Arlington, VA

Naked Lunch, an organic vegetarian and vegan eatery attached to the MOM’s Organic Market at 1901 N. Veitch Street, has closed.

According to staff at the grocery store, the location — along car-oriented Lee Highway, a long walk from Courthouse — meant that Naked Lunch never got the kind of traffic it needed and the restaurant closed last Monday, June 24.

The signs on the storefront have been taken down and through the window, the last of the kitchen supplies can be seen being packed into boxes.

Naked Lunch opened on Lee Highway with MOM’s Organic Market in 2015. The restaurant served salads, soup bowls, sandwiches and more, along with organic juices.

The next closest Naked Lunch locations are at 3831 Mount Vernon Avenue in Alexandria’s Arlandria neighborhood or 8298 Glass Alley in Fairfax’s Mosaic District.

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Almost exactly five years after it first launched in Courthouse, kickboxing gym franchise 9Round has left Arlington.

At one point, 9Round had three locations in the county, in Courthouse, Ballston and Columbia Pike. All three are now shuttered.

A letter in the window at the Courthouse location (2250 Clarendon Blvd) confirmed the closure was permanent.

“We regret to inform you that 9Round NoVa will be closing, with our last day of training on Saturday, June 22,” the sign reads. “We want to thank you all for your loyalty and patronage!”

A email address listed on the sign, for patrons to seek additional information, is no longer active. Phone numbers for the Arlington locations go straight to voicemail and their respective webpages are no longer active.

Both the locations at 927 N. Quincy Street in Ballston and the original location at Courthouse were locked up and in the midst of having gym equipment packed up.

The Columbia Pike location (2501 9th Road S.) closed earlier this year and is already in the process of being converted into an F45 gym, though the website says the gym is not yet open.

Ashley Hopko contributed to this story

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On Sunday, Josephine’s Italian Kitchen (2501 9th Road S.) closed its doors for good and marked the end of an era for a Columbia Pike restauranteur.

The restaurant opened in Penrose Square last October as the newest eatery for Tony Wagner, who also owned Twisted Vines Bottleshop & Bistro and BrickHaus.

Both Twisted Vines and BrickHaus closed last year, which at the time Wagner said was part of a plan to regroup and focus on the new Josephine’s Italian Kitchen. All of the restaurants were located within a few blocks of each other on Columbia Pike, where Wagner lives.

(Twisted Vines has since been replaced by Acme Pie Company while BickHaus has been replaced by Rebellion on the Pike.)

Wagner said the decision to close was brought about by family issues and he hopes that the closure will allow him more time to focus on other priorities.

Following the closure, Wagner said he’s still on the lookout for new opportunities in the area, but for now, there’s nothing planned.

Wagner is still deciding what to do with the neon “Gelato” sign in Josephine’s, which he called the “most Instagrammed” thing in the restaurant.

“It might find a place in our home,” Wagner said.

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Anyone interested in getting their Arlington t-shirts or D.C. skyline onesies should buy now because local apparel store District Line Co. is going out of business.

The one-woman clothing company based in Cherrydale is planning to shut down by July after the rest of the inventory is sold off.

Lisa McLaughlin, the store’s founder, said as the store passed its five year anniversary in April, she discovered that she’d lost her enthusiasm for the business.

“That surprised me,” McLaughlin told ARLnow. “I looked at stuff coming up, like we were going to need to rebrand or rename, so it was kind of a combination of things but mainly I just realized on a business level that it’s a lot of work to continue growing a brand. You have to have a passion to do that, and I just felt like I wasn’t the right person to do that.”

McLaughlin said one of the early mistakes was not trademarking the company’s name, so she was in conflict with similarly named companies and often received reviews meant for the other companies.

“I loved doing business in Arlington,” McLaughlin said. “When I started this company we made about four shirts and did one event. I didn’t know if anyone was going to get this concept. But people loved their neighborhoods. The Arlington community was very supportive.”

In retrospect, McLaughlin said she would have hired someone to help manage the company.

“I would set it up differently,” McLaughlin said. “I’d have hired at least one person, even if it’s part time, to help with day to day. I’d have spent time on a business plan and think through how will I actually use my hours on what things.”

District Line Co. is currently working on selling off its inventory in a farewell sale. McLaughlin said anyone using the code “farewell25” on the website will receive a 25 percent discount on merchandise.

Image via District Line Co.

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(Updated at 12:30 p.m.) Due to an expected snowy evening commute, federal employees are being allowed to leave work early.

“Employees should depart 2 hours earlier than their normal departure times and may request unscheduled leave to depart prior to their staggered departure times,” employees were told.

Other organizations and facilities are also closing early due to fears of a messy commute like that of January 20, 2016 or January 26, 2011. Arlington Public Schools announced Monday night that all schools will close two hours early “because of the current forecast for freezing rain and snow at dismissal time tomorrow.”

Arlington County government offices and facilities are closing at 4 p.m., while courts are closing at 3 p.m. Tonight’s County Board meeting, however, is still continuing as scheduled.

More closures, announced Tuesday morning by Arlington’s Dept. of Parks and Recreation.

Arlington Public Schools have announced they are closing two hours early and have cancelled all afternoon/evening activities in school buildings. DPR will proceed as follows:

  • All Enjoy Arlington classes, 55+ classes and nature center programs with start times of 3:30 p.m. or later today are cancelled in all County and School buildings.
  • Sports activities, leagues and instructional programs in APS buildings are cancelled.
  • Sports activities, leagues and instructional programs in County buildings with a start of 3:30 p.m. or later today are cancelled, including the Clubhouse and covered batting cages.
  • Carver, Drew and Gunston Community Centers are closed today.
  • All other community centers and the Gunston Bubble will close at 4 p.m.

Advice to drivers from VDOT:

Crews have brined bridges and ramps throughout northern Virginia and are staging along roadways today in preparation of winter weather expected during the p.m. rush hour.

VDOT Asks Drivers To:

  • Monitor weather closely, as forecasts can improve or worsen quickly.
  • Plan ahead to avoid driving during snow and freezing conditions today. Plan to leave and be home early if possible.
  • Check road conditions along your route before leaving, and plan to delay travel if road conditions become hazardous.
  • Download the free 511 app for Apple and Android, visit www.511virginia.org, or call 511 from any phone in Virginia.
  • Give plows and treatment trucks plenty of room. Ensure that you have enough gas, wiper fluid, proper tires, medication, and an emergency car kit.

File photo

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Columbus Day might make for a long weekend for federal government employees and a whole host of others, but don’t expect to see many county services on hold to mark the occasion.

Monday (Oct. 8) is the lone federal holiday where Arlington County offices and facilities remain open, with a few exceptions.

County schools will be closed Monday, as will the county’s courts and DMV locations. The county also won’t enforce parking meters on Columbus Day.

Arlington Transit will still operate, albeit with a Saturday schedule for routes 41, 42, 43, 45, 51, 55, 77 and 87. Other routes won’t run, and the ART call center will be closed.

Metro will also offer reduced service on its train and bus routes.

Trains will run on a Saturday schedule, running every 12 minutes during the day, and the service will be open from 5 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Buses will run on a Saturday supplemental schedule, with full details available here. Planned night track work will continue as normal, which could further slow some trains.

File photo

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Despite this afternoon’s heat, dozens of protesters crowded the sidewalk in front of Rosslyn’s Social Security Administration office to rally against its potential closure.

The office, those speaking at the megaphone argued, is a vital component of serving the area’s Social Security benefit recipients.

“If you close this office, you’re cutting a social security benefit,” said J. David Cox, president of the American Federation of Government Employees. “It’s just like cutting somebody’s social security check — you’re cutting the ability for them to access the services that they need.”

The activists’ argue that many people who receive benefits are either aging or disabled and need an easily accessible, local office. That portion of the population needs to be able to consult a human being face-to-face in order to maximize their benefits.

Using an internet portal, they say, was inefficient for some benefit recipients because they tend to not include sufficient or accurate information on forms, have difficulty using a computer, or don’t have the ability to access the internet.

County Board member Christian Dorsey made an appearance, arguing that there’s plenty of room for the Social Security Administration to maintain an Arlington presence.

“This pains me to say as a public official, but office space is not that expensive in Arlington right now,” said Dorsey, pledging to use county resources to find the SSA a more amenable lease. “There are plenty of opportunities for the SSA to stay.”

The Social Security Administration has an office in Alexandria, but anyone looking to get there from Arlington would have to take a trip down the Blue Line to the Van Dorn Metro station and then hop on a bus. The SSA’s website doesn’t even list that office as being nearby if users enter a Rosslyn zip code to find a location.

“To lose the ability to connect people to an office thats within a short walk of heavy rail and to put them in an office more than a mile away from the closest Metro station speaks of poor planning and speaks of insensitivity,” said Dorsey. “We want to reverse that.”

Dorsey himself only learned of the closure a few weeks ago from an Arlingtonian who works with AFGE.

“You would expect, in a world where there’s a governmental asset, that you’d at least get a heads-up when there’s a rethinking of delivering that service — but that’s not the world we live in,” Dorsey said.

About 90 people come to the office every day to use the office, according to Dorsey.

Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) has also written a letter to the SSA’s internal watchdog requesting an investigation into the agency’s decision to close the office.

A full video of the rally has been made available by Social Security Works, an organization in favor of expanding the program.

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The pedestrian tunnel that crosses Route 1 in Crystal City will eventually be removed as part of the 23rd Street alignment project, though a scheduled closing has not been set.

The project, which is several years out, will “accommodate redevelopment on the east and west intersections of 23rd Street S. between Crystal Drive and S. Clark-Bell Street” in two phases. (Clark and Bell streets are also being realigned and merged into one.)

The tunnel may be closed before the project begins, “because it is underutilized” and because of upkeep costs, according to a county spokesperson. The tunnel was intended as a safety improvement, though many locals take their chances at street level due to the tunnel being dark and smelling like urine.

Robert Mandle, Crystal City Business Improvement District’s chief operating officer, cited several reasons for the change, including increased visibility for the row of restaurants along 23rd Street S. and what he called the “surprisingly common misconception that the tunnel will take you to Metro.”

“The interest in closing the tunnel really arises from the fact that most people use the surface crossing because the tunnel is longer, indirect, and uncomfortable,” Mandle wrote in an email to ARLnow. “Recent safety enhancements completed by Arlington County have further improved the existing signalized crossings.”

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(Updated at 5 p.m.) With Arlington schools, county facilities and the federal government closed for the snow day, it might be worth asking: just what is open today?

Below is a partial list of some restaurants, bars and other businesses that are still open or closed in the county.

What’s open:

What’s closed:

ARLnow reporter Bridget Reed Morawski was live on Facebook earlier this afternoon giving a walking snow tour of roads, sidewalks and businesses from Clarendon to Rosslyn. The video replay of that is below.

Join our reporter as she makes her way back to her home in Rosslyn from our Clarendon newsroom in the snow.

Posted by Arlington Now on Wednesday, March 21, 2018

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Months after going on an apparent and indefinite “hiatus,” Ray’s Hell Burger appears to be officially leaving Rosslyn.

The restaurant at 1650 Wilson Blvd is now available for lease, albeit with the Ray’s awnings and signs still up, including one noting the hiatus.

Earlier this year, the Washington Business Journal reported that owner Michael Landrum wanted out of his lease on the spot, across the street from the redeveloping Wilson School site. That storefront was across from the original Hell Burger, which was visited twice by then-President Barack Obama.

Customers can still visit a Ray’s Hell Burger on K Street NW in D.C., as well as Ray’s the Steaks at 2300 Wilson Blvd in Courthouse. The latter received renewed praise from Northern Virginia Magazine earlier this year as one of its 50 best restaurants of 2017.

Landrum declined to comment further.

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A free ride-hailing app in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor will be closed until April, according to a message posted when customers try to hail a car.

Sprynt launched in June, promising free rides along the corridor in electric vehicles that look a bit like a stretched-out golf cart with doors.

It initially offered short jaunts around a handful of Orange Line corridor neighborhoods, including Ballston, Virginia Square, Clarendon, Courthouse and Rosslyn. Within five days, the iOS app had over 700 downloads.

But when an ARLnow reporter tried to hail a ride today (Friday), a message popped up that the service is “not currently operating. Normal operating hours today are closed. We will be back in April 2018!”

Sprynt staff did not respond to requests for comment, and there is no mention of a closure on its social media accounts or website. Its last Facebook post touted free rides during the holiday season.

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