(Updated at 4:30 p.m.) Around 3,400 homes and businesses are in the dark in Arlington as a result of a widespread power outage.
Portions of Courthouse, Clarendon and Virginia Square are without power, while a Dominion outage map previously showed a big swath of the residential neighborhoods to the north — extending into McLean — also affected. At the outage’s peak, nearly 5,500 homes and businesses were without power.
Traffic signals are dark at some of the busy intersections along the Orange Line corridor, according to scanner traffic.
On its website Dominion lists an early power restoration estimate of 6-9 p.m.
Reports of the outage came around the same time as the Arlington County Fire Department was dispatched to a report of a blown transformer. The fire department has also been responding to reports of smoke from buildings in the area, potentially linked to generators starting up.
At least one apartment building, Virginia Square Tower at 3444 Fairfax Drive, suffered a reported electrical fire, according to an email shared with ARLnow.
(Updated at 10:20 a.m.) The new Dunkin’ store at 3300 Wilson Blvd, near Clarendon, is now open.
The standalone Dunkin’, which features its own parking lot and a drive-thru window, officially opened on Tuesday, a company spokesman said. The coffee and donut purveyor was open this morning, serving a trickle of customers who notice the “now open” sign.
The building — which was previously a Dunkin’ Donuts, before it closed and was succeeded Peruvian chicken restaurant Pio Pio, Indian-Pakistani-Bangladeshi restaurant Naan Kabob, and, briefly, Red Hook Lobster Pound — was completely renovated over the past few months.
The new interior includes a steel “Arlington Runs on Dunkin'” sign and “next generation” Dunkin’ features like a front-facing bakery case and tap-based iced coffee, nitro cold brew, and iced tea pours.
The new store, which is about halfway between the Virginia Square and Clarendon Metro stations, takes the place of the previous, more central Dunkin’ location at 3009 Clarendon Blvd in Clarendon, which closed earlier this month.
A company spokesman says Dunkin’ is planning “a two-part grand opening celebration for the end of the month.”
“On [Thursday], Sept. 30 and Saturday, Oct. 2, we’ll be hosting a Free Medium Hot or Iced Coffee offer from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.,” the spokesman said. “We’ll also be offering guests Dunkin’ swag from the Dunkin’ Prize Wheel, photos with Dunkin’ mascot Cuppy and more.”
The grand opening will also include the presentation of a $2,500 donation to the Capital Area Food Bank from Dunkin’ franchisee DDC Management LLC, we’re told.
Given Arlington County’s propensity for encouraging more pedestrian-oriented and less car-oriented facilities — including county staff push-back on a proposed second drive-thru lane for a busy McDonald’s along Langston Blvd — the new Dunkin’ drive-thru is something of a curiosity. According to Transportation Commission Chair Chris Slatt, the use of the drive-thru window was grandfathered in, given that the building previously featured one.
Got confirmaton from the County that it's being grandfather as an existing drive-thru. "There was a determination done in March of 2020 that stated the drive thru window is a legally nonconforming use and permitted to continue without obtaining a special exception use permit."
— Chris Slatt (@alongthepike) September 8, 2021
ARLnow observed the drive-thru already in use this morning, as an Arlington police cruiser was seen making a U-turn on Wilson Blvd and then pulling up to the order lane, apparently after the driver saw the “now open” sign.
(Updated at 3:35 p.m.) Tatte Bakery in Clarendon is finally set to open.
The growing Boston-based chain’s Arlington location will open tomorrow (Wednesday), according to a sign in the window. It was first announced earlier this year and was originally expected to open in July.
The cafe is located at 2805 Clarendon Blvd, around where the Baja Fresh used to be before it closed in late 2018, ahead of extensive renovations to the building.
Tatte now has more than 20 locations, with a majority in the Boston-area. However, over the last year, the bakery has expanded to the D.C. area, including two relatively new locations in D.C. and one in Bethesda, Maryland which just opened in March.
The Clarendon spot is focused on breakfast, brunch, and lunch, with hours from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will have the same menu as the other D.C.-areas locations, except no dinner. The menu includes sandwiches, tartines, shakshuka, salads, bowls, and coffee.
The interior of the restaurant features a modern aesthetic and tiled counters.
The bakery is housed within The Crossing Clarendon, the multi-block, mixed-use development and retail center formerly known Market Common Clarendon.
Hand-painted canvases, ceramics and other works of art will adorn the streets of Clarendon this weekend for an art festival.
The Arlington Festival of the Arts will take place this Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 4-5, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event, now in its ninth year, will be outdoors on N. Highland Street, beginning at the corner of N. Highland Street and Washington Blvd.
Howard Alan Events, which hosts the festival, had an independent panel of judges select the artists. Some of those who made the cut are based in the D.C. area.
“Visitors will have the chance to see thousands of fine works from across the globe in a prestigious show encompassing fine jewelry, exquisite works of art and hand-crafted apparel and decor,” Howard Alan Events said. “Whether your passions run to sparkling jewels and one of a kind paintings; masterfully crafted glasswork or an art deco sculpture, you are sure to find it during the free, two-day event.”
Art prices will be available to view at the event and all the artists will be available to answer questions during the festival.
The Labor Day weekend event will feature paintings from Allen Levy, whose works have been displayed at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria and whose studio is in Woodbridge. Mixed media artist and interior designer Vered Yanay, based in Bethesda, will have her work at the festival as well as Prince George’s County-based graphic artist Bryane Broadie.
Parking is available at the event’s 3003 Washington Blvd location and pets on leashes are welcomed to peruse the art. They may be interested in Joseph Brewer’s pet portraits.
Parking restrictions and several major road closures are planned in the area, which may lead to traffic delays for drivers.
More from the Arlington County Police Department:
Setup for the event will begin at 4:00 a.m. on Saturday, and the event will be open both days from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
The Arlington County Police Department will conduct the following road closures from approximately 4:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 4th through 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 5th to accommodate the event:
- Westbound Washington Boulevard will be closed from N. 10th Street to Clarendon Boulevard
- N. Highland Street will be closed from N. 11th Street to Washington Boulevard
- Eastbound Washington Boulevard will be reduced to one lane from Clarendon Boulevard to N. 10th Street
- Southbound traffic on N. Garfield Street will only be allowed to turn left (eastbound) on Washington Boulevard
Other closures not mentioned above may be implemented at law enforcement discretion in the interest of public safety.
Street parking in the area will be restricted and motorists should be on the lookout for temporary “No Parking” signs. Illegally parked vehicles may be ticketed or towed. If your vehicle is towed from a public street, call the Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222.
Attendees are encouraged to use Metro (Clarendon station) or other “for hire” transportation options to reduce vehicular traffic in the area.
TRAFFIC ALERT ⚠️ Road closures and turn restrictions will be in place in the Clarendon area this weekend for the Arlington Festival of the Arts on Saturday and Sunday. Plan ahead and seek alternate routes.
Details: https://t.co/zItt6JVnSM pic.twitter.com/tcAtm9XCap
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) September 1, 2021
A kitchen trailer in Clarendon that popped up last summer in a vacant lot has since been joined by two others.
And now they’re producing meals from more than a half-dozen “ghost kitchens” available on food delivery platforms such as DoorDash and Grubhub. Out of these kitchens come fried chicken sandwiches, asada fries and Asian street food, among other dishes.
The three trailers between the Clarendon Whole Foods and the PNC Bank are owned by REEF Technology, a company focused on turning underutilized, urban parking lots into food and logistics hubs. The food service arm of Reef is called NBRHD Kitchens.
In total, according to signage on the property, these three trailers produce meals for seven restaurant concepts. They’ll be bringing activity the vacant lot while Arlington County embarks on a special study to determine if the zoning codes for the property, near the border of the Clarendon and Courthouse neighborhoods, should allow for a new apartment building.
“REEF launched its delivery restaurants in Arlington in June 2020, being the first municipality in which the company establishes its operations,” the company tells ARLnow. “REEF’s delivery restaurants in Arlington are among the highest performing.”
The company also has two kitchen hubs in D.C. — at P Street NW and K Street NE — and each can support between four and six brands. But REEF did hint at possible expansion.
“As Arlington continues to be a great performing location, REEF continues to look at opportunities to grow its footprint in terms of delivery restaurants and other business verticals,” REEF said.
REEF’s growth and expansion mirrors the trends that the food delivery platforms DoorDash and Grubhub tell ARLnow they’re observing. Spokespeople for the companies said delivery-only kitchens have proliferated particularly in the last year in response to pandemic challenges and the rising costs of establishing a physical location.
“Delivery-only virtual (or ghost) kitchens on Grubhub have been a rising trend over the last year, representing a flexible way for restaurant owners to experiment with new menu concepts, brand a subset of existing menu items, or capture unmet customer demand without adding overhead,” a Grubhub spokeswoman said.
DoorDash doesn’t collect data on the breakdown between delivery-only restaurants and those with storefronts, but the pandemic blurred that line anyway, as traditional dining establishments turned to different models to keep operating when dine-in wasn’t an option.
“For many restaurant owners, ghost kitchens provide a more cost-effective way to expand their business — reaching new markets and customers — because they don’t involve the typical overhead costs associated with opening a new restaurant,” said Emily Tung, the director of DoorDash Kitchens. “Many independent businesses have been successful in their ghost kitchen endeavors and our goal is to support our partners across all their locations and help accelerate their online success.”
But the ghost kitchen activity at this location is destined to be temporary, as the company that owns the lot aims to redevelop it.
Dubbed Courthouse West, the lot at 2636 Wilson Blvd is bounded by N. Danville Street, Clarendon Blvd, N. Cleveland Street and Wilson Blvd. The property’s owner, CRC Companies, has asked the county to change the land-use designation — which currently allows for one- to four-story buildings — to one that allows for hotels or taller apartments.
A newly-opened bistro in Clarendon is hoping to attract a slightly more mature crowd in an area known for its youthful nightlife.
Maison Cheryl, located in the former Heritage Brewing space at 2900 Wilson Blvd, had its soft opening last Thursday. The 2,000-square-foot restaurant offers a refined, yet casual spot for Arlingtonians to take dates, meet their neighbors, and explore an ever-evolving menu of drinks, dishes and desserts.
Though the bistro can accommodate nearly 80 people in the dining room, the centerpiece of the eatery is the pristine, marble bar counter, around which strangers and friends gather, talk and indulge in creamy and rich “French-New American” food.
The restaurant’s chef and owner Robert Maher and his wife moved from New York City to Bethesda earlier in the pandemic to be back in his wife’s hometown. He planned to open a restaurant there, but found the Clarendon spot and loved the energy in the neighborhood.
“When I started it, I wanted a restaurant that would look beautiful but also a place you could take a date, but also something that was all-inclusive and not only have good food but have good drinks and have good wine,” said Maher. “I have a real problem. I like to make everybody happy. It’s a good thing, but it keeps you awake at night.”
With many Clarendon nightlife spots catered toward younger adults in their 20s, Maher and general manager Rami Sabri wanted to create a restaurant geared toward older millennials — those in their 30s, starting to settle down in Arlington. In other words, the kind of “elder millennial” that gets made fun of in those Progressive commercials.
The restaurant is planning on officially opening soon after Labor Day. Maher and Sabri said the community response has been very positive so far.
“We already have regulars,” said Sabri. “We have five or six couples who have already come back. Nothing has been sent back, almost nothing boxed.”
“Except my mom. My mom’s like this big,” added Maher, indicating her petite size. “She saves [leftovers] for breakfast the next day.”
Even after being in business less than a week, certain dishes are starting to stand out.
“My favorite dish has to be the fried burrata. It’s really simple, really fresh. There’s something so satisfactory about cutting burrata and it oozing out,” said Maher. “The shrimp with spicy kewpie mayo and cabbage and lime salad, I mean that is probably our number one selling dish.”
Sabri added that the crispy cauliflower always comes back as “a clean plate.”
Maher says menu items will rotate throughout the seasons and depending on what patrons say they’re interested in seeing added.
“My plumber was like, ‘Oh I love bison,’ and I was like, ‘Listen, tell me you’re coming, I will buy some bison and I will put it as a special.’ Anything to make anybody happy,” said Maher.
“We essentially closed because we used all the operating capital we had available,” said Jonathan Carver, who owned the Clarendon blow dry bar for the past two years, and closed it on Aug. 2.
Carver said the salon simply had more more costs — including the high rent in a prime shopping area — than it had revenue from the blowouts. The salon scraped by before COVID-19, but could not recover with the slow reopening rate mandated by the state, he said.
“There’s only so much people are willing to pay for wash, dry and style. It was a very simple service. You can’t charge $300 for that. I think it would have done better in a cheaper location,” said Carver. “I had really good employees and most of them were loyal. There was no way I was going to be able to pay them well and pay the rent.”
Kaleemah Woodward, a Cherry employee since the Clarendon location opened in 2014, says she has been dealing with confused and disappointed clients in the wake of the closure.
“People had over 40 blow dries left on their account and have no way to get that money back,” Woodward said. “I have the frustration of not having answers for them.”
Cherry charged $150 for four monthly blow dries. She said people were desperate to get the money refunded but have had no luck. That’s because there is simply no money to pay customers back, Carver said.
“If [customers] tried to get money out of the franchise, they could force it into bankruptcy, but it would cost more in legal fees because the franchise has no money,” he said.
Woodward said Cherry Blow Dry’s corporate office owns the lease until 2025, but is looking to sell to a local business owner.
Patrons aren’t the only ones out of luck — the employees are also in a tricky situation, as many don’t have cosmetology licenses, according to Woodward.
In 2018, Gov. Ralph Northam passed a law in Virginia allowing unlicensed stylists to work at salons as long as they didn’t permanently alter hair. That’s fine for blow dries, but not for more involved services, which means that many Cherry employees either have to get their cosmetology licenses or are faced with limited work opportunities.
Woodward is now freelancing and taking donations as she works to earn her cosmetology license. She aims to set up a studio in her apartment, offering the same deal Cherry did: $150 for four blowouts a month.
The closure also cuts deep for the stylist and for loyal customers.
“A piece of my identity is kind of gone,” she said.
A man sitting at a bar in Clarendon was repeatedly stabbed in a seemingly random attack on Saturday.
The stabbing happened at 7:30 p.m. at Spider Kelly’s (3181 Wilson Blvd).
“Upon arrival, officers located the male victim suffering from a laceration and the suspect being held down by witnesses,” Arlington County police said today in a crime report. “The investigation revealed that while the victim was sitting at the bar, the suspect allegedly approached him from behind and began repeatedly striking the victim with a sharp object.”
“The victim was transported to an area hospital with serious injuries,” ACPD said. “Patrick Casey, 34, of No Fixed Address was arrested and charged with Aggravated Malicious Wounding. He was held on no bond.”
Spider Kelly’s co-owner Nick Freshman said the attack looks “like a completely random act” by someone “who came in off the street.” The suspect walked in and started attacking a customer near the front of the restaurant without provocation, Freshman said, adding that his security staff jumped in and tackled the suspect, holding him until police arrived.
“I’m incredibly grateful to our staff and our security team… [they were] able to quickly detain the perpetrator and secure the weapon,” he said. “We’re praying for [the victim].”
“It was really pretty terrifying,” Freshman added. “It’s left our whole team pretty shook. I’m so sorry something like this happened.”
Asked about the suspect’s motive and about the weapon used, a police spokeswoman declined to provide additional details.
“There’s no additional details to provide at this time,” said ACPD’s Ashley Savage. “This remains an active criminal investigation and detectives continue to review evidence and conduct interviews to determine the events that preceded the incident. Anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-4180 or [email protected]”
Langston Blvd Plan Meets Resistance — “Following this May’s release of area planning maps and a presentation on density from consultant AECOM, a furious screed was published by Lyon Village Civic Association president John Carten. Though the process is still in the community engagement phase that precedes concrete recommendations, the hint of possible changes in the General Land Use Plan prompted the Lyon Village group to predict a parade of horribles.” [Falls Church News-Press]
New Clarendon Apartment Building Sold — “Trammell Crow Residential has sold the Alexan Earl, a 333-unit multifamily building at 1122 N. Hudson St., to Lincoln Property Co. for $192 million… The Earl represents the first phase of the long-planned Red Top Cab redevelopment… Shooshan continues to plan for the second phase, a roughly 250-unit building fronting Washington Boulevard at the intersection with 13th Street North. It expects to start demolition this fall.” [Washington Business Journal]
Online Fundraiser for Fallen Officer –” The family of George Gonzalez started a memorial fund Sunday for the Pentagon Force Protection Agency officer who was fatally wounded Tuesday on the platform of the Pentagon Transit Center… By 3 p.m. on Monday, the GoFundMe campaign had already raised $15,000, outstripping its original goal of $1,000.” [Patch, GoFundMe]
Local BBQ Joint Competing in ‘World Championship’ — “Arlington’s Smokecraft Modern Barbecue… has been invited to compete in the Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue. Taking place in Lynchburg, TN on on October 8th and 9th, ‘The Jack’ as it is known, is widely considered the world’s most prestigious barbecue competition.” [Press Release]
Va. AG Continues to Fight Robocalls — “Attorney General Mark R. Herring today urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to fight back against the scourge of illegal robocalls by moving up the deadline for smaller telephone companies to implement caller ID technology. Attorney General Herring joined a bipartisan coalition of 51 attorneys general have in submitting comments to the FCC.” [Press Release]
Pentagon to Require Vaccinations — “The Pentagon will require members of the military to get the COVID-19 vaccine by Sept. 15, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a memo on Monday. About 64% of active duty military members are fully vaccinated, a low enough rate to pose concern for potential outbreaks and international deployment.” [Axios]
A D.C. man is in jail after allegedly stealing a cell phone and hitting a police officer on the head.
The incident happened around 11:15 a.m. Thursday in Clarendon and drew a large police response. The Arlington County Police Department says they were called after a 37-year-old man stole a cell phone from someone he knew and refused to return it.
Arriving officers spotted the suspect walking along Clarendon Blvd “and attempted to stop him to investigate the alleged larceny,” ACPD said in a crime report.
“The suspect refused to comply and continued walking in the opposite direction. The suspect then turned around and shoved one of the officers before turning and walking away,” the department said.
At that point the officer radioed for backup, and numerous other officers began rushing to the scene, near The Crossing Clarendon retail center. As more police arrived and tried to detain the combative suspect, “actively resisted and struck an officer in the head,” said ACPD. “The officer sustained minor injuries.”
“With the assistance of additional officers, the suspect was detained, but continued to actively resist, kicked towards the officers and attempted to bite an officer,” the crime report continues. “Maurio Johnson, 37, of Washington D.C., was arrested and charged with Assault & Battery on Police (x2). He was held on no bond.”
A witness tells ARLnow that police used restraints and a police van to transport the man to jail, a few blocks away.
“Big response with about a dozen cops and 6 cars,” the witness said. “Guy was tied up hand and feet and put in wagon.”
On a quiet residential street near Arlington Blvd, cars can be heard accelerating as they turn a corner, with their aftermarket exhaust giving off a loud “roar.”
Meanwhile, near Columbia Pike, cars rev up and drag race on S. Columbus Street by Wakefield High School.
“I’m eight stories up — not at street level, so to speak — so maybe you expect the noise to dissipate,” Betsy Thomassen tells ARLnow. “It’s Wednesday, and it’s happened five to six times… it’s just incredibly loud and a nuisance. In my condo, my furniture sometimes vibrates. That’s kind of incredible really.”
According to residents who have spoken to ARLnow, and who’ve posted on social media sites like Facebook and Nextdoor, there been a surge in modified cars speeding through neighborhoods. Some residents say the uptick is particularly bad along the Columbia Pike corridor and in the Clarendon area, and along the highways that crisscross the county.
“Anywhere there’s a corridor, you have high performance cars,” said Clarendon-Courthouse Civic Association President David Cheek, who even compiled a video, below, of modified cars roaring through his neighborhood. “It’s really rude to accelerate in an area with a lot of people, in a loud car, but there’s a ‘do whatever you want’ mentality.”
After nearly a year of receiving more complaints than usual, the County Board is preparing to take a number of steps to mitigate noise in Arlington and enforce noise maximums on cars and motorcycles, according to Board member Takis Karantonis.
One avenue members are pursuing is via the state legislature. The Board aims to have something on their legislative agenda for the next regular session in January, Karantonis said. They’re also looking to train police officers to engage drivers in conversations and get them to change their attitudes.
“I think that the County Board as a whole is interested in a way to enforce and discourage overwhelmingly noisy motoring in Arlington, especially in neighborhoods,” he said.
Diagnosing the problem
A lot of the especially noisy cars are running aftermarket exhaust systems made for racing, Cheek said. He theorizes that with extra time on their hands during the pandemic, more folks got interested in car modifications.
There is an entire, sophisticated industry around these mufflers, but there is very little regulation, Karantonis said, adding that he understands that modified cars sell like hotcakes in motoring and touring fairs.
One reader told ARLnow that the new noise isn’t always associated with higher speeds.
“They often ‘sound’ as though they are also speeding, yet I’ve seen several that are loud, but didn’t appear to be speeding,” one said. “I suspect that those nature of the modifications.”
As a car and motorcycle enthusiast, Cheek said he understands the appeal of modifying a vehicle and wanting to enjoy it.
“I feel for them,” he said. “But they have to understand there are a lot of people who’re upset about it — on Columbia Pike and in Clarendon — and that it’s not fair to everyone else.”
He added that noise pollution “isn’t just annoying — it impacts your mental health, and it actually affects your life.”
Karantonis said there are a few paths on the table, from enacting legislation to educating drivers.
Legislative action will be somewhat tricky, in part because a new state law went into effect in March that says police officers cannot initiate a traffic stop for, among other things, loud mufflers. The code still allows drivers to be ticketed for noise if they were pulled over for a violation such as speeding.
The law, sponsored by Del. Patrick Hope (D-Arlington), was passed to reduce racial disparities in traffic stops, as some police officers historically used pretextual reasons — such as a loud car or expired tags — to pull over residents and search their cars.