A new Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams location is coming to Shirlington, though only a sprinkling of details are available so far.
Signs are up but the company and its PR reps have given the cold shoulder to ARLnow’s requests for more information.
The new ice cream shop is located in the former storefront of I-CE-NY, a Thai rolled ice cream purveyor which opened in 2018 and closed late last year. The windows of the 4150 Campbell Avenue location, near Signature Theatre and the Shirlington branch library, are now covered in colorful Jeni’s posters that say “Hello, Shirlington” and “Scooping Soon.”
There’s no word of an opening date and the location is not yet listed on the Jeni’s website.
Hat tip to @DionMitchellVT
Opening an ice cream shop in the winter wasn’t exactly Rollin Amore’s plan, but he’s been pleasantly surprised by how good business has been so far.
“I’ve had at least 30 to 40 people the first four weeks basically come back two, three, four, five times,” Amore, owner and ice cream maker at Mimi’s Handmade Ice Cream at Westpost in Pentagon City, says. “I’ve built up a loyal following in such a short period. That’s a testament to the product.”
Mimi’s Handmade Ice Cream, named after the owner’s youngest daughter, opened in December (after initially aiming for a summer opening) in a space at 1201 S. Joyce Street that’s been a bit of a revolving door for businesses. The delayed opening was due to supply chain issues, a common refrain these days.
This is Amore’s first foray into the ice cream business, after spending nearly four decades in finance.
Saying that retirement isn’t for him, he decided to turn his longtime passion of cooking into a new business. One of the biggest thrills he has is watching people enjoy what he makes.
“This is a real passion, a labor of love,” he says, speaking to ARLnow on the phone while behind the counter at the shop. “I don’t need to work, so this isn’t for money.”
Amore makes all the ice cream in-house and says he’s hyper focused on quality and flavor. That means roasting bananas for hours or grilling ubes (purple yam from Asia).
“Most everything comes from scratch. I’m not using any flavorings because they tend to be unnatural. I try to get the flavor from whatever it is I’m making. By doing that, the [ice cream] is a little better than most.”
Amore also has given himself the unfortunate job of being the taste tester, having a creamy spoonful of every single batch that comes off the line.
“That’s the hardest part of the job,” he jokes.
One of every five or six batches doesn’t make the cut and gets thrown out, he notes.
The ice cream purveyor finds inspiration everywhere. On a recent trip to a local Harris Teeter, a whiff of spearmint led him to make a whole new flavor of ice cream. Quickly creating a small batch, his spearmint ice cream sold out nearly as fast.
Mimi’s menu of flavors consists of a mix of traditional favorites (mint chocolate chip and strawberry) and more eclectic ones, like ube, beet, and a flavor that Amore calls “Szechuan Spicy Girl.”
That one has roasted peppercorns, peanuts, and it’s savory as opposed to sweet. Plus, it’s got a “kick,” he says.
Amore is hopeful that the Pentagon City location is just the first of a chain of Mimi’s across Northern Virginia. While he’s a longtime D.C. resident, he thinks the Virginia suburbs is a better market for his brand of ice cream because the flavors appeal to “children and adults alike.”
As Mimi’s Handmade Ice Cream settles into Westpost, along with a slew of other new restaurants and businesses, Amore is thrilled to be serving up scoops of ice cream he made himself to pleased customers. Even on a cold, winter’s day.
“The ice cream business is the best business in the world,” says Amore. “Because everyone is happy.”
Hotel Redevelopment Plan Paused — “The redevelopment of one of Arlington’s oldest hotels looks to be on hold indefinitely, as the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic disrupt the hospitality-focused project. Grant Investment Properties is asking county planners for more time to complete its overhaul of Rosslyn’s old Best Western Iwo Jima, now known as the Red Lion Hotel Rosslyn Iwo Jima, at 1501 Arlington Boulevard. A site plan for the project projected that it would be finished by March 2022, but the Chicago-based firm filed papers last week to ask for an extension through March 2025.” [Washington Business Journal]
Proposed APS Changes Questioned — “Based on feedback from the Arlington School Board, the Arlington Public Schools system is focusing on what they call more equitable grading practices. The preliminary proposal calls for: No late penalties for homework… No extra credit… Unlimited redoes and retakes on assignment… No grading for homework.” [WJLA, Washington Post]
Hit and Run Crash in Bluemont — From yesterday afternoon: “Several lanes of Wilson Blvd and N. George Mason Dr are closed after a reported hit-and-run crash in the intersection. Police and Fire Dept. on scene.” [Twitter]
Video: Crash on I-395 — From Dave Statter: “Watch: Another left turn in the middle of an interstate ends badly. 1p, I-395S at Rt 1. Third one recorded at this spot in the last month.” [Twitter]
Toby’s May Be Expanding to Vienna — “Toby’s Homemade Ice Cream, which saw a boost in sales over the summer thanks to the debut of its cicada sundaes, appears to be branching out. The Arlington-based shop, located along a Washington Boulevard in the Westover neighborhood, plans to open a new location at the Cedar Park Shopping Center in Vienna, according to Fairfax County permit data.” [Washington Business Journal]
Nearby: Fire and EMS Staffing Stretched — ” Fairfax County saw its largest-ever increase in coronavirus cases among fire and emergency medical responders this month, mirroring a surge in case rates compared to 2020. Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department data shows that there are 53 positive cases and 14 in quarantine, all staying at home to curb the spread of COVID-19.” [FFXnow, DCist, Twitter]
Crash and Arrest Block the Pike — Columbia Pike was blocked at S. Greenbrier Street yesterday evening after a crash in which one of the drivers reportedly refused police commands to exit the vehicle and was later tased. [Twitter]
It’s Thursday — There will be drizzle and possible fog before 2 p.m. on an otherwise cloudy day, with a high near 55. Sunrise at 7:26 a.m. and sunset at 4:54 p.m. Tomorrow, on New Year’s Eve, expect mild weather, with cloudy skies, a high near 60 and a low around 51. [Weather.gov]
I-CE-NY in Shirlington appears to have closed.
The windows of the Thai rolled ice cream shop are blacked out, the awning has come down, no equipment appears to be inside, and all signage is gone.
ARLnow reached out to the business for confirmation, but has yet to hear back as of publication. Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRIT), which owns the Village of Shirlington (as well as Pentagon City’s Westpost), also was not able to confirm the closure.
Earlier this week, a tipster sent ARLnow a photo that showed on a sign on the door that read “Store Closed,” before the windows were blacked out.
I-CE-NY opened in Shirlington at 4150 Campbell Avenue just over three years ago. Originally from Thailand, the company specializes in rolled ice cream with mix-ins. In the United States, it first opened in New York before expanding to more than a dozen shops across eight states.
Prior to I-CE-NY, Knits Etc. was in that location in Shirlington.
Hat tip to Kiara Candelaria
Local Man Charged in Bailey’s Xroads Shooting — “Fairfax County police have charged a 33-year-old Arlington man in connection with a shooting that occurred Nov. 20 at the Food Star supermarket at 5521 Leesburg Pike. According to police, officers were called to the store at 6:43 p.m. by Harvey Coleman, of Arlington, after he reported to police he had shot someone in self-defense… Following several interviews and the review of surveillance footage, detectives have charged Coleman with malicious wounding and the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.” [Sun Gazette]
Ice Cream Store Now Open in Pentagon City — “Have I got a scoop (get it?) for my followers! For those who may be in search of a sweet treat this afternoon, Mimi’s Handmade Ice Cream opened today at @PentagonRow (Westpost). Impressive variety.” [Twitter]
Arlington Vet Chooses Health Career — “After graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point, she was commissioned as an Army officer and chose to attend flight training, following in her late father’s footsteps. Soon, she was soon piloting Blackhawk helicopters… it was the time she was in the military that really prepared her for physician-assistant school.” [Sun Gazette]
It’s Monday — Today will be mostly sunny, with a high near 46. Northwest wind 10 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph. Sunrise at 7:06 a.m. and sunset at 4:47 p.m. Tomorrow will be mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming sunny, with a high near 51. South wind 5 to 8 mph, with gusts as high as 18 mph. [Weather.gov]
Dave Grohl Rocks Local Studio — “Dave Grohl doesn’t seem terribly interested in taking a day off. Shortly after the 9:30 Club announced the Grohl-led Foo Fighters would play a surprise show Thursday, the former Nirvana drummer reunited with D.C.-based punk rockers, at Inner Ear Studio — the legendary and soon-to-close Arlington, Virginia, recording studio owned by Don Zientara.” [WTOP]
Fmr. Fire Chief on Arlington’s 9/11 Response — “‘It was truly an all-hands-on-deck endeavor,’ Schwartz said at the historical society’s annual banquet, held Sept. 9 at Washington Golf & Country Club. ‘We’re all in this together. There’s not a single agency or even a single jurisdiction that can handle this by themselves.’ Schwartz pointed to the county’s then-fire chief, Edward Plaugher, for his work building relationships with agencies like the FBI. Plaugher ‘was ahead of his time’ in being concerned about terrorism.” [Sun Gazette]
Night Paving at Busy Intersection — “Nighttime paving continues overnight this week at the Langston Boulevard (Lee Highway)-Glebe Road intersection improvements project… lasting into Friday, Sept. 17.” [Twitter]
Arlington-based Nicecream will be celebrating National Ice Cream Day this Sunday (July 18) by offering free scoops of its frozen-to-order ice cream.
Guests can get one free scoop all day at any of Nicecream’s four locations across the D.C. area, including its original spot at 2831 Clarendon Blvd in Clarendon. For founder Sandra Tran, it’s a nice gesture after weathering COVID-19.
“The past year was scary and very, very tough for us. We are happy to have be on the other side of the pandemic and want to celebrate with the community,” she said.
It’ll also be a sweet relief from a scorching week.
Nicecream uses liquid nitrogen to freeze servings of ice cream right in front of guests. Popular flavors include Nutella, Wild Blueberry, Cherry Bourbon Chocolate Chunk and Sweet Corn.
Nicecream’s Clarendon location closed for about a month and a half last year due to the pandemic. Adapting to the decline in in-person customers, Nicecream introduced national shipping and expanded its delivery capacities.
The company opened its first storefront in Clarendon in May 2014.
Report Details ACPD Actions at Lafayette Park — “The ACPD civil disturbance unit commander told us that ACPD officers were not equipped with chemical irritants other than rounds similar to pepper ball but said the ACPD did deploy inert smoke and a flash bang grenade on 16th Street during the clearing operation.” [Dept. of Interior, DCist]
Arlington Sit-ins Remembered With Art — “Sixty-one years ago this month, several Howard University students and allies walked into the People’s Drug Store on Lee Highway in Arlington. For the next two weeks, they participated in sit-ins to protest white-only lunch counters across the county. Now, there is a special exhibit and letter pressed cards to mark this moment of Arlington’s civil rights history.” [NBC 4]
Cicada Sundae at Local Ice Cream Shop — “Toby’s Homemade Ice Cream & Coffee in Arlington is offering a Cicada Sundae. Don’t worry. It’s not made with real cicadas. The frozen treat comes with one scoop each of chocolate, bittersweet chocolate and café au lait, topped with chocolate sprinkles, two red M&Ms and a waffle cone… The waffle cones are fashioned to look like wings and the M&Ms as eyes.” [Patch, WTOP]
Del. Levine’s Farewell Message — From Del. Mark Levine, after falling short in his reelection bid and run for lieutenant governor: “I’ve had the honor of impacting positive change in the world in so many ways already through decades of activism, thousands of radio and tv shows, and dozens of laws. Whatever the future holds for me, I know I will never stop speaking out against injustice.” [Twitter]
Candidate Adds Military Rank to His Name — “Major Mike Webb, who has floated around the periphery of the Northern Virginia political scene for nearly the past decade, qualified for the School Board ballot. He will be the lone opposition to [Mary] Kadera, who last month won the Democratic endorsement over Miranda Turner… (‘Major’ was Webb’s military rank but now also is a formal part of his name, as he did requisite legal paperwork add it.)” [Sun Gazette]
For Sandra Tran, preparing for tomorrow’s reopening of Nicecream in Clarendon feels like a jump back in time to seven years ago.
Nicecream, a handcrafted ice cream shop with four locations across Northern Virginia and D.C., is reopening its Clarendon (2831 Clarendon Blvd) and Shaw locations on Friday with ice cream scoops and pints to go. Featured flavors are planned to include honey lavender, salted caramel, Nutella, cold brew coffee, bananas and cream, and wild blueberry.
Tran and husband Gil Welsford say they plan to open with a “closed-door” style of service. A menu will be mounted outside the restaurant and customers can order and pay from their phones while workers inside make the ice cream. The items will then be placed out on a pick-up table, with no customers or delivery drivers allowed inside.
“It’s pretty enlivening,” Tran said. “I don’t know how other business owners feel, but it feels like we’re building it over again.”
Tran said this was the way it was seven years ago when she and Welsford started Nicecream. They were running around getting signs, figuring out how to put them up on the walls, handling small deliveries and tackling other tasks of that nature.
“We were meeting delivery drivers at the store because there was no one there to meet them,” Tran said. “It reminds me of the beginning again.”
With that, Tran said there’s a resourcefulness that comes with being a new business that gets lost over time as systems become routine.
“You develop new experiences as you become more seasoned, but you lose some of that scrappiness,” Tran said. “You create systems and operations to make everything more efficient. But when you’re starting like this, it’s like ‘who is the cheapest guy I can get to print this?’ It’s running around to figure out who is even open. It’s remembering how to be scrappy.”
That isn’t to say it hasn’t been tough for Welsford and Tran. Over the last few months, they had to lay off their entire staff, starting with eliminating their own pay, then to seasonal workers and full-time staff. Tran said they’ve worked to get proper resources for unemployment to their staff, but some of the seasonal workers are stuck without the full-year of employment history to help file for aid.
Nats World Series Run Helps Local Startup — “BreakingT’s business is very much staying in the fight. The Arlington T-shirt retailer had already seen a significant boost from the Nationals’ playoff run… Until last week, BreakingT’s biggest revenue day was during the All-Star Game hosted at Nationals Park last July. But each of the three home World Series matchups have now exceeded that.” [Washington Business Journal]
Severe Storms Expected Tonight — “Hazardous Halloween weather is possible in the Washington area and many parts of the Mid-Atlantic, where a line of storms, some of which may be severe, will sweep through during the evening. ‘A potentially dangerous weather event is unfolding for Thursday,’ wrote the National Weather Service serving the Washington region.” [Washington Post, Twitter]
Chick-fil-A Customers Cause Crystal City Cycling Consternation — “Diving deeper geographically from streets to blocks and overlaying vehicle type, a story starts to emerge from the data. We already knew the majority of bike lane blockages were on Crystal Drive, but now we can see that the 2100 block of Crystal Drive is where all the action is, why? Chick-fil-a!” [Greater Greater Washington]
Kudos for Hot Lola’s in Ballston — “Got a hankering for a fried chicken sandwich? Forget Popeyes — go for Hot Lola’s’s version in Arlington, says a new report. Washingtonian says Hot Lola’s hot-chicken sandwich are the best in the D.C. area, tied with Wooboi in Herndon for the No. 1 spot in their list of the top five in our region.” [Washingtonian, Patch]
Paul Rudd’s Pentagon Ice Cream Connection — “While searching for the quickest route to the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City from my apartment, I went down a weird internet black hole and discovered that the Google Maps photo for the Baskin-Robbins at the Pentagon features Paul Rudd dressed as a Baskin-Robbins employee. What’s the deal with that?” [Washingtonian]
Tomorrow: Horticultural Event at Arlington National — “Friday Nov 1: Join ANC’s Horticulturist for a walking tour of the cemetery’s Memorial Arboretum. We’ll look at trees, shrubs and perennials that survived the wet spring and hot, dry summer of 2019.” [Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Crystal City Apartment Building Sold — “A Crystal City residential property within blocks of Amazon’s planned HQ2 campus has sold for $228 million, more than double what it last sold for a decade prior, according to Arlington County property records.” [Washington Business Journal]
It’s National Police Week — Law enforcement officers from around the country and the world are in the D.C. area for National Police Week. The annual series of events is held to honor officers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. As in years past, Arlington County Police motorcycle officers are assisting with the numerous motorcades associated with Police Week. [Twitter]
Free Cone Day Today — Häagen-Dazs is holding its annual Free Cone Day today (Tuesday) from 4-8 p.m. Among other nearby locations, a locally-owned Häagen-Dazs franchise store is located in the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall. [Häagen-Dazs]
Crashes During Monday’s Rain — A number of crashes were reported Monday morning, amid persistant rain. Among them were a crash with entrapment at Military Road and Lorcom Lane, and a reported car vs. tree collision at Route 50 and S. Columbus Street. [Twitter]
School Board Member Donating Kidney — “Arlington School Board Vice Chairman Tannia Talento will be out of commission for several weeks, as she is donating a kidney to a sister. Speaking at the May 9 School Board meeting, Talento said preparing for, undergoing and recuperating from surgery will cause her to miss some end-of-school-year events, but ‘I hope it is amazing and wonderful,’ she said of the last weeks of the 2018-19 year.” [InsideNova]