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by Chris Teale June 26, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

Soon, some parts of Arlington will be just a walk away from the latest Wawa location.

The convenience store with a cult-like following announced today (Monday) it will open a new store at the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue NW and Prospect Street NW in Georgetown. That is within blocks of the Key Bridge and about a mile from the center of Rosslyn.

Wawa said it expects to open the store by the end of next year.

In a press release, Wawa promised the store will “feature the latest Wawa offerings with an upscale, urban feel, including customized architectural elements that meet the historical needs and requirements of the Old Georgetown Historic District.”

The store will include Wawa’s food and drink offerings as well as custom salads and nitro, cold brew coffee. It will be another one of the company’s “urban” stores, as it moves away from its suburban model where a gas station is attached.

Wawa earlier this month announced its first location in the region at 1111 19th Street NW, near the Farragut North Metro station. The push is part of the company’s efforts to add between 30 and 50 stores in the Washington region.

“This second location is one more step in Wawa’s overall D.C. expansion as we continue to look for sites and with the goal of opening numerous locations throughout the city over the next few years,” said Brian Schaller, Wawa’s chief real estate officer, in a statement.

Wawa officials say they are actively pursuing sites in and around D.C., potentially to include Arlington.

“Wawa will also continue its ongoing expansion in the surrounding counties in Maryland and Virginia to further our brand expansion,” the company said.

Map via Google Maps

by Chris Teale June 13, 2017 at 8:00 pm 0

Convenience store giant Wawa is considering expanding into Arlington County as part of its push into the D.C. and Virginia market, but has no firm plans yet.

Wawa, which operates more than 750 stores in six states including 81 in Virginia, announced Tuesday night its first location will be in the District at 1111 19th Street NW.

And with an aggressive plan to add 30-50 stores in the region, including 5-10 in the next two years alone, Wawa representatives said there will be a concerted push to also look beyond D.C.’s neighborhoods and into the outlying counties in Maryland and Virginia.

“We think of Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun [counties] a little differently, not so much as part of our District expansion but really more as part of our Virginia expansion,” said John Poplawski, Wawa’s senior director of site acquisition and development, in an interview. “We continue to work towards those, but frankly, the approval process and the zoning are a little more challenging in those markets.”

With its new store in D.C., Wawa is looking to expand its more urban stores, as opposed to its previous model of operating in suburban locations with gas stations attached.

The new District store will be the largest Wawa store in the country, and as well as the latest food offerings will be the first to have counter, indoor and outdoor seating. The store will also be the first to have Wawa’s so-called “Wild Goose” café brand.

Wawa announced its first foray into D.C. at an event Tuesday night at the Newseum. Company executives were joined by representatives of various local organizations and developers in a conference room overlooking the city skyline to unveil designs of the new store.

Outside, the company set up a Fan Zone where customers could pose for photographs with mascots Wally and Shorti and pick up branded merchandise.

Wawa is famous across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and Florida as well as elsewhere in Virginia for offering fresh food including made-to-order hoagies, fresh coffee and a slew of other food items including breakfast sandwiches.

And given the similarities between neighborhoods in D.C. and areas of Arlington like Ballston, Clarendon, Pentagon City and Crystal City, county residents could get a taste in their neighborhood soon.

“We’re looking for those intersections that have throughout the day pedestrian counts, folks that are there on the weekends, folks that are there late-night, surrounding businesses that will support us, and we have great partners here in the District,” Poplawski said.

Poplawski said more store locations will be announced in the next “60-90 days.” Rumors have swirled online about new stores opening in Chinatown and Georgetown in D.C., while a store in Sterling in Loudoun County will open on June 23.

by Chris Teale June 2, 2017 at 10:45 am 0

A coffee bar is moving into the RCA building in Rosslyn, in place of an English language school.

Permitting applications indicate that Central Coffee Bar — also known as Cities Coffee and Bar in county filings — will replace part of the Inlingua English Center in the first floor of the building at 1901 N. Moore Street.

Workers will convert the 2,212 square feet of office space back to its original retail use. As of Friday morning, work is underway to tear up the floors and ceilings.

Inlingua will remain in the building, but with a reduced footprint.

The building is set for demolition in the next few years, to be replaced by a residential tower. The Washington Business Journal reported last month that a 407-apartment building with 12,709 square feet of ground-floor retail space has been proposed in its place.

No word yet on an opening date for the new coffee bar.

Hat-tip to Chris H.

by Katherine Berko June 1, 2017 at 4:30 pm 0

A tattoo studio plans to open in Clarendon this month.

Lady Octopus Tattoos, set to move into 3240 Wilson Blvd, is owned by tattoo artist Gilda Acosta. According to the business’ Instagram account, potential clients can begin booking appointments this weekend. Those interested can also sign up for updates on its website.

The studio will be open from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesdays through Sundays. It will be closed on Mondays.

The studio will be in the same building as the Portico Church and Arlington Premier Realty, among other businesses.

Acosta attributes her creativity to her childhood, which she spent filling blank pages with illustrations.  She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from the Corcoran College of Art and Design. Following her schooling, Acosta began a three-year apprenticeship with the tattoo artist Fatty of Fatty’s Tattoos & Piercings.

“Her interest in the natural world is evident in her depictions of oceanic and botanical life as well as her figurative work, which has been a main interest since her earliest encounters with pencil and paper. Her work is as influenced by humor, music, and everyday situations as by themes of gender and sexuality, dreams and the subconscious, spirituality and the occult,” says Acosta’s website.

Hat tip to Bill C.

by Chris Teale June 1, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

A Japanese restaurant is coming to the Westmont Shopping Center at the corner of Columbia Pike and S. Glebe Road, replacing the Sports House Grill.

According to permit applications filed with the county, Takohachi Japanese Restaurant will move into the space at 3249 Columbia Pike.

As of Thursday, building permits for interior demolition were in the window of the spot between a State Farm agent and a Mattress Firm store.

The Sports House Grill was at the center of some controversy in recent years. In 2013, the County Board denied its application to renew its live entertainment permit to continue karaoke nights.

Neighboring civic associations, the police department and Virginia ABC all opposed the renewal due to concerns about crime. Neighbors had raised concerns about vandalism, violence in the parking lot and alleged drug sales.

No word yet on an opening date.

by Chris Teale May 30, 2017 at 3:00 pm 0

A new restaurant and candy shop is open at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City.

Sugar Factory American Brasserie offers an extensive lunch, dinner and weekend brunch menu, and also has a grab-and-go bulk candy store, an ice cream and coffee shop and outdoor seating by the sidewalk at 1100 S. Hayes Street.

It has been in the works since 2015, and had initially been set to open last October.

The restaurant will be open daily for lunch and dinner, Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., with retail opening at 10 a.m. On Friday and Saturday, dining is open 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., with retail opening at 10 a.m. Weekend brunch will also be available.

A seven-page dessert menu includes traditional favorites as well as the King Kong Sundae, which can serve up to 12 guests with 24 scoops of ice cream adorned with various decorations, sauces, fruits and candy, all topped with giant rainbow lollipops and sparklers.

From a press release:

Arlington, VA (May 26, 2017) — Famed eatery and candy shop, Sugar Factory American Brasserie, opens its first location in Northern Virginia in Pentagon City (1100 Hayes Street, Arlington, VA), bringing the internationally-renowned celebrity sweets and signature treats it’s known for to the Washington, D.C. metro area.

The 5,500-square foot Sugar Factory restaurant and retail store is adjacent to the bustling Fashion Centre at Pentagon City Mall, housing a brasserie-style dining room with vibrant, whimsical decor that seats up to 200 guests. The family-friendly location also features a grab-and-go bulk candy store, an ice cream and coffee shop and outdoor sidewalk seating.

The diverse food menu, curated by a team of world-class chefs, includes a tasty selection of lunch, dinner and weekend brunch originals and classics such as red velvet pancakes, sweet and savory crepes, specialty Monster Burgers and sliders, entree salads, pasta dishes and innovative pizzas. Foodie favorites like the Fried Macaroni & Cheese Pops, Chinese Chicken Salad and the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich — made with buttermilk-battered Buffalo chicken breast, shredded lettuce, vine-ripened tomatoes and celery aioli, served on a brioche bun — offer something for every occasion, from birthday parties to bachelorette bashes.

Sugar Factory’s legendary dessert menu includes the famously colossal King Kong Sundae, designed to serve up to 12 guests with 24 scoops of ice cream adorned with sprinkles, caramel, strawberry & fudge sauce, toasted marshmallows, Reese’s Pieces, chocolate chip cookies, crushed waffle cones, gummy bears, white chocolate strawberry shavings, sliced bananas, toasted walnuts and whipped cream, all topped with giant rainbow lollipops and sparklers.

But the sweets don’t stop there! Guests will find seven pages worth of dessert options on the extensive Sugar Factory Pentagon City menu, like traditional and frozen hot chocolate, old-fashioned ice cream sundaes, gourmet ice cream sandwiches, chocolate fondue, cheesecakes, pies and cakes. Plus, there are 18 original decadent shakes to try, including eight signature Insane Milkshakes like the best-selling Bacon Cheeseburger Milkshake, made with strawberry ice cream and topped with candied bacon, pretzels, M&Ms and a cheeseburger slider.

The brand’s selection of celebrated premium cocktails mix sweet treats with spiked adult beverages, including the signature 36-ounce alcohol-infused, smoking candy goblets like the White Gummi, a mix of Cruzan peach and raspberry rums garnished with gummy worms. Sugar Factory’s martini selections include candy inspired treats like the Sour Apple Lolly Martini, finished off with a Pop Rocks rim.

Sugar Factory’s menu and playful, over-the-top ambiance add a touch of sweetness to Pentagon City, where fans can get their hands on the brand’s world-famous Couture Pops in every flavor and color, including blinged-out designs by Kendall and Kylie Jenner. The Pentagon City space also showcases glam photos of Sugar Factory’s other A-list celeb fans, such as Rihanna, Britney Spears, Nicki Minaj, Pitbull, Katy Perry, Kim Kardashian West, Drake and many more.

Sugar Factory Pentagon City will be open daily for lunch and dinner, Sunday through Thursday, 11am to 11pm (retail opens at 10am) and Friday & Saturday, 11am to 1am (retail opens at 10am). Weekend brunch will also be available on Saturday and Sunday. Reservations and group bookings are available by calling 703.258.3374 or by visiting OpenTable, https://www.opentable.com/r/sugar-factory-pentagon-mall-arlington.

“Sugar Factory is all about celebrating the sweetest moments in life, so we combine a fun, unforgettable dining experience for any age with an elevated twist on classic American and French dishes,” says Charissa Davidovici, Founder of Sugar Factory American Brasserie. “From our Insane Milkshakes to our Monster Burgers to our endless candy options, we are all about treasuring family fun, having a ball and savoring every memory. We are looking forward to our grand opening event and welcoming the community to our space.”

by Chris Teale May 17, 2017 at 2:00 pm 0

Less than a year after it opened in Ballston, the Rock ‘n’ Joe Coffee Bar has rebranded.

Now known as the Republik Coffee Bar, the spot at 4401 Wilson Blvd made the switch “a few days ago,” according to an employee Wednesday morning. There are still various references to its former name — right down to the “Rock ‘n’ Joe” cup sleeves still in use and the murals still on the wall.

Republik still serves coffee, tea and food, including sandwiches and salads. The interior appears unchanged from its previous iteration.

The original plan had been for Rock ‘n’ Joe to open five stores in the D.C. metro area under franchise owner Talha Sarac, with the potential to expand beyond the region.

According to paperwork filed with the Virginia State Corporation Commission, the new coffee bar is registered under Sarac’s name. Rock ‘n’ Joe no longer lists the Ballston location on its website; only its locations in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Sarac did not respond to requests for comment, but a spokeswoman for the county’s department of community, planning, housing and development confirmed an application was submitted last month for a change of tenant for the business.

Hat-tip to Richie F.

by ARLnow.com May 3, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

A new massage business is coming to Campbell Avenue in Shirlington.

The business, Massage Forever, is under construction in what were formerly two retail bays, housing the Cakelove pastry shop and Periwinkle boutique.

Massage Forever “provides full-service body massages to alleviate chronic pain, stress and tension using therapeutic massage techniques,” according to the Village at Shirlington website. “Trained and licensed personnel will provide quality professional massages in a high-end therapeutic massage spa facility that serves as a one-stop shop for all massage needs.”

No word yet on an opening date.

by Chris Teale April 20, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

The former Dominion Pet Center at the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center is being replaced by two businesses, including another pet store.

Going in will be Kriser’s Natural Pet Store at 2501A N. Harrison Street and speciality ice cream shop La Moo Creamery at 2501B N. Harrison Street.

Dominion Pet Center closed last year after facing stiff competition from internet retailers and the opening of a large chain competitor, Unleashed by Petco, across the street. It first opened in 1981.

Now Kriser’s and La Moo will fill the 3,113 square feet of available space between H&R Block and the Sushi-Zen Japanese Restaurant.

For Kriser’s, the move represents an expansion of its presence in Arlington, as it already has a location at 2509 N. Franklin Road in Clarendon. The store, which has locations elsewhere in Virginia as well as California, Colorado, Illinois and Texas, offers natural pet food and other products, grooming and training help.

Based on a permitting application submitted to the county, La Moo will be a retail ice cream parlor. No other details were available on its website.

by Chris Teale April 14, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

Construction is almost complete at Marymount University’s “Newside” building, and it has landed its first retail tenant.

Permit applications filed with the county indicate that Starbucks will move into the property at 1000 N. Glebe Road in Ballston.

The coffee giant would be the first to commit to moving into the new building’s 5,000 square feet of retail space. The structure replaces the “Blue Goose” that was demolished in 2015.

Two buildings are under construction on the site: a nine-story office building and a 12-story, 267-unit residential building.

The former will be owned by Marymount University, with the university using six floors as office and educational space. The top three floors will be leased out as office space.

Between the two buildings, there will also be a 10,600-square-foot public plaza and pedestrian passageway.

Construction is expected to be completed this summer.

by Chris Teale March 27, 2017 at 1:45 pm 0

A new cafe appears to be arriving at the Columbia Place condo complex near Columbia Pike

Building permit applications have been filed with the county for a “new cafe and lounge in an existing mixed used building” at 1107 S. Walter Reed Drive.

Currently, the 14-unit building also hosts the Pureluxe Nails and Spa nail salon on its first floor. It is across the street from a branch of the BB&T Bank and the Avalon apartment building (formerly the Halstead), and is a block from Columbia Pike.

But there appears to be plenty of work to be done ahead of the new cafe’s opening.

The county’s online permitting system notes that permit applications in building, mechanical, plumbing and zoning categories have been rejected since the initial paperwork was filed March 8.

There are two potential cafe competitors nearby: Starbucks and Rappahannock Coffee, which is slated for redevelopment.

A spokeswoman for the county’s planning department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Hat tip to Chris Slatt

by Chris Teale March 22, 2017 at 5:00 pm 0

1812 N. Moore Street (photo via Monday Properties)

The Arlington County Board approved Tuesday a $12 million package of state and local grants for the relocation of Nestlé’s U.S. corporate headquarters to Rosslyn.

The food giant will receive $6 million in Commonwealth Opportunity Fund grant money from Virginia. COF money is incentive-based, and requires at least $36 million in capital investment and 748 new jobs with an average annual salary of $127,719.

That state grant will be matched by the county’s Economic Development Incentive grant and related infrastructure improvements. The $4 million EDI grant has the same requirements as the state grant but also requires that at least 205,000 square feet of space be leased.

The additional $2 million in infrastructure improvements is already planned in the county’s Capital Improvement Plan, said Christina Winn of Arlington Economic Development.

Winn said those improvements include the Corridor of Light public art installation on N. Lynn Street, the Lynn Street Esplanade and Custis Trail Improvement project, and relocation of bus stops on N. Moore Street.

The combination of grants shows “everybody giving a little bit to get so much back,” Winn said. She added that such incentives help Arlington stay competitive against its regional rivals, and that such programs are only used 7 percent of the time, when AED looks to attract big companies like Grant Thornton.

Board vice chair Katie Cristol said that she has previously been “skeptical” of such incentive programs, but that she sees their value in cases like this. Nestlé is projected to bring $14.2 million in net tax benefit to Arlington, and will bring an anchor tenant to the previously empty skyscraper at 1812 N. Moore Street. The move is seen as a big economic development win for the county.

“The case has been well made about what this means for Arlington County and why this is a significant decision on the part of Nestlé,” Cristol said.

Photo courtesy Monday Properties

by Chris Teale March 15, 2017 at 1:15 pm 0

Four clothing stores, two eateries and a coffee store will be open before the end of spring at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City.

Women’s clothing store ELOQUII is now open in a pop-up location near Kate Spade New York, in the space once occupied by its parent company, the Limited, on the mall’s second level. ELOQUII offers clothing for women in dress sizes 14 and up, and also provides wide width footwear and accessories.

On the same level, Ministry of Fashion has opened its first mall location, having started in 2014 in Georgetown. It looks to provide quality menswear as well as clothing for women, and supports local businesses and talents.

Just two spaces down from Ministry of Fashion and near Macy’s is New York & Company, a specialty retailer of women’s apparel and accessories.

On the edge of the mall’s food court, Indian eatery Naan & Beyond opened earlier this month. The fast casual restaurant offers a variety of Indian staples.

The coming months will bring several new options at Pentagon City. Sugar Factory is slated to open April 1 on S. Hayes Street next to honeygrow as the mall continues to expand. The candy shop and restaurant is famed for its celebrity-endorsed Couture Pops.

The Nespresso boutique is now expected to open May 1 on the ground level at the S. Hayes Street entrance. The store will sell Nespresso coffee and other products and accessories, as well as offer complimentary tastings. The spot was once occupied by Belmont Jewelers.

Finally, The Shoe Box will debut at the Fashion Centre later this spring on the mall’s first level near Nordstrom. It brings more than 50 years of experience in footwear, and contains more than 30 luxury brands as well as its own self-titled house line.

by Chris Teale March 7, 2017 at 4:55 pm 0

A new women’s clothing and accessories store opened December at the Lee Heights Shops, replacing the recently-shuttered Lemon Twist Arlington.

Lemoncello Boutique at 4518 Lee Highway is a family-owned store that sells clothes for women of all ages, including young children and babies. It opened under different ownership from the previous store.

It also sells gifts and other items, including photo frames, jewelry and beauty products. Brands sold include Vineyard Vines, Scout and local jewelry designer Second Daughter, owned by Jessica Speckhard.

Lemoncello replaced Lemon Twist, which sold similar items and brands from the time it opened on Lee Highway in the late 1980s until it closed last year.

The store was part of a small retail fashion chain.

As of yet, the other Lee Heights Shops store to close recently, Bradshaw’s Children’s Shoes, appears not to have been replaced. It shuttered last year due to the owners’ retirement, after the store had served Northern Virginia since 1834.

by Tim Regan January 31, 2017 at 10:20 am 0

(Updated at 10:53 a.m.) A new fitness studio is now open on the ground floor of the Beacon at Clarendon apartment building.

The business, Neighborhood Barre, opened its doors at 1148 N. Irving Street about two weeks ago, according to franchise owner Eileen McCarthy.

Neighborhood Barre offers workouts that mix dance conditioning, pilates and isometric exercise techniques. This is the first D.C.-area gym for the company, which has locations in Tennessee and Alabama.

McCarthy, a longtime barre enthusiast, said she got the idea to open the studio after many years of trying different kinds of exercise routines.

“I had been doing barre workouts on my own,” McCarthy said. “It was a big stress reliever for me. It’s intense, but it’s not off-the-wall intense.”

The ballet-inspired barre workouts are suitable for people of any fitness level, she added.

Though she considered several other locations, McCarthy said opening a fitness studio in Clarendon was a “no brainer.”

“It’s just such a good mix of people and densely populated,” she said.

Neighborhood Barre currently offers five classes each weekday and three classes on Saturday and Sunday, but more classes are on the way, McCarthy said.

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