Arlington, VA

The Freshman is, both figuratively and literally, a little underground.

The restaurant comes from Nick Freshman, who’s also behind Spider Kelly’s in Clarendon. The Freshman is not planned to fully launch in its permanent home at 2011 Crystal Drive until 2020, but in the meantime the eatery has had a quiet “soft launch” across the street in Crystal City Shops.

The pop-up officially opened this morning (Thursday), at the north end of the shops at 2102 Crystal Plaza, in the former Au Bon Pain space

“We’re in plans and permitting across the street,” said Freshman, “but that process… it takes a long time, even opening in a place that used to be a restaurant. You plan and design and it could take a year.”

The plans to open The Freshman got pushed further back as the building underwent both interior and exterior renovations. Freshman said he had the equipment and a team ready to go but nowhere to set them up.

Their main location and the former Au Bon Pain are both owned by JBG Smith, so when Freshman approached the company about the idea of opening a pop-up in the empty space, the property owner was on board.

The pop-up does not offer The Freshman’s full menu. Freshman estimated it was about 40 percent of what’s to come, with dinner and cocktails planned for the main site, but the pop-up currently serves up coffee and breakfast and lunch options that Freshman said the area seemed in desperate need of.

“There’s no point in doing it if we don’t do it well,” Freshman said. “The challenge is worth it because the community is dying for a viable alternative to [existing] breakfast and lunch options.”

The breakfast and lunch offerings include a tofu scramble with vegan cheese, plus sandwiches or salads for lunch. Prices range from $6 for an egg and cheese sandwich to $14 for a Reuben sandwich.

An unofficial “soft opening ” for the restaurant started on Monday, the same day that Arlington was hit with heavy storms from which the county is still struggling to recover.

“We’re underground, so for a while it looked like we might be underwater, but we stayed totally dry,” Freshman said. “We saw more of a surge [of customers] than expected. But even in dry weather, people use this corridor. If you don’t work or live here, you don’t know about it, but if you do it’s a critical part of your movement.”

Currently, Freshman says the pop-up is planned to stay open through the end of the year, but the stay is largely dependent on how fast or slow progress is across the street.

“Right now, we’re meeting people and listening,” Freshman said. “Every night, we’ve been making tweaks to the menu, but that’s normal opening stuff.”

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Coffee Beanery, a coffee chain with locations across the northeast, is coming to Virginia Square sometime over the next few months.

“The store in Arlington is currently scheduled to open in either late July or mid-August,” a representative of the company said on Facebook.

Coffee Beanery will replace Pulp Juice and Smoothie Bar, which closed in November.

Coffee Beanery “originals” include caramel, fudge, and mocha-flavored coffees. The chain offers a variety of coffees and teas, as well as sandwiches, wraps and salads. Locals missing the fruit smoothie joint may be happy to hear the chain offers assorted fruit smoothie flavors.

The representative said the store will be open from 5 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 5:30 a.m.-8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

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On Sunday, June 30 at 4 p.m., the Starbucks at Pentagon Row (1101 S. Joyce Street) will close permanently.

“We would like to thank you for being part of our store community, you are the heart of who we are at Starbucks,” a letter posted on the door said, the wording identical to a letter posted at Pentagon Centre Starbucks in March.

The cafe did not meet its sales requirements for months and was therefore one of 150 Starbucks slated for permanent closure in 2019, individuals familiar with the situation but not authorized to talk to the media told ARLnow.

The letter directed Starbucks customers to the Pentagon City mall location in the food court and the Starbucks in The Arcadia at 1201 S. Fern Street, a block east of the mall.

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(Updated 2:45 p.m.) Courthouse coffee drinkers rejoice: another coffee shop is planning to move into the neighborhood.

For Five Coffee Roasters is planning to open a new cafe in the 8-story office building at 2311 Wilson Blvd, which replaced three restaurants back in 2012. On its website, For Five says the Courthouse location will open this fall.

The New York City-based coffee company roasts its own blends of dark, medium, and light coffee in its Queens headquarters and says beans are sustainability sourced from between 15 and 30 growers.

The company runs several locations in the city, as well as in D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles and Boston. A planned Alexandria location is also listed on their website as opening in the fall.

For Five applied for a building permit yesterday (Thursday) to begin construction in the Courthouse office building, according to county records.

The new coffee shop will have plenty of competition. A Dunkin Donuts location is a block away while the independent Blumen Cafe is a few blocks up the street.

Hat tip to Chris Slatt. Photo via For Five Coffee Roasters.

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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentation

(Update 1:25 p.m.) Commonwealth Joe Coffee Roasters (CWJ) has a shop in Pentagon City, but the company has its eyes set on bringing cold brew to vending machines nationwide.

The company recently closed on $1.2 million in funding aimed at continuing deployment of Kegerator Vending Machines (KVM), on-tap vending machines that operate as a pay-by-the-ounce self-service kiosk. The company plans aims to raise $4 million.

The coffee shop opened in 2012, but the company pivoted toward delivering office coffee in 2017. The company currently operates the portable machines in D.C., New York, and Philadelphia.

“The $4 million raised in this round will be used to fuel CWJ’s continued growth in vending, as the tech-enabled coffee brand develops closer ties with [KVM] and continues to take a vending-first approach with its coffee program sales strategy,” the company said in a press release. “The KVM is the only one-of-its-kind in the commercial coffee market, essentially acting as a gas pump and only charging the end-user for the amount of liquid dispensed.”

The machines also allow CWJ to track statistics like consumption habits and inventory depletion. The press release noted that some of the funding is planned to go toward including new features like digital payments, automatic reordering, maintenance issue identification and service ticket creation.

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A new stand-alone Starbucks appears to be coming to the location of a former bank branch along Lee Highway.

Permits have been filed to replace the former BB&T Bank at 5515 Lee Highway with a coffee shop.

A permit filed on Monday (April 29) seeks approval for extensive renovations to the building and its drive-thru window.

Remodel of existing building for new coffee [shop], interior alteration, new walls, floor, ceiling, electrical, plumbing, mechanical, exterior work, new canopy, new drive through window and associated equipment, trash enclosure, mechanical units.

The Arlington Economic Development website says the new tenant for the 2,609 square-foot building is Starbucks, as does the permit on the window of the building.

Once it opens, it’s unclear what will happen to the nearby Starbucks store at the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center, a block away.

The new cafe would be the first drive-thru Starbucks in Arlington, though there are others throughout the region. The closest is a drive-thru at Barcroft Plaza (6365 Columbia Pike) in Falls Church. Another Starbuck drive-thru is planned to open tomorrow (May 2) at 367 Maple Avenue E. in Vienna.

Hat tip to Chris Slatt

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(Updated 05/04/19) Ballston will soon be home to a new veteran-owned cafe serving up breakfast, lunch and doughnuts all-day.

The owners of Good Company Doughnuts and Cafe say they’re eyeing a soft opening on Sunday starting at 6:30 a.m., pending final health and permitting inspections this week.

The cafe is located at 670 N. Glebe Road, on the bottom floor of the 672 Flats apartment building.

Good Company is run by Charlie and Melissa Kachadoorian, his sister Kate Murphy and her husband Jim Murphy, and Tim Terry and Ana Terry.

Tim Terry, Jim Murphy, and Charlie Kachadoorian are Army, Navy, and Air Force veterans.

“We just need a Marine,” joked Kate Murphy.

“We will feed lots of Marines. Marines love doughnuts,” replied Tim.

Good Company will be serving handmade doughnuts baked by Kate Murphy. She uses a 60-quart, 300-pound mixing machine for mixing the dough so heavy she said a forklift needed to move it into the kitchen.

The machine mixes 50-pound batches of dough, which she says yields around 300 doughnuts.

Murphy says she’ll be baking cake and yeast-raised doughnuts with flavors from cinnamon sugar to butter crunch.

The cafe will also serve “light breakfast fare” like smoothies and yogurt parfaits along with”rustic pastries” like quiche and lemon scones. Soups, salads, and sandwiches will be served at lunch, with a signature “Cubano” sandwich made with pork braised in-house daily.

The family enterprise says they hope to expand with dinner offerings after a grand opening planned for Memorial Day, and eventually add a liquor license.

The subway-tiled eatery features a map of Arlington on the wall by the tables, and giant donut-mixer whisks as lampshades.

Good Company partnered with Chicago-based Intelligentsia Coffee for their brews.

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A new cafe and coffee house is now open just off Columbia Pike.

Idido’s Coffee and Social House opened its doors recently in the base of the Columbia Place condo complex, located at 1107 S. Walter Reed Drive.

Readers told ARLnow that the eatery opened up this past Saturday (Feb. 23). Its owners have been working to set up the space since March 2017, according to county permit records.

Idido’s offers a fully array of caffeinated beverages, snacks and even beer and wine.

The new cafe sits adjacent to the Pureluxe Nails and Spa nail salon, which is also located on the first floor of the building.

It sits across the street from a BB&T Bank branch and the Avalon apartment building (formerly the Halstead).

Photos via @SRtwofourfour

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A new coffee bar appears to be on the way for a Courthouse office building.

Workers have been setting up what looks to be a small shop offering espresso drinks and other breakfast options in the lobby of a building at 1310 N. Courthouse Road. The building sits near the county jail and courthouse, and not far from the county government center.

There are no signs posted at the location just yet, nor are there any permit applications pending for the space, according to county records.

However, an ARLnow reader says staff at the building are telling tenants that the space has been leased out to a business planning to offer both coffee drinks and breakfast sandwiches.

The lobby is already home to a “Fooda” pop-up stand, a company that works with local restaurants to temporarily offer a rotating menu of lunch options at office buildings.

The Gold’s Gym in the building could soon be on the move as well — its lease is set to expire there in March, though its staff is hoping to negotiate an extension.

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Philz Coffee has now opened its doors in Ballston, marking the chain’s first expansion into Virginia.

The coffee shop opened this week in the new Ballston Exchange development, located at 4121 Wilson Blvd.

Philz joins Cava and Shake Shack as another popular chain to open a location in the development, once known as “Stafford Place” before the National Science Foundation moved out of the neighborhood and kicked off a slew of changes to the two adjacent buildings on Wilson Blvd.

The coworking space Industrious also recently set up shop in the development.

Other stores on the way for Ballston Exchange include a We The Pizza, the new Bearded Goat barbershop and the health-food focused eatery Dirt.

Philz now boasts five locations across the D.C. metro area.

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Morning Notes

Snow Coming This Weekend — Gas up the snowblowers: accumulating snow is likely this weekend. By county ordinance, all snowfall under 6 inches must be removed from sidewalks within 24 hours of the last flakes. That gets bumped up to 36 hours for 6 or more inches of snow. [Capital Weather Gang]

New ‘Best of Arlington’ List — The 2019 “Best of Arlington” list is in. Among food-related winners, Ambar was named Best Restaurant, Barley Mac was named Best for Date Night and Matt Hill of Liberty Tavern Group and Hungry was named Best Chef. [Arlington Magazine]

AWLA Dog Featured in People Magazine — “One of our AWLA alums, Lucy, is featured in People Magazine this week! Here’s the online article about her weight loss journey after being adopted — her owner helped her go from 26 lbs to 14 lbs.” [Twitter, People]

Case of the Disintegrating Coffee Cups — On four separate occasions, a Washington Business Journal reporter had a coffee cup from Compass Coffee in Rosslyn start to disintegrate and leak in her hand. The company says they were sent a bad batch of paper cups and are working to remove all of the faulty cups from their cafes. [Washington Business Journal]

Va. Legislature to Consider Housing Bills — “A new surge in development in parts of Northern Virginia could come next year under a proposal to overhaul 2016 proffer legislation in this year’s General Assembly… Another proposal would ban discrimination by local governments through land use decisions against low-income or other specific types of development.” [WTOP]

Power Issue at Ballston Metro Station — There are reports that power was out at the Ballston Metro station this morning, meaning no working elevators, escalators or fare kiosks, and only minimal lighting. [Twitter, Twitter]

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