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The “nation’s only fast casual chicken salad restaurant” is coming to Arlington.

Atlanta-based Chicken Salad Chick is set to open a location in Arlington next spring, a spokesperson tells ARLnow. So far there’s no word on exactly where in the county it would be opening.

“At this moment we don’t have an exact location available to announce,” the spokesperson wrote. “However, a new Chicken Salad Chick is coming to Arling[ton] in spring 2024.”

And that isn’t the only Chicken Salad Chick set to debut locally in the coming years. The chain is bringing eight restaurants in total over the next half-decade to both Arlington and Fairfax Counties, according to a press release.

Then, the plan is to open even more locations further north in Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania.

The chicken salad franchise’s menu consists of a dozen different flavors of chicken salad that be scooped or made into a sandwich, plus a variety of soups and pimento cheese dips.

Chicken Salad Chick first began in 2008 in Auburn, Alabama after founder Stacy Brown was warned by the local health department to stop selling chicken salad out of her house. She opened her first restaurant shortly after. In the 15 years since the company has significantly expanded to include more than 200 restaurants across 17 states.

The closest current location of Chicken Salad Chick is in Glen Allen, Virginia, just north of Richmond.

The franchisees behind the new D.C. area restaurants have local and family ties.

“Behind the development agreement is Devon Chamberlin, her father, Patrick Cavanaugh, and her father-in-law, Barry Chamberlin. All have close ties to the community, born and raised across Arlington and Fairfax Counties,” said the press release. “Patrick and Barry’s relationship dates back well over 20 years when they met through mutual friends. Over the years, their families have spent a lot of time together. Barry’s son, Milton, and Devon began dating a few years ago, which has culminated in their recent wedding on November 5, 2022.”


Famed chef Peter Chang’s newest restaurant NiHao remains “on track” to open late this year or early next in Crystal City.

Earlier this year, it was reported that the 2022 James Beard Award finalist was planning on opening a second Arlington restaurant along Crystal Drive, right alongside Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and close to Amazon’s soon-to-open HQ2.

That remains the case with the restaurant hoping for a debut in the coming months, co-owner and Peter’s daughter Lydia Chang told ARLnow.

“We’re still on track to open NiHao Crystal City. Our team is working on obtaining the building permit. Will share more about the concept when we’re ready,” she wrote in an email.

The initial plan was for NiHao to be a bit different from the chef’s other local Arlington location, in the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center. It would focus on a modern approach to Szechuan cuisine while providing an “introduction” to authentic Chinese food, Chang told DCist in February, much like the Baltimore location with the same name.

However, Chang’s recent comments to ARLnow also make it seem like the concept could be tweaked by the time it opens late this year or early next.

Peter Chang first began to amass an American following in the late 2000s. For much of his career up to that point, he was one of the most well-known chefs in China. In 2001, he moved to the United States with his family to work as the head chef for the Chinese ambassador. Two years later, he secretly fled the embassy with his wife (a pastry chef as well) and his young daughter.

He took jobs cooking at modest-looking Northern Virginia restaurants in an effort to keep a low profile, but soon his fame and delicious cooking made him a mysterious sensation. Chang eventually opened his first restaurant in Charlottesville, and it quickly became a hit. He opened others, including his first local location in 2015 in the busy strip mall on N. Harrison Street in Arlington.

Peter Chang Arlington remains popular today, along with the other acclaimed restaurants he’s opened over the last decade.

NiHao Arlington will be restaurant 15 when it starts serving in the months ahead. And there are more restaurant openings ahead. Plans are already in the works for other Chang eateries in McLean and Herndon.

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Steel Life Booksellers at Pentagon City mall (image via Instagram)

A South American restaurant and a new bookstore appear to preparing to open at the Pentagon City mall.

Maizal Grill is planning to start serving sometime later this month, a spokesperson for Fashion Centre at Pentagon City told ARLnow. It’s opening on the mall’s street level in the former home of Honeygrow, next to Rosa Mexicano, which opened late last year.

Maizal Grill bills itself as serving “South American street food” with a menu that features burritos, arepas, and bowls. This is the restaurant’s second Arlington location, with another eatery inside of Ballston Quarter. That one opened in 2019.

Elsewhere in the mall, a new independently-owned bookstore called Steel Life Booksellers is opening on the first level in between Kay Jewelers and shoe seller Steve Madden. Construction appears to be ongoing, though the mall spokesperson could not provide an exact opening date.

ARLnow reached out to the owner about more information but has yet to hear back as of publication.

In addition, the women’s accessory store New York New York 2 opened this past on the second level next to Savage x Fenty. It’s the sister store to New York New York, also located in the mall.

Last month, Kong Dog opened its first Virginia location at the mall’s food court.

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The well-regarded Lao chef behind Padaek in Falls Church is bringing her food to Arlington Ridge.

Chef Seng Luangrath, who also helms the renowned Thip Khao in Columbia Heights, is opening a restaurant in the Arlington Ridge Shopping Center, according to construction permits and a leasing map.

“Padaek 2.0” is planning to open in “mid-to-late June,” Axios reported Tuesday. It will feature an outdoor patio and will feature some Thai and Burmese dishes, in addition much of the original Padaek menu, according to Axios.

ARLnow was unable to reach a restaurant representative for additional information by publication time. Alexandria newspaper Zebra appears to have been the first to report the Padaek plans in January 2022.

Padaek’s 3,500-square-foot space at 2931 S. Glebe Road was formerly home to Delia’s Mediterranean Grill & Brick Oven Pizza, Tazza Kitchen and Cafe Caturra.

Meanwhile, Padaek is not the only new restaurant coming to the shopping center. Posters in the window of the standalone retail building also advertise the impending arrival of Palm Berries.

The açai bowl franchise from North Carolina will be occupying a 1,000-square-foot spot next to Padaek. The Instagram page for Palm Berries lists an Arlington location as “COMING SOON!!”

2910 Kitchen & Bar is set to open in P. Brennan’s old home on Columbia Pike (staff photo by Matt Blitz)

(Updated at 1:15 p.m.) A new restaurant is finally planning to open next month in the former P. Brennan’s space on Columbia Pike.

The family-owned eatery is set to be called 2910 Kitchen & Bar, taking its name from its Columbia Pike address. It was initially going to be named Stella, but the owners decided to change the name recently.

The plan is to open sometime in June, executive chef Rob Szydlowski told ARLnow, as construction continues on the expansive space.

The restaurant will serve “American fusion” cuisine, Szydlowski said, meaning the menu will consist of classics like steak and pasta as well as some “fun” dishes.

“This is going to be a scratch kitchen, so everything’s going to be made in-house,” he said. “We’ll have a seasonal menu… and rotating desserts.”

It will be open for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch with a full menu debuting closer to opening.

P. Brennan’s closed back in 2017 and the storefront has remained vacant since, with the former Irish bar’s signage still up to this day.

From the outside, the new restaurant will look similar to the old one. Szydlowski said, however, that the interior is being completely gutted and redone.

We’ve really made some fairly dramatic changes inside,” he said, including revamping the staircase, redoing the bar, and adding chandeliers.

It will all provide some “really cool photo opportunities for guests,” Szydlowski said.

There’s going to be an upstairs VIP area, contrasted by a “more casual” feel downstairs, we’re told.

“We wanted to do a fast-casual concept there where people can come in and have both sides of it,” Szydlowski said. “You don’t need to worry about a dress code, but if you want to get a little fancy you can. We just want to provide some really good food in a great environment.”

There will also be live music and patio seating, provided that the proper permits can be obtained

ARLnow reported in April 2022 that a “mysterious new restaurant” was moving into the long-vacant storefront next door to Rebellion on the Pike and across the street from the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse.

In September 2022, we reported that the wife-husband team of Griselda Giselle Fernandez and Raheel “Ray” Khan was behind the new restaurant. They also own two other restaurants in the region, including Heat Lounge on Lee Highway in Fairfax.

Earlier this year, they brought on Szydlowski as their executive chef. He has helped with more than 50 restaurant openings over his career, including several Well-Hung Vineyard restaurants in southern Virginia.

Despite some name changes and an initially over-aggressive opening timeline, the new restaurant at 2910 Columbia Pike is finally taking shape as it nears an opening.

“It is always a challenge when people see a [well-known] space and want to know what’s going in there. I think the bar is set pretty high for us, but I like that. I think we are more than capable,” Szydlowski said.


The revamped Water Park in Crystal City is reopening this summer along with nearly a dozen new restaurants, including acclaimed local fried chicken spot Queen Mother’s.

The 1.6-acre park on Crystal Drive is reopening to the public this summer after a year-long construction effort, park owner JBG Smith announced this morning.

In addition to a number of food and drink spots, the revamped park will feature a live performance stage, public art installations, a building with public restrooms and bike facilities, and a “modernized fountain water wall” that empties into an “immersion fountain,” per a press release and renderings provided to ARLnow.

On top of the water wall will be an open-air raw and cocktail bar simply being called “Water Bar.” A New York-style pizza place will also be located in the park.

There will be a total of nine 300-square-foot restaurant kiosks lining Crystal Drive. Each will hold a small-scale eatery “meant to serve as incubator opportunities for up-and-coming culinary talent,” said the press release.

Among those are several notable local restaurants, including Queen Mother’s Restaurant — currently on Columbia Pike — and Reston-based Tiki Thai.

The full list of restaurants moving into the kiosks is below.

  • Brij, a DC-based café and wine bar by Skyler Kelley, whose vision is to bridge people and communities together with proceeds benefiting single mothers, the LGBTQ+ community, and the un-housed.
  • Bubbie’s Plant Burger, a plant-based and kosher certified Americana burgers, fries and soda pop shop from chef Margaux Riccio and general manager Shaun Sharkey, the creators of DC’s award-winning Asian fast casual restaurant Pow Pow.
  • Cracked Eggery, launched by Potomac native Mike Tabb and his partners as a popular food truck serving inventive egg sandwiches, bowls and tasty sides throughout DC. It now has permanent locations in Cleveland Park and Shaw, where it occupies space in a JBG SMITH-owned building.
  • DC Dosa, Bombay-born Priya Ammu’s South Indian street food concept, and her first location outside of Union Market.
  • Dolci Gelati, a DC-born gelato shop by Gianluigi and Anastasia Dellaccio serving up 450+ seasonal and artisanal flavors made fresh on a daily-basis as well as a robust coffee/espresso program.
  • Falafel Inc., launched by Ahmad Ashkar in Georgetown with a simple, inexpensive menu of falafel bowls, sandwiches and sides and the goal of feeding refugees alongside the World Food Programme.
  • PhoWheels, a family-based business from Tuan and Jennifer Vo featuring Vietnamese inspired dishes. Their kiosk will be the first brick and mortar location for the popular DC food truck.
  • Tiki Thai, a new outpost of chef Porntipa “Pat” Pattanamekar’s Reston eatery that has been dubbed “Virginia’s first premier tiki bar and Thai restaurant,” offering a wide-range of eats inspired by Thai and Polynesian cuisine.
  • Queen Mother’s, Virginia native and James Beard Award Semi-Finalist Chef Rahman “Rock” Harper’s tribute to his mother through his renowned fried chicken joint.

Queen Mother’s owner and chef Rahman “Rock” Harper, who was semifinalist for a James Beard award earlier this year, told ARLnow that the new Crystal City location will serve the fried chicken sandwiches and duck-fat fries the restaurant is known for. The plan is to also debut new flavors — and alcohol.

“We’re going to introduce some cocktails, maybe a cocktail on tap or a beer or two. So you’ll be able to get your chicken sandwich and your duck-fat fries with a nice little tasty beverage,” Harper said.

The new location at the Water Park will also mark the end of Queen Mother’s run on Columbia Pike, at least for restaurant-style service. Harper said he’s going to keep the space to help with catering orders, though.

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bb.q Chicken is opening in Virginia Square (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

A new Korean fried chicken restaurant in Virginia Square hopes to be hot and ready by next month.

A new location of the fried chicken franchise bb.q Chicken is aiming to open in Virginia Square in late May, a restaurant spokesperson confirmed ARLnow. It’s coming to 3503 Fairfax Drive, in the former location of Cosi, which closed three years ago.

The location remains under construction, the spokesperson said. The restaurant is known for its Korean-style fried chicken and has applied for a permit to serve alcohol.

This will be the first bb.q Chicken location in Arlington, though there are currently five others in Northern Virginia including in Falls Church and Centreville. Those are run by different franchise owners than the one coming to Arlington, however. There are more than 130 locations nationwide.

ARLnow first reported bb.q Chicken was crossing the road into Arlington back in January. The original aim was to open in April, but the debut has been pushed back by at least a month.

The Virginia Square location will be run by married couple Lydia and Harrison Om. It’s their first restaurant after running a grocery store in D.C., they told ARLnow earlier this year.

Kong Dog is opening at the Pentagon City mall (photo courtesy of Kong Dog)

Kong Dog at the Pentagon City mall is marking its opening this week by giving away free corn dogs.

The Korean corn dog restaurant announced that it would be opening its first Virginia location this weekend in the Pentagon City mall food court. It will be located near the end of the food court, close to the Forever 21 store.

To celebrate, the eatery says it will be serving up free corn dogs to the first 200 customers in line starting at 4 p.m. on Friday.

Per a press release:

To celebrate its grand opening, Kong Dog’s Pentagon City location (found in the Fashion Centre food court) will be giving away free corn dogs to the first 200 customers in line during its soft opening on Friday, April 28. With its trendy, delicious, and homemade corn dogs, Kong Dog is opening its doors in Pentagon City as a ‘new bite to grab’ offering corn dog lovers a selection of fun and flavorful toppings that make for a customizable experience unlike any other, The new food-lovers destination will also host a grand opening the next day, Saturday, April 29.

The restaurant will officially open to the public at 11 a.m. on Saturday.

In January we first reported that Kong Dog was setting up shop in the mall. It was originally set to open up in February but inspections and other delays pushed it back several months, a restaurant spokesperson told ARLnow.

The eatery sells Korean-style corn dogs with toppings like cheese, fried potato, hot Cheetos, and ramen. With U.S. locations mostly clustered in Illinois and New Jersey, the Pentagon City location is the first in Virginia. Locally, there is a location in Silver Spring and another opening in Georgetown later this year, the spokesperson said.

Kong Dog is not the only Korean-style corn dog restaurant in Arlington. Oh K-Dog and Egg Toast opened in Ballston Quarter last year and said it was also working to open a Crystal City location, though that does not appear to have materialized yet.

A look around Metropolitan Park and Amazon HQ2 in Pentagon City (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

It appears another new restaurant is coming to Amazon HQ2.

Makers Union has applied for a Virginia ABC permit for a location inside Amazon’s second headquarters at 510 14th Street S. in Pentagon City.

The pub is owned by the local restaurant group Thompson Hospitality, which also operates Matchbox, Big Buns Damn Good Burgers, Wiseguy Pizza, and a number of other local restaurant concepts.

This would be the second location of Makers Union, the first location of which is in Reston. The menu consists of gastropub-styled lunch with more upscale choices for dinner.

ARLnow has reached out to Thompson Hospitality to confirm the opening and other details but has yet to hear back as of publication. Eater reported last year that the company was “in talks with Amazon to put some of its restaurants into HQ2.”

Reston-based Thompson Hospitality launched three decades ago with the purchase of several Bob’s Big Boys. It has since become a nearly billion-dollar company, with most of its restaurants still in the D.C. area. The group has recently added locations in Florida and Ohio, with more expansion potentially on the way.

Locally, it recently opened a couple of new restaurants in McLean.

Over the last year, Amazon has announced a slew of new businesses and restaurants that are coming to the first phase of the company’s second headquarters, dubbed Metropolitan Park.

Many of them are local, including Peruvian Brothers, Good Company Doughnuts, Conde’s Bike Shop, Toby’s Homemade Ice Cream and Taqueria Xochi.

Amazon’s Metropolitan Park office complex is on track to open this summer along with many of the businesses. However, the second phase of the company’s massive Pentagon City presence is currently on “pause.”

Bluefish Bistro appears to be opening at Centro Arlington (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

A restaurant called Bluefish Bistro is looking to make a splash on Columbia Pike, but details remain murky.

A new eatery going by the seafood-sounding name is opening on the ground floor of the Centro Arlington development at the corner of S. George Mason Drive and Columbia Pike, per photos and the development’s updated site plan.

The 1,450-square-foot restaurant is set to be next to H&R Block and Vietnamese restaurant Pho Saigon Pearl while across from the Harris Teeter. The business also has applied for a liquor license with the company name listed as “PJW Corp.”

Other than that, though, no other details have surfaced.

“At this time, we don’t have any information to share,” a Centro Arlington spokesperson told ARLnow in an email.

ARLnow has reached out to a company linked with the restaurant in public records, PJW Corp, but has yet to hear back as of publication.

Centro Arlington opened in 2019, replacing the Columbia Pike Village Center, which had the three-decade-old Food Star supermarket that many considered a neighborhood institution.

The three-year-old, six-story development is home to a Harris Teeter, several doctors’ offices, an Orangetheory fitness studio, a veterinarian’s office, and apartments.

Tuna Restaurant in Cherrydale (photo courtesy of Sak Vong)

Tuna Restaurant in Cherrydale has been sold to a new owner, who is reopening with a more Thai-focused menu today (Friday).

The restaurant at 3813 Langston Blvd that served Laotian and Japanese cuisine was put up for sale only a few months after it initially opened, replacing Maneki Neko Express. Owner Sak Vong told ARLnow in late February that he was selling because of a “new business opportunity overseas.”

And, fairly quickly, it found a buyer in Leesburg-resident May Ditnoy, who also owns a catering company with her mother.

The plan, Ditnoy told ARLnow, is to reopen today after being shut down for a week to “upgrade” the menu and make minor layout changes. The restaurant will keep the “Tuna” name for the moment and will serve Thai and Japanese cuisine, similar to the previous menu.

This is Ditnoy’s first restaurant, but she couldn’t pass up the opportunity of a fully built-out kitchen that served a similar cuisine to what her and her mom plan to cook.

“[Building] a brand new restaurant is definitely a lot of investment and money, so this is big for us,” she said. “We are very fortunate to find Tuna Restaurant, though it could be in better condition, we can definitely improve and work with it. The fact that they served Laotian and Japanese cuisine is good too.”

The neighborhood is also a big plus, Ditnoy said. In recent weeks, she’s walked the neighborhood and eaten a number of different places in Cherrydale. Her experiences have convinced her to reopen Tuna.

A new name is “in the works,” but Ditnoy didn’t want to delay opening her first restaurant by waiting on name change paperwork. Both she and her mom are excited those first customers to come in today.

“This is a great spot for us,” Ditnoy said. “All in all, this is going to be a great place for us to start.”


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