Arlington, VA

Pho Harmony, a carry-out Vietnamese noodle restaurant, is coming to Columbia Pike, according to a sign on the front of 3203 Columbia Pike.

The small commercial building houses a psychic, a tax service, and — formerly — Mongol Nomads Asian Fusion, a restaurant that served Mongolian and, briefly, Caribbean cuisine.

The pho restaurant is “coming soon,” according to the sign. No other information on it could be located in the windows or online.

Jay Westcott contributed to this report

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Lee’s Sandwiches, which bills itself as the “World’s Largest Bánh Mì Chain,” may be coming to Ballston, according to permit filings.

The business is still in the process of applying for permits at 801 N. Quincy Street, where a Subway sandwich shop closed last summer. The windows of the space are covered in paper and no sign of construction activity can be seen yet.

Lee’s Sandwiches serves Asian sandwiches including its flagship Bánh Mì, and is also noted for its fresh-baked baguettes and Vietnamese iced coffee. The chain opened its first East Coast store at 3037 Annandale Road in Falls Church in 2016.

“Founded in 1983 in San Jose, California, Lee’s Sandwiches is a quick-serve restaurant chain specializing in Bánh Mì, Vietnamese sandwiches and other Euro-Asian food products,” a press release said at the time. “From its beginnings as a food truck, Lee’s Sandwiches is now the largest Bánh Mì chain with over 60 locations in Arizona, California, Las Vegas (Nevada), Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, and Taiwan.”

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(Updated at 2 p.m.) It appears Red Hook Lobster Pound could be moving into the former Naan Kabob spot at 3300 Wilson Blvd, near Clarendon.

Red Hook Lobster Pound started as a restaurant in Red Hook, Brooklyn, before expanding to D.C. with a food truck that quickly gained popularity, which was then followed by a second D.C.-based truck and a kiosk at the District Wharf.

The trucks serve lobster and other New England specialties, like clam chowder and warm apple cider, as well as “lobstah box” meals that include a lobster roll, two sides or drinks, and a cookie.

Now, Red Hook Lobster Pound signs are up at the Naan Kabob space, and its trucks and food cart are regularly parked there. The company couldn’t be reached for comment, but signs inside the restaurant suggest it will serve as a bricks-and-mortar location for Red Hook Lobster Pound, offering dishes like lobster mac and cheese for $13.95.

For the time being, the company’s online schedule places one of the trucks as serving food at 3300 Wilson Blvd from 6-9 p.m. on Saturday nights.

Naan Kabob “temporarily closed” last October, but never reopened. The restaurant opened in 2017 to replace Pio Pio, a Peruvian restaurant that also had a penchant for temporary closures that became permanent.

There’s no word as to how much the Lobster Pound might have shelled out for its new Arlington spot.

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Almost a year after signs for The Pinemoor went up at 1101 N. Highland Street, it looks like progress is being made on the new southern restaurant.

The restaurant replacing Clarendon Grill was originally planned to open last summer, according to signs, but that date came and passed without news. Now, signs of life: the restaurant has recently filed permits to serve alcohol and inside, the restaurant sports new decorations and furnishings.

The Pinemoor is described online as a “cousin” to Copperwood Tavern, a “farm-to-table American restaurant and craft bar” in Shirlington (4021 Campbell Avenue) and, most recently, Ashburn (20465 Exchange Street).

“Copperwood Tavern has a new cousin in the oven and she’s a Southern pistol,” The Pinemoor’s website says. “The Pinemoor is a farm-to-table American restaurant coming soon to Clarendon.”

Emails to Pinemoor’s owner seeking comment have thus far not been returned. It’s not yet known when the restaurant will open.

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A quick-service variant of the local Lebanese Taverna franchise, called LEBTAV, is now open in Ballston.

The new restaurant is at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Quincy Street in what was once Taylor Gourmet.

LEBTAV doesn’t have all the same full-service items as the two other Lebanese Taverna locations in Arlington, in Westover (5900 Washington Blvd) and Pentagon Row (1101 S. Joyce Street). The location offers sandwiches, like shawarma and falafel, and rice bowls for around $10.

The hours are not posted online, but other LEBTAV locations are open from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. The new option will be a homegrown addition to the increasingly crowded Ballston lunch scene, which includes a CAVA restaurant down the street that has similar offerings and is frequently packed.

Other LEBTAV locations include Rockville, Silver Spring, and Farragut Square.

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(Updated at 3:50 p.m.) Gallery Clarendon, a temporary art space at 2800 Clarendon Blvd, has announced that it will be closing to make way for a new pizza restaurant from New England.

The gallery, a project from the Arlington Artists Alliance, opened at Market Common Clarendon in June 2018 as a way to fill the space until a permanent tenant could be found. At the time, the Arlington Artists Alliance told ARLnow they expected to be open for roughly a year.

The gallery will close at the end of February, the Alliance said.

In May of 2018, with modest expectations and a solely volunteer effort, the Arlington Artists Alliance turned the empty storefront on the corner of Clarendon Blvd. and N. Fillmore into a gallery and artist studios for 50+ local Arlington artists. The positive feedback we received from the community was heartwarming and overwhelming… It was a wonderful experience for the artists and we thank each and every one of you who visited our gallery and studios or attended a class in Clarendon.

A pair of shows currently on display, called Catharsis and Kaleidoscope, will be the final exhibits at the gallery. Both shows are scheduled to have an opening reception tomorrow (Friday). Catharsis’ reception is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. while Kaleidoscope will start at 5 p.m., with both scheduled to finish around 7 p.m.

The Arlington Artists Alliance is currently hoping to find a new home in North Arlington, though its Gallery Underground location in Crystal City remains open.

Cherise Goldbach, general manager of Market Common Clarendon owner Regency Centers, said the new tenant in the space is Colony Grill, a small chain of thin-crust pizza-focused restaurants primarily based out of Connecticut.

The company’s website says it offers a one-size (12-inch) thin-crust cheese pizza, with signature spicy hot oil, and a variety of toppings. The chain also has a salad pizza — the company’s thin crust topped with salad fixings — with no cheese or sauce unless requested.

It will be the only Colony Grill location outside of Connecticut and New York, according to the company’s website. The first Colony Grill opened in an Irish immigrant neighborhood of Samford, Connecticut in 1935.

“Everyone at Colony Grill is extremely excited to open in Clarendon later in 2020,” said Ken Martin, COO of Colony Grill, said in an email forwarded to ARLnow. “During our search, we absolutely fell in love with the greater Arlington area. It is simply a remarkable part of the country. We look forward to introducing our unique pizza to the neighborhood and becoming a part of the community fabric for years to come.”

Pete’s New Haven Apizza, which offered a different pizza style of Connecticut origin, closed in August two blocks away.

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Construction is starting to wrap up at “The Waycroft,” a new apartment-and-retail development at the corner of N. Glebe Road and Wilson Blvd.

The development is notably set to include a nearly 500-unit apartment building, private-entrance townhomes, a rooftop pool and fitness center, a new 41,000 square foot Target store and a new Silver Diner, but there are a handful of other retail tenants that are also on the way.

Enterprise Rent-a-Car and Visual Health Optometry recently filed construction permits for retail spaces at the development. Visual Health has an existing location nearby, at 3012 Wilson Blvd in Clarendon.

Also signed to fill the new retail spaces, according to a leasing plan, are a 2,200 square foot Grill Kabob restaurant and Mint Nail Salon. The former will be located along Wilson Blvd, next to the future Silver Diner. Additional storefronts on either end of the development are still listed as available.

As of mid-2019, construction the apartment building was expected to wrap up in the first three months of 2020. The storefronts will likely take longer to build out.

While Target and Silver Diner are expected to be major draws, small retailers and restaurants have often struggled on the western side of Glebe Road, which is separated by six busy lanes from most of Ballston.

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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.

Read More

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A new fast-casual restaurant has opened at Pentagon Row.

Bun’d Up opened Saturday at 1201 S. Joyce Street, featuring Taiwanese-style steamed buns filled with traditional Korean toppings, such as miso-braised pork belly and kimchi.

For now, Bun’d Up — which offers “a modern, Korean twist on the original Taiwanese ‘gua bao’ with handmade buns — will have limited hours from Thursday through Sunday, open for lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m.

In addition to the steamed buns, the Pentagon Row location will feature rice bowls, oxtail soup, and Korean street foods such as rice cakes and kimchi pancakes.

Bun’d Up  began as a stand at area farmers markets — including the FRESHFARM Ballston Market — and has since expanded into Union Market in D.C.

“What started out as a farmers market stall has morphed into a business I am so proud of today,” owner Scott Chung via email. “I am honored to be a part of the growing Arlington community and encourage everyone to stop by.”

Chung also owns Rice Crook in Ballston Quarter, which specializes in Korean rice bowls and wraps.

Hat tip to Jessica Strelitz

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Three years after announcing its plans to expand, award-winning local pizza restaurant Pupatella has officially opened its second area location.

Pupatella opened its South Arlington location earlier this week at 1621 S. Walter Reed Drive, where it serves a variety of Neapolitan pizzas, gelatos, drinks, and more.

Originally founded as a food truck, Pupatella opened its original brick-and-mortar location at 5104 Wilson Blvd in 2010.

Co-owner Enzo Algarme is now teaming up with the partners behind Elevation Burger to expand via franchising. Pupatella currently has two additional locations outside of Arlington, in Richmond and Glen Allen, Virginia.

There are a few additional Pupatella locations in store for the D.C. area, including a 2,700 square-foot venture in Reston and another in the Mosaic District.

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A half dozen restaurants will be opening in the new 14-gate concourse currently under construction at Reagan National Airport.

The new eateries that will open to travelers in the replacement for DCA’s infamous “Gate 35X” include four local companies — Elevation Burger, Timber Pizza, Founding Farmers and Mezeh — as well as two national chains: Peet’s Coffee and P.F. Chang’s. A WHSmith book store and a Capitol File-branded travel store are also planned.

“More than 14,000 square feet of new food, beverage and retail options will be added to the airport’s wide array of passenger choices when new security checkpoints and a 14-gate concourse open to the public,” the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority said of its new tenants in an announcement Wednesday.

The $1 billion “Project Journey” is expected to wrap up in 2021.

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