Clarendon restaurant Don Tito will host a viewing lunch and happy hour on Monday, August 21 for the solar eclipse.
The watering hole at 3165 Wilson Blvd will begin the festivities at noon, with the eclipse viewing expected to begin at approximately 1:21 p.m. The eclipse is anticipated to be at its maximum around 2:47 p.m., and the viewing and the eclipse itself will wrap us around 4 p.m.
To mark the occasion, the first total eclipse visible in the continental U.S. in decades, Don Tito will offer what it described as “eclipse-inspired refreshments” and taco specials.
This year’s eclipse is expected to be seen by more than 500 million people. The total solar eclipse will cross from Salem, Ore. to Charleston, S.C., with the rest of the country able to see a partial eclipse.
“This is truly a historic event and a wonderful opportunity to view one of nature’s stunning displays,” the Don Tito event’s organizers wrote.
So far, no other viewing events in Arlington have been widely announced, but The Connection pop-up library in Crystal City (2100 Crystal Drive in the Crystal City Shops) gave out hundreds of free glasses with which to watch the eclipse, supplied by PBS. The free glasses proved to be popular and the supply quickly ran out.
(Updated August 16, 10:40 a.m.) With the summer almost at an end, several construction projects in Rosslyn and Clarendon are moving along.
In Rosslyn, a new six-story condo building is starting to rise in place of an aging low-rise apartment complex. The project, now called “Key and Nash” in signs posted nearby, will add 63 units at the corner of Key Blvd and N. Nash Street.
The project by Reston-based developer NVR, Inc., the parent company of homebuilder Ryan Homes, looks to be well on the way to completion.
Close by, demolition of the former Wilson School is over, and now workers have cleared the ground to start to lay the foundations for the new building.
The new school at 1601 Wilson Blvd, which will house the H-B Woodlawn and Stratford programs, is scheduled to open in fall 2019 and house 775 students across both programs.
But less than a block away, there appears to have been little progress as of yet on the proposed redevelopment of the 39-unit Queens Court apartment complex at 1801 N. Quinn Street.
The County Board approved in February a project by the local nonprofit Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing to bring 249 committed affordable units in a 12-story building.
And in Radnor-Fort Myer Heights, work is continuing on two new residential buildings and a rebuilt substance-abuse recovery facility. Crews and a variety of heavy machinery are on site at the project, known as Gables Pointe 14, at 1307 N. Rolfe Street. The 370 apartments in two buildings, underground parking and an 8,000-square-foot shared park are set to be complete in 2020.
It takes a special talent to make strangers pause and smile during the rush of their busy days. Yet Adrienne Ellis does it on a weekly basis.
Ellis is the general manager at the Circa restaurant in Clarendon (3010 Clarendon Blvd), and she also provides the witty, colorful quotes that adorn the chalkboard on the sidewalk outside. In fact, Ellis’s work is so popular, she created an Instagram account to showcase it.
“Nothing is more fun than seeing someone stop out there and take a picture of [my work], or giggle and keep walking,” said Ellis.
Ellis has been drawing and painting since she was a child. She used to want to be an art teacher, until she led an art class in middle school. She began chalkboard painting at her previous job at Chef Geoff’s. She mainly did advertising on those chalkboards, but once she moved to Circa almost two years ago, she gained more creative liberties with her work.
“I free-hand everything,” Ellis said. “I just try to get an idea of what would be entertaining more than anything and catch people’s eye.”
Ellis uses the internet for inspiration and generally makes one new chalkboard painting per week.
“I’ll update funny quotes or do a new picture, a little bit of everything,” she said. “I do a lot of cartoons. If it’s Easter, [I’ll do a] Bugs Bunny, [or] something like that.”
Mainly, Ellis paints the current Clarendon trends, including brunch, kale and summer restaurant week.
“Clarendon, I think, is very particular,” Ellis said. “I mean, they love to brunch out here, they love their Champagne. Wine night is really big here so I pick those [things] to poke a little fun at and make people laugh.”
Ellis uses chalk paint for the illustrations and currently, non-waterproof chalkboard boards. The quote paintings usually take around 30 minutes to make while the more intricate paintings can take two hours.
“That’s just me being meticulous,” she explained.
Ellis said her favorite paintings so far have been a Scooby-Doo and a Bugs Bunny. However, passerby seem to have really enjoyed the food puns, like “Champangry,” a cartoon painting of Doug and the Disney figures.
“Any pop culture [reference], people respond really well to,” Ellis said. “I think, again, it’s the area. It’s a lot younger area and they appreciate that humor.”
Clarendon is getting a new option for coffee, donuts and ice cream.
A joint Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin Robbins store is coming to a ground floor space on at the corner of Clarendon Blvd and N. Garfield Street, one block from the Metro station. The space was formerly occupied by a dining area for Pete’s New Haven Apizza, which downsized earlier this year.
Permits have been issued for the interior buildout of the store, but so far there’s no word on an opening date. The new shop will join existing, nearby Dunkin’ Donuts locations in Courthouse, Virginia Square, Ballston and Cherrydale.
In March, ARLnow reported that reps for Dunkin’ had visited the space at 3017 Clarendon Blvd and were considering a lease.
Update at 2:40 p.m. on 8/7/17 — Arlington County Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage said in a statement to ARLnow: “ACPD is aware that driverless vehicles are being tested in the Commonwealth. Officers have not had contact with the vehicle observed in Clarendon. If officers observe a traffic violation, they will attempt a traffic stop.”
Update at 1:30 p.m. on 8/7/17 — NBC 4’s Adam Tuss, working on a follow-up story to this article, spotted the van driving around Clarendon on Monday, Aug. 7, and upon further inspection found a driver — disguised as a seat. Police were called after the driver ran a red light but officers were unable to locate the van, according to scanner traffic. Tuss’ report is expected to air Monday night.
— Adam Tuss (@AdamTuss) August 7, 2017
— Adam Tuss (@AdamTuss) August 7, 2017
Earlier: A mysterious, seemingly driverless van was spotted cruising the streets of Arlington’s Courthouse and Clarendon neighborhoods Thursday evening.
The unmarked gray van with Virginia license plates drove up and down Wilson and Clarendon Blvds more than a half dozen times — with no one in the driver’s seat or passenger seat. The rear windows of the Ford Transit Connect van were darkly tinted.
The van appeared to drive cautiously but keep up with traffic. Cameras and a light bar could be seen behind the windshield.
When the car stopped at a red light, the light bar started blinking. When the signal turned green and the car started driving, the blinking stopped.
The lack of a driver went mostly unnoticed as Clarendon residents went around their after-work routines near the Metro station, though occasionally people could be seen pointing at the car or asking someone nearby if they saw a driver.
Spokespeople for Arlington County, the Arlington County Police Department, VDOT and the Federal Highway Administration did not have any immediate knowledge of any autonomous vehicle testing on the streets of Arlington.
VDOT and FHWA recently announced that Virginia Tech would be conducting automated vehicle testing along I-95, I-495, I-66, Route 50 and Route 29. The announcement did not mention testing on primary streets along Metro corridors, however WTOP reported in May that “self-driving cars already on Virginia roads, even if you don’t realize it.”
“In Virginia, it’s a little bit more discreet, so companies could test in real-world environments and you wouldn’t even know, so we have some proprietary studies going that route,” a Virginia Tech researcher was quoted as saying.
Anne Deekens, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, declined to say whether it belongs to the university. “I have no comment at this time,” she said.
The surface parking lot of the Whole Foods in Clarendon has closed temporarily, and this afternoon it led to tempers flaring in front of the store on Clarendon Blvd.
Crews are currently working to mill and resurface the normally-busy parking lot. Customers, in the meantime, can attempt to find street parking or park in the Market Common Clarendon garage across the street. (Whole Foods validates up to two hours in the garage.)
While the lot is closed, customers have been competing fiercely for the few street parking spaces around the store.
Today, while ARLnow.com was checking out the resurfacing work, several drivers parked along Clarendon Blvd were engaged in a dispute about one vehicle parking too close to (and perhaps striking) two others.
While the parking dispute was going on, a pedestrian in a nearby crosswalk shouted curse words at a stopped driver he thought had honked their horn at him. (In fact, it was the car behind the first stopped vehicle.)
The lot is expected to reopen by Thursday, an employee said.
(Updated 3:15 p.m.) Police temporarily closed Wilson Blvd at its intersection with N. Danville Street in Clarendon after two cars crashed this afternoon.
The crash occurred around 2:40 p.m., involving a blue Toyota and a white car. The white car had its front bumper ripped off in the collision, while the Toyota was damaged on its left side. The intersection is near Whole Foods and Market Common.
Officers temporarily closed Wilson Blvd near the intersection and diverted traffic onto other streets. According to scanner traffic, one person suffered minor injuries.
Equinox Gym Coming to Clarendon — “Clarendon is getting an Equinox health club — just the third standalone location of the gym in the D.C. area. The high-end fitness facility will be part of the Market Common development in the Arlington neighborhood, according to two real estate broker sources familiar with the deal.” [Washington Business Journal]
Local Seniors Have Millennial Transit Traits — “Arlington seniors are fairly tech savvy. They are generally comfortable with transportation tasks such as searching options online to using apps on their smartphones. They generally have a young frame of mind and are open to considering new ways of doing things (including trying various modes of transportation) and the latest technology.” [Mobility Lab]
History of Local Newspapers — Arlington, Alexandria and D.C. have a rich history of local newspapers, with one currently-published paper tracing its roots back to 1800. [Falls Church News-Press]
Long-time Clarendon restaurant Nam-Viet will be closing for several weeks of renovations starting next week.
The restaurant announced the renovations this morning, saying that the time has come to “revitalize” the restaurant, the first such project since the eatery first opened its doors 34 years ago.
Nam-Viet is the only remaining Vietnamese restaurant in Clarendon from the time when the neighborhood was known as “Little Saigon,” home to bustling Vietnamese-owned businesses after thousands of refugees from the Vietnam War were settled here in the 1970s.
The renovation announcement comes a month after Nam-Viet closed its second location, in D.C.’s Cleveland Park neighborhood.
More from a letter to Nam-Viet customers, below.
Dear Nam-Viet Patrons,
This year marks our 34th year in business in Arlington, Virginia. We are humbled to be one of the longest standing restaurants in Arlington surrounded by a wonderful community of patrons that have traveled far and wide to support Nam-Viet.
2017 has been a big year for Nam-Viet; we bid farewell to Cleveland Park after 20 years, and we have regrouped in Arlington. Beginning July 31, 2017, we have decided to take on a big project that will revitalizes Nam-Viet for the first time since we opened our doors. We will be undergoing renovations during the month of August that we anticipate should be completed within a three week time frame. We invite you to come in this week for lunch or dinner before we undergo our renovations.
Please visit our website www.namviet1.com for more information on our updates and our reopening date. Thank you for your support over the years and we can’t wait to unveil to you our new renovations.
Zaika, an Indian restaurant in Clarendon, has closed.
Located on the second level of the Market Common Clarendon shopping center, Zaika described its menu as modern Indian food, with eastern flavors and a western twist. Dishes included classic Indian entrees, such as Chicken Tikka Masala, as well as Indo-Chinese options, like the Manchurian: “A classic Chinese dish with authentic Indian spices.”
Zaika’s phone number has been disconnected and OpenTable no longer allows people to make reservations to eat there. Yesterday the restaurant was empty and dark, with no explanation for the closing posted in the windows or on the business’s Facebook page.
Zaika’s Twitter account, meanwhile, has been converted to an account for Angeethi, an Indian restaurant in Herndon.
The successor to the former RiRa Irish Pub in Clarendon is aiming to be open in “late summer.”
When it is finished, customers can expect a 7,000-square-foot bar and lounge with three distinct bar areas, including one on the roof.
Inside, a large papier-mâché mural covers the bar’s exposed brick wall, designed by D.C. firm SWATCHROOM. And upstairs on the rooftop, the bar features a graphic tile motif in black and white and plants overhead, along with high tables and two large flat-screen televisions.
Wilson Hardware will serve contemporary American food and a menu of signature cocktails. It is named for the Virginia Hardware store, which occupied the space from the early 1960s until 2005.
“Clarendon has definitely been overdue for a place like Wilson Hardware, so we’re thrilled to be in the neighborhood,” said co-owner Jad Bouchebel in a statement. “We know how important the history of this landmark is and look forward to welcoming new faces to our restaurant.”
More from a press release, after the jump.
DOE Highlights Discovery Elementary — The U.S. Department of Energy has profiled Arlington’s Discovery Elementary in a new video. DOE lauds the school for its net zero energy design, which “saves $100,000 per year in utility costs, enough to cover the salaries of two teachers” and was implemented under-budget. [YouTube, Blue Virginia]
Hackathon in Clarendon — Capital One is holding a Women in Tech hackathon at its Clarendon “lab” office next week. “Attendees will have the opportunity to ‘create a technical solution for Women Who Code that empowers girls and women to stay in the tech field.'” [Technical.ly DC, Women in Tech Demo Day]
Arlington Native Pens New Bodice Ripper — On the heels of the success of her debut novel, Seven Days, Arlington’s Ariel Atwell (the pen name of Leslie Aun) has written a follow-up, Twenty-One Nights. The Regency romance is No. 28 on Amazon’s chart for that category. [Amazon]
Nearby: JBG Announces New HQ in Bethesda — In a bit of a blow to Arlington, JBG has announced that it will be opening a new headquarters in downtown Bethesda. JBG has numerous properties in Arlington and will soon be merging with Vornado’s D.C. division, which includes extensive holdings in Arlington. [Bethesda Beat]
Flickr pool photo by Bekah Richards
Clarendon Animal Care will soon have more space for its four-legged clients.
The veterinary business opened in January 2015. Two and a half years later, it is continuing to grow and is set to expand to the space next door, said Dr. Kayleen Gloor, one of its founders.
The office’s expansion, into the former storefront of a sign shop, will increase its space by 70 percent. It will go from having three exam rooms to five exam rooms, while there will also be a larger reception area and more spacious treatment spaces. The center is also planning to add a fifth veterinarian to its team by the end of this month.
“[The expansion] was out of need,” Gloor said. “I have a hard time saying ‘no’ to [animals] that need to be seen.”
Gloor believes that the fifth vet and added space will make things less stressful for the office’s staff, as they will be better able to share the workload.
“I think our and our staff’s families will appreciate a little better work/life balance,” Gloor said.
Gloor said she hopes for the construction to be over and the new space ready to use by early next month.
Disclosure: Clarendon Animal Care is an ARLnow.com advertiser.
Rough Day on the Roads — An already rain-soaked Thursday was made worse after a tree fell across the eastbound lanes of I-66, blocking the highway during the morning rush hour. Later, the southbound lanes of the GW Parkway were closed near the Key Bridge due to a crash. [WJLA, Washington Post]
Arlington Helps Out With Falls Church Graduation — Arlington voluntarily shifted its high school graduation schedule to help Falls Church’s George Mason High School get a graduation ceremony spot at D.A.R. Constitution Hall last month. [InsideNova]
Nearby: Affordable Housing Decline in Alexandria — There was a 90 percent drop in affordable housing units in Alexandria between 2000 and 2017 and the decline is likely to continue without the construction of more dedicated affordable units. [WAMU]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Construction at luxury apartment complex Ten at Clarendon will continue until September, but prospective renters can now tour apartments with the use of virtual reality.
In a partnership with Immerse Virtual Reality Nation, developer CRC Companies is launching a fully immersive virtual reality apartment tour of the new apartments at 3110 10th Street N. The 143-unit complex is expected to be completed this fall.
Using an HTC Vive headset with two motion sensors, residents can experience a realistic, 360-degree home tour of what their apartment will look like after construction.
“We have developed a fully interactive and accurate VR experience using our experience from architecture and gaming,” said IVR Nation CEO Olivier Demangel in a statement. “It’s clearly a new era for real estate and architecture.”
IVR Nation is a company entirely dedicated to partnering the hospitality industry with virtual reality. CRC plans to incorporate IVR technology into other company projects, such as during the architecture design process.
“We are excited to employ IVR’s virtual reality technology and allow prospects to gain a unique preview of the Ten at Clarendon as we prepare to deliver the project to this coveted Arlington neighborhood,” said CRC Companies senior development associate Oliver Lee in a statement.
In addition to virtual reality tours, other new features in the apartment complex will include keyless apartment entry, mobile-controlled thermostats and a video intercom system.
Apartments at the new building are currently available for new tenants under pre-lease.