Arlington, VA

ARLnow is continuing a series of articles to highlight the local businesses that advertise with us and help keep the community informed during these trying times.

Today we’re giving a shout out to Elite Dental in Clarendon.

Obviously during the pandemic you’re not going to be going in for a routine dental visit. But once it’s over, there is going to be a crush of people trying to get their teeth cleaned, so maybe consider booking an appointment for July or August now.

Why Elite Dental?

Elite Dental is the Cadillac of dental practices. It’s basically a comfy spa where you happen to get your teeth cleaned, x-rayed, whitened, straightened, and — well, you get the picture, they do dental things. Elite uses the latest techniques, technology and, as a bonus, they’re really friendly. The Yelp reviews don’t lie.

Need a dentist upgrade? Sign up as a new patient online or call them at 703-988-6963.

Thank you, Elite Dental, for keeping our teeth sparkling and for supporting local journalism.

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ARLnow is continuing a series of articles to highlight the local businesses that advertise with us and help keep the community informed during these trying times.

Tonight we’re recognizing Dominion Floors, which remains open and serving customers, while taking all the proper precautions.

You know what you can’t shelter in place at home without? Floors. In fact, a house is not even habitable without some form of flooring. And it’s a bit less habitable without good flooring — the non-squeaking, non-worn-down kind.

The good news is that Dominion Floors knows floors. It’s in the name. It’s what they do.

So if you are spending every waking hour at home and are experiencing a dawning realization that your floors need to be replaced, they’re the people to call (at 703-536-4116) or email. They have a showroom at the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center that currently has very limited weekday hours, or you can just check out their website and request a free estimate.

Dominion Floors is an Arlington institution (since 1968) that supports your favorite Arlington local news website. Please give them a look if you’re in the market.

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Last year Acme Pie Company on Columbia Pike went from pie wholesaler to restaurant. Now it’s becoming a delivery business as well.

With restaurants ordered closed to dine-in customers by Gov. Ralph Northam today, Virginia is now a takeout- and delivery-only zone. And that means big changes — and major hardship — for many Arlington restaurants and food businesses.

Acme, like other restaurants, has gotten creative to provide meals to those sheltering in place in their homes. It’s offering a “COVID-19 special,” with 1 quart of soup, fresh baked bread, and a 7-inch pie delivered to homes in Arlington County for $20. Tuesday’s deliveries are already sold out, owner Sol Schott said on Acme’s Facebook page.

“‘The Acme Soup Line’ experiment has been wildly successful!” said Schott. “I had no idea there would be so much demand. I hope this in some small way will help you all through this scary time.”

Acme is one of more than 150 Arlington restaurants ARLnow has checked in on over the past week, to compile the following COVID-19 Local Restaurant Status list. The Google Sheet includes information on whether a restaurant is open and providing deliveries and/or carry out.

Ordering delivery and takeout is the most tangible way to support these local businesses during trying times, but it is not a long-term sustainable solution for for many restaurants, particularly those that rely on bar sales from dine-in customers. Kevin Tien of Ballston’s Hot Lola told the Washington City Paper that one of his D.C. restaurants is “doing 2.5 times the normal amount of work for a quarter amount of original sales.”

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A lot of local businesses are struggling during the coronavirus outbreak, but at least one seems to be doing just fine.

Nova Armory, the Lyon Park gun store that generated controversy when it opened four years ago, has had lines out the door for at least the past week.

The store at 2300 N. Pershing Drive, which did not respond to a request for comment from ARLnow, said via social media last week that it was only allowing six people inside at a time and increasing sanitation efforts, in order to reduce the risk of spreading the disease.

Gun stores across Virginia have been seeing an increase in business amid the pandemic, NBC 4 reported.

The News 4 I-Team requested statewide data since the beginning of March and found the highest number of requests for background checks, 3,753, on Saturday, March 7, the very day Virginia announced its first COVID-19 case.

In the 10 days that followed, background check requests were up 45% from the same time period last year.

But Virginia State Police say this uptick hasn’t come close to the single-day record of 5,645 background check requests, set on Black Friday in 2019, shortly after Democrats won control of the Virginia legislature.

On Sunday, Nova Armory said it would be shifting to primarily appointment-based sales, starting Tuesday.

“All appointments will take priority over any walk-in customers,” the store said.

Photos courtesy anonymous

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Morning Notes

Man Arrested After Door Incident at DCA — “A passenger on a flight operated by Frontier Airlines was taken into custody at Reagan National Airport Saturday, after allegedly using the emergency slide to exit the airplane, officials said.” [Washington Post, Twitter]

Metrobus Rides Are Free, For Now — “To help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, Metrobus riders will be required to board using the rear doors and will not have to tap their fare cards, according to a letter sent to employees Sunday.
The change, which begins Tuesday, means rides essentially are free.” [Washington Post]

Don’t Flush Wipes Down the Toilet — From Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey: “Do NOT put wipes, paper towels etc in the toilet! They severely damage water treatment.” [Twitter, CNN]

County Trying to Help Small Businesses — “To mitigate some of the challenges and hardships experienced by small businesses as a result of COVID-19 related closures and modifications, Arlington County is finding new ways to reach out to business owners with counsel, resources and other options.” [Arlington County]

County Offers Help with Utility Bills — “If you are struggling to pay a County utility bill (water/sewer/refuse) at this time, please call the DES Customer Contact Center at 703-228-5000, Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. You may be eligible for special payment arrangements without accrual of additional late fees.” [Twitter]

Coronavirus Fraud Task Force Formed — “In response to the increased threat of fraud presented by the coronavirus, federal and Virginia state law enforcement leaders announced today the formation of the Virginia Coronavirus Fraud Task Force.” [Press Release]

Marymount Mulls Commencement Alternatives — “This Wednesday, Marymount University announced to students, faculty and staff that the online-only class period that started this week will be extended through the end of the spring semester, including final exams. It was also decided that the traditional commencement ceremonies scheduled for May 2020 would be canceled.” [Press Release]

Overnight Lane Closures in Rosslyn — “N Lynn St, SB Lee Hwy and the ramps to and from I-66 in Rosslyn will see overnight work requiring lane closures or full closures Mon night 3/23 – Thu night 3/26 in relation to the Lynn St Esplanade project.” [VDOT, Twitter]

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This morning we’re continuing a series of articles to highlight the local businesses that advertise with ARLnow.com and help up keep the community informed during these trying times.

Our long-time sponsor Groff Landscape Design is a Clarendon-based business that takes a comprehensive, modern approach to landscape design. They help you design and build your dream backyard, and remove much of the stress usually associated with such a project.

There’s a reason why almost 75% of Groff business is either repeat clients or direct client referrals, and why they keep winning Houzz, Angie’s List, and Best of Arlington awards — they’re good.

Groff is continuing to serve clients and stay safe during the coronavirus outbreak, so if you wanted to take advantage of some extra time at home and start designing the landscaping of your dream, now is a good time to do it. Many of the consultations can be conducted via web-based video conferencing, and — of course — the work is done outside.

Thank you to Robert Groff and the team for your support of ARLnow.

Photo via Facebook

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Weekend Morning Notes

About This Post — Due to lots of coronavirus-related news, we have a number of non-disease-related local links that we haven’t been able to get to over the past two weeks. We’re running a one-time Weekend Morning Notes post to clear our queue. This will replace the usual weekend discussion post.

Arlington Cherry Blossom Walk — “Cherry blossom season in the D.C. area is a wonderful time of year, and taking in the blossoms is a beloved tradition. WalkArlington has created a walk featuring a few of our favorite locations in Arlington where you can appreciate the blooms and enjoy all that springtime in Arlington has to offer.” [WalkArlington]

Median Signs Promote Census — “What is good for the goose apparently is not good for the gander – if, that is, the gander is the Arlington County government. Those driving the roadways of Arlington in recent weeks no doubt have seen a flurry of median signage calling attention to, and promoting participation in, the federal census.” [InsideNova]

Local Cat Makes Headlines –“An adorable cat with a jaw deformity can’t help but always stick her tongue out – and her owner has insisted she wouldn’t have her pet any other way. Pretty Kitty, five, from Arlington, Virginia, can only open her mouth a ‘small amount’, and has her tongue always sticking out thanks to the way her jaw formed.” [Daily Mail]

Instant Runoff Voting for Arlington? — “Voters in future Arlington County Board elections could find themselves using the ‘instant-runoff’ method rather than the current ‘winner-takes-it-all’ manner. Both houses of the General Assembly have approved and sent to Gov. Northam a measure allowing Arlington to conduct its County Board races using instant-runoff voting, also known as ‘ranked-choice’ voting.” [InsideNova]

Arlington-Based Textile Brand Profiled — “From a plant-filled studio in Arlington, Diana Johnson translates ideas in her head to paper by lettering, illustrating and painting. Using her background in graphic design, Johnson is able to transform her artwork digitally into handcrafted products like pillows, clutches, greeting cards and, most often, prints to add a little color to any space.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]

Green Valley Looks Forward — “Low-level sales of marijuana and other substances in the Green Valley community in the 1960s grew into a full-fledged, open-air ‘drug supermarket’ by the early 1980s, with the intersection of 24th Road South and Shirlington Road ground zero for the illegal operations. On March 7, leaders of the community looked back at those days, and committed themselves to ensuring a better future for their community.” [InsideNova]

Chamber Acquires ‘Awesome Women’ –“Awesome Women (AWE), the professional networking group founded in Arlington in 2014 that now has six chapters throughout the DC area, announced today that it will become a program of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce later this year. The Arlington Chamber will offer women-only networking events beginning in the fall, and will call the new program the Arlington Chamber Chapter of AWE.” [Arlington Chamber of Commerce]

Victim of Pentagon Stabbing Identified — “The man who was fatally stabbed Monday morning on the platform of the Pentagon Metro station has been identified as a 25-year-old from Northwest Washington, a spokesman for the transit agency said. Sean Ronaldo Golden, who lived near the District’s Brightwood Park neighborhood, died shortly after arriving at George Washington University Hospital, a report provided by Metro says.” [Washington Post]

New Pho Restaurant Opens on Columbia Pike — Pho Harmony, a carry-out Vietnamese noodle restaurant, has opened on the 3200 block of Columbia Pike. [Twitter]

And now here it is, your moment of zen…

https://twitter.com/wamu885/status/1241206140475768832

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(Updated on 2/23/20) The sports bar and restaurant Champps in Pentagon Row has permanently closed.

Coronavirus wasn’t the sole cause of the bar and restaurant’s demise — a staff member at the now-closed restaurant said they’d been struggling for months — but he said that it had been the final nail in the coffin.

“We’re battling through the leases but as soon as coronavirus came through [the company] decided they couldn’t keep operating the ones that were losing money,” the staff member said.

The Pentagon Row Champps first opened in 2001, shortly after 9/11, and donated the first couple days of beverage sales to a relief fund for victims of the attack on the Pentagon. It was one of the first large restaurants in the then-new shopping center.

In the classic Arlington cycle of restaurant death and rebirth, Twitter users both mourned the late restaurant and started wondering what could be next for the large space.

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Updated 3/23 — Owner Rich Vizard thanked the Arlington community for recent support, noted the sanitary precautions they are following, and thanked the County Treasurer for tax relief options passed after publication of the story.

Allspice Catering wants to thank the community for its support during these unprecedented times. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we respond to questions and orders. We want to stress that we are staying vigilant during this time and continue to follow all the ServSafe Guidelines to prevent the Coronavirus in a food establishment. We are committed to taking all precautions to protect our customers and our staff including being mindful of proper habits to follow outside of the workplace to protect ourselves and each other. I’d also like to thank Treasurer Carla de la Pava for taking quick decisive action on local tax relief options for restaurants and hotels. Be safe and take care of each other.

Earlier: In the span of a week or two, Allspice Catering (6017 Wilson Blvd) has gone from having a decent balance sheet to having roughly two months left to live — tops.

“There’s no business,” said owner Rich Vizard, owner of the company since he bought it from the original owners in 2013. “I normally do $15,000 a week. This week I had $235 in orders. We are completely, utterly dead in the water.”

Like Allspice Catering — formerly based in Rosslyn but now in Dominion Hills — businesses across Arlington have felt the strain of the coronavirus crisis. Allspice Catering has attempted to pivot to takeout, but it faces stiff competition against restaurants that are familiar and household names attempting to do the same, in a bid to survive.

Vizard said he recognized that people were more likely to order from a restaurant that they already knew and it puts his company at a significant disadvantage.

“We’ve done some takeout menus and had some personal takeout for people who want to order breakfast, lunch or dinner,” Vizard said. “We signed up for DoorDash and did a lot of promotion on social media.”

It wasn’t enough to keep the company from facing layoffs.

“In seven years I never had to lay off an employee, now I had to lay off all of them,” Vizard said. “The only one I’ve kept on is my chef because I can’t afford to lose him. I’m paying him full salary and I don’t know how.”

Vizard said his company has weathered government shutdowns and their original Rosslyn location being slated for demolition. Time after time, Vizard said his company had to fight its way to the finish line but he always knew they could come through.

“This one… we can’t,” Vizard said. “It’s so beyond our control. There’s just no business. We’re a heavily corporate catering company. Our bread and butter was corporate [events] and a few weddings, but everyone is teleworking and all the events are canceled.”

Vizard said all of the orders between the last week and the middle of April — $45,000 total — have canceled. Adding insult to injury was an order planned with Arlington County government that he called repeatedly to confirm, only to hear back after the meals had already been prepared that someone in the administration had forgotten to cancel the order.

“If we don’t pay a single bill and beg our landlord to extend us time, I think we could hold on for a month or two,” Vizard said. “After that we exhaust all lines of credit — two months max.”

While Alexandria is suspending its meal tax collection, Vizard shared an email correspondence with Arlington’s business tax supervisor saying businesses should continue paying their taxes to Arlington and there was no explicit permission from the state allowing Arlington to grant exceptions to tax collection for businesses in the event of a disease or other public health concern.

In the meantime, Vizard said he’s filed for a Small Business Association loan and he hopes takeout and gift certificates will be enough to weather the crisis.

“We have some inexpensive meals that can be delivered or picked up,” Vizard said. “Hopefully something good will happen… we’re going to try to ride it out as best we can and push off payments.”

File photo

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(Updated at 4:15 p.m.) A new French pastry shop is coming to Rosslyn this spring or summer, pandemic allowing.

In an era before social distancing and talk of quarantines, signs went up in the former Bean Good Coffee Pub space (1737 Wilson Blvd.) at the Colonial Village Shopping Center for Eclairons, a new cafe and bakery.

Signs in the window say the new restaurant will operate as a pastry shop, espresso bar and cafe serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The location is a spin-off of the Pastry Xpo Cafe in the Mosaic District in Fairfax. Staff at Pastry Xpo said that work is still ongoing inside Eclairons and the restaurant is not expected to open for “another few months.”

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(Updated at 5 p.m.) While Arlington teachers put together grocery gift cards for low-income families and nonprofits band together to address the economic impacts of the coronavirus, several local restaurateurs and the nonprofit Real Food for Kids are working to provide meals to families hit by the pandemic.

Chef David Guas, the owner of Bayou Bakery (1515 N. Courthouse Road) in Courthouse, has partnered with Real Food for Kids — a nonprofit that aims to promote healthy diets for children — to provide free, plant-based meals for Arlington children and their families.

Starting Tuesday, Guas committed to serving free lunches from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. during weekdays while Arlington Public Schools are closed, Real Food for Kids said in an email. This week the featured meal is New Orleans-style red beans and rice. Non-profit Fruitful Planet, associated with regional juice chain South Block, is also offering fresh fruit to accompany the meals.

“This is a complement to Arlington Public Schools’ efforts to serve at-risk families who are used to relying on the school lunch program,” a spokesperson for the organization said. “Many of these parents’ jobs are at risk due to the coronavirus, making a bad situation worse.”

Donations to help sustain the program can be made online. Other local organizations like the Arlington Food Assistance Center are also seeking assistance to provide food for those in need.

Separately, Joe’s Place Pizza & Pasta (5555 Lee Highway) is also offering free cheese pizzas and fresh salads to those most affected by the school closings and job cutbacks, starting tonight from 5-7 p.m. According to a press release, staff will deliver the food to the hood of cars to limit personal contact and maintain social distancing.

Medium Rare, meanwhile, has been delivering free meals to vulnerable seniors in the D.C. area since last week. The steak frites restaurant has a location in Virginia Square.

Even while hurting financially themselves, other restaurants throughout the region have been putting together specials and free meals to help families that frequently rely on school lunches have access to food during the pandemic.

Photo courtesy Real Food for Kids

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