Arlington, VA

In some ways, Justin Stegall has a hard time recognizing his bakery — Bakeshop at 1025 N. Fillmore Street in Clarendon — today, given how it started.

When the shop opened, in 2010 during the middle of the Snowpocalypse, it was just him in the kitchen and a guy working in the front. Over the next ten years, that staff grew and each of them left their mark on the bakery. A tableau of printed pictures on wall is a silent testament to the years of memories.

This Sunday, Jan. 26, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Bakeshop will celebrate ten years in business with a community-oriented celebration. Bakeshop staff said they are planning to pass out cake and ice cream samples, along with cookies. The celebration will have a photo booth and — permit pending — a fire truck to entertain children could make an appearance, staff said.

The shop now operates in two locations, the original one in Clarendon and one at 100 E. Fairfax Street in Falls Church. Stegall said he has no immediate plans to open more, but he enjoyed the expansion and will do it again if the moment feels right.

Looking back on the last ten years, Stegall and his staff said it was a lot of long hours and difficult work that made the shop viable.

“I went into it thinking it would be a lot of fun, and it is, but it’s a lot of hard work,” said Alyson, an employee at Bakeshop. “You’re in the ovens, it’s hard work, and you’re carrying trays… You make all these delicious treats, but for the bakers, it’s a lot of hard work.”

As Sol Schott from Acme Pie on Columbia Pike could also attest, staff said the work involves working long, odd hours.

“Bakers get in really early,” Alyson said. “A large part of that is there are orders you have to bake for the day or people picking up cakes on the way to work. It’s early mornings and late nights.”

When Bakeshop opened during that blizzard, Stegall said one of the first orders was a couple for a cake, which he walked through the snow to deliver to them. The couple still comes into the shop, he said with pride.

(Bakeshop launched around the same time as ARLnow, which is also celebrating its 10th anniversary this month, and our company’s paths have occasionally overlapped — like the time we ordered a cake decorated with a waving chalk body outline as a farewell present to an outgoing Arlington police spokeswoman.)

“I believe towns need these kinds of things,” Stegall said. “It gives Arlington a little community spot for the neighborhood, for kids and adults, for people that want to work there and bake. Now we constantly have a crew of awesome kids that come through, go to college, and come back.”

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Animal rights activists are planning a protest at the Clarendon Starbucks tomorrow (Wednesday) afternoon.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals says demonstrators will “occupy” the cafe at 2690 Clarendon Blvd — as well as other Starbucks location in the U.S. and Canada — to pressure the coffee chain to offer dairy-free milk free of charge. The protest is scheduled to take place from noon-1 p.m.

It’s part of a “Week of Action” aimed at pressuring Starbucks to “stop penalizing people for choosing eco- and animal-friendly options.”

More from a PETA press release:

On Wednesday, PETA protesters will gather peacefully inside a Starbucks on Clarendon Boulevard to urge the company to dump its surcharge for dairy-free milk. The sit-in–a part of PETA’s Week of Action, during which supporters will occupy Starbucks locations across the U.S. and Canada–follows a recent protest at the home of Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson.

“Soy and nut milks shouldn’t cost a cent more than their dairy counterparts, which are cruel to cows, contribute to climate change, and are indigestible to many humans,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is upping the pressure on Starbucks to wake up and smell the coffee: It’s time for the unfair surcharge to end.”

In today’s dairy industry, cows are artificially inseminated (raped via an inserted syringe) and calves are torn away from their loving mothers within a day of birth. Male calves are often slaughtered for veal, and females are eventually sentenced to the same miserable fate as their mothers. And according to the United Nations, animal agriculture is responsible for nearly a fifth of human-induced greenhouse-gas emissions and a global shift to vegan eating is necessary to combat the worst effects of climate change.

File photo

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Barry’s Clarendon — the first Virginia studio for international fitness chain Barry’s Bootcamp — is getting ready to open its location at 2825 Wilson Blvd next week.

The gym will open on Saturday, Jan. 25, according to a press release.

Barry’s describes itself as a “boutique lifestyle brand” with an “immersive and transformative full-body workout experience.” The L.A. Times once described the gym, which was founded in Los Angeles in 1998, as “one of the toughest workouts” in the city.

The Clarendon location, a 5,695 square foot space next to the Chase bank, is the second location in the D.C. area after one in Dupont Circle. While there’s no shortage of gyms around Arlington, Barry’s Clarendon will help fill the void left when Washington Sports Club closed last year nearby.

The location will have 23 treadmills and a capacity for 50 people to work out at one time, according to the press release. The location will also sell clothing like workout clothes and athleisure wear, along with smoothies and snacks.

Classes at the gym are $34 per session, though other types of packages and memberships are also available.

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You have until 10 p.m. today to get your pizza and pasta at Alto Fumo (2909 Wilson Blvd) in Clarendon, then the restaurant goes dark for two months.

A manager at Alto Fumo said the restaurant will be closed for two months for extensive remodeling and renovation, then will reopen in March.

Temporary closures around Arlington have a way of becoming permanent, but the manager insisted the restaurant plans to reopen in the spring.

This is not the first time a pizza shop at the location has temporarily closed. The location was once Faccia Luna, but rebranded to Alto Fumo after a closure in 2017. The manager said some other changes could be in the works for the restaurant, but for now, “it will stay a little surprise.”

Staff photo by Vernon Miles

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Morning Notes

Musical Send-Off for Kenmore SRO — “Kenmore Middle School students came up with a fun way to commemorate the retirement of School Resource Officer Jackie Pagan. They presented a musical dance number Friday, Jan. 11, as part of a flash mob.” [Patch, WJLA, Twitter]

Arlingtonian Has Olympic Aspirations — Arlington resident Sarah Anyan qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials, which will be held next month leading up to the Tokyo games this summer. [RunWashington]

Lots of Police Activity on Clarendon Nightlife — “The 3100 block of Wilson Boulevard in the Clarendon neighborhood of Arlington County is a hot spot. There are bars, restaurants, and a metro stop all in a block radius… there’s also a surge of calls to Arlington county police, and problems that lead to those calls in the first place.” [WUSA 9]

Del. Levine Pushing Minimum Wage Bill — “A state delegate’s proposed bill to allow localities to set their own minimum-wage levels, provided they do not dip below the federal government’s level, has drawn a tentative response from one local official and outright opposition from two chambers of commerce…. But not everyone agrees with the thrust of [Del. Mark] Levine’s bill. Kate Bates, president and CEO of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, said chamber leaders oppose the legislation.” [InsideNova]

Beyer Tapped for Economic Committee — “Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi today recommended Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) to serve as the Vice Chair of the Joint Economic Committee… The Speaker’s recommendation must be confirmed by a vote of the full committee to take effect.” [Rep. Don Beyer]

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(Updated at 2 p.m.) It appears Red Hook Lobster Pound could be moving into the former Naan Kabob spot at 3300 Wilson Blvd, near Clarendon.

Red Hook Lobster Pound started as a restaurant in Red Hook, Brooklyn, before expanding to D.C. with a food truck that quickly gained popularity, which was then followed by a second D.C.-based truck and a kiosk at the District Wharf.

The trucks serve lobster and other New England specialties, like clam chowder and warm apple cider, as well as “lobstah box” meals that include a lobster roll, two sides or drinks, and a cookie.

Now, Red Hook Lobster Pound signs are up at the Naan Kabob space, and its trucks and food cart are regularly parked there. The company couldn’t be reached for comment, but signs inside the restaurant suggest it will serve as a bricks-and-mortar location for Red Hook Lobster Pound, offering dishes like lobster mac and cheese for $13.95.

For the time being, the company’s online schedule places one of the trucks as serving food at 3300 Wilson Blvd from 6-9 p.m. on Saturday nights.

Naan Kabob “temporarily closed” last October, but never reopened. The restaurant opened in 2017 to replace Pio Pio, a Peruvian restaurant that also had a penchant for temporary closures that became permanent.

There’s no word as to how much the Lobster Pound might have shelled out for its new Arlington spot.

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Almost a year after signs for The Pinemoor went up at 1101 N. Highland Street, it looks like progress is being made on the new southern restaurant.

The restaurant replacing Clarendon Grill was originally planned to open last summer, according to signs, but that date came and passed without news. Now, signs of life: the restaurant has recently filed permits to serve alcohol and inside, the restaurant sports new decorations and furnishings.

The Pinemoor is described online as a “cousin” to Copperwood Tavern, a “farm-to-table American restaurant and craft bar” in Shirlington (4021 Campbell Avenue) and, most recently, Ashburn (20465 Exchange Street).

“Copperwood Tavern has a new cousin in the oven and she’s a Southern pistol,” The Pinemoor’s website says. “The Pinemoor is a farm-to-table American restaurant coming soon to Clarendon.”

Emails to Pinemoor’s owner seeking comment have thus far not been returned. It’s not yet known when the restaurant will open.

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Yesterday we told you about a new Clarendon cafe called This is Fine Coffee, but more importantly we told you about one of their signature drinks: an espresso, orange juice and caramel concoction called the Bumble Coffee.

It’s apparently popular in Eastern Europe, and fairly rare here stateside.

The immediate reaction in our office was that of horror upon hearing about an espresso drink made with OJ. But reporter Vernon Miles now swears by it, so much so that as this post is being written he’s en route to the office with several Bumble Coffees for a tasting by now-intrigued colleagues.

We were wondering how other Arlingtonians felt about this. Would you try a Bumble?

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(Updated at 3:50 p.m.) Gallery Clarendon, a temporary art space at 2800 Clarendon Blvd, has announced that it will be closing to make way for a new pizza restaurant from New England.

The gallery, a project from the Arlington Artists Alliance, opened at Market Common Clarendon in June 2018 as a way to fill the space until a permanent tenant could be found. At the time, the Arlington Artists Alliance told ARLnow they expected to be open for roughly a year.

The gallery will close at the end of February, the Alliance said.

In May of 2018, with modest expectations and a solely volunteer effort, the Arlington Artists Alliance turned the empty storefront on the corner of Clarendon Blvd. and N. Fillmore into a gallery and artist studios for 50+ local Arlington artists. The positive feedback we received from the community was heartwarming and overwhelming… It was a wonderful experience for the artists and we thank each and every one of you who visited our gallery and studios or attended a class in Clarendon.

A pair of shows currently on display, called Catharsis and Kaleidoscope, will be the final exhibits at the gallery. Both shows are scheduled to have an opening reception tomorrow (Friday). Catharsis’ reception is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. while Kaleidoscope will start at 5 p.m., with both scheduled to finish around 7 p.m.

The Arlington Artists Alliance is currently hoping to find a new home in North Arlington, though its Gallery Underground location in Crystal City remains open.

Cherise Goldbach, general manager of Market Common Clarendon owner Regency Centers, said the new tenant in the space is Colony Grill, a small chain of thin-crust pizza-focused restaurants primarily based out of Connecticut.

The company’s website says it offers a one-size (12-inch) thin-crust cheese pizza, with signature spicy hot oil, and a variety of toppings. The chain also has a salad pizza — the company’s thin crust topped with salad fixings — with no cheese or sauce unless requested.

It will be the only Colony Grill location outside of Connecticut and New York, according to the company’s website. The first Colony Grill opened in an Irish immigrant neighborhood of Samford, Connecticut in 1935.

“Everyone at Colony Grill is extremely excited to open in Clarendon later in 2020,” said Ken Martin, COO of Colony Grill, said in an email forwarded to ARLnow. “During our search, we absolutely fell in love with the greater Arlington area. It is simply a remarkable part of the country. We look forward to introducing our unique pizza to the neighborhood and becoming a part of the community fabric for years to come.”

Pete’s New Haven Apizza, which offered a different pizza style of Connecticut origin, closed in August two blocks away.

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Okay, hear me out: orange juice, espresso and a dash of caramel over ice.

Reactions in the ARLnow office were mostly negative, but the reporter who actually tasted it at the new This is Fine Coffee in Clarendon now swears by it.

The small coffee shop — which replaced Blümen Cafe at 2607 Wilson Blvd. — had its soft opening today, but co-owners Jason Blevins and Anna Tsybko said they’ve already started seeing more customers than they were expecting.

Blevins chalks some of that up to his Java Shack background: he worked at Java Shack from 2012 to 2014, before the local coffee shop was taken over by Commonwealth Joe and ultimately closed last year. Blevins said he wanted This is Fine Coffee to have a laid-back vibe similar to Java Shack and to serve as a local gathering place and an exhibition space for artists, some of whom already have art on display in the cafe.

Many of the customers at This is Fine Coffee are former Java Shack regulars, Blevins said, at which point two of the customers nodded in confirmation.

The signature drink at This is Fine Coffee is bumble coffee, the aforementioned orange juice/espresso/caramel mix. This is Fine Coffee’s owners said it’s a popular drink in Russia and Ukraine, where Tsybko is from and where Blevins spent time working on a documentary.

The contents can sound off-putting, so Tsybko says she sometimes makes it for friends and gets them to try it before saying what’s in it. But Tsybko and Blevins fell in love with the drink there and decided to bring it back home to Arlington.

While it sometimes feels like you can’t shake a stick along Wilson Blvd without hitting a dozen coffee shops, Tsybko and Blevins said the intensely personal feeling of This is Fine Coffee sets it apart.

“Many of the decorations here are from our apartment,” Tsybko said.

“We’re not a chain, or aspiring to be a chain,” Blevins said.

The pair said the name is an allusion to the decidedly unpretentious atmosphere of the cafe. Tsybko said it was sort of a self-aware reflection of the way people talk about where they want to meet and get coffee.

While a lot of new coffee shops are very into the science and classification of coffee and the idea of coffee mixing as an art form, Blevins said the name is a throwback to coffee shops as a community-oriented place where people can pull up a laptop and work or meet up with friends.

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Morning Notes

HQ2 May Have Security Robots — “Amazon.com Inc. wants to keep its second headquarters safe. And it’s looking at a variety of methods like incognito barricades, a police presence on the campus, external facing cameras, and, oh yeah, ‘security robots.'” [Washington Business Journal]

More on Tuesday AM Robbery on the Pike — “The victim was in sitting in his parked vehicle, when an occupied vehicle pulled in front of him. The occupants of the vehicle engaged the victim in conversation and asked him to make change for their bill. During the exchange, the suspects gave the victim a lesser sum of money in return for the change and attempted to drive off. When the victim attempted to stop the vehicle, the suspects exited, assaulted him and attempted to steal his wallet.” [Arlington County]

CO Leak at GW Parkway Building — Arlington County firefighters responded to a possible carbon monoxide leak at the GW Parkway maintenance facility near Crystal City yesterday afternoon. Two people were evaluated for CO-related symptoms, per scanner traffic, and the leak was traced to a malfunctioning HVAC system. [Twitter]

Major Reston Property Owner Buys in Clarendon — “An affiliate Comstock Holding Cos. Inc. has acquired the Hartford building in Clarendon, extending its local footprint beyond its major outside-the-Capital Beltway developments in Reston and Ashburn. Comstock… bought the nine-story building at 3101 Wilson Blvd. from an affiliate of Chicago’s Heitman Capital Management for $128.75 million.” [Washington Business Journal, Globe Newswire]

Photo courtesy Peter Golkin

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