“[We] are converting the iconic Clarendon Ballroom into a rotating, multilevel pop-up and event venue,” The Lot co-owner Mike Bramson confirmed this afternoon, after an inquiry from ARLnow.
Bramson said the temporary venue at 3185 Wilson Blvd — which has applied for permits to serve beer, wine and cocktails — will initially be dubbed “Winter Wonderland on Wilson.” The holiday-themed pop-up is expected to open in December and run through New Years.
So far there’s no word on what concept will follow.
“More details to be announced soon,” said Bramson, who is also a co-owner of Pamplona in Clarendon.
Seasonal pop-up bars have proved popular in D.C., though that popularity has waned recently.
Clarendon Ballroom closed after last New Year’s Eve. The long-time local nightlife spot and event venue, which had both indoor and outdoor spaces, was business for 20 years.
The Lot opened in July 2019 and has attracted long lines during the pandemic, as bar-goers flock to outdoor venues as a safer alternative to indoor spaces.
What was once beloved family dining spot Joe’s Place Pizza and Pasta will soon be A Modo Mio.
The restaurant at 5555 Lee Highway says it’s planning to reopen in “a few weeks” with “a new look, chef and menu.”
New signs are already up, touting the new name and its focus on Neapolitan pizza, as well as the fact that the restaurant is now hiring. The renovated and repainted interior, sans the old Joe’s buffet, can now be seen through the windows.
The new menu, as posted online, includes higher-end Italian dishes at reasonable prices — nothing above $24. Wood-fired pizza appears to be the main attraction, alongside pasta dishes, meat and fish entrees, and appetizer-sized flatbreads.
After temporarily closing in April due to oven trouble, Joe’s reopened in May for takeout and delivery, as well as indoor and outdoor dining. It closed for renovations on Aug. 23. The long-time local restaurant celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2018.
On Tuesday, the restaurant’s Facebook account posted a photo taken prior to the August closing, saying it was a celebration of “a new exciting beginning.” An exact reopening date was not given and the restaurant’s manager could not be reached for comment.
Today, 85 years after opening its first location in Connecticut, Colony Grill (2800 Clarendon Blvd) began serving Arlingtonians its famed thin-crust bar pie, sizzling with hot oil and topped with peppers known as “stingers.”
The location, three years in the making, is the first outside southern Connecticut and Port Chester, New York. Construction on the two-story establishment at Market Common Clarendon began in February and only lost a week or two to delays related to the pandemic, said co-owner Ken Martin.
He and his fellow co-owners, Paul Coniglio, Chris Drury and Cody Lee, began looking outside their home state because real estate there is limited. The childhood friends from Trumbull, Connecticut fell in love with the D.C. area “almost overnight,” he said.
“Arlington resembles Fairfield County on steroids,” Martin said, noting that it has the same energy: a dense population of smart, eclectic people who are especially social.
If the Clarendon outpost does well, more D.C. area locations may follow, according to Martin.
“We hope to open more down here once we establish ourselves and are doing well,” Martin said, mentioning Bethesda and the District as possible destinations.
Irish immigrants opened Colony Grill in Stamford, Connecticut in 1935, two years after the end of the Great Depression and the Prohibition era. The owners served many dishes, but the Italian and Eastern European chefs devised the “bar pie” to be smaller and thinner than a traditional pizza, and fit on the bar top.
Today, the chain only serves this pizza, although the name and the Irish decor pay homage to the kitchen’s original menu and the restaurant’s origins.
After World War II, the owners began collecting framed pictures of those who fought to honor Connecticut’s contributions to the war effort. Today, locals to each new location are invited to bring pictures of their friends or family members in the service to be hung on the brick walls.
Arlington patrons can submit 8×10 inch photos of friends, family members or themselves, in their branch of the military uniform, to the restaurant’s collection.
Local antique pieces will join the familiar faces in sepia tones and in color, including three prominent astronauts with roots in the area, to make patrons feel at home.
Colony Grill’s designer visited flea markets, tag sales, and frequented libraries and historical societies to get a feel for Arlington’s neighborhoods. Folks will recognize some of the antiques on display, Martin said.
“We want to give people the feel that we understand the neighborhood as they come in,” he said.
Pizzas cost up to $13, and customers can choose standard toppings or the chain’s original offerings, including the salad pie and the breakfast pie.
Colony Grill also has 12 beers on top and wine bottles by the glass or bottle.
In response to the coronavirus, the company has spent nearly $100,000 at each location on glass partitions and a streamlined check platform for employees, according to the co-owners. The restaurant has also invested in an online app for contact-less ordering and payment.
Colony Grill is open daily from 11:30 a.m. until late closing, at the corner of Clarendon Blvd and N. Fillmore Street, for up to 170 people.
Photos courtesy Rey Lopez, as marked
Delhi Club (1135 N. Highland Street) is under new management, and will soon take on a new name: Spice Kraft Indian Bistro.
For now, the change is unofficial and the restaurant continues to do business as Delhi Club, said general manager and co-owner Anthony Shankar. Delhi Club’s doors will reopen as Spice Kraft Indian Bistro by the end of the month, he said.
The restaurant in Clarendon will be the second location for Spice Kraft, which first opened in August 2019 in Alexandra’s Del Ray neighborhood, but had its grand opening this January. Like its approach to Delhi Club, Spice Kraft opened in the former Bombay Curry Company space.
Shankar said the owners of Spice Kraft and Delhi Club have a business relationship. When the Delhi Club owners decided it was time to close their restaurant, they approached Spice Kraft to see if they were interested in the spot, he said.
“They saw Spice Kraft has potential in Arlington,” Shankar said.
Shankar and fellow co-owners Helen Sanjjav and Prem Durairaj were planning to open the space before the pandemic started, but COVID-19 delayed the project from March through August.
Once regulations started easing up, the three got to work.
“We didn’t want to wait too long,” said Shankar, who managed Taaza, a popular Indian restaurant in Roanoke, for seven years before relocating to Alexandria to open Spice Kraft.
The owners have aspirations of Spice Kraft becoming a local chain, and intend to open two to three more locations in Northern Virginia after expanding to Clarendon.
Another nearby Indian restaurant, Delhi Dhaba, operates a few blocks down in Courthouse, but Spice Kraft will not be in direct competition with it, Shankar said.
“We see ourselves as classical and contemporary,” he said.
The menu is mostly the same across the two locations, but about one-quarter of the options are new, including some of the lunch fare, fusion dishes and rice bowls, Shankar said.
For example, Spice Kraft is serving up burgers with proteins such as chicken tikka, and the pre-plated rice bowls come with a protein, side, bread and salad for about $10.
(Updated at 2:15 p.m.) The newest entrant into Arlington’s restaurant scene has opened its doors.
The restaurant is a bit off the beaten path: it’s located along S. Glebe Road at 3411 5th Street S., in a single-story, historic building that once served as a chocolate factory.
Ruthie’s aims to be a neighborhood destination, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner in a place that’s blocks from the nearest sit-down restaurant and a half hour walk from the Ballston Metro station.
Despite the understated name, “RAD” has a menu that is more culinary than quick-service.
Starters include Southern staples like deviled eggs, cornbread, hushpuppies and pimento cheese, mixed in with tuna tartare and wood grilled octopus. Pork, chicken and brisket sandwiches are joined on the menu with entrees like wood fired bacon wrapped trout, roasted diver scallops, and smoked Rohan duck breast.
Though Ruthie’s doesn’t have barbecue in its name, it does have two all wood burning smokers and a custom wood hearth, fed by North Carolina hickory and oak wood. It offers meat by the pound and half pound, including brisket, pulled pork and chicken, as well as racks of ribs.
In addition to the food, the restaurant will have eight local beers on tap, on a rotating basis, in addition to seasonal cocktails and a curated wine list.
Ruthie’s, which is touting its COVID precautions as it opens amid the pandemic, also has a large patio for outdoor dining. It plans to roll out coffee, breakfast, brunch and lunch service at later dates.
More from a press release:
We are pleased to announce the official opening of Ruthie’s All-Day by Chef Matt Hill and Partner Todd Salvadore. This will be Chef Matt’s and Todd’s first solo restaurant after working in the industry for more than twenty years. […]
As a full-service, family friendly, all-day neighborhood restaurant and bar with a custom-built wood-burning hearth, Ruthie’s All-Day will offer coffee/counter, lunch, brunch, and dinner service scratch made food with an emphasis on locally-sourced ingredients. “We are beyond excited to finally open our doors to Ruthie’s All-Day! We plan to open in phases. Currently, we are open for dinner and takeout. In the coming weeks, we will be introducing Counter Culture coffee, breakfast/lunch counter, and brunch service,” says Chef Matt Hill.
The opening dinner menu is Chef Matt Hill’s modern take on a meat and three with 100% wood smoked barbecue and grilled meats including: smoked pulled pork shoulder with scratch made milk bread; wood fired citrus marinated 1/2 chicken with a raisin caper vinaigrette, smoked brisket; and smoked half rack sticky spare ribs. These are accompanied by twos and threes: buttermilk biscuits; mac and cheese; pulled pork pinto beans; anson mills grits; crispy brussels in fish sauce vinaigrette; hand cut fries; or charred kimchi dirty rice. Super tasty starters, such as skillet cornbread, hot hushpuppies with shrimp and roasted jalapeno, wood grilled oysters, and brunswick stew are also featured. The menu will showcase delicious entree salads, including fried chicken cobb salad and nice grilled salmon salad, as well as several sandwiches including Chef Hill’s crispy fried chicken sandwich with gojuchang aioli, bread and butter pickles, and slaw. The beverage program led by Todd Salvadore offers Cocktails with twists on classic favorites, and a rotating eight draft beer program from local breweries.
In the coming weeks, in the morning, the take-out counter will feature an evolving menu with our ridiculously delicious breakfast biscuits and bowls, think stone ground grits, house-made sausage, crispy fried chicken, and brisket, egg and cheese biscuits, alongside Counter Culture coffee from Chef Hill’s (and Ruthie’s) home state of North Carolina. Lunch time brings a mix of fresh ground burgers, sandwiches and entree salads with greens from local farmers and producers, packed with seasonal superfoods.
Both indoor and outdoor seating are currently available. “While following the CDC, WHO, and VA government guidelines, our number one priority is keeping our guests and staff safe,” says Todd Salvadore.
It only exists online, but a new fried chicken restaurant has launched in Arlington.
Smokecraft Modern Barbecue, which opened in July at 1051 N. Highland Street in Clarendon, announced this week that it has also opened “Etta Faye’s Chicken Shack.”
The Southern-style eatery is a “ghost kitchen” — you can’t go there, sit down, and order food. Instead, you can only order it for delivery on Uber Eats or DoorDash, or for pickup on the Smokecraft online ordering page.
Etta Faye’s started taking its first orders Wednesday evening.
Ghost kitchens are a hot concept, attracting investors and media buzz. Last week ARLnow reported that a trailer in a Clarendon parking lot was operating as a ghost kitchen; Etta Faye’s, however, appears to operate out of the Smokecraft space.
Among the items offered are several varieties of fried chicken sandwich, as well as sides like a pimento cheese and biscuit crostini.
More from a press release:
The award-winning Smokecraft Modern Barbecue team is excited to announce Etta Faye’s Chicken Shack, a ghost kitchen concept now available for Arlington residents and visitors to enjoy via carryout and delivery.
Etta Faye’s Chicken Shack is an homage to Executive Sous Chef William Burke’s grandmother, a no-nonsense woman who was unapologetically herself. Crafted around two of Burke’s favorite childhood comfort foods, fried chicken and buttermilk biscuits, the concept is inspired by Burke’s southern roots, growing up cooking with his granny.
“During tough times like these, I always find comfort thinking of my grandmother’s food as a kid,” said Burke. “This menu is an ode to her and I’m hoping to share that same comfort with others.”
The menu boasts seven different sandwiches as well as salads, sides, and a ‘chuck it bucket’ for four. Enjoy offerings like a pimento cheese and biscuit crostini with pickled onions and hatch peppers, a fried green tomato BLT, a fried chicken sandwich with harissa hot sauce on a potato bun, a sweet BBQ fried chicken sandwich, and more. The ‘chuck it bucket’ feeds four for $24, complete with fried chicken, two sides, slaw, biscuits and fries. Sides include everything spiced tater tots with smoked garlic sauce, mac and cheese, and baked beans, among others.
For more information on Etta Faye’s Chicken Shack, follow the concept on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Orders will be available for delivery on UberEats and DoorDash, or for pickup at www.smokecraftbbq.com. Check out the Smokecraft Modern Barbecue website for the full menu of offerings.
(Updated at 12:10 p.m.) Colony Grill, a pizza restaurant imported from Connecticut and noted for its use of “hot oil” on its pies, is two weeks away from opening.
A spokeswoman for the chain, beloved in the Constitution State, says Colony Grill is now set to open on Wednesday, Oct. 14.
The 85-year-old restaurant brand with working-class, Irish-American roots decided to open in Arlington — at 2800 Clarendon Blvd, within the Market Common Clarendon development — after scouting out “dozens of cities and states.”
The two-level, 5,100 square foot restaurant will feature decor that includes “curated elements that celebrate the history of Arlington.” For safety during the pandemic, it also will have glass partitions between all booths and “a strict check platform for its all employees.”
Colony Grill will open daily from 11:30 a.m. until “late closing,” according to a press release. In addition to the famous pizza, with its pepper-infused oil, the restaurant will offer “12 beer selections on draft, with an emphasis on local breweries.”
Is Arlington hungry for pizza that’s popular in bedroom communities north of New York City? Perhaps. But a restaurant serving the local pizza of another Connecticut city along I-95 — Pete’s New Haven Apizza — closed last year, one block away from the new pizzeria.
More from the press release:
Colony Grill, an 85-year-old restaurant brand known for its family-friendly tavern settings, gracious hospitality, and famous “hot oil” bar-style pizzas, has announced a mid-October opening for its newest location, at 2800 Clarendon Boulevard in Arlington, Virginia 22201.
“Everyone at Colony Grill is extremely excited,” said Ken Martin, the company’s chief operating officer. “During our search, we travelled to dozens of cities and states and we just kept coming back to the greater Arlington area. We absolutely fell in love. It is simply a remarkable part of the country with diverse people who together celebrate their community and enjoy gathering for life’s special moments. We look forward to introducing our unique pizza to the neighborhood and becoming a part of that community fabric for years to come.”
The 5,100-square-foot space will be open daily, from 11:30 a.m. until late closing, offering seating for 170 diners in three distinct areas: 80 in the first-floor dining room, 50 in the bar/lounge, and 50 on the mezzanine level.
In 1935, Colony Grill opened in an Irish immigrant neighborhood in Stamford, Connecticut. Since then, Colony Grill has become famous for what is now its only menu offering: a one-of-a-kind, thin-crust pizza that is best served with its signature “hot oil” topping – a spicy, full-of-flavor, pepper-infused creation which can be ordered with any other combination of toppings.
The original owners of Colony Grill were Irish American, but they employed Italian and Eastern European chefs throughout the Great Depression. These men proudly wanted bar patrons to try the pizza recipes of their homelands but needed a way to fit a pizza tray on Colony Grill’s narrow bar top. The solution: the “Bar Pie,” a thin crust pizza that is smaller in diameter than a traditional pizza with a thin layer of cheese and sauce so slices can be easily managed with one hand. The local Irish crowd — and anyone else who visited Colony Grill — seemingly could not get enough of this unique pizza. Eventually, across the decades, the hot oil bar pie became so popular that all the other Colony menu items faded away, as did the need for a grill. But the name Colony Grill remains as a link to their heritage.
In 2020, Colony Grill was named one of “56 Greatest Old-School Pizzeria’s in America” by The Daily Meal and has consistently been named one of the “Top 101 Pizzas in America” by TripAdvisor.
Pricing for Colony Grill’s pies will range from $9.50 to $12.95 with options for adding additional toppings or gluten-free crust. A Salad Pie will also available for guests and includes Colony Grill’s signature crust baked with a touch of olive oil and sea salt, topped with hearty mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and carrots, tossed with balsamic vinaigrette. Breakfast lovers will appreciate the restaurant’s Breakfast Pie available exclusively on Saturdays and Sundays, from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., which features a choice of bacon or sausage, egg, and cheese.
After nine months of construction, the new World of Beer in Ballston is set to open its doors next week.
The Florida-basd chain announced Monday that the new watering hole at 4300 Wilson Blvd, facing N. Glebe Road, will open on Thursday, Oct. 5. The space was formerly home to Ted’s Montana Grill.
The restaurant is not far from Crafthouse (901 N. Glebe Road), which was Virginia’s first World of Beer location from 2012 until 2017, when the owner parted ways and rebranded locations in Ballston, Reston and Fairfax. World of Beer can currently be found in Bethesda and Rockville, Maryland.
“We are pleased to bring back our exceptional craft beer experience and beer-inspired menu to the community of Arlington,” World of Beer CEO Paul Avery said in a statement. “At World of Beer, we truly believe there is a friend on every barstool. We look forward to sharing the craft brews and their stories with our guests, who may be inspired to discover something new.”
In addition to an indoor seating area with a long, curved bar and an antler chandelier, the restaurant has a sizable outdoor patio, which the company says will feature social games like corn hole and giant Jenga.
World of Beer offers hundreds of local, regional, national and international beers at its 51 locations in the U.S., South Korea and China, in addition to food, wine and cocktails. The food menu includes items that pair well with beer, like pork schnitzel, an Angus beef burger with Chimay Classique cheese, Chipotle BBQ chicken flatbread, and a German pretzel.
The split between then-owner Evan Matz and World of Beer took a bitter turn later in 2017, when the chain sued Matz for violating the terms of the franchise agreement. In October 2018, Matz sued back.
Two other World of Beer locations — in Ashburn and Charlottesville — broke from the franchise, with the owners rebranding the locations as Jefferson Ale House. Only the Jefferson Ale House in Ashburn remains in business.
World of Beer in Ballston will be open seven days a week: Sunday from 11 a.m.-12 a.m., Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Monday through Thursday, and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m.-2 a.m.
Amazon Makes Local Donations — Amazon has made a some substantial recent donations to local charitable organizations. Arlington-based Doorways for Women and Families received $100,000 from Amazon “in COVID-19 relief to keep survivors safe in housing and hotels,” while newly-created Project Headphones received $75,000, which “allows us to get headphones with mics for all grade levels in @APSVirginia.” [Twitter, Twitter]
Clement Blasts ‘Missing Middle’ Housing — “‘Missing middle’ may be two words totaling 13 letters, but depending on which side of the Arlington political divide you are on, it may qualify as a single four-letter word. The proposed housing policy, which in theory aims to find ways to stop Arlington from becoming an enclave of the very wealthy with some low-cost housing thrown in as fig leaf, came under withering attack from a veteran campaigner during the recent Arlington Committee of 100 County Board debate.” [InsideNova]
Food Hall Coming to Rosslyn Development — “The first level of the new concept will include a bodega that carries everyday essentials and prepared food for dine-in or to-go. The second level will offer seven food stalls, including an oyster bar, coffee bar and diner concept. There will also be access to a main bar, full-service dining area and a communal work lounge.” [Washington Business Journal]
County Offering Free Online Job Training — “City of Alexandria and Arlington County residents can get free job skills training online as part of ‘Skill-Up City of Alexandria and Arlington County,’ an initiative of the Alexandria/Arlington Regional Workforce Council, Alexandria Workforce Development Center, and Arlington Employment Center. The online classes are funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.” [Arlington County]
Recollection of Racism in Arlington — “There was a time, Araya recalled, when Blacks couldn’t walk along the north side of Columbia Pike without getting frisked by police. So for an African American to walk from Green Valley to see friends in Halls Hill, ‘You had to know the route through white neighborhoods. It was like the Green Book for Arlington.'” [Falls Church News-Press]
Cemetery Likely to Get Historic Status — “The cemetery at Mount Salvation Baptist Church in Arlington is now virtually assured of becoming a local historic district. The county’s Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board (HALRB) has approved the nomination, setting the stage for public hearings before the Planning Commission and County Board.” [InsideNova]
Local Man Convicted of Embezzlement — “A well-connected Virginia financial advisor was sentenced to five years and 10 months in prison for embezzling approximately $8 million from money that the U.S. government and a hospital had entrusted to him to set up annuities for 13 people who were the beneficiaries of medical malpractice settlements. Joseph Edward Gargan, owner of The Pension Co. in Arlington, Va… is a relative of the late President John F. Kennedy.” [Claims Journal]
A restaurateur and chef who both hail from Italy are planning to open a new pizzeria in Shirlington.
Antonio Matarazzo and Chef Matteo Venini will be opening an Arlington outpost of their “modern, fast-casual pizza concept, Stellina Pizzeria,” which offers a “modern interpretation of the classic pizza counter,” according to an announcement this morning.
It is expected to open by the end of the year in the now-former Cafe Pizzaiolo space at 2800 S. Randolph Street.
“Stellina will open its first Northern Virginia location later this year in the Shirlington neighborhood,” a spokeswoman said. “The menu will offer Stellina’s signature style of neo-Neapolitan pizzas, along with handmade pastas, panini, and other Italian street food. A new feature will be a deli-style counter serving fresh pasta by the pound, homemade sauces, and DIY pizza and pasta kits for guests to recreate Stellina dishes at home.”
Shirlington will be an easy commute for Matarazzo, who lives in South Arlington.
Stellina will offer takeout and delivery, in addition a covered and heated outdoor patio with seating for 20, and limited indoor seating in a 48-seat dining room. The restaurant, which is also opening a new D.C. location next year, has received accolades including a 2020 Michelin Bib Gourmand designation, and inclusion in Washingtonian’s 100 Best Restaurants list and a Washington Post list of the 10 best pizzas in D.C.
More from a press release, below.
Italian Deli Coming to Pentagon Row — “Napoli Pasta Bar, the Bib Gourmand-designated Italian restaurant in Columbia Heights, will expand into Northern Virginia next month when it adds a sister deli in Arlington. Napoli Salumeria is expected to open in early October at 1301 South Joyce Street… The Pentagon Row space was largely turnkey ready, as it formerly functioned as a deli called A Deli.” [Eater]
Shirlington Movie Theater Reopens — The AMC Shirlington 7 theater reopened earlier this week, after closing over the weekend. A PR rep said the closure was due to a “plumbing issue.”
More Hazy Skies Possible — “More smoke from western wildfires likely to stream into DC area tonight and into Wednesday. Skies unlikely to be as blue as the past several days.” [Washington Post, Twitter]
Restaurant Break-in on Pentagon Row — “At approximately 10:41 a.m. on September 21, police were dispatched to the report of a larceny. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 12:25 a.m., two suspects forced entry to a business, causing damage, and stole an undisclosed amount of cash and items of value. The suspects are described as males, wearing hooded sweatshirts, masks, and gloves. The investigation is ongoing.” [Arlington County]
Cooking School Adapts During Pandemic — Cookology at Ballston Quarter mall was just hitting its stride when the pandemic hit. After shutting down for weeks, the cooking school reopened via “Cookology Live” virtual classes. And now, the business has secured outdoor space at the mall’s covered “Instagram Alley” in which to hold in-person classes. [Washington Business Journal]
Apartment Building Designated as Historic — “The Glebe Apartments (now known as Knightsbridge Apartments) in the Ballston area has been placed on the Virginia Landmarks Register… The apartment complex, located in the 200 block of North Glebe Road, is an example of garden-style apartment units that were constructed in Arlington from the 1930s to the 1950s to provide moderately priced housing for a growing number of federal workers and, after World War II, returning veterans.” [InsideNova]
Today: ‘Spirit of Community’ Event — “Please join us for the 2020 Spirit of Community celebration on Wednesday, September 23 at 12 p.m… The program will include interviews with Chris Nassetta, President and CEO of Hilton, and Steve Presley, Chairman and CEO of Nestle USA.” [ARLnow Events]
Confederate Costumes Cause Controversy — ” Party City is racing to clear its shelves of children’s costumes celebrating the Confederacy. An Arlington, Virginia mom of two adopted Black children, was shocked to find the Party City store at Bailey’s Crossroads selling Civil War rebel costumes emblazoned with the Confederate flag.” [WUSA 9]