Arlington, VA

Planned coffee shop and restaurant The Freshman, at 2011 Crystal Drive in Crystal City, could open in a few months after being in the works for a little over two years.

Owner Nick Freshman told ARLnow that he’s looking at opening The Freshman sometime in April or May, though no date is set in stone yet.

A limited version of the restaurant had opened as a pop-up in Crystal City Shops in 2019 and all the signs of an impending opening were in place last year, but a plan to ride out the pandemic has been less feasible as the virus’s impacts continue to drag on. Freshman, who also owns Clarendon bar Spider Kelly’s, said he remains optimistic about a turn-around ahead.

“We are facing the same challenges to opening as so many others in the business, but we have been fortunate to be able to wait this out,” Freshman said. “I am optimistic that things are starting to turn a corner, but we are still a long ways away from a return to normalcy as far as dining out. I am hopeful that vaccinations will continue to increase in pace, and that along with Spring will make people feel safer about dining out.”

Vaccination numbers are on the rise in Arlington, but Freshman said the success of The Freshman is also partially contingent on a return of office workers to buildings around Crystal City, which may lag vaccinations by months.

“It sounds like it will be well into the Summer or even Fall before most people return to their offices, and that is a big part of our business model here in National Landing, but our style and product will appeal to the many residents who live here, and we hope to be able to serve them this Spring,” Freshman said. “In the meantime, it has been great to be able to serve a part of our community through our partnership with Hook Hall Helps.”

Hook Hall Helps is a relief program that has used The Freshman’s empty space as a hub for distributing care kits and family meals to hospitality workers in need.

“It was certainly not how I planned to open the doors to the restaurant, but we are a community-focused business, and there are people right here in the National Landing and Arlington community that are hurting,” Freshman said. “I feel very fortunate to be able to use the space to help in some way while we wait to serve the entire community.”

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A new boutique coffee shop and roaster is now open at Westpost, formerly known as Pentagon Row.

Origin Coffee Lab and Kitchen served up its first morning cup of joe last month after initially announcing their arrival early last year. It’s located at 1101 S. Joyce Street, in the former Starbucks space between Basic Burger and Lebanese Taverna.

The coffee shop has a variety of options, including five different origins of coffee to choose from plus six methods of brewing.

Besides coffee, it also serves all-day breakfast like pancakes and benedicts as well as a “noon to night” menu with schnitzel and sliders.

Owner Andy Mekonnen tells ARLnow he opened the first iteration of this concept in Dubai in 2015. But he moved to the D.C.-area nearly five years ago and quickly realized Arlington could be a perfect place for another Origin.

“Arlington is vibrant… I thought the concept would be well-received here,” he says.

The shop was initially supposed to open in 2019, but COVID-19 related delays pushed it to 2021.

While recognizing that there are a number of boutique coffee shops in the county, Mekonnen says that what sets Origins apart is attempting to do it all in-house.

“The focus is not only on the coffee, but the food and pastries,” he says. “We are not out-sourcing anything, but trying to do everything in-house.”

That includes roasting. The shop has a glass-enclosed roastery inside that fully displays the roasting process to customers.

Mekonnen is also working on setting up roasting workshops, trainings, and coffee cupping sessions for customers.

“[Cupping sessions] is very similar to wine tastings,” he says. “Coffee isn’t just coffee. Coffee from different origins actually tastes very different.”

While opening up a small business in the midst of a pandemic comes with challenges, Mekonnen says a coffee shop like his has a natural advantage since most of his menu items can easily be offered as take-out.

“[We] have it sorta easier than other industries… because people have adapted to take-away,” he says. “People have learned to live with COVID.”

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After 10 months of delays, D.C. coffee favorite Sweet Science Coffee opened its doors on Monday inside the former Java Shack building in Courthouse.

The soft opening this week will culminate in an open house on Saturday, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., with coffee and pastry samples. The shop is open from 8 a.m.-p.m. this week, and this coming Monday will transition to its regular hours of 7 a.m.-4 p.m.

Sweet Science founder Sandra Wolter told ARLnow on Tuesday that she is ready to kindle in her customers a love of great coffee. Her philosophy can be taste-tested at 2507 Franklin Road, where she said the unpretentious space will make high-quality coffee feel approachable.

“We are doing the best we can to show a good variety of complex flavors while being open and welcoming,” she said.

In November 2019, Wolter announced her plans to move in after the community hub, owned by Commonwealth Joe, said it would close by Thanksgiving. But the road to opening was bumpier than Wolter anticipated.

The acclaimed coffee shop closed its basement location in Adams Morgan and moved to D.C.’s NoMa district in January 2020. Wolter planned to open in the Lyon Village neighborhood last March or April, but renovations and the coronavirus delayed the opening for 10 months.

First, the building needed new plumbing and electricity. By the time the unanticipated construction ended, summer was over, cases and restrictions were mounting and her NoMa location was struggling. She once more pushed off the opening.

“But hey, now we’re here,” she said.

Once Wolter receives her outdoor seating permit and a wine and beer license, she will extend her weekend hours so people can visit for coffee and a pastry, before slowly transitioning to a glass of wine and a snack — a nod to her European roots.

“I grew up like that,” said the Berlin native. “Over there, it’s so normal.”

The shop offers house drip coffee and espresso drinks as well as seasonal roasts. The beans are sustainably sourced, sometimes directly from farmers. A chef makes the pastries in-house and from scratch.

Still, Wolter is careful to avoid intimidating people into uncomfortably ordering “just a cup of coffee.”

“I don’t want people to walk in and feel like they need a code word to order,” she said. “If [a coffee] piques your interest, we’re more than happy to talk about it.”

She only wishes she can devote less time to surviving and more time to sharing flavors and menus with others.

“That would be really nice,” she said.

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Local graphic designer and artist Hermes Marticio was only searching for a cup of coffee, but found an art studio instead.

It wasn’t Marticio’s first time walking into East West Coffee Wine in Clarendon (3101 Wilson Blvd) when he strolled inside in mid-November. Every time he noticed the art on the walls.

“It’s not curated. It’s just like they put it up there,” says Marticio.

So, he approached the owner, Mehmet Coskun, and asked if he could use a corner of the shop to create a pop-up art studio for his works. Coskun readily agreed and the two made a deal.

“I’ve always wanted my own studio,” says Marticio.

Marticio grew up in the Philippines, immigrated to California, and moved to Arlington about a decade ago for a job and to be closer to his mother. He is a father of one: a 19-year-old daughter.

Marticio says that this area provides good opportunities and schooling, which was also a big reason why his mom came to the United States.

“My mom grew up on a farm in the Philippines,” he says. “Something clicked in her head that wasn’t how [her] family was supposed to live.”

He says it was her “third eye” that guided her, a concept of having an invisible, perceptive eye — often in the middle of the forehead — that’s knowledgeable beyond normal sight.

His mother’s third eye is also inspiration for his art. Marticio designs illustrative portraits of pop icons, from Jay-Z to Ruth Bader Ginsburg to Muhammad Ali , many of which are depicted with a third eye.

“I feel like those icons have seen something that a regular person hasn’t seen,” says Marticio. “That’s why they became so successful.”

Like many folks, Marticio has had his job prospects fluctuate during the pandemic. When he lost his job earlier this year, he focused his energy and attention on creating art. He did get another full-time graphic designer job in July, but by then, he had created a whole lot.

“All of my time, I really poured into [my art]. You know, what else am I going to do?,” he says. “It was also for my piece of mind.”

Marticio has also embedded his art with augmented reality. Each work has a QR code, which if scanned with a phone using Artivie mobile app, reveals animation and other features.

“A lot of artwork can be static,” says Marticio. “But this adds elements to it.”

This augmented reality component is another variation on the “third eye,” adding a perspective not seen by the naked eye.

Coskun says he’s thrilled to have Marticio’s art in his Clarendon coffee shop.

“I like to support local businesses just because I’m a local business myself,” he says. It’s a win-win, a local artist gets to have an art gallery and a local business doesn’t have to spend money on generic decor.

“I’d rather have [Marticio’s] paintings and help him make some money, then [for me] go to IKEA to buy some paintings,” says Coskun. In fact, he’s got a few more inquiries from other local artists as well about putting their work on his shop’s walls.

“If there’s a space available, then why not?,” Coskun says, “It makes the walls look ten times better.”

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Don’t worry, bumble coffee — that concoction of orange juice, caramel and espresso over ice — is still on the menu at the cafe formerly known as This is Fine Coffee in Clarendon.

Kino Coffee has the same menu, but its offerings now include independent movies.

In May, owners Jason Blevins and Anna Tsybko converted a back room of their shop at 2607 Wilson Blvd into a small pop-up cinema. They painted the walls black and installed a large screen for indie films and documentaries.

Blevins and Tsybko opened This is Fine Coffee in January, taking over the space previously occupied for three years by Blümen Cafe.

“Nothing was wrong with [the old name],” Blevins told ARLnow. “There’s a bit of humor with ‘This Is Fine,’ but 2020 killed some of the humor with it. When we started to incorporate a pop-up cinema to the business model, we found it harder to convey that in the name. So, we chose ‘Kino’, which means movie theater in Russian and German and a bunch of languages.”

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the theater can only hold nine people, and tickets will be $8. The first movies will start premiering next month, and the theater has partnered with Magnolia Pictures to showcase new films, including “Stray” in March.

“We just opened seating inside two weeks ago,” Blevins said. “Until then, we actually hadn’t had anyone in the whole entire space longer than it took for them to pick up their coffee and leave.”

Blevins studied film at New York University, and said that old cartoons and silent movies from the Soviet Union will play in the theater on most days.

“We have movies going on in the back room and Eastern European-inspired drinks and pastry options,” he said.

Among Kino’s offerings is one sure to keep you awake during the slow scenes: the Atomic Bumble, an eye-opening mix of ghost pepper, espresso, orange juice and tonic water over ice.

“We just hope that people appreciate a different experience in terms of cinema and supporting independent businesses,” said Blevins.

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(Updated at 9:50 a.m.) The following may ruin an important part of your holiday experience by revealing that a long-held belief held by many is, in fact, fiction.

But here’s the truth: the festive red paper cup containing your peppermint mocha is not recyclable, at least not in Arlington.

That’s the message from the county’s Dept. of Environmental Services, which posted the reminder on social media Monday morning.

“Festive? Definitely. Recyclable? Nope,” DES wrote. “The slick lining in single-use take-out coffee cups means they need to go in the trash. Alas, the tops too because of their mixed plastic.”

To be clear, this is not just an Arlington issue. Most recycling systems reject paper Starbucks cups due to the difficulty in separating the paper from the lining.

Disposable coffee cups, meanwhile, are not the only seemingly recyclable thing — complete with recycling logos — that is actually not recyclable in Arlington’s single-stream residential recycling collection.

Other things you can’t recycle in the blue bins include plastic bags — garbage bags, grocery bags, etc. — plus disposable Solo cups, shredded paper, paper plates and boxes soiled by food or grease, and styrofoam containers. Oh, and also glass, though that can be dropped off at purple bins around the county.

Arlington lists items that can be recycled on its website. The recycling “MVP” that is in high demand, according to the county, is aluminum products like cans, foil and trays.

Arlington’s residential recycling collection mostly serves single-family homes in the county. Those in condos and apartments are served by private haulers who may have different rules about what can and cannot be recycled.

Photo by Jasmin Schuler on Unsplash

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This content was written and sponsored by The Keri Shull Team, Arlington’s top producing residential real estate team.

For many people living in Arlington, coffee is an absolute lifesaver. Java can help perk you up for the traffic-filled commute in or out of Washington D.C., keep you alert through the early morning workflow, or just make your telework video call a bit more lively.

As one might expect for such a versatile bean, there are plenty of spots around Northern Virginia that serve up a fine cup of joe — and on this week’s edition of the Neighborhood Spotlight, we want to share some of the Keri Shull Team’s favorite coffee shops in Arlington! All three of these cafes are open and following appropriate COVID-19 regulations, so you can still enjoy their brews in-house or with takeout options.

Do you know of a cafe, restaurant, or other space for local leisure that you’d like us to highlight next? Make sure to let us know down in the comments — we’d love to check them out!

Compass Coffee

With 12 locations across D.C. and Northern Virginia, Compass Coffee is one of the swiftest-growing coffee companies on the east coast. Compass was originally founded as a single location in the Shaw neighborhood of D.C., but in the 6 years since, it has spread to a dozen cafes in the D.C. area — including a spot right next to the Rosslyn Metro Station!

The Rosslyn cafe, sitting at 1201 Wilson Boulevard, was Compass’s first foray across the Potomac. This warm, cozy coffee shop rests on the ground floor of the CEB tower, the same skyscraper where Arlington residents can enjoy the “View of DC” Observation Deck.

For those that prefer to enjoy a cup at home, Compass also sells their beans in pre-ground, 5 lb bags or as convenient single-serving K-cups for Keurig machines. You can find these for sale in their cafes or on their online store.

Northside Social

Whether you want to get your day started right or want to wind down with a glass of wine at the end of a long day, Northside Social has you covered!

There are two Northside Social locations, both of which are in Northern Virginia. The first is in the Clarendon neighborhood of Arlington, at 3211 Wilson Boulevard. The second is in Falls Church at 205 Park Avenue.

If you want to read a more in-depth exploration of Northside Social’s offerings and atmosphere, make sure to check out the dedicated Northside Social Neighborhood Spotlight that we published early last year!

During the COVID-19 regulations in Virginia, Northside is offering dine-in and takeout options. By the way, here’s a pro tip for taking home food and drink from this stellar cafe: if you fall in love with one of the wines there, you can take a bottle home with you… and get it for $20 less than the listed bottle price at the same time!

East West Coffee Wine

Also in Rosslyn, just a few blocks away from Compass Coffee, is our last cafe for the day. East West Coffee Wine offers — as the name so subtly suggests — both java and vino, in addition to a full menu of savory and sweet foods.

The fine folks at East West focus on turning high-quality beans into high-quality drinks — so no matter whether you’re a NitroBrew newbie or an espresso expert, you’ll be able to appreciate the care and craft that go into your drink!

Like Northside, East West also offers a selection of fine wines. When it comes to both the uppers and the downers, East West Coffee Wine is dedicated to educating their customers. So make sure to come by one of their two Arlington locations and have the most delicious educational experience of your life!

If you just have to have your morning joe, Arlington certainly has you covered. These are just 3 of our favorite coffee shops in Arlington, but there are plenty more around that we haven’t even tried. So, what’s your favorite spot for a shot of espresso or pour over? Let us know down below in the comments!

Are you interested in buying or selling a home now in Arlington or anywhere else in the D.C. area? The Keri Shull Team — the top-selling real estate team in the D.C. area — is standing by to help you, so contact us today! All you need to do is click here to schedule a time for a free, no-pressure Real Estate Consultation with one of our local experts.

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Eclairons, a new French pastry shop, opened in the former Bean Good space in Rosslyn earlier this month.

The restaurant, at 1737 Wilson Blvd in the Colonial Village Shopping Center, serves coffee and baked goods. Signs posted earlier this year, near the start of the pandemic, said it would also serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.

A new sign above the front door says the business is now hiring.

Eclairons does not yet have a functioning website, but the business has started to post on social media.

“At Eclairons you can enjoy a fine selection of desserts, pastries, and coffee rarely found at other pastry shops,” says the restaurant’s Facebook page. “Eclairons is managed by Maurice Pastries — serving the D.C. area with the finest pastries for over 35 years.”

More via social media:

This just in – Pumpkin is here! Enjoy a specialty pumpkin milkshake, pumpkin latte, or pumpkin chai latte as part of our seasonal menu :)See you soon!

Posted by Eclairons on Thursday, September 10, 2020

https://www.facebook.com/eclairons/posts/158295835915078

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Courthouse’s Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar and Eatery has reopened after its storefront was remodeled with COVID-19 precautions in mind.

During the restaurant’s nearly five month closure, its kitchen was remodeled to allow for physical distancing between employees and to minimize the amount of germs in the air. With the changes in place, Bayou opened its doors on Monday for takeout and patio dining.

Shelves now hang 10 feet above the floors, a new ventilation system whirs between the walls and an industrial fan maintains air flow throughout the space. A touch-free faucet was also added to the store’s bathroom, and a hands-free mechanism was installed to open its door.

The restaurant’s landlord provided funding in recent lease negotiations to make the remodel possible. Owner and chef David Guas said these changes were a must for Bayou Bakery to operate amid the pandemic.

“I feel it would have been negligent to not have put these measures into place before reopening our doors,” Guas said. “These newly adopted practices are going to be necessary moving forward — our industry now carries a very important responsibility when it comes to safety.”

Bayou Bakery originally closed its in-person dining on March 16, following a statewide order from Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam. According to Guas, sales dropped by 70% between March 16-31 and the restaurant cut its 2o person staff to 10.

While Bayou Bakery still offered takeout, curbside pick-up and delivery during this time, Guas said staying open became unsustainable. On April 1, the restaurant fully closed.

Despite not serving customers, Guas used his facilities to support Chefs Feeding Families. He co-founded the project, which provides free grab-and-go meals to local school children and their families impacted by the pandemic, with McLean-based group Real Food for Kids in March as schools began to close.

“Key Elementary Schools is near my restaurant — there were about 300 kids on the meal plan when the school shut down,” Guas said. “I looked at my employees in the kitchen and thought of their children who went to that school. I asked myself how would they and so many others be fed? How many more would be affected?”

Guas said the project allowed him to keep four employees working, and Bayou Bakery has served about 400-500 meals a day to families impacted by school closures and job losses.

Since March 17, six other restaurants including Silver Diner, Rasa Grill and Pizzeria Paradiso have joined the effort. According to Bayou Bakery, Chefs Feeding Families has served over 90,000 meals at its 21 D.C. region pickup locations as of August 25.

All meals are vegetarian and no ID or proof of need is required to pick one up.

“It was important to us that we were presenting healthy and inclusive options that would appeal to as many people as possible,” Guas said. “I have faith in people and those who came out of their way to get a meal, so the honor system is the way we approached [giving out meals]. By not requiring ID, it opened the doors for us to reach so many more families in need.”

Now, while continuing to support Chefs Feeding Families, Bayou Bakery is open for “Grab N’ Geaux” takeout, delivery and socially distant dining on its patio. Meals like buttermilk biscuit sandwiches and chicken and smoked gumbo are available on an abbreviated menu.

Photos courtesy Bayou Bakery

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It wasn’t the opening owner Tsega Haile was hoping for, but Kaldi’s Social House (3110 10th Street N.) is finally planning to open this weekend in Clarendon.

“We’re opening — a soft opening — on Saturday,” Haile said. “We’ll have free espresso drinks and free juice. That’s for Saturday and Sunday.”

Haile said the location will be selling fresh croissants and such this weekend, but full service starts in earnest on Tuesday with food, beer and wine being offered. Kaldi’s has a Virginia ABC license and will have beer at 16 of its 20 taps — the other four are for nitro cold brew coffee.

Haile said the menu will be substantially different from his popular Silver Spring coffee house by the same name. Breakfast will focus on smoothies, toast, waffles and sandwiches, while afternoon meals will be more soup and salad focused. The one item carrying over from the other location is the restaurant’s vegan Italian toast — a local favorite.

The interior will have social distancing, Haile said, with signs around the restaurant and on the floor telling customers where to stand. Tables will be assigned with over six feet of distancing between seats, according to Haile.

“It’s mixed feelings,” Haile said. “With the COVID situation, we weren’t expecting to open, but we are now. We wanted to make it big, but with the pandemic, we couldn’t do that. But we’re happy being in Arlington. We are so excited.”

Photos courtesy Kaldi’s Social House

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