(Updated at 6:20 p.m.) Nostalgia is the most dangerous emotion for Andrew Gifford, the grandson of John Gifford, founder of beloved former area ice cream chain Gifford’s Ice Cream.
Last month Gifford released his first book, “We All Scream: The Rise and Fall of the Gifford’s Ice Cream Empire.“ The book depicts Gifford’s abusive relationship with his parents growing up, the deaths of his grandparents and how his father ruined Washington’s largest ice cream empire.
When Robert Gifford, one of John Gifford’s other sons, took over the company, things quickly went downhill. Gifford described his father’s actions during the reading, explaining how he would never pay his taxes, cheated his customers and didn’t pay employees, ultimately leaving the company in financial ruin.
Despite the collapse, many local residents still remember Gifford’s fondly. And that means the brand is still valuable.
“It doesn’t matter what’s in the cup,” a person trying to reboot the company said last year, according to Gifford. “As long as I say it’s Gifford’s Swiss Chocolate, people will pay me anything I ask.”
“It’s these people who are so focused on this fantasy and nostalgia that frustrate me,” said Gifford. “I want the lesson to be nostalgia is dangerous, don’t give into it. Don’t buy $6 ice cream from someone who said they once bought machines from the people who once supplied Gifford’s 50 years ago.”
In the excerpt Gifford read during the event, he described how his mother decided to sit him down at the age of 6 and tell him that his grandmother was murdered by his grandfather. This was a lie: his grandmother had passed several years beforehand, but Gifford had been told she was still alive during his entire childhood.
“We All Scream” made an impression on members of the audience, most of whom grew up in the area and had warm memories of Gifford’s Ice Cream.
During the Q&A session, many questions were about what happened to the old Gifford’s ice cream flavors and recipes people adored, and if anyone could find any remaining Gifford’s products. Instead of focusing on the horror and abuse around the Gifford story, the questions were full of yearning and nostalgia.
“This was a beautiful thing that people loved but it needs to die,” said Gifford after the event. “It needs to end. There’s this obsession with the Gifford’s of old, when really it wasn’t that fairytale.”
The former Dominion Pet Center at the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center is being replaced by two businesses, including another pet store.
Going in will be Kriser’s Natural Pet Store at 2501A N. Harrison Street and speciality ice cream shop La Moo Creamery at 2501B N. Harrison Street.
Dominion Pet Center closed last year after facing stiff competition from internet retailers and the opening of a large chain competitor, Unleashed by Petco, across the street. It first opened in 1981.
Now Kriser’s and La Moo will fill the 3,113 square feet of available space between H&R Block and the Sushi-Zen Japanese Restaurant.
For Kriser’s, the move represents an expansion of its presence in Arlington, as it already has a location at 2509 N. Franklin Road in Clarendon. The store, which has locations elsewhere in Virginia as well as California, Colorado, Illinois and Texas, offers natural pet food and other products, grooming and training help.
Arlington County Police Department officers gave out free ice cream and helped save some locals from a tent that tried to fly away in Clarendon this afternoon.
The “Cones with a Cop” event at Goody’s (3125 Wilson Boulevard) gave officers and Arlington residents the opportunity to get to know each other over frozen treats.
During the gathering, locals had the chance to sit in the driver’s seat of a police car and see the cops in action.
Officers saved some people from being buried underneath an outdoor tent that was about to fly away due to the wind.
No injuries were reported, just smiles.
ACPD officers will set up shop outside of Goody’s (3125 Wilson Blvd) next Wednesday from noon-1 p.m. for a community outreach event called “Cones With a Cop,” according to an event flyer.
During the free event, attendees will be able to “get to know the officers and neighbors in your District while enjoying a refreshing treat,” the flyer says.
Image courtesy ACPD
Clarendon residents hoping for some ice cream to go along with tonight’s snow showers will be disappointed to learn that they have one fewer option from which to choose.
Larry’s Homemade Ice Cream, at 3018 Wilson Blvd, has apparently closed.
As of this afternoon it appeared that the interior of the restaurant was being dismantled and signs being taken down from the windows. The store’s website is not functional, its Facebook page has not been updated recently and there was no answer at its phone number.
Arlington County Police Department officers will join the community tonight for ice cream socials and neighborhood gatherings as part of the 32nd annual National Night Out.
“It’s a good opportunity to interact with citizens outside of an emergency incident,” ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck said.
National Night Out, an event sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch, helps unite community members and police officers in order to prevent crime.
Each district ACPD team will be participating in the event, which “raises safety and crime awareness,” though police say it’s only one part of the department’s overall community outreach efforts.
“Our district teams are regularly interacting with their neighborhoods in the county,” Sternbeck said.
There will be be events throughout the county tonight and residents are encouraged to come out and talk with police officers and their neighbors.
The events include:
- Arlington Forest Ice Cream Social (at the corner of of N. Galveston Street and 2nd Street N.) at 7:30 p.m.
- Park Glen Ice Cream Social (between 812 and 816 S. Arlington Mill Drive) from 7-8 p.m.
- Williamsburg neighborhood (6207 31st Street N.) at 7 p.m.
- Barcroft School and Civic League (800 S. Buchanan Street) from 6-7:30 p.m.
- Nauck Town Square (24th Road S. between S. Shirlington Road and S. Kenmore Street) from 5:30-8 p.m.
- Fairlington Pool 2 (3025 S. Buchanan Street) from 5-7 p.m.
- Fairlington Pool 4 (2848-B S. Buchanan Street) from 5-7 p.m.
Photo courtesy of National Association of Town Watch
Renderings of Proposed Ballston High-Rise — Ahead of Wednesday’s Arlington Site Plan Review Committee meeting, developers Lionstone and Penzance have released new renderings of the 22-story, 330-unit apartment tower they’re proposing to build on the Carpool site in Ballston. The tower is sleek metal and glass, with a retail pavilion on the ground floor. In a second phase, the developers are proposing to replace an aging, adjacent office building with another 22-story, 362-unit residential building. [Washington Business Journal]
Free Cone Day at Haagen-Dazs — The Haagen-Dazs store at Pentagon City mall is offering free ice cream today from 4:00-8:00 p.m. as part of the company’s nationwide Free Cone Day. [Facebook]
Coalition for Minority Affairs Honors Students — Eighty-seven African and African-American Arlington Public Schools students were honored last week by the Civic Coalition for Minority Affairs. The Northern Virginia group “endeavors to foster high academic achievement through its annual awards ceremony.” [Arlington Public Schools]
(Updated at 6:45 p.m.) The Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop in the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center has closed, apparently in a hurry.
Ice cream cakes are still in the freezer, cones are still on display and no signage has been removed from the location as of noon today, but multiple ARLnow.com tipsters have said the store has been closed since the beginning of April.
Eviction papers from the shopping center’s landlord were served to the business on March 26, the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Monday evening.
The Baskin-Robbins corporate website no longer lists the Lee-Harrison shop, and the shopping center’s website lists the space as available. The two other Baskin-Robbins locations in the county are at 3520 Lee Highway and 3100 Columbia Pike.
Sweets lovers in North Arlington now have their options greatly diminished. Baskin-Robbins’ closure coincides with Mother’s Macaroons across the street closing last week.
Washington Wizards swingman Martell Webster has a new position: serving ice cream at new Clarendon shop Nicecream Factory (2831 Clarendon Blvd).
Webster, who lives in McLean, had started cycling to Clarendon some afternoons to taste some of Nicecream’s treats after his childhood friend from Seattle, Wash., James Conti, started working as Nicecream’s marketing coordinator a month ago.
“Actually, that’s my little brother,” Webster is quick to point out. Webster played basketball with Conti’s older brother and said their family “took me in and pretty much raised me. It was my home away from home.”
The Washington Post reported earlier this week that Webster was doing some promotional work for Nicecream, but Friday afternoon he was behind the counter and in front of the store, making batches of homemade, on-demand ice cream like the two small half-mango, half-pistachio cups he served to a young family. He was also passing out samples to passers-by on the sidewalk, encouraging them to come inside.
“He usually comes in and sits in the corner eating and kind of crouches down,” Nicecream owner Sandra Tran told ARLnow.com while Webster was entertaining a toddler, asking her if he should dye his goatee pink. “When there’s a customer who comes in to check it out, he’ll kind of pop up and tell them ‘it’s really good.'”
Webster, who is listed at 6-foot-7, averaged 9.7 points and 2.8 rebounds in 27.7 minutes per game for the Wizards this year, his second in Washington. He’s moving back to Portland, Ore., for the summer in late June — the Portland Trail Blazers is where he spent the first five years of his career after being chosen with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2005 draft, directly out of high school.
Until he leaves for Portland, however, he said he plans on stopping by Nicecream “periodically” to help serve. He calls himself the “unofficial intern,” and he gets all the scoops of dark chocolate and sea salt — his favorite flavor — he wants.
He said it took him “about 156,000 tries” before he was able to make his first batch of ice cream worthy of serving to customers.
“It was pretty rough, but like with anything, practice makes you stronger,” he said. “Now I’m up to par, but there’s always a head over my shoulder, so to speak.”
Conti graduated from college a year ago and had been in discussions to join the Nicecream team for “a while” before he moved from Tacoma, Wash., to Arlington. Now, he’s living in Webster’s guest house and has his “big brother” working for him.
“I knew I wanted to use him somehow,” he said. “I think was the best way to do it. Knowing Martell, he might actually work at an ice cream shop. It’s still great to see him interact and engage with the customers. Not a lot of professional athletes would do that.”
Nicecream Factory, an ice cream shop that features the frozen confection made-to-order using liquid nitrogen, is now open at 2831 Clarendon Blvd.
The shop opened last Wednesday in the former Red Mango space. The shop was “packed” this weekend, according to co-owner Sandra Tran. Many customers read about the shop on ARLnow.com last month, she said, but a few others had been clamoring for her to open when they walked by during the shop’s buildout, which she said took less than a month.
“People were super excited,” Tran said. “There was a mix of families and young people coming in.”
Nicecream sells small cups for $5, regular cups (pictured) for $6 and pints for $10. Monday afternoon she offered flavors like pistachio, lemon jenny, honey lavender and spiced vanilla.
“All but three people who walked in here today ordered pistachio,” she said. “We make it from pistachio butter instead of artificial pistachio flavoring, so it’s really ‘pistachio-y.'”
An ice cream shop that takes customers orders, then literally makes the ice cream as the customer watches, is preparing to open in Market Common Clarendon next month.
Nicecream Factory was founded last year by Sandra Tran and her boyfriend, Gil Welsford, as a Kickstarter-funded pop-up shop. The 24-year-old Tran, a JMU grad, makes the ice cream using liquid nitrogren and fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. They’ve operated so far as a pop-up shop in farmers markets and restaurants around the D.C. area, including at the Diner in Adams Morgan.
Last week, Nicecream Factory signed the lease to take over the former Red Mango space at 2831 Clarendon Blvd and Tran, who worked at Living Social in the District for a year before starting her own business, told ARLnow.com she hopes to open the store in the second week of May. In addition to the ice cream, which she takes about as long to prepare “as a Starbucks drink does.”
“When you think of an ice cream, you think mom and pop shop,” Tran said. “We value a lot of the pieces of that, being a small business and entrepreneurs and working with our community. We want to modernize those ideas, spice up the ice cream factor. When you’re paying to get desserts, you want the experience. Scooping out of an ice cream cabinet isn’t so much of an experience.”
The shop will also offer coffee, locally sourced pastries and, Tran said, will be designed to accommodate business meetings much like a coffee shop; she said they’ll even wheel a chalkboard to a table if need be. Tran said she also plans on inviting local artists to use the space to display their work.
“That’s something I think Clarendon can use a little more of,” said Tran, a Falls Church resident. “It’s a huge bar scene, but it needs a place to take a date.”
Tran sources many of her ingredients, like apples for one of her favorite recipes, apple pie, from local farmers she’s met working her pop-up shop at farmers markets. She said because of the fresh ingredients and the fact that the ice cream isn’t sitting in the freezer, she can make a thick, smooth treat without the high-fat creams most premium ice cream has.
“You don’t have to use coloring, preservatives or chemicals to make your ice cream delicious and beautiful,” she said. “A lot of people like the concept, but it’s not until they eat it when they realize it tastes more delicious than any ice cream they’ve had before.”
Video via Washingtonian
Just after 12:00 p.m. an elderly male driver in a Toyota Camry drove into the store’s entrance after accidentally pressing the gas instead of the brake, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. Two people were inside the vehicle at the time. No word on whether anybody was inside the store.
Damage to the store is estimated at $20,000, but a building inspector determined that there was no structural damage to the building.
No injuries were reported and no charges have been filed against the driver.
Yes, it’s that time of the year again.
Workers have started installing the ice skating rink at the Pentagon Row shopping center (1101 S. Joyce Street). What serves as a concert and outdoor dining venue during the summer will soon be transformed into a wintry skating rink, complete with instructors providing skating lessons and (starting as soon as Nov. 12) a nightly artificial snow fall.
Weather-permitting, the skating rink is expected to open two weeks from today, on Tuesday, Nov. 1.
In other ice-related news at Pentagon Row, the Maggie Moo’s ice cream shop is no longer Maggie Moo’s. The shop is still selling ice cream and frozen yogurt, but without the Maggie Moo’s branding.
While the softball tournament was canceled due to soggy fields, all other events planned to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks are still on for this weekend, rain or shine.
First up is the 10th annual Arlington Police, Sheriff and Fire 9/11 5K race, which will get underway in Pentagon City at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday. To accommodate the race, a number of roads will be closed between 5:30 and 7:00 p.m., including parts of Army Navy Drive, S. 12th Street, Crystal Drive and the Pentagon South parking area.
Residents should also expect a ceremonial flyover of four police helicopters between 5:45 and 6:00 p.m. The race, which has been growing in scale since its inception, is sold out this year.
“This is clearly our biggest year,” said race co-founder and retired Arlington County Police Officer Matthew Smith. “We’ve had tremendous support, and have a lot of meaningful additions for this year’s race.”
“Over the nine years we’ve probably given out over $350,000” to a number of 9/11 and military charities, Smith added. “The race provide[s] an opportunity give back… It should be a memorable experience for all.”
Following the race, at 7:30 p.m., Arlington County will hold its official 9/11 tribute event at the Air Force Memorial, which overlooks the section of the Pentagon that was struck by American Airlines Flight 77.
The tribute, which is free and open to the public, will feature the U.S. Air Force Band Brass Quintet Ensemble, the Joint Armed Forces Color Guard, the Arlington County Combined Honor Guard, Wakefield High School’s a capella choir “The Madrigals,” Macedonia Baptist Church Music Ministry, and a commemoration by the Pentagon Memorial Fund’s Jim Laychak. Transportation and parking information is available from the county’s web site.
Then, at 9:37 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 11, bells will peal at the old Hume School (1805 S. Arlington Ridge Road) to mark the exact moment when terrorists flew the jetliner into the Pentagon. Oakridge Elementary students will ring the school’s bell 184 times — once for each victim of the attack. The school, now used as the Arlington Historical Society Museum, is hosting a new Pentagon 9/11 Exhibit, which includes the charred Pentagon heliport sign that was 50 feet from the point of impact.
The store offers a wide variety of ice cream flavors, as well as sundaes, milkshakes, frozen yogurt, fruit smoothies, baked goods and espresso drinks.
Larry’s is located next to BGR: The Burger Joint, on the ground floor of the Clarendon Center project’s north building. Starting next week, the store will be open from 6:00 a.m. to midnight, an employee said.
Larry’s operates an existing location at 2450 Crystal Drive, in Crystal City. More photos, after the jump.