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The newly-constructed Azure Dream Day Spa in Ballston is set to hold a grand opening celebration next Friday, Aug. 12.

The spa is located at 901 N. Quincy Street, a short walk away from the Ballston Metro station, in an extensively renovated, stand-alone building that used to house Sichuan Wok.

The Chinese restaurant closed in 2018.

The grand opening is scheduled to be held between 5-9 p.m. next Friday. The event is set to include tours of the facility, as well as live music, raffles, food and drinks, and discounts on services, according to an event listing.

A flyer listing special deals for Azure’s grand opening (via Azure Dream Day Spa)

The spa was founded in 2010 by Arash Hosseinzadeh and Leila Espari, a certified electrologist, according to its website. It was previously located in the Courthouse area but moved to its present location in Ballston in May this year, co-owner Leila Espari tells ARLnow.

The spa provides a range of services, including facials, hair removal, massage and nail care. It is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and until 5 p.m. on weekends.

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The interior of Meda Coffee & Kitchen (courtesy of Meda Coffee & Kitchen)

Ethiopian cafe Meda Coffee & Kitchen has opened on Columbia Pike.

Visitors to the new restaurant, at 5037 Columbia Pike, can dine on traditional Ethiopian fare during its grand opening weekend, set to begin this Friday (July 15).

The cafe, which opened late last month, is open every day at 9 a.m., serving coffee, tea and espresso drinks, in addition to specialty food and baked goods.

A ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for Saturday at 1:30 p.m., during which several guests are set to speak. The cafe plans to play music and serve the traditional Ethiopian dish kitfo, a signature offering of the cafe that is made with beef, chili powder and sometimes with cottage cheese and collard green. It will also serve a vegetarian option.

During the event, owner Yohannes Getachew said he plans to serve the dish in a cone made of banana leaves, a way of serving typically for holidays like Meskel, a Christian holiday that is usually celebrated in late September in Ethiopia.

A flyer advertising the grand opening (courtesy of Meda Coffee & Kitchen)

The Columbia Pike Partnership helped set up the ribbon cutting ceremony, invite guest speakers and promote the event, Getachew said.

The cafe is the second Ethiopian restaurant Getachew has run. He used to co-own a similar restaurant in Alexandria, ZeMeda Market and Restaurant.

He chose Arlington as the new location for his cafe because of his familiarity with the place.

“I know Arlington, I used to work here,” Getachew said, adding he loves the environment and the people in the county.

The Pike has several new restaurants and gathering spots on the way, including a new empanada restaurant and “Nightbird Restaurant and Lounge” in the former P. Brennan’s Irish Pub space.

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After nearly two decades and plenty of delays, the John Robinson, Jr. Town Square in Green Valley is finally ready for its grand opening next weekend.

The event to unveil the $5 million town square is set to take place on Saturday, May 7 at 2400 S. Shirlington Road. It will include a proclamation, remarks, and live entertainment, county spokesperson Ryan Hudson tells ARLnow.

The event will include a proclamation from the Arlington County Board, remarks from Green Valley residents and clergy from nearby places of worship, spoken word by local resident Velator, and ribbon cutting. Additionally, the day will feature live entertainment from DC Face and soloist Pat Brawley, food trucks (including BBQ At Its Best and Kona Ice), a make-and-take art project for kids, lawn games, and more.

The grand opening will also pay tribute to the town square’s namesake, John Robinson, Jr. A long-time organizer and civic leader, Robinson was known as the “Mayor of Green Valley.” He was also the publisher of a free neighborhood newspaper that circulated for 40 years.

“During his lifetime, John Robinson was the heart of the town square. He headquartered his activities to help the community — children, families and senior citizens — right in this spot,” Green Valley Civic Association president Portia Clark tells ARLnow. “It is only fitting that the opening ceremony celebrates John and what he meant to Green Valley.”

The public space was originally set to be named Nauck Town Square, but in 2020, the county approved the renaming in remembrance of Robinson, who died in 2012.

The square was designed by Walter Hood and will feature a plaza, open space, an outdoor stage, diagonal sidewalks, seating, tables, historical markers, and a work of public art.

The FREED sculpture is a 30-foot golden beacon that incorporates the name of a Green Valley subdivision and a Ghanaian Adinkra symbol.

The work of art “pays homage to the notion of freedom, whether experienced as a historical or contemporary and personal or collective condition,” according to the county website.

The town square’s layout and design was the topic of much discussion in the community. It was first approved way back in 2004.

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Morning Notes

Grand Opening for Big Rosslyn Development — “Real estate developer Penzance welcomed Arlington County officials to the grand opening of The Highlands, a mixed-use project in Rosslyn at the top of the hill on Wilson Boulevard. The Highlands, a 1.2-million-square-foot development, consists of three high-rise residences — named Pierce, Aubrey and Evo — with views of the D.C. area and several amenities. ‘We’re proud to be here today welcoming these 890 new residences, exciting retailers, Fire Station 10 and the beautiful Rosslyn Highlands Park.'” [Patch]

Reward Boosted in Ballston Murder Case — “The Ratigan family is announcing an increase in their reward fund from $25,000 to $50,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction of the suspect(s) responsible for Scott Ratigan’s homicide on January 17, 2020. Detectives continue to follow-up on any and all investigative leads in this case and remind the public that any information, regardless of how small it may seem, could be the tip that leads to justice on behalf of Scott and the Ratigan family.” [ACPD]

Retired Police K-9 Dies — “With great sadness, ACPD announces the passing of retired K9 Drago, a 14 year-old old German Shepard, Belgian Malinois mix. He loyally served Arlington from 2008 to 2019 as a patrol and narcotics detection K9. We kindly ask that you keep him and his handler in your thoughts.” [Twitter]

APS Getting Ready for Kid Vax Approval — “APS continues to work with the County on plans for rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine to students ages 5-11 once it is approved, which we anticipate very soon. Once approved, we will inform the community about the availability of doses and how to schedule appointments. Arlington County Public Health anticipates holding clinics and scheduling vaccinations by appointment, hopefully by mid-November. We will keep families informed as new information is received.” [Arlington Public Schools]

Man Seen Stealing GOP Signs — “We’ve received reports of stolen yard signs, and — while we appreciate your updates — almost none of those are actionable because the tipsters don’t provide us any physical/visual evidence. But kudos to one resourceful sleuth, who provided us with these fairly clear photos of a guy taking down Youngkin signs in Arlington last night.” [Arlington GOP, Twitter]

In Defense of Audrey’s Age Answer — “Apparently what happened is that the paper wanted candidates to fill out online questionnaires, and the computerized program didn’t allow respondents to skip the ‘age’ question. So Clement wrote in a younger figure as something of a protest in requiring candidates to answer a question she feels is inappropriate. From this, the Post tried to make a big deal. Turns out the Posties, as is often the case, missed the context. Clement wasn’t lying to them, as they contend. She was f*cking with them. A big difference.” [Sun Gazette]

Arlington Artist Performs on NPR — From National Public Radio: “The Tiny Desk is back… sort of. The first concert recorded at Bob Boilen’s desk since March 2020 is 2021 Tiny Desk Contest winner Neffy!” [Twitter]

It’s Thursday — Today will be partly sunny, with a high near 65, getting progressively cloudier throughout the day. Sunrise at 7:31 a.m. and sunset at 6:11 p.m. Tomorrow (Friday) will be rainy and windy, with storms and flooding possible. Expect a high near 63.

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Morning Notes

Charges Dropped Against TikToker — Charges of violating an emergency protective order were dropped earlier this week against Coco Briscoe, the local TikTok personality whose accusations against a pair of local bars and their employees went viral on the video app. A judge previously ended the order, which Briscoe was accused of violating, citing a lack of physical threats. In the comments of one of her videos this week, Briscoe threatened to sue ARLnow for defamation for our coverage of her case. [Twitter, TikTok]

Buyer for Ballston Health Tech Company? — “Evolent Health Inc. saw its share price shoot up Wednesday after Bloomberg reported Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., the Illinois holding company that owns pharmacy chain Walgreens, is considering a purchase of the Arlington health system consultancy.” [Washington Business Journal]

Grand Opening for Fire Station No. 10 — “This morning we held our grand opening ceremony for new fire station 10 in @RosslynVA. This fire station provides modern accommodations for our firefighters and allows us to serve our community for decades to come. We are grateful to all who came out to share in this special day.” [Twitter, Patch]

Grant for Local Senior Program — “The Arlington Neighborhood Villages program has received a $30,000 grant from the Community Care Corps to support its mission to help older adults in Arlington age in place while staying connected with the community. The funding will assist the social-safety-net organization in partnering with Culpepper Garden and the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing to bring services to residents of their apartment communities.” [Sun Gazette]

How Local Nonprofits Faced the Pandemic — “The new report, Safety Net Arlington: rising together to meet historic needs for our community, is told through the voices of the 21 nonprofit leaders in Safety Net Arlington and through the lens of how they worked collaboratively with each other and the County to face unprecedented levels of need through the first 18 months of the pandemic and the economic and racial justice crises.” [Arlington Community Foundation]

New Gym Open in Bailey’s Xroads — “Gold’s Gym is now open at 5718 Columbia Pike in Bailey’s Crossroads. There will be a grand opening on Oct. 9, noon-1 p.m., with a ribbon-cutting, food, membership deals, free classes, and prizes for members, including those who sign up on that day. The gym has relocated from its former location on Carlin Springs Road to the former HHGregg store.” [Annandale Blog]

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(Updated at 10:20 a.m.) The new Dunkin’ store at 3300 Wilson Blvd, near Clarendon, is now open.

The standalone Dunkin’, which features its own parking lot and a drive-thru window, officially opened on Tuesday, a company spokesman said. The coffee and donut purveyor was open this morning, serving a trickle of customers who notice the “now open” sign.

The building — which was previously a Dunkin’ Donuts, before it closed and was succeeded Peruvian chicken restaurant Pio Pio, Indian-Pakistani-Bangladeshi restaurant Naan Kabob, and, briefly, Red Hook Lobster Pound — was completely renovated over the past few months.

The new interior includes a steel “Arlington Runs on Dunkin'” sign and “next generation” Dunkin’ features like a front-facing bakery case and tap-based iced coffee, nitro cold brew, and iced tea pours.

The new store, which is about halfway between the Virginia Square and Clarendon Metro stations, takes the place of the previous, more central Dunkin’ location at 3009 Clarendon Blvd in Clarendon, which closed earlier this month.

A company spokesman says Dunkin’ is planning “a two-part grand opening celebration for the end of the month.”

“On [Thursday], Sept. 30 and Saturday, Oct. 2, we’ll be hosting a Free Medium Hot or Iced Coffee offer from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.,” the spokesman said. “We’ll also be offering guests Dunkin’ swag from the Dunkin’ Prize Wheel, photos with Dunkin’ mascot Cuppy and more.”

The grand opening will also include the presentation of a $2,500 donation to the Capital Area Food Bank from Dunkin’ franchisee DDC Management LLC, we’re told.

Given Arlington County’s propensity for encouraging more pedestrian-oriented and less car-oriented facilities — including county staff push-back on a proposed second drive-thru lane for a busy McDonald’s along Langston Blvd — the new Dunkin’ drive-thru is something of a curiosity. According to Transportation Commission Chair Chris Slatt, the use of the drive-thru window was grandfathered in, given that the building previously featured one.

ARLnow observed the drive-thru already in use this morning, as an Arlington police cruiser was seen making a U-turn on Wilson Blvd and then pulling up to the order lane, apparently after the driver saw the “now open” sign.

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The new Long Bridge Aquatics & Fitness Center “should open later in this month,” a county spokeswoman tells ARLnow.

The long-planned, $60 million center near Crystal City is preparing to make its debut as a destination for lap swimmers, casual pool users and fitness buffs alike. A formal announcement of its impending opening is imminent, we’re told.

“We will be announcing its opening date [this] week,” said Arlington County Dept. of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish. “Beginning in September, all of the County’s swim classes will be held at Long Bridge Aquatics & Fitness Center.”

“While the pandemic may have impacted the timeline slightly (much like most construction projects over the past 18 months), the fact that this was a Design/Build agreement assured us that costs remained the same and did not escalate,” Kalish said of the slight delay in the opening — at one point it seemed possible it might open in July. The project was approved in 2017.

Kalish said a ribbon cutting ceremony will be held on Friday, Sept. 24, followed by an open house on Saturday, Sept. 25.

“To celebrate… we are coordinating a community-wide Opening Celebration,” she wrote. “More details on this event will be available in the next two weeks.”

A new website for the aquatics center was recently launched, inviting interested patrons to sign up for an email list.

“Long Bridge Aquatics & Fitness Center is a 92,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art aquatics and fitness facility that serves the needs of health-conscious, fun-seeking and active individuals and families,” the website says. “The center is committed to the promise of fitness and fun for all who live, work and visit Arlington County.”

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Those who work at HQ2 have a new ABC store from which to procure their booze.

The new Virginia ABC store at 1301 S. Joyce Street is set to open next Tuesday, April 6, the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority announced today. The space previously housed a Mike Bloomberg for President campaign office.

The CEO of Virginia ABC said the store, at the Westpost (previously Pentagon Row) shopping center, is opening in response to local demand. The 4,200 square foot retail location in Pentagon City will offer more than 2,700 items, including over 400 types of bourbon.

“Store hours are noon to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 7 p.m. on Sunday,” noted a press release, adding that “the new Pentagon Row store will provide curbside service.”

The full press release is below.

Arlington County residents in the Pentagon City area will have a new retail outlet for purchasing distilled spirits, mixers and Virginia wine. On April 6, the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC) will open a new store at 1301 S. Joyce St., Suite D12, in the Pentagon Row shopping center.

“Today, approximately 93% of Virginians live within a 20-minute drive of an ABC store. But even with this reach, we heard there was a need to provide a higher level of convenience to the 190,000 people 21 or older who live in Arlington County,” said Virginia ABC Chief Executive Officer Travis Hill. “This new store is proof that we’re listening.”

This will be the ninth ABC store in Arlington County. The new store measures more than 4,200 square feet. The store’s product selection spans over 2,700 items, including 434 bourbons, 381 vodkas, 244 rums, 240 cordials and 217 tequilas.

“Arlington County has more than 250 businesses licensed to serve mixed beverages,” said Hill. “These businesses are also our customers. We are committed to providing them with excellent service.”

The store employs five sales associates, two lead sales associates, one assistant store manager and one store manager who are eager to help customers find what they are looking for and discover new products. Store hours are noon to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 7 p.m. on Sunday.

Like most of ABC’s stores across the commonwealth, the new Pentagon Row store will provide curbside service. After placing an online order at www.abc.virginia.gov, customers can opt for contactless pickup of spirits, Virginia wines and mixers the same day the order is placed, as long as the selected products are available in the store.

Throughout the pandemic, Virginia ABC has implemented safety measures in all of its 393 stores using retailer guidance provided by the Virginia Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to include:

  • Face mask requirement for customers and store employees. ABC will make every attempt to provide a face mask to customers who arrive without one.
  • Plexiglas shields at registers
  • Floor markers to ensure customers stand at least six feet apart from one another
  • Daily cleaning and sanitizing with particular attention to most frequented areas including checkout counters and high-touch surfaces such as door handles and knobs
  • Hand sanitizer at registers for customer and employee use

Customers are encouraged to visit Virginia ABC’s website at www.abc.virginia.gov to search for stores, determine the availability of products at any retail location and order spirits online for in-store or curbside pickup, or home delivery in select areas.

Per Virginia law, ABC’s profits from in-store and online retail sales are remitted each year to the commonwealth for designated state programs and services. For fiscal year 2020, ABC contributed a total of $545.3 million ($212.1 million from retail sales) to the commonwealth.

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Morning Notes

Frederick-to-Arlington Transit Proposal — “Proposed transit service connecting Arlington to Frederick (Md.) and points in between remains on the table, but barely, after scoring low in a recent cost-benefit analysis conducted by the Virginia and Maryland state governments… As envisioned, the transit route would start at Frederick six times each workday morning and terminate an hour later at the Pentagon, with intermediate stops at Monocacy, Urbana, Germantown, Gaithersburg, Montgomery Mall and Rosslyn.” [InsideNova]

Women Groped in Aurora Highlands — “At approximately 7:18 p.m. on November 3, police were dispatched to the late report of an assault. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 6:30 p.m., the victim was running in the area when the suspect approached her from behind and grabbed her buttocks. The victim yelled, and the suspect fled on foot, then entered the passenger side of a vehicle and left the area.” [ACPD]

Data Breach Affecting Hospital — “Virginia Hospital Center (VHC), a community-based hospital providing medical services to the Washington, DC metropolitan area for 75 years, has recently learned of an information security incident experienced by one of its vendors… [an] unauthorized party may have acquired a backup of the database that compromises certain limited elements of VHC’s donor and fundraising information, as may be the case with other nonprofits affected by this incident worldwide.” [Press Release]

Grand Opening for New BusinessPaint Nail Bar (1520 Clarendon Blvd) is holding its grand opening celebration this weekend, from 5-8 p.m. on Saturday. “Champagne and light bites will be served and all attendees will receive a goody bag,” the business says. [Facebook]

Tea Returns to the Ritz — “The Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City is now offering Afternoon Tea, bringing a time-honored tradition at an affordable price – all with safety and the health of guests in mind. Offered in their fyve restaurant, featuring globally inspired dishes, the hotel’s Afternoon Tea service is available at three price points, perfect for adults and children celebrating a special occasion or looking for a weekend respite from the day-to-day.” [Press Release]

More Nice Weather on Tap — “Quite a stretch of tranquil weather ahead of us as high pressure dominates into early next week, resulting in dry conditions and temperatures running 5 to 10 degrees above normal for early November.” [@NWS_BaltWash/Twitter, Capital Weather Gang]

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Roasted corn stand “Shuck Shack” will soon be serving local residents on wheels.

The Florida-based franchise opened its first Arlington location in the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City last October. The owner of the local stand announced the food truck addition on Instagram last week.

The restaurant declares itself the “home of the world famous Mexican street corn,” and its employees “cornistas.” Menu items include roasted corn with salt and pepper, Old Bay seasoning, lime-marinade and parmesan cheese, and more — nearly 30 corn flavorings in all.

Vincent Johnson, the owner of the stand, said mall customers responded well to its opening last year.

“Business was really good when we first opened. We got a really good, warm welcome from the community when we first opened. People were really interested in corn and that went well up until January, when the mall began to get kind of slow,” Johnson said. “And of course in March, the mall shut down.”

Since the mall has reopened, Johnson said he’s served customers from around the country.

“Pentagon City mall is an attraction when people come to the area, so we get people from all over the place. And now with the pandemic going on, we’re getting people that are from New Orleans, Texas, Chicago, and California that are coming to the mall and they’re all like ‘I just couldn’t stay in the house anymore. I’ve had enough and I just wanted to go somewhere,'” Johnson said. “It’s really interesting how people have had it with this pandemic.”

Johnson said adding a food truck was something he always envisioned.

“I had a friend who had his own food truck for several years and he did pretty well, so after I opened up in Pentagon City mall, it was kind of a natural progression,” Johnson said. “We’re getting really good feedback in the mall, but of course with the pandemic, some people don’t want to come in the mall, and the thing that I love about the truck is that I can go to where the people are and that’s something that I’m really looking forward to.”

The Shuck Shack food truck will have varying hours of operation, while the restaurant’s hours in the mall will remain the same.

“We have a general plan right now to do daytime, maybe start around 11 a.m., and then maybe around 4 p.m. or 5 p.m. during the week,” Johnson said. “We’re going to start in the downtown Arlington area and try to do lunch around the city. We’re going to add on to our staff and we’re going to have people working in the mall or working on the truck.”

The grand opening for the Shuck Shack food truck is planned for Wednesday, Oct. 14, at the mall in front of Zara and Sugar Factory. The time of the grand opening is still to be determined, but Johnson said customers can follow on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter for more announcements.

Once the truck is up and running, Johnson said he’ll be able to serve “100 to 200 cooked ears every hour.”

Photo via Shuck Shack/Instagram

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The new CVS Pharmacy in Shirlington is opening over Labor Day weekend.

The store at 4060 Campbell Avenue, in the Village at Shirlington, is set to open this Sunday, Sept. 6.

The space was previously occupied by the now-closed Ping by Charlie Chiang’s and by Cheesetique, which relocated to a larger storefront in Shirlington.

The 10,906-square-foot CVS has been in the works for about a year. Its outdoor signage features a big red heart facing the corner of Campbell Avenue and S. Randolph Street.

The store will be open from 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 8 a.m.-9 p.m., according to the company’s website.

 

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