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by ARLnow.com — February 15, 2017 at 10:10 am 0

A Nespresso boutique is coming to the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City.

The store is located adjacent to the mall’s main entrance off of S. Hayes Street, in the former Belmont Jewelers space. Demolition of the store’s interior started last month.

Belmont is relocating to a different storefront on the first level of the mall and is expected to reopen March 1.

The Nespresso store is scheduled to open at some point this spring, offering “a world of unique coffee experiences.” There are four existing Nespresso boutiques in the Washington area, according to the brand’s website: two in Tysons, one at Westfield Montgomery mall in Bethesda, and another in the Friendship Heights neighborhood of D.C.

Before it was Belmont Jewelers, the storefront was home to the Tourneau high-end watch store, which was robbed by four hammer-wielding men in 2013.

by ARLnow.com — January 11, 2017 at 9:15 am 0

"Trump's Cessna Citation X corporate jet at Reagan Airport on 1/10/2017" (Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman)

Coffee With a Cop Today — The Arlington County Police Department’s district teams are holding “Coffee With a Cop” events today. The event “has no agenda or speeches” and “is a chance to ask questions, voice concerns and get to know the officers and neighbors in your district.” [Arlington County]

Washington Blvd Closure Tonight — Expect lane closures and a 30-minute full closure of Washington Blvd (Route 27) over Route 110 overnight tonight. VDOT is replacing an aging bridge over Route 110; the project is expected to wrap up in 2018. [Twitter]

Boulevard Woodgrill Staff to Marble and RyeMarble and Rye on Columbia Pike has hired “the entire executive staff” from the former Boulevard Woodgrill in Clarendon, a restaurant rep says. The hires include longtime Boulevard executive chef Paul Murad and longtime general manager Kent Lawson. The hires, we’re told, “will provide a significant upgrade in service and menu options” and will help Marble and Rye “compete with other popular destinations in Clarendon, Ballston and Shirlington.”

Neighborhood College Applications Being Accepted — “Learn how to become a neighborhood advocate and effect change through Arlington County’s free Neighborhood College program, which will meet on eight consecutive Thursday evenings beginning March 16, 2017.” [Arlington County]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

by Katie Pyzyk — December 19, 2016 at 1:00 pm 0

Startup Monday header

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 presentations.

College students fall asleep in class. It’s an age-old issue. But a new solution to the problem is what prompted the launch of Sunniva, an Arlington-based “super coffee” beverage business.

A couple of years ago Jordan DeCicco was that guy who kept falling asleep in his classes at Philadelphia University. The freshman tried to stay awake using the energy drinks or pre-made coffee beverages available at convenience stores, but he didn’t like all the sugar, fat, caffeine, and calories that accompanied the beverages.

He learned about Bulletproof Coffee — a blended mixture of coffee, grass-fed butter, and MCT oil — and found that it definitely gave the energy boost he needed to stay awake through class. He tried making it in his dorm room but that wasn’t really practical for a few reasons. First, making it ahead of time and trying to chill it resulted in the butter going back to its solid form. Second, it was loaded with fat from the butter. Finally, Jordan just wasn’t a fan of the taste.

Sunniva "super coffee" beverageThat’s when he started making his own coffee drink and it seemed to be a winner. So much so that other students took notice and DeCicco began selling the drink out of his dorm room. He felt like he was onto something and enlisted help from older brother Jake, who at the time was in business school at Georgetown University.

“We’re very much accidental entrepreneurs,” Jake says. “We were just tired college students who needed an energy boost.”

Sunniva’s combination of Colombian coffee, coconut oil, and a lactose-free milk protein is a low-fat, low-cal beverage that, according to Jake, offers a longer-term energy boost compared to other products that often provide an energy spike and a crash later. Each bottle has 90mg of caffeine, which is pretty standard for an 8 oz. cup of coffee.

Sunniva is now about a year old and based out of the WeWork space in Crystal City. Oldest brother Jim is now the CEO and joins middle brother Jake in running the business, while youngest brother Jordan has gone back to school after taking a year off following his freshman year.

The business is coming full circle and targeting the very audience from which the original idea sprouted: Sunniva has found a substantial niche market on college campuses. It therefore relies heavily on digital marketing channels that younger audiences use: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blogs, and vlogs, to name a few.

“Being started by tired college kids for tired college kids, we really take advantage of this digital age,” Jake says.

The DeCicco brothers, who launched Arlington-based SunnivaThe brothers often are featured in the various social media posts. “We definitely have a personality behind the brand,” Jake says. He laughs as he points out how they often go by “oldest brother, middle brother, and youngest brother” instead of by formal titles like CEO, COO, or founder.

In addition to a growing market on college campuses, Sunniva also has found a home in the cold beverage section of 32 Whole Foods stores in the Mid-Atlantic region, as well as on Amazon.

The product is processed at an aseptic facility in Buffalo, New York. The business tried out different manufacturers and different modes of pasteurization before landing at the current facility. “We had to scale our business appropriately to get there,” Jake says.

Sunniva currently processes about 200,000 bottles per batch. The product now is made in such a way that it doesn’t require refrigeration before opening; it’s shelf-stable for nine months.

Sunniva’s business plan involves further expansion into other Mid-Atlantic and northern East Coast markets up to Boston, with a longer-term goal of becoming a national brand. But the goal for early 2017 is to work on more local market penetration. The brothers want Sunniva to be the “premier bottled coffee in the Washington, D.C. area.”

“Reaching profitability is not a metric we use right now,” Jake says. “Right now we’re really focused on our philosophy of ‘win where you live’ and being hyperlocal.”

by ARLnow.com — November 15, 2016 at 10:15 am 0

A Manassas-based brewery is hoping to open a location in Clarendon.

Heritage Brewing Co. has started a Kickstarter campaign with the hopes of raising $30,000 in startup costs to open a brewpub and coffee roastery on Fillmore Street, between Wilson and Clarendon Blvds.

So far, the company — which launched in 2013 with the help of another Kickstarter campaign — has raised just over $2,200.

Says the Kickstarter page:

We’ve found a vacant restaurant space in Clarendon, Arlington with the vision of making it into a fully functioning nano-brewery, coffee roastery, and small plate restaurant.

The Market Common location will be open 7 days a week with snacks in the morning and small plate meals throughout the afternoon and evening, paired with our barrel series and flagship craft beers.

In partnership with our sister company Veritas Coffee we will run a full fledged coffee bar every morning and afternoon featuring our patented cold press coffee as well as pour over and packaged varieties.

Our award-winning barrel series beers have long needed a space to call their own. In the new location, we envision giving them a chance to shine. We’ll offer barrel releases monthly, and limited edition beers aged on-site in both a variety of barrels and a seven bbl foder for unique flavor additions.

We imagine the space built out to fit our proud industrial American aesthetic. Plenty of wood barrels actively aging our beers for your enjoyment, and accents of their likeness spread throughout to adorn the space.

Your help and donations will go to outfitting the bar, purchasing glassware, barware, merchandise, fridges, menus, and paying for initial salaries of new hires. This is no small undertaking and the support we asked for during our initial start up was instrumental in the making of our success.

by ARLnow.com — October 13, 2016 at 3:50 pm 0

(Updated at 4:25 p.m.) Blumen Cafe, a new independent coffee, tea and pastry shop in the Clarendon-Courthouse area, has opened for business in the former CD Cellar space (2607 Wilson Blvd).

The cafe has quietly opened this week — customers are discovering it by walking by — ahead of a planned grand opening event on Saturday, Oct. 29.

Blumen Cafe reflects European and Mediterranean influences. It serves Illy coffee and espresso, from Italy, and offers 27 different types of teas, imported from Germany. Half of its pastries — cakes, baklava, etc. — are homemade from scratch, we’re told.

Owner Andira Jabbari says she started the first Blumen Cafe in Germany, after graduating from a university there, before selling it and moving to Doha, Qatar, where she started a tea shop. Jabbari moved here last year and lives in Courthouse.

The cafe is a family affair — staffed by Jabbari and her daughters. Jabbari’s brother was in the cafe this afternoon, helping out.

Asked about competition from Starbucks, Jabbari brushed it off and said the quality of her offerings will stand out. The relaxed, airy atmosphere — including a large accordion-style door up front that remains open during nice weather — will also provide a welcome alternative to the green-logoed coffee giant, she said.

Blumen Cafe is currently open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday.

by ARLnow.com — October 10, 2016 at 1:35 pm 0

Homegrown independent coffee shop Commonwealth Joe has opened its new flagship cafe in Pentagon City.

Located at 520 12th Street S., near the new Whole Foods, Commonwealth Joe offers hot and cold coffee and espresso drinks, plus baked goods and bags of their own signature roasted coffees. The star of the menu, however, is the five varieties of Commonwealth Joe’s smooth, creamy nitro cold brew coffee which are available on tap.

Commonwealth Joe offers a homey, airy space for the usual legion of laptop tappers to camp out in while sipping their coffee. Wifi is available.

Over the next week Commonwealth Joe will be operating under reduced hours — opening at 7 a.m. and closing at 5 p.m. on weekdays and 3 p.m. on weekends. The hours will be expanded after employee training wraps up.

This is Commonwealth Joe’s first branded cafe, although the company — founded by four friends in 2012 — also operates the Java Shack in Courthouse. On 12th Street S. Commonwealth Joe will face competition from a familiar foe: Starbucks, which opened a block away earlier this summer.

by ARLnow.com — September 15, 2016 at 11:55 am 0

Robbie Peck has the kind of founding story for his company that reinforces the artisanal cred that is fueling its growth.

Commonwealth Joe Coffee Roasters, which owns Java Shack in Courthouse and is opening a new flagship cafe in Pentagon City, started as a mom-and-son operation in Culpeper, Va., a coffee shop where Peck was the barista and his mother was the chief coffee roaster.

From those beginnings Peck founded Commonwealth Joe with one coffee roasting machine and three friends from college. A few years later, and now he’s just a week or two away the culmination of a lot of hard work and investment: the opening of the first Commonwealth Joe-branded coffee shop.

Located next to a new Whole Foods on 12th Street S., just two blocks from the Pentagon City Metro, the cafe will feature the company’s most popular product: nitro cold brew coffee, which is smooth, dark and served out of a keg — the Guinness beer of coffees.

In this week’s 26 Square Miles podcast, we learned that Commonwealth Joe’s nitro cold brew was the result of keeping a close eye on coffee culture in New York and other trend-setting coffee cities, in addition to a lot of experimentation.

We also learned:

  • It takes quite a bit of effort to pedal a tricycle outfitted with a coffee keg up a hill
  • Though Peck is competing with Starbucks, he credits the company for paving the way for smaller coffee companies like his
  • Contrary to the experience of other small businesses, Peck says he hasn’t encountered much trouble from Arlington County on regulatory and permitting issues so far

You can listen to the full interview below. Be sure to subscribe to ARLnow.com’s new podcast, 26 Square Miles, on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher or TuneIn.

Our podcast sponsor is Crystal City, which is hosting its annual Pups and Pilsners beer tasting event this Sunday from 2-6 p.m.

by Lindsay Smith — August 2, 2016 at 2:00 pm 0

A new independent coffee shop is slated to open at some point in the near future in the Clarendon area.

The shop, called Blumen Cafe, is coming to the space that formerly held CD Cellar at 2607 Wilson Blvd, which is about halfway between the Courthouse and Clarendon Metro stations. Signs for the forthcoming cafe state that the business is “coming soon.”

Though we were unable to contact the proprietor behind the cafe, Andira Jabbari, for comment, real estate agent Kenneth Matzkin — who helped lease the property to Jabbari — was able to provide some insight.

The cafe will bring “high-end teas and coffee” and snacks to the space as early as some time this month, Matzkin said.

“They’re putting in a boatload of money to make it look nice,” Matzkin said. “They’re also going to open it up in the front so you could walk directly to the sidewalk from the space.”

But Matzkin cautioned that the end result is still subject to change.

by ARLnow.com — April 4, 2016 at 2:25 pm 0

A Rock ‘n’ Joe coffee shop is coming to Ballston, across from Ballston Common Mall.

With existing stores in Pittsburgh and New Jersey, Rock ‘n’ Joe describes itself as “a new third-wave coffee bar design, with artisan drinks focused on quality and craft with music brewing in the décor and air.”

“At Rock ‘n’ Joe the guest will be treated to an environment that is committed to the craft of making the perfect beverage, from our drip coffee of the day, to a special single origin coffee made in a pour-over method,” the company’s website says. “Our beverage artists are committed to making the perfectly balanced delicious espresso beverages; from a shot of espresso to a vanilla latte and our signature beverages and everything in between, our goal is to ROCK you with every cup of Rock ‘n’ Joe.”

The store is located at 4401 Wilson Blvd, next to Big Buns and across from Grand Cru.

So far there’s no word as to when Rock ‘n’ Joe expects to open. A company representative has not yet responded to a request for comment.

Rock ‘n’ Joe will benefit, at least temporarily, from the impending renovations at Ballston Common Mall. The mall’s Starbucks store has closed ahead of the two-year renovation process, although there are others nearby, including two blocks away at 801 N. Glebe Road.

Hat tip to @sfuss

by ARLnow.com — March 22, 2016 at 4:15 pm 0

Arlington-based coffee startup Commonwealth Joe says its planned coffee shop in Pentagon City will be the company’s flagship location — and will offer something beyond just a morning pick-me-up.

“Arlington deserves great coffee,” Commonwealth Joe co-founder and CEO Robert Peck said Monday. “We aim to deliver powerful experiences built around that cup of coffee, and also to provide an environment that makes you feel at home and gives you a sense of place — somewhere where you want to bring your friends and family and can also have chance encounters with others in the community.”

The new Commonwealth Joe store will be located on the ground floor of The Bartlett, a new 22-story luxury apartment building that’s currently wrapping up construction at the corner of S. Eads and 12th Streets, two blocks from the Metro station.

An experience and a sense of community is a key goal for the building and developer Vornado. Thus the reason the coffee shop is planning to make “experience” a cornerstone of its offerings and is working with a top-shelf local design firm for its build-out.

From a press release: “Although they are not revealing details just yet, they say that the new space will be the first of its kind in the entire D.C. metro area, and will offer some exciting amenities for Bartlett residents and customers, including coffee cuppings and brewing classes.”

The shop’s coffee offerings include single-origin coffees, pour-overs and nitro cold brew coffee.

Commonwealth Joe is planning to open on an unspecified date “this summer,” as is the next-door Whole Foods Market. Some residents have been told that the Whole Foods is eyeing a late June opening.

The press release, after the jump.

(more…)

by Heather Mongilio — October 5, 2015 at 4:45 pm 1,388 0

New Starbucks on Columbia Pike

Starbucks customers may be able to order a glass of wine with their Pumpkin Spice Lattes at two Arlington locations in the next few months.

Starbucks has filed liquor license applications for its new Penrose Square (2413 Columbia Pike) and Arlington Ridge Shopping Center (2925 S. Glebe Road) locations. If approved, the stores will be able to serve beer and wine, in addition to the coffee and tea drinks the company sells.

Starbucks is offering beer and wine at select stores as part of its new “Starbucks Evenings” service, which also includes small plates.

According to a sample menu, the coffee chain will sell various red, white and sparkling wines by the bottle and glass, as well as craft beers. Small plates include truffle mac and cheese, bacon-wrapped dates, chicken skewers and truffle popcorn. Menus vary by region.

License applications for the two stores are currently pending, according to the Virginia Department of Alcohol Beverage Control.

Wine and beer will come to the Long Branch Creek location in “probably a few months,” said a supervisor at the store but she could not provide any additional information. USA Today reported in August that Starbucks is launching Starbucks Evenings at more than 2,000 of its 12,000+ U.S. stores, with many opening by the end of the year.

A Starbucks spokesman stopped short of confirming that the two South Arlington stores will in fact be serving beer and wine in the near future.

“Just as each customer is unique, so are our stores and we consider a broad range of products and experiences for each neighborhood,” said the spokeswoman. “And, as you’ve probably seen, we’re in the very early stages of considering our stores at 2413 Columbia Pike and 2925 S. Glebe Road for the Evenings menu. It’s a long and thoughtful process and the permit filing is just one of many steps we take.”

by ARLnow.com — September 16, 2015 at 4:45 pm 0

Crystal City Coffee with a Cop flyerResidents of Crystal City and surrounding neighborhoods are invited to have “Coffee with a Cop” at an event hosted by the Arlington County Police Department’s Second District Team Thursday night.

The event is being held tomorrow (Sept. 17) at the new Bob & Edith’s Diner at 539 23rd Street S., from 4-7 p.m.

“Coffee with a Cop has no agenda or speeches,” says a flyer for the event. “The event is a chance to ask questions, voice concerns and get to know the officers in your District.”

One possible topic of concern for neighbors: the as-yet unsolved murder of Bonnie Delgado Black in nearby Aurora Highlands. Black’s ex-husband’s house, also in Aurora Highlands, was searched by investigators two weeks ago but so far no arrests have been made in the case.

by Heather Mongilio — August 28, 2015 at 12:15 pm 1,662 0

Business is reportedly robust at Rappahannock Coffee (2406 Columbia Pike) despite a new Starbucks moving across the street.

The independent coffee shop, which once was the only cafe serving the portion of the Pike around Penrose Square, is so far not seeing negative effects from its newfound competition with the Seattle-based chain, according to owner Gi Lee.

“Our customers are loyal customers,” Lee said.

The new Starbucks opened at 2413 Columbia Pike in the middle of August, worrying some Pike residents that it would hurt Rappahannock and cause it to close. The local coffee shop had faced previous threats of demolition back in 2013 when a developer proposed building apartments on the strip of land where Rappahannock is located.

ARLnow.com observed 17 customers in Rappahannock this morning over a half hour period. At Starbucks across the street, we counted 27 customers over the course of 15 minutes.

Although the chain store sees more customers in the morning, it might not be due to customers defecting from Rappahannock. Lee said most regular customers are still coming in for their morning cup of joe, the beans for which are roasted in-house.

“Everybody likes our coffee,” he said. “It’s very fresh here.”

Rappahannock customer and vocal fan Jason Gooljar said the chain may have attracted new customers from the neighborhoods around the Pike while the local coffee shop kept its old customers. He professed his reverence for the small shop in a Facebook post, which he posted from Starbucks.

“So yes, I’m here at the Starbucks,” he wrote last Wednesday evening. “[Rappahannock] closes early.”

(Starbucks is also open three hours later than Rappahannock, which operates from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Starbucks is open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. It is slow in the evening and Lee said he does not anticipate increasing the hours.)

Starbucks and Rappahannock offer two different environments, Gooljar said, and the two stores attract different types of customers.

Rappahannock has a more neighborhood feel, where customers interact with each other and the baristas, Gooljar said. Signs next to tables at the coffee shop encourage people to sit with their neighbors and meet new people.

“This store, people have made some really good friendships here,” he said.

On the other hand, Gooljar said, Starbucks is more individual — people typing away quietly on laptops or grabbing an espresso drink to go while on their commute.

One of the new Starbucks customers is South Arlington resident Kevin Keaty. He was already a loyal Starbucks customer and went to one of the chain’s stores in Pentagon City before the Columbia Pike location opened, he said.

“I really do like their products,” he said.

Horst Lummert, a new Arlington resident, visits both coffee stores and said he has noticed people in the Starbucks at night after Rappahannock has closed. On the other hand, Lummert said he sees about 20 customers in Rappahannock when he stops by in the morning. He has been a loyal Starbucks customer for many years, but he said there is something nice about visiting a local coffee shop.

“I come here because of the wonderful service,” he said. “And the coffee is pretty good.”

The manager of the Columbia Pike Starbucks referred ARLnow.com to the company’s corporate media relations department for comment.

by Ethan Rothstein — March 27, 2015 at 4:45 pm 2,225 0

Burn & Brew, a new shop that specializes in tobacco and coffee, is open on 23rd Street S. in Crystal City.

Owner Taha Humayun opened the doors to his new shop on March 18, just a few steps away from another smoke-themed store, Smokey Shope III. He said his shop sells the cheapest cigarettes in Arlington — $5 a pack — because of deals he’s supposedly worked out with a variety of cigarette and rolling paper companies.

In the five minutes an ARLnow.com reporter was in the shop, in the former expansion space of the Gossip boutique next door, a customer came in a bought a pack of Marlboro Lights. When Humayun told her the price, she said “wow, that’s crazy.” Most of the cigarettes sold in the county cost at least a dollar more per pack, we’re told.

Burn & Brew sells bags of coffee beans and drip coffee — “no lattes or shots of espresso or anything like that,” Humayun said — as well as vaporizers, vaporizer juice, “every rolling paper on the market” and all different kinds of pipes.

“A majority of the people who smoke drink coffee,” Humayun said. “And a lot of the people who drink coffee also smoke cigarettes.”

Humayun is still waiting for a number of products to come in. When he’s all stocked — he expects that to be complete by next week — he also will sell newspapers like the New York Times, Washington Post and USA Today.

He wants to be a daily stop for the smoking and drinking crowd of south Arlington, many of whom, he said, are bartenders and waiters. The Crystal City location is his second shop — he’s operated the first store in Annandale for six years.

by Ethan Rothstein — March 26, 2015 at 4:10 pm 3,515 0

The Penrose Square location of a future StarbucksThe rumors are true: a Starbucks is planning on opening in Penrose Square along Columbia Pike.

The vacant space at the corner of the Pike and S. Barton Street — where Bar TNT and Society Fair closed last fall — will be home to the coffee chain, the building’s management told residents today.

“We’re spilling the beans and we want our residents to be the first to hear the new,” said an email to the residents, which was forwarded to ARLnow.com. “Coming summer 2015, Penrose Square welcomes its newest retailer: Starbucks Coffee. Live, Work & Caffeinate at home in your very own Starbucks.”

The location is facing Penrose Square’s public plaza, next to the Giant and a block away from Red Rocks pizzeria. This will be the first Starbucks on Columbia Pike in Arlington; the closest location is in Pentagon City.

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