Arlington, VA

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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Morning Notes

New Lyon Park Neighborhood Plan Approved — “The Arlington County Board today accepted the first update to historic Lyon Park’s Neighborhood Conservation plan since 1973. The update, spearheaded by the Lyon Park Citizens Association, seeks to address increased non-resident traffic and other challenges through 19 recommendations for improvements.” [Arlington County]

ACPD Traffic Enforcement in Crystal City — “Motor Officers conducted high visibility traffic enforcement along Crystal Drive today to curb illegal practices including stopping/parking in the bike and travel lanes. Increase roadway safety [by] being a PAL — Predictable | Alert | Lawful.” [Twitter]

How to Beat the Heat in Arlington — With a scorching weekend of dangerous heat ahead, and an Excessive Heat Watch issued, Arlington County is reminding residents of some ways they can keep cool, stay informed and help at-risk individuals. [Arlington County]

Metro Waterfall, Explained — Metro has an explanation of why a waterfall developed in the ceiling of the Virginia Square Metro station and inside a passing train during the Flash Flood Emergency last week. [DCist]

Grants for African-American Heritage Projects — “Two Arlington-based organizations are among 25 non-profits statewide that will share more than $140,000 in new grant funding from Virginia Humanities” for projects exploring local African-American heritage and history [InsideNova]

Beyer on Trump Impeachment Vote — “I strongly support an impeachment inquiry into the conduct of President Trump. I voted to table H. Res. 489 because it would effectively prevent the House from conducting such an inquiry… It would initiate an impeachment trial in the Senate solely to consider whether the President should be removed from office for his recent racist tweets.” [Twitter, Blue Virginia]

Dueling APS Letters to the Editor — On one hand, Arlington Public Schools should stick to funding only the basics, like providing textbooks and pencils, according to one letter to the editor published in the Sun Gazette. On the other hand, APS should have a comprehensive approach to sustainability, including recycling and excess cafeteria waste, according to another letter to the editor writer. [InsideNova, InsideNova]

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A recent spate of car thefts and break-ins in North Arlington is continuing.

Arlington County Police are investigating two car thefts and seven car break-ins in the Lyon Park neighborhood this week. The crimes were first reported Wednesday morning on the 2900 block of 2nd Street N. and the 300 block of Edgewood Street, about a half mile south of Clarendon.

At least one car was stolen after the thief found the keys in an unlocked vehicle, police said.

“Keys to one of the stolen vehicles were located inside an unlocked vehicle involved in the larceny from auto series,” and ACPD spokeswoman told ARLnow. The second vehicle was unlocked and “stolen by unknown means.”

Additionally, seven vehicles were broken into “and items tampered with.”

Police are again reminding residents to lock their cars at night. Yesterday the department announced a new public safety initiative dubbed the “9 P.M. Routine,” which encourages Arlingtonians to make a habit of ensuring their vehicles and homes are locked at night.

“Burglaries and thefts are often crimes of opportunity with thieves taking advantage of unsecured doors and windows to steal unattended items or items left in plain view,” police said in a press release. “The 9 P.M. Routine encourages residents to conduct security checks in their homes and vehicles each evening to ensure their property is secure.”

The campaign also encourages residents to report suspicious activity by calling the Arlington Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222 or 9-1-1 in an emergency.

The full crime report item from the Lyon Park thefts is below.

LARCENY FROM AUTO/STOLEN VEHICLE (series), 2019-07100052/07100064, 2900 block of 2nd Street N./300 block of N. Edgewood Street At approximately 6:54 a.m. on July 10, police were dispatched to the report of a stolen vehicle. Upon arrival, it was determined that between approximately 9:00 p.m. and 6:54 a.m., an unknown suspect(s) obtained the keys to and stole an unlocked parked vehicle. While investigating the stolen vehicle, officers were notified of a second unlocked vehicle in the area that had been stolen and located approximately seven additional unlocked vehicles that had been entered and items tampered with. There is no suspects descriptions. The investigation is ongoing.

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(Updated at 2:44 p.m.) The county could soon take a step forward in its plan for road improvements along N. Pershing Drive, pending Board approval.

The Arlington County Board will review requests for several easements at an intersection in the Lyon Park neighborhood as part of the county’s N. Pershing Drive Street Improvements Project, which aims to add bike shadows and more safety measures for pedestrians along the road.

The easements are centered around the tricky intersection of N. Pershing Drive, 5th Street N., and N. Garfield Street. The county will use the easements to extend curbs, add grass along curbs and in a median, paint two new additional crosswalks in the intersection, and add a bus stop, according to a copy of its plans online.

The county began discussing the Pershing Drive project with neighbors in Lyon Park in 2016, per a recent staff report to the Board, and began piloting the program in October 2018.

Now the County Board is set to vote on approving the purchase of several easements that would allow the county to install sidewalks and curbs during the Board meeting this Saturday, July 13.

The three sets of easements are for roadside properties at:

  • the Lyon Park Community Center
  • a home near the intersection of Pershing and N. Garfield Street
  • a home near the intersection of Pershing and 5th Street N.

Arlington is offering to pay $23,000 for the two easements at the private Lyon Park Community Center (420 N. Fillmore Street), which will allow work on the sidewalk, curb, gutter, traffic signal, and utilities. The amount is based on the property’s deed value and the 800 square feet of space that the county will use.

The county is also seeking to pay homeowners on the corner of N. Garfield Street and Pershing Drive $7,300 for an 82 square foot easement on the curbside of their property.

Arlington is offering a third set of homeowners on the corner of Pershing and 5th Street N. $1,218 for 21 square foot area of their property.

Staff noted the payments to homeowners were “discounted” because “the interest sought is a sidewalk and utilities easement, and not a fee interest.”

The roadwork is located just blocks away another planned project at the Henry Clay Park where officials hope to add new swings, benches, and trees.

Images via Arlington County

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A man in a car exposed himself to girls who were walking down the street in the Lyon Park neighborhood, south of Clarendon.

The incident happened last Wednesday around 7 a.m.

More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

INDECENT EXPOSURE, 2019-06050059, 2800 block of 4th Street N. At approximately 7:01 a.m. on June 5, the juvenile female victims were walking in the area when an unknown male suspect pulled alongside them in a vehicle and exposed his genitals. The victims ran from the area and sought assistance. The suspect is described as a white male driving a black vehicle. The investigation is ongoing.

Other crime reports of note from the past week are below, after the jump.

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