Arlington, VA

(Updated 10 a.m.) The Little Beet, a veggie-focused eatery, is scheduled to open in the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City.

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.

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Morning Notes

County Releases Statement on ART Crashes — “We are incredibly thankful that no one was seriously injured in these incidents, which the County and ART take very seriously. ART’s number one priority is the safety of our riders and others on the road.” [Arlington County]

More I-395 Nighttime Closures — “Motorists should expect significant lane closures on the general purpose lanes along I-395 North this weekend, August 9-11, from Duke Street (Exit 3) to past Pentagon City/Crystal City (Exit 8C) for bridge rehabilitation work along the I-395 corridor.” [Press Release]

Arlington Opening Local Recovery Center — “Arlington County is opening a Local Recovery Center (LRC) to assist residents and businesses affected by the July 8, 2019 flood. This is in conjunction with the governor’s announcement that low-interest federal loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are available to help homeowners, renters and businesses rebuild from storm damage.” [Arlington County]

Facts About Arlington Resident Chuck Todd — Meet the Press host Chuck Todd, who lives in Arlington, shared some facts about himself in a new local magazine profile. Todd says he does not drink beer, prefers his coffee black, sleeps five hours “on a good night,” and thinks Lost Dog Cafe serves the best pizza in town. [Arlington Magazine]

Kudos for Quarter Market in Ballston — “The big top of dining options can generate a major case of FOMO, even when the meal in front of you satisfies all your conscious needs. This is particularly true at Quarter Market, where mall operators spent years seeking out and negotiating with a smartly curated collection of local chefs, restaurateurs and producers.” [Washington Post]

Escape Room Open in Clarendon — “Bond’s Escape Room has opened a second location at Market Common Clarendon… Located just above Sephora, it offers six escape room games with a wide variety of themes.” [Press Release]

Photo courtesy @clarendonalliance/Instagram

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Business review site Yelp is teaming up with Ballston Quarter mall (4238 Wilson Blvd) to host a social mixer called Yelp After Dark.

The free event is set to take place at the Quarter Market food hall next Friday, August 2 from 9-11 p.m.

Attendees must have a Yelp profile with a current photo and their real name. A press release for the event said attendees should RSVP through the Yelp app and will receive a confirmation email before the event. But, this does not guarantee entry, since space is limited.

Quarter Market vendors including District Doughnut, Ice Cream Jubilee, Rice Crook and The Local Oyster will provide food.

Donations for the Arlington Food Assistance Center will be accepted. A $10 cash donation is suggested for entry.

In 2015, Yelp co-founder and CEO Jeremy Stoppelman told ARLnow he might not have made it as a tech titan if it wasn’t for bike rides to Ballston Quarter — then Ballston Common Mall — as a kid. Stoppelman grew up in Arlington, near Military Road, and attended Taylor Elementary in the 1980s before his family moved to Great Falls.

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Arlington and Northern Virginia are experiencing a possible outbreak of cases from a particular foodborne illness.

Dozens people in the region are suspected of having contracted a gastrointestinal illness called Cyclosporiasis, according to a spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Health. The outbreak involves “two large businesses” where more than 40 people were sickened, possibly with Cyclosporiasis, as well as 15 confirmed cases of the disease, officials say.

“A food or water source of this outbreak has not yet been identified, and the investigation is ongoing,” said the state health department.

“Cyclosporiasis is an intestinal illness caused by a microscopic parasite,” the department noted in a press release today (Tuesday.) “People can become infected by consuming food or water contaminated with feces or stool that contains the parasite.”

The 15 confirmed cases of people infected with Cyclospora since mid-June compares to eight cases in Northern Virginia by this time last year.

The affected area includes Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax County and Falls Church.

“Arlington County has… experienced an increase in cases of illness due to Cyclospora,” confirmed epidemiologist Colleen Ryan Smith of Arlington’s Department of Human Services.

“The increase in Arlington… has contributed to the increase in cases noted for Northern Virginia,” added Smith, who said that “specific counts of cases by locality [are] not possible due to patient privacy and confidentiality considerations.”

Officials said they could also not identify the “two large businesses” where dozens were sickened.

Symptoms can begin one week after exposure to the parasite, and typically include explosive diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, aching muscles, and a low-grade fever. Symptoms can last days or a month for some, but others can be a carrier of the parasite and experience no symptoms.

Those afflicted can only be diagnosed by a lab test ordered by a doctor.

Health officials have also reported 90 cases of Cyclospora in New York City since January, and over 100 cases in Massachusetts since May. In both areas, the number of cases is approximately three times the normal number officials usually see in a year, and the cause is not yet known.

Officials in all three locales say they are still investigating the cause of the outbreak. Previous outbreaks were linked to contaminated produce.

The full press release is below, after the jump.

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Arlington may be the landing spot for Amazon’s HQ2, but it was selected for an even tastier honor today: the unveiling of a new Blueberry McGriddles breakfast sandwich from McDonald’s.

Corporate officials, including the company’s national Culinary Innovation Spokesperson, were on hand to debut what is basically an egg sandwich with a pair of blueberry pancakes as buns.

Offered with sausage or bacon, along with egg and cheese, the new McGriddles sandwich is being tested in the D.C. area market, including at the Rosslyn McDonald’s (1800 N. Lynn Street) where the event was held this morning.

Carol Martino, the Chicago-based culinary innovation spokeswoman, donned a black McDonald’s chef jacket as she described the process of creating the sandwich, a variation on the existing McGriddles sandwich.

Martino said her team was seeking to create a “cravable, indulgent” breakfast sandwich with a “sweet-savory balance.” The sweetness, she said, will likely mean that it’s more of a treat “for certain days of the week.”

The company’s chefs whittled down 30 recipes before selecting the one featured today, which has not only a distinct blueberry-and-maple-syrup flavor — “reminiscent of mom’s blueberry pancakes,” Martino said — but actual, embedded blueberries visible in the blue-tinted buns.

Currently, the sandwiches are only being offered as part of a test in the D.C. area before being, potentially, rolled out nationally. Part of the process of creating the new McGriddles, Martino said, was obtaining a national-scale supply of blueberries should the sandwich prove popular.

Currently, the Blueberry McGriddles are available only at certain McDonald’s locations in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. In Arlington, those locations are:

  • 1800 N. Lynn Street (Rosslyn)
  • 4834 Lee Highway
  • 3013 Columbia Pike
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Rosslyn’s dining scene has transformed.

With a wide variety of sit-down restaurants and dozens of the region’s most desirable fast-casual places, there’s something for everyone. In the coming months, the neighborhood’s dining options will continue to expand to meet increasing demand from a growing residential population, a diversified employee base and a strong visitor market.

Read on for a quick list of what’s to come.

Common Ground Social Eatery

Corner of N. Moore Street & Central Place Plaza — A second-story eatery with a view of Central Place Plaza, this food hall will serve as a culinary incubator where notable and emerging chefs can share their delicious creations with customers. It will be a vibrant spot to eat and socialize.

Happy Endings Eatery

Corner of 19th & N. Moore Street — Another second-level establishment, Happy Endings Eatery will feature five or six fast-casual food stalls serving Asian food, including a Vietnamese grill, a fusion tea house and a Vietnamese coffee stand.

Open Road

1800 N. Lynn Street (entrance on Central Place Plaza) — This casual bar and restaurant with another location in Virginia was recently named Favorite Gathering Place at the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington’s annual RAMMY Awards. Soon, Rosslyn will have its own location on Central Place Plaza.

Oz Rey Food Hall

1700 N. Moore Street — Although not yet named, this food hall operated by culinary experience company Oz Rey will be mostly located on the second level of Rosslyn City Center. It will have twelve food stalls and two bars.

Salt

1201 Wilson Boulevard (entrance on N. Lynn Street) — This new happy-hour spot promises to be a fun destination in the heart of Rosslyn.

South Block Juice

1550 Wilson Boulevard — Soon Rosslyn will have its own location of this popular home-grown and trending micro juicery featuring healthy drinks, smoothies and acai bowls.

Taco Rock

1501 Wilson Boulevard — This distinctive taco shop is the latest venture from Arlington restaurateur and chef Mike Cordero, who’s also a partner in the Rosslyn restaurant Barley Mac. The colorfully decorated, 50-seat eatery will serve tacos with innovative flavor combinations and offer several varieties of tequila and imported Mexican beers.

Sfoglina

1100 Wilson Boulevard — D.C. area restauratuers Fabio and Maria Trabocchi are bringing their wonderful Italian fare to Rosslyn with this restaurant featuring handmade pastas, small plates and a few meat and seafood entrées.

Open Kitchen

1300 N. 17th Street — This will be a great new breakfast and lunch option located in a stylish work lounge that has fast, free Wi-Fi. Open Kitchen will offer the best in American and Asian cuisine.

Interested in staying informed on opening dates for these places? Follow the Rosslyn BID on social media or subscribe to their weekly eBlast for updates!

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Cucina Al Volo opened for business this past weekend in the Quarter Market food hall at Ballston Quarter mall (4238 Wilson Blvd). 

The restaurant is known locally for serving up authentic Italian cuisine and prides its on using ingredients from local farmers markets whenever possible. An employee of the new location told ARLnow that business has been good so far and they’re expecting new customers to continue discovering it in the mall’s food hall, near Copa Kitchen and Bar.

Since this is a smaller Cucina Al Volo than the company’s other stand-alone restaurants, it’s not able to serve an expanded menu. The location’s offerings include pasta dishes, with a range of pasta and sauce options, plus appetizers and sandwiches.

“Cucina Al Volo has opened its fifth outpost at Quarter Market, serving up scratch-made pasta and sauces to dine in or take home,” said a spokeswoman for the mall. “Specials change daily, from Lamb Ragu to Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli to Lobster and Shrimp to Chicken Marsala. They also sell packages of pasta and sauce that can be prepared at home.”

Sandwiches are priced at $10 while pastas range from $11-15 depending on the sauce selection. As of lunchtime Friday, however, employees said the sandwiches were not yet available.

The restaurant was founded by Matteo Catalani and his business partner and uncle, Daniele Catalani. Other Cucina Al Volo locations can be found near Adams Morgan, Cleveland Park and Union Market in D.C., and in downtown Baltimore.

This is the first location to open in Arlington.

Cucina Al Volo is open Monday through Sunday, from 11 a.m.- 9 p.m.

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Progressive Voice is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of their organizations or ARLnow.com.

By Sheila Fleischhacker

It’s unthinkable any child goes hungry or experiences “summertime anxiety,” which is associated with summer’s unstructured nature and is marked by the lack of predictability in what each day is going to look like or, for some children, whether there will be enough to eat.

Yet hunger among Arlington kids does exist. One in 10 Arlington Public Schools (APS) middle and high school students reports having experienced hunger. A third of APS students qualify for federally assisted school meals — from less than 1% at Tuckahoe to 81% at Carlin Springs.

“Many Arlington children rely on school meals,” explained Charles Meng, executive director of the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC), which served more than 12,000 people last year. “During the summer, our families face higher food costs on already-tight budgets (an estimated additional $800 per child).”

All APS summer school programs offer federally supported meal services. Any child not enrolled in summer school can participate in summer meal services at Barrett, Carlin Springs, Kenmore and Hoffman-Boston. “While enjoying a delicious school breakfast with Carlin Springs students, I have seen first-hand how dedicated our schools are to getting students excited about school meals,” observed Matt de Ferranti, an Arlington County Board member. “It’s inspiring to hear about creative solutions to ensure access to healthy meals while decreasing stigma, such as breakfast in the classroom at Oakridge and Hoffman-Boston.” Strengthening each school’s local wellness policy is another important tool.

Outside of school, Arlington’s community centers, parks and recreational centers, childcare centers, Boys & Girls Clubs, faith-based organizations, and others participate in federally assisted programs that provide free, healthy summer meals to children. SummerFoodRocks helps locate meal sites or text “FOOD” to 877877 and, after providing an address, you will receive a message about free summer meal sites.

Individuals can engage in partnerships or volunteer opportunities such as developing innovative transportation approaches to sites or providing musical entertainment during lunchtime. AFAC, for instance, depends on more than 2,200 volunteers to help bag, distribute, drive, glean or grow food for participating families.

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With the announcement that Ray’s the Steaks would be closing Saturday (June 15) after 17 years, finding seating at the iconic restaurant has become a herculean challenge in its final days .

Last night (Thursday), owner Michael Landrum stood outside the restaurant with a clipboard, taking orders from dozens of locals hoping for a spot at the restaurant in its closing weekend.

Ray’s the Steaks is a no-frills steakhouse tucked away in the Courthouse neighborhood. In its final two weeks, the restaurant has stopped taking reservations and is working on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The system left hopeful carnivores herding to the entrance, leaving their names and table-sizes with Landrum. Either he would eventually find a spot for them or, if not, tell them to try again the next night.

A paper sign taped to the front door informed the gaggle of stranded steak-hungry locals when the next tables would be open. However, a new sign eventually replaced it, announcing the closure of the waitlists, with the hopefuls left to try again Friday.

Outside the restaurant, Landrum was too busy to talk, but noted curtly that “any interview questions you might have should be answered by the crowd outside.”

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Mediterranean restaurant House of Mandi may be gone from 5515 Wilson Blvd, but mandi devotees won’t have to go far to find the eponymous dish.

King of Koshary — a new Egyptian restaurant that opened a month ago in the former House of Mandi location — includes Mediterranean dishes like mandi on its menu.

“We’re an Egyptian restaurant, but we knew a lot of people really liked mandi, so we incorporated it into our menu,” said Ayob Mentry, owner of King of Koshary.

Like House of Mandi, King of Koshary features a variety of dishes from Mentry’s home, but centers around one. In this case it’s koshari: a vegan rice, macaroni and lentils dish topped with chickpeas, tomato sauce and fried onions. Koshari is a popular fixture of the roadside street-food scene in Egypt.

“King of Koshary isn’t a name, it is a title,” the restaurant’s Facebook page boasted in a post.

Mentry said the $8.99 meal is the restaurant’s signature dish. Other entrees include a variety of kabobs, oxtail, and seafood prepared in traditional Egyptian styles.

The restaurant includes dining-in or takeout options. On Sundays from 8-10 p.m., it also has an open seafood buffet.

The restaurant is currently hiring, as much of the work is currently done by Mentry running back and forth from greeting visitors to preparing the food.

King of Koshary is Mentry’s first restaurant and is a love letter to Egypt, both in modern food and ancient-style decorations. King Tutankhamun features prominently in the artwork.

“It feels great [to be open],” said Mentry. “It’s a challenge, but not taking that risk would have felt like a bigger risk.”

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A building in one of the highest foot traffic areas of Rosslyn is getting a big upgrade.

The owner of the Rosslyn Metro Center building at 1700 N. Moore Street announced today that it will be starting construction on a $35 million renovation project later this month. The building, which is next to the Metro station, will also be getting a new food hall and fitness studio.

“As part of this effort, the building’s exterior, lobby and common areas will be totally renovated and will include a state-of-the-art conference facility and flexible work space,” according to a press release. “The addition of new retail, a 30,000 square foot fitness studio with a dedicated outdoor terrace, and the chef-driven destination food hall by Oz Rey housing 12 artisanal food stalls and two lounges that extend onto an outdoor terrace overlooking the streetscape.”

Oz Rey, an Austin, Texas-based “culinary experience company,” plans to fill the dozen food halls with locally-based vendors offering “premium coffee, as well as things like a burger/sandwich concept, Asian stalls, and a fresh seafood purveyor,” the Washington Business Journal reports.

Arlington’s first food hall — a term that essentially refers to an upgraded version of a traditional mall food court, populated by local chefs and vendors instead of chains — opened earlier this year in Ballston and continues to add vendors.

A press release with more on the upgrades to Rosslyn Metro Center, which is now being called Rosslyn City Center, is below, after the jump.

Photos (1 and 2) via American Real Estate Partners, (3) via Google Maps

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