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.
Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt, at 2439 N. Harrison Street in the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center, recently closed its doors. The store’s sign has since been taken down and brown paper now covers the windows.
The store first opened in 2012.
It’s the second Tutti Frutti shop to close in Arlington this year; a store in Pentagon City closed in May.
So far there’s no word as to what might replace Tutti Frutti in the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center, which is located along Lee Highway.
Hat tip to Justin Boesel
Wreath-Laying Ceremony — Among other observances of today’s Veterans Day holiday in Arlington is a solemn wreath-laying ceremony at the Air Force Memorial. The event will take place at 11 a.m., with a group of World War II and Korean War veterans on hand. [Twitter]
School Board Considers Gun Safety Measures — The Arlington School Board is considering asking the Virginia General Assembly for new legislation that would restrict guns around schools, although no one seriously believes that the Republican-controlled legislature would actually pass such a measure. [InsideNova]
Lee Highway Residents Debate Development — Arlington County’s planning process for the Lee Highway corridor has prompted many residents to come out against “overdevelopment” and taller building heights. The corridor is currently car-oriented, though neighborhoods like Cherrydale developed thanks to a former streetcar line. [WAMU]
Middle School Tourette Campaign — Williamsburg Middle School staff have created a Public Service Announcement ad as part of Bullying Prevention Month. The campaign, called “Accept Tourette,” is based around a seventh grade student at Williamsburg with Tourette Syndrome. [Arlington Public Schools]
There’s a new pizza shop in town for those who live in the neighborhoods along Lee Highway.
Upper Crust Pizzeria has opened in the former HomeMade Pizza Company space, in the Lee Heights Shops, at 4514 Lee Highway. The restaurant quietly opened for business on Oct. 27, said Chief Financial Officer Ben Deb.
It’s the first D.C. area outpost of the small Boston-based chain since it went bankrupt and closed a former location in the District. Other new stores planned include a location on U Street NW in the District and one in Beverly Hills, California, both of which are slated to open within the next couple of months.
Upper Crust offers 25 specialty pizzas, some with D.C.-centric names, like “The GW,” “Pennsylvania Ave,” “The Nationals” and “The Dupont.” For customized pizzas, the company offers 40 toppings, nine cheeses, a gluten free dough option and three sizes: personal (10″), small (14″) and large (18″). Cheese, pepperoni and a “slice of the month” and “slice of the day” are offered by the slice.
Also on the menu are salads, baked lasagna, beer and wine. Take-out and free delivery are offered; in addition, there’s a small dine-in area and back patio.
Shawn Shenefield, Upper Crust’s Operations Director, says the opening so far has gone “really well.” He described the past two weeks as a soft opening, in which staff get on-the-job experience and training while business ramps up.
Shenefield said Upper Crust seeks to be a community-oriented business — Arlington, he noted, is comparable to Brookline, Mass., where the company has a store — and has been focusing on partnering with local schools. For instance, it has been planning fundraisers with nearby Marymount University and Glebe Elementary.
Task Force Recommends TJ Site — Ten months after the Arlington County Board nixed a proposed new elementary school next to Thomas Jefferson Middle School, a working group appointed by the Board has concluded that the site is, in fact, the best one for a new school. The group also recommended that the School Board starts planning for a second new South Arlington elementary school, most likely in the Pentagon City area. [InsideNova]
Election Day Bar Crawl Was a Bust — Organizers of an election day bar crawl in Clarendon say they have learned “that people are not up for celebrating democracy on a Tuesday night of a work week.” Despite giving out 65-70 bracelets for the crawl, which was to encourage younger people to vote, one of the participating bars — Whitlow’s — didn’t see a single customer wearing the bracelets. [Washington Post]
‘Suburban North Arlington Is Going to Develop’ — The urbanist blog Greater Greater Washington says that development is inevitable for Lee Highway. The website is encouraging residents of the car-oriented corridor to participate in a county-led planning process for Lee Highway that’s currently underway, including a “visioning charrette” this weekend. [Greater Greater Washington]
Ray’s Maintains Steak Supremacy — Despite an influx of flashy new steakhouses in the District, Ray’s the Steaks in Courthouse still has the best-tasting steak around, and for a lot less than the newcomers, says food critic Todd Kliman. [Washingtonian]
W-L, Yorktown Rivalry Game Tonight — Yorktown will face Washington-Lee in a cross-county rivalry game with playoff implications. Both football squads could make the playoffs with a win tonight. A win also comes with the unofficial distinction of being this year’s Arlington County champion. [Washington Post]
M.J. Stewart Back at UNC Following Suspension — Former Yorktown standout M.J. Stewart is back leading the University of North Carolina’s secondary, after an off-campus altercation led to an assault and battery charge and a suspension from the team. [Daily Tarheel]
Tuckahoe 5K Road Closures — The annual Tuckahoe 5K race will take place Saturday. Arlington police will close portions of Williamsburg Blvd, Little Falls Road, 26th Street and Underwood Street between 7:30 and 10:30 a.m. to accommodate the race. [Arlington County]
Dems Captured All But One Precinct — The two Democratic County Board members-elect nearly swept every voting precinct in the county during Tuesday’s election. Katie Cristol and Christian Dorsey together captured all but one precinct in Arlington. In the Madison precinct of North Arlington, a “bastion of Republicanism in an otherwise true-blue community,” Republican-endorsed independent Michael McMenamin finished second to Christian Dorsey. [InsideNova]
Jury Duty Questionnaires Due — If you were among the seven percent of Arlington and Falls Church residents who received a juror qualification questionnaire in the mail last month, it’s likely past due by now. Recipients are required by law to return the form within 10 days of receiving it. [Arlington County]
Development Forum Next Week — Registration is closing at noon today for a forum on development in Arlington County. Speakers at the event, scheduled for Nov. 10, include Arlington Economic Development Director Victor Hoskins, Rosslyn BID President Mary-Claire Burick and Shooshan Company COO Kelly Shooshan. [CREW Northern Virginia]
Flickr pool photo by TheBeltWalk
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.
A consulting team will run the workshop, which is meant to help the county shape its vision for the Lee Highway corridor.
“Lee Highway isn’t going to plan itself,” Arlington County Planner Justin Falango said in a statement. “The people who live or work there, own businesses or land, or just visit, need to be integrally involved in this effort — and that begins with crafting a vision for the corridor’s future.”
The four-day workshop will take place at the Langston-Brown Community and Senior Center (2121 N. Culpeper Street) and starts on Friday, Nov. 6, with an introduction to the design team from 6-8 p.m.
On Saturday, Nov. 7, participants will draw their vision for the corridor as part of a community hands-on design session from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. They will then have the opportunity to take a tour of a temporary design studio to watch designers work on the plans for Lee Highway on Sunday from 3-5 p.m.
The workshop will end on Monday, Nov. 8, with a wrap-up open house from 7-9 p.m., where participants will hear the first draft of recommendations for the Lee Highway corridor.
While picturing the vision for Lee Highway, participants and county staff will discuss:
- pedestrian accommodation
- cyclists and vehicles
- issues for commuters
- opportunities for housing
- appropriate development
- transitions from commercial zones to single family homes
- streetscape design
- the preservation of cultural resources
Planning for a redeveloped Lee Highway Corridor is an partnership effort between the county government and multiple civic associations that are affected by the road. The county is currently in a planning phase for the development project, and has been conducting multiple walks and hearing to gather information about the state of the corridor.
Fire Station 8 Task Force — At its Tuesday meeting, the Arlington County Board approved a charge for its new Fire Station No. 8 task force. The task force will review viable sites for the fire station, will seek a location that will improve fire and EMS response signs, and will seek to balance costs with service needs. [Arlington County]
More Metro Delays This Morning — Delays and overcrowded trains made for “another miserable day” on the Orange Line during this morning’s commute. Metro says it’s hoping to have full service restored on the Silver, Orange and Blue lines by the end of the year, following a catastrophic fire at an electrical substation in D.C. [WMATA, Twitter, Twitter]
Old Growth Forest in Arlington Recognized — A 24-acre portion of Glencarlyn Park, just south of Route 50, has been recognized by the Old Growth Forest Network. The park has trees that were likely saplings while the British burned the White House across the river during the War of 1812. [Arlington County]
GW Parkway Repaving Nearly Complete — Crews are starting to wrap up a repaving project on the GW Parkway that has prompted lane and ramp closures over the past few weeks. The formerly pockmarked section of the Parkway north of Reagan National Airport now has a smooth coating of asphalt. [WTOP]
Lee Highway Streetlight Upgrade Approved — The Arlington County Board last night approved a $2.2 million project to replace 1.5 miles of aging streetlights along Lee Highway with new, energy efficient LED streetlights. Some residents have previously complained of an “ugly” blue tint from the county’s LED streetlights. [Arlington County]
Ballston IHOP is Turning 50 — The IHOP restaurant in Ballston will turn 50 years old early next year. Reportedly, it was the first Virginia location for the chain. [InsideNova]
Arlington Hosting Metro Safety Seminar Tonight — Officials from Arlington County and WMATA will be participating in a Metro Safety and Preparedness Seminar tonight in Ballston. A panel of officials will discuss Arlington’s response to Metro incidents and emergency preparedness tips for Metro riders. [Arlington County]
Photo by Justin Funkhouser
A new sushi restaurant has opened on Lee Highway in Cherrydale.
Maneki Neko Express opened six weeks ago in the spot of former Thai restaurant Thai 24 (3813 Lee Highway). The new restaurant will serve both Japanese and Thai food as part of a partnership with the former Thai 24’s owners, said Maneki co-owner KanyaThongprasert.
“Maneki Neko Express will be serving Japanese and Thai food in a cafe-like setting,” the restaurant said on its website.
The Cherrydale restaurant is the Maneki Neko’s second location. Maneki Neko first started in Falls Church about 14 years ago, Thongprasert said, adding the original location only serves Japanese food.
Business at the new restaurant has been ok in the first few weeks,Thongprasert said. Customers from the Falls Church location have followed the company to Arlington, she added.
“They love it. They love the taste,” she said.
The most popular dishes include pad thai and the restaurant’s bento box option, which allows customers to pick items from the sushi bar and the kitchen, such as a California roll and teriyaki chicken.Thongprasert has applied for a liquor license and plans to serve beer, wine and sake on and off the premise.
Maneki Neko Express offers special sushi rolls, such as a Three Amigos roll, which is a roll with tuna, salmon, yellowtail, avocado, jalapeño and spicy mayo. Customers can also choose from daily specials.
One of the specials is a Halloween roll, pumpkin tempura, eel and tobiko, and the restaurant is prepared for the upcoming holiday with ghosts, pumpkins and spiderweb decorations on its windows.
The restaurant serves lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner from 4-9 p.m. Monday through Friday. On Saturday the restaurant serves lunch from noon to 2 p.m. and dinner from 4-9 p.m. and on Sunday, it is only open for dinner from 4-9 p.m.
A Indian restaurant serving only vegetarian food has reopened on Lee Highway with new owners and new name, though its sign may not reflect it.
Sharan Indian Cuisine, formerly Saran Indian Cuisine, is now open for business at 5157 Lee Highway. While the sign above the restaurant says “Saran Indian Cuisine,” owner Ashraful Siddique said the missing “h” is due to trouble getting a new sign.
“Arlington County is taking [a] little time to approve the signage,” Siddique said.
Siddique took over the restaurant in July and closed it for renovations in order to comply with Arlington codes, he said.
“We just acquired a restaurant that has been at this same location very successfully for the last 16 years, it has a pretty niche clientele and a following, we will like to seamlessly maintain that reputation,” he said. “We had to do small renovation to be compliant to the new code, but we have kept the look and the feel almost the same.”
Sharan Indian Cuisine serves only vegetarian food, a decision made by the previous owners, Siddique said.
“We are a vegetarian restaurant, in the sense we do not serve meat, fish and eggs, we serve a little different menu from the other conventional ethnic Indian restaurants,” he said. “We did not decide on our own, this has always been a vegetarian restaurant and we want to keep the tradition.”
Siddique describes the restaurant as having a “niche menu” because it serves dishes not typically found at Indian restaurant, including Pani Puri, Bhindi Jalfrezi and Masala Dhosa. The restaurant strives to maintain a comfortable atmosphere with affordable, homemade food, he said.
“We will like to invite the clientele of this restaurant who have been coming for the last 16 years to the same old charm vegetarian Indian food and also the new customers to come and try our cooking,” Siddique said.
County staff is recommending that the County Board approve a contract of over $2 million for replacing the aging lighting along Lee Highway during its meeting this coming Saturday.
“This existing infrastructure is failing and cannot be economically repaired and maintained to provide adequate and reliable lighting for all travelers in this corridor,”county staff wrote in their proposal.
If the contract is approved, American Lighting and Signalization will begin replacing the 70 existing streetlights with 270 county-standard LED streetlights in order “to enhance the safety for all roadway [and] sidewalk users,” according to county staff. The contract is for $1.87 million plus a $224,000 contingency.
“Over the years, the streetlights and associated power supply have deteriorated to the point that a full replacement [and] reconstruction is necessary. County staff found that the underground lines are in poor condition and unsafe to retrofit, as the wires are not protected in conduit,” county staff said.
The 70 streetlights were previously installed by the Virginia Department of Transportation. This time, the streetlights will be installed and paid for by Arlington.
Replacing the streetlights along Lee Highway is included in the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for 2015-2024. The original budget for replacement in the CIP was for $1.5 million, and the county plans to reallocate money from other areas, including a fund for county-wide streetlight work and the county’s transportation and traffic signals program.
“The total estimated cost of this project is $2,252,133 including design, utility locating, construction and County staff charges,” county staff wrote. “The project costs are $0.75 million over the adopted budget, because the original budget was not based on any field survey information or detailed design. The contingency includes a conservative 12 percent of the contract amount to cover underground conditions that utility surveys may have missed in the complicated environment of Lee Highway adjacent to I-66.”
A new pizza joint has opened on Lee Highway, replacing a Little Caesars franchise location at the corner of Lee Highway and N. George Mason Drive.
Fillmore Pizza opened its second location at 5175 Lee Highway five days ago, said owner Bahruz Ahmadbayli. The Lee Highway location is the restaurant’s second in Arlington — the first is at 923 S. Walter Reed Drive.
The new restaurant sells pizza, pasta, sandwiches, salads and wings and uses high quality and expensive ingredients, Ahmadbayli said. A small, 10-inch cheese pizza sells for $7.75, while a extra large, 18-inch pizza costs $14.95. Fillmore also sells gourmet pizzas, which start at $11.75 for a small, 10 inch pizza.
“The pizza is totally different from other stores,” he said.
The reason the pizza is better than other places is because of the cheese Fillmore Pizza uses, Ahmadbayli said.
“The main ingredient in this business is cheese,” he said. “Our cheese is the best quality and expensive.”
The restaurant runs daily pick up and delivery specials, and customers can order online. The new Lee Highway restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
The Little Caesars, which previously occupied the space, opened in 2013. The company has another Arlington location on Columbia Pike.
As of 1:15 p.m., Lorcom Lane had reopened to traffic, except for the right yield lane from Lee Highway. Crews were on scene fixing the pole.
The cause of the fire may have been a couple wires touching, said a Dominion worker. There were no flames when the worker arrived on scene, but wires can spark, he said.
In a press release, the Democrat said he would seek to terminate TitleMax’s lease at 5265 Lee Highway, should that building be included in a land swap between its owner, Virginia Hospital Center, and Arlington County.
Dorsey has also launched an online petition, asking residents to support him in his call to “do all we can to protect Arlingtonians from predatory lending practices.”
The press release from Dorsey’s campaign:
Christian Dorsey, a Democratic nominee for the Arlington County Board, attended a public forum on Wednesday at the Virginia Hospital Center discussing the process for a potential deal between Arlington County and the hospital for County-owned land adjacent to the hospital’s property. One potential deal includes a land swap, where Arlington County would acquire property currently owned by the hospital on the corner of Lee Highway and North George Mason Drive. That property is currently being leased by TitleMax, Inc., a predatory vehicle title lender.
Should Arlington acquire the property, Dorsey committed to opposing any lease renewal for TitleMax. He went further by promising to explore all possible ways to terminate the lease early in the case that Arlington becomes the owner of the property.
“Predatory lenders charge desperate families up to 264% interest on loans,” said Dorsey. “Arlington County should not be in the business of profiting off of those that prey on our most vulnerable populations. That’s why I will oppose any extension of the lease to TitleMax should Arlington acquire the property. Further, I will pursue all avenues that would allow us to terminate that lease upon acquisition of the land.”
“Predatory lending runs counter to our values here in Arlington,” continued Dorsey. “Richmond should be ashamed that they allow these businesses to operate with so little regulation. Charging over 260% interest on a car title loan should not be permissible under any circumstances, and I’ll do everything in my power to stop these businesses from preying on Arlington’s vulnerable working families.”