Arlington, VA

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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(Updated at 4:25 p.m.) The driver of a landscaping truck, accused of ramming at least three vehicles, a bus stop and a house in Lyon Park earlier this week, is now facing criminal charges.

Arlington County Police say 33-year-old Jose Gomez of Gaithersburg, Maryland was arrested and charged with Driving Under the Influence and Driving with Open Container of Alcohol after Monday’s incident on N. Barton Street.

From an ACPD crime report:

At approximately 3:29 p.m. on March 2, police responded to the 700 block of N. Barton Street for the report of a vehicle crash with property damage. Upon arrival, it was determined that the driver of the striking vehicle allegedly hit a parked vehicle, overcorrected and then drove through a bus stop, a County light pole, metal trash container, and into two parked vehicles. The force of the impact sent one of the parked vehicles into a residence, causing structural damage. The driver of the striking vehicle remained on scene. Officers administered field sobriety tests and executed a warrant for a blood draw. Jose Manuel Carranza Gomez, 33, of Gaithersburg, MD was arrested and charged with Driving Under the Influence and Driving with Open Container of Alcohol.

The crashes destroyed the bus stop near N. Pershing Drive and, we’re told, might have caused foundation damage to the house, prompting a building inspector to place a large, orange sticker on the door.

Today a blue tarp covered the spot where a car was pushed partially into the house.

A short video of part of the incident, shared with ARLnow, shows the truck backing up onto the sidewalk and then pulling forward again, as residents yell at the driver to stop.

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Morning Notes

Lee Highway Merchants Profiled — “Oscar and Evelyn Bunoan are well known in the community for the amazing food they serve at their modest grocery store in Arlington, Va. – the Philippine Oriental Market & Deli. From the time it opened 42 years ago, the place is constantly busy. These days, it’s just the two of them running the store. There are long lines at lunchtime. And they get frequent calls for catered meals or large orders for birthday parties.” [Manila Mail]

APS Wants to Hire Superintendent By Spring — “Arlington School Board members say they hope to have a permanent superintendent announced by April, and will lay out steps for the community to become involved in the process in coming weeks. A series of community meetings to gather input will be held the week of Jan. 20, and an online survey also will be made available, in order to create an ‘in-depth profile’ of the qualities and skills being sought in a new education chief.” [InsideNova]

Police: Woman Threw Knife at Man — “At approximately 3:18 p.m. on December 20, police were dispatched to the report of a stabbing [on the 3100 block of 9th Road N.]. Upon arrival, it was determined that known individuals were involved in a verbal dispute when the female suspect threw a knife at the male victim, causing injury. The suspect fled the scene prior to police arrival. The victim was treated for non-life threatening injuries at an area hospital. Warrants were obtained for Malicious Wounding.” [Arlington County]

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The 14th annual Arlington Turkey Trot 5K returns tomorrow for the Thanksgiving holiday, prompting road closures.

The race will kick off at 8 a.m. at Christ Church of Arlington (3020 N. Pershing Drive) in Lyon Park. The church first organized the race in 2006.

This year, over 4,000 runners registered, selling out the race before online registration was scheduled to close.

All proceeds from the event benefit local charities like the Arlington Food Assistance Center and the Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network.

“Over the course of 13 years, the Trot has generated nearly $800,000 to help Arlington County residents in need,” according to the race’s website.

The following roads will be closed from 6:30 a.m. until approximately 10 a.m., per a county press release:

  • Pershing Drive from Washington Blvd. to N. Glebe Road
  • N. Oxford Street from Pershing Drive to 5th Street N.
  • 5th Street N. from N. Nelson St. to N. Oxford Street
  • N. Nelson Street from Pershing Drive to 5th Street N.
  • N. Highland Street from Pershing Drive. to 9th Street N.
  • Washington Blvd. from 9th Street N. to Arlington Blvd. (eastbound lanes only)
  • N. Fillmore Street from Washington Blvd. to 3rd Street N.
  • 3rd Street N. from N. Fillmore Street to Washington Blvd.
  • N. Bedford Street from Arlington Blvd. to Brookside Dr.
  • N. Brookside Drive from N. Bedford Street to Washington Blvd.

Street parking will be restricted and temporary “no parking” signs will be placed along the route. All vehicles parked in violation of the signs will be ticketed and towed, according to Arlington County Police.

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Arlington is understood to be well behind D.C. in terms of fine dining restaurants and awards, but when it comes to barbecue it’s a closer contest.

Last week Washington Post food critic Tim Carman boosted the county’s ‘cue cred by naming two Arlington spots in his list of the top BBQ joints in the D.C. area.

The 2019 WaPo Best Barbecue list returns Texas Jack’s in Lyon Park (2761 Washington Blvd) to the top spot, praising it as being “as close to perfection, I dare say, as you’ll get in Washington barbecue circles.” The restaurant opened in 2015 and was recently the backdrop of a reality show filming in the area.

Meanwhile, Arlington now gets to claim Sloppy Mama’s — which opened earlier this year at Ballston Quarter (4238 Wilson Blvd) and in a standalone restaurant space (5731 Lee Highway) — as its own.

Sloppy Mama’s is No. 5 on the list, down from No. 3 last year, with Carman noting that “in the past few months, I’ve tasted the best that pitmaster Joe Neuman can produce (meltingly tender slices of moist brisket at Ballston), and I’ve observed the flaws in the system (spare ribs that had hardened into meat sticks, presumably from an extended stay in a holding unit at the Lee Highway shop).”

D.C. barbecue joints claimed spots No. 2, 3, 4 and 8 on the list, while Falls Church’s Liberty Barbecue (370 W. Broad Street) ranked as No. 9.

Other Arlington barbecue spots not in the top 10 list include Smoking Kow (2910 N. Sycamore Street), Epic Smokehouse (1330 S. Fern Street) and Rocklands (3471 Washington Blvd).

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A woman accused of attacking two nannies in a dispute over her child’s behavior in a local park has a court date set for next month.

Falls Church resident Fatimazahra Berrada, 31, is set for a Dec. 3 trial date on two misdemeanor charges of assault and battery.

The charges stem from a dispute in the park near the Lyon Park Community Center on Sept. 23. We’re told two nannies confronted Berrada about alleged aggressive behavior by her child toward their charges. According to police, that escalated into a shouting match and Berrada throwing a playground toy and striking one of the nannies in the face.

More from an Arlington County Police crime report:

ASSAULT & BATTERY, 2019-09230176, N. Garfield Street at 4th Street N. At approximately 3:10 p.m. on September 23, police were dispatched to the report of a fight. Upon arrival, it was determined that the suspect and the two female victims were in a park when they became engaged in a verbal dispute over the way children in their care were playing. The incident escalated and the suspect allegedly began yelling and threw a playground toy at the victims before striking one victim in the face. Medics responded to the scene and no significant injuries were reported. The victims declined prosecution at the time of the incident. Charges were later sought on October 4 and the suspect turned herself in to police on October 8. Fatimazahra Berrada, 31, of Falls Church, VA, was charged with Assault and Battery (x2).

The incident led to outrage on the neighborhood’s Nextdoor network after a resident posted that “racist insults” were yelled at the nannies during the incident. A source tells ARLnow that the victims alleged being told to “go back to your country,” but police and prosecutors did not find enough evidence to seek a longer sentence based on a bias-motivated crime, adding that the dispute originated with the discussion of child behavior.

The November issue of the Lyon Park Citizen Association newsletter included allegations of an “ugly incident in our community park” sparked by “a woman passing by [who] took offense at the fact they were speaking in Spanish.” Police told ARLnow they have no evidence of that sequence of events happening, however.

“It is hard to believe that the woman… hasn’t gotten the message posted in front yards across our community — Hate Has No Home Here!” the newsletter says.

Photo via Google Maps

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(Updated at 11:50 a.m.) After one year in Arlington, Peruvian restaurant El Fuego (2300 N. Pershing Drive) is still going strong.

On the heels of its one-year anniversary in the county, El Fuego owner Manny Alfaro says new things are on the way, including a new drink menu with beer, wine, and Pisco cocktails — as soon as the restaurant obtains its Virginia ABC permit.

“Plus, something big is coming on Food Network for Father’s Day that I can’t say much about,” Aflaro said. “Stay tuned!”

The Lyon Park space is the brick-and-mortar location to El Fuego’s successful D.C. area food truck. Settling down after being mobile for years wasn’t easy, said Alfaro, but it’s been worth the effort.

El Fuego offers traditional Peruvian cuisine with staples such as ceviche, plantains and “lomo saltado,” a beer stir-fry served with white rice and french fries.

But Alfaro, who likes to draw influences from other cultures, opened his business in order to have the freedom to cook outside the box. For example, Alfaro’s “aji de gallina” dish, made from pulled chicken, is wrapped in an egg roll with mozzarella cheese.

“We have the blessing of Peruvian cuisine’s incredible diversity and variety will always allow us to bring something fresh to the table,” he said.

The food truck still roams around D.C. and Arlington, serving area lunch crowds, but having a fixed restaurant location has allowed Alfaro to make new friends and establish new regular customers.

“Neighbors, followers, old friends, all in all Arlington has been the most welcoming,” said Alfaro. “Exactly that, welcoming, and it’s been great.”

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The Lyon Park neighborhood’s Henry Clay Park is due for a makeover — starting this week.

Construction crews from the Falls Church-based firm Pivot Construction LLC are scheduled to start work on the park at 3011 7th Street N. today (Monday), per county officials.

The work comes three months after the Arlington County Board awarded the company a $1.4 million contract to re-do the basketball court, the playground, the picnic shelter, fences, and landscaping, among other upgrades.

“We are doing it!” read the county’s latest announcement. “Construction will begin on the Henry Clay Park renovations the week of October 21.”

Arlington expects the renovation work to continue until the end of 2020, and that ongoing construction may limit street parking.

Kentucky politician and one-time Arlington duelist Henry Clay is the namesake for the one-acre park.

Image 1 via Yelp, Images 2-3 via Arlington County

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Lyon Park barbecue joint Texas Jack’s may be featured in a new reality TV show.

A crew of a new reality show about D.C. area young professionals visited the restaurant’s private dining room last month to film a conversation between one cast member and his father.

The restaurant’s Director of Operations, Remzi Yilmaz, told ARLnow that the cast member himself chose the restaurant as the location.

“This was one of his favorite places,” he said.

Yilmaz said he was not allowed to share details like the name of the show, citing a non-disclosure agreement, but said the crew might be spotted over the next four weeks filming at other area restaurants, as well as landmarks like the Washington Monument

The show is expected to air in January, though the network on which it is airing and other details are murky.

“I think they’re just giving insight into young professionals in this area, and how they live life, and what they go through,” he said.

A camera crew was also spotted last week at Pentagon Row, in Pentagon City, but it’s unclear if the crew was connected with the new reality series.

Texas Jack’s opened in 2015 and replaced the Tallula and EatBar at 2761 Washington Blvd in Lyon Park.

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(Updated at 4:20 p.m.) An Arlington Transit bus has careened into the Barton Street community garden after a crash near Courthouse.

The crash happened around 3:05 p.m. at the intersection of 10th Street N. and N. Barton Street.

At least two vehicles were involved: a sedan, which suffered heavy front-end damage, and an ART bus, which knocked over a light pole and street signs before coming to rest in the middle of the garden.

A passenger told ARLnow that the bus had a green light and was coming down the hill on Barton when it was struck by the sedan. The sedan’s driver was cited by officers for running a red light, Arlington County Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage said.

Passengers could be heard comforting the bus driver after the crash, saying it “could have happened to anyone.”

No serious injuries were reported, though one female passenger said her arm hurt. Drivers should expect lane closures on 10th Street and slow traffic in the area while crews work to clean up the crash scene.

The crash follows an incident on Tuesday in which an ART bus crashed into a building after rolling through a rental truck depot.

Vernon Miles contributed to this report.

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A cyclist was struck and injured along an on-ramp in the Lyon Park neighborhood this afternoon.

First responders were dispatched to a scene just after 3 p.m. today (Wednesday) for a report of a cyclist struck by a vehicle on the ramp to and from from eastbound Washington Blvd and westbound Arlington Blvd. The cyclist was in a crosswalk when he was struck by the driver, said Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Lt. Michael Sheeran.

The victim was transported via ambulance to George Washington University Hospital with traumatic but non-life-threatening injuries, Sheeran said.

The ramp was closed for about 45 minutes, leading to backups on both Arlington and Washington boulevards, but has since reopened.

No word yet on whether the driver will face any charges.

Map via Google Maps. Ashley Hopko, Vernon Miles and Airey contributed to this report.

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