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Chicken + Whiskey moves into Clarendon (photo courtesy of Twitter/David Kinney)

(Updated at 5 p.m.) Chicken + Whiskey is crossing the river to get to Clarendon.

The new South American rotisserie chicken restaurant and whiskey bar is hoping to open this spring, co-owner Des Reilly confirmed to ARLnow.

Permitting and construction remain ongoing in the nearly 6,000 square-foot space at 3033 Wilson Blvd, where window stickers are now advertising the restaurant. One sticker reads, “Chicken in the front, Whiskey in the back.”

The new eatery and bar moves into a space that was formerly occupied by Hunan Number One, which closed three years ago. It will be in the same building as Waterhouse Coffee and the newly-opened Bar Ivy while across the street from Mexicali Blues.

The menu consists of Peruvian chicken, homemade sauces, sides like yucca fries and black beans, and a wide selection of whiskeys. There are also cocktails, churro donuts, arepas, and salads.

This will be Chicken + Whiskey’s fourth location, but first outside of the District. The restaurant is led by Chef Enrique Limardo who is “commonly credited as the pioneer of modern Venezuelan cooking in the U.S.,” per Huffington Post. He’s also the head chef at Immigrant Food and D.C.’s Seven Reasons, which was named 2019’s best new restaurant in the country by at least one publication.

Reilly said that the reason Clarendon was chosen as the next location for Chicken + Whiskey is that they believe good Peruvian chicken is “missing” from the neighborhood.

“In my opinion, we are the best in the DMV,” he said. “No one is doing what we are doing at this price point.”

That section of Wilson Blvd, the two blocks between N. Highland Street and N. Fillmore Street, has been undergoing some changes recently. Bar Ivy opened this summer while the former sports bar G.O.A.T. is being converted into a bank. Meanwhile, Maison Cheryl is currently closed for a “fall refresh.” Just beyond N. Fillmore Street, buzzy Middle Eastern restaurant Tawle is looking to open in the spring as well.

Hat tip to David Kinney

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(Updated at 5:30 p.m.) Arlington’s newest seafood spot is finally ready to open.

Seamore’s is expected to open its doors this week in Clarendon. Currently, the opening is set for Thursday, after being pushed from Wednesday.

The restaurant serves sustainably-sourced seafood, including clams, lobster rolls, arctic char, fish and chips, and oysters. This will be the first location outside of New York for the chain.

“We believe Clarendon will love our sustainable seafood, our delicious cocktails, and beachy Montauk vibes,” owner Jay Wainwright said in the press release. “D.C. is closely connected to the Chesapeake Bay supply chain. This made our decision to open our next location in Clarendon a natural one.”

It was first announced late last year that Seamore’s was bringing a location to the old Baja Fresh space in Clarendon, which had been vacant for more than three years. It was initially supposed to open in late summer, but it was pushed to the back end of September.

Located at the corner of Clarendon Blvd and N. Edgewood Street, next to the one-year-old Tatte Bakery, the 2,605 square-foot restaurant space is now complete.

Back in March, Wainwright told ARLnow that Clarendon is a “perfect fit” for Seamore’s because of the walkability of the neighborhood and and the proximity of the Chesapeake Bay. He additionally noted that a large portion of the catch served at the restaurant will come out of the Bay.

The decor will also differ from the New York locations with decor, colors, and art all inspired by the region and the Chesapeake Bay. Additionally, the restaurant says it wants to build relationships with Bay improvement projects and organizations.

“Seamore’s does not merely look to bring New York flavors to Virginia. Rather, building local relationships such as the Oyster Recovery Partnership will not only ingratiate the new establishment into the community but contribute a positive impact,” said the press release.

For those seeking to add some education to their dining, oyster shucking classes at the restaurant are in the works.

Prior to Seamore’s, Wainwright helped open the first Cosi in America in the mid-1990s. There were at one point a number of locations in Arlington, but the last one, in Rosslyn, closed in early 2021. He also helped build Le Pain Quotidien, which still has a location in Clarendon, one block up from Seamore’s.

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Ballston’s newest wine bar and shop has started pouring.

Pirouette Café & Wine Shop, on the ground floor of J Sol apartments at 4000 Fairfax Drive, opened late last week, co-owner Philippe Loustaunau confirmed to ARLnow. Both the restaurant and wine bar’s interior and outdoor spaces are now open.

While the wine bar and retail shop are operating at regular hours, the kitchen currently is still only serving appetizers. The full menu will start being available next week, Loustaunau said.

The initial hope was to begin serving a little bit earlier in the summer — taking full advantage of the outdoor patio — but brief construction delays set it back a number of weeks. ARLnow first reported on Pirouette’s planned opening back in January.

The business comes from the wife and husband team of Jackie and Philippe Loustaunau. The couple only lives a few blocks away from the shop, in Virginia Square.

The two always dreamed of opening a restaurant near where they lived, Jackie Loustaunau told ARLnow earlier this year. They always hoped that at least one of the many mixed-use buildings going up in the neighborhood would include a local restaurant or bar. Instead of waiting for that to happen, they just did it themselves.

The restaurant, bar, and wine shop is aiming for a “causal feel” with a large assortment of wines by the glass. The menu is from executive chef Adam Hoffa, who previously worked at Fiola and St. Anselm in the District. It’s set to feature small plates like mac & cheese croquettes, entrees like pork chop Milanese, and dessert.

As Philippe Loustaunau told ARLnow in July, the hope is for Pirouette to become a neighborhood place that the two always dreamed about.

“I love the idea of meeting our customers in the street, going to the park and seeing them with their children, seeing folks at school,” Philippe said in February. “This is a neighborhood environment, which I think creates community and connects people.”

Photos via Pirouette/Instagram (as labeled)

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(Updated at 11:35 a.m.) Arlington might be getting chalupas for Christmas.

The new Taco Bell Cantina at 2039 Wilson Blvd in Courthouse is aiming for a December opening, a company spokesperson tells ARLnow.

The fast food restaurant is currently in the midst of training and hiring for “all positions from assistant managers to team members for all types of hours,” the spokesperson said.

Flyers advertising the job openings can be seen stapled to trees around the neighborhood.

It was first reported in May that a Taco Bell was coming to Courthouse. The location looks — at least in part — to be an effort to appeal to the late-night, hungry crowds leaving the nearby bars.

The main difference between a regular Taco Bell (there’s a location on Langston Blvd) and a Taco Bell Cantina is that the Cantina sells alcohol, including beer, wine, sangria and — just in time for the cold winter months — brightly colored frozen cocktails called “Twisted Freezes.”

There are two other Taco Bell Cantina locations in the region, including in D.C.’s Columbia Heights neighborhood and on King Street in Old Town Alexandria.

Those locations are quite popular and can get crowded, which is why the forthcoming Courthouse location will have three food production lines, as opposed to two, general manager Tim Morgan told ARLnow.

“We want to get service and food out faster,” he said.

There will also be a walk-up window “to streamline mobile orders,” per the company spokesperson.

The space at 2039 Wilson Blvd was previously home to Guarapo Lounge, a Peruvian bar, restaurant and hookah lounge. It closed almost six years ago and the space has not had a new tenant until now.

This is also a return to the neighborhood for Taco Bell. The fast food chain once had a standalone location on the hill between Courthouse and Rosslyn, near where the 7-Eleven and Ace Hardware now sit. It closed about a decade ago, along with Dr. Dremo’s, to make way for new development.

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A new Japanese barbeque restaurant is coming Ballston.

New window stickers are announcing the arrival of Gyu San Japanese BBQ at 715 N. Glebe Road. That’s the Ballston Point building at the corner of Glebe and Wilson Blvd — the same one where the new coffee shop Slipstream is also going, albeit on the Wilson Blvd side.

Gyu San is moving into the space formerly occupied by Bangkok Bistro, which appears to have closed during the back end of 2020.

Last month, ARLnow reported that a retail leasing chart for the building showed a different Japanese BBQ restaurant looking to move into that location. That now appears to either be an error or a case of something changing.

There’s no word yet on when Gyu San might open, though interior construction does appear to have begun.

There does not seem to be a website or social media for a restaurant going by that name based in Arlington or, even, the United States. ARLnow has reached out to a leasing rep for the building but has yet to hear back as of publication.

Gyu San will compete with at least one other Arlington Japanese barbeque restaurant. Gyu-Kaku opened its first Virginia location about four years ago in Clarendon.

Beyond Gyu San and Slipstream, Ballston Point is also home to Which Wich, Chipotle, and World of Beer.

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A new family-owned Peruvian chicken restaurant is opening on Columbia Pike.

Cabaña Restaurant is looking to start serving roasted chicken and other Peruvian food at 4815 Columbia Pike, perhaps later this month.

Management is just waiting on the county to do its inspections and issue licenses, co-owner Soledad Marreros told ARLnow. The restaurant is also waiting on approval of its liquor license from Virginia ABC.

Marreros owns the restaurant with her brother. Together, they also both run Restaurante El Salvador located only a few doors down from its new restaurant. That eatery has been open for about 30 years, she said, and will continue to operate along with the new restaurant.

Cabaña Restaurant will be its own restaurant with a new menu and a different type of cuisine, Marreros said.

With the population increasing along Columbia Pike, particularly residents originally from Central and South America, the time felt right to open another restaurant, Marreros said.

Plus, with so many other restaurants closing over the last two years due to the pandemic, space became available close to their original restaurant. Prior, 4815 Columbia Pike appears to have been home to Ginger Beef.

Cabaña Restaurant is nestled between a cell phone store and an Ethiopian market in the Barcroft Shopping Centre at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Buchanan Street.

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2910 Columbia Pike, the soon-to-be new location of Stella Restaurant and Lounge (staff photo by Matt Blitz)
2910 Columbia Pike, the soon-to-be new location of Stella Restaurant and Lounge (staff photo by Matt Blitz)

An “American fine dining restaurant” is filing the old P. Brennan’s space on Columbia Pike.

A family-owned eatery is looking to open by the end of the year at 2910 Columbia Pike. From 2010 to 2017, that address was the home of P. Brennan’s Irish Pub and Restaurant. However, the cavernous, two-level space has remained business-less for the last five years.

That’s changing, as ARLnow first reported back in April. The wife-husband team of Griselda Giselle Fernandez and Raheel “Ray” Khan are opening an “American fine dining restaurant” in the space that they are calling Stella Restaurant and Lounge.

The permit actually lists Nightbird Restaurant and Lounge as the name of the business, but Kahn said that was only a fill-in until they settled on a permanent name. As for why Stella, Khan said that was his wife’s call.

While the menu is still being finalized and the owners are still working to hire an executive chef, the plan is to serve steaks, lobster, crabs, and other high-end dishes, Khan told ARLnow.

It was about nine months ago when they took over the property, but it took awhile for plans to come together and permits approved by the county. Construction is starting next week, Khan said, with the hope to be completed in three to four months and for the restaurant to open in mid-December — an aggressive timeline, compared to other restaurant build-outs in Arlington.

When Khan and his wife first toured the space, next door to Rebellion and across the street from the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse, they were ecstatic.

“It’s really hard to find such a big space in Arlington,” he said. “With parking underground and being such a well-known space, we loved it.”

The plans are to gut the interior while making some changes to the exterior, including adding sliding windows to provide some alfresco seating since there’s no outdoor patio.

This is the couple’s third D.C. area restaurant, including one location in Oxon Hill, Maryland and Heat Lounge on Lee Highway in Fairfax.

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Clarendon’s newest open-air hangout is aiming to start partying by October.

“Tropical glam” bar Coco B’s, the latest venture from local restaurateurs Christal and Mike Bramson, is looking to open on the roof of Whitlow’s former home at 2854 Wilson Blvd this fall, a restaurant spokesperson told ARLnow.

The hope is to start serving in late September or early October. The initial plan was to start serving by late July or early August, but the opening has been pushed by about two months.

The bottom floor of 2854 Wilson Blvd is now the live music venue and restaurant B Live, also owned by the Bramsons.

Back in June, the couple shared with ARLnow what locals can expect from Coco B’s.

“I’d describe [the look and feel of Coco B’s] as ‘tropical glam.’ If you think of B Live as the male version of the two of us, then Coco B’s is the female version… the his and hers,” said Christal Bramson. “It’s definitely going to be more female-focused. There’s going to be a lot of pinks, velvets, feathers, and it’s going to attract the softer side of Arlington.”

The menu, while not yet set, will have “tropical-inspired” drinks. The plan was to do “some cosmetic changes” to the rooftop, open it this season, and do a more complete overhaul over the winter. Whitlow’s originally opened the rooftop deck in 2010, with a tiki bar theme and the name “Wilson’s on Whitlow’s,” a reference to Tom Hanks’ favorite volleyball in the movie Castaway.

Coco B’s will occupy the rooftop of the Wilson Blvd building while B Live, which opened in May, takes over the rest of the space that once housed Whitlow’s on Wilson. That one-time Arlington landmark has since moved to the District.

The Bramsons also own several other Clarendon food and drink destinations, including The Lot and Pamplona. ARLnow also reported yesterday that the couple has taken over management of the revamped Clarendon Ballroom from owner Michael Darby.

When Coco B’s opens later this year, the Bramsons will be operating five Clarendon businesses all within a half mile of each other.

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Coffee shop Slipstream set to move into Ballston early next year (staff photo by Matt Blitz)

(Updated at 11:45 a.m.) D.C-based coffee shop Slipstream is looking to serve fresh cups of joe in Ballston next year.

Slipstream is opening its first location outside of the District on the ground floor of the Ballston Point building, at 4300 Wilson Blvd, down the street from Chipotle and near the intersection with N. Glebe Road.

While construction has yet to start, Slipstream co-owner Ryan Fleming told ARLnow, that the plan is to open in early 2023.

The coffee shop and cafe currently has three locations, all in D.C. It specializes in single-origin coffee, loose-leaf teas, breakfast sandwiches, toast, and rice bowls.

Fleming said they chose to expand Ballston because it’s a “great neighborhood that is growing and has a mix of business and residential buildings.”

The Ballston shop will be similar to the other locations, but “adapted slightly to fit the unique neighborhood.”

“With every location we open we strive to improve operations and service, and this location will hopefully continue that trend,” Fleming said. “We will have more details on the operational changes closer to opening.”

Slipstream will compete with a number of existing Ballston coffee shops, including Good Company, Dunkin, Compass Coffee, Philz, and multiple Starbucks locations.

Slipstream’s move to Ballston was noted on a retail leasing chart for the building viewed by ARLnow. Also included in the document is a new location for Japanese barbeque restaurant Gyu Shige, in the space formerly occupied by Bangkok Bistro, which looks to have closed sometime in the latter half of 2020.

However, Gyu Shige representatives told ARLnow that they are, in fact, not moving to Ballston and the only location they have and are currently planning to have in Virginia is in the Mosaic District.

The Ballston neighborhood has been in flux recently. Across from the new Slipstream, Silver Diner is finally set to open this fall five years after being first announced. Nearby, Buffalo Wild Wings is closing at the end of this month.

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The former Next Day Blinds will soon be serving caprese and wine.

The vacant storefront at 3865 Wilson Boulevard, across the from Gold’s Gym in the Ballston area, is becoming “Carbonara: Old School Italian & Wine Bar,” a 150-seat restaurant with 4,800 square feet of indoor and outdoor space.

The eatery — technically in Virginia Square — is currently expected to open next July.

Standout menu items included in a press release are a veritable tour of Italy: Carpaccio, Eggplant Parmigiana Stack, Tortellini Di Michael, Linguini Cardinale, Chicken Cacciatore, Vitello Alla Marsala, Cioppino, and Stuffed Cannoli.

The restaurant comes from a recognizable local name: Chef Mike Cordero.

Cordero owns and operates Bronson Bier Hall, Barley Mac, Bronx Pizza, Don Tito, and Taco Rock in Arlington, as well as other Northern Virginia establishments like Don Taco in Alexandria.

“I’m ecstatic to relive my early years of training as an Italian chef with Carbonara and work with my sons on this project,” said Cordero. “My new concept will offer delicious old school Italian cuisine with a twist where nothing is store bought and everything is made from scratch. Cooking fresh Italian food is in the Cordero blood.”

More from a press release, below.

Chef Mike Cordero is going back to where it all started for him. The Northern Virginia Restauranteur announced today that his Cordero Hospitality restaurant group, which include his sons Nick Cordero and Anthony Cordero, will open Carbonara: Old School Italian & Wine Bar in Ballston. Set to deliver in July 2023, the 4,800-square-foot indoor and outdoor restaurant will take over the corner retail space in the Ballston Gateway building at 3865 Wilson Boulevard, which formerly housed Next Day Blinds, and is located on the corner of Wilson Boulevard and North Pollard Streets. Cordero, represented by Chris Saa with Divaris Real Estate, Inc., signed a 20-year lease with landlord Cushman & Wakefield. Designer Yvette Irene will develop the interior design and Carlos Construction will conduct the buildout. Cordero will serve as executive chef.

Carbonara will offer a substantial menu featuring old-world Italian cuisine, focusing on the southern region of Italy, with all food made in-house and fresh homemade pasta prepared daily. Hearty Sicilian pizzas, classic Italian baked dishes like Eggplant Rollatini Parmigiana, zesty Italian sandwiches, decadent tiramisus and savory chicken, veal and seafood dishes top the bill- of-fare. A wide selection of wines from all regions of Italy, featuring a flavorful varietal from Tuscany, will nicely pair with each menu item. To better dispense and preserve each bottle, Carbonara will showcase a state-of-the-art cruvinet system, used widely by international sommeliers, that will extend the flavor and life of the vino served. A collection of specialty aperitivos and craft Italian cordials will adorn the Carbonara cocktail menu and include bellinis, puccinis, negronis and spritzes. […]

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(Updated at 5:55 p.m.) The former Forest Inn space in Westover will be switching from Budweiser and burgers to margaritas and tacos.

The Forest Inn, one of Arlington’s last dive bars, closed in June after more than 40 years in business in the neighborhood. Its general manager told ARLnow that the landlord declined to renew the lease.

But the storefront at 5849 Washington Blvd will not be vacant for long.

Westover Taco, a new Mexican restaurant and bar, is planning to open next year in the relatively small restaurant space. It’s being helmed by Sarah White, a restaurant industry veteran who runs the Cowboy Cafe on Langston Blvd, which many lovingly consider a dive bar, as well as several local Lost Dog Cafe franchise locations.

We’re told White will co-own the business with five partners: Cowboy co-owners Jim Barnes, Mike Barnes, Mike Danner and Wes Clough, plus local serial entrepreneur Scott Parker.

(White was also a 2021 candidate for House of Delegates in Falls Church and part of Fairfax County.)

Westover Taco logo (courtesy Scott Parker)

Parker tells ARLnow that the plan for the dog-leg-shaped, 1,000+ square foot space is to “blow out the ceilings and really open up the space and give it a brighter vibe.” That might include roll-up windows in the back of the space, which looks out on a parking lot, to provide an open-air setting during nice weather.

“It’s definitely going to be an entire flip of the space,” Parker said. “Everything will be brand new.”

The concept for Westover Taco is simple: margaritas and tacos. While it will no longer be a dive bar, Parker hopes to attract a mix of Westover residents and other locals while establishing a solid base of regular customers.

“Everyone is welcome,” he said.

Parker noted that many of the half-dozen partners grew up near the Westover area and, given the small size of the restaurant and the number of co-owners, this is more a labor of love than a money-making opportunity for those involved. It’s also something that the partners are looking at in the long term.

“Most of the restaurants there are pretty busy, and many of them have been there for decades. So it’s a it’s a really strong, loyal market,” he said. “When you put something good there, it should do really well. So I do expect us to build a solid regular [customer] base pretty quickly. And I think the locals will love what we do.”

The partners have not yet taken possession of the space, Parker said, but the hope is to start work soon and open at some point in mid-2023.

Parker, who recently returned from a trip to Mexico City, posted photos from inside the cleared-out Forest Inn via an Instagram story on Aug. 1, as noted by ARLnow at the time.

Parker counts the Cowboy Cafe and Lost Dog co-owners as long-time friends and said they’ve been looking to partner on something local for awhile.

“We just always wanted to do a project together,” he said. “This is certainly something that borders on a passion project of sorts. None of us is going to get rich or take over the world having all these partners in one small restaurant, so it’s more of something that we just want to work as a team to put something special in a neighborhood that we think is really cool.”

Images of the closed Forest Inn posted on social media (via Scott Parker/Instagram)

As for his other business ventures, the prolific Parker told ARLnow that boxing gym Bash and pet daycare and boarding business Playful Pack are both on track to start franchising nationally in the near future. High-end barbershop Bearded Goat — currently in Ballston and Shirlington — is also eyeing an expansion to other cities, but that may take longer to play out, he said.

Asked about his ability to open so many local businesses, Parker credited his business partners for helping to make them a success while he focuses on the long-term path to growth.

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