Arlington’s first “parklet” is now open to the public, providing a small splash of green space amid Rosslyn’s urban landscape — and perhaps giving county officials a new tool for adding more open spaces across Arlington.
Rosslyn’s Business Improvement District teamed up with the county to design the mini-park, located adjacent to the Roti Mediterranean restaurant at the intersection of Wilson Boulevard and N. Oak Street. Starting today (Thursday), anyone can take advantage of the parklet, which is just 30 feet wide — about the size of two parking spaces.
These sorts of mini-parks have become increasingly popular in heavily populated cities like New York and San Francisco, and Arlington tested out a temporary parklet at the same location last fall for PARK(ing) Day, an international event for cities to experiment with temporary green spaces built in parking spaces. Now, planners are hoping to make this parklet permanent, and even set up more elsewhere to help compensate for the county’s dwindling supply of available land.
“Cafe seating used to be the sum total of outdoor seating around here,” County Board Chair Katie Cristol told ARLnow. “But we know that mixed-use places need mixed-use spaces.”
Lucia deCordre, executive director of the Lee Highway Alliance and an architect of the parklet project back in her days working with the Rosslyn BID, says she came to the idea of creating a parklet like this as she started working on improvements to Rosslyn’s streetscape. As the BID looked at ways to add new benches and bike racks to make its streets more attractive, deCordre says her team “realized we needed to do something for pedestrians.”
“It’s all about helping create an identity for Rosslyn,” deCordre said.
She says the BID selected the space next to Roti because it didn’t have much existing sidewalk seating, and they needed “somewhere safe,” without too much vehicle traffic to test out a parklet. Ultimately, N. Oak Street ended up being an ideal side street for the mini-park to sit next to, deCordre said.
But she didn’t want to simply see a few tables added to the sidewalk. She also wanted something that was both “flexible” and “user friendly,” so she made sure to include lots of greenery as well — the parklet includes a total of 18 chairs, five tables and four planter boxes.
“This should really boost retail here, but also bring together different stakeholders in the community,” said Mary-Claire Burick, the BID’s president. “And it’s particularly valuable here where open space is at a premium.”
Doug Plowman, the BID’s urban planning and design manager, is hoping that everyone from Rosslyn residents to tourists take advantage of the parklet. But he also says the BID is keeping an open mind on the matter — he’s looking at this space as a two-year prototype, and each table directs visitors to an online survey so they can share their thoughts on the space.
“Is it workers using it, or residents?” Plowman said. “How long are they staying here? Should it be bigger or could it be smaller? This is all stuff we want to know.”
Cristol says county leaders will certainly be monitoring that feedback closely.
As the county increasingly grapples with development gobbling up green space — not to mention a financial squeeze that could prevent Arlington from buying up any new park land over the next decade — Cristol fully expects that plans for more parklets could wind up included in the County Board’s long-planned update of Arlington’s Public Spaces Master Plan.
“The old model of creating green space in retail corridors is getting tougher,” Cristol said. “So let’s bring it on, and do these sorts of public-private partnerships to get creative. This is our first foray into that.”
Arlington’s Black Heritage Museum, once only a virtual museum, opened a physical, though temporary, location today (May 1).
A bit sparse, the museum’s exhibits and decor are still in the works; at least one exhibit room still needs to be filled. Though it opened in 1996, the museum has only had an online presence.
It’s a relatively bare-bones space, nestled on the top floor above the Sun Trust bank at 3108 Columbia Pike. It’s intended to be temporary until a suitable, permanent home for the collection can be located.
“It is what it is,” said Portia Clark, the museum’s volunteer office manager and the Nauck Civic Association’s president.
“For now, we just need a presence, so we don’t have a preference,” Clark added.
While additional exhibits are lined up, those currently available provide a glimpse into what Clark calls the rich history of the three predominantly African American communities in Arlington — Nauck, Hall’s Hill and Johnson’s Hill (now Arlington View).
In one area of the musuem, a visitor can learn about the life of prominent African-American Arlingtonian John Robinson; in another, the history of how black Arlingtonians never could truly say that they were born in the county since black families had to go to Washington to give birth, according to Clark.
“There are so many stories to be told,” she said. “There’s a number of stories that we’re still collecting to tell.”
Volunteer staff are still planning fundraising events, and Clark said that the museum hoped to raise much-needed funds at a Founders Day event, as well as at a possible art show and a book signing later in the summer.
The Black Heritage Museum is currently open on Tuesdays from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., on Thursdays from 3 p.m.-6 p.m., and on Saturdays from 1 p.m.-4 p.m., but different exhibit viewing times can be arranged by calling ahead and making a request.
A 10,000 square foot Ulta Beauty location is set to open its doors at Pentagon Row later this week.
The opening of the 1101 S. Joyce Street location is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Friday, February 23. The store “will feature 20,000 beauty products across 500 brands, as well as a full-service salon.”
The first 100 shoppers on Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be given beauty products and makeovers. Gift recipients will be given a “beauty treat” valued between $5 and $100, and can choose between a discounted first hair or facial appointment voucher at the in-store salon or skincare bar.
Ulta Beauty currently runs 1,058 locations across the country, according to a company press release.
A new pet store is coming to Arlington County.
Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming, at 4550 Lee Highway, is holding its grand opening this Saturday (Feb. 10) at 10 a.m., where it will be offering gourmet dog treat samples and premium dog food, said a Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming press release.
The first 20 dogs to enter the store at the grand opening will receive free pet treats for a year. There will also be prizes, giveaways, and light refreshments.
Homeward Trails Animal Rescue will bring ready-to-adopt rescue animals to the store.
Besides treats, Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming offers self-service and grooming services. Customers can choose to use the store’s facilities to bathe their pets or pay to have the staff do it.
The store has more than 90 locations across the country, including one in Alexandria, Va.
Photo via Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming
A new pet store will celebrate its grand opening this weekend at the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center.
The festivities, which include free pet nail trimming, raffles and giveaways, begin at 10 a.m. Saturday.
As of Friday morning, staff were putting the finishing touches on the store, which has pet toys, food, beds and health products among others. It also offers a grooming service for cats and dogs.
More from a Kriser’s press release:
Kriser’s Natural Pet, a specialty retailer focused on natural pet food, supplies and grooming, debuts its seventh location in the DMV Metro Area with a Grand Opening celebration on October 21st & 22nd in Arlington’s Lee Harrison Shopping Center at the corner of Lee Hwy and N. Harrison St.
“Kriser’s is thrilled to continue serving the pet parents of Arlington and to further our mission of helping pets in this vibrant community live a happy, healthy, natural lifestyle,” said Brad Kriser, founder & CEO. “Every day, we strive to provide pet parents with the best natural products, services and education to help care for their furry families. To have the opportunity to touch even more families in Arlington is an honor. We can’t wait to become a trusted resource and partner to more local pet parents.”
Kriser’s warm, welcoming shopping experience and highly educated staff are focused around a carefully curated selection of natural food, treats, toys, supplements and supplies from trusted brands that they feel good about recommending. Kriser’s second location in Arlington will also offer grooming services by professional, caring groomers using natural products.
Kriser’s Lee Harrison location will offer a number of activities and promotions throughout the Grand Opening weekend:
- Free pet nail trimming (Sat & Sun from 10am-4pm)
- In-store raffles for store merchandise and grooming gift cards (Sat & Sun)
- Free reusable shopping bags (Sat & Sun)
- Free waste bag holders (Sat only)
- Free engraved pet ID tags (Sun only)
- Free can lids (Sun only)
- Samples and product giveaways all weekend
- PLUS Doorbuster raffles both Saturday and Sunday, whereby people in line each day at 10 a.m. will have the chance to win gift cards for on-the-spot shopping sprees.
Kriser’s will host another event on Saturday, December 12th to celebrate their first month, with free pet/ parent digital photo portraits, goodie bags for the first 50 pets and more raffles and prizes. For store events, hours and details, visit http://www.krisers.com.
A gym on N. Pershing Drive owned by a former UFC fighter will celebrate its grand opening on Saturday (October 14).
Kamal “The Prince of Persia” Shalorus, who now fights in the Singapore-based ONE Fighting Championship mixed martial arts competition, opened District Martial Arts at 2300 N. Pershing Drive, across from The Shops at Pershing strip mall in Lyon Park.
On Saturday, the gym will host three seminars for its grand opening: on striking at 11 a.m., on MMA at noon and on grappling at 1 p.m. It will then host a happy hour at Courthaus Social (2300 Clarendon Blvd), with four raffles.
Attendees can also sign up for special membership deals at the event, with all fees waived on a $120 a month membership contract.
Shalorus is also one of six instructors at the gym, which offers training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai and wrestling.
More from a press release:
Former UFC and current OneFC fighter, Kamal “The Prince of Persia” Shalorus, has opened a gym on Pershing Drive. Classes at the new gym are expanding and include Brazilian jiu-jitsu, MMA, Muay Thai, boxing, wrestling, and Krav Maga. The gym is a safe and friendly environment for people of any skill level, from complete novice to professional fighter. Lose weight, learn to defend yourself, stay in shape, and meet some great people. Instructors include: Kamal; Scott Dance, a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu; Sam Shawa, a high-level brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu; Mark Cirello, a former Division I wrestler; Charles DiGisco, an amateur MMA fighter and color commentator on UFC fight pass; and Richard Dittler, a Royal Australian Navy veteran who was certified in Krav Maga by KMG founder Eyal Yanilov.
A grand opening with 3 free seminars will be open to the public on 10/14. Striking seminar will start at 11am, followed by an MMA seminar with Kamal Shalorus at noon, and a Brazilian jiu-jitsu seminar at 1pm with black belt Scott Dance. Email [email protected] with any questions!
Photo via District Martial Arts,
Central Coffee Bar (1901 N. Moore Street) in Rosslyn is officially open. Owner Mehmet Osman Coskun was thrilled that as of 8:30 a.m. on its opening day, staff already had served 200 customers.
This is his team’s first business in Arlington and they credit the county and the Rosslyn BID for helping them get through first-time business owner snags during the process of opening. “When you have a new business, you don’t know a lot of stuff… and you need support,” Coskun said. “You made your investment and you’re hoping people will help you out.”
The venue isn’t just going to be for coffee and pastries. Owners have applied for a liquor license so they can transition Central Coffee Bar into a bar in the evening. Coskun believes that the establishment’s later service hours will set it apart from others in the neighborhood.
“A lot of places in Rosslyn close by 8 p.m., so people feel like they don’t want to go somewhere at night because it’s going to close soon,” Coskun said. “But we extended our hours to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday because we do feel like people want to hang out after work and socialize and get something to drink. And we really want to appeal to the locals.”
This morning Coskun reiterated what he previously told ARLnow, that he’s interested in expanding in the county and eventually opening a coffee shop/bar in Clarendon.
Central Coffee Bar will hold a grand opening next Thursday, October 12. From 2-4 p.m. all guests will get a free coffee.
Stageplate Bistro in Ballston hasn’t always been open during normal business hours recently, but it’s not closing down. In fact, despite the limited service hours, the staff is preparing for the new restaurant’s upcoming grand opening.
A message on the front door at 900 N. Glebe Road, which is also posted on the restaurant’s website, thanks patrons who already have tried the restaurant during its recent soft opening. The grand opening is scheduled for Monday, October 16.
General Manager Mary Marchetti said the limited service has been to work out any snags, as this is the team’s first restaurant. She said customer feedback has been positive and staff has been able to incorporate customer suggestions in order to perfect operations.
“Just those little things, we were working it out,” Marchetti said. “We’ve had wonderful interactions with guests. I feel really good and really confident now that we’re going to be great.”
When an ARLnow reporter passed Stageplate Bistro during the typically busy dinner hours one day last week, customers trying to go in were met with locked doors. Upon reading the sign, though, several said they would come back for the grand opening and that they were just glad the locked doors didn’t mean the restaurant had met its demise so quickly.
The restaurant will serve its full menu at typical operating hours starting on Monday, October 16. It will open starting at lunchtime from Monday through Saturday, and for now it will be closed on Sundays, although brunch will be added in the future.
Marchetti says the Stageplate Bistro team is excited to be a part of the Arlington community. “We tried to talk with every single table [of customers] that came in,” she said. “Everyone was really interactive. The community has been so unbelievably great.”
The Little Beet is opening its new Rosslyn location at 1800 N. Lynn Street today.
The fast-casual vegetarian restaurant is the New York-based company’s second in the D.C. area. Following today’s planned 11 a.m. opening, the eatery is expected to be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner on weekdays. (It will be open for just lunch and dinner on weekends.)
Over the weekend, The Little Beet held a soft opening and staff training session, serving free food to anyone who wandered in.
More from a press release, below.
Acclaimed fast casual restaurant concept, The Little Beet, is proud to announce its newest location opens today at 11am in Arlington, VA, just outside Washington, DC.
The latest addition to The Little Beet family is located at 1800 North Lynn Street in the base of Rosslyn’s new Central Place residential development.
“We are extremely excited to open our second DC-area location today,” says Andy Duddleston, Managing Partner of The Little Beet. “Rosslyn is a vibrant community with amazing energy, making it the perfect fit for The Little Beet. We look forward to welcoming in area residents and business professionals alike to enjoy our healthy, seasonal menu for breakfast, lunch or dinner.”
Headquartered in New York City, with seven locations in total, The Little Beet opened its first DC outpost in November 2015 near Dupont Circle.
The vegetable-focused menu is 100% gluten free, mostly vegan, always fresh, and void of refined sugar. The culinary team, led by Chef Gabe Kennedy, draws inspiration from global flavors and incorporates exciting, nutrient-dense ingredients into every tasty bite that benefit both body and mind.
At the new Rosslyn location, guests can select from an array of composed Chef Made Bowls with three base options including mixed greens, ancient grains or spirulina-flecked brown rice. Guests can also get creative and choose the Make Your Own option featuring a selection of cool and warm vegetables (acorn squash, shaved Brussels sprouts, roasted kale, bok choy, etc.), high-quality proteins (beet falafel, grilled avocado, tofu, chicken, steak or salmon), house-made sauces (piquillo garlic, turmeric tahini, salsa verde, etc.), and flavorful garnishes (hibiscus pickled onions, turmeric toasted almonds or super seeds).
In addition to lunch and dinner offerings, breakfast is available Monday-Friday from 7am-10am. The breakfast menu features an assortment of chef-made bowls, egg sandwiches, yogurt parfaits, and beverages such as Almond Banana Cold Brew, Chaga Chai Tea, and more.
To add a unique creative touch to the new location, The Little Beet collaborated with Virginia-based artist Troy Summerell (aka, OnieTonie) for a custom, hand-painted mural. With “fruits and veggies” as the theme, Troy’s bold, playful artwork is on grand display in the main dining area for guests to visually savor.
The Little Beet is committed to sustainability and eco-friendly practices. Like its siblings, this new location features energy-efficient kitchen equipment and lighting throughout. Plus, packaging is recyclable and biodegradable, and a composting program is utilized.
The Little Beet’s Rosslyn location is open Monday-Friday from 7am-9pm, and Saturday and Sunday from Noon-8pm. Catering and delivery services are both offered.
Founded in 2014 in New York City, The Little Beet is owned-and-operated by NYC-based restaurant group Aurify Brands. With seven locations throughout Manhattan, Long Island, and Washington, DC, The Little Beet strives to serve real food deliciously. The vegetable-forward, seasonal menu is 100% gluten free, mostly vegan, always fresh, and void of refined sugar. The culinary team, led by Chef Gabe Kennedy, draws inspiration from global flavors and incorporates exciting, nutrient-rich ingredients into every tasty bite that benefit both body and mind. All ingredients are carefully sourced from local farmers and food purveyors you can trust–good food never tasted so great!
‘Hate Group’ Holding Conference in Arlington — ACT for America, which describes itself as the “nation’s largest non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots national security organization” — but which is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-Muslim hate group — is holding its annual conference at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Crystal City next weekend. Marriott is refusing calls to cancel the event, saying: “We are a hospitality company that provides public accommodations and function space. Acceptance of business does not indicate support or endorsement of any group or individual.” [Slate]
Private Middle School Opens in Arlington — A ribbon cutting was held earlier this week for the grand opening celebration of The Sycamore School, a new, private middle school in Arlington. “More than 80 percent of our inaugural students are coming from public school, which tells me that our community is aching for smaller class options and more individualized learning,” said the school’s founder. [InsideNova]
Another Arcing Insulator Outside of Rosslyn — A track issue caused problems yet again between the Rosslyn and Foggy Bottom Metro stations this morning. The initial call for a possible arcing insulator went out around 5 a.m. Normal service on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines was restored around 7 a.m. [WJLA]
First Day of Fall — Grab your maple lattes, today is the autumnal equinox and the first day of astrological autumn. The equinox will happen just after 4 p.m. Eastern time. [Twitter, Capital Weather Gang]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
County Board Stalls on VRE Decision — The Arlington County Board, at a Tuesday meeting that stretched into early Wednesday morning, declined to endorse one of the options for a proposed new Virginia Railway Express station in Crystal City. VRE officials, county staff, the Arlington Chamber of Commerce and Arlington’s Transportation Commission backed Option 2, which places the station closer to the Crystal City Metro station and transit center. Some local condominium residents and the Planning Commission, citing concerns about noise, wanted Option 3 — which places the station behind an office building — to be considered as well. [InsideNova, InsideNova]
Michelle Obama Stops By Arlington for Salon Opening — Former first lady Michelle Obama and her Secret Service entourage were among “a crowd of about 40 VIPs” who came to Arlington Tuesday night for the opening of a new salon. The business, Aesthetics Salon, is owned by stylist Yene Damtew, who was part of Obama’s “glam squad” while she was in the White House. Aesthetics Salon is located at 2412 26th Road S. in the Long Branch Creek neighborhood just south of I-395. [Washington Post]
Clarendon Day Closures — Expect lots of road closures in central Clarendon on Saturday for the annual Clarendon Day festival, which is taking place from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. On Sunday morning Wilson Blvd will be closed from Clarendon to Rosslyn for the Clarendon Day 5K, 10K and Kids Dash races. [Arlington County, Arlington County]
More on Proposed Columbia Pike Bus Revamp — “Recently Metro unveiled the latest proposed changes to the Metrobus network which includes a major restructuring to the 16 series bus lines on Columbia Pike in Arlington. The long-awaited restructuring is aimed at simplifying and improving bus service in the corridor.” [Greater Greater Washington]
County Seeking Pike Bus Feedback — While WMATA continues to collect feedback on the proposed Columbia Pike bus changes via an online survey, a public meeting is scheduled tonight (Thursday) to discuss the changes in person with residents. The meeting is taking place at the Arlington Mill Community Center from 6-8 p.m. [Arlington County]
Local Nonprofit Lender Steps Up Loan Volume — “Arlington-based Capital Impact Partners said Wednesday it provided $75 million in private financing in the second quarter of 2017, the largest quarterly loan volume in its history. The nonprofit community development financial institution backs projects that support increased access to health care, education, affordable housing and healthy food in the United States.” [Washington Business Journal]
Flickr pool photo by Alan Kotok
Resident Helps ACPD Arrest Break-in Suspects — On Saturday an Arlington resident spotted a group of people breaking into car and immediately called 911, leading to the arrest of three juvenile suspects. Police say such cooperation from the community can help them fight crime. Over the weekend more than 30 vehicles were “entered and rummaged through” in Arlington. [Facebook]
Alexandria Schools Closed Wednesday — Alexandria City Public Schools will be closed on Wednesday after more than 300 staff members requested leave. That coincides with Wednesday’s “Day Without Women” protest. Arlington Public Schools will remain open, a spokesman said, although Wednesday is an early release day for elementary schools. [Twitter, InsideNova]
Orange Line’s Abysmal On-Time Rate — Last year trains on Metro’s Orange Line were only on time 56 percent of the time. [Twitter]
Spotlight on Uyghur Cuisine — Crystal City’s Queen Amannisa is one of three restaurants serving Uyghur cuisine — with its mix of Chinese, Central Asian and Middle Eastern influences — in the D.C. area. Uyghur “is going to be the next big thing in the United States,” said a partner in the restaurant. [Washington Post]
Chick-fil-A Coming to DCA — A new Chick-fil-A restaurant is coming to Terminal C at Reagan National Airport, in the former Cosi space. [PoPville]
Grand Opening for Xfinity Store — On Saturday Comcast celebrated the grand opening of its new 6,700 square foot Xfinity store in Courthouse. The store replaces the former Comcast Service Center in Clarendon. The store “features a comfortable seating area and informational, interactive displays where customers can learn more about Comcast’s products and services, including Comcast Business services, the X1 Entertainment Operating System, Xfinity Home automation and security offerings and Comcast’s suite of mobile apps.”
Williamsburg to Implement Block Scheduling — Williamsburg Middle School will, in fact, be implementing a block schedule for classes next year, an Arlington Public Schools spokeswoman tells ARLnow.com. While Kenmore has a modified block schedule for sixth grade, and Gunston is “exploring moving to a flexible schedule for next year,” Jefferson and Swanson are not considering moving to a block schedule, we’re told.
Home Prices Decline in Arlington in 2016 — Per WTOP’s Jeff Clabaugh and listing service MRIS: “The median price in Arlington County last year was down 1.8 percent from 2015. Arlington and Alexandria were the only local jurisdictions to see declines in 2016 prices versus 2015.” [WTOP]
Grand Opening for Pamplona — New Clarendon restaurant Pamplona is holding its grand opening celebration tonight. The Spanish tapas restaurant is set in a self-described “sultry and sophisticated space, featuring colorful Spanish tiled floors, unique murals… and of course, an arsenal of bullheads.” [Facebook]
H-B Photography in Richmond — Work by H-B Woodlawn photography students is on display in the Richmond offices of Del. Patrick Hope. Hope plans to highlight one piece a day during the legislative session. [Twitter]
Multi-Generational Housing Construction — A 1950s ranch home near Bishop O’Connell High School is being torn down to make way for a new multi-generation house for a couple, their daughter and husband, and their grandchildren. [Falls Church News-Press]
When You Don’t Want Someone to Take Your Parking Cone — South Arlington is “so rough you have to lock up your cones,” as a photo apparently taken yesterday demonstrates. [Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
W-L Defeats Yorktown, Heads to Playoffs — The Washington-Lee Generals defeated cross-county rival Yorktown Friday night to advance to the football playoffs. W-L was trailing when senior quarterback Ricardo Mestre passed for a touchdown with just seconds remaining to clinch the win. [Washington Post]
Board Advertises Ballston Historic District — The Arlington County Board voted unanimously Saturday to advertise hearings on designating a small family graveyard in Ballston a local historic district, ahead of a planned redevelopment by the Central United Methodist Church. “The Board on Saturday received assurances from the church that it will not seek to remove any remains from the graveyard before the County has an opportunity to consider its historic designation,” according to a press release. [Arlington County]
Students: Adults Should Tone Down Boundary Rhetoric — Some adults have taken their rhetoric over the current Arlington Public Schools high school boundary refinement process too far, according to a pair of high school students who spoke at Thursday’s School Board meeting. “We honestly consider some of the comments made thus far to be an embarrassment,” said a Yorktown student. [InsideNova, InsideNova]
Arlington Smartphone App Updated — Arlington County has made a number of new upgrades to its My Arlington App for smartphones. The changes include a new home screen design, transit alerts and, just in time for Election Day, polling locations and a map of voter precincts. [Arlington County]
Library Director: Vote on Nov. 8 — From Arlington Public Library Director Diane Kresh’s blog: “Every election is important and every vote counts. And it’s a privilege that for people in many parts of the world is not enjoyed. On Tuesday, vote as if your life depends on it; it does.” [Arlington Public Library]
Free Home Buying Seminar Tonight — Sponsored — The Orange Line Living Team is hosting a Free Home Buying Seminar with a local lender and all attendees will receive two guarantees just for attending: 1) Buyer satisfaction — if you don’t love your new home they will buy it back or sell it for free for 12 months, and 2) $1,500 home purchase credit. See website for details and conditions. The event is being at 1600 Wilson Blvd #101 in Arlington, from 6-8 p.m. tonight, Nov. 7. [Orange Line Living]
A new non-Starbucks coffee shop has opened in Ballston.
Rock ‘N’ Joe Coffee Bar held a ribbon-cutting ceremony this morning at 4401 Wilson Blvd, Ste. 103, its first Arlington location and the first of six planned for the D.C. area.
Nearly two dozen people were at the opening, taking advantage of a mug giveaway for the first 250 customers and free coffee all day today (Wednesday). In keeping with the cafe’s rock ‘n’ roll theme, there was also live music.
Prices range from $1.95 to $3.75 for coffee, $3.50 to 4.95 for a latte and are as high as $5.50 for “artisan” drinks like a Raspberry Cookie Crumble coffee. Tea, sandwiches, wraps, breakfast foods, salads and pastries are also offered.
More about Rock ‘N’ Joe and its opening, from a press release:
After the New Jersey-based Rock ‘N’ Joe Coffee Bar franchise was bought by Pittsburgh-based franchisor Ablak Holdings last year, the ‘third-wave’ coffee bar which boasts award-winning coffee and artisan coffee drinks in a relaxed, hip environment, will mark its national expansion Wednesday in Ballston’s busy Wilson Boulevard strip. Five more stores are to open in the D.C. metro area within the next few years.
“People’s desire for that perfect cup of coffee, shot of espresso, or specialty drink isn’t slowing down. What’s been missing is the third-wave coffee-making experience, where baristas showcase the art form of artisan beverage-making,” said Varol Ablak, president and CEO of Ablak Holdings. “Rock ‘N’ Joe’s provides entrepreneurship opportunities for baristas who want to do what they love – work with one of the best roasters in the world, and achieve the financial success that is the hallmark of all of our franchisees.”
From bean to roast and brew, Rock ‘N’ Joe Coffee Bar offers signature blends of coffee with smooth taste, providing an alternative to specialty chains known for the powerful, burnt taste of their brews. This quality has earned Rock ‘N’ Joe accolades from customers and recognition from industry experts including the Specialty Coffee Association of America “Golden Cup” Award, and New Jersey Monthly Magazine’s “Best Coffeehouses North.” The roaster, Dillanos, has received accolades including “Best Roaster in North America,” Roast Magazine.
Franchise owner Talha Sarac, the CEO of Ideal Development, invested in a multi-unit agreement to open five stores in the D.C. metro area, with potential to expand beyond that in the market. The first stores, to be managed by Operating Partner Alex Andrade, will be developed within the next two or three years.
“I’m a coffee snob,” Sarac said. “The coffee is really the best I’ve tasted. And I like the concept of a high-quality coffee shop that offers people a decent alternative to the other big coffee shop companies. Rock ‘N’ Joe is different and there’s a huge demand for such an alternative in this market. I see what people are looking for and I know the neighborhood coffee shop atmosphere with really good coffee will appeal to them.”
Rock ‘N’ Joe’s award-winning, Seattle-based roaster sources coffees from East Africa, Central and South America, and the South Pacific. Dillanos has established strong relationships with partners at origin to ensure the consistency of its supply chain. The “cupping” team spends countless hours verifying quality and profile to ensure that each cup meets a rigorous standard. A “marriage” of age-old roasting techniques combines with modern drum roasters to fully develop each bean.
“Much like the art form of the music playing in the backdrop of each Rock ‘N’ Joe Coffee Bar, the craft of beverage-making is an art form performed by every barista,” said Sarac.
ABOUT ROCK ‘N’ JOE:
Rock ‘N’ Joe Coffee Bar is all about creative excellence. Taste the award-winning and proprietary coffee masterfully blended by one of North America’s premier coffee roasters. Savor the chef-select tastes of our pastries and food while enjoying rock ‘n’ roll music. For people with a passion for great proprietary coffee blends, food, specialty drinks and rock ‘n’ roll music, Rock ‘N’ Joe Coffee Bar is the hippest hangout in town.
Photos by Samantha Moore