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Rooftop Spot Now Open at Le Meridien Hotel in Rosslyn

Located on the fourth floor of Le Meridien Arlington (1121 19th Street N.) is a new rooftop restaurant aiming to be a “food truck on steroids,” in the words of general manager Calvin Ware.

The Yard celebrated its grand opening Friday (July 13) with a DJ and Washington Redskins cornerback Greg Stroman. The venue is open to both hotel guests and members of the public.

Weekly specials include Margarita Mondays ($6 margaritas) and Taco Tuesdays (buy one, get one tacos). This Tuesday (July 24), they’ll celebrate National Tequila Day with $5 “Yardaritas” from 4-6 p.m. Menu offerings include sliders, tacos and frosé (frozen rosé), and games like cornhole are set up for patrons.

Ware envisions eventually adding artificial grass to make the venue feel more like a backyard.

For now, they “definitely want to be the place to be in Rosslyn,” Ware said. The Yard is open Monday through Friday from 4-1o p.m.

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Rustico Ballston to Host Crawfish Boil, Open New Beer Garden Saturday

Louisiana flavor is coming to Arlington tomorrow (June 16) with Rustico Ballston‘s (4075 Wilson Boulevard) second annual Bluegrass & Crawfish Boil.

The event will run from 12-7 p.m. and feature craft beers from four Virginia breweries, live music, games like table tennis and corn hole and plenty of fresh Louisiana crawfish for $15 per pound.

Saturday’s festivities will also include the launch of Rustico’s new beer garden, General Manager Ryan Cline wrote in an email to ARLnow. The lounge area will include 124 additional seats and provide a venue for live music on Fridays and Saturdays in the future, Cline added.

Rustico isn’t the only local restaurant commemorating crawfish season — Bayou Bakery (1515 N. Courthouse Road) has held two crawfish boils this spring and plans to host another on Saturday, June 30.

Jaleo Crystal City (2250 Crystal Drive) will join the cohort of restaurants organizing summer food festivals on Monday (June 18) from 5-8:30 p.m. with a kickoff party for its 16th annual Paella Festival.

Spanish chef Quim Márquez will join Jaleo’s team to prepare five rice dishes for all patrons who purchase a $35 ticket. Márquez will remain with Jaleo for the duration of Paella Festival, which runs through July 1.

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Raise a Glass to Arlington Nonprofits at Taste of Arlington

The 31st Annual Taste of Arlington presented by Courthaus Social, the signature event of BallstonGives, returns to Ballston on Sunday May 20. Come eat, drink and support local charities and nonprofits from 12-6 p.m.

This year’s festival features 60 local restaurants and food trucks, beer and wine gardens, live music on two stages, a dedicated KidZone and a pop-up dog park. For the first time in Taste of Arlington history, the festival will feature spirits from award-winning regional and internationally renowned distilleries in the main beer and wine garden and in the VIP lounge.

Sip and sample refreshing libations such as handcrafted cocktails mixed with spirits including Hennessy Black, Captain Morgan and Ketel One Vodka.

For those who prefer to pair their tastes with beer, Arlington’s New District Brewing will be pouring their beloved brews, as will Devils Backbone, SweetWater and Troegs.

Taste of Arlington will also feature a robust lineup of wines and ciders, featuring selections from Ruffino, Robert Mondavi, The Dreaming Tree, Bold Rock and many others.

Beverage tickets will be sold at both festival entrances off Wilson Boulevard at N. Monroe Street and N. Randolph Street, as well as in the main concert stage beer and wine garden. One beverage ticket gets you an 8 ounce pour of beer, wine or cocktail.

Each year BallstonGives donates a portion of event proceeds to local non-profits. This year’s donations will benefit the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, Arlington Food Assistance Center, Arlington Arts Center, Arlington Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Center for Excellence, Volunteer Arlington and Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network.

Thirsty yet? Head over to www.tasteofarlington.com to get your tickets today.

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New Korean-Vietnamese Restaurant Coming to Arlington Ridge

An organic Korean-Vietnamese food truck is opening up a brick-and-mortar location in Arlington Ridge.

Kovi Kitchen will be opening a location at 2921 S. Glebe Road, near the Arlington-Alexandria border. The restaurant teased the news on Twitter and Facebook over the weekend, but did not announce an estimated grand opening weekend.

The food truck, which has parked in Rosslyn for the lunch rush, serves $3 tacos, rice bowls and bahn mi.

The restaurant will be run by Vi Nguyen, who, according to the truck’s website, has at least 29 years of hospitality industry experience.

A voice mail left at the food truck’s listed number was not immediately returned.

Photo via Kovi Kitchen

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A Southern Cuisine Food Truck Is Rolling into Arlington

Bootheel Catering started cooking Southern-style cuisine nine years ago in Arlington, and now it’s expanding to a food truck.

The truck will begin selling food to locals in late May or early June, said Bootheel Catering owner David Newton.

Newton is from Southeast Missouri, a location described as the “boot heel” of the state, which inspired the catering company’s name.

Newton said he wanted to open a food truck to make catering more convenient by having a mobile kitchen on hand for events.

“It makes our lives easier. It makes the food fresher,” he said. “I just want to get more of our stuff out to people, because people really like it.”

The food truck’s menu will include barbecue, brisket, pulled chicken, jambalaya, gumbo, grits, fried chicken and more. Prices will from $8 to $12, Newton said.

The truck will be traveling throughout Clarendon, Rosslyn, Crystal City and possibly Ballston. Newton said the truck may even go out to the Tyson’s Corner area.

Photo via Facebook/Bootheel Catering 

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Bayou Bakery to Hold Annual Crawfish Boil this Weekend

Courthouse’s Bayou Bakery (1515 N. Courthouse Road) will host its annual crawfish boil on Saturday (April 28) from 4-6 p.m.

The crawfish boil coincides with the beginning of New Orleans’ Jazz Fest and will feature live music along with traditional Louisiana nibbles. New Orleans native and Bayou Bakery owner and chef David Guas will host the event.

Customers will be able to buy a bundle of food that includes Louisiana crawfish with sweet corn on the cob, new potatoes, coleslaw, “muff-a-lottas,” and cornbread.

Bayou Bakery will offer drink specials, and second plates may be filled if there is additional food available.

The restaurant will hold two more crawfish boils later this spring and summer, on May 26 and June 30.

Photo courtesy of Bayou Bakery

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Barley Mac to Host Second Annual Oyster Festival

Barley Mac will be holding its second annual oyster festival on Saturday (April 21) from 1-5 p.m. on its patio, weather permitting.

Festival attendees can dig into unlimited oysters alongside a cigar rolling station, an oyster shucking instructional station, an oyster eating contest, and a live musical performance.

Tickets, ranging in price from $49 online to $59 at the door, will also include two drink tickets and a stemless wine glass.

Barley Mac will be serving raw oysters, oysters Rockefeller, grilled oysters, fried po-boys, oyster stew, fried buffalo batter oysters and oyster ceviche.

The oyster and wine festival will be open for all ages, though those 21 and older will receive a wristband to drink.

Photo courtesy Barley Mac

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Istanbul Grill Expected To Replace Ballston Area’s El Ranchero

A new Turkish restaurant is coming to the Ballston area, replacing long-time restaurant El Ranchero.

Istanbul Grill will offer up traditional Turkish food, with kebabs served with rice and vegetables, and “traditional special appetizers,” according to its owner.

The restaurant, which has applied for a license to sell wine and beer, is aiming to seat between 101-150 people at a time, according to the license application.

Istanbul Grill’s owner, Turgut Yiğit, wrote to ARLnow that he “is aiming and hoping to open” May 1 at 4617 Wilson Boulevard, which is just west of Ballston in the Bluemont neighborhood.

The Istanbul Grill in Arlington, Va., does not appear to have a website at this time, and is not the same as the Istanbul Grill in Arlington, Texas.

Photo via Google Maps

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Two Farmers Markets Kick Off Season This Week

At least two Arlington farmers markets — in Crystal City and Ballston — are kicking off for the season this week.

In Crystal City, the farmers market at 1900 Crystal Drive will kick off tomorrow (April 3). The market, open from 3-7 p.m. every Tuesday, will have over 20 regional farmers, producers, and vendors.

Mexican street food vendor Manos de Maiz and the grass-fed beef hot dog and hamburger food truck Swizzler will be among this year’s new offerings.

Shoppers can also pick up “conventional and certified organic fruits and vegetables, grass-fed meats and pastured poultry and eggs, sweet and savory baked goods, handmade pastas, honey, jams, and jellies, hot sauces and pickles, and delicious prepared foods,” according to FRESHFARM, the nonprofit market organizer behind both Crystal City and Ballston markets.

The farmers market at Ballston’s Welburn Square is set to open on Thursday (April 5). Among other goods, shoppers can find “ice cream, sweet and savory baked goods, Virginia-made wines, cold-pressed juices, handmade soaps and lotions, wood-fired pizza, [and] hot pressed sandwiches” between 3-7 p.m. every Thursday.

New Ballston vendors this year include strudel stand Little Austria, and Number 1 Sons with their fermented pickles, krauts, and kimchis.

On the first Thursday of each month, the Ballston market will host a beer and wine garden, music, and giveaways.

Both the Crystal City and Ballston farmers markets accept SNAP and WIC program benefits and offer matching dollars for what is spent through those programs.

The farmers market outside Clarendon’s Metro station is opening April 11, with listed hours of 3-7 p.m., according to Clarendon Alliance director Matt Hussman.

Other farmers markets in the county, with listed hours, include:

In addition, a new farmers market has been proposed for Barrett Elementary School.

Photos via Arlington County

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Taste of Arlington to Feature Largest Restaurant Row in its History

On Sunday, May 20, from 12-6 p.m. the 31st Annual Taste of Arlington presented by Courthaus Social returns to Ballston.

Hosted by BallstonGives, the charitable arm of the Ballston Business Improvement District (BID), this family-friendly street festival will benefit several Arlington non-profits including the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, Arlington Food Assistance Center, Arlington Arts Center, Arlington Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Center for Excellence and Volunteer Arlington.

The event features a craft beer and wine garden, live music on two stages, a dedicated KidZone and a pop-up dog park but the real focus of Taste of Arlington is the food. With over 60 restaurants and food trucks, this year’s restaurant row will be the biggest in Taste of Arlington history and will continue to showcase the best of Arlington’s rapidly growing food scene.

Buzzworthy newcomers like The G.O.A.T., Ambar and Bartaco will be in attendance, along with delicious Arlington favorites such as Epic Smokehouse, SER Restaurant and Rocklands Barbeque.

For those interested in trying something with an international flair, Taste of Arlington boasts a diverse lineup of vendors offering tastes from across the globe. From Venezuela (Arepa Crew) and the Philippines (Bistro 1521) to Australia (Oz) and Anatolia (Ozfeka Catering), there’s something to satisfy even the most adventurous of palates.

What can we expect to eat at this year’s festival? Here’s some of the dishes that already have our mouths watering:

  • Cheesetique’s gooey Melted Raclette, served with an assortment of dippable accompaniments.
  • Wood-fired pizzas from Timber Pizza, specifically the Green Monster, loaded with pesto, zucchini and kale.
  • Tacos Al Pastor, stuffed with roasted pork and pineapple, from TTT & Buena Vida.

Hungry yet? Tickets are on sale now, with discounted prices available until May 1. Head over to www.tasteofarlington.com to purchase your tickets today!

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Medium Rare Sets Expected Virginia Square Opening Date

Looks like Virginia Square residents won’t have to wait long for the opening of prix-fixe steakhouse Medium Rare.

The restaurant had signs up as early as November 2017, but co-founder Mark Bucher confirmed via email that the restaurant is targeting to open the first week of April.

Currently, the popular chain has three open locations — two in D.C. and one in Bethesda, Md.

Medium Rare is known for its relatively inexpensive pre-fixe dinner menu of bread, salad, and culotte steak with fries and a “secret sauce” for about $20.

Photo courtesy of Leslie Koch

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A Farmers Market May Be Coming To Barrett Elementary School

An open air market is coming to Barrett Elementary School in Buckingham, pending an Arlington School Board vote on its license agreement tonight.

The market would be run by Field To Table, Inc., the same nonprofit that operates the Westover Farmers Market, and would pay an annual fee of $200 to use the property.

Proposed operating hours are 8 a.m.-12 p.m. on Saturdays from April to November, with the nonprofit being responsible for premise clean up by 1 p.m. School board document do not list the exact start date of the market.

Superintendent Patrick Murphy’s office has recommended that the school board approve the license agreement at its monthly meeting tonight (March 22).

The market is expected to be called the Lubber Run Farmers Market which, according to a newsletter for the Arlington Forest neighborhood, will “avoid some of the negatives of other suggested names.”

Additional volunteers are being sought to help out with the market, the newsletter says, adding that it will be “an exciting addition to the neighborhood community bringing together residents from Arlington Forest and neighboring areas to enjoy shopping for fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy, bread and so on.”

Vendors for a farmers market at Barrett are not yet listed, but current vendors at the Westover Farmers Market include Baltimore’s Dimitri Olive Farms, Woodbridge’s Gina’s Pacific Jams and Jellies, and Arlington’s Mormor Crepes.

File photo

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JBG Smith Seeking Feedback on Crystal City ‘Central District’ Development

(Updated at 8:30 p.m.) An older office building in Crystal City may be converted into apartments, and developer JBG Smith is soliciting public feedback on the project.

JBG Smith is looking to convert a 12-story office building at 1750 Crystal Drive into a 21-story residential building. The building, across from the Crystal City Water Park, would be 257 feet in height.

In the first phase of the “Central District” project, a new 74,000 square foot, street facing retail area would be built, reportedly anchored by an Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. The retail area may also include a smaller-format grocery store, like a Trader Joe’s.

A JBG Smith presentation says the project would include “delivery of nine screen Alamo Drafthouse Theater that shows first run and art house films as well as dining, entertainment, and event space hosting.” According to the feedback website, JBG is hoping to start construction in the fall and to have the theater open by the spring of 2020.

As part of the project, a two story, 16,000 square foot retail building would be built at the corner of 18th Street S. and Crystal Drive — next to a proposed second Crystal City Metro entrance — with renderings showing an sizable outdoor dining area adjacent to it.

Feedback from JBG’s online portal is helping to shape the development, said a representative for the company that created the portal.

“It’s a new approach for the developer, which added online outreach to the traditional process involving community meetings,” said the rep. “Over 1,600 people have interacted with the Central District at Crystal City website… Based on the feedback, JBG Smith has committed to providing seating, plantings, and seasonal events in the plaza.”

“The developer is also recruiting a full-service grocery store, which online voters said was the most important element to make the spot a neighborhood destination,” he added.

An open house on the Crystal City Block Plan “G” and Metro Market Square, which will plan open space and retail around the existing and new Metro entrances, is scheduled for Wednesday, March 21.

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Northern Virginia Restaurant Week Returns Next Week

This year’s Northern Virginia Restaurant Week is kicking off next week.

From Monday, March 19 to Monday, March 26, more than 50 restaurants, around Arlington and the region, will be offering special menus and pricing.

Arlington has at least 17 restaurants participating this year, including Bistro 360, BABA, Gaijin Ramen Shop, and La Côte d’Or.

Diners at these restaurants aren’t required to order from the restaurant week menu, and menus and pricing varies by the restaurant. Some restaurants have already listed their restaurant week menus, and customers are encouraged to reserve in advance to guarantee seating.

Some of the Arlington restaurants which have listed their restaurant week menus are below.

Photo via Northern Virginia Restaurant Week

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Rice Bar Opens In Crystal City

A new Korean bibimbap restaurant has opened in Crystal City.

Rice Bar opened its first Arlington location at 1235 S. Clark Street on Monday, March 5, according to the store’s manager, James Lee. They company’s website lists five additional locations, all in the District.

Bibimbap is a hot rice dish served with meat, egg, sautéed or seasoned vegetables, and other toppings.

Diners can either eat one of seven signature dishes, like the Kalbi Korean BBQ beef rib, or build their own bowl. Toppings include edamame, burdock root, roasted seaweed, and bamboo shoot, and there are seven sauce options listed, like gochujang, a red chili paste.

The restaurant also offers noodle dishes with similar toppings.

Operating hours will be from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, with additional hours on Friday from 10:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Rice Bar Crystal City will be closed on Saturdays and Sundays, according to the location’s web page.

File photos.

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