Arlington, VA

A new high-end coffee shop is open in Arlington.

For Five Coffee Roasters opened yesterday in Courthouse, at 2311 Wilson Blvd. With every order, the cafe will serve a Nutella-stuffed cookie at no charge for the next three months, according to the owner.

“[Giving the cookies out] is us saying thank you, and we’re happy to serve you,” the owner, Stefanos Vouvoudakis said. “And giving back to the customer.”

The menu includes sandwiches and breakfast items, but Vouvoudakis is especially proud of the pastry selection at For Five, calling it “second to none.” The cafe serves a variety of cookies, including a “fruity pebbles” cookie with cream cheese frosting, plus red velvet, triple chocolate chip, and apple crumb pie filling cookies.

The coffee menu includes pour-over and cold brew options, and an espresso bar. Vouvoudakis’ favorite drink is the latte, for its “perfect balance between the milk and espresso.”

This is the second D.C. area location for the small, New York City-based chain. It has an existing location in Alexandria and others in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Vouvoudakis says For Five is also planning to open a location in Tysons within the next three to four months.

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(Updated at 12:10 p.m.) With In Style Pet Salon and Commonwealth Restorations coming to Williamsburg Shopping Center (2902 N. Sycamore Street) the retail block is now 100% full.

“It feels great,” said Nick Kalis, who runs the shopping center as part of the Kalis Development Corporation. “In years past, it was very normal, but retail leasing today is more of a challenge.”

Kalis said the In Style Pet Salon, a pet grooming location, should open sometime in the next 30-60 days. Commonwealth Restorations — a home design, renovation and construction firm — should open in 60-90 days, he said.

Kalis also emphasized that Commonwealth Restorations isn’t closing their office at 2430 S. Kenmore Street, but this second location will operate as more of a showroom and opportunity to interface with the public.

Kalis said challenges in the retail industry have led to more emphasis on service-oriented tenants for shopping centers.

“The bigger story here is that shopping centers face two challenges,” Kalis said. “A lot of people build these big warehouse parks with phony retail because they’re not properly zoned for a lot of uses but compete with us for tenants. The second challenge is every retailer in Arlington moving more to finding service-oriented tenants… So more and more, you’re finding service [and restaurants] in these shopping centers.”

Other tenants at the shopping center include Smoking Kow BBQ, Jin’s Dry Cleaner, Williamsburg Deli, 7-Eleven, Deli Italiano, Two The Moon, Peking Pavilion, Zinga Frozen Yogurt, Tenley Nails, United Bank and the Williamsburg Barber Shop.

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Bowlero — a bowling alley, arcade and restaurant — is hoping to roll into 320 23rd Street S. in June.

That’s according to a staff report to the Arlington County Board. The Board approved a renewal of the site’s use permit at its Jan. 25 meeting.

Bowlero’s new expected opening comes after striking plans to open in 2019.

“Since initial County Board approval of the use permit in January 2019, the applicant has informed staff that the use has not commenced operation,” staff said in the review. “The applicant anticipates opening in June 2020.”

The chain has several bowling alleys in the region, the closest being a brand new location in Annandale, at 4245 Markham Street.

More on Bowlero’s plans from its original 2018 press release:

Bowlero Corporation (formerly Bowlmor AMF), the world leader in bowling entertainment, has signed a new long-term lease at The Buchanan in Crystal City, VA, expanding Bowlero’s presence into Arlington County.

The brand-new Bowlero, totaling 44,000 square feet, will bring the best in bowling, epic events, and exceptional eats to Crystal City and its neighboring communities. Situated just a block away from the city’s eclectic 23rd Street Restaurant Row, Bowlero will add its unique spin on fun and enhance the area’s growing entertainment landscape.

The new location will introduce residents of Crystal City to Bowlero — Bowlero Corp’s retro-inspired brand — and will increase the brand’s already considerable presence in the region, with nearby Bowlero locations in Bethesda, MD, Leesburg, VA, and Centreville, VA.

Slated to open in fall 2019, Bowlero will be a one-stop entertainment destination complete with signature blacklight bowling lanes, laneside lounge seating, and hi-definition video walls that bring bowling to an entirely new level. Bowlero’s Crystal City venue will also feature a giant arcade and the brand’s impressive menu of unique food and beverage.

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Morning Notes

W-L Alumni File Suit Over Name Change — “A local alumni group is filing suit in federal court over their high school’s name change. The Washington-Lee High School Alumni Association claims the public did not get the chance to weigh-in on the school board’s decision to change its name to Washington-Liberty High.” [WTOP, DCist]

Wrong-Way Driver Nearly Strikes Officer — “As officers approached the vehicle to investigate, they observed a handgun with extended magazine in plain view. The suspect disobeyed the lawful commands of the officers, placed the vehicle into drive and allegedly accelerated towards an officer. The officer quickly moved out of the way to avoid being struck and the vehicle fled the scene at a high rate of speed.” [Arlington County]

NPR Highlights W-L Esports Team — NPR’s All Things Considered profiled the Washington-Liberty High School esports club this week. Colleges are offering millions in scholarships for esports players, the segment noted. The W-L team was also profiled by the Washington Post this fall.  [NPR]

New Credit Union Open in Ballston — “Northwest Federal Credit Union recently celebrated the grand opening of a new branch in Ballston… its ninth public branch and first in Arlington County.” [Press Release]

ART Switch Successful Thus Far — “So far, so good, as the Arlington Transit (ART) system has a new contractor settling in. ‘The transition to ART’s new service provider – First Transit – has gone well during the initial weeks,’ County Manager Mark Schwartz told the Sun Gazette.” [InsideNova]

APS Launches Superintendent Survey — “The Arlington School Board is seeking community input through an online survey to help shape search criteria for the next superintendent. The survey is now open.” [Arlington Public Schools]

Flickr pool photo by GM and MB

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Barry’s Clarendon — the first Virginia studio for international fitness chain Barry’s Bootcamp — is getting ready to open its location at 2825 Wilson Blvd next week.

The gym will open on Saturday, Jan. 25, according to a press release.

Barry’s describes itself as a “boutique lifestyle brand” with an “immersive and transformative full-body workout experience.” The L.A. Times once described the gym, which was founded in Los Angeles in 1998, as “one of the toughest workouts” in the city.

The Clarendon location, a 5,695 square foot space next to the Chase bank, is the second location in the D.C. area after one in Dupont Circle. While there’s no shortage of gyms around Arlington, Barry’s Clarendon will help fill the void left when Washington Sports Club closed last year nearby.

The location will have 23 treadmills and a capacity for 50 people to work out at one time, according to the press release. The location will also sell clothing like workout clothes and athleisure wear, along with smoothies and snacks.

Classes at the gym are $34 per session, though other types of packages and memberships are also available.

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Goodbye Mister Days, Clarendon Ballroom, Java Shack — and hello food halls, outdoor beer garden, and more restaurants than we can count.

It’s no secret that Arlington has had quite the 2019, and as 2020 gets underway, here’s some of what’s opened, what’s closed, and what’s to come in 2020. For those keeping score, Ballston appears to be the hot spot for new restaurants, in part thanks to the opening of the renovated Ballston Quarter mall.

Closing Time

Some of Arlington’s most iconic businesses closed in 2019, including:

  • Clarendon Ballroom announced it would be closing after 20 years in business, following one last New Year’s Eve bash
  • Cosi closed in Ballston.
  • A heavily-frequented Starbucks at Lee-Harrison closed in December, replaced by the county’s first drive-through Starbucks nearby.
  • Blümen Cafe abruptly closed in December, with a new cafe said to be coming soon.
  • Java Shack served its final mugs of coffee in October, but will be replaced by another coffee shop.
  • Hawaiian restaurant Hula Girl Bar and Grill closed in September.
  • The Real Housewives of Potomac-owned Oz Restaurant shuttered in June.
  • Three area Subway sandwich restaurants bit the bullet in Clarendon, Cherrydale, and Ballston.
  • Pete’s New Haven Apizza closed its Clarendon eatery in August.
  • Family Dry Cleaners on Columbia Pike shuttered in July — temporarily taking its customers clothing with it.
  • Ballston lost its Cheesetique in June (but the Shirlington location expanded).
  • Also in June, Ray’s The Steaks sizzled out, and a long line of customers showed up for its last service.
  • Fiona’s Irish Pub closed suddenly in Crystal City, later replaced by McNamara’s Irish Pub.
  • Citizen Burger Bar flipped its last patty in June.
  • On Columbia Pike, Josephine’s Italian Kitchen closed in May.
  • Rosslyn sushi bar Kona Grill rolled out in April.
  • Also in Rosslyn, Bean Good Coffee Pub brewed its last cup in April.
  • Who could forget Mister Days, which shuttered its doors in April after 40 years in business.
  • Williamsburg spot Backyard BBQ had its last cookout in February.
  • Rosslyn pizzeria Piola shut down in January.

New Faces 

Throughout the year, Arlington got everything from a fast-casual soup eatery to a healthy gelato shop:

  • Arlington welcomed its second Pupatella location, which opened on Walter Reed Drive in December.
  • Restaurant Open Road Grill and cocktail lounge Salt opened at Central Place in Rosslyn in December.
  • Happy Endings Eatery opened in Rosslyn, with some criticizing its provocative name.
  • East West Coffee and Wine opened its second location in Clarendon in December.
  • In November, a new health-focused gelato shop opened in Pentagon Row.
  • Rock-and-roll themed taco restaurant Taco Rock opened in Rosslyn in November.
  • We, The Pizza opened in Ballston with customizable pies and gelato shakes.
  • Poké it Up opened in Ballston in October.
  • The Renegade replaced Mister Days in October.
  • Arlington got its first indoor running studio in October.
  • Another fitness studio, BASH Boxing, opened in Ballston in the same month.
  • Italian restaurant Sfoglina opened in Rosslyn in October.
  • Zoup! Eatery opened in Ballston in October.
  • A new Harris Teeter opened on Columbia Pike in October, as part of the Centro development.
  • Bronson Bier Hall opened in Ballston in August.
  • South Block expanded into Rosslyn in August.
  • The cafe and Asian eatery Open Kitchen opened in Rosslyn in August.
  • Nepalese restaurant Namaste Everest touched down in Pentagon in July.
  • Sloppy Mama’s Barbeque started roasting in July on Lee Highway.
  • After some drama, The Lot beer garden opened in July.
  • Stone Hot Pizza opened in Clarendon in June.
  • Ted’s Bulletin and Sidekick Bakery welcomed customers to Ballston in June.
  • Clarendon got the three-level bar/restaurant TTT, Buena Vida, and Buena Vida Social Club over the summer.
  • Acme Pie started slicing up on Columbia Pike in June.
  • Takeshi Sushi and Ramen opened next to Delhi Dhaba in Clarendon in May.
  • All About Burger opened in Ballston Quarter in May.
  • Nearby, True Food Kitchen had its grand opening in Ballston in May as well.
  • Ballston continued to get healthy with the opening of Dirt in April.
  • Turkish and Mediterranean restaurant Maya Bistro opened on Lee Highway in April.
  • Veteran-owned Good Company cafe and donut shop Good Company opened in April.
  • Craft beer bar Rebellion on the Pike opened — surprise — on Columbia Pike in April.
  • Ballston Quarter started rolling out its first food hall options in March.
  • South Block said what’s up to Ballston Quarter in March as well.
  • Los Tios opened its doors in Crystal City in March.
  • Smoking Kow took over from Backyard BBQ in February.
  • Idido’s Coffee House and Cafe started pouring on Columbia Pike in February.
  • Thai Treasure opened in Virginia Square in February.
  • Old Dominion Pizza company opened on Lee Highway in January.

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After over a year in development, the Compass Coffee and Union Kitchen locations in Ballston Quarter look to be opening soon.

Representatives from Compass Coffee declined to comment on when the store would be open but said the delay in opening was “due to the unpredictable nature of construction.” Most of the interior of the cafe looks to be near completion, with lights installed and the counter set up.

Compass Coffee specializes in craft coffee, offering drip coffee, cold brew, classic espresso drinks, tea, and other food and drink options. The beans are imported seasonally and roasted locally in D.C.

Ballston will be the Compass Coffee’s twelfth location, ten of which are currently in D.C. Its only other Virginia location is in Rosslyn at 1201 Wilson Blvd.

Union Kitchen did not respond to several requests for comment, however, the location is now hiring, with several job listings posted online.

The retail food outlet will be the first Virginia location for the D.C.-area food business incubator. Union Kitchen features locally-sourced produce, meats, and to-go options such as sandwiches and a salad bar.

Both stores will be located at the corner of N. Randolph Street and Wilson Blvd.

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A new cafe and bar opening soon in Clarendon will feature a 34-seat outdoor cafe.

East West Coffee and Wine is currently under construction at 3101 Wilson Blvd, in the former American Tap Room space.

“We’re hoping to be open by the end of the month,” said owner Mehmet Coskun.

East West Coffee and Wine will be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, per a staff report to the Arlington County Board regarding the outdoor cafe reque. The cafe, which recently applied for a beer and wine license, plans on serving both coffee and alcohol.

“Plus, we’ll have a full kitchen that’ll be able to serve tapas-style dishes to pair with wine, and brunch on the weekends,” Coskun said.

Coskun previously told ARLnow he likes having late hours because “people want to hang out after work and socialize and get something to drink, and we really want to appeal to the locals.”

Coskun opened coffee-and-alcohol joint Central Coffee Bar in Rosslyn (1901 N. Moore Street) two years ago; two weeks ago the cafe rebranded to “East West Coffee and Wine” to match its upcoming location.

The County Board is set to consider the outdoor cafe use permit at its meeting this Saturday, November 16.

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A veterinary clinic is hoping to open soon along Columbia Pike.

Clarendon Animal Care is expanding and opening a second location in the newly-opened Centro Arlington development at 940 S. George Mason Drive. The clinic is anticipated to open at some point this spring, according to co-owner Kayleen Gloor, joining nearby Harris Teeter grocery store and Orangetheory Fitness exercise studio.

“[Our new location] will allow us to expand our ability to serve our existing clients and patients but also bring the Clarendon Animal Care culture and level of service to South Arlington and nearby locales,” said Gloor.

The County Board is set to consider a use permit for the 2,500 square-foot space at its meeting this Saturday, November 16. Per a staff report to the Arlington County Board, the new Clarendon Animal Care will have three to four exam rooms and employ two full-time veterinarians, along with a team of six to eight support staff.

The original Clarendon Animal Care is located at 3000 10th Street N., where it provides a wide range of veterinary services from emergency care to vaccinations.

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(Updated at 6:45 a.m.) The Java Shack near Courthouse is closing soon, but a new local coffee shop will be taking its place.

D.C.-based Sweet Science Coffee, which was called “the best coffee shop in Washington” by the Post’s Tim Carman in 2017, is expanding into Arlington and taking over the long-time cafe space at 2507 N. Franklin Road. It had an existing location in Adams Morgan and a new D.C. location is on the way.

Sweet Science Coffee announced the plans Thursday afternoon, saying that it hoped to open by March after some renovations.

“We were not actively looking for a second location at this time, but when the opportunity came along, our decision to go for it was unanimous,” said founder Sandra Wolter, in a press release. “We will change the look, and upgrade fixtures to reflect our concept, but it won’t be a total 180. It’s about making people feel welcome, and we really hope that the neighborhood will like what we do with the place.”

More from the press release:

Good news for local coffee lovers: The Java Shack on Franklin Road will continue to be a Coffee House after the current tenants leave.

D.C. based Specialty Coffee Shop Sweet Science has signed a ten year lease and will officially take over in January.

“We were not actively looking for a second location at this time, but when the opportunity came along, our decision to go for it was unanimous,” says founder Sandra Wolter. As both of her partners, Ricardo Iglesias and Jad Bouchebel, have roots in the local community, the group was quickly sold.

For those who have not heard about the concept, Sweet Science Coffee is best known for their meticulous manual brews, often made with traditional tools like German Karlsbad Brewers or Chemexes.

Another staple are their hands-on classes and events that aim to make specialty coffee fun and approachable.

But no one needs to fear long wait times as the brew bar is only one part of the shop. Espresso based drinks, quick drip coffees, teas and seasonal specials are made with just as much care, but faster.

The new owners will rename the space, but say they are respectful of the almost 25 year long tradition of the Java Shack. “We will change the look, and upgrade fixtures to reflect our concept,” says Wolter, “but it won’t be a total 180. It’s about making people feel welcome, and we really hope that the neighborhood will like what we do with the place.”

As for offers besides coffee and tea, the menu will feature pastries made from scratch by the groups’ pastry chef in DC, rotating soup and toast options for lunch, as well as snacks. Eventually, a small wine and craft beer selection is planned as well, for guests to enjoy in the evenings.

Sweet Science Coffee plans to open by March 2020.

The Coffee Project Group behind Sweet Science Coffee consists of Ricardo Iglesias, Entrepreneur, Realtor and Builder in Arlington for more than 30 years, Jad Bouchebel, Marketing Professional and serial Entrepreneur (Wilson Hardware, JBC Events, Provision no 14) and Sweet Science Founder Sandra Wolter, a fifth generation Coffee Professional, Coffee Business Consultant and former TV Journalist.

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After over a decade in business, a beloved kabob restaurant in Courthouse will be changing hands this week.

Mere hours after Afghan Kabob House shutters its doors for good tomorrow (Thursday), Courthouse Kabob will open in its place the next morning.

The new owners also manage Arlington Kabob on Lee Highway (5046 Lee Highway). Co-owner Susan Clementi said the Courthouse transaction happened quickly and seamlessly.

“We know this is a fast changeover, but we are excited to bring an extension of Afghan kabobs to the Courthouse area,” Clementi said.

Located at 2045 Wilson Blvd, Courthouse Kabob will feature a similar menu of grilled meats and lunch specials. Unlike Afghan Kabob House, however, it will not feature hookah tables and will close earlier in the night, at 11 p.m.

“Our primary focus is to provide quick and healthy lunch and dinner options such as kabobs, assortment of fresh prepared salads, fresh baked to order naan, and authentic Afghan vegetable side dishes,” Clementi said.

Courthouse Kabob’s official hours will be 10 a.m.-11 p.m.

Former Afghan Kabob owner Akbar Mandany recently told ARLnow his decision to close stemmed from food trucks and third-party delivery apps taking away from his business.

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