Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

Local Coronavirus Test Results Delayed — “When we talked to an Arlington man Tuesday, it was approaching 11 days since he’d been tested for COVID-19, and he still hadn’t received his results. ‘It’s just so frustrating,’ Daniel Miller told us via FaceTime. ‘I just want my results back. I want to be able to know what I have. I want to know if this is COVID or not.'” [WJLA]

APS to Rethink Budget Proposal — “Arlington School Board members have given Superintendent Cintia Johnson direction to start battening the hatches as the school system – like the county, state and nation – move into rough economic waters. ‘We’re going to have to look at potential tough budget times’ and ‘figure out a way to move forward,’ School Board Vice Chairman Monique O’Grady said.” [InsideNova]

Window Smashed at Rhodeside Grill — Someone smashed one of the large front windows at Rhodeside Grill in Rosslyn, which is currently shut down due to the coronavirus outbreak. [Twitter]

Local Restaurant Owner Still Optimistic — The outbreak has been devastating for the restaurant business, but some local owners are making the most of it. Amir Mostafavi, founder of the South Block juice chain, is giving away free fruit to kids in need during the crisis. “We’re going to come out of this as stronger people, as stronger businesses,” Mostafavi told NBC 4. [LinkedIn]

Bayou Bakery Closing Its Takeout Service — “Having persevered for three weeks through the limitations of the current public health situation, Arlington’s Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery is temporarily closing its doors to ‘Call-In, Carry Out’ service on April 1, 2020. Chef/owner David Guas will continue his mission to provide the community and underserved kids and families with free, grab-and-go meals.” [Press Release]

Shuttle Bus Company Helps Collect Food — “FLARE, an amenity electric shuttle service, along with the Aurora Highlands Civic Association, collected and delivered over 800 lbs. of food donations from the Crystal City area for the Arlington Food Assistance Center on Saturday, March 21, and announced that food collection efforts will continue in the Crystal City area starting today.” [Press Release]

Photo courtesy Allison Bredbenner

0 Comments

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. Monday Properties is proudly featuring a rare leasing opportunity at 1101 Wilson Blvd: 5 contiguous floors with exceptional views, building signage opportunity and brand new amenities. Enjoy all the perks of easy access and ample parking; a variety of food trucks at your front door; and enviable walkable amenities. Join YEXT and other leading tech companies at this vibrant location.14

The international coronavirus pandemic has put a brick on the gas pedal for one Ballston startup called GoTab, which was facilitating social distancing before it went mainstream.

GoTab locates nearby eateries and pulls up the menu, allowing customers to place their own orders directly into the business’s system and schedule a pickup. It’s more efficient than phone orders and is less costly to restaurants than delivery services like GrubHub.

“We do think the world is going to more online, it just went more online a lot faster,” said Tim McLaughlin, CEO of GoTab.

McLaughlin said the original design for GoTab was use in-restaurant for things like placing orders on your phone rather than waiting in line. It’s an idea that McLaughlin said is increasingly popular, pointing to Starbucks’ mobile order program. GoTab also benefits from having no need to create a profile or download an app.

Placing orders for takeout and delivery (by the restaurant’s own drivers) was just a side feature of GoTab, but COVID-19 changed that. McLaughlin said while the eventual goal is to get back to in-restaurant use, takeout and delivery orders have taken the spotlight.

“It had always been a feature but not something we sold by itself,” McLaughlin said. “Takeout was not usually the majority of the revenue, it was always something that was bundled along with on-premises. Now that’s changed. Because it’s cost-effective, we just kind of said ‘let’s help restaurants get online quickly and easily.'”

As also reported by Washingtonian, the company is offering its tool for free to restaurants, taprooms, breweries and others that have been affected by COVID-19 related shutdowns.

Seeing heavier use than normal, the website had some technical bumps last week, but McLaughlin said they’ve been worked out. The main struggle has been adapting the tool even further to the extremes of social distancing.

“There’s things that are different now that we’ve had to implement quickly,” McLaughlin said. “People used to come in and talk to the host, but now people are standing outside the restaurant. People might bring [food] out and never exchange cards. It’s clean and low-to-no contact, but in order for that to work, need a way to communicate without face to face.”

McLaughlin said the company took the texting tools utilized already for the hotel side of GoTab and repurposed those for restaurant use.

Even once the pandemic is over, McLaughlin said he thinks there will be an permanent impact on the restaurant industry, and more mobile ordering is going to be a part of that.

“We’re not going back,” McLaughlin said. “There’s a population shift towards using your phone to do that for a whole host of reasons, one of them is that you know your order is right because you put it in. People also don’t want to stand in line… I think this is just going to push it a lot further in that direction. People are going to be fearful for a while about germs and it’s just convenient.”

Photo via GoTab/Facebook

0 Comments

Morning Notes

APS Expands Grab and Go Meal Locations — “Beginning Wed, March 25, APS will expand the number of sites that provide free grab-and-go breakfasts and lunches to five locations to better reach families. Meals will be set up outside the building for distribution from 11 a.m.to 1 p.m. Monday-Friday.” The new locations are Barrett, Campbell and Randolph elementary schools. [Arlington Public Schools]

Massage Therapist Charged with Assault — “At approximately 6:31 p.m. on March 9, police were dispatched to the late report of an assault. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 3:00 p.m. on March 7, the victim was receiving a massage when she was allegedly inappropriately touched by the suspect. Following an investigation by the Special Victims’ Unit, a warrant for Assault and Battery.” [Arlington County]

Rosslyn Launches Restaurant Support Program — “The Rosslyn BID is… launching #RosslynRewards, a program to support Rosslyn restaurants that are still operating during these uncertain times. When you order takeout or delivery from participating Rosslyn restaurants and share on social media with the hashtag #RosslynRewards, the BID will give you a $10 reward for every $20 you spend.” [Press Release]

ART Bus Rides Now Free — “Starting Tuesday, March 24, Arlington Transit bus riders will enter and exit all ART buses using the rear doors only. Customers who require the use of a wheelchair ramp can still enter the bus through the front door. ART will also be suspending fare collection on all ART buses since the farebox is located at the front door.” The ART changes mirror those implemented by Metro today. [Arlington Transit]

Signature Cancels Performances — “In response to guidance from the CDC and state and local authorities, Signature Theatre has made the decision to close its doors to the public through the beginning of June.” [Press Release]

0 Comments

Arlington residents in and around Crystal City will be able to make food donations at three drop-off points Saturday morning.

FLARE, a new electric shuttle service, will be picking up donations for the Arlington Food Assistance Center.

“During this challenging time, we are eager to use FLARE electric shuttles to benefit our neighbors and the Arlington Food Assistance Center. We urge our friends and neighbors to make much-needed food donations to AFAC tomorrow morning, and we’ll deliver the contributions to AFAC,” said FLARE CEO Andres Delgado, in a statement.

AFAC is bracing for a dramatic increase in food need in Arlington, amid the coronavirus crisis and a drop in donations.

Drop-off donations will be accepted this Saturday (March 21) from 8-11 a.m. at 516 25th Street S., 2729 Fort Scott Drive, and 2100 Crystal Drive.

“Food items that are in greatest need are: rice, pasta, low-sugar cereal, canned tomatoes, canned soup, canned tuna fish, and canned beans (no glass),” FLARE noted.

AFAC announced Friday that it is also setting up food collection boxes outside of six (closed) Arlington community centers.

0 Comments

(Updated at 5 p.m.) While Arlington teachers put together grocery gift cards for low-income families and nonprofits band together to address the economic impacts of the coronavirus, several local restaurateurs and the nonprofit Real Food for Kids are working to provide meals to families hit by the pandemic.

Chef David Guas, the owner of Bayou Bakery (1515 N. Courthouse Road) in Courthouse, has partnered with Real Food for Kids — a nonprofit that aims to promote healthy diets for children — to provide free, plant-based meals for Arlington children and their families.

Starting Tuesday, Guas committed to serving free lunches from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. during weekdays while Arlington Public Schools are closed, Real Food for Kids said in an email. This week the featured meal is New Orleans-style red beans and rice. Non-profit Fruitful Planet, associated with regional juice chain South Block, is also offering fresh fruit to accompany the meals.

“This is a complement to Arlington Public Schools’ efforts to serve at-risk families who are used to relying on the school lunch program,” a spokesperson for the organization said. “Many of these parents’ jobs are at risk due to the coronavirus, making a bad situation worse.”

Donations to help sustain the program can be made online. Other local organizations like the Arlington Food Assistance Center are also seeking assistance to provide food for those in need.

Separately, Joe’s Place Pizza & Pasta (5555 Lee Highway) is also offering free cheese pizzas and fresh salads to those most affected by the school closings and job cutbacks, starting tonight from 5-7 p.m. According to a press release, staff will deliver the food to the hood of cars to limit personal contact and maintain social distancing.

Medium Rare, meanwhile, has been delivering free meals to vulnerable seniors in the D.C. area since last week. The steak frites restaurant has a location in Virginia Square.

Even while hurting financially themselves, other restaurants throughout the region have been putting together specials and free meals to help families that frequently rely on school lunches have access to food during the pandemic.

Photo courtesy Real Food for Kids

0 Comments

Morning Notes

Mass Cancelled at Catholic Churches — “On Monday, March 16, 2020, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, Diocese of Arlington… announced that the public celebration of all Masses in the Diocese is suspended until further notice.” [Press Release]

Food Donations Needed — “We have already seen a sharp decrease in food donations from our local grocery stores. AFAC has begun to purchase more food to offset the drop of food available on our shelves. Please think about making a donation to AFAC to help us keep our warehouse full for our families in need.” [Arlington Food Assistance Center]

Regional Park Facilities Closed — “While park and facilities are open for individual use, programs organized by NOVA Parks are canceled. All NOVA Parks facilities and buildings will be closed beginning at the close of business on March 16 and remaining closed for at least two weeks. Many parks will remain open for passive use – trails, general visitation, etc.” [NOVA Parks]

Community Centers Closed — The following Arlington rec centers are closed: Aurora Hills Community Center, Barcroft Sports & Fitness Center, Carver Community Center, Charles Drew Community Center, Gulf Branch Nature Center, Gunston Community Center, Hendry House, Lee Community Center, Long Branch Nature Center and Madison Community Center. The Fairlington, Walter Reed, Arlington Mill, Thomas Jefferson and Langston-Brown community centers remain open with modified hours. [Arlington County]

Pentagon City Mall: Before and After — Photos of the Pentagon City mall food court before and after the coronavirus outbreak shows a stark difference: bustling before vs. nearly deserted after. [Twitter]

White House: Avoid Gatherings of 10+ — “The White House’s coronavirus task force announced tougher guidelines on Monday to help slow the spread of the disease, including limiting social gatherings of more than 10 people.” [Axios]

It’s St. Patrick’s Day — Enjoy a Guinness at home because most places to celebrate are closed, or at least should be. [Old Farmer’s Almanac]

0 Comments

Update at 3/23/20 — The number of meal distribution locations has been expanded to five.

Earlier: Arlington Public Schools will be offering free breakfasts and lunches to those who need them during the month-long school closure.

APS announced Friday evening that meals will be provided for pickup from Kenmore Middle School and Drew Elementary, starting Monday, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. The meals will be available to any child ages 2-18, but children must be present to receive the meals.

The program will help fill a need in the community, particularly among those eligible for free or reduced price lunches at school, as families hunker down during the worsening coronavirus outbreak. For some families, the outbreak will mean a loss of hourly wages for an extended period of time.

More from APS:

Beginning Mon, March 16, APS will provide free grab-and-go breakfasts and lunches at two school sites – Kenmore Middle School (200 S. Carlin Springs Road) and Dr. Charles R. Drew Elementary School (3500 S. 23rd Street). Meals will be set up on a table outside the building for distribution from 11 a.m.to 1 p.m. Monday-Friday.

APS will provide one (1) lunch for that day and one (1) breakfast to take home for the following day. These meals will be free to any child aged 2 to 18. Children must be present to receive the meals; no meals will be given to parents without their child or children present. We will continue to monitor the situation on a daily basis and make adjustments as needed.

Meals will be provided to all children without charge and are the same for all children regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability, and there will be no discrimination in the course of the meal service.

Meals will be provided Monday-Friday beginning 3/16/2020, at the sites and times as follows:

Kenmore Middle School
200 S. Carlin Springs Road
11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Dr. Charles R. Drew Elementary School
3500 S. 23rd Street
11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Also on Friday, APS announced that it would be offering instructional activities for students during the school closure, via a combination of hard copy materials and electronic means.

The school system provided the following guidance to families:

We have prepared to deliver instruction to our students during this period. Please note the last day of the third-quarter grading period has been altered due to the school closure. All teachers will now complete their grading of third-quarter content by March 20, and it will only include student work submitted by that date. Report cards will still be sent home to families at the end of April as previously scheduled.

  • For Early Childhood and Elementary students (PreK-Grade 5), instructional materials have been prepared and should have been distributed by individual schools either in hard copy or electronically. If you have questions about how to access the instructional materials for your child, please contact your student’s teacher.
  • Secondary students (Grades 6-12) will be able to access assignments using Canvas. Teachers will spend the week of March 16 fulfilling their normal duties and working to transition course content, assignments and activities online.
    We want to acknowledge that we can never replace the work our teachers do with students in our classrooms; no one expects learning to be as effective as what teachers accomplish directly with students. These activities are meant to help our students maintain their existing skills and knowledge, extend their learning, and prepare a foundation for topics and concepts to come in the fourth quarter.

During our school closure, teachers will provide instructional activities that both review previously taught information and introduce new topics and concepts. While teachers have been instructed not to grade assignments or quizzes of newly-introduced topics or concepts, they may offer assessments to inform their teaching. These formative assessments will be used to monitor student progress and evaluate the effectiveness of instructional activities.

Teachers will be able to grade assignments assigned prior to Friday, March 13, for use when calculating third-quarter grades. It is important to note that the last day for students to submit third-quarter assignments is Friday, March 20, unless otherwise arranged with the teacher.

0 Comments

Haven’t made Valentine’s Day reservations yet?

You’re in luck. Here are the top 15 best-reviewed restaurants in Arlington, according to OpenTable, that — as of publication time — still have reservations available between 5:30-8:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 14.

1. Freddie’s Beach Bar and Restaurant (Crystal City)
Time slots available: 6:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m., 7 p.m., 7:15 p.m., 7:30 p.m.

2. Maya Bistro (Lee Highway)
Time slots available: 6:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m., 7 p.m., 7:15 p.m., 7:30 p.m.

3. MeJana (Courthouse)
Time slots available: 5:30 p.m., 5:45 p.m.

4. True Food Kitchen (Ballston)
Time slots available: 5:30 p.m., 5:45 p.m., 8:30 p.m.

5. Heritage Brewpub (Clarendon)
Time slots available: 6:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m., 7 p.m., 7:15 p.m., 7:30 p.m.

6. Lebanese Taverna (Westover)
Time slots available: 6:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m., 7 p.m., 7:15 p.m., 7:30 p.m.

7. Sushi Rock (Courthouse)
Time slots available: 5:45 p.m., 6 p.m.

8. Palette 22 (Shirlington)
Time slots available: 5:45 p.m., 6 p.m., 8:30 p.m.

9. Open Road Grill (Rosslyn)
Time slots available: 6:15 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 8:30 p.m.

10. Istanbul Grill (Bluemont)
Time slots available: 6:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m., 7 p.m., 7:15 p.m., 7:30 p.m.

11. Baba (Clarendon)
Time slots available: 6:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 7:45 p.m.

12. La Bettola Italiano (Crystal City)
Time slots available: 6:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m., 7 p.m., 7:15 p.m., 7:30 p.m.

13. Osteria da Nino (Shirlington)
Time slots available: 8:15 p.m., 8:30 p.m.

14. Liberty Tavern (Clarendon)
Time slots available: 5:30 p.m., 5:45 p.m.

15. Texas Jack’s Barbecue (Lyon Park)
Time slots available: 6:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m., 7 p.m., 7:30 p.m.

Photo by René Ranisch on Unsplash

0 Comments

It might not court the controversy of the new Columbia Heights Taco Bell Cantina, but national taco and tequila chain Bartaco is coming to Ballston Quarter.

The restaurant is one of the last remaining pieces for the recently-renovated mall, which has seen numerous eatery openings over the last year. It will be located adjacent to the Quarter Market food hall, with a new outdoor dining area in the Quarter Market courtyard.

The restaurant offers a variety of tacos — with ingredients from portobello mushrooms to pork carnitas to tuna — on 4-inch corn tortillas or lettuce shells. Most tacos range from $2.50-$3.50 per piece. Bartaco also offers rice bowls, salads, and more.

The Ballston Quarter location plans to serve cocktails, tequila, wine and beer as well.

Workers at the site are still in the early stages of construction and said they do not know when the restaurant will open. The Ballston Quarter website only says the restaurant is coming soon.

Bartaco currently has nearby locations in the Mosaic District and Reston Town Center.

0 Comments

Don’t be fooled by the signs on the building, the notoriously green shack in Clarendon is still long-time local pizzeria Goody’s.

The “Goody’s NY Style Pizzeria” sign has been taken down from the building at 3125 Wilson Blvd. and replaced with a sign that says “Tacos Mexicano,” while the windows advertise tacos and pupusas. Inside, however, there’s still rows of pizza and staff still call it Goody’s.

While Goody’s has sold tacos for nearly a year, according to their Facebook page, a manager at the restaurant said the sign change was reflective of a new emphasis on the Mexican cuisine. In addition to the classic “two slices of pizza and a soda for $5.99” deal, the restaurant also offers quesadillas, tacos, burritos and more.

The majority of the menu, however, remains various types of pizza like Goody’s Deluxe — pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushrooms, green peppers, onions — as well as subs and burgers.

Goody’s changed hands in 2018 after its original owners retired. It reopened with new owners, whose colorful new mural on the diminutive building at 3125 Wilson Blvd didn’t fly with county regulators. It was later re-painted red and two shades of green.

0 Comments

In Rosslyn, the owners of Chasin’ Tails, Tea’n You, and Lei’d Hawaiian Poke are opening a new food hall called Happy Endings Eatery. This time around, however, the double entendre name is generating some controversy.

The trio of Vietnamese-American brothers behind the successful restaurant group — two of whom are successful former poker players — may have just had their naming luck run out in the post-#MeToo era.

The names intended to reflect a light-hearted vibe — “we’re goofy people and we like to have fun,” one brother told ARLnow in 2015 — are now being questioned.

It doesn’t help that “Happy Endings,” which is also the name of the restaurant group itself, makes one suspicious of the big posted signage in Rosslyn announcing that Happy Endings Eatery is “coming soon” and “get ready to be blown away.” (The now hiring signs are more innocuous.)

From a Washington City Paper article published Tuesday:

Safe Bars Director Lauren R. Taylor had a strong reaction to the name of the forthcoming food hall. Her D.C.-based organization works to make bars, restaurants, and clubs safe and welcoming spaces.

“It diminishes massage body workers, it diminishes sex workers, diminishes women in general,” Taylor says. She believes the “jokey” innuendo contributes to “the dehumanization of all of those groups of people I mentioned before, especially women. It’s really not OK. Personally I wouldn’t even feel comfortable going there even though they probably have the greatest food in the world.”

“We do not support the exploitation of people in any way,” a statement from the company to the City Paper said. “Our name is meant to be lighthearted, memorable, and positive in the same way that a children’s fairytale has a happy ending.”

Some seem to be saying that the fairytale explanation, however, is just that — a fairytale meant to explain away an obviously bad name.

One Rosslyn resident who reached out to ARLnow suggested that Happy Endings has taken things too far.

“Its signage says in big letters get ready to be blown away,” the resident said in an email, while asking where he could file a complaint. “It’s all quite inappropriate.”

It won’t get much better inside, once Happy Endings opens: the food hall will focus on Vietnamese food, with food stalls sporting names like Roll Play and Pho Play.

What do you think about the name controversy? Should the food hall’s name be changed?

0 Comments
×

Subscribe to our mailing list