Arlington, VA

District Taco began as a stand-alone food cart and expanded into the burgeoning regional restaurant chain it is today.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of District Taco, which was co-founded by Marc Wallace and Osiris Hoil. The company is marking the occasion with an event in Rosslyn tomorrow (Thursday).

“ATTN, amigos!” the company said in a social media post. “Join us back where it all started for our 10 year anniversary… from 12-1 p.m. we will be on the corner of Lynn St & Wilson Blvd, in Rosslyn, handing out tacos and giveaways! Come celebrate with us and pose for a photo with our original taco cart.”

Hoil said he also plans on celebrating by taking a trip down to Mexico in August to visit family and reminisce about his mother’s cooking — the inspiration for many District Taco recipes.

Hoil’s entrepreneurial story began when he came to the United States as an immigrant and was laid off from a construction company during in 2007, around the time of the economic crisis. He said despite his dismay at the time, he still thinks highly of the firm and hired them to build several District Taco locations.

The District Taco cart launched in 2009, but was retired in 2014. Since then, two bricks-and-mortar District Taco locations have opened in Arlington: at 5723 Lee Highway — its very first storefront — in 2010 and in Rosslyn (1500 Wilson Blvd) in 2016.

District Taco now has 14 locations, according to its website, and plans to add at least three more in 2020, according to Hoil. They also want to double their office space by 2021.

“Everything we have done is by scratch,” said Hoil. “We have learned so much from other people and big companies.”

Photo 1 via Twitter

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The Village at Shirlington will be kicking off its summer concert series tomorrow (Wednesday), starting with the Dan Haas Band.

The concerts run every Wednesday from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in front of Shirlington Library (4200 Campbell Avenue).

The theme of the concert series is “decades of summer,” with local bands performing music from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, as well as original songs.

Attendees 21-and-over are invited to try $5 wine samplings from Cheesetique. Proceeds will go to Arlington Thrive — a nonprofit providing emergency funds to locals in need — and Homeward Trails Animal Rescue — a nonprofit that brings dogs and cats from low-income, rural shelters to the D.C. region.

The full schedule

Any rain cancellations will be announced by 4 p.m. the day of the concert, organizers say.

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If you get to work on Arlington Library’s Summer Reading Challenge, you could earn tickets to a Nationals game and other prizes.

The summer reading program challenges children, teens and adults to read for 25 days between June 1 and Sept. 1. Readers can keep track of their progress either on a printed calendar, a library app, or online.

Once they’ve read for 25 days, readers can come into the library and show staff how much they’ve read. They’ll receive a prize and an entry into a grand prize that varies based on their age group.

According to the library website:

Adults, teens and kids in kindergarten and above who complete [the Summer Reading Challenge] will each receive a voucher for two tickets to see the Washington Nationals play at Nationals Stadium.

Seating is in the scoreboard pavilion, upper gallery or right field terrace.

The grand prize for adults is a chance to enjoy a Washington Nationals game from a private suite.

A press release noted that books, newspapers, magazines and audiobooks all qualify.

Several events are planned along with the Summer Reading Challenge, including a visit from Nationals pitcher Aníbal Sánchez to Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street) on Saturday, June 15 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. The event description notes that there will be opportunities to take photos and get memorabilia signed.

For each person that completes the Summer Reading Challenge, the press release also notes that the Friends of the Arlington Public Library will donate $1 to provide books for the Arlington County Child Advocacy Center.

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Morning Notes

Crystal City Apartment Building Sold — “A Crystal City residential property within blocks of Amazon’s planned HQ2 campus has sold for $228 million, more than double what it last sold for a decade prior, according to Arlington County property records.” [Washington Business Journal]

It’s National Police Week — Law enforcement officers from around the country and the world are in the D.C. area for National Police Week. The annual series of events is held to honor officers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. As in years past, Arlington County Police motorcycle officers are assisting with the numerous motorcades associated with Police Week. [Twitter]

Free Cone Day Today — Häagen-Dazs is holding its annual Free Cone Day today (Tuesday) from 4-8 p.m. Among other nearby locations, a locally-owned Häagen-Dazs franchise store is located in the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall. [Häagen-Dazs]

Crashes During Monday’s Rain — A number of crashes were reported Monday morning, amid persistant rain. Among them were a crash with entrapment at Military Road and Lorcom Lane, and a reported car vs. tree collision at Route 50 and S. Columbus Street. [Twitter]

School Board Member Donating Kidney — “Arlington School Board Vice Chairman Tannia Talento will be out of commission for several weeks, as she is donating a kidney to a sister. Speaking at the May 9 School Board meeting, Talento said preparing for, undergoing and recuperating from surgery will cause her to miss some end-of-school-year events, but ‘I hope it is amazing and wonderful,’ she said of the last weeks of the 2018-19 year.” [InsideNova]

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Morning Notes

Real Estate Near Crystal City is Hot — “In the 22202 ZIP code — which comprises Crystal City, Pentagon City, Aurora Hills, Aurora Highlands and Arlington Ridge — there are only 11 homes for sale right now, according to Realtor.com. Only three are single-family homes. The rest are condos.” [Washington Business Journal]

Escape Room Nearing OpeningBond’s Escape Room in Clarendon says it will open in about two months. “I’m happy with the way it’s coming along!” said founder Egor Bondarev. [Instagram]

Circulator Bus Now Free — Rides on the D.C. Circulator bus are now free indefinitely, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Monday. The bus line has a stop in Rosslyn. [Fox 5]

Transportation Partners Honored — “On March 19, the Arlington County Board honored 31 local businesses and properties for their dedication to sustainable transportation for employees and tenants, as part of Arlington Transportation Partners’ (ATP) Champions program.” [Arlington County]

Seven Freed From Stuck Metro Station Elevator — “Firefighters freed seven people trapped in an elevator at the Crystal City Metro station Wednesday morning, according to a report.” [Patch, Twitter]

Politico Owner Launching New Tech Site — “Robert Allbritton, the executive chairman of private equity firm Perpetual Capital and publisher of [Rosslyn-based] Politico, is preparing to launch a global technology news site, the latest sign of growing investment in tech coverage across American journalism.” [NBC News]

Nearby: Halal Butchery Opposed in Alexandria — “Though city staff and Alexandria’s planning commission recommended approving DC Poultry Market’s application, dog lovers showed up to the Alexandria City Council’s March 16 meeting to object on olfactory grounds (‘My dog can smell when there’s a cookie down the block,’ one resident said) and on proximity to poultricide (‘Knowing that my dogs may be walked by a business that holds chickens in a windowless room before their throats are slit while fully conscious does not make me feel that my dogs are in a safe environment,’ another said).” [Washingtonian]

Flickr pool photo (originally published in 2016) by Kevin Wolf

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Morning Notes

Free Amazon Mugs at Northside Social — Amazon is partnering with Northside Social to give out free branded to-go tumblers this morning. [Instagram]

Kojo Explores the Amazon Effect — “We’ll look back on Seattle’s history with Amazon and discuss how our local governments can navigate their relationship with the company. Plus, we’ll hear from a policy researcher on how the DMV’s housing market will shift over the next two decades as Amazon gets settled in the region.” [Kojo Nnamdi Show]

Amazon’s Tech Effect — “Within the [D.C.] area’s tech industry – the sector likely to be most affected by the [Amazon] news – leaders are either keeping mum about their reaction or publicly expressing excitement. But behind the scenes, experts say, there is a fair amount of apprehension.” [U.S. News]

Metro to Subsidize Late Night Uber Rides? — “With Metro hours due to remain limited for the foreseeable future, Metro plans to pay cabs or a company like Uber or Lyft $1 million to slightly discount trips for certain people rather than provide alternative bus or other service.” [WTOP, WMATA]

737 Max Grounded at DCA — “For people flying in and out of the Reagan National Airport, Wednesday’s grounding of all 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9 jets brought mixed reactions. Some flights were cancelled. Others were already in the air when the emergency order came down, and were grounded the moment they touched down.” [WJLA, NBC 4]

‘Poo’ at Wakefield High School — Arlington Public Schools has been slow to fix a direction sign at Wakefield High School that is missing the “L” in “pool.” [Sun Gazette]

Photo courtesy Dennis Dimick

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An Arlington-based smoothie chain is now offering giveaways over the next month for federal employees feeling a squeeze from the seemingly interminable government shutdown.

South Block will now hand out free regular smoothies every Friday between now and March 1. All you have to do to claim one is show a valid federal government ID.

The smoothie and juice shop has been blending up drinks at its original Clarendon location (3011 11th Street N.) for years now, and also operates stores in East Falls Church, Alexandria, Vienna and some neighborhoods in D.C. South Block will also be opening locations in Rosslyn and at the Ballston Quarter development in the coming months.

The company has even recently partnered with a Georgetown-based coffee roaster, Grace Street Coffee, to offer some caffeinated beverage options alongside its normal drink selection at the chain’s Clarendon location.

South Block is far from the only local business offering deals for government employees across the region.

The salad chain Sweetgreen has also been offering giveaways, and even recently announced it would be handing out free signature bowls to federal employees this Saturday (Jan. 26) from 6-8 p.m.

County officials have also offered a variety of resources for feds missing out on paychecks, as has Arlington’s main food bank.

File photo

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Federal workers can swing by Crystal City this week to score a free lunch as the government shutdown drags on, thanks to a new partnership among businesses based in the neighborhood.

The new “Lunch on Us” program will offer free food for feds at one restaurant each day, according to a press release from the Crystal City Business Improvement District.

Anyone with a valid government ID can grab one free meal and non-alcoholic beverage from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. each day at the following restaurants:

  • Today (Tuesday): Timber Pizza at The Stand (1601 Crystal Drive)
  • Tomorrow (Wednesday): Federico Ristorante Italiano (519 23rd Street S.)
  • Thursday: Kora (2250 Crystal Drive)
  • Friday: Crystal City Sports Pub (529 23rd Street S.)

“Federal workers are the backbone of our government and important members of our community,” BID President and Executive Director Tracy Gabriel wrote in a statement. “We hope that ‘Lunch On Us’ communicates our shared appreciation while helping to ease the financial burden during the shutdown for workers and our small businesses.”

The BID also said that it will likely add locations as the shutdown continues, with updates available on its website.

JBG Smith, the Consumer Technology Association, Gates Hudson, the We Company and Eastern Foundry are also helping the BID offer the free lunch program.

This effort is the latest in a series of initiatives around the D.C. region designed to help federal workers who are hurting while missing out on paychecks, and county officials have also stepped in to lend a hand while the shutdown continues.

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Morning Notes

Christmas Travel Crunch Starts Today — “A record number of people are expected to travel this Christmas season, spurred on by economic comfort and relatively modest gas prices… This year INRIX, a traffic data firm, has forecast the very worst time for drivers to set out on the highways, and for the Washington region, that’s five days before Christmas, on Dec. 20, between 1:15 p.m. and 2:15 p.m.” [Washington Post]

County Manager Pans ART Service — “‘The ART bus performance, recently, stinks,’ Mark Schwartz said during a meeting with Arlington County Civic Federation delegates… In the second quarter of 2018, on-time performance dropped to 83 percent from 92 percent a year before, according to data provided to the county government’s Transit Advisory Committee. Ridership in that quarter was down 14 percent from a year before.” [InsideNova]

Free ART Rides Today and Tomorrow — “Free ART rides on Thurs. December 20 & Fri. December 21. Everyone rides for free! Happy holidays and thank you for riding ART!” [Twitter]

Small Fire in Under-Construction Home — “ACFD is on the scene of a small trash fire at an under-construction home near Discovery Elementary and Williamsburg Middle School.” [Twitter]

Ballston Company Announces New Funding — “Acendre, a leader in secure, cloud-based talent management software for regulated industry verticals, today announced a majority growth investment from Strattam Capital. The investment will enable Acendre to accelerate its growth and more quickly advance its innovative, easy-to-use Software as a Service (SaaS) talent management platform, which helps organizations solve some of today’s most challenging hiring problems.” [Acendre]

Amazon Joins Arlington Chamber — “Amazon.com Inc. has agreed to join the Greater Washington Hispanic and Arlington chambers of commerce and could join more in the region in 2019… The e-commerce giant formally joined the 760-member Arlington chamber on Dec. 3. and subsequently sent a senior public policy official to its annual meeting on Dec. 7, said Kate Bates, chamber president.” [Washington Business Journal]

Nearby: Georgetown Wawa Opening Today — “What an exciting couple of days this week will bring, for fans of hoagies and tacos and caffeine and alcohol-infused frozen Pepsi products. Wawa announced Monday it will open its second D.C. location Thursday, in Georgetown at 1222 Wisconsin Ave. NW. As usual, the event will feature free coffee and a sampling of Wawa fare, in addition to a ‘Georgetown-inspired beverage.'” [WTOP]

Nearby: D.C. Population Breaks 700K — “Today, the U.S. Census Bureau released new official population numbers that put the District’s population at 702,455 as of July 1, 2018. The District’s population has risen every year since 2006 and has soared by more than 100,000 people since the 2010 Census.” [PoPville]

Flickr pool photo by Maryland Nomadic

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(Updated at 4:25 p.m.) Arlington County police and medics have responded to Clarendon after a promotion for free cheesecake got out of control.

Police were called to the area of the Cheesecake Factory at 2900 Clarendon Blvd earlier today for a report of a large crowd and heavy traffic in the area. Around 1 p.m., another dispatch went out for a fight in progress at the restaurant, though officers did not find an active fight when they arrived.

The culprit: the Cheesecake Factory is giving away free slices of cheesecake in honor of its 40th anniversary, but only to those who order on Doordash. The result, according to an Arlington County Police spokeswoman: an unruly crowd of delivery drivers inside the restaurant, trying to pick up orders, and a rash of double parking around the Clarendon area.

The scene was “a little hectic” and officers were working to bring order and “calm the situation down,” ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage told ARLnow.com.

During the fracas, according to Savage, one person refused police commands to leave the restaurant and a struggle with officers ensued. That person was arrested and is expected to be charged with disorderly conduct, Savage said. He requested to be transported to a local hospital by medics for evaluation of possible injuries.

Here is what the Cheesecake Factory said about the promotion on its website:

In celebration of our 40th anniversary, on December 5th only starting at 11:30AM local time, we’re giving away 40,000 FREE slices* of cheesecake! Get a free slice* of cheesecake when you order delivery through DoorDash! Use promo code FREESLICE at checkout. Get it while you can because an offer this sweet won’t last long!

As an added bonus, DoorDash is offering $0 delivery fee** on all of The Cheesecake Factory delivery orders from December 5 – 11! No promo code needed!

There are social media reports that the promotion has caused chaotic scenes at other Cheesecake Factories across the country.

Later Wednesday afternoon, photos and video emerged on Twitter that appeared to show the arrest and some of the chaos inside the restaurant.

https://twitter.com/pat_patsy_cake/status/1070411021305688066

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Anyone looking for a mid-day ice cream fix can swing by Ballston Quarter this afternoon.

Ice Cream Jubilee, a D.C.-based chain which will soon set up shop in the revamped Ballston Common mall, is giving away free scoops at a pop-up location today (Wednesday).

The giveaway will run from noon through 2 p.m., and will be set up on the “M1” level in the Macy’s concourse.

Anyone swinging by will be able to choose between “candy cane pretzel” or “boozy eggnog” ice cream. The shop uses “only local all-natural milk and cream” to create “delicious, exotic flavors inspired by international travels, decadent cocktails and childhood favorites,” according to its website.

Eventually, Ice Cream Jubilee will be located in the development’s large new food court on its ground floor, dubbed “Quarter Market.” Some Ballston Quarter stores began opening up for business last month, but that section likely won’t open until February.

The mall’s backers are hoping to have all of the development open to customers sometime this spring, though the project has endured several delays in recent months.

Photo via Facebook

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