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by Bridget Reed Morawski March 28, 2018 at 4:30 pm 0

(Updated 7:30 p.m.) It isn’t easy being an independent coffee shop with only a handful of part-time employees, especially one outside of a Metro corridor in chain-heavy Arlington.

But Arlington Forest’s Sense of Place Café, which opened eight months ago, is making a go of it and has slowly been gaining both popularity and solid Yelp reviews.

The cafe was full for a Wednesday at mid-morning (March 28), and two baristas scrambled to fill orders quickly while chatting with an ARLnow reporter. On a normal day, the shop sees about 50 customers.

Most customers who walked up to the counter had something positive to say about Sense of Place Café, even if they hadn’t yet tried the shop’s specialty coffee.

“You’re getting a lot of great press on the Mothers of North Arlington listserv,” one woman said to a barista as she ordered coffee, adding that she hadn’t heard of the place until recently but was happy to have more options in the area.

The coffee shop is located at the Arlington Forest Shopping Center, at 4807 1st Street N., and difficult to get to if one doesn’t live in the neighborhood or have a car.

“The size of this mall, it’s not a really busy mall,” explained the coffee shop’s co-owner, Kim Seo, pointing out the next door Brick’s Pizza as the shopping center’s main attraction. “It’s kind of frustrating, not many people come here.”

It’s about 1.2 miles away from the Ballston Metro station, which, according to Google Maps, is a 24 minute walk away. A lot of customers are within walking distance, Seo explained, but many Arlingtonians aren’t aware of the shop or how to get there.

But Seo has found ways to stand out, even if the shop faces geographical challenges. She focuses on the store’s own unique Enzymo Coffee brand, which ferments for two weeks before in-house roasting, and a mushroom tea with “high levels of antioxidants.” She also posts frequently on the shop’s social media channels.

Seo added serving a variety of flavors has helped her and her sister, Kay, the shop’s licensed barista, grow the business.

Listening to customers’ needs, like expanded weekend hours, has also helped. Previously, the coffee shop was open Monday-Saturday, but now has dropped the Monday hours and is open Tuesdays-Fridays from 7 a.m.-3 p.m., and Saturdays-Sundays from 8 a.m.-2 p.m.

Kim did this to capture the weekend crowd, which she says is easily her busiest time, and now she sees more people come and enjoy a cup instead of rushing to work.

by ARLnow.com March 27, 2018 at 8:35 am 0

Shake Shack, Philz and More Coming to Ballston — “Ballston will beef up its fast-casual restaurant offerings by the end of this year, with Shake Shack, We the Pizza, Philz Coffee and Cava all slated to lease space in the newly dubbed Ballston Exchange project. Ballston Exchange, formerly known as Stafford Place I and II, was until 2017 home to the National Science Foundation.” [Washington Business Journal]

Outdoor Lab Squeezed by Rising Enrollment — “A growing student body at the elementary-school level may soon mean there are not enough days in the school year to send the usual cadre of students to the Arlington Outdoor Lab, located in Fauquier County.” [InsideNova]

Arlington Smoker Busted in Falls Church — Falls Church police issued a summons to a 56-year-old Arlington man for smoking in a restaurant in the city. [Falls Church News-Press]

Hamlin Leaving Macedonia Baptist Church — The Rev. Dr. Leonard Hamlin Sr. is leaving Macedonia Baptist Church in Nauck for a post at the Washington National Cathedral. “To celebrate his 22-year tenure at Macedonia, more than 300 people attended a farewell gala held March 25 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City,” the Sun Gazette reported. [InsideNova]

Advocates Flock to Open Door Monday — Those seeking more funding in the county budget process flocked to yesterday’s regularly-scheduled Open Door Monday event with County Board member Libby Garvey. Among those bending Garvey’s ear were first responders, who are seeking higher pay, and Arlington Independent Media, which is fighting a proposed budget cut. [Twitter, Twitter]

Photo courtesy @jimcollierjr

by ARLnow.com March 12, 2018 at 4:30 pm 0

A new coffee shop is coming to Clarendon, according to a building permit application.

The coffee shop will be located at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Garfield Street and, according to the permit application, will be just over 1,000 square feet. Few other details were immediately available.

The cafe will occupy the long-vacant ground floor space that was formerly home to Spice and a procession of other short-lived food businesses. It will face some stiff competition for the wallets of local coffee drinkers; among other nearby options are Starbucks, Peet’sNorthside Social, Dunkin’ DonutsDetour Coffee Co. and Blumen Cafe.

Hat tip to Chris Slatt

by ARLnow.com February 12, 2018 at 3:45 pm 0

Crystal City-based “super coffee” company Sunniva was featured on ABC’s Shark Tank last night, but its three Arlington co-founders walked away without a deal.

Two of the show’s venture capitalist “sharks” were interested in a deal, but both real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran and millionaire marketing expert Rohan Oza said that they didn’t like the beverage’s aftertaste. The proposed deal was $500,000 for a 4.5% stake in the company – which meant that the three-person team was valuing their two-year-old coffee company at approximately $11 million.

The cost to create the product is $1.05 per bottle, which the company sells to distributors for $1.85 per bottle. Its shelf price is $3.29, which is less than the $4.99-$7.99 range that premium coffee beverages with ingredients like coconut oil sell for, according to the brothers.

The founders, Jake, Jimmy, and Jordan DeCicco, are brothers. Jordan dropped out of college and Jimmy left his job in order to develop what they call “super coffee.”

“At the end of the day, I’m doing this with my two little brothers. It’s love, it’s trust, it’s hustle, it’s competition. And no coach, no shark, no boss can tell us otherwise,” said Jimmy DeCicco at the end of their Shark Tank feature.

Their brew is a blend of organic Colombian coffee, 10 grams of lactose-free proteins, and coconut oil. The coffee comes in several flavors, including maple hazelnut and vanilla bean.

Photos via ABC’s Shark Tank

by ARLnow.com January 19, 2018 at 9:45 am 0

More Stuff Coming to Ballston — Even more hip food-and-drink spots are on the way for Ballston. A 3,000 square foot Union Kitchen Grocery store is coming to the ground floor of the revamped Ballston Quarter mall, at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Randolph Street, while a Compass Coffee cafe will also be opening in the mall. [Washington Business Journal]

Wheels Stolen Off the Lot at Dealership — Someone stole tires from three vehicles parked in the lot of a car dealership on Lee Highway just after midnight Wednesday. “An unknown suspect(s) removed the tires from and tampered with multiple vehicles in the parking lot of a business,” police said in a crime report. There is no suspect description and no surveillance footage, we’re told. There is a Toyota dealership on the 4000 block of Lee Highway, where police said the crime occurred, but also a Honda dealership nearby. [Arlington County]

Garvey Confident About Amazon — Arlington County Board member Libby Garvey is optimistic about Amazon coming to the area. “I think Amazon is very likely coming here,” she said at a Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce conference, shortly after it was announced that Northern Virginia, D.C. and Montgomery County, Maryland were among the top 20 finalists for Amazon’s HQ2. “We have got everything here.” [Washington Business Journal]

by Chris Teale December 12, 2017 at 3:15 pm 0

There appears to be one local survivor of a rash of Bruegger’s Bagels closures across the area: its Ballston location.

Almost all of Bruegger’s cafes in the D.C. region closed recently, including in nearby Alexandria. It is a move that could be in part because of the company’s acquisition by Caribou Coffee in August.

On its website, Caribou notes that there will be “Bruegger’s Co-Locations,” which will “bring you the best bagels and coffee, under one roof.”

In Ballston, however, Bruegger’s Bagels is still going strong as a stand-alone business at 818 N. Quincy Street. An employee said this morning that it would be staying open, despite the closures elsewhere.

https://www.twitter.com/texgeo/status/939908547038588928

by Chris Teale November 17, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

Arlington County’s newest Dunkin’ Donuts is now open in Clarendon.

The combined Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin Robbins store at 3009 Clarendon Blvd celebrated its grand opening this morning (Friday). The celebrations include free doughnuts for all customers and appearances by mascots Cuppy and Sprinkles and cheerleaders for the Washington Capitals.

Tomorrow (Saturday), customers can get a free medium hot or iced coffee with any purchase, while there will be a chance to decorate some doughnuts too. On both days, a prize wheel offers discount vouchers for various menu offerings.

It is the 12th Dunkin’ Donuts in the county, after one opened in September in Virginia Square. And at around 8:30 a.m., business was already brisk at the store located at the intersection of Clarendon Blvd and N. Garfield Street, just a block from the Clarendon Metro station.

by Chris Teale November 14, 2017 at 1:45 pm 0

A new coffee shop opened last month in Virginia Square.

Detour Coffee Co. is located at 946 N. Jackson Street, in the same building as the Darna Restaurant and Lounge, next to a Jiffy Lube.

On its website, Detour said it is owned by the same group that owns Darna. According to posts from its Facebook account, it opened late last month.

“Detour Coffee Co. combines tradition and innovation to create a delicious product that leaves customers satisfied every time,” it reads. “Located just blocks from the Clarendon Metro Station, our local coffee shop prides itself on maintaining the highest quality of product and service — all of our drinks are hand-crafted and pastries are made in-house from scratch.”

Detour serves various types of coffee including drip, espresso, chai and iced. It also has hot chocolate, and hot and iced tea, as well as sandwiches, pastries, empanadas and other food items. It is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day.

It is located about two blocks from local independent coffee shop stalwart Northside Social.

Photos 1-5 via Facebook, photo No. 6 via Google Maps.

by Chris Teale October 23, 2017 at 11:30 am 0

Arlington County’s newest Dunkin’ Donuts could open as early as this weekend.

Construction appears to be more or less finished on the combined Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin Robbins store at 3009 Clarendon Blvd, at its intersection with N. Garfield Street and just a block from the Clarendon Metro station.

And a spokesman for Dunkin’ Donuts said the new space is “tentatively scheduled” to open this weekend, but that is “subject to change.”

While the doors are locked on the store, inside the counters and seats look to be set up, while the outdoor patio furniture is ready for use.

It will be the 12th Dunkin’ Donuts location in the county, after one opened in Virginia Square last month. The space was formerly occupied by a dining area for Pete’s New Haven Apizza, which downsized earlier this year.

by ARLnow.com October 18, 2017 at 10:50 am 0

A co-owner of the former Caffe Aficionado in Rosslyn has pleaded guilty to charges connected to what prosecutors said was a multi-year credit card fraud scheme.

Clark Donat is scheduled to be sentenced next month after pleading guilty in June to a long list of charges: credit card fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, money laundering, racketeering, conspiracy to commit racketeering, identity theft, credit card forgery, credit card theft, conspiracy to commit credit card theft and conspiracy to commit identity theft.

His former business partner in the cafe, Adiam Berhane, is scheduled to face a jury trial starting Jan. 30, 2018.

According to prosecutors, Donat and Berhane started using the cafe’s point-of-sale system to fraudulently charge gift cards — purchased with stolen credit cards — in June of 2013, before the cafe even opened. The stolen credit card information was bought off the “dark web” and used to manufacture fake credit cards, which were then used to buy gift cards and other items, prosecutors say.

In all, according to prosecutors, the cafe recorded about $1 million in revenue between 2013 and the police raid in October 2016, $450,000 of which was attributable to “gift cards almost entirely purchased with stolen credit card information.”

Counterfeit cards were also used to buy goods at various stores, including TJ Maxx and REI, which were then returned and credited to one of the defendant’s legitimate credit cards, prosecutors allege. A few days before the raid, prosecutors say, the pair used a stolen credit card to pay for a $1,200 large group brunch at the Four Seasons Hotel in Georgetown.

Before the alleged fraud was revealed, Caffe Aficionado garnered rave reviews for its hand-crafted coffee and espresso drinks. A local food critic even called it “one of the finest coffee shops in the area.”

“We’re really happy with it,” Berhane said of the positive reviews. “I think it’s all about service. Follow the Golden Rule, it’s not that hard.”

Donat is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 17 in Arlington Circuit Court.

by Katie Pyzyk October 6, 2017 at 10:30 am 0

Central Coffee Bar (1901 N. Moore Street) in Rosslyn is officially open. Owner Mehmet Osman Coskun was thrilled that as of 8:30 a.m. on its opening day, staff already had served 200 customers.

This is his team’s first business in Arlington and they credit the county and the Rosslyn BID for helping them get through first-time business owner snags during the process of opening. “When you have a new business, you don’t know a lot of stuff… and you need support,” Coskun said. “You made your investment and you’re hoping people will help you out.”

The venue isn’t just going to be for coffee and pastries. Owners have applied for a liquor license so they can transition Central Coffee Bar into a bar in the evening. Coskun believes that the establishment’s later service hours will set it apart from others in the neighborhood.

“A lot of places in Rosslyn close by 8 p.m., so people feel like they don’t want to go somewhere at night because it’s going to close soon,” Coskun said. “But we extended our hours to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday because we do feel like people want to hang out after work and socialize and get something to drink. And we really want to appeal to the locals.”

This morning Coskun reiterated what he previously told ARLnow, that he’s interested in expanding in the county and eventually opening a coffee shop/bar in Clarendon.

Central Coffee Bar will hold a grand opening next Thursday, October 12. From 2-4 p.m. all guests will get a free coffee.

by Chris Teale September 27, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

A new coffee bar in Rosslyn is set to open “very soon,” according to the cafe’s owner.

Construction is almost complete on the Central Coffee Bar in the first floor of the soon-to-redevelop RCA building at 1901 N. Moore Street, with workers starting to move furniture in. Owner Mehmet Coskun declined to give an exact timeframe, but said it should be open “very soon.”

Coskun said the spot will be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day, serving coffee, pastries and the like in the morning and then hosting happy hour from 5-7 p.m. He said the coffee, provided in partnership with a roastery in Annapolis, will be from the best beans available.

“We will have very fresh coffee from Ethiopia, Central America, Colombia, Mexico and we will have seasonal beans, so whatever the country harvests, we’ll make sure we’re getting the best beans,” he said. “I’m doing a lot of tastings, so we will give something different than just Starbucks for people to at least try.”

Inside, Central Coffee will have leather sofas and a 60-inch electrical fireplace to make the space of just over 2,000 square feet feel intimate. Coskun said they had initially planned on having a smaller, 1,500-square-foot space, but expanded the plans after conversations with representatives from the Rosslyn Business Improvement District.

“We have a very cozy space where you walk in and you already feel like you want to sit down and do work or pick up your laptop and enjoy,” Coskun said. “It has that cozy environment with leather couches and with that fireplace built in and that open space. The whole thing is an open space.”

Coskun, a Pentagon City resident, said he wanted to open the coffee shop to give Arlington a locally-run option beyond international giant Starbucks. He added that the company could look to expand in the county too, depending on the success of its first location.

“We do want to be Arlington County’s coffee shop,” Coskun said. “We’re looking for a second location somewhere in Clarendon, and we want to continue to grow in Arlington before we grow anywhere else. We are going to be the local guys.”

by Chris Teale September 26, 2017 at 4:30 pm 0

The Arlington County Police Department will participate in “National Coffee with a Cop Day” next week with an event in each of the county’s three police districts.

Officers will be on hand on Wednesday, October 4 to get to know community members, answer questions and listen to concerns.

“The Arlington County Police Department is committed to engaging with those we serve and effectively communicating to ensure the public’s trust,” organizers wrote. “Whether you live, work, or visit Arlington County, we hope you’ll join us to build strong community-based partnerships one cup of coffee at a time.”

The events will be held at the following locations:

  • Starbucks at Lee Heights (4526 Lee Highway): 9-11 a.m.
  • Starbucks at Pentagon Row (1101 S. Joyce Street): 4-6 p.m.
  • Best Buns Bread Company at Shirlington Village (4010 Campbell Ave): 4-6 p.m.

by ARLnow.com September 25, 2017 at 1:35 pm 0

Police are looking for a driver who threw a cup of coffee at another driver in a fit of road rage.

The incident happened Friday afternoon on northbound I-395 near Washington Blvd. Police say the man threw the coffee “following a verbal dispute over vehicles merging lanes.”

The intended victim of the flying cup of joe was not injured.

More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

MISSILE INTO OCCUPIED VEHICLE, 2017-09220163, NB I-395 at Washington Boulevard. At approximately 1:28 p.m. on September 22, police were dispatched to the report of an assault. Upon arrival, it was determined that following a verbal dispute over vehicles merging lanes, the suspect threw a cup of coffee at the victim’s vehicle. The victim was not injured. The suspect is described as a black male, in his mid-20s to early 30s with a muscular build. The investigation is ongoing.

File photo

by Chris Teale September 15, 2017 at 9:45 am 0

The county’s latest Dunkin’ Donuts opened Friday morning in Virginia Square.

And the donut-and-coffee shop made a splash this morning at 3701 Fairfax Drive with free prizes from a giveaway wheel, a balloon arch outside and appearances by mascots Cuppy and Sprinkles alongside cheerleaders for the Washington Capitals.

It is located on the first floor of the former DARPA headquarters and current FDIC office.

To mark the opening, guests could get a free classic donut with any drink purchase until 10 a.m. Friday. Then on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., patrons will receive a free medium hot or iced coffee, while children under 12 can decorate donuts. The giveaway wheel will once again be spinning, while an on-site DJ will provide music.

The cafe was already doing brisk business just before 8:30 a.m. when an ARLnow reporter stopped by. It is the 11th in the county, after one opened in April on N. Glebe Road.

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