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.”
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
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.
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
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.
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.
(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.
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.
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).
(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.