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?
Crystal City is no longer without an Irish pub.
“It’s been great,” said owner Danny McFadden, in his Irish brogue. “Lots of people have been raving about our Irish food, and we’re going to start trivia each Monday starting at 7 p.m.”
McNamara’s menu features traditional “Irish Fare Done Right,” such as potato and leek soup, beef stew, and corned beef and cabbage.
In addition, the restaurant does brunch on the weekends, with a combo of American and Irish classics. A “Traditional Irish Breakfast” comes served with grilled tomato, baked beans, and black and white pudding, while other dishes include a pancake platter and breakfast wrap.
McNamara’s Pub & Restaurant is open seven days a week, from 11-2 a.m. on the weekdays and 10-2 a.m. on the weekends.
Common Ground and Happy Endings will both be a part of the Central Place complex at 1800 N. Lynn Street. Common Ground will be on the second floor of the residential building, while Happy Endings will be on a lower level near Nando’s and Bethesda Bagels. Happy Endings is hoping to open in late November, Eater reported this week.
A short walk away will be the third food hall at 1700 N. Moore Street.
It’s often said three makes a trend, and it’s no secret that greater D.C. has been flooded in recent years with food halls — a term which essentially refers to an upgraded food court primarily featuring local chefs and vendors. Arlington’s first food hall, Ballston Quarter, opened earlier this year and continues to add vendors.
Social Restaurant Group, the company behind Common Ground, is pushing back the food hall’s opening date for the third time to the spring or summer of 2020.
Originally, SRG co-founder Mike Bramson said he hoped it would open by the end of 2018, then told ARLnow they were pushing it to the “end of spring 2019.” Now, we’re told, construction will “officially break ground this fall.”
According to Bramson, Common Ground will feature ten food vendors and have one full-service bar. He confirmed “celebrity chef involvement,” and said that Rebel Taco, a taco food truck routinely at Clarendon’s The Lot beer garden, will be one of the ten vendors.
It will be located on the building’s second floor, “above the McDonald’s overlooking the plaza.”
Happy Endings Eatery
The two-level, 5,000 square-foot food hall with the double-entendre name is expected to open by the end of November, Eater reported.
According to Eater, the entirety of Happy Endings Eatery will focus on Vietnamese food, with food stalls sporting names like Roll Play and Pho Play. Also offered: bubble tea, Vietnamese coffee, banh mi sandwiches, vermicelli bowls and more.
Rosslyn City Center food hall
A PR rep for Rosslyn City Center’s developer said there were no updates on the new food hall, which is still on track to open in the summer of 2020.
While the food hall remains unnamed, it will feature twelve “artisanal food stalls and two lounges that extend onto an outdoor terrace overlooking the streetscape,” per a press release.
Photo courtesy of American Real Estate Partners, Google Maps
Little Beet is currently under construction in the food court level of the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City. A marketing spokeswoman from eatery said the restaurant is hoping to open Monday, October 21 but can’t promise an exact date, citing difficulties with “construction permitting.”
An official mall listing said the eatery would open on October 16, however, the spokeswoman said “October” was the safest best.
The Little Beet will give food court diners new gluten-free and healthy options. The restaurant models after similar chains such as Cava and Sweetgreen with make-your-own bowls. Here, they’re built with grains, two portions of seasonal vegetables such as shaved Brussels sprouts and broccoli rabe, and with a range of proteins from salmon to beet falafel.
“Because our center is located nearby several office buildings, we’re always seeking to add healthy lunch options to satisfy our neighbors coming in to grab a quick bite and shop on their breaks,” said Todd Jerscheid, director of marketing and business development for the mall, which also caters to large tour groups, busloads of visiting students, and people heading to and from the Pentagon City Metro station.
“We’re aggressively expanding in exciting markets and Fashion Centre at Pentagon City presented a perfect way for our brand to build out our presence in the D.C./Maryland/Virginia market,” said Little Beet CEO Becky Mulligan.
She added: “We’ll be launching in Pentagon City with our app which allows guests and neighbors to pick up a healthy breakfast on their way to work, order ahead for a nutritious lunch, bring a nourishing dinner home after a long workday or fuel up for a weekend shopping trip.”
(Updated at 3:50 p.m.) A queso catastrophe has local macaroni and cheese fans feeling blue today.
The full message:
We are writing to inform you that in response to challenges that would have impacted the overall quality of the event, the team for NoVa Mac and Cheese Festival has made the decision to cancel the event planned for October 5th in Ballston, VA. We sincerely hope to return to the area with the event in the future. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused and we are grateful for your interest.
We are issuing full refunds to all ticket holders (Full 100% Refunds will be completed this week). In addition, we are offering free admission to our Richmond, Va Mac and Cheese festival the following weekend (October 12th) for anyone who was a ticket holder to our NoVa event. If you have any further questions or concerns please feel free to contact us at [email protected]
There’s no word on why exactly the plans melted down, but an Arlington County memo obtained by ARLnow.com suggests that only a half dozen mac and cheese vendors had submitted the required paperwork for the event.
“Although our Special Events team members worked diligently to assist them, as of Friday the organizer only had (6) confirmed food vendors that submitted the required paperwork and were approved by Public Health,” wrote Leslie Pelzer, the manager of the county’s Office of Special Events. “The [organizer] has expressed that they would like to re-apply in the Spring 2020.”
Despite the promises of prompt refunds and free admission to the Richmond festival, in the Facebook comments customers were none-too-pleased about the turn of events.
“Don’t they know better than to mess with our beloved mac n cheese,” wrote one. “These are fighting words.”
“This is basically the Fyre Festival,” said another.
Others pointed to the cancellation of another macaroni and cheese festival in Leesburg earlier this year and suggested a nefarious pattern, although the events were apparently organized by different entities.
Mac and cheese festivals seem to be something of a cottage industry. The organizer of the Ballston event has other upcoming mac fests planned in Richmond, Baltimore, Scranton and Pittsburgh. Yet another festival, organized by a different local events company, is planned for Oct. 26 in D.C.
Update on 9/30/19 — The event has been cancelled.
Earlier: Would you pay forty bucks for a beer and and ten samples of macaroni and cheese from “top chefs?”
Apparently hundreds, if not thousands, of people are answering “yes” to that question. The Nova Mac and Cheese Festival is coming to the area around the Ballston Metro station next weekend, and some 1,200 people say they’re going and another 25,000 people say they’re “interested” in the event on Facebook.
Tickets to the festival are not cheap. It’s $20 just to attend, watch others eat, and listen to the live bands — more to buy individual food and drink tickets. $40 will get you 10 food tickets and 1 drink ticket for beer, cider, wine or soda. For $55, you can be a mac and cheese VIP with two drinks and access to a “private VIP area with private bathrooms.”
Organizers argue that the mac and cheese at the festival — held from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 5 — will be extra delicious. Also, there will be entertainment.
More from an event description:
VIP TICKETS NEARLY SOLD OUT…
It’s Here – The Cheesiesst Event Northern Virginia Has Ever Seen…
NoVA Mac and Cheese Festival –
We’re Taking Over the Street – N. Fairfax Dr., Arlington, VA!
Top Chefs, Food Trucks and Food Vendors Serving up the World’s Most Amazing (and Cheesiest!) Dish – America’s Own Mac and Cheese! More than just a Food Festival, we’ll also have an amazing selection of Craft Beers, wines and ciders to sample. You’ll get
- Over 30 Kinds of Mac and Cheese to sample from top chefs and food vendors
- Great craft beers, wines and ciders to sample
- Live Bands and Entertainment
- Get to Vote for Northern VA’s Best Mac and Cheese!
We expect this event to Sell Out fast, so get your tickets and get ready to taste the most fantastic thing ever created on this Great Earth. Cheesey, Gooey, Over-the-top Macaroni presentations… As Ben Franklin once said “Macaroni is what makes this Nation Great!” – well, we’re not sure about the quote – but do you really want to miss this??
You Must be 21 or older to consume alcohol and must bring a valid ID – Children 9 years old and under get Free Admission.
Photo courtesy Nova Mac and Cheese Festival
Crystal City may not be without an Irish pub for much longer.
Fiona’s Irish Pub (567 23rd Street S.) closed suddenly in June, after only a few months in business. Signs in the window said the closure was temporary, but those signs have since been replaced with new ones announcing McNamara’s Pub and Restaurant.
Signs say McNamara’s will be opening soon, though inside much of the decorations and furniture still bear the Fiona’s Irish Pub logo.
Owners of the pub could not be reached for comment, but staff at a nearby restaurant said they were told it would also be an Irish pub. McNamara’s will be stepping into a space that has a long history as a pub, with Fiona’s being preceded by local sports bar Tortoise and Hare.
A new hot pot restaurant is coming to 2301 Columbia Pike, near William Jeffrey’s Tavern.
The restaurant, called Supreme Hot Pot, is set for interior construction along S. Adams Street, on the ground floor of the Siena Park Apartments.
According to a permit application, Supreme will be a Chinese hot pot restaurant with an electric cooktop on each table, allowing customers to cook their own boiled soup pot. The storefront has been vacant since the building was constructed, the permit application says.
The company is listed as Supreme Hot Pot LLC, which filed with the Virginia State Corporation Commission in April.
So far there’s no word on when the restaurant is hoping to open.
Hat tip to Chris Slatt. Jay Westcott contributed to this story.
Metro’s Fire Hydrant Problem — “A fire safety advocate and a D.C. firefighter took to social media Tuesday to criticize the transit agency after a Metrobus was spotted parked in front of a hydrant in Pentagon City for about 10 minutes. They also said it’s a chronic problem.” [Washington Post]
Va. Was Amazon Oasis After NYC Debacle — “In late January, Holly Sullivan, the head of world-wide development at Amazon, returned to Washington, D.C., where she and some colleagues dined with executives from JBG Smith, the real-estate firm managing the Arlington County site.. A JBG Smith official remarked that Amazon’s team looked like it had come from a war zone. ‘How much more space can we get in Virginia?’ one of the Amazon executives joked.” [Wall Street Journal, Twitter]
Ballston Office Building Sold — “Hines Interests LP has acquired Ballston’s Two Liberty Center” — where ARLnow has its offices — “from New York-based real estate investment management company Westbrook Partners for $93.2 million. Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. (NYSE: JLL) brokered the Aug. 20 sale of the 178,000-square foot, nine-story building.” [Washington Business Journal]
APS Expanding Healthy Lunch Options — “In 2017, Café + Teria was originally introduced to high school students attending Arlington, Virginia’s three public high schools, Wakefield, Yorktown and Washington-Lee. Due to the success at these schools in Arlington it will also expand to The Heights (the new home of H-B Woodlawn) and the Arlington… Career Center on September 3.” [Press Release]
The soup joint is opening in 4401 Fairfax Drive, occupying the ground floor of an office building undergoing a revitalization effort. A contractor working at the site said much of the work should be done within the next few weeks.
“We’re setting up ‘soft opening’ days on Oct. 18 and 19 with proceeds going to charity, opening to the public on Oct 21,” franchise owner Jim Beverley said in an email to ARLnow, “and then doing a grand opening celebration 6 weeks or so after that… we haven’t nailed that down yet though.”
As the name implies, the restaurant specializes in soup, but it also offers a wide variety along with salads, sandwiches and more. The soups include vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free options served alongside a hunk of freshly-baked bread.
A press release for Zoup! Eatery noted that the company will also offer takeout and delivery options.
“Long before I even thought of becoming a franchisee, I was a Zoup! regular,” Beverley said in the press release. “A friend jokingly called me an addict after seeing my umpteenth Zoup! bag. I love Zoup!’s gourmet soups, fresh salads and sandwiches, delicious new Sustain-a-Bowls, and zesty craft beverages. I can’t wait to bring the Zoup! experience to my friends and neighbors in Ballston!”
Diners can find The Little Beet underneath the escalators on the food court level, next to the Auntie Anne’s Pretzels. A listing on the mall’s website said the eatery is expected to open on Sunday, Sept. 15.
The restaurant features an entirely gluten-free menu and a variety of vegetables, proteins and sauces, to be mixed into a bowl with rice, lettuce or quinoa, similar to chains like Sweetgreen and Cava. The restaurant offers fish and meat, but also features vegan options, which are largely lacking in the current food court.
The new Pentagon City mall eatery is the New York-based chain’s second location in Arlington, after one at 1800 N. Lynn Street in Rosslyn.
The wrap around the exterior of the store indicated that Little Beet is looking to hire staff for the eatery, though no job listings were available online as of Wednesday.