by ARLnow.com — November 24, 2015 at 11:00 am 0

Those who work and shop in Clarendon have a new parking option.

A new surface parking lot opened earlier this month in the empty lot along Wilson and Clarendon Blvd, between the Whole Foods and PNC Bank.

The lot is being operated by Crystal Parking, a local parking firm owned by Abraham Melles.

Melles said the new parking facility will allow the otherwise empty lot and eye sore generate revenue and help to alleviate parking issues in the neighborhood. He said the company will also consider offering a car wash service for customers.

The rate for parking is $2 for 0-30 minutes, $5 for 30-60 minutes or $6 for all day.

Melles has other local parking ventures he’s working on. In the “near future” he’s hoping to open a 400-500 space lot in the Shirlington area — no word yet on where, exactly. And in January Melles plans to launch Vaalio, an “on demand valet parking app” that will allow users to request a valet to show up, park and then bring back their car wherever they’re going.

Justin Funkhouser contributed to this report.

by ARLnow.com — November 24, 2015 at 6:00 am 0

A new pizza place in Clarendon has fired up its wood fire oven and is ready to serve a wide variety of pizza, salads and beer.

Brixx Wood Fired Pizza recently opened a new restaurant in Clarendon, at 1119 N. Hudson Street, and the company is ready to introduce Arlington residents to a healthier type of pizza, said co-owner Jeff VanDyke.

“Our pizzas are thin crust so they tend to be healthier than other pizzas out there,” VanDyke said.

Brixx’s pizzas are made on traditional or whole wheat crust, both made from scratch every morning. Both doughs are vegan and guests can ask for vegan cheese. Gluten-free dough is also available. The restaurant, which is known for its large selection of beers on tap, offers gluten-free drinking options as well.

Brixx strives to have a casual and relaxing atmosphere, Van Dyke said. The restaurant is kid and family friendly, but looks to attract an older crowd as well with its late night offerings. The restaurant is open until 1 a.m. Monday through Saturday.

Its late openings fit in with the Clarendon bar scene, and Clarendon’s dynamic environment attracted the company to the area.

“We love the energy of the neighborhood in Clarendon,” VanDyke said. “Very vibrant. We’re excited to settle into the neighborhood. We love to work with the schools for fundraisers.”

The pizza chain offers discounts to police officers and firefighters, VanDyke said, noting that he often sees emergency personnel eat at the restaurant.

Beyond being a neighborhood-friendly restaurant, Brixx was built on the idea of being green and fresh. The chain recycles the glass from beer bottles and makes everything fresh that day.

“We do a lot of different styles of pizza,” VanDyke siad. “There’s good variety in terms of the menu.”

He recommends newcomers try the Bronx Bomber, a pizza with Italian sausage, prosciutto, mozzarella and gorgonzola; the Mexican, which has a black bean spread, chicken and jalapenos; or the Margherita, though there are so many options it is hard to choose.

In addition to pizzas, the restaurant offers a selection of salads, sandwiches and pastas.

“Even though we are called a pizza place, we have really good salads,” VanDyke said.

Customers over 21 can enjoy a selection of 24 beers on tap or 14 wines. Brixx tries to use local breweries for each of their selections, and the beer choices rotate monthly, he said.

“We have what we call our M.B.A. program, Masters of Beer Appreciation, where you can earn rewards,” VanDyke said.

Those who enroll in the program can earn t-shirts, beer goblets and free pizza based on the amount of times they visit Brixx.

Brixx Wood Fired opened in Clarendon last month and is already seeing steady business. Call it a hidden gem: the Hudson Street location is a bit set back from Clarendon’s main drag. Look for it between the CVS and Nam-Viet restaurant.

Brixx is open from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday.

The preceding was a sponsored profile written by Heather Mongilio for ARLnow.com.

by ARLnow.com — November 19, 2015 at 6:00 am 0

Fire Works
2350 Clarendon Boulevard
Phone: 703-527-8700

When Fire Works opened its first urban location, in the Courthouse neighborhood of Arlington, the owners thought it would be best to start from scratch, to create a space to suit the needs of both the restaurant and the community it’s in.

Fire Works was built from the ground up, taking the same ideas of the wood fired pizza restaurant’s successful Leesburg location, and going bigger, upscale and trendier. The construction included bars inside and out, a huge patio and glass windows.

To take on this project, the owners of Fire Works hired Jon Hoffmeyer. He’s been in the business for 25 years, but this was the first time he took a restaurant from conception to operation.

Hoffmeyer worked with engineers and the restaurant owners. He says because the restaurant is family-owned, he got more autonomy than he would have with a corporate owner.

“I took it from a shell,” Hoffmeyer said. “It’s been rewarding actually, because it was something I hadn’t done in that scope before, and got to go from the ground up.”

Once construction was completed, Hoffmeyer hired and trained the staff, and opened Fire Works in August 2010. Training is very important to Hoffmeyer, because in his philosophy, the staff come first.

“First and foremost staff is well trained and equipped, and they can take that to the guests,” Hoffmeyer said.

When employees are well-trained, they can take a positive attitude and transfer that to guests, he says. When the focus is only on the guests of restaurants, staff members don’t love to work there — and it shows.

The restaurant business tends to be transient, but Hoffmeyer has been pleased at how many staff stick around. He says some bartenders and servers have been there since day one, and a good portion of the kitchen staff.

“It’s a fun place and a good place to work and people can make a living at doing it,” Hoffmeyer said.

The pizza at Fire Works is very good, but is not the sole reason people come back, Hoffmeyer says. With music on and a crowd inside and out on the patio, the atmosphere is lively. It’s the energy, he says, that really sets Fire Works apart.

Something that makes Fire Works fit into the Northern Virginia restaurant landscape is its interest in finding locally-sourced foods.

It’s something that has become popular in recent years, but Hoffmeyer says “farm-to-fork” eating has been a priority of the owners since before the idea was trendy.

The standards for farm-to-fork mean it’s harder to make it work from the Arlington location — the meat comes from about 100 miles away, for example. In Loudon County, where the owners’ other restaurant locations are, it’s easier to get local foods.

Fire Works has now been in Arlington for more than five years. Hoffmeyer appreciates how businesses in Arlington look out for each other. He says the mix of business and residential spaces nearby make for an interesting balance.

He says Fire Works gets a chance to interact with that community, partially because of the glass walls of the building. When there’s light coming inside, guests can see out and pedestrians can see in. Because of that, he says the dining area isn’t removed from the outside world, and it feels like part of Arlington.

The preceding was a sponsored profile written by Eleanor Greene for ARLnow.com.

by ARLnow.com — November 16, 2015 at 2:00 pm 0

Police car lightsArlington County Police responded to two separate incidents of men exposing their genitals to women in the Clarendon and Courthouse areas Friday night.

The first incident happened about a block from the Whole Foods, just before 7 p.m. From an ACPD crime report:

EXPOSURE, 151113043, 2600 block of N. Clarendon Boulevard. At approximately 6:55 p.m. on November 13, an unknown male subject exposed his genitals to a female victim. The suspect is described as a black male in his twenties, approximately 5’9″ and weighed 160 lbs. He was wearing dark jeans, a dark zippered hoodie, and had short cropped hair.

The second incident happened in Courthouse, near the Wendy’s.

EXPOSURE, 151113045, 2000 block of N. Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 10:30 p.m. on November 13, an unknown subject approached a woman with his genitals exposed. The suspect is described as a Hispanic male approximately 5’7″ with a medium build. He was wearing a blue hoodie, light frayed blue jeans, and white tennis shoes.

So far, no arrests have been reported.

by ARLnow.com — November 13, 2015 at 10:15 am 0

It’s been an arduous journey from conception to completion, but Devin Hicks is finally getting ready to open his homegrown Arlington brewpub and entertainment venue in Clarendon.

With a flurry of last-minute construction, Hicks is hoping to open Sehkraft Brewing (925 N. Garfield Street) on Monday, Nov. 23, in time for the Thanksgiving holiday. But he warns that that the opening date is is still in flux and admits that he hasn’t had great luck with setting opening dates.

The brewpub was originally slated to open in March. After various delays, in August Hicks promised that Sehkraft would definitely be open by mid-September — as he put it, “in time to watch the Nationals kill it in the playoffs and hopefully watch the Redskins be competitive.”

We all know how that turned out.

“We’re at the finish line, finally,” Hicks told ARLnow.com on Wednesday, as he supervised some two dozen workers, including Sehkraft’s extensive management team, an “all star crew” that includes everything from a brewmaster to a music supervisor to a cheesemonger.

“It’s been an ordeal,” he said of Arlington County’s permitting process, with which he has had plenty of trying times at his other business, Westover Market. “We’ve been through the wringer.”

Citing a need to maintain a healthy working relationship with the county, Hicks declined to get into specifics about his permitting issues. But he did acknowledge that a quirky feature at the center of the restaurant — a bulky wheelchair lift that leads only to the small entertainment stage — was the result of orders from county inspectors.

Sehkraft will be one of the more ambitious non-chain establishments to open along the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor in recent memory. At more than 9,000 square feet, with seating for 210 (including 66 on two patios outside), Sehkraft is huge. And that’s not even to mention the 10 barrel brewing system inside, or the centrally-located entertainment stage and state-of-the-art sound system.

Sehkraft will have 40 brews on tap, including 5 of its own homemade beers and 35 guest taps for a selection of beer, cider and even a honey mead. IPAs will be heavily represented on the menu, and there will be a pressurized growler fill station at the bar, allowing for take-home beer that can stay fresh for up to 90 days.

In addition to the beer, Sehkraft will have 8 wines on tap, plus others by the bottle. Just don’t come to the bar expecting hard liquor.

“Go elsewhere for Jaeger bombs,” advised one of the half dozen or so beer employees milling about on Wednesday. The beer team has an impressive pedigree, with experience at breweries like Port City and Lost Rhino, and at well-respected local restaurants like Lyon Hall and Northside Social.

The beer and wine will be accompanied by plenty of food, with three separate menus for lunch, dinner and bar fare. Expect chicken dishes, steaks, burgers, sausages and seafood, in addition to soups, salads, sides and snacks.


by ARLnow.com — November 13, 2015 at 9:00 am 0

A dog along the banks of Four Mile Run near Shirlington

Owner of Clarendon Restaurant on ‘Real Housewives’ — Ashley Darby, who co-owns the new Oz restaurant in Clarendon with her husband, will be a cast member on the upcoming “Real Housewives of Potomac.” The series will premiere on Bravo on Jan. 17. [Eater]

Arlington ZIP Code Makes ‘Most Expensive’ List — The 22207 ZIP code, which includes the northernmost neighborhoods of Arlington, has made the Forbes list of “Most Expensive ZIP Codes” in the U.S. The ZIP code ranked No. 339 on the list, with a median home price of $1,212,952. [Patch]

Biggest Developments Along Orange Line Corridor — Former ARLnow.com reporter Ethan Rothstein has compiled a list of “the 10 biggest developments in the R-B corridor pipeline.” The developments will be discussed at a Bisnow event on Nov. 18 in Ballston. [Bisnow]

Breezy Conditions Today — Expect a breezy day in the D.C. area today, with wind gusts up to 35-40 miles per hour. [Twitter]

by Jennifer Currier — November 9, 2015 at 3:45 pm 0

Cards from the Cards Against Urbanity party gameA playable parody of the popular, irreverent card game “Cards Against Humanity” is getting an Arlington spin.

Cards Against Urbanity was created by some local planners, architects and economic development professionals to get players thinking about urban planning while poking fun at the cities they live in.

The game, which was inspired by Arlington, is now getting its own local edition, just in time for an event in Courthouse tomorrow night.

Arlington Cultural Affairs is hosting a Cards Against Urbanity game night Tuesday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Courthaus Social (2300 Clarendon Blvd), the restaurant where Lisa Nisenson and her co-creators decided to make the idea for the game a reality.

“I’m a longtime civic activist, so I know how frustrating it is to try and learn all the things about how the city works, so that’s where this came from,” Nisenson said. “We just want people to have a good time and get to know their community in a creative way.”

The deck used during the game night will include some new cards specifically relevant to Arlington.

Players could come across black question cards with prompts like “The tolls on the I-66 should be used to fund ____” and “Arlington is world famous for ____.” We’re told there may also be a card referencing the ARLnow.com comment section.

Some of the white cards address relevant community issues and in-jokes with answers like “Cardboard classrooms” and “Brown flip flops.”

These cards were added to the original deck distributed to backers last year after the game’s Kickstarter campaign exceeded its goal. Nisenson said some of the original cards — including “A desire named streetcar” — could apply in the local edition of the game.

Guests in the crowd will also have the opportunity to make suggestions for new cards.

“We want people to be really clever,” Nisenson said. “We hope to add the best, most clever suggestions to Arlington’s deck.”

The event is free and appropriate for all audiences. Snacks will be provided, and there will be a cash bar.

This is the first of three game nights in Arlington. The next one scheduled for Jan. 12, with another planned for later in this spring.

by ARLnow.com — November 2, 2015 at 9:20 am 0

Autumn leaves (Flickr pool photo by Vandiik)

Group Offers Cheap Drinks to Encourage Voting — A nonprofit group will outside a half dozen Arlington polling stations on Tuesday, handing out wristbands good for cheap drinks at Clarendon bars, to “encourage young voters to celebrate democracy” and “draw more apathetic young voters out on Election Day.” [Washington Post]

Arlington Asking for Aquatics Center Feedback — Should Arlington County build the stalled Long Bridge Park aquatics and fitness center? If so, what kind of features should it include? That’s what the county is asking in a new online survey. Arlington originally launched a public input process for the planned aquatics facility in March. [InsideNova]

Airport to Cease Being a Homeless Haven — Starting today, Reagan National Airport will be kicking out the homeless who have used it as a makeshift shelter. Because it was clean, safe and open 24/7, dozens of local homeless individuals would pretend to be waylaid travelers and sleep in the airport’s terminals overnight. Increased use as a homeless sanctuary prompted airport officials to decide to no longer tolerate what will now be treated as trespassing. [Washington Post]

Fuel Spill at DCA — On Friday hazmat crews and the U.S. Coast Guard responded to a reported spill of 7,500-9,000 gallons of jet fuel on the south side of Reagan National Airport. The spill has been largely contained and is not a threat to drinking water, officials say. [WTOP]

Flickr pool photo by Vandiik

by Heather Mongilio — October 27, 2015 at 4:35 pm 0

Brixx Wood Fired Pizza, a new pizza restaurant on N. Hudson Street in Clarendon, has fired up its oven.

The new pizza joint, located at 1119 N. Hudson Street next to Nam Viet, opened yesterday, and business has been good so far, said general manager Roberto Gonzales.

Brixx serves regular and gluten-free pizza on vegan crust. It has traditional pizza options, like four cheese and pepperoni and mushrooms, along with specialty pizzas, like roasted butternut squash and spicy shrimp. In addition to pizza, the restaurant offers sandwiches, pastas, salads and alcoholic drinks.

“Most of our products are made from scratch,” Gonzales said. “We have a good wood fire oven.”

The North Carolina-based chain’s newest location will be able to seat 150 people, between its inside and outdoor seating. The restaurant is set up to welcome both groups or people or single customers, with tables and booths, as well as bar seating and a counter.

“We have something for just about everyone,” Gonzales said.

The atmosphere is meant to be energetic and friendly, Gonzales said. The tables are situated in a way that allows patrons to watch employees make pizza.

“We want to create a relaxed atmosphere in which customers can feel the same as if they were home,” Gonzales said.

The new Clarendon joint is the third Brixx location in Virginia — there is one in Charlottesville and Woodbridge. Brixx is open from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday.

by ARLnow.com — October 26, 2015 at 12:30 pm 0

A bald eagle was seen flying around the Clarendon area Saturday afternoon.

Ryan McNey snapped a couple of smartphone photos of the majestic bird in his neighborhood.

“I was about to pull into my driveway when I noticed a bunch of birds chasing another, bigger bird past my house,” McNey told ARLnow.com. “It took my a few seconds to realize that the bigger bird was actually a Bald Eagle. As I was trying to snap some pictures the eagle turned back toward where I was and swooped down to grab a squirrel that had been hit by a car earlier today.”

Bald eagles have been known to reside in and around Arlington, mostly in wooded areas, but are occasionally spotted in local neighborhoods.

by Heather Mongilio — October 21, 2015 at 2:35 pm 0

The County Board unanimously approved three new residential buildings for the western end of the Clarendon neighborhood last night.

The new buildings, developed by the Arlington-based Shooshan Company, will have up to 580 housing units and 3,477 square feet of retail space. The new development will sit on the site of the current Red Top Cab headquarters and two low-rise commercial buildings, which house a furniture repair shop and childcare center.

“This is an ambitious redevelopment that will transform the western end of Clarendon,” said Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes in a statement. “It continues and expands the vision set forth for the Clarendon Revitalization District, and brings a much-needed street realignment and improvements to the transportation network.”

The new buildings may be as tall as 110 feet, but will “taper” from the single-family homes surrounding the buildings. The company is proposing to use three different colors of brick, keeping in mind the general look of the surrounding buildings.

“I think its a series of very striking buildings, architecturally. It’s going to continue the forward momentum of Clarendon,” County Board member John Vihstadt said.

Shooshan is proposing six committed affordable units in the complex, as a community benefit, in addition to meeting the zoning ordinance requirement for a development of its size as it pertains to affordable housing.

The ordinance gives Shooshan the option of a $1.8 million contribution to the county’s affordable housing fund, including 16 affordable units on site, or 23-31 off-site affordable units. That fits in with the county’s plan for more affordable housing, said County Board Vice Chair Walter Tejada.

“We’re looking at what we call the Metro corridor, so it’s not easy. And anything you can get in that site is great, and I’m not surprised that an effort was made by the applicant,” Tejada said.

The site plan also calls for a street realignment. Under the project, a portion of N. Ivy Street south of 13th Street N. will be deleted. 12th Street N. will be shifted to the east, providing a connection between N. Hudson Street and Washington Blvd. Shooshan will help the county with improvements to the streets around the development and with the construction of a new park.

“This is a traffic pinch point that we are going to be able to fix by doing what we’re doing together,” Hynes said.

Shooshan will paying for the changes to the streets and dedicating land for the new park.

“The developer will reimburse the county $3 million for costs associated with the improvements to Washington Blvd, 13th Street N., and N. Johnson Street. In addition, the developer will dedicate parcels to the county which eventually will be used to create the Clarendon Sector Plan’s recommended Washington Blvd/13th Street Park,” the county said in a press release.

Other community benefits include a public art contribution and sustainable building design elements that meet LEED specifications.

The proposed development was met with little public comment — only two members of the public chose to talk, activist Jim Hurysz and the lawyer for the furniture shop being sold to and demolished by the developer. The latter spoke in favor of the development, calling it a “win-win-win.”

“Although we started late, it’s pretty remarkable that something this significant has only two speakers, one of them who is our usual visitor,” Hynes said.

Board members also kept their comments brief, mostly praising the new development plan.

“There’s not much to dislike about it,” County Board member Jay Fisette said. “It’s a very attractive project.”

Construction on the project is slated to take place in two phases.

by Heather Mongilio — October 19, 2015 at 5:30 pm 0

Clarendon filmmaker Mike Kravinsky is back with a new movie.

Geographically Desirable” tells the story of Nicole, a TV news reporter whose life is turned upside down after she inherits a house in a small town and a dog from her recently deceased uncle. As she gets to know the town and its inhabitants, Nicole has to decide between the big city and small town lives.

Geographically Desirable (Courtesy of Mike Kravinsky)

“She gets to experience something other than the life of news. She lives and breathes this stuff,” Kravinsky said.

While Nicole will have to decide between the two lives, audiences members may not know which one she chooses. Kravinsky purposely chose to have an open ending for the movie.

“My thoughts were both lifestyles are good as long as there is balance,” he said.

Kravinsky is no stranger to the late nights that come with TV news. An editor with ABC News for 29 years, it would be fair to say that he lived and breathed the “life of news.” He decided to take a buyout in 2010 and turned to filmmaking. He released a web video-series in 2011 about a middle-aged man deciding what to do after being fired.

“This is sort of my second career,” he said.

While Kravinsky’s ABC career taught him how to use different camera equipment, he said creating and editing a film was completely different.

“People think if you can edit [for news], you can edit [for film], and that’s not true,” Kravinsky said.

Changing from a facts-only news mindset to a more creative one was also a challenge, he said. In news, reporters are telling someone else’s story, but when it comes to filmmaking, the creators have a chance to tell their own, he added.

“With writing fiction, every character is you in some way,” he said. “And every character’s experience comes from your own. It’s nice in a way because the story is some version of you and how you see life. I guess that’s the best way to describe it.”


by Heather Mongilio — October 14, 2015 at 2:05 pm 1,500 0

Oz restaurant in ClarendonA kitchen equipment problem prompted new Clarendon restaurant Oz to temporarily close Tuesday night.

“We had an issue with our hood [that goes over the stove],” said owner Ashley Darby. “We had to make sure it was ventilating properly.”

It took a couple hours to fix the hood, which meant the restaurant had to suspend dinner service for the day. Oz reopened today (Wednesday) and has been business as usual, she said.

Darby said she doesn’t foresee any more temporary closures.

Oz, which serves authentic Australian cuisine, began dinner service at the end of September. The restaurant started serving lunch today, Darby said.

by ARLnow.com — October 13, 2015 at 5:25 pm 2,407 0

The Arlington County Board next Tuesday will consider a major redevelopment of the western end of the Clarendon neighborhood.

Arlington-based developer The Shooshan Company is proposing to build three residential buildings with up to 580 units of housing and 3,477 square feet of retail space. The apartments or condos will be built on what is now mostly parking lots and offices for Red Top Cab, along Washington Blvd and 13th Street N. Two other aging, low-rise commercial buildings are also slated for demolition.

The proposed maximum building height is 110 feet, but the structures are designed to “taper up” away from the single family home neighborhood.

A county staff report for the final proposal has not yet been posted. At a July Site Plan Review Committee meeting, Shooshan proposed only 468 parking spaces for the project, or 0.8 spaces per dwelling unit, explaining that those who live in apartments near transit are “less likely to own automobiles and more likely to utilize alternative modes of transportation.”

Two phases of construction are being proposed. The first will be the building at the corner of Washington Blvd and 13th Street, on the current Red Top Cab communication center property. The second phase, which will be built “dependent upon market conditions,” will raze the Red Top headquarters property along N. Hudson Street.

Shooshan says benefits of the project include an improved Washington Blvd and 13th Street alignment, a new 12th Street N. to break up a large block, stoop entrances along 13th Street to improve street activity, a new Ivy Street pedestrian path and dedication of open space near the Washington and 13th intersection for a future park.

The County Board is scheduled to consider the development at its Tuesday night recessed meeting on Oct. 20.

Red Top Cab has said that it intends to move its headquarters to a new location in Arlington.

“Red Top Cab has served our community for over fifty years and plans to continue to do so,” Red Top Director of Sales and Marketing Von Pelot told ARLnow.com in March. “Over the years we have moved our offices from time to time to update our facilities and accommodate a growing staff. Each time careful planning has enabled us to make these moves without any interruption of service to our customers.”

by ARLnow.com — October 13, 2015 at 3:50 pm 1,218 0

Halloween Bar Crawl logo(Updated at 4 p.m.) The Clarendon Halloween Bar Crawl will return this year with an extra hour of revelry.

The bar crawl is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 31 — Halloween — from 1-9 p.m. The start time is an hour earlier than last year. Just like last year, participants are encouraged to come in costume.

“We recommend wearing your spookiest, scariest or most creative costume!” says the event website. “There will be costume prizes for the most festively dressed participants.”

Tickets currently are available online for $20, and a limited number of tickets will be available at the door for $30. The fee gets participants a souvenir mug, food and drink specials at bars in Clarendon and a raffle entry.

Bars along the crawl include Whitlow’s, Mad Rose, Clarendon Ballroom, Bracket Room, Don Tito, Mister Days, Spider Kelly’s, Hard Time Cafe and Hunan One, among others.

Last year, the Arlington County Police Department live tweeted the Halloween-themed festivities. It was deemed a relatively quiet affair, crime-wise, with thousands of participants and only 9-10 arrests.


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