Arlington, VA

(Updated at 4:05 p.m.) Police and firefighters are on scene of a major crash at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Glebe Road.

The westbound lanes of Columbia Pike and at least one northbound lane of Glebe are blocked by the crash and the emergency activity. Drivers should expect significant evening rush hour traffic impacts in the area.

Initial reports suggest three vehicles were involved and at least two people were injured, one of whom suffered serious injuries and was rushed to a local trauma center.

Photos (1, 2) courtesy @LAGATAF1NA/Twitter

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The annual Columbia Pike Blues Festival returns tomorrow (Saturday) with live music and several road closures.

The festival will run from 1-8:30 p.m. at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Walter Reed Drive. This year’s music lineup includes soul and blues artists Sugary Rayford, Thornetta Davis, Hardway Connection, Lauren Calve Band, and Funky Miracle.

Arlington County Police announced that some streets adjacent to the Pike will close between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. Saturday.

Road closures include:

  • Walter Reed Drive between Columbia Pike and 9th Street S.
  • 9th. Road S. between S. Garfield Street and Walter Reed Drive
  • 9th Street between S. Highland Street to Walter Reed Drive

This year, organizers are partnering with Shirlington-area New District Brewing Company to serve craft beer. Several food vendors, including Carol’s Concessions, Caspi, Mac’s Donuts, Sloppy Mama’s Barbecue, and Rebellion on the Pike, will also be serving meals during the festival, per the event’s website.

Photo (1) via Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization, (2) via Arlington County

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Update at 2 p.m. — All lanes of Columbia Pike have reopened.

Earlier: Police and firefighters are on scene of a pedestrian struck by a vehicle on Columbia Pike.

The crash happened just before 9:30 a.m. at the intersection of the Pike and Four Mile Run Drive. The pedestrian was rushed to a local trauma center with critical injuries, said Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Ben O’Bryant.

All westbound lanes of the Pike are closed in the area while police investigate the incident.

The striking vehicle and its driver remained on scene after the crash. Police could be seen using spray paint to mark the place where the SUV stopped, after striking the pedestrian.

Witnesses told ARLnow the pedestrian was struck from behind and the driver didn’t appear to slow down before the crash. They were not sure whether the traffic signal at the intersection was green at the time.

“I didn’t see her [the driver] decelerate until after the impact,” one witness said. “I couldn’t believe it. The right front of the tire was basically on [the pedestrian].”

Police said the victim is in surgery at a local hospital.

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After five years of churning out pies for wholesale in the basement kitchen of 2803 Columbia Pike, Acme Pie Company has moved up to the street level and opened a retail pie shop.

In every sense, the store is the product of its founder Sol Schott — from the throwback ’30s aesthetic to some of the unorthodox choices in pies. But more than pastries, Schott has visions of Acme as a community gathering place in a classic Americana sense.

“One of the things I wanted to do with this place is I wanted to do exactly what I wanted to do,” said Schott. “I wanted it to be mine, from concept to everything, for good or bad. I wanted to see if I could do something exactly how I wanted to do it.”

Schott said visually, the store is based on Woolworth’s lunch counters from the 1930s. The wall art over the sound absorbers on the wall is inspired by Depression-era art from the Works Progress Administration. More often than not, when you walk in, the 1936 film serial Flash Gordon will be playing.

Acme Pie Company is only open from 3-9 p.m. during weekdays (except Monday, when it’s closed) and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on weekends, but the baking process starts as early at 5 a.m. and can take much of the day.

The pie shop had previously operated inside Twisted Vines Bar and Bottleshop. But when that restaurant closed, Schott said he had to take a risk and move into retail. The Acme Pie Company’s retail shop opened in April.

“It’s been a big transition,” said Schott. “I’m not so much of a retail guy as I am a baker, that’s my history and passion. But it’s been going well. I enjoy talking to customers and dealing with people, that sort of thing. It’s been fun and it’s been successful.”

The pie shop is a change for Schott in more than one way. He admitted that a little over a decade ago, he was dubious about the prospect of making pies.

“I don’t want to say I hated making pie, but I didn’t know how to do it very well,” Schott said. “This was 16 years ago. We were buying the pies, and at some point [the retailer] decided she didn’t want to wholesale them anymore, so I realized… ‘damnit, I’m going to have to make pies.’ I didn’t have an appreciation for it, it was a pain in the neck. But I’d spent a lot of time making these pies, and learning to do it really well.”

Eventually, Schott gained an appreciation for the art and realized that he could carve out his own piece of the pie in a market crowded with other pastry chefs.

“I knew I could do that with pies, because most pastry chefs haven’t spent the time learning to make pies because they’re European trained, like myself, and that’s a different skill set,” Scott said. “I realized that I could wholesale sell them to places that wouldn’t buy anything else. They have bakers and cake guys and scones and cookies and muffins, but a real lack of quality pie.”

Now, Schott says they’re churning out around 20,000 pies a year, and Schott said every one of those pies tells a story. The blackberry pies — Schott’s favorite — are inspired by going blackberry picking and making the pies with his mother as a child. The cherry pies are made with materials from an Amish family in upstate New York.

Working out of a shop has allowed Schott to also experiment with more types of pie than he could when he was working wholesale.

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On Sunday, Josephine’s Italian Kitchen (2501 9th Road S.) closed its doors for good and marked the end of an era for a Columbia Pike restauranteur.

The restaurant opened in Penrose Square last October as the newest eatery for Tony Wagner, who also owned Twisted Vines Bottleshop & Bistro and BrickHaus.

Both Twisted Vines and BrickHaus closed last year, which at the time Wagner said was part of a plan to regroup and focus on the new Josephine’s Italian Kitchen. All of the restaurants were located within a few blocks of each other on Columbia Pike, where Wagner lives.

(Twisted Vines has since been replaced by Acme Pie Company while BickHaus has been replaced by Rebellion on the Pike.)

Wagner said the decision to close was brought about by family issues and he hopes that the closure will allow him more time to focus on other priorities.

Following the closure, Wagner said he’s still on the lookout for new opportunities in the area, but for now, there’s nothing planned.

Wagner is still deciding what to do with the neon “Gelato” sign in Josephine’s, which he called the “most Instagrammed” thing in the restaurant.

“It might find a place in our home,” Wagner said.

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(Updated at 1:45 p.m.) Arlington County Police are investigating a major vandalism spree in the area of Columbia Pike.

Police say nearly two dozen parked cars had their tires slashed over the weekend. It happened on the 4500 and 4600 blocks of S. Four Mile Run Drive and the 1100 block of S. Thomas Street, just south of the Pike in the Douglas Park neighborhood.

So far, police have no suspect description, only saying that the “investigation is ongoing.”

“Officers canvased the area for surveillance and witnesses with negative results,” said ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “Anyone who witnessed suspicious activity in the area on Friday evening into Saturday morning or has any information related to the investigation is asked to contact police.”

More from a crime report:

DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY – VEHICLE (series), 2019-05110081/05110088/05110096, 4600 block of S. Four Mile Run Drive/4500 block of S. Four Mile Run Drive/1100 block of S. Thomas Street. At approximately 7:28 a.m. on May 11, police were dispatched to the report of destruction of property. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 8:30 p.m. on May 10 and 6:30 a.m. on May 11, the tires of approximately 22 vehicles parked in the area were slashed. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

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If the Avengers were a local enterprise, Chris Slatt would be the Guardian of the Arlington Transportation Galaxy.

Slatt serves as the Chair of the Transportation Commission and has a steel trap memory for county transportation projects — and the politicking behind why some never happened.

He’s weighted in on toll enforcement, infrastructure planning, and he’s organized everything from a protest for bicycle safety on the Pike to the cutest free library in Penrose with tools to fix your bike.

For this episode of the 26 Square Miles podcast, we sat down with Slatt to talk about why the Columbia Pike-Crystal City streetcar never took off, what Amazon means for local public transportation, and what it would really take to build safe bike routes across the county.

Listen below or subscribe to the podcast on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher or TuneIn.

Photo via Jas Sanchez Photography

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Morning Notes

Kaine Event at Federico’sUpdated at 8:55 a.m. — “On Monday, May 13, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine will hold a roundtable in Arlington with fair housing advocates to discuss the work ahead to ensure equal access to housing for all Americans and address discrimination that LGBTQ Americans continue to face as they search for homes.” The event is now being held at 9 a.m. at Federico’s Ristorante Italiano (519 23rd Street S.) in Crystal City, per an updated media advisory.

Amazon Hiring for Alexa Job in Arlington — Among other open job positions for Amazon’s HQ2 in Arlington, the company is now hiring a “Principal Product Manager” for its Alexa Experience team. [Amazon]

Puppy Recovering from Pike Crash — “Earlier this week Yoda ran into oncoming traffic after escaping his leash. I ran after him in attempt to save him, which resulted in both of us getting hit by a car. I am okay but Yoda was not so lucky. He has two major fractures in his back leg which lead him into surgery. He is resting but having a difficult time.” [GoFundMe]

Satisfaction with Metro Rebounds — “Metro’s reputation in the region has improved dramatically in the past two years and has almost reached the positive levels it enjoyed before a fatal smoke incident in 2015, according to a Washington Post-Schar School poll… A 68 percent majority of Washington-area residents rate Metrorail positively, up from 42 percent in 2017. In 2013, 71 percent had positive ratings of the subway system.” [Washington Post]

Post Endorses Tafti — The Washington Post has endorsed challenger Parisa Dehghani-Tafti over incumbent Theo Stamos in the Democratic Commonwealth’s Attorney primary. [Washington Post]

SoberRide Record for Cinco de Mayo — “Nearly 800 (792) persons in the Washington-metropolitan area used the free safe ride service, SoberRide, this Cinco de Mayo as opposed to possibly driving home drunk.” [WRAP]

Flickr pool photos by John Sonderman and GM and MB

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A new restaurant is planning to open soon at 3207 Columbia Pike, though the exact date is still unclear.

The sign over the former Mexican Bar and Grill still advertises a karaoke night grand opening for March 8. A man associated with the new restaurant said it is being renamed “El Campesino Mix” and an opening is planned for sometime next week. He added that he is still awaiting permit approvals from Arlington County.

An ABC license for the restaurant is also pending. “El Campesino” translates to “the peasant.”

El Campesino Mix is on the second floor of a small building that hosts a variety of international cuisine — with the Chinese restaurant Panda Bowl directly beneath it and Indian/Pakistani eatery City Kabob and Curry House on the other side.

The location has gone through a few changes in recent years. Honduran restaurant Plaza Maya opened there in 2017 and it was an Ethiopian/Italian restaurant called Toscana Flamingo before that.

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Morning Notes

Police Memorial Service in Courthouse — “N. Courthouse Road will be closed between 14th Street N. and 15th Street N. from approximately 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. on May 10 to accommodate the Observance of Peace Officers Memorial Day.” [Twitter]

New CPRO Director Sets Vision for Pike — “‘My greatest fear is we are going to be completely gentrified,’ [new Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization director Kim Klingler] said. ‘The market will drive [redevelopment], but at the same time, we want to be able to control what we’re able to control.'” [InsideNova]

Another N. Arlington Power Outage — “More than 1,000 Dominion customers without power in parts of North Arlington [Wednesday] morning, per outage map. Marymount U. Is within the outage area. Power restoration expected this afternoon.” [Twitter]

Arlington Offers Larger Apartments — The median income for renters in Arlington affords an apartment nearly twice the size as the equivalent in D.C. [CNBC]

Column in Va. Paper Bashes J-D Highway Renaming — “In response to Arlington County, Virginia’s proposal to rename its Jefferson Davis Highway, local man Max Perrine has written a very questionable column for Virginia newspaper The Roanoke Times.” [The Week]

Mr. Knick Knack Facing Child Porn Charges — Children’s performer “Mr. Knick Knack,” a 58-year-old Reston resident named Steven Rossi, is facing 10 felony counts of possession of child pornography. Rossi performed a number of shows in Arlington over the past few years. [Reston Now]

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A vacant storefront under the Penrose Square Apartments on Columbia Pike (2501 9th Road S.) is currently bulking up for a transformation into an F45 gym.

F45 is a gym franchise that started in Australia and has been expanding throughout the D.C. region, with recently-opened locations in Ballston and Tysons. The new gym is underneath the Giant grocery store on the second floor of the complex, sandwiched between a barber shop and a dry cleaner.

Trip O’Connell is the very enthusiastic managing partner of the Penrose F45. He also manages the U Street F45, which opened a little over a year ago.

“We were the first location in D.C.,” O’Connell said. “It’s been going great. We have a lot of people in the area who liked the vibe and wanted more.”

O’Connell said he turned his attention across the Potomac, where there were already successful F45 gyms like the one at Pentagon Row.

“Finding locations is tough,” O’Connell said. “There’s a lot of new builds going on in Maryland and D.C. and Virginia, but those locations always jack rents up.”

O’Connell said that he was lucky to find the space in Penrose that had previously been occupied by 9round Fitness, a boxing-oriented gym. Currently, O’Connell and his partner are in California getting final approvals from the F45 HQ, but if things go smoothly he hopes to start a pre-marketing campaign on May 15.

“We’re hoping to start running people through test classes,” said O’Connell. “If that goes smoothly, we’re looking at an opening mid-June.”

The plan is to offer first-time visitors a two-week free trial on which they can take as many classes as they want. After that, membership is $55 per week for unlimited access to the gym or $45 for those purchasing membership for those signing up to the gym early on.

It can sound like a steep price, especially with the $10 per month Planet Fitness moving in nearby at Pentagon Row, but O’Connell said the program offers a specialized workout routine.

“The F45 program speaks for itself,” said O’Connell. “Everyone’s heard about high-intensity interval training. F45 breaks new ground on how that applies to a workout. You’re coming to a new gym every day and it’s the same room, but a different set-up.”

O’Connell said the free trial gives people a chance to experience the program first-hand and get hooked.

“We want people to come in and try it,” said O’Connell. “You can’t describe the feeling of doing it with 36 other people — getting through the pain of the workout, and then it’s over. Unless you get people in the door to experience that, it can’t be described.”

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