Food Star Not Responding to Pleas to Stay — The Food Star grocery store apparently doesn’t have much interest in staying in Arlington after the store, at the corner of Columbia Pike and George Mason Drive, closes to make way for a redevelopment. Despite resident interest in keeping the Food Star, county officials say their efforts to reach out to the company and help them relocate to another location in Arlington have not yet yielded a “substantive” response. [InsideNova]
LEGO Store Grand Opening — The new LEGO Store in the Pentagon City mall is holding its grand opening celebration starting today. The store will be hosting a LEGO Master Builder who will construct a huge LEGO model for display. The first 400 customers Friday, Saturday and Sunday will receive free gifts with qualifying purchases. [LEGO]
Olympic Athletes at Elementary School — A group of Olympic athletes will talk with students at Carlin Springs Elementary this morning. Among the group are shot put gold medalist Michelle Carter, gold medal-winning sprinter Natasha Hastings and long jump gold medalist Jeff Henderson. The athletes will be at the school as part of the Let’s Move! Healthy Schools campaign.
Notable Tree Nominations — It’s that time of the year — if you think you have a truly exceptional tree in your yard that deserves recognition, you can now nominate it for Arlington County’s annual Notable Tree awards. The deadline for nominations is Nov. 15. [Arlington County]
October Is Affordable Housing Month — Tomorrow is Oct. 1 and October is Affordable Housing Month in Arlington, “a month-long celebration of the County’s long-term commitment to preserving and creating housing opportunities that benefit the whole community.” [Arlington County]
The Harris Teeter at the Lee-Harrison shopping center is currently being remodeled.
The supermarket is adding a full-service wine bar, an expanded salad bar, a “cheese island” with hot pizza options, American and Asian hot bars, a breakfast bar and more.
Harris Teeter sent the following email to customers this week, discussing its plans for the store.
Dear Valued e-VIC Member,
Our records indicate that you shop at our Lee & Harrison location. We are currently in the process of ongoing renovations at this store, and we appreciate your continued patience as we work to bring new and exciting features to your Harris Teeter. While we understand that this transition presents some inconveniences, we wanted to take the time to familiarize you with what amenities we are adding to enhance your shopping experience.
In the upcoming months, expect to see a full service wine bar, an expanded seafood department, an extended salad bar, more LaBrea bread options, a more extensive cheese island with hot pizza, and American and Asian hot bars for you to enjoy. We appreciate your patience during this remodel, and as always, thank you for shopping at your Harris Teeter!
During the remodel, our hours of operation will be as follows:
Monday – Thursday: 7 am – 10 pm
Friday – Saturday: Open at 7 am Friday, then open 24 hours
Sunday: Close at 10 pm
If you have any questions or concerns about the remodel process, please visit the
Hat tip to Chris Slatt
The new Whole Foods store in Pentagon City will open its doors at 9 a.m. tomorrow (Wednesday).
Located at the corner of S. Eads Street and 12th Street S., two blocks from the Metro station, the 36,800-square-foot store will serve both those who live and work in the area — Pentagon City is growing with new apartment towers and other planned development — and those driving in from elsewhere. Underground parking is available.
As part of tomorrow’s opening, the store will holding a “bread-breaking ceremony.”
“The public is invited to join team members and community leaders in a bread-breaking ceremony that begins at 8:45 a.m. and will include the presentation of a $2,000 check to the Arlington Food Assistance Center,” said a press release. “Opening day shoppers will experience first-to-market exclusive products and special door buster savings. The first 500 shoppers who spend $50 will receive a limited edition Whole Foods Market Pentagon City canvas tote bag.”
“Those who can’t make the bread-breaking ceremony will want to stop by for the store’s inaugural happy hour from 4-6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 29, when chef, restaurateur, reality TV star and winemaker Fabio Viviani will meet customers and sign bottles of his wine collection – Fabio Viviani Wines,” said the press release.
On Thursday, its second day in business, the store will donate 5 percent of the day’s sales to two local nonprofits — Blue Star Families in Falls Church, which supports D.C. area military families, and the Animal Welfare League of Arlington.
In Pentagon City, Whole Foods is seeking for be more than a grocery store — there’s a bar, a coffee shop and other features intended to get customers hanging out instead of just shopping.
Among the store’s features are:
- “A full service coffee and juice bar with nitro dispensed cold brew coffee, hemp milk lattes, cold brew teas, breakfast and lunch sandwiches, and acai bowls.”
- “Farmstand Freeze. Fruits and veggies are frozen overnight, put in a Pacojet machine and shaved while injecting air to create a light, fluffy, fruity frozen dessert. Low sugar, only sweetened with honey and dates, and also non-dairy.”
- “The Basin Barroom, offering 15 beers and one flavor of kombucha on tap, as well as wine and cocktails.” Plus a seafood-focused food menu that includes “a must-try lobster roll served on local favorite LeoNora Gourmet Bakery’s split top roll.”
- “Paper Horse, ramen master Erik Brunner-Yang’s latest venue.”
- “In-house smoked and dry-aged meats.”
- “Eight varieties of scratch-baked bread daily.”
- An extensive bulk foods aisle.
- A barbecue station, featuring smoked meats and sauces.
- A kitchen that includes a large pizza oven.
- A dog-friendly outdoor patio.
- “More than 2,500 organic offerings in the grocery aisles… Every product in the store will be free of artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, preservatives and hydrogenated oils.”
Disclosure: Whole Foods is an ARLnow.com advertiser.
The new Whole Foods grocery store in Pentagon City will be opening on Wednesday, June 29, the company announced today.
The nearly 37,000-square-foot store is located on the ground floor of the Bartlett, a new 22-story apartment building at the corner of 12th Street S. and S. Eads Street.
The new store will feature:
- An expansive organic salad bar
- Prepared foods hot bars
- Several unique food venues
- Made-in-house and artisan charcuterie
- An extensive selection of beer, wine and cheese
- A scratch bakery
- A coffee/juice bar
- A pub
- A dog-friendly patio
Whole Foods is now hiring for the store, as detailed in the press release below.
Whole Foods Market, America’s healthiest grocery store™, will open its ninth Northern Virginia location on Wednesday, June 29, in Pentagon City. The 36,800 square-foot store is located at the corner of 12th Street South and South Eads Street.
“Our newest Whole Foods Market will reflect the energy and vitality of this growing Arlington community,” said Mike Ameg, the store’s team leader. “This store will offer Northern Virginia families the highest quality natural and organic products, including seasonal, locally-sourced produce, sustainable seafood and high-quality meat and poultry – all free of artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, preservatives and hydrogenated oils. We’re also excited to bring an extensive offering of fast-casual dining options to the many residents who live and work in the heart of Pentagon City.”
Along with the expansive organic salad bar and prepared foods hot bars pioneered by Whole Foods Market chefs, this store will feature several unique food venues, made-in-house and artisan charcuterie, an extensive selection of beer, wine and cheese, and a scratch bakery. The store’s many seating areas – which include a coffee/juice bar, pub, and dog-friendly patio – are also sure to become popular meeting places.
Whole Foods Market team members will be organizing and attending events in and around the community over the coming weeks and there are also openings for new part-time and full-time team member positions across a variety of departments. Interested applicants can apply at www.wholefoodsmarket.com/careers.
Follow news about this store’s opening and about all of the Northern Virginia Whole Foods Market happenings through social media: Twitter @WholeFoodsNoVa; Instagram: @WholeFoodsNoVa, and on Facebook: Whole Foods Market NoVa.
A Change.org petition called “Help Save the Food Star Supermarket” had 1,817 supporters as of 11 a.m. today.
The petition is a response to the redevelopment of the Food Star strip mall site, which was approved by the Arlington County Board in February. The shopping center is slated to be torn down and replaced by a six-story apartment building with 365 market-rate units and, on the ground floor, an array of retail locations including a 50,000 square foot Harris Teeter store.
The petition paints a picture of Harris Teeter as a “high end” grocery store and Food Star as an affordable, unique neighborhood institution that should be preserved.
I am very concerned that the Food Star grocery store is being targeted for demolition. A well-known business that has been at the same location since 1984, Food Star has become a cultural hub for residents in Arlington County.
- It is centrally located (within walking distance of most of our residents) and caters to our culturally diverse population. Anywhere between fifteen – sixteen thousand residents (maybe even more) will purchase groceries from Food Star every month and even every week.
- It serves as a place of employment. Thirty – forty residents that live in the area work there full-time. The employees are friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable about the products that are being sold.
- It serves as a “home away from home” for many of its patrons. Food Star sells unique products from all over the world that caters to many different multiethnic groups. Most of these products cannot be found at any other grocery stores.
While it is understandable that Harris Teeter is looking to expand into Alcova Heights area (at the corner of Columbia Pike and George Mason Drive), it seems like a very unnecessary business practice that is driven purely by profit and not by necessity. A cursory search on Google Maps indicates that there are at least 7 other high-end grocery stores located within a ten mile radius of the Food Star grocery store. However, if Food Star were to be torn down, most of the residents in the area would not be able to afford the costs associated with traveling to or shopping at these stores.
For the residents of Alcova Heights (Arlington) and other patrons from Virginia, Washington D.C. and Maryland, The Food Star grocery store is more than just a grocery store. It serves as a cultural icon, valuable resource, and a place of employment. I firmly believe that it should stay open. I am calling on Harris Teeter to reconsider adding a new location at Food Star’s current address, and to cease any actions related building a new store.
Arlington Man Found Dead in Canal — Police have identified the man found floating dead in the C&O Canal in Georgetown as 51-year-old Arlington resident Osbaldo Lemus Bernal. So far, his death has not been deemed suspicious. [DCist, Patch]
Gutshall Steps Up Campaign Against Garvey — Planning Commission member and County Board hopeful Erik Gutshall is stepping up the rhetoric against his Democratic primary opponent, County Board member Libby Garvey. Gutshall, in an email, called Garvey a “failed… career politician.” At an event last night he blasted her tenure on the School Board — saying she did not do enough to address the school system’s capacity crisis — and her alleged lack of effort in addressing transit issues along Columbia Pike, following the cancellation of the streetcar project. [InsideNova, Blue Virginia]
Gutshall Wins Straw Poll Landslide — Those attending Del. Alfonso Lopez’s (D) second annual straw poll event on Columbia Pike last night favored Erik Gutshall over Libby Garvey in a landslide. One could argue that the event was attended by a select group of Democrats pre-disposed to oppose Garvey, but Gutshall captured 88 percent of the vote to Garvey’s 12 percent. The straw poll also asked attendees about the School Board race (Nancy Van Doren – 46%, Tannia Talento – 35%, Michael Shea – 11%, Chaz Crismon – 7%) and the Democratic presidential nomination (Hillary Clinton – 77%, Bernie Sanders – 23%).
Registration Open for Rosslyn Social Event — Registration is now open for City Social, Rosslyn’s annual meeting. The event, on May 11, is open to residents and will be attended by a number of Rosslyn movers and shakers. In addition to live music and giveaways, attendees at this year’s City Social will be able to enjoy wine, beer and a bourbon bar from Barley Mac, which is preparing to open in the former Red, Hot & Blue space on Wilson Blvd. [Rosslyn BID]
Wegman’s Inches Closer to Arlington — Arlington’s favorite unattainable grocery store obsession will soon be closer than ever. Wegman’s is reportedly planning to open a store in Tysons Corner in 2019. [Washington Business Journal]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Arlington Man Killed in Motorcycle Accident — An Arlington man died Saturday after his motorcycle skidded out of control while he was trying to get on northbound I-395 from Route 236, near Landmark Mall in Alexandria. Altankhuyag Saintur, 26, was pronounced dead at Inova Fairfax Hospital. [Washington Post]
Firefighters Battle Blaze in Cherrydale — Arlington County firefighters were able to quickly extinguish a house fire on the 4000 block of Vacation Lane in Cherrydale early Saturday morning. No injuries were reported. [Twitter]
Shamrock Crawl Arrests — There were no major incidents during Saturday’s Shamrock Crawl in Clarendon, but nine people were arrested for drunken behavior. The Arlington County Police Department maintained a significant presence at the bar crawl — paid for by the organizers — which kept unruliness to a relative minimum. [WJLA]
Another Grocery Store for the Pike? — Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey would like to attract another food option for the western end of Columbia Pike, at least for the two years between when the Food Star store closes for construction and another grocery store opens in its place. [InsideNova]
Two Programs Planned at Arlington Mill Center — Arlington County has agreed to lease 9,400 square feet of third-floor space in the Arlington Mill Community Center to two local children’s programs: Aspire! After School Learning and Jane Franklin Dance. Aspire! will have 18 months to raise the funds to build out and lease the space, under a Letter of Intent signed with the county. [Arlington County]
A big new development is coming to the corner of Columbia Pike and George Mason Drive.
The Arlington County Board on Saturday approved the redevelopment, which includes new six-story apartment building with 365 market-rate residential units, new retail spaces and a three-level parking garage.
The “Columbia Pike Village Center” development will close and demolish the Food Star grocery store, along with several small retail businesses. In its place will be a new 50,000 square foot grocery store, 31,530 square feet of new ground-floor retail space and a 22,150 square foot public square.
The public square will “serve residents of the apartment, and the community, as a place to sit, enjoy the surrounding, or hold small-scale events and gatherings,” a county press release notes. “A garden, public art and a water feature are planned for the square.”
In order to accommodate residents, park-goers and shoppers, the parking garage will have 604 vehicle spaces and 152 bike spaces. Additionally, developer Orr Partners will help build new six-foot wide sidewalks and will make streetscape improvements along the Pike and George Mason Drive.
Though the blizzard is long gone, some area grocery stores are still awaiting fresh shipments of milk, eggs, bread and meat to restock shelves stripped bare before and during the storm.
Shelves normally stocked with milk, eggs and bread were empty earlier this afternoon at the Safeway and Target stores on Wilson Boulevard in Rosslyn. Though employees at both stores declined to say much, they did say it may take another day before they can restock.
An employee at the Whole Foods at 2700 Wilson Boulevard said the store had just four cartons of eggs left, and a worker at Mom’s Organic Market (1901 N Veitch Street) said milk supplies were running low.
Some residents also have reported shortages of certain items at the Clarendon Trader Joe’s (1109 N Highland Street). Joe Flinchum, a supervisor at that location, said his store hasn’t received a delivery since last week.
“Our warehouse is really far away,” Flinchum said. “They’ve obviously been impacted by the weather just as we have. We may get a perishable food delivery tentatively tomorrow morning.”
But not every store in the area is out of fresh food. An employee at the customer service desk of the Harris Teeter at 600 N Glebe Road said the store has everything except snow shovels and salt.
The seasonal ritual of stocking up on pre-blizzard household goods began in earnest this afternoon as shoppers clamored for bread, milk and other perishables in advance of Friday’s predicted double digit snowfall. Toilet paper, although not technically perishable, was also in high demand.
“I’ve been doing some recipe planning and planned out the week,” said Brittany Yam at Mom’s Organic Market at 1901 North Veitch Street. The mother of three from Donaldson Run was pushing a nearly full basket loaded with bread, fruit, frozen chicken strips and her daughter.
“You’re taking gamble with the snow,” she explained. “Is it going to be five inches or 20 inches? You have to take the bet and prepare for it.”
By the looks of the basket, she’s betting on a blizzard. And among other items, she’s anticipated the possibility of “cabin fever” and stocked up on baking supplies. “For baking projects, in case we get snowed in,” she said.
At the Safeway at 3713 Lee Highway at Maywood, all the shopping baskets were in use at 1:30 p.m. Meanwhile, at the Giant Food at 3115 Lee Highway in Lyon Village, the lines to the cashiers were prohibitively lengthy, snaking a distance down the aisles and creating a mournful pallor over the customers.
Things were calmer at Westover Market at 5863 Washington Boulevard, but the frequent customers also concentrated on the essentials, particularly the T.P. and bread.
Owner Suki Hicks said in 10 years, “we never close–not for snow or rain or anything. We will stay open.” As for the store’s well-known wall of beer, “and we’re never going to run out of beer,” she said.
Hicks adds that the popular fire pits in the adjacent Westover Beer Garden will be burning as well, no matter what the weather.
The robbery occurred around 11:30 a.m. at the Shell station at 5630 Lee Highway, near the intersection of N. Kensington Street.
According to scanner traffic, the suspect is a white male wearing gray pants and a gray sweater, described as approximately six feet tall and in his 40s.
Early reports said he robbed the station at gunpoint with a semi-automatic weapon and stole $400 to $500. Police said he fled the scene on foot, traveling south on N. Kensington.
A K-9 unit was dispatched from Alexandria to help the search. Police also went to the Rivendell School, which is across the street from the station, to notify administrators about the situation.
No injuries were reported.
Earlier this morning an armed robbery was reported at the Giant supermarket at 2901 S. Glebe Road near Arlington Ridge, prompting administrators to secure the building at nearby Gunston Middle School, according to scanner traffic. So far police have not responded to a request for comment about the earlier robbery.
MOM’s Organic Market founder and CEO Scott Nash was pleased with what he saw at the grand opening of the company’s first Arlington store today.
Shoppers — mostly the regional chain’s target customer: moms — lined the aisles, picking out organic goods and trying free samples. Not bad for 11:30 a.m. on the store’s first official day in business.
Nash explained that MOM’s, which has 13 other locations in the Mid-Atlantic region (the closest of which is in Alexandria), typically targets more suburban locales than Arlington.
“Something that has kept us from opening in more dense urban areas is the parking,” he said. “We are for a walkable community, but we have 5,000 customers a week and most of them are mothers, with kids. They need to drive, they can’t carry six bags of groceries to their apartment across the street. They are the bread and butter of our customer base and we won’t open a store unless we have ample parking for our true best customers.”
The new store is located at 1901 N. Veitch Street, in the Verde Pointe development along Lee Highway and within walking distance to the Courthouse Metro station. It has 100 spaces of free parking for customers, though the traffic pattern to get to the 50 lower level garage spaces seemed to be challenging for first-time shoppers.
Other than the parking issue, Nash said Arlington is an ideal location for MOM’s, thanks to the eco-minded population.
“It’s very dense and we are sure this demographic has a lot of ‘lifestylers,'” he said. “The lifestylers are people who don’t just like organic food, but they have the same moral view that we have.”
That moral view was on prominent display, with signs explaining that the store only carries “green rated” seafood, that none of its cereals market to children with cartoon characters, and that it doesn’t sell conventionally grown produce because of the use of pesticides.
At 12,500 square feet, the new Arlington MOM’s is about the same size of most of the company’s newer stores. Asked about competition from the nearby Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s stores in Clarendon, Nash said that the presence of those stores was actually encouraging, pointing to the kind of market in which MOM’s thrives.
“We feel like where’s there’s a successful Trader Joe’s and a successful Whole Foods, there will be successful MOM’s,” he said. “What sets us apart is Trader Joe’s has about 4,000 items, we have 14,000, and Whole Foods has about 28,000. We’re kind of in between, we’re cheaper than Whole Foods, we have only organic produce, we don’t mix, plus we have great customer service and a very unique, incredible selection of products.”
MOM’s is open seven days a week. Its grand opening celebration will continue through Sunday.
A new MOM’s Organic Market is opening next week on Lee Highway, within walking distance to Courthouse.
The store, at 1901 N. Veitch Street, is planning a grand opening celebration between Friday, Nov. 13 and Sunday, Nov. 15.
“Join us for a weekend of local tastings, environmental activities, henna art and more!” the company said on its website. “Five percent of Grand Opening sales will be donated to Moms Clean Air Force, a community of moms and dads united against air pollution and climate change to protect our children’s health.”
There will also be meet and greets with environmental organizations, like the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust, and live music Saturday and Sunday afternoon from Arlington singer-songwriter (and H-B Woodlawn student) Calista Garcia.
In addition to the grocery store, MOM’s is also opening a Naked Lunch storefront along Uhle Street. Naked Lunch is an organic, vegetarian and vegan-only eatery that serves soups, sandwiches, bowls and raw juices.
Other MOM’s features include free car charging stations, local beer and organic wine, and recycling drop-off for wine corks, CFL bulbs, eye glasses, plastic bags, household batteries and shoes.
MOM’s is located in the new Verde Pointe development, along with 162 luxury apartments and 36 townhouse flats.
Up to 8 inches of snow are expected to fall Thursday, as cold air moves in and rain turns to sleet and snowflakes.
Arlington road crews — about 50 trucks total — are expected to start a “full team effort” to plow and treat roads at midnight, according to a Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman.
VDOT, meanwhile, said it has “all hands on deck” for Thursday’s storm. It has a website for residents to monitor snow-clearing progress: vdotplows.org.
VDOT issued the following press release Wednesday afternoon, urging drivers to stay off the roads Thursday.
Road crews in Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Arlington counties are preparing for another winter storm to include rain, sleet, and snow, followed by several days of frigid temperatures that will make clearing roads a challenge. By midnight, more than 3,800 trucks will be staged along interstates, major roads and neighborhood streets.
“We’re asking drivers to prepare now for a long couple of days,” said Branco Vlacich, VDOT’s district maintenance engineer for northern Virginia. “It will be vital to stay off the roads tomorrow, as conditions will be treacherous during the storm. Crews will also need that room to clear snow quickly during the day, because frigid temperatures overnight and through the weekend will mean repeated refreeze of any accumulation left on the road.”
With the storm expected to begin as rain, crews will not pre-treat for this storm. They will treat roads with salt and sand during sleet and freezing rain, and begin to plow as the storm transitions to accumulating snow.
What motorists and residents should know:
- Road conditions will be treacherous during the storm. Drivers should stay off roads throughout the day tomorrow to provide crews as much room as possible to plow and treat roads.
- Crews will plow and treat interstates, major roads and neighborhoods in northern Virginia concurrently.
- Residents are asked to park in driveways or on the odd-numbered side of the street to allow plows room to pass.
- Chemicals are not used in subdivisions, but crews sand hills, curves and intersections to provide traction. For most storms, one snowplow pass, about eight to ten feet wide, is made.
- Repeated refreeze and black ice are likely through the weekend, with single-digit lows overnight and below-freezing pavement temperatures forecasted to persist for the next several days.
Arlington middle schools and most elementary schools are already slated to be closed to students Thursday and Friday for parent-teacher conferences. Arlington Public Schools has yet to make a final call on closing schools entirely on Thursday.
Milder weather is expected this weekend and early next week — but those hoping that spring will be here to stay would be well-advised to remember last year — when a winter storm on March 3, 2014 dropped about 4 inches of snow on the area, lower than most forecasts at the time. That storm was followed by warmer weather then, two weeks later, a St. Patrick’s Day storm that resulted in 7-8 inches of accumulation.
The incident happened just after noon, at the Safeway on the 3700 block of Lee Highway. Police say a man implied that he had a weapon and demanded cash. The store’s manager was able to subdue the suspect and hold him until police arrived.
From this week’s Arlington County crime report:
ROBBERY, 150217009, 3700 block of Lee Highway. On February 17 at 12:03 pm, a male suspect entered the Safeway and attempted to rob the store demanding money and assaulting the store manager and implied he had a weapon. The manager was able to detain the suspect until police arrived. Enkhamar Tserenorj, 19, of McLean, VA, was arrested and charged with robbery and assault & battery. He was held without bond.
Last Friday, just before Valentine’s Day, a man allegedly used a master key and bolt cutters to break into his ex-wife’s apartment in the Columbia Heights West community.
Once inside, police say the man assaulted the woman and her boyfriend.
BURGLARY/ASSAULT, 150214003, 700 block of S. Florida Street. At 11:53 pm on February 13, a male subject gained entry to his ex-wife’s apartment by using a master key and bolt cutters. The suspect forced his way into the bedroom and physically assaulted the 44 year-old female victim and her boyfriend. The suspect fled and was located by police at a relative’s house. Gonzalo Cruz, 45, of Arlington, VA, was arrested and charged with burglary, possession of burglarious tools, destruction of property and assault. He was held without bond.
The rest of this week’s crime report, after the jump. All named suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty.