Ambar, a Balkan restaurant with locations on Capitol Hill and in Belgrade, is apparently planning to open in Clarendon.
A liquor license application indicates that Ambar will be located at 2901 Wilson Blvd — the current location of Boulevard Woodgrill.
A representative for Boulevard Woodgrill said today that the owner could not be reached for comment. Earlier this month the restaurant announced that it was opening a new “speakeasy” bar in the back of the restaurant.
There was no answer at a phone number associated with the liquor license application and Ambar. The restaurant, originally founded as a partnership between celebrity chef Richard Sandoval and Ivan Iricanin, is also planning to open a new location in D.C.’s Shaw neighborhood.
Ambar’s Capitol Hill location, at 523 8th Street SE on Barracks Row, has received rave reviews on Yelp and other online review sites.
Minh Vietnamese Restaurant, located at 2500 Wilson Blvd, has closed citing lease issues and other business concerns.
There is a sign posted by the owners that reads “Dear Customers, We are very sorry to inform you that due to business concerns including our lease on this space, Minh has ceased operation effective immediately. We appreciate your patronage over the years we have been here, and we are sad to be leaving.”
The restaurant has been at that location for over 10 years and it was one of the few remaining Vietnamese restaurants in the Clarendon area, a hotbed of Vietnamese businesses before the construction of the Orange Line. It was said to be “one of the original Vietnamese restaurants that put Clarendon on the map.”
There is no word yet on whether those behind the restaurant plan on reopening in another location.
Multiple sources tell ARLnow.com that the bar and restaurant at 3101 Wilson Blvd is either set to close or, at least, give up part of its space for a new Verizon Wireless store. No timeline was given for when either might happen.
A local manager at American Tap Room told us that it’s not planning to close. The restaurant’s Reston-based parent company, Thompson Hospitality, did not return a call last week seeking comment.
In late 2014 we reported, citing commercial real estate sources, that American Tap Room was seeking a buyer to take over its large, pricy lease for space just across from the Clarendon Metro station. It has remained open since that report.
Goody’s Pizza in Clarendon is a small restaurant struggling to stay afloat in an increasingly expensive neighborhood.
The owners, Nick and Vanessa Reisis, say they’ve put a lot of time and effort into their family-run business, located at 3125 Wilson Blvd, but they are having trouble competing with the wave of newer, more upscale restaurants in Clarendon.
There is “a new generation that’s coming in, they’re all young people and they all have good jobs, and… they’re not looking for a little mom and pop shop anymore,” said Vanessa, who’s known to some customers as “Momma Goody.” Business has been “a little down lately,” she acknowledged.
Goody’s is tiny compared to some of Clarendon’s cavernous restaurants and nightspots. But even larger restaurants face the threat of closing. Earlier this month long-time local fixture Hard Times Cafe closed over Independence Day weekend.
Reisis said the feeling of community that was once unique to Clarendon businesses is dissipating.
“It’s not the friendly little neighborhood places anymore,” Vanessa explained. “[At] all these upscale kind of places, it’s just cold.”
Reisis was sad to see Hard Times close — the two restaurants had enjoyed a close relationship, she said. “We recommended them, they recommended us. We were working together.”
This isn’t a new issue — Reisis was once the main subject of an article with the tagline “Can Arlington’s mom-and-pop eateries survive in an increasingly upscale restaurant landscape?” Five years later, Goody’s is still open, still serving a voracious late night bar crowd, and still offering only two types of pizza by the slice: plain and pepperoni.
Despite being an old school spot in a neighborhood full of shiny new places, Goody’s is looking to the future. Tentative plans include getting new furniture and maybe a new outdoor sign.
“We love this restaurant, it’s our passion, it’s like our little baby,” said Reisis.
“We’re thinking of upscaling,” she added, “but that costs money, which we don’t have in our budget.”
Remember that weird costumed Pokemon thing taking place near the Clarendon Metro station Tuesday afternoon?
Well, they were filming a YouTube video and one of the creators, Cabot Phillips, tweeted the finished product to us last night. This morning he explained some of the story behind the video.
@ARLnowDOTcom People getting off the Clarendon metro started joining in and it was a glorious bonding experience.
— Cabot Phillips (@cabot_phillips) July 14, 2016
The video, above, is entitled “Pokemon Go in Real Life Prank.”
You might have seen the work of the Phillips siblings before. Earlier this year they scored a national viral hit with a video in which they convince their sister, who just had wisdom teeth surgery, that they were in the midst of a zombie apocalypse.
Nine people have been charged, accused of being part of a drug network that distributed marijuana, MDMA and cocaine in the neighborhood.
A tenth person was arrested and charged with making death threat against undercover officers.
From an ACPD press release:
Detectives assigned to the Arlington County Police Department Organized Crime Section – Vice / Drug Enforcement Unit and the Virginia State Police recently concluded a 7-month undercover investigation focused on drug distribution activity in the Clarendon area of Arlington County. During this time, undercover detectives conducted numerous purchases of narcotics. As a result of this intensive investigation, undercover officers identified a narcotics distribution network, seized a significant amount of cocaine, marijuana, MDMA, and THC and made 9 arrests.
The following individuals have been arrested as a result of this investigation:
- Kyle Bailey, 22, of Arlington VA has been charged with two counts of Distribution of Marijuana
- Michael Bramlett, 32, of Arlington VA has been charged with two counts of Distribution of Cocaine
- Benjamin Lee Callender, 31, of Woodbridge VA has been charged with two counts of Distribution of Cocaine and Possession with the Intent to Distribute Cocaine
- Victoriano Castro Reyes, 26, of Woodbridge VA has been charged with Distribution of Marijuana and Child Endangerment
- Amanda Mantanona, 24, of Woodbridge VA has been charged with Child Endangerment and Possession with the Intent to Distribute Marijuana
- Omar Small, 22, of Arlington VA has been charged with Distribution of Marijuana
- Joshua Swinton, 28, of Arlington VA has been charged with three counts of Distribution of Marijuana and Possession with the Intent to Distribute Marijuana
- Justin Terrell, 30, of Alexandria VA has been charged with two counts of Distribution of MDMA and Distribution of Cocaine
- Daryl Villanueva, 29 of Arlington VA has been charged with three counts of Distribution of Cocaine and Distribution of MDMA
In addition, after the initial phase of arrests were completed, the involved undercover officers began to receive death threats and threats of severe bodily harm. The threats were very graphic. Through further investigation, the source of these threats was identified and arrested without incident. Tesfayie Tesfa, 29, of Alexandria VA was arrested and charged with four counts of Obstruction of Justice and four counts of Death Threats by Text. He is being held in the Arlington County Detention Facility.
The new Sweetgreen restaurant in Clarendon opened today to big lunchtime lines.
Located at 3100 Clarendon Blvd, the popular salad shop had a line stretching all the way out the door this morning for its official opening. It was similarly busy on Wednesday and Thursday as the restaurant gave away free food during RSVP-only “preview” events.
One hundred percent of today’s opening day proceeds were to be donated to the FRESHFARM Markets Matching Dollars program, which provides fresh, local produce to under-privileged communities in the D.C. area.
“It’s awesome that they donate the first day’s proceeds to a local nonprofit,” said one woman who was enjoying a “Guacamole Greens” salad inside the restaurant’s small dining area. She and her friends “actually biked [to Sweetgreen] from Rosslyn,” despite temperatures in the 90s.
There’s a curious retail practice on display this week in Clarendon, and perhaps elsewhere in Arlington. Despite the sweltering weather, we’ve spotted retailers like T-Mobile, Bluemercury and Lululemon keeping their front doors open while the store’s air conditioning is running on full blast.
A Lululemon employee said that they keep the doors open to create a friendly environment, as a way to attract more customers into the store. However, they will close the door if the air conditioning is not keeping up with the heat outside, she said.
Keeping the doors open during hot weather is not uncommon among stores. As reported by the New York Times, it was so ubiquitous in New York City that the city banned the practice, starting this summer, to save energy. The effort’s slogan: “Shut the Front Door!”
When calling the Lululemon corporate office, a company spokesman denied that keeping doors open was corporate policy. He stated that it is up to a store’s preference to keep the door open or closed during hot weather.
Local leaders are considering a new plaque for Arlington’s World War I memorial in Clarendon.
As reported by the Sun Gazette, the 1930s-era memorial has a plaque with a dozen names of local war dead. Two of the names are presented away from the others — and include the extra label “colored.”
It’s unclear if Arlington can legally make changes to the memorial, under state law. Ideally, what do you think should be done?
Due to courtyard construction work at 3100 Clarendon Blvd, Mad Rose Tavern is adjusting to a summer without its popular outdoor patio.
With the patio closed for the next month or so, until construction wraps up, the restaurant has added new specials and events to help maintain business during the summer months.
(The normal daily happy hour is from 4-8 p.m.)
Also recently introduced is a “Rosa Brava” international party night on Thursdays with top 40 and Latin music. Before the party starts, free dance lessons are now being offered starting at 9:30 p.m.
Here is a full list of events and specials, according to the restaurant:
- Sunday — Yappy Sunday: “Brunch with your best friend” from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. All you can eat for $22. Bowls provided.
- Tuesday — District Karaoke — Extended happy hour runs through 9 p.m. Karaoke runs through 11 p.m.
- Wednesday — All You Can Eat Crab Legs: Buffet cost is $29.99. RSVP at https://www.seatme.yelp.com/r/mad-rose-tavern/
- Thursday — Rosa Brava International Party Night
- Saturday — Brunch
- Friday and Saturday nights — DJs: Dance club experience featuring Top 40, EDM and international music.
There were enough people jaywalking between the Starbucks and the Whole Foods in Clarendon that it apparently prompted Arlington County to install a
recently appeared mid-block on the Whole Foods side of Clarendon Blvd. It instructs pedestrians not to cross and to use one of the marked crosswalks up the block.
The block is often congested with traffic turning into the Whole Foods parking lot, making it even more dangerous for pedestrians trying to cross the street outside of a crosswalk.
Update at 1:05 p.m. — As readers are pointing out, the sign has, in fact, been there since at least 2014, as proven by Google Street View. It is not “new” except, perhaps, on a geological timeframe. The 2012 Street View image does not show the sign. The 2007 and 2009 Street View images both show people standing where the sign currently is, apparently waiting to cross the street.
(Updated at 3:10 p.m.) President Fitzgerald Grant will be making a campaign appearance at a Clarendon bar tonight.
“Scandal” actor Tony Goldwyn, best known for his role as President of the United States on the ABC drama series, will be attending a Democratic young professional happy hour tonight in support of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
The event is taking place from 7:30-9:30 p.m. at American Tap Room (3101 Wilson Blvd) in Clarendon. RSVP is required.
“I have been passionate about Hillary’s campaign for a long time,” Goldwyn said in a recent email to Virginia residents. “She is the toughest, smartest, and kindest candidate we could wish for, and I know she’s got what it takes to be president. (It isn’t an easy job — except maybe when the Oval Office is on a soundstage!)”
“I so look forward to meeting you and hearing the reasons why this election matters to YOU,” Goldwyn continued. “We may even have time for a selfie!”
“Room 19,” as the speakeasy is called, will take place weekly in the back of Boulevard Woodgrill restaurant (2901 Wilson Blvd), starting next Monday night, July 11. It will feature classic cocktails in an intimate setting.
“The goal of Room 19 is to give the DC and NOVA crowd something they have not experienced before,” wrote Minh Tran, a spokesman for the venture.
“We want patrons to feel as if they have stepped away from 2016 and entered a hidden world,” Tran said in an email. “Room 19 will feel intimate, dark, and secretive. This is about having an immersive experience of the Prohibition era. Jazz music from the 1920’s and 1930’s will add to the ambience. This is a place you want to have a great time with your date or to share a new experience with friends. It is an escape.”
Behind Room 19, Tran said, are Boulevard Woodgrill owner Joe Corey and mixologist Chris Bassett, whose resume includes Ping Pong Dim Sum and Old Town Alexandria speakeasy PX. The cocktail menu includes classics like a Negroni, a Sazerac, and a “cedar smoked” Old Fashioned, plus cocktails with names like “Sherry’s got me by the stones,” with tequila, apricot liqueur and sherry; and “That smokey sweetness,” with single malt whiskey, raspberry syrup and lemon juice.
Room 19 will initially take place Mondays from 6 to 11 p.m., but may stay open later if the crowd doesn’t thin out. Additional days of the week are expected to be added.
There’s a dress code: casual attire is allowed, but flip flops, tank tops and “regular,” non-trendy sneakers are all verboten. Those wishing to make table reservations are asked to email [email protected].
Hard Times Cafe in Clarendon is closing for good this weekend.
The restaurant, noted for its chili and chili dogs, will serve its last customers Saturday.
“Folks, I am communicating to you the sad news that Hard Times Cafe will be closing our doors at close of business tomorrow, Saturday July 2, 2016,” the restaurant’s manager said in an email to a group that holds events there.
Hard Times employees and other local business owners were told of the closing Friday afternoon. There had been rumors of an impending closing since a “for lease” sign had been placed above the entrance in March. That sign has since been taken down, though a leasing representative did not reveal any future plans for the space when contacted by ARLnow.com today.
The 8,240 square foot, three level location — located directly across the street from the Clarendon Metro station, at 3028 Wilson Blvd — is being marketed as a “trophy restaurant or retail space.”
A familiar red and white converted hearse/ambulance stopped at the Clarendon Metro station earlier this afternoon.
Ride-hailing service Lyft parked the Ghostbusters’ ride of choice, Ecto-1, outside the Metro station just after 12:30 p.m. today. The driver, clad in the drab Ghostbusters jumpsuit, posed for photos with passersby.
The vehicle was there to promote a partnership between Lyft and the new “Ghostbusters” film called “ghost mode,” a feature slated to run later this week where riders can hail an original Ecto-1 or a replica.
“We have one Ecto-1 on the road and we will have four other vehicles that will be replicated to look much like this,” said Lyft’s Morgan Gunter. “There will be some fun giveaways such as Twinkies and Hi-C. It’s a fun promotion around the opening of Ghostbusters.”
Riders can use “ghost mode” across the D.C. and Arlington area this Friday and Saturday between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.
Additional reporting and photos by Jackie Friedman