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Arlington Restaurant Week returns this month with almost five dozen eateries for local foodies to explore.

This marks the Arlington Chamber of Commerce’s fifth consecutive year organizing the week-long event, starting Monday, Oct. 16. It is also the third year in a row Amazon has sponsored the event.

Currently, 49 restaurants plan to participate but “new restaurants are being added daily,” per a press release from the chamber. They include Ambar, Barley Mac, SeoulSpice and Urban Tandoor, among others.

The event is open to all Arlington restaurants, “from fast-casual spots to five-star dining establishments,” the release says, adding that participating restaurants can also pick their prices and offer both dine-in and carry-out options.

Participating restaurants are primarily located along the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor and in Pentagon City and Crystal City, with a few others on Langston Blvd, in Shirlington and near Falls Church.

“Arlington Restaurant Week continues to be a testament to our commitment to supporting local restaurants, especially as they navigate ongoing challenges like staffing shortages, rising food costs, and supply chain disruption,” Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Kate Bates said in the release. These establishments are essential to Arlington’s economic vitality and contribute to our community’s character.”

The list of participating restaurants as of this article’s writing is below.

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‘Coming Soon’ signs in the windows of Roggenart Bistro and Café, set to take over the space previously occupied by Republik Coffee Bar (staff photo by James Jarvis)

Maryland-based bakery and coffee retailer Roggenart Bistro & Café is set to make its Arlington debut in Ballston.

It is moving into the previous home of Republik Coffee Bar, at 4401 Wilson Blvd, next to restaurants Big Buns Damn Good Burgers and Nando’s PERi-PERi. Republik and its Tysons counterpart permanently closed earlier this year.

Details about Roggenart’s opening remain sparse but the company, which operates four locations in Maryland, filed a permit with Arlington County on Thursday to start work on the space

The café’s owners did not respond to ARLnow’s request for additional information. Roggenart has existing locations in Columbia, Ellicott City, Savage, and Towson, Md.

The menu for the European-style café and bistro includes a range of breakfast and lunch items, including eggs benedict to a cast-iron grilled reuben. The establishment also offers baked goods such as croissants and danishes and espresso-based drinks.

Roggenart joins a growing list of coffee options in the Ballston area, including newcomers like the outdoor stand Ballstonian and, just across Wilson Blvd from the future café, Slipstream.

Hat tip to Jeff Keith

Clarendon Day (file photo)

Several events are scheduled to take place across Arlington on Saturday, bringing both festivities and road closures.

The events celebrate everything from the neighborhood of Clarendon to Bavarian and Irish culture.

Clarendon Day

Kicking off at 11 a.m., Clarendon Day will offer live music, food, craft beer, Virginia wines, art and inflatable obstacle courses. The event, which is one of Arlington’s largest street festivals, ends at 6 p.m.

Metro riders can take the Orange Line to the Clarendon station, the entrance to which is in the middle of the multiblock festival area.

Stretches of Wilson Blvd and Clarendon Blvd will be closed from 3 a.m. to 10 p.m. to accommodate the event, according to Arlington County police.

The complete list of street closures for the event is below.

  • Wilson Blvd, from Washington Blvd to N. Highland Street
  • Clarendon Blvd, from Washington Blvd to N. Garfield Street
  • N. Highland Street, from 11th Street N. to Wilson Blvd
  • N. Herndon Street, from Wilson Blvd to the alleyway behind CVS
  • N. Hudson Street, from Wilson Blvd to the alleyway behind CVS

Samuel Beckett’s Celtic Festival

Samuel Beckett’s Irish Pub in Shirlington is hosting its annual Celtic Festival this Saturday from 12-7 p.m.

The event will highlight traditional Irish music and dance and feature a pop-up market, food and beverages.

Campbell Avenue, from S. Randolph Street to the parking garage entrance in front of Harris Teeter, will be closed from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

National Landing Oktoberfest

Additionally, the National Landing Business Improvement District is holding an Oktoberfest event from 1-5 p.m. this Saturday at the corner of 22nd Street S. and S. Fern Street, behind what is dubbed “Restaurant Row” in Crystal City.

The beer-centric, Bavarian-ish event includes live music from the Alte Kumpel Band and The Pilgrims of Deep Run. Food and drinks, including offerings from Crystal City Sports Pub, will be available for purchase.

Activities include a stein-holding competition, a best-dressed contest, lawn games and crafting stations for kids featuring hat-making and clove decor. Attendees can register online ahead of time.

Police will close 22nd Street S. between S. Eads Street and S. Fern Street from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.


A new delivery-only restaurant specializing in “loaded fries” has opened in a parking lot near Clarendon.

For Your Fries Only is serving up fries slathered in sauce and topped with a protein of choice from a trailer in the vacant Courthouse West parking lot across from Whole Foods.

It joins a handful of other food trailers selling everything from fried chicken sandwiches to Asian street food to asada fries via third-party delivery apps.

The owner told ARLnow the business had officially launched last week. It operates from one of the three trailers owned by REEF Technology, a company specializing in transforming underutilized urban parking lots into hubs for food and logistics. The food service arm of Reef is called NBRHD Kitchens.

Like other “ghost kitchens,” For Your Fries Only operates exclusively through third-party delivery platforms such as Uber Eats and DoorDash.

The concept has attracted a lot of media buzz and investors in recent years, especially during the pandemic when many people were getting food delivered more frequently. Based on its popularity, the Arlington County Board amended its zoning ordinance in June to streamline delivery for small businesses.

For Your Fries Only initially started with two locations in Ohio and has since expanded to Baltimore, Maryland and Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, according to its website.

The eatery offers toppings ranging from chicken and steak to shrimp and pepperoni, as well as various sauces. The menu also features chicken wings, available in sets of 10, 20, or 30, and customers can have them tossed in a choice of two sauces.

Photos via For Your Fries Only/Instagram


The Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) says it avoided a canned goods shortfall with a timely donation from Bloomberg Industry Group.

Over Labor Day weekend, the local food bank said it received more than 3,600 canned goods from the Arlington-based affiliate of Bloomberg, which provides legal, tax and business reporting and services.

In a press release, AFAC says it was facing a week-long shortage of canned food donations, which “threatened to disrupt the lifeline they provide to thousands of Arlington families.”

The donation comes as the food pantry, which serves around 3,300 Arlington families a week, is seeing an uptick in clients. It attributes the uptick to inflation and rollbacks in Covid-era federal food assistance and child tax credits.

“As demands for food assistance exponentially increase due to economic setbacks like inflation and cuts in government assistance, AFAC’s mission to provide essential resources to vulnerable families has never been more crucial,” the nonprofit said in a press release.

That need is particularly acute in South Arlington, according to a recent study, which found the area has one of the highest concentrations of families in the nation who cannot afford basic necessities and childcare.

Overall, Bloomberg Industry Group — which has hosted food drives and helped bag food for AFAC before — collected 14,290 pounds of food for distribution.

“It was our privilege to lend a helping hand to AFAC in their time of need,” says Josh Eastright, CEO of the company, which has offices in Crystal City. “We’re proud to support the great work they do serving our local community, and I want to thank our team for their generosity supporting this effort.”

Last Saturday, employees of another company with a significant local presence volunteered with a food distribution event.

Amazon employees teamed up with nonprofit Food for Neighbors, which combats child hunger in the region, to collect nearly 20,000 pounds of food and toiletries, according to a press release.

After the collection, dubbed a “Red Bag” event, the items were distributed to more than 5,800 students across 42 secondary schools across Northern Virginia, including Arlington Community High School, Gunston Middle School, Kenmore Middle School and Wakefield High School.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Amazon as a Food For Neighbors Community Champion and sponsor of our first Red Bag food and toiletry collection event of the new school year,” Karen Joseph, founder and executive director of Food For Neighbors, said in the release.

The event was part of Amazon’s Global Month of Volunteering, “when tens of thousands of Amazon employees around the world will go out in their communities and do good together,” Melissa Robinson, principal program manager of Volunteering at Amazon, said in a statement.

Amazon previously helped feed Arlington Public Schools families last fall via a $155,000 donation to Food For Neighbors from Amazon Fresh, Joseph noted.

Photo (1) via AFAC/Facebook


(Updated at 3:10 p.m. on 9/15/23) The long-anticipated Astro Beer Hall will open next week in Shirlington, serving decadent donuts by day and “astronomic” sandwiches and apps late into the night.

Ahead of the Tuesday opening, owners Elliot Spaisman and Peter Bayne are running around, making finishing touches on the 14,000-square-foot, galactic-themed space, while the team trains and awaits deliveries.

“We’ve got a lot going on over here,” Spaisman tells ARLnow.

The Village at Shirlington location is the second for the hall, which debuted in D.C. in 2019. The owners are bringing over some famed foods — including fried chicken sandwiches made with savory doughnuts — and debuting new bites. There will also be arcade games and, eventually, billiards.

The beer hall, with a sprawling 140-seat patio and adjacent coffee shop, took over the old Capitol City Brewing Co. space at 4001 Campbell Avenue, which closed five years ago. The Tuesday opening caps off two years of work in the midst of Covid and supply chain and permitting issues, the co-owners say.

The owners say they’re more than ready to open their doors.

“There’s a million pounds off my shoulders. It’s been such a whirlwind and a beast to get this thing open,” Bayne said. “It was so frustrating along the way, so to get to this moment where we can have a beautiful spot we can open up, feels so good.”

He and Spaisman opened the first Astro Beer Hall location all of four months before Covid lockdowns. While the location is faring well now, Bayne said the downtown D.C. scene is still stifled post-pandemic and he is excited to come to Arlington, which he says is “where it’s at.”

“This is nice because it’s a dense residential area in Shirlington with commercial and offices, a nightlife strip, and a ton of great options around us,” Bayne said. “It’s a hub people want to go to on a Friday or Saturday. It’s a little bit of something for everyone.”

That seems to be the plan with Astro Beer Hall, too.

There will be a coffee shop open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., serving baked goods, compliments of a doughnut-frying robot, and Compass Coffee beverages.

Over in the beer hall, patrons can watch sports from what Spaisman says is “a massive amount of TVs.” They can play classic arcade games such as skee ball and Ms. Pacman and, in the coming months, billiards in the basement.

Once it is beer o’clock — as early as 11 a.m. on the weekends but 4 p.m. on Mondays — the hall will start serving snacks, sandwiches and salads for lunch, happy hour and dinner.

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Arlingtonians wait in line for holiday meals at the Arlington Food Assistance Center (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

(Updated at 12:45 p.m.) Within Northern Virginia, South Arlington has one of the highest concentrations of families who cannot afford basic needs and childcare.

In this half of the county, 52% of families cannot afford food, housing, medical expenses and childcare, compared to just 15% of families North Arlington, per a new report.

South Arlingtonians are not alone.

About a third of families across Northern Virginia are not earning enough money to subsist, dubbed “income inadequacy” in the report, prepared by Insight Region, the research arm of the nonprofit Community Foundation of Northern Virginia.

The report states that inflation pushed many more families into income inadequacy in the first half of 2023. However, several needs-based nonprofits in Arlington say inflation is not the only contributing factor, pointing also to the rollback of Covid-era benefits.

They tell ARLnow it is time for a systemic overhaul to mitigate increasing income inequality.

“Those basic needs numbers are really concerning to us,” says Brian Marroquín, a program officer at the nonprofit Arlington Community Foundation. “What happens when people lose those benefits is really important… It’s a Catch-22 for many people in our community to try and get ahead while kind of facing the system as it’s set up currently.”

‘Income inadequacy’ in Northern Virginia (via Insight Region)

Why families are struggling today

Before the outbreak of Covid, Charles Meng, the CEO of Arlington Food Assistance Center, said his organization typically served about 1,800 to 1,900 families a week. At the height of the pandemic, that number rose to about 2,500 families a week in 2020.

For a short while, the demand for food assistance decreased as case numbers dropped and individuals returned to work. But that changed in February 2022.

“If you’ll remember, inflation started hitting, fuel prices went up first, and then food prices started going up. And since that time, we have seen a steady increase in the number of families coming to us,” Meng told ARLnow. “We’re now serving 3,238 families [a week]… That’s basically a 30% increase from the prior year.”

“I’ve never seen a 30% increase in a year before,” he added.

Meng also attributes the sudden jump partly to inflation, which reduced the purchasing power of already struggling families. He noted the clawing back of other government benefits, such as SNAP, played a role as well.

“These families have effectively gotten a 14% to 15% reduction in their income… They’re paying more for food for a whole bunch of other things,” Meng said.

Data from ACF highlights that over 10,000 households — about 24,000 people — in Arlington make under 30% of the area median income. That translates to about $45,600 for a family of four. AFAC serves many households in that group.

“There’s a lot of families in Arlington County who are hurting,” Meng said.

In addition to SNAP, Marroquín, said the elimination of the Advanced Child Tax Credit, which cut child poverty nearly in half during 2021, also dealt a big blow to Arlington families.

“What that did was it put money in parents’ pockets. At the time, it was particularly important for childcare. Childcare was hard to find and got more expensive as well during the pandemic in 2021,” Marroquín said.

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(Updated at 08/29/23) Get ready for a symphony of local sounds and savory pies.

ACME Pie Company in Penrose is set to host its third annual music event, featuring musicians from across Northern Virginia, this Saturday from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. at 2803 Columbia Pike.

Admission is free, but Sol Schott — a former fine-dining pastry chef turned pie shop owner — says he’s asking for a $10 donation. This will be divided between the bands at the show’s end.

“It’s been a difficult time for musicians,” Schott told ARLnow, adding that several musicians performing at the event rely on music as their primary source of income.

“There’s a lot of different ways people can make money with music, and it just seems like over the last four years or so, since the pandemic, a lot of those options have kind of gone away,” he said. “I also want to do something nice for South Arlington.”

Of course, attendees will also be able to enjoy Schott’s assortment of pies, including quiche and pot pies, as well as seasonal fruit pies such as blackberry, peach and blueberry.

Schott said the show — held in the parking lot behind the pie shop — starts out “more blues and jazz,” then as the evening progresses, “it will become more rock and roll.”

The pie maker will also make an appearance on stage as the drummer for the act MF Grumbler.

Here is the lineup:

  • 2 p.m. — Rick Franklin and guests
  • 3 p.m. — Swingamajig
  • 4 p.m. — Coronal Josh & Paisley Tonk
  • 5 p.m. — Ex Motorcycle Couriers
  • 6 p.m. — Karl Straub Quartet
  • 7 p.m. — Delicate Whip
  • 8 p.m. — MF Grumbler
  • 9 p.m. — Jackie & the Tree Horns
The event poster for this Saturday’s music event at Acme Pie Company on Columbia Pike (via Acme Pie Co./Instagram)

Julia Franchi Scarselli announced her return home from high school one day calling out to her mom, or mamma, in a thick Italian accent.

She had just transferred from a class of 50 kids in a small British private school in Milan to the much larger Washington-Lee High School, now Washington-Liberty.

“I remember driving up to the school thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, this is an airport? Like, where did I land? I don’t know anybody,” Scarselli tells ARLnow.

Scarselli grew up in Milan with her father and Sara Gay Forden, who had spent two decades covering the fashion industry and luxury goods. This became fodder for her 2001 book “House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed” and the basis for the eponymous 2021 movie starring Jared Leto, Adam Driver and Lady Gaga.

Forden moved to Arlington to cover antitrust for Bloomberg in D.C., bringing Scarselli with her. The two clung to stateside vestiges of Italy when they were homesick, frequenting the Italian Store for wine and cheese and an Italian church in D.C. just to hear the language.

Scarselli struggled with her Italian and American halves, says Forden, but was quick to pick up cultural differences. Forden recalls that when her daughter burst home, saying mamma, she made the following observation:

“Americans, when they get an idea in their head, they just go for it in a straight line, bound and determined. Nothing will dissuade them until they reach their goal. Italians really know how to live.”

“Julia,” Forden replied, “if you figure out how to bring those two things into balance, you will figure out how to live.”

This balancing act has animated Scarselli’s career path and life since. It lead her to start an organic extra virgin olive oil company, Libellula, which bridges her American and Italian roots and maintains her Arlington ties.

Libellula olive oil bottle (courtesy photo)

Going to the roots

Libellula sells organic extra virgin olive oil produced by six Italian family farms, which use sustainable methods to preserve ancient olive groves threatened by climate change.

Customers can purchase gifts and subscriptions, adopt groves and take retreats where they can participate in the harvest, taste fresh-pressed olive oils and learn how to pair them.

Scarselli has been working on Libellula since she was a student at Smith College, though the brand officially launched a year and a half ago. Its U.S. warehouse, in Maine, has been a boon for the local economy, leading the Maine International Trade Center to recently name the company the Foreign Direct Investor of the Year.

Today, Scarselli oversees bringing oil to fine-food retail partners around the U.S. when not at her day job with the World Economic Forum in Geneva. Her father, who lives in a medieval town outside Rome, works with the farmers. She travels between Italy and the U.S. for work, taking time to visit her mom in Arlington.

“It’s like bringing together the best of both worlds: the Italian love for food and community and appreciation for culture and nature.. and the American desire to to seek those out,” she said. “I think there is no one like an American that can like pragmatically get stuff done, right?”

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Scenes from the Arlington County Fair in 2022 (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

The Arlington County Fair will open to the public on Wednesday, Aug. 16, continuing a four-decade tradition.

The fair — which features games, rides, food, musical performances and fun for all ages — runs through Sunday, Aug. 20 at Thomas Jefferson Community Center.

The fair is held both outdoors, where the rides and food vendors are, and indoors, where local businesses set up shop and prizes — for everything from cheesecakes to needlework to potted plants — are awarded.

The hours for the outdoor fair activities are as follows.

  • Wednesday, Aug. 16: 5-10:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, Aug. 17: 5-10:30 p.m.
  • Friday, Aug. 18: 2-10:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Aug. 19: 10 a.m.-1 p.m. (sensory friendly hours); 10 a.m.-10:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, Aug. 20: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. (sensory friendly hours); 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

During sensory friendly hours, the fair aims to limit loud music and other noises.

Visitors can expect the traditional roundup of entertainment and competitions, as well as a variety of food and drink options. Admission is free, according to the fair’s website. Ride tickets can be purchased for $1.25 online or on site, with each ride typically costing 3-6 tickets, according to the website.

Cole Shows Amusement Company is set to provide the rides and games again this year for adrenaline junkies.

An Entertainment Tent is set to open on Saturday and Sunday to feature performances from local musicians. The fair will also host free programming for families at the Kids Court, including an obstacle course and performances by Drew Blue Shoes, a regional magician, according to an online schedule.

Scenes from the Arlington County Fair in 2022 (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Fairgoers can indulge in a variety of classic fair foods like fried Oreos, funnel cakes and corn dogs from a variety of vendors and food trucks. If pie is your dessert of choice, enter the annual pie eating contest for $10.

A daily beer garden will serve the very last brews from New District Brewing Co., which closed its doors in May.

Beyond food and drinks, visitors can shop and support local businesses, which will have the opportunity to set up booths and sell their goods at the indoor market from Friday to Sunday. The Night Market, an outdoor shopping expo that began in 2022, will return on Aug. 17, from 5-10:30 p.m.

Community members are invited to showcase crafts, baked goods, foods, fine arts, photography, plants and more for the annual creative exhibits. The theme this year is, “A Fair for All,” according to the fair’s creative exhibit guide. Registrations will be accepted until Aug. 14.

The county fair is aiming to be waste-free this year. Efforts include expanding recycling and compost efforts, banning styrofoam, single-use plastic straws and ketchup packets, and encouraging car-free transportation to and from the event, according to their webpage.


Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups, founders, and other local technology news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring Three Ballston Plaza

After raising tens of millions of dollars, Ballston-based catering startup HUNGRY says it is on the verge of being profitable.

Last week, the company — which partners with chefs who prepare meals for offices and events — announced that it raised $10 million in possibly its last fundraising round. HUNGRY has raised $60 million to date and is now valued at $270 million.

A number of professional athletes, including players from the Portland Trail Blazers, the Seattle Seahawks, the Baltimore Ravens and the Houston Texans, contributed to HUNGRY’s $10 million Series C1 funding round.

The company has also received funding in previous years from rapper Jay-Z and comedian Kevin Hart.

In a statement, co-founder and CEO Jeff Grass he is proud that HUNGRY has attracted the attention of big-time investors and leading investment funds.

“It’s a recognition of the unique strengths of our business model and how far we’ve progressed since inception in late 2016/early 2017,” he told ARLnow. “It represents a step-up in valuation during a time where average valuations have fallen a great deal. It also represents investor confidence in our team and a recognition that, with Return-to-Office driving accelerated growth in office catering, we’re a fast growth company in a fast-growing industry.”

Indeed, Inc. 5000 has recognized HUNGRY as one of the nation’s fastest-growing companies.

Since the recognition last summer, the company has been setting new sales records monthly, Grass said. The company also acquired NatureBox and now delivers health-conscious snacks to offices in a bid to lure workers back to the office after Covid and the embrace of remote work.

HUNGRY founders Eman Pahlavani, Shy Pahlevani and Jeff Grass (photo courtesy HUNGRY)

The startup has expanded to 13 U.S. cities, according to its website. The chefs and meals available vary based on the location of where the order is placed.

Through this expansion, Grass emphasized the importance of HUNGRY’s Arlington roots.

“Most of our senior leadership team works out of our Arlington office,” he said. “We’re proud of where we come from, as Arlington provides us access to some of the best talent in the country.”


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