improvement Plan last week. The plan “identified high school seats countywide and elementary seats in the Rosslyn/Ballston/Lee Highway corridor as the most pressing needs for APS in the next 10 years.” [Arlington Public Schools]
SoberRide Program Usage Rises for May 5 — The regional SoberRide program, which provides free taxi rides on certain festive holidays, served 225 people on Cinco de Mayo. That’s up 37 percent compared to last year. [InsideNova]
LEED Gold for Wakefield — Wakefield High School has officially earned LEED Gold sustainability certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. [Arlington Public Schools]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
The Rosslyn BID is planning a special Cinco de Mayo celebration tomorrow afternoon.
Weather permitting, the “fiesta” will be held from 4-8 p.m. on the plaza at the corner of 19th and N. Moore streets, a block from the Metro station.
The event will feature seasonal beers and wine available for purchase from a “mobile event bar,” a live music from Cecilia Esquivel and a photo station.
Also scheduled: a rare appearance from the famous El Chilango food truck, which does not often stray far from its home base of 14th Street N. in the Courthouse area. In 2014 Yelp named the truck one of the top 100 places to eat in the entire country.
Admission is free but revelers must be 21 or over. In the event of rain the event will be moved to the Continental.
The Washington Regional Alcohol Program has made Cinco de Mayo — the Mexican day of celebration commemorating their Battle of Puebla victory over French forces in 1862 — its first new holiday in the SoberRide program in more than 20 years.
Those attending Cinco de Mayo soirées in the D.C. area after 4:00 p.m. will be able to call 1-800-200-TAXI for a free ride home, for a trip worth up to $30. The free rides will end at 4:00 a.m. Below is a list of some of the businesses in Arlington hosting Cinco de Mayo events. If you know of others, feel free to add them in the comments.
- Guarapo Lounge (2039 Wilson Blvd) — Starting at 5:00 p.m., DJ Ruben starts spinning and the Courthouse restaurant will serve $1 tacos. Discounts on tequila, margaritas, Dos Equis and Corona will also be available. No cover.
- Don Tito (3165 Wilson Blvd) — More than 1,000 people have already RSVP-ed on Facebook to what the new restaurant says will be Clarendon’s biggest Cinco de Mayo party. With food and drink specials, Day of the Dead face painting, sombreros, a mariachi band and more giveaways. Doors open at 2:00 p.m., and the bar expects a line.
- Fuego Cocina y Tequileria (2800 Clarendon Blvd) — Starting at 3:30 p.m., Fuego will host a “tequila throwdown,” where participants will have to taste-test and try to pick out Patron, Milagro, Tres Agaves and Casamigos tequila. The taco specials start at lunch and certain drinks will be $5 all night.
- Cantina Mexicana (515 23rd Street S., 922 S. Walter Reed Drive) — Cantina Mexicana’s two Arlington locations will debut their new margarita, “Rise and Shine,” and 10 percent off everything.
Photo credit Arlington County Police Department