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by Heather Mongilio — October 2, 2015 at 3:35 pm 1,491 0

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.

by Heather Mongilio — September 14, 2015 at 1:40 pm 567 0

Telephone pole that caught fire on Lorcom Lane(Updated at 2:15 p.m.) Lorcom Lane was closed at Old Dominion Drive earlier today after a utility pole near the intersection caught on fire.

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.

by ARLnow.com — September 11, 2015 at 10:30 am 3,526 0

TitleMax in the former 7-11 location on Lee Highway Arlington County Board candidate Christian Dorsey is taking a stand against TitleMax, which he deems a “predatory lender.”

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.”

by ARLnow.com — September 10, 2015 at 12:10 pm 1,319 0

"W&OD Trail Summer Power Lines" by Tyler ZarfossPower is out along the western half of Lee Highway in Arlington for the second time this week.

As of noon today, Dominion is reporting just over 3,850 customers without power in Arlington, in the neighborhoods surrounding Lee Highway.

Numerous traffic lights are out along Lee Highway, Williamsburg Blvd and Old Dominion Drive, according to scanner traffic.

Among the neighborhoods without power is Highland Park-Overlee Knolls, according to a Twitter user.

“We have crews on the scene working the outage,” Dominion spokesman Charles Penn told ARLnow.com. “There are reports of [a] wire down. We are in the process of re-routing our circuit to get customers restored.”

No word yet on when power is expected to be restored. About 1,500 customers in the same area lost power on Tuesday.

Photo courtesy Tyler Zarfoss

by ARLnow.com — September 8, 2015 at 3:00 pm 1,774 0

Dominion crews on N. Utah Street near Fairfax DriveUpdate at 3:30 p.m. — Tuckahoe Elementary is reported to be without power as a result of the outage.

Power and traffic lights are out along a portion of Lee Highway on the western end of Arlington County.

Traffic lights are reported to be dark at the intersections of Lee Highway at N. Harrison Street and N. Sycamore Street. Police are monitoring traffic at the intersections, which should be treated as a four way stop.

Readers have reported that power is out in the neighborhoods surrounding that section of Lee Highway, including as far south as 20th Street N. in the Westover area.

As of 3 p.m., Dominion reported that nearly 1,500 customers in Arlington are without power. Scanner traffic indicates that power crews are en route to the affected area.

File photo

by ARLnow.com — August 6, 2015 at 9:45 am 9,558 0

Man marching down Lee Highway with a Confederate flag (photo courtesy @WanyeVVest)

A man holding a Confederate flag was spotted marching down Lee Highway near East Falls Church this morning.

The above photo was taken near N. Sycamore Street around 8:00 a.m. A reader said the man was walking very deliberately down the street, with a Confederate flag that had the Gadsden flag’s “Don’t Tread On Me” snake in the middle.

“[He was] not yelling anything but [you] could tell he was walking with pride in his step,” said the reader.

At least one concerned resident called police to report the display, which is highly unusual for Arlington, but according to scanner traffic police determined that the man was exercising his First Amendment rights and not violating the law.

Photo courtesy @WanyeVVest

by Heather Mongilio — August 3, 2015 at 2:50 pm 1,041 0

Police are helping to direct traffic at the busy intersection of Lee Highway and Glebe Road due to a problem with the traffic lights.

The lights are dark after a wire disconnected from the transformer by the Wells Fargo bank. Scanner traffic reported that the wire was brought down by a passing truck.

Police set up cones and were directing traffic while crews reconnected the wire and worked to get the traffic signals working again. Traffic lights in all four directions were affected.

by Heather Mongilio — July 21, 2015 at 10:30 am 7,176 0

A new restaurant on Lee Highway is looking to serve customers a hug, in the shape of a bowl of ramen.

Gaijin Ramen Shop (3800 Lee Highway) opened its doors last week on Tuesday for its soft opening and already the restaurant has had repeat customers, said co-owner Nicole Mazkour. On Friday, three days after opening, the restaurant had a waitlist of 65 people hoping to try its various  ramen recipes.

The restaurant’s success so far is a bit surprising because it is summer and ramen is a hot soup, Mazkour said. It is also shocking because the Mazkour and co-owner Tuvan Pham have no prior restaurant experience.

“We’ve been best friends, and something we’ve dreamed of independently is owning our own restaurant,” Mazkour said.

The two pulled together their savings to build their restaurant, despite many people telling them they wouldn’t be successful. They originally looked to open in Georgetown but the landlord pulled out at the last minute. When they got the space in Cherrydale, four different construction companies refused the project, Pham said.

“This is our shot. This is our dream,” Mazkour said. “It is literally our skin, bones, sweat and tears. We’re positive that God has helped us.”

The two set out to bring an authentic, friendly ramen experience to Arlington. They traveled to Japan to learn how to make ramen and South Korea to learn the art of making kimchi.

“If you could describe us in one word, it’s passion,” Mazkour said. “That’s all it takes.”

Everything is made fresh at the restaurant, the owners say, and the ramen soup can take eight to 10 hours to make. The owners and their staff hand shuck the corn and peel the fuji apples that go into the ramen broth, and Mazkour said the amount of organic waste they produce from the fresh vegetables and meat is “unbelievable.”

A bowl of ramen costs between $10 and $11, which does not include extra toppings that one can add. Mazkour and Pham said that the soup is a bit expensive, but it’s the best price they could set in order to afford the fresh ingredients and preparation.

The restaurant offers traditional ramen like a miso ramen or spicy miso ramen, but also more creative ones like BBQ chicken ramen. Mazkour said that she hopes to get more even creative and is playing with the idea of a lobster ramen or a kobe beef ramen.

In addition to the ten types of ramen currently served, customers can also purchase chicken, pork or beef  “buns.” Buns are similar to sliders, but the buns are a white, thick and doughy instead of a traditional bread. The restaurant is a family business, with Mazkour’s son making the buns.

Without a financial backer, Mazkour and Pham have been somewhat limited in their operation. They both have full time jobs outside of the restaurant, and can only open from 4-10 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. They want to expand the hours, either in the afternoon or late night Friday and Saturday, but they are seeking customer feedback to help them make their decision.

During the restaurant’s soft opening, the two owners want to hear customer feedback. They did a soft opening because they are currently training the staff to make the ramen and they are still hammering out other details.

When hiring, the two owners kept all the staff from the Kite Runner Cafe, which was previously in the spot. The two paid the employees for two months while the restaurant was being built because they knew the staff relied on the paychecks, Pham said.

“We’re not about business,” she said. “We’re about heart.”

They are also still working to accept credit cards and get their liquor license, but they expect to have both in the next few weeks.

The restaurant can seat 44 people and there will be about 17 seats outside as well. Mazkour and Pham want to give the restaurant the kind of friendly feel that they found in Japan, instead of the hip and exclusive feel that some other trendy ramen places have, Mazkour said.

Their light attitude is reflected in the restaurant name. Gaijin in Japanese means foreigner, and neither Mazkour nor Pham are Japanese, but they respect the culture and the food, so the name is a bit of a light-hearted joke.

“[Japanese people] love it,” Pham said.

by Heather Mongilio — July 17, 2015 at 2:15 pm 1,828 0

(Updated at 3:25 p.m.) The beginning of a mural has appeared on a wall along Lee Highway from the corner of N. Uhle Street to N. Veitch Street.

The mural is the work of local artist Kate Fleming, a 2014 College of William and Mary graduate who now works for the Smithsonian’s Office of Exhibits Central. Fleming was initially approached in 2014 by John Laswick from Engleside Cooperative, the co-op building behind the 110-foot wall, to paint a mural, according to Fleming’s blog.

Now after a year of designing, planning and waiting for warm weather, Fleming has started to add paint to the once dirty retaining wall.

Painted a muted lime green, the mural has pencil sketches on it depicting buildings and houses. A sketch of the Iwo Jima Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery is also depicted.

The finished mural will be an abstract cityscape of Arlington and the District, Fleming said. The mural contains Arlington landmarks, including Arlington neighborhood on the right half of the mural. On the left, she will paint Key Bridge leading to D.C. and multiple District landmarks like the Washington Monument and the Capitol Building.

“It’s more about shapes and color and overlapping than a straight depiction of the city,” Fleming said.

Painting a mural is expensive, especially since the wall needed to be cleaned before Fleming could start, she said on blog. Engleside Cooperative is funding part of the mural, but Fleming also received Arlington Commission for the Art’s Spotlight Artist Grant for 2016. The grant gave Fleming $5,000.

“Getting the funding from the Arlington Commission for the Arts and Arlington Cultural Affairs has finally gotten this project moving in a real way. It’s been a full year in the works, but things are finally starting to pick up speed,” Fleming said in a June 25 post.

However, the project hit a small snag after being selected for the grant. Because the mural is technically on private property, county staff thought she her mural might be considered a sign, and subject to the county’s stringent sign ordinance.

From her blog post entitled “Speed Bump:”

Progress on the mural (and on this blog) hit a bit of a speed bump last week. As I was putting the finishing touches on the design in Illustrator (more on that later), I got a call from Angela Adams over at Arlington Public Arts. Angela was a huge help throughout the Spotlight Grant application process. She was calling to let me know that my project did not fall under the jurisdiction of the Arlington Public Arts Committee. This seemed, at first, a good thing; I would not need to go through the Public Art Committee’s approval process and so I could get started right away. But there was one catch: because it was determined to be a non-public art project, Angela and I concluded that I would have to follow the County sign ordinance.

Fleming was instructed to go to the county zoning office, where she spoke with a staff member. After a few days in which she stopped all work on the mural, she called the staff member and was told that her mural wasn’t a sign after all, it was going to be considered private artwork under county regulations.

“I have the County’s go-ahead and that’s what matters!” Fleming wrote. “I lost a few days of work in the process, but I’m getting back on track,” she wrote in her July 12 post.

It took Fleming a little over a week to pencil mark her mural, and she expects it to take weeks to paint it, she said. Once completed, the mural will have 10 different colors, including shades of blues and greens. The mural will be abstract and won’t necessarily be a day or night scene, though people could consider it to depict Arlington and D.C. during the day, she said.

A lot of thought went into the design of the mural, Fleming said, in order to give it a complex, abstract feel but with identifiable structures. Fleming said she and Laswick want people to be able to look at the mural multiple times and “to see something new every time you looked. So it’s complex and layered that way.”

Fleming’s contract for the mural has a completion date of Sept. 30, but Fleming said she hopes to finish by the end of August or beginning of September.

by ARLnow.com — July 14, 2015 at 1:15 pm 7,206 0

Police car (file photo)Lee Highway was closed for nearly two hours last night after a man told police he had a bomb.

The bizarre incident happened around 10:30 p.m. Police received a call from a “concerned citizen,” reporting that a man was walking down the road with his pants around his ankles.

The man failed to comply with the commands of responding officers who tried to stop and question him, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. Instead, he began walking down the middle of Lee Highway, shouting obscenities, daring police to shoot him and saying he had a bomb in his backpack, Sternbeck said.

Eventually, the man dropped the backpack in the middle of the roadway and was then taken into custody. Police shut down Lee Highway between N. Lexington Street and Sycamore Street while the county’s bomb squad evaluated the backpack. No bomb was found, and the road reopened after an “extended” closure, said Sternbeck.

The man has been charged with resisting arrest, assault on police and making a bomb threat, we’re told.

by ARLnow.com — July 7, 2015 at 2:35 pm 3,537 0

Arlington County Police and the FBI have released photos of the man who robbed the Capital One Bank at 4700 Lee Highway Monday afternoon.

The photos (above) show the man dressed all in black, wielding a pair of scissors while robbing the bank. His face is covered by what police say is a black cloth.

The suspect remains at large. In an ACPD press release, investigators say they’re seeking tips in the case.

The Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit, along with the FBI’s Washington Field Office, is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying a bank robbery suspect captured in surveillance footage.

On Monday, July 6, 2015, at approximately 4:59 p.m., an unknown male subject entered the Capital One Bank branch in the 4700 block of N. Lee Highway and robbed the bank while brandishing a pair of scissors. After obtaining an undisclosed amount of money, the subject fled the bank.

The suspect is described as a male of unknown race and between 5’4″ – 5’7″ tall with a slim build. At the time of the incident, the suspect was wearing a black long sleeve shirt, black pants and no shoes with white socks. He had a black cloth covering his head.

The FBI is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to the identification, arrest and conviction of the bank robber.

The Arlington County Police Department and FBI’s Washington Field Office are investigating this bank robbery and request that anyone with information call the FBI at 202-278-2000 or Detective Munizza with the Arlington County Police Department at 703.228.4171 [email protected] To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).

by ARLnow.com — July 6, 2015 at 5:10 pm 4,791 0

(Updated at 6:15 p.m.) Arlington County Police are on the scene of a reported bank robbery in the Waverly Hills neighborhood.

The robbery was reported around 5:00 p.m. at the Capital One Bank, at 4700 Lee Highway.

Initial reports suggest a man dressed in all black and armed with scissors robbed the bank and ran off with cash. He was last seen heading westbound on Lee Highway.

The man had a t-shirt wrapped around his face during the robbery, according to scanner reports. He was reportedly wearing a black shirt, black pants and white socks with holes in them, but no shoes.

A witness, Bryan Hudzina, was walking his dog in the area at the time of the robbery. He told ARLnow.com that he saw the man run by him, behind the bank.

“As I’m walking… we turn around at the corner of the back of the bank [and see] a gentleman wearing all black, covered face, carrying something,” Hudzina said. “[He] ran to the side of me and headed down toward the back side of the buildings.”

Police officers and K-9 units are searching the surrounding neighborhoods for the suspect. Detectives are talking to employees and witnesses, and processing evidence at the bank.

by Mariah Joyce — June 24, 2015 at 2:15 pm 1,608 0

FS08_facadeTomorrow night (June 25) Arlington will hold the first of four planned meetings to discuss the relocation of Fire Station 8.

Last May, the county proposed a plan to move the fire station from Lee Highway to a county-owned green space near Marymount University on Old Dominion Drive. The Old Dominion Civic Association said it was “blind-sided” by the plan, and raised an outcry that prompted the county to reevaluate.

The Arlington County Fire Department wants to relocate Fire Station 8 further north in order to achieve their goal of four to six minute response times throughout the county. Arlington County studies conducted in 2000 and 2012 both indicated that while response times in most of the county met this goal, the northern part of the county was underserved and would benefit from having a fire station closer by.

At the meeting tomorrow night, residents will hear an overview of the issue from county staff, as well as the criteria and constraints for selecting a new fire station location. Residents will have the opportunity to give feedback.

“[The] process to select a site for the relocated FS8 will include dialogue with community stakeholders, including civic associations within the service area and other members of the public wishing to participate,” according to the county website. “The process will include a discussion of County needs; siting consideration and criteria; and evaluation of alternate sites within the service area.”

On Thursday, July 30, county staff plan to recap previous meeting results and provide another opportunity for community members to weigh in on alternative sites for the fire station. At this meeting, the county staff also plan to outline the process they will use to review the list of potential sites.

At the final meeting, currently scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 9, county staff will formulate a recommendation to be presented to the County Board.

The meeting tomorrow will be at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church (2609 N Glebe Rd) from 7-9 p.m. There will be a meeting at St. Mary’s at the same time on July 9 recapping the first for any who were unable to attend.

Photo via Arlington County Fire Department

by ARLnow.com — June 10, 2015 at 9:55 am 1,484 0

I Voted sticker outside a polling station (Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf)

Mark Levine Wins in 45th — Talk show host and attorney Mark Levine has won the Democratic primary in the 45th House of Delegates district, which includes Alexandria and parts of South Arlington and Fairfax County. So far, Levine doesn’t have any general election opponents as he seeks to replace Del. Rob Krupicka. [Washington Blade, Patch]

Townhouse Fire on Lee Hwy — Arlington County firefighters battled a small townhouse fire on the 4300 block of Lee Highway around 4:00 p.m. Tuesday. [Twitter]

Arlington Gay Marriage Company Acquired — Arlington-based GayWeddings.com has been acquired by Chevy Chase, Md.-based WeddingWire. [Washington Business Journal]

Bistro 360 Now Serving Lunch — Bistro 360, a restaurant at 1800 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn, is starting weekday lunch service as of today. Lunch will be served Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

by ARLnow.com — May 27, 2015 at 11:00 am 3,124 0

HomeMade Pizza on Lee Highway(Updated at 11:10 a.m.) Boston-based Upper Crust Pizzeria is planning on opening a new location in the former HomeMade Pizza Company space on Lee Highway.

HomeMade, which offered bake-at-home pizzas, closed in 2014 after about five years in business at 4514 Lee Highway. It was part of a company-wide shutdown for the Chicago-based chain.

Now, another regional pizza chain that has gone through financial troubles is coming in.

Upper Crust shuttered 10 locations, including one at 1747 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in D.C., during a bankruptcy in 2012. It’s apparently now on the rebound, under new ownership and management.

Upper Crust Pizzeria has applied for a permit to sell wine and beer at its new Lee Heights Shops storefront. There are no records of any construction permits being applied for so far.

Upper Crust currently has six locations, all in the Boston area. Ben Deb, the company’s CFO, says the Lee Highway location will be the first of what they hope will be several D.C. area locations.

“We’re looking at multiple spots in the D.C. metro area,” Deb told ARLnow.com. “The brand had a great following when it was there. We get inquiries on our website all the time.”

Construction is expected to begin next week and the company is targeting an opening in Arlington as soon as mid-July, according to Deb. He said Upper Crust’s freshness and thin crust pizza style sets it apart from other pizza joints.

“The product is second to none… we make our dough fresh on site everyday and use fresh ingredients,” he said. “We’re really looking forward to being a part of the Arlington community.”

Upper Crust’s menu includes pizza by the slice, specialty pizzas by the pie, lasagna, salads and calzones.


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