An event featuring food, drink and salsa dancing is scheduled to take place at Ballston Quarter’s outdoor plaza tomorrow for National Hispanic Heritage Month.
From 5-7 p.m. on Wednesday, locally-based DJ Cyd will spin salsa tracks to accompany dance lessons with instructor Ricky Ricardo outside the Quarter Market food hall, at 4238 Wilson Blvd. Salsa, Sip & Mingle will also feature sangria and food tastings from Bartaco, COPA Kitchen and Bar, Ted’s Bulletin and Ice Cream Jubilee.
Tickets can be purchased online for $20 and come with a sangria drink, salsa lessons and food. Admission is free for employees who work in most Ballston office buildings and for members of the Arlington and NOVA Hispanic chambers of commerce. Those eligible can get their free ticket by including work information and the promo code SALSA2021 at checkout.
This is the Ballston Business Improvement District’s eighth year of holding Sip & Mingle events, but its first-ever salsa-themed event to honor National Hispanic Heritage Month, said a BID representative.
The celebratory month started as a week-long holiday in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson, to honor the anniversary of independence from Spanish rule for several Central American countries.
President Ronald Reagan extended National Hispanic Heritage Month to be 30 days long in 1988. The celebration now runs from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15.
The BID has not hosted a Sip & Mingle event since January of 2020.
“This will be our first Sip & Mingle since COVID forced events to be canceled,” said BID CEO Tina Leone. “It’s exciting to have a wonderful reason to get the community back together, sing, dance and have some fun.”
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 1515 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn.
Investors in its Series C funding round include actress Issa Rae, “America’s Got Talent” host Terry Crews, NFL player DeAndre Hopkins, NBA player Lonzo Ball and boxer Deontay Wilder. More than a dozen venture backers joined in the round, including Arlington-based Sands Capital Global Venture Fund.
Previous celebrity backers include the investment group of hip hop mogul Jay-Z and singer/songwriter Usher.
With the newly-raised money, co-founder Shy Pahlevani tells ARLnow that HUNGRY can fund its plans to add new locations and services.
“Over the course of the next year, HUNGRY plans to expand its onsite services and hire more aggressively,” co-founder Shy Pahlevani said. “The money from our Series C funding will be used to strengthen our West Coast presence, starting with Southern California and Silicon Valley. In September, we plan to launch onsite services in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area.”
The funding round caps a successful year for the startup, which was in the top 500 of the latest Inc. list of the fastest-growing companies in America.
“Not only is it an incredible honor to receive a spot on the Inc. 5000 list, it’s a true testament to the hustle, grit, and smarts our team has displayed over the last year and half,” he said. “Despite all the challenges we faced during the early stages of the pandemic, we’ve defied the odds — relying on great teamwork and staying true to our core value [of] positivity.”
The co-founder says celebrity support has bolstered HUNGRY’s brand recognition.
“Celebrities are investing their money in startups more and more, and we believe they’re choosing to back HUNGRY because of our mission, values and history of innovation,” he said.
One of HUNGRY’s biggest pandemic-era innovations is still growing: Virtual Xperiences. Groups can purchase experiences such as online cooking classes with name-brand chefs with supplies sent directly to participants’ homes.
Pahlevani said that business is still “booming… [and] we expect it to continue its staggering growth for the foreseeable future.”
The startup continues to roll out cooking, baking and drink-making experiences — as well as ones not related to gastronomy — on a monthly basis. A number of new concepts are launching this fall, Pahlevani said.
Meanwhile, HUNGRY is seeing part of its original business line, office catering, ramp up again.
“Office catering is starting to pick up across the country as more and more Americans get vaccinated,” Pahlevani said. “We continue to support thousands of clients through our Food Solutions onsite offerings across Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, D.C. Atlanta, Dallas and Austin. Veteran clients, such as Wayfair and Appian, are back to providing meals for their teams onsite, providing a delicious incentive for their teams returning to work.”
Another pandemic-era pivot, however, has come to an end — a partnership with Washington Nationals. When baseball resumed, without fans, those watching from home could get stadium food delivered via the startup.
“The continuation of our Washington Nationals partnership will depend on stadium attendance and interest, but we thoroughly enjoyed working with the powerhouse sports team and would be happy to continue those efforts to provide fans with a stadium experience at-home moving forward,” Pahlevani said.
During the pandemic, HUNGRY has also given back, feeding those who are food insecure as well as members of the National Guard who were sent to D.C. for the inauguration of President Joe Biden. And with the holiday season soon approaching, Pahlevani said HUNGRY has some initiatives planned.
“As we get closer to the holidays, we plan to activate a number of donations and events designed to help those who are food insecure in the communities that we serve, which will include the greater Arlington community,” he said.
If Arlington County collects your yard waste, you can now add food scraps to your green organics cart starting this week.
This collection service, which started on Monday, is now part of the county’s regular weekly trash, recycling and yard waste collection routes. Food scraps and yard waste will be delivered together to a professional composting facility in Prince William County.
“Food scrap collection represents years of planning and organization by County staff and members of the community, guided by the Solid Waste Bureau,” according to the Department of Environmental Services. “The new program makes Arlington one of the first localities in the nation to gather residential food waste as a part of standard curbside services.”
Eligible residents received a small, beige countertop food caddy — which, up until now, some have used as coolers — and a set of compostable bags last month. The county distributed the supplies so folks can store scraps inside and bring filled bags to their green carts.
DES recommends people keep the pail, lined with a compostable bag — available at Target, on Amazon and at grocery stores — on a kitchen counter. Just before one’s weekly trash pickup time, the food scraps should be bagged, put in the green cart and rolled out for collection.
Those who worry about odors or insects can keep the pail or scrap bag in the freezer or refrigerator. Other alternatives include storing scraps in Tupperware or bins with charcoal filters.
Residents can toss a wide range of materials that qualify as “food scraps” into their green carts: from apple and banana peels to meats, bones, coffee grounds and even greasy pizza boxes and used paper napkins. A user’s guide was distributed along with the countertop caddy, and is also posted on the county website.
“The initiative marks another milestone in Arlington’s commitment to sustainability, diverting organic waste from incineration with regular trash,” the county said. “The compost generated will find its way into Arlington parks and community gardens and eventually individual yards, just as residents can pick up and order mulch for delivery from the County.”
Arlington is providing the service as part of its goal to divert 90% of waste from landfills and incinerators by 2038.
The county encourages residents who don’t receive weekly curbside collection to drop off their scraps at the Arlington County Trades Center in Shirlington (2700 S. Taylor Street), the Columbia Pike Farmers Market on Sundays, or MOM’s Organic Market (1901 N. Veitch Street). Residents who don’t get the county’s curbside collection service — which serves mostly single-family homes — can also email [email protected] for tips.
The new food scraps collection has even attracted entrepreneurs who are anticipating a stinky problem that they can solve.
“As opposed to using mild soap and a hose, our high-pressure 180-degree steam process sterilizes and deodorizes your organic bin, safeguarding it from attracting unpleasant visitors and ensuring you don’t dread the next time you open it,” said co-owner Ryan Miller.
A kitchen trailer in Clarendon that popped up last summer in a vacant lot has since been joined by two others.
And now they’re producing meals from more than a half-dozen “ghost kitchens” available on food delivery platforms such as DoorDash and Grubhub. Out of these kitchens come fried chicken sandwiches, asada fries and Asian street food, among other dishes.
The three trailers between the Clarendon Whole Foods and the PNC Bank are owned by REEF Technology, a company focused on turning underutilized, urban parking lots into food and logistics hubs. The food service arm of Reef is called NBRHD Kitchens.
In total, according to signage on the property, these three trailers produce meals for seven restaurant concepts. They’ll be bringing activity the vacant lot while Arlington County embarks on a special study to determine if the zoning codes for the property, near the border of the Clarendon and Courthouse neighborhoods, should allow for a new apartment building.
“REEF launched its delivery restaurants in Arlington in June 2020, being the first municipality in which the company establishes its operations,” the company tells ARLnow. “REEF’s delivery restaurants in Arlington are among the highest performing.”
The company also has two kitchen hubs in D.C. — at P Street NW and K Street NE — and each can support between four and six brands. But REEF did hint at possible expansion.
“As Arlington continues to be a great performing location, REEF continues to look at opportunities to grow its footprint in terms of delivery restaurants and other business verticals,” REEF said.
REEF’s growth and expansion mirrors the trends that the food delivery platforms DoorDash and Grubhub tell ARLnow they’re observing. Spokespeople for the companies said delivery-only kitchens have proliferated particularly in the last year in response to pandemic challenges and the rising costs of establishing a physical location.
“Delivery-only virtual (or ghost) kitchens on Grubhub have been a rising trend over the last year, representing a flexible way for restaurant owners to experiment with new menu concepts, brand a subset of existing menu items, or capture unmet customer demand without adding overhead,” a Grubhub spokeswoman said.
DoorDash doesn’t collect data on the breakdown between delivery-only restaurants and those with storefronts, but the pandemic blurred that line anyway, as traditional dining establishments turned to different models to keep operating when dine-in wasn’t an option.
“For many restaurant owners, ghost kitchens provide a more cost-effective way to expand their business — reaching new markets and customers — because they don’t involve the typical overhead costs associated with opening a new restaurant,” said Emily Tung, the director of DoorDash Kitchens. “Many independent businesses have been successful in their ghost kitchen endeavors and our goal is to support our partners across all their locations and help accelerate their online success.”
But the ghost kitchen activity at this location is destined to be temporary, as the company that owns the lot aims to redevelop it.
Dubbed Courthouse West, the lot at 2636 Wilson Blvd is bounded by N. Danville Street, Clarendon Blvd, N. Cleveland Street and Wilson Blvd. The property’s owner, CRC Companies, has asked the county to change the land-use designation — which currently allows for one- to four-story buildings — to one that allows for hotels or taller apartments.
The celebration of jazz, now in its 21st year, begins this Wednesday and will span three weeks. There will be pop-up performances throughout Rosslyn featuring food trucks, beer and wine, restaurant deals and giveaway prizes.
The event, organized by the Rosslyn Business Improvement District, is free to attend but reservations are encouraged to secure a spot.
Starting this Wednesday, bands and soloists will perform during the Rosslyn Farmers Market at Central Place Plaza (1800 N. Lynn Street), as well as at 1401 Wilson Blvd Park and the Continental Beer Garden (1901 N. Fort Myer Drive).
Planned “pop-up” performances include the following.
- Wednesday, Sept. 1: Crush Funk Brass Band (Central Place Plaza, 1800 N. Lynn Street) from 4:30-5:15 p.m.
- Wednesday, Sept. 1: Crush Funk Brass Band (1401 Wilson Blvd Park) from 5:45-6:30 p.m.
- Wednesday, Sept. 15: Cristian Perez (Central Place Plaza, 1800 N. Lynn Street) from 5-7 p.m.
- Thursday, Sept. 16: Kingman Island Orchestra (Continental Beer Garden, 1901 N. Lynn Street) from 5-7 p.m.
On Thursday, Sept. 9, the BID will host a Jazz Supper Club at Amuse restaurant (1121 19th St. N.) from 5:30-9 p.m. The reservation-only event includes a prix fixe menu, a complimentary themed cocktail, themed giveaways and a live performance by Akua Allrich.
Guests will be seated in two time slots — 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Reservations can be made through Amuse.
The festival culminates on Saturday, Sept. 18 with performances at Gateway Park (1300 Langston Blvd):
Around the park there will be food trucks serving hot dogs, wings and carnival-themed sweets, Salvadoran food and the flavors of New Orleans. Beer and wine will also be available for purchase.
Attendees can also dine at select local restaurants with a 10% discount. Participating restaurants currently include Continental Beer Garden, Toryumon and Vitality Bowls, but the list is subject to change.
Check-in for the final day of performances begins at 12:15 p.m. To access Gateway Park, attendees will need to enter through the middle entrance along Langston Blvd (formerly Lee Highway).
Public parking will be available at the Atlantic Parking Garage on N. Moore Street between 19th Street N. and Langston Blvd for a flat fee of $5 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., but space is limited.
The fair is open from 2-11 p.m. today, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. tomorrow (Saturday) and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday at Thomas Jefferson Community Center and grounds, at 3501 2nd Street S.
Baby goat yoga classes, introduced in 2019, return to the fair this year. Classes start at 9 and 10:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday and cost $40 a session.
There will also be robotics demonstrations today, tomorrow and Sunday in the gymnasium.
And, for $5, folks can enter the fair’s pie-eating competition on Saturday from noon to 2:30 p.m. Contestants will compete to see who can eat a slice of Triple Berry Pie, from Arlington-based Livin’ the Pie Life, the fastest.
Synetic Theater will also perform its show, The Miraculous Magical Balloon, for the second and final time at the fair tomorrow at 4 p.m. This kid-friendly performance tells the story of a traveling actor and his magical trunk through pantomime and choreography.
The fair will continue to feature rides, games, food vendors, axe throwing and musical performances.
In addition to transit options, this year’s event will have some on-site parking spaces for fairgoers in the Alice West Fleet Elementary School garage on 115 S. Old Glebe Road. Overflow parking will be available at the Faith Lutheran Church (3313 Arlington Blvd).
Local Man Awaits Word on Family’s Fate — “An Arlington, Virginia, man is one of many family members waiting for answers on the whereabouts of loved ones after a condo building collapsed in Surfside, Florida. ‘I would say yesterday was just a shock day. Today, a lot of us woke up hoping it was a bad dream,’ Alex Rodriguez told News4… His mom, Elena Blasser, and his grandmother, Elena Chavez were inside.” [NBC 4]
Chase Ends Near 14th Street Bridge — “A person is in custody after leading multiple police departments on a high-speed chase that spanned several county and state lines. It all started in Prince George’s County, Maryland, when a suspected carjacker fled police around 7:30 p.m. Friday… The driver evaded police several times, weaving into the City of Alexandria, until finally being stopped and arrested in Arlington County.” [WTOP, Twitter]
New Faregates at Clarendon Station — “Metro today began public testing at six rail stations of new, modernized faregates that will replace Metro’s aging faregate technology. The new faregates will include enhanced safety features, larger displays, and faster processing… As part of a month-long pilot project, test faregates have been installed at Clarendon, Dunn Loring, Gallery Place, Glenmont, Waterfront and West Falls Church.” [WMATA]
Hot Start to the Week — From the National Weather Service: “With an extended period of hot and humid conditions on Mon-Wed, here are some helpful reminders about car safety when it comes to heat. Also, take a look at the high/low temp forecast across the region. Shower and t’storm chances increase by mid-week.” [Twitter]
Demand for Food Help Falling — “AFAC’s count of participating families, which had spiked 49 percent at the height of the COVID crisis last fall, is down to being nearly on par with pre-COVID levels. One reason: Jobs that had been lost early in the pandemic are now coming back, which is good news all the way around.” [Sun Gazette]
DCA Is Getting Busier — From Reagan National Airport: “The airport is getting busier & so are our parking facilities! Parking Garages A and B/C may be closed at times, open to customers with advanced reservations only. The Economy Lot is open with plenty of availability. Book online to guarantee a spot.” [Twitter]
More Delays on Glebe Near Chain Bridge — From VDOT: “N Glebe Rd between Military Rd and Rt 123 in Arlington will again have alternating traffic in each direction via flagging, and the Glebe/123 signal will again have flagging Mon 6/28 from 9:30AM-3PM for Pimmit Run bridge project work.” [Twitter]
Reminder: Vote in This Week’s Arlies — Voting in the latest weekly edition of the Arlies closes tomorrow at noon. This week’s categories are favorite dog park and veterinarian. [ARLnow]
A few restaurants in Arlington are reducing their food waste through a new app called Too Good To Go.
And the restaurateurs say the platform not only helps them recover profits on food that would otherwise get tossed — it also makes their businesses more sustainable and helps them reach new clientele.
Too Good To Go was founded in Denmark 2015 and made its American debut in New York City last year. Over the last 10 months, it has spread to Boston, Philadelphia, the D.C. area, San Francisco, Seattle and Portland. On days when participating restaurants have leftovers, chefs assemble “surprise bags” with extra produce or a full meal, which are sold via the app for a fraction of the cost of a regular meal.
City Kabob & Curry House (3007 Columbia Pike) is a new buffet that opened two months ago along Columbia Pike. Adnan Bishir, the assistant manager, said the restaurant’s presence on the app for the last month has gotten new customers in the door.
“We’re getting 10-15 orders a day,” he said. “It’s all from the extra food that we have from the buffet. It’s still really good food — they just make too much of it. This way, it doesn’t go to waste.”
City Kabob sells main dishes for one with rice, protein — such as butter chicken or chickpeas — and veggies for $4 instead of the regular price of $12.
“It’s helping business,” Bishir said. “Customers like it.”
At Pentagon Row, since rebranded Westpost, the Asian fast-casual restaurant Bun’d Up (1201 S. Joyce Street) will sometimes sell bags with fresh food and buns or extra meals made but not distributed due to mix-ups involving delivery apps, co-owner Scott Chung said.
The app helps make up for slow days and is bringing out new customers who are happy to support the environmental cause, he said.
“It’s good for our customers to know we’re trying to be sustainable and helping reduce food waste,” said Chung.
Too Good To Go also repurposes leftover orders. While food pickup and delivery apps have been a lifeline during the pandemic, they come at a cost: no-shows, mixed-up orders or lost drivers, which would mean wasted food, he said.
“We’re expected to eat the costs, on top of the really high commissions for operating on those apps,” Chung said.
Over at South Block, the growing juice and açai bowl chain with multiple Arlington locations, Vice President of Product Adam Kramer said employees use the app to get extra cold-pressed, unpasteurized juice — which has five to 10 pounds of produce per bottle — to people before it expires, he said.
“So far the feedback has been awesome,” Kramer said. “We have people texting our text line asking when we’ll have stuff available on the app.”
“If we do have waste, it’s a cool way to eliminate it,” he added. “It’s also a way for people who may not ordinarily be able to afford South Block to try our product.”
Kramer said the concept is on brand for South Block, which also has a nonprofit cafe that offer fresh produce to people who are food insecure.
(Updated at 3:50 p.m.) Arlington County will start collecting residents’ food scraps on Labor Day.
Residents receiving county curbside collection services — mostly those in single-family homes and townhouses — will be able to toss unused food into their green yard waste bins and bring them to the curb on collection day, starting Monday, Sept. 6. Those scraps will be composted in Prince William County and returned to Arlington as soil.
“This is going to be for everybody who is a part of the household solid waste collection program,” said Erik Grabowsky, the chief of the Solid Waste Bureau of the Department of Environmental Services, during a community forum last week.
Arlington will be the first jurisdiction in Virginia to provide the service to all residential customers, he said.
The initiative is part of the county’s goal to divert 90% of resources from landfills and incinerators by 2038. It is also the last significant program to be implemented from the county’s 2004 solid waste management plan, Grabowsky said.
“There are many good reasons for adding a food scraps collection program,” he said, such as diverting useable waste from landfills and incinerators. Creating and using compost “will build healthier soils and also allow us to pay attention to the amount of food waste we are generating — which may change purchasing habits and may save us money.”
County household waste collection customers should have received a postcard previewing the service change and will soon receive an informational cart hanger, he said. The second of two virtual community forums will be held tomorrow and the county will be delivering “starter kits” with a two-gallon food caddy, 40 compostable bags and educational materials, throughout the month of August.
Acceptable food waste and food scraps include:
- Vegetables and fruits
- Meats, including bones, and old meat grease (sopped up with a paper towel)
- Dairy products and eggshells
- Coffee grounds, paper coffee liners and tea leaves (but not tea bags)
Residents should still put disposable containers and other products marketed as “compostable” in the trash.
“A lot of the materials have plastic liners,” said Adam Riedel, a county environmental management specialist. “We want to ensure the highest quality product, which means keeping out those contaminants.”
That could change if the federal government issues stricter regulations for creating and marketing disposable products as “compostable,” he said.
DES recommends keeping the pail, lined with a compostable bag, on a kitchen counter. Just before one’s weekly trash pickup time the food scraps should be bagged, put in the green cart and rolled out for collection.
Riedel said he keeps his pail on the counter and he notices no odor, but for those who are worried, he suggested keeping the pail or scrap bag in the freezer or refrigerator.
Grabowsky said he does not envision proper disposal requiring much enforcement.
“People generally comply with rules and regulations,” he said. “I don’t think we’re going to have a contamination problem. If we do, we’re going to have to start having more aggressive action.”
The scraps will be converted into nutrient-dense soil at Freestate Farms in nearby Prince William County, per a new agreement approved by the County Board in February. The facility is run via a public-private partnership between Prince William County and the private corporation.
Guilty Plea in Good Samaritan Killing — “An Arlington man will spend up to 45 years in prison for killing a good Samaritan who intervened in a violent domestic dispute in October 2018. Michael Nash, 29, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder Monday — the morning he was set to go to trial… Nash had intended to argue that he was not in his right mind when he killed Julio Patricio Salazar, 54, a Bolivian immigrant described by family and witnesses as a hero who tried to help a woman in distress.” [Washington Post, NBC 4]
New Workforce Training Initiative — “The local workforce development board and the Arlington Employment Center (AEC) are rolling out new initiatives to increase access to online training and assist 1,000 adults and graduating students to prepare for post-pandemic jobs, especially those requiring digital skills. The Virginia Career Works-Alexandria/Arlington Region Workforce Council and AEC have partnered with LinkedIn Learning to provide short-term training in pre-designed career pathways that lead to skills local businesses need.” [Arlington County]
Local Catering Options — “Virginia’s Covid restrictions have lifted and gatherings have been deemed safe for the vaccinated. Ready to party? If you’d rather focus on hugging family and friends and leave the cooking to someone else, many area restaurants offer catering services, and some only need 24 hours’ notice (or less) to whip up a feast for your hungry crowd.” [Arlington Magazine]
Covid Brings Polyamorous Trio Together — A not-safe-for-work story about an unusual local living arrangement during Covid times: “My partner and his wife are in their fifties. I was coming apart. He was like, ‘Well, you could test, quarantine, and move in here for a couple weeks.’ We talked about the logistics for about a month. How will we do laundry, together or separate? How will we sleep?” [Washingtonian]
The first Fill the Cruiser food drive kicked off last summer in response to the growing number of people struggling to put food on the table during the pandemic. That effort yielded 6,509 pounds of donated food. The next is now planned for Tuesday, May 18.
“We saw firsthand the growing need for food assistance and recognize this need remains high due to the ongoing economic impacts of the pandemic,” ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage said. “Through generous community donations, we can assist the Arlington Food Assistance Center as they continue their mission of feeding our neighbors in need by providing dignified access to nutritious supplemental groceries.”
Outside of the food drive, officers have also assisted community organizations with bagging and distributing grocery items, Savage said.
AFAC has seen a significant increase in the number of families it serves — a 33% increase in the first few months of the pandemic, according to the organization’s website. Amid the surge in need, however, the nonprofit has reported fewer donations from grocery stores and leaner volunteer ranks.
More on the Fill the Cruiser food drive from ACPD:
The Community Resources Section will be collecting items at drive-thru donation stations on Tuesday, May 18 from 6 to 8 p.m. at three locations:
- Giant Food – 2901 S. Glebe Road
- Safeway – 3713 Lee Highway
- Westover Baptist Church – 1125 Patrick Henry Drive
Upon arrival, donors should stay in their car until they reach the unloading areas, where officers will be on hand to remove donations from their vehicle. A separate area will be available for those arriving by bike or foot. All donors are expected to observe proper social distancing guidelines and wear a face covering while dropping off donations.
Suggested Items for Donation
AFAC accepts most unopened, unexpired, and unprepared foods, including perishable items. AFAC is most in need of the following low sodium, low fat and low sugar items:
- Low sodium canned tomatoes
- Low sodium canned tuna
- Low sodium canned soups
- Canned vegetables
- Peanut butter (in plastic jars)
- Low sugar cereal
Those wishing to donate, but unable to attend the Fill the Cruiser events should visit AFAC’s website to find a donation drop-off site near them.
Photo via Arlington County Police Department