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by Chris Teale June 12, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

Despite delays, a new beer garden on Columbia Pike is still on track to open soon, its owner says.

BrickHaus at 2900 Columbia Pike had anticipated opening last month, having finished construction and put the final touches on the space once occupied by Blanca’s Restaurant.

But the restaurant remains unopened, at least for now. In an email, owner Tony Wagner – who also owns Twisted Vines across the street — said BrickHaus is “in the midst of inspections,” and that he could have a “good idea” of an opening date as early as this week.

BrickHaus will be a beer garden on the first floor, with some 20 beers on tap and an approximately 30-seat outdoor patio. The second floor mezzanine will have upstairs dining with a menu including steaks, German food and other entrees.

It will offer mostly regional brews from Virginia, D.C. and Maryland, in addition to perhaps a couple of German beers. Wagner said draft wine will also be available.

The aging building has received an extensive renovation after being vacant for years following the departure of Blanca’s Restaurant.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor June 8, 2017 at 6:00 am 0

Three-time Grammy-nominee Bettye LaVette headlines the 22nd annual Columbia Pike Blues Festival on Saturday, June 17 from 1-8:30 p.m.

For this FREE annual event, LaVette is joined by a full lineup of blues, R&B and funk performers of national and regional note, including: Rufus Roundtree and Da B-more Brass Factory; Full Power Blues Band; Sol Roots with Carly Harvey; and Jonny Grave.

Presented by the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization (CPRO) in cooperation with Arlington Arts — the presenting arm of Arlington Cultural Affairs — the Columbia Pike Blues Festival is a recipient of Virginia Tourism Corporation’s Music Festival Sponsorship Program, which supports the growth of Virginia music festivals and their important economic impact for local communities while also building Virginia’s reputation as a music destination.

The winner of multiple awards, Bettye LaVette performed the memorable duet “Change is Gonna Come” with Bon Jovi for President-elect Obama at HBO’s We Are One concert, as well as the critically acclaimed “Love, Reign O’er Me” tribute to The Who at the Kennedy Center Honors. From the birth of soul in the 1960’s, Bettye continues to garner accolades and awards in her fifth decade in show business for her vital new albums and interpretive live shows. The rest of this year’s amazing Columbia Pike Blues Festival lineup includes:

“The Pike” is fast becoming the Arlington destination for food and fun — with everything from the Salsa Room, a top Latin dance club in the DMV, and Ethiopian delicacies at the renowned Dama Pastry and Restaurant (whose baker was trained by the White House pastry chef), to down-home classics such as Bob and Edith’s diner and the now-famous Celtic House Irish Pub, which made national news this Spring when it was named by Travel + Leisure Magazine as the best place in the country to spend St. Patrick’s Day!

Enjoy food and beverages, arts and crafts vendors, and kids’ activities as you spend the day on Arlington’s oldest and newest Main Street — in one of its most diverse, vibrant communities — listening to quintessential American music that will make it impossible not to get up and dance.

The Blues Festival covers three blocks at the intersection of Columbia Pike and Walter Reed Drive. So put on your dancing shoes, grab friends and family and head to the Pike for a day of great music, food, art and fun! More info here.

Share your Blues Fest photos here: Facebook: @ArlingtonCPRO | Twitter: @ArlingtonCPRO | Instagram: CPRO_ColumbiaPike #CPBluesFest

by ARLnow.com June 6, 2017 at 11:45 am 0

A 27-year-old D.C. man has been arrested and charged with assaulting a police officer after an incident at a McDonald’s on Columbia Pike.

Just after 6 p.m. yesterday (Monday) police responded to the McDonald’s at 3013 Columbia Pike for a report of “a group of disorderly subjects refusing to leave a restaurant, as requested by store management,” according to an Arlington County Police Department crime report.

“As officers were attempting to conduct their investigation and ban the subjects from the property, one subject became combative and shoved an officer resulting in a physical struggle,” the crime report said. “Derrell Taylor, 27, of Washington D.C., was arrested and charged with assault and battery on law enforcement, obstruction of justice, and failure to I.D.”

The incident prompted a large police response to the McDonald’s, alarming some locals, but no serious injuries were reported.

Taylor was held at the county jail on a $5,000 bond.

Photo courtesy Eric Dobson

by ARLnow.com June 2, 2017 at 8:30 am 0

Free Donuts Today — Today, June 2, is National Donut Day. To celebrate, Dunkin’ Donuts and Duck Donuts are offering a free donut with the purchase of any beverage. Sugar Shack is offering a free donut for those who wear a Sugar Shack hat, t-shirt or other article of clothing with the company logo. [Dunkin’ Donuts, Duck Donuts, Facebook]

Stabbing on Columbia Pike — Arlington County Police are investigating a stabbing that occurred near the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Rolfe Street early this morning. The victim suffered non-life-threatening injuries. [Fox 5, WJLA, ACPD]

Owner Wants Out of Ray’s Hell Burger Lease — Michael Landrum, owner of Ray’s the Steaks and Ray’s Hell Burger, wants out of the Hell Burger lease at 1650 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. The restaurant closed and went on “hiatus” last month. Landrum’s company owes the landlord just over $300,000, according to a bankruptcy filing. [Washington Business Journal]

Why Arlington and Alexandria Couldn’t Collaborate on a Pool — Sharing the costs of an indoor aquatics center seemed like a good idea in theory, but ultimately those in Alexandria did not like the idea of using their taxpayer dollars to build a pool in Arlington. Now Arlington’s planned Long Bridge aquatics center is moving forward while Alexandria’s plans to build an indoor pool are on hold. [Washington Post]

New Tenants to the Rescue in Courthouse — “Adding Reston-based VideoBlocks to its tenant roster was a good get for the owners of Courthouse Tower, but as it turns out, the lease was part of a larger plan to avoid letting about three quarters of the building’s office space go dark.” [Washington Business Journal]

Metro ‘Prepares for Life After SafeTrack’ — We’re a day and a half into June and there have been no major Metro service disruptions so far, something the transit agency hopes is the norm. From a press release: “As the yearlong SafeTrack program winds down, Metro is preparing for a new era of less disruptive preventive maintenance and planned capital work to ensure that the rail system remains in a reliable state for years to come.” [WMATA]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

by Chris Teale June 1, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

A Japanese restaurant is coming to the Westmont Shopping Center at the corner of Columbia Pike and S. Glebe Road, replacing the Sports House Grill.

According to permit applications filed with the county, Takohachi Japanese Restaurant will move into the space at 3249 Columbia Pike.

As of Thursday, building permits for interior demolition were in the window of the spot between a State Farm agent and a Mattress Firm store.

The Sports House Grill was at the center of some controversy in recent years. In 2013, the County Board denied its application to renew its live entertainment permit to continue karaoke nights.

Neighboring civic associations, the police department and Virginia ABC all opposed the renewal due to concerns about crime. Neighbors had raised concerns about vandalism, violence in the parking lot and alleged drug sales.

No word yet on an opening date.

by Chris Teale May 23, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

The proprietor of a food truck that would park near the now-closed Food Star grocery store is set to take over the former Green Room next to the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse.

The truck, Tortas Y Tacos La Chiquita, sold Mexican food like tacos, quesadillas and tortas from the parking lot at the corner of Columbia Pike and S. George Mason Drive.

Owner David Villalobos said on the eatery’s official Facebook page that their new digs at 2911 Columbia Pike will be open in the first or second week of June. He also said that customers can expect “new cakes and tacos” after the grand opening.

The restaurant replaces “The Green Room,” which hosted stand-up comedy and other events adjacent to the main theater. It closed earlier this year as owner Greg Godbout looked for a new tenant.

The changes are part of a wider revamp for the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse, which is preparing to show first-run and art-house movies, up its ticket prices and overhaul its food menu.

by Chris Teale May 11, 2017 at 4:30 pm 0

Next Friday, thousands of area commuters will celebrate Bike to Work Day, including at sites across Arlington.

The free event is open to all area commuters, who are encouraged to meet up with neighbors and co-workers at one of 85 pit stops across the region and ride bicycles to work in a commuter convoy.

In Arlington, seven sites will provide food and drink, as well as nearby Capital Bikeshare stations for the easy docking of bikes. In the mornings, the pit stops will be open from 6:30-9 a.m., while those open in the afternoons will last from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

Rosslyn’s morning pit stop will be hosted at Gateway Park (1300 Lee Highway), while in the afternoon it will be at the Heavy Seas Alehouse (1501 Wilson Blvd). Shirlington will also hold pit stops in the morning at the Shirlington Library (4200 Campbell Ave) and in the afternoon at New District Brewing (2709 S. Oakland Street).

Pit stops can also be found in the mornings at FreshBikes Bike Shop (3924 Wilson Blvd) in Ballston, Penrose Square at 2503 Columbia Pike, the East Falls Church Metro station (2001 N. Sycamore Street) and the Crystal City Water Park (1750 Crystal Drive).

Registration is required for the pit stops, which enters attendees into local and regional raffles and guarantees a free Bike To Work Day T-shirt.

The regional event is organized by Commuter Connections, a program of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments that promotes bicycling to work, ridesharing and other alternatives to driving. More than 17,500 bicyclists are expected to register across the D.C. area.

“Each year, Bike to Work Day attracts commuters who choose to bike to work for the very first time, and after the event, 10 percent of them continue to bike to work an average of 1.4 days per week,” said Nicholas Ramfos, director of Commuter Connections, in a statement. “That’s an impressive conversion rate and it’s why we are committed to making every Bike to Work Day bigger and better than the one before it.”

by Chris Teale May 9, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

With redevelopment just around the corner, the Food Star grocery store on Columbia Pike will close as early as next week according to a sign on its entrance.

Its lease at the property is set to expire on May 25. The grocery store is expected to move to 206 W. Glebe Road in Alexandria’s Arlandria neighborhood and replace the Foodway currently there.

The sign, written in English and Spanish, reads:

Dear Food Star customers:

After 32 years of business it is with sincere regret that we inform you that Food Star supermarket will be closing permanently at this location between April 30 and May 15, 2017. It is our utmost priority to inform you of this decision as you are a very important part of the Food Star family. We appreciate your business and are thankful for your loyalty. We hope to have the opportunity to continue serving you at our new location at: 206 W. Glebe Road (formally Foodway), Alexandria, VA 22305.

We will notify you which day we will open. Thank you for your business and continued support.

The store at the corner of Columbia Pike and S. George Mason Drive is set for demolition along with several small retail businesses for the “Columbia Pike Village Center” development. More than 1,800 people who wanted to “Save Food Star” signed a petition against the plan last year.

In its place will be a new 50,000 square foot Harris Teeter grocery store, 31,530 square feet of new ground-floor retail space and a 22,150 square foot public square. The project also includes a six-story apartment building with 365 market-rate units, retail space and a three-level parking garage.

The Harris Teeter is expected to open in late 2019.

Arlington County has posted a list of other food stores in the area, the closest of which is 0.5 miles away from the Food Star, that residents can go to during construction of the new grocery store.

Of the other stores in the plaza, the Para Ti hair salon has already relocated to S. Carlin Springs Road. April was its last month in the strip mall.

by ARLnow.com May 1, 2017 at 9:20 am 0

A man led police on a chase down Glebe Road and Columbia Pike on Sunday afternoon.

The incident started around 3 p.m. when police were dispatched to the 4200 block of 2nd Road N. in Buckingham for a report of a “dispute in progress possibly involving a firearm.”

Police arrived on scene and located a man fitting the suspect description, but the man allegedly threw his car into reverse and sped towards an officer.

“The driver intentionally struck the officer but she did not sustain any injuries,” according to a police press release.

“A vehicle pursuit was initiated after the suspect fled from the scene traveling southbound on Glebe Road,” according to Arlington County Police. “The suspect turned onto Columbia Pike where he struck a vehicle at the intersection of Columbia Pike and Walter Reed Drive. The suspect exited his vehicle and attempted to flee the scene on foot. Following a brief foot pursuit, the suspect was taken into custody without further incident.”

Police arrested 32-year-old Brian Williams and charged him with a number of crimes, including attempted malicious wounding on law enforcement, felony eluding, felony hit and run, misdemeanor identity theft and driving while suspended.

Williams was also wanted for other crimes in Arlington and in Anne Arundel County, Maryland.

Photo (top) via ACPD

by Chris Teale April 28, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

Columbia Pike’s first beer garden is preparing to its open doors next month as crews put the finishing touches on the building.

BrickHaus at 2900 Columbia Pike has been under construction for almost a year. It now has all of its outside signs up and furniture on its outdoor patio.

In an interview with the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization, owner Tony Wagner — who also owns Twisted Vines across the street — said he expects BrickHaus to open in May. Wagner did not respond to requests for further comment.

The inside brick on the walls is nearly finished, while the outdoor fire pit has been successfully tested.

BrickHaus will be a beer garden on the first floor, with some 20 beers on tap and an approximately 30-seat outdoor patio. The second floor mezzanine will have upstairs dining with a menu including steaks, German food and other entrees.

It will offer mostly regional brews from Virginia, D.C. and Maryland, in addition to perhaps a couple of German beers. Wagner said draft wine will also be available.

The aging building has received an extensive renovation after being vacant for years following the departure of Blanca’s Restaurant.

by Chris Teale April 26, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

As it prepares to begin showing first-run and art-house movies, the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse announced a price hike and a series of other upgrades.

The iconic local business at 2903 Columbia Pike is about to shift to playing movies on a first-run basis, meaning it has quicker access to films. Owner Greg Godbout has said previously that showing mainstream movies several months after the initial release has hurt business given the rise of video on-demand services.

But to show first-run films, the Drafthouse will need to increase its ticket prices to meet the requirements of its film distributors. In an email sent to customers Tuesday, Godbout said tickets will now cost $8 for matinee screenings, and for students and other discounted groups like children and seniors, and $10 for screenings after 6 p.m.

The Drafthouse will also no longer offer $2 discount films on Mondays and Tuesdays. Instead, Mondays will be a “discount day,” with $8 evening showings, while Tuesdays will be the full $10 price.

“While this is a low price considering the average ticket prices in our area ($12 – $16), it is still a significant increase for our customers,” Godbout wrote. “By agreeing to the studio’s terms on pricing we will get access to films earlier than normal. We are doing this because the ‘Second Run; market has vanished — and we are struggling to compete with streaming at home released, before we get access to films.”

But the cinema will also receive several upgrades. The outside marquee will be revamped at some point in the future, while “The Green Room” — adjacent to the cinema entrance — has been closed to make way for a soon-to-be-announced new tenant. A new food menu will also be introduced, as well as some new furniture over time.

In the email, Godbout also criticized the Kennedy Center for establishing itself as a “commercial entertainment entity and local competitor” that now has stand-up comics. He said the center’s “unfair advantage” of being underwritten by federal taxes will cost the Drafthouse at least $150,000 in revenue this year.

More from Godbout on competition with the Kennedy Center, after the jump.

(more…)

by ARLnow.com April 24, 2017 at 6:40 pm 0

(Updated at 9:30 p.m.) A large swath of South Arlington is experiencing low or no water pressure due to “several” water main breaks.

One major break happened on S. Dinwiddie Street, near the Arlington Mill Community Center, Monday evening.

As of 7 p.m., water was gushing from a buckle in the road, sending a torrent of water through an apartment parking lot and down to S. Arlington Mill Road below, where it was pooling, just above Four Mile Run. Tow crews, meanwhile, were moving cars from the side of Dinwiddie Street to give water crews room to work.

Police have closed a portion of Dinwiddie Street between Columbia Pike and 8th Road S. The community center closed just after 7:20 p.m. due to the water main break.

Residents of the Fairlington, Barcroft, Nauck and Columbia Forest neighborhoods have all been reporting widespread water pressure issues.

Officials say there are several water main breaks along the Columbia Pike corridor being attended to by county crews. An Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services sent ARLnow.com the following statement just after 7:30 p.m.

We learned within the past hour of several water main breaks in the Columbia Pike corridor and we’re receiving reports of low water pressure in portions of South Arlington. Crews have been dispatched and are working to fix the issue. Due to high call volume, our 24-hour emergency line, 703-228-6555, is down. At this time, I don’t have an estimated completion time or the number of impacted residents.

As of 8:30 p.m., water pressure had returned to near-normal in at least some areas.

by Katie Pyzyk April 18, 2017 at 4:30 pm 0

Police are ready to hand out more tickets as a way to boost awareness of pedestrian and bicyclist safety.

On Friday, police will set up at the corner of Fairfax Drive and N. Kenmore Street from 3-5 p.m. to enforce traffic laws. They’ll ticket any driver, cyclist or pedestrian who commits a violation. On May 2, they’ll do the same at the corner of Columbia Pike and S. Oakland Street from noon to 2 p.m.

ACPD will conduct the enforcement events as part of a larger D.C.-area safety campaign to reduce injuries and deaths by changing pedestrian, cyclist and driver behaviors. That campaign started yesterday and runs through mid-May.

Police note that cyclists and pedestrians make up nearly a quarter of the region’s traffic fatalities each year. They encourage everyone to safely share the roads and pay attention to one another.

by Katie Pyzyk April 17, 2017 at 9:30 am 0

Candidates Largely Favor Land Swap — During a debate, Democratic County Board candidates generally indicated they want the county to move forward with a land swap agreement with Virginia Hospital Center. VHC has offered the county various pieces of land in exchange for a 5-acre parcel of county-owned land on N. Edison Street, just north of the VHC property. [InsideNova]

Impact of Pike Streetcar Cancellation — There’s speculation that the county’s 2014 cancellation of the Columbia Pike streetcar plan may have contributed to stalling revitalization efforts in the Bailey’s Crossroads area of Fairfax County. [Washington Post]

New Assistant County Manager — Arlington County has named Samia Byrd as a new assistant county manager. Byrd has more than 20 years of planning experience and will serve as a senior adviser to County Manager Mark Schwartz. [Arlington County]

Historic District Proposal — Next month the County Board will consider a proposal to designate “The Hermitage,” a home at 4025 N. Randolph Street, as a local historic district. [InsideNova]

by Katie Pyzyk April 14, 2017 at 2:30 pm 0

Food trucks are a common weekday sight on Arlington’s Orange Line corridor, but they’re heading south for the weekend.

The West Columbia Pike Food Truck Party takes place tomorrow (April 15) at the intersection of Columbia Pike and Four Mile Run Drive. Vendors will serve food from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Food trucks taking part in the event include Peruvian Brothers, KaftaMania, Fava Pot, Pacific Twist and Little Miss Whoopie.

The Columbia Forest Civic Association is hosting the food truck event, which is the first of four planned for this year.

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