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Ballston-Based Coffee Bar Eyes Expansion Throughout D.C. Region

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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.comStartup 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. 

(Updated at 2:10 p.m.) Republik Coffee Bar was founded out of frustration.

Elan Irving, director of operations for Republik Coffee Bar, said when the founders of the coffee bar were looking a premium coffee options in the area, they were underwhelmed.

“We were looking for a place to enjoy premium coffee served in an inviting environment staffed by friendly baristas with a pleasant ambiance,” said Irving. “Surprisingly, there are very few places that embody all of these qualities, so we decided to provide such space for like minded coffee lovers.”

Irving said the largest challenge that faced the burgeoning company initially was finding a price balance.

“One of the challenges is to keep prices low without sacrificing on the quality of the product as well as keeping a staff of highly qualified baristas,” said Irving. “We were always in pursuit of better coffee, better brewing methods, and very competitive prices. We don’t believe in charging $5 for a six-ounce cappuccino.”

Since launching, Republik Coffee Bar has started an aggressive expansion campaign. Less than one year since its Ballston location opened, Republik has started a second franchise coffee bar in McLean. In six months, Republik plans to open two more locations inside D.C. and eventually another in Fairfax.

“If you are afraid of taking calculated risks, you shouldn’t be in business of investing in new businesses,” said Irving. “This is also true in our business. We are very confident in our concept and very happy to see the response we received in Ballston. This has encouraged us to expand into other locations.”

For now, Republik Coffee Bar is local, but the chain has much larger ambitions if the continued regional launches go well.

“Our short term goals are establish our brand into a very respectable local brand in the D.C. metro area,” Irving said. “If we are successful in achieving this, we will continue to expand regionally and then one day, nationally.”

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Morning Notes

Flash Flood Watch Issued for Arlington — Arlington, D.C. and points west are under a Flash Flood Watch today, starting at 10 a.m., as the remnants of Hurricane Florence drop heavy rain on the area. [Twitter]

New Food Distribution Site in Ballston — “The Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) has joined with the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) to open a new food-distribution site at The Springs, an apartment complex in the Ballston area. The site will distribute food on Wednesdays from 3:30 to 5 p.m., and will serve eligible residents from the apartment as well as neighboring APAH communities.” [InsideNova]

Rosslyn Fire Station Leveled — Rosslyn’s Fire Station 10 has been demolished as construction proceeds on a new fire station on the ground floor of a new development. [Twitter]

‘Coffee With a Cop’ Planned — “Wednesday, October 3 is National Coffee with a Cop Day and the Arlington County Police Department is hosting two events with our Community Outreach Teams to celebrate. Community members are invited to join police at this informal event to ask questions, voice concerns, get to know their neighbors, interact with the Community Outreach Teams and meet officers from other sections of the department.” [Arlington County]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Idido’s Coffee Coming to Columbia Pike

Idido’s Cofee, a social house featuring coffee and serving light fare, is coming to Columbia Pike.

The coffee shop will be joining Pureluxe as the ground floor retail of Columbia Place (1107 S Walter Reed Dr), a mixed use development in Arlington Village.

The owners of Idido’s Coffee couldn’t be reached for comment, but Michael Steven, president of the Association for Columbia Place, told ARLnow he’s enthusiastic about the new business.

“We’re all excited for it to come in,” said Steven. “We hope it’s successful here.”

The timeline for when Idido’s will open is unknown.

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Compass Coffee Caffeinates Rosslyn

Compass Coffee is open and brewing in Rosslyn.

The location at 1201 Wilson Boulevard officially opened on June 29 and has been busy nearly every morning since.

The Rosslyn location is the latest for the chain was started in D.C.’s Shaw neighborhood by two former marines. The beans are imported seasonally and roasted locally in D.C. During the summer months, the shop has put a special emphasis on their nitro cold brews.

The industrial-chic coffee chain isn’t alone in making the move across the Potomac; D.C. based Italian restaurant Sfoglina is also on schedule to move in just down the street at 1100 Wilson Boulevard sometime later this year or early 2019.

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Man Tasered By Police at Peet’s Coffee in Clarendon

A man who was “making verbal threats” against customers of a Clarendon cafe was tasered by police Monday morning.

The incident happened around 10:30 a.m. at the Peet’s Coffee at 3003 Washington Blvd, but it was preceded by a police dispatch less than an hour earlier, according to an Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman.

“At approximately 9:47 a.m., police were dispatched to the 3000 block of Washington Boulevard for the report of a suspect making verbal threats to customers inside a restaurant,” ACPD’s Ashley Savage told ARLnow.com. “Upon arrival, officers made contact with the suspect and he was subsequently banned from the property.”

She continued: “At approximately 10:28 a.m., police were again dispatched to the location for the report of trespassing as the suspect had returned to the restaurant and was causing a disruption. As officers attempted to place the suspect into custody, the suspect became combative and a struggle ensued. The suspect did not obey the lawful commands of the officers and a Taser was deployed.”

The suspect, whose name has not yet been released, was transported to a local hospital for evaluation. He is under police custody and charges are currently pending, Savage said.

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New Coffee and Juice Bar Set to Open in Clarendon

A new restaurant offering coffee, smoothies and “superfood” is gearing up to open in Clarendon.

Signs promising that Waterhouse Coffee and Juice Bar is “coming soon” recently appeared on an office building at 3033 Wilson Blvd, near the road’s intersection with N. Garfield Street.

Though the restaurant doesn’t have any online presence to speak of just yet, the signs say the eatery will offer Lavazza coffee and espresso, “freshly pressed juices” and smoothies. The store is also set to serve “powerful superfood” including acai bowls and avocado mash.

The signs do not, however, offer any clarity on when the restaurant might open its doors.

Waterhouse is located around the corner from Casal’s Spa and Salon and Hunan Number One.

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Morning Notes

‘Coffee With a Cop’ Comes to Clarendon, Pentagon City — The Arlington County Police Department is hosting a pair of “Coffee with a Cop” events later this month, at a Starbucks in Pentagon City and Northside Social in Clarendon. In a press release, ACPD said it “is committed to developing and maintaining strong relationships with those we serve, a vital component to ensuring the public’s trust.” [Arlington County]

Potomac Roaring Over Great Falls — Those within earshot of the Potomac River are being treated to an especially loud roar this week as the rain-swollen river “churned and even exploded into the air at Great Falls.” It also flooded parts of Alexandria and the Georgetown riverfront. [Washington Post, Twitter, Twitter]

Artisphere Closing Anniversary — It has been three years since Artisphere closed its doors in Rosslyn. The former county-funded arts venue is now a co-working and events space.

Photo courtesy @jimcollierjr

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Sense of Place Cafe Finds Its Place in Arlington

(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.

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Morning Notes

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

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New Coffee Shop Appears to Be Coming to Clarendon

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

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Arlington’s Sunniva Goes to ‘Shark Tank,’ Walks Away Without a Deal

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

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Morning Notes

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]

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Bruegger’s Bagels Still Open in Ballston

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

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Dunkin’ Donuts Now Open in Clarendon

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.

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Detour Coffee Co. Open in Virginia Square

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.

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