Arlington, VA

(Updated at 1:35 p.m.) Two-and-a-half years after the initial permits were filed, Stone Hot Pizza finally opened in Clarendon earlier this year.

Staff at the restaurant said they started cooking up the first pizzas in March, though a “now open” sign still adorns the front entrance.

The pizzeria advertises a lunch special of $7.99 for a one-topping pizza with an option to add a soda for 99 cents. It also offers paninis and other sandwiches for around $8.

Located at 3217 Washington Blvd, just off Clarendon’s main drag and next to Spirits of ’76, Stone Hot Pizza is open from 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, and 10:30 a.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.

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Coffee Beanery, a coffee chain with locations across the northeast, is coming to Virginia Square sometime over the next few months.

“The store in Arlington is currently scheduled to open in either late July or mid-August,” a representative of the company said on Facebook.

Coffee Beanery will replace Pulp Juice and Smoothie Bar, which closed in November.

Coffee Beanery “originals” include caramel, fudge, and mocha-flavored coffees. The chain offers a variety of coffees and teas, as well as sandwiches, wraps and salads. Locals missing the fruit smoothie joint may be happy to hear the chain offers assorted fruit smoothie flavors.

The representative said the store will be open from 5 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 5:30 a.m.-8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

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The Arlington County Board granted new Ballston bar Bronson a permit for an outdoor patio and live music, following initial wariness from staff and neighbors over bad experiences with its predecessor, A-Town Bar and Grill.

The County Board reviewed a use permit application from Bronson — which is currently under construction atat 4100 N. Fairfax Drive and billed as a German craft beer bar — on Saturday. It unanimously approved the bar’s request to seat patrons along the sidewalk and to host live music.

“There’s not a lot of trust, frankly,” said Board Member Erik Gutshall of the relationship between the neighbors and the bar after years of complaints with A-Town. Bronson is operated by some of the same owners as A-Town.

But Gutshall added that he wanted to give the new establishment an opportunity to prove “you will be good neighbors and you will fit in the community.”

“We don’t even need security here because we’re not bringing that crowd,” said Mike Cordero, one of Bronson’s owners. He acknowledged there was a “stigma” against the bar left over from A-Town.

Bronson originally requested to set up public seating buffered from the sidewalk with a 3-foot-high, removable fence, according to a staff presentation for the Board. Plans indicate that the set up would leave between 7 and 10 feet of sidewalk available for pedestrians.

The Bronson also asked to keep outdoor seating open on Mondays through Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., and on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. The nearby Berkeley and Alta Vista condominium associations requested the patio close by 9 p.m. on Sunday, 10 p.m. on Mondays-Thursdays, and 11 p.m. on Fridays-Saturdays.

“If the Bronson is appearing to be a family-friendly restaurant, if they are seating [and] they are looking to bring in a different kind of clientele, the necessity to stay open until 2 a.m. is slightly befuddling,” said a neighbor, adding of nearby residents: “We all really like to sleep.”

Staff recommended Board members approve the permit, but curb the hours, keep sidewalk space clear, and require regular community meetings and permit reviews.

The County Board approved the Bronson’s request to stay open opening from 5 p.m. until 2 a.m. on Mondays through Thursdays and from 10:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays. The Board also approved staff recommendation to require the bar to close its outdoor patio by 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and by 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Lee Austin, who lives in the Alta Vista Condominium near the Bronson, said he appreciated the restrictions but added that he wanted the German bar’s new roll-up doors to also close when the patio does to “help ensure quietude” for the neighborhood.

The recommendations come after the bar formerly occupying the space, A-Town, faced permit scrutiny after neighbors said its outdoor patrons were too loud. Police at one point considered it “to be the most troublesome establishment” in the county, generating fights and drunken drivers. The bar was also cited in 2014 for serving patrons outside from an unlicensed “champagne truck.”

County staff also recommended the Board make the permit subject to:

  • An administrative review in August.
  • Another Board vote in October.
  • Quarterly meetings with the Berkeley and Alta Vista condominium associations.

Courthaus Social (formerly Velocity 5) also faced possible outdoor permit restrictions in 2014 due to noise complaints until county staff recommended leniency.

Images 1-2 via Arlington County

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(Updated at 2:25 p.m.) A new pizza place, Pizzetta, is set to open on Pentagon Row sometime within the next month.

The restaurant is planned to open at 1201 S. Joyce Street next to the Smallcakes Cupcakery and a man who identified himself as a co-owner said he hoped to have the location open by the end of the month.

“After 12 years of providing its signature pizza dough to Washington-D.C. based pizza shops, the owners of Casamia Catering will soon open Pizzetta, its first storefront location offering fresh rustic pizza,” said a PR rep for the shopping center.

No menu was readily available or could be found online, but the co-owner said the restaurant will be focused almost exclusively on pizza. He added the owners had hoped to do “other stuff” but restrictions in the lease have kept the scope narrow for now.

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Mediterranean restaurant House of Mandi may be gone from 5515 Wilson Blvd, but mandi devotees won’t have to go far to find the eponymous dish.

King of Koshary — a new Egyptian restaurant that opened a month ago in the former House of Mandi location — includes Mediterranean dishes like mandi on its menu.

“We’re an Egyptian restaurant, but we knew a lot of people really liked mandi, so we incorporated it into our menu,” said Ayob Mentry, owner of King of Koshary.

Like House of Mandi, King of Koshary features a variety of dishes from Mentry’s home, but centers around one. In this case it’s koshari: a vegan rice, macaroni and lentils dish topped with chickpeas, tomato sauce and fried onions. Koshari is a popular fixture of the roadside street-food scene in Egypt.

“King of Koshary isn’t a name, it is a title,” the restaurant’s Facebook page boasted in a post.

Mentry said the $8.99 meal is the restaurant’s signature dish. Other entrees include a variety of kabobs, oxtail, and seafood prepared in traditional Egyptian styles.

The restaurant includes dining-in or takeout options. On Sundays from 8-10 p.m., it also has an open seafood buffet.

The restaurant is currently hiring, as much of the work is currently done by Mentry running back and forth from greeting visitors to preparing the food.

King of Koshary is Mentry’s first restaurant and is a love letter to Egypt, both in modern food and ancient-style decorations. King Tutankhamun features prominently in the artwork.

“It feels great [to be open],” said Mentry. “It’s a challenge, but not taking that risk would have felt like a bigger risk.”

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A new pizza restaurant and beer hall is coming to Ballston next year, according to a set of mustachioed storefront wrappings.

Window dressing on 4001 Fairfax Drive Pizza announced that “Quincy Hall” is slated to open in the ground floor of the Quincy Street Station in early 2020. The pizza and beer joint is slated to open in the same space once occupied by Thai restaurant Tara Temple, which closed two years ago.

Tara Temple’s distinctive red metal awning still decorates the suite’s front doors, but the windows are now blocked with polka-dotted paper with the new eatery’s name and mustachioed characters.

Information on the new eatery is scarce. As of Wednesday, the website on the storefront wrapping was listed as a parked domain and did not contain any information except for an animated GIF of a sleepy kitten falling over.

The restaurant is slated to open next to the new Bright Horizons daycare, which is coming to the adjoining suite of the building that the County Board approved over some neighborhood objections in January. Bright Horizons plans to care for 145 children and build a 4,700-square-foot playground in the courtyard near the side entrance of Quincy Hall.

Local nightlife, fitness and tonsorial mogul Scott Parker, who is working to open a new German beer hall called Bronson nearby in the former A-Town space, said he welcomed the addition to the increasingly crowded Ballston nightlife and restaurant scene. More going-out options could help previously workaday Ballston establish itself as an after-hours destination like Clarendon, he said.

“That’s the hope, that the neighborhood will become such a draw that it will help everyone,” Parker told ARLnow, adding that he isn’t worried about the competition.

Parker said Quincy Hall was being opened by Tin Shop, the same company that’s behind Penn Social and the popular Franklin Hall beer hall in D.C., as well as Highline RxR in Crystal City, though thus far that could not be independently confirmed by ARLnow.

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Ted’s Bulletin and the accompanying Sidekick Bakery officially opened today (Monday) in Ballston Quarter (4238 Wilson Blvd).

Ted’s Bulletin is the sixth location in the regional chain offering diner-style meals and nostalgic desserts. Sidekick is a “new concept” from the same parent company and adjoins Ted’s Bulletin, but operates as more of a quick-stop, street bakery-type location.

Sidekick offers cereal or candy flavors for standard bakery items, in addition to drinks like coffee, tea and milkshakes — including non-dairy milkshakes.

Staff at Sidekick said the store is offering $1 coffee during the opening week. Meanwhile, Ted’s Bulletin next door offers $3 draft beers for happy hour from 3-7 p.m.

The location is currently only accessible from the main street, but staff at the location said the plan is to eventually turn the mall-facing side into an additional entrance. The eateries were also open at times last week as part of a soft opening.

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The Sloppy Mama’s brick-and-mortar location at 5731 Lee Highway is about two weeks from opening, according to co-owner Joe Neuman.

The sit-down restaurant announced in January will be the second Sloppy Mama’s location in Arlington, but Neuman said the restaurant will be very different from the Ballston Quarter eatery.

“We will have a full barbecue menu,” said Neuman. “The food hall is a quick service location with a limited menu for a lunch crowd. Here, we’re not in a hurry.”

Sloppy Mama’s started out as a food truck, which currently sits outside the restaurant and will still hang around for events after the restaurant opens.

Neuman said the new location will have a little bit of everything and serve meat by the pound rather than plate. The larger space will allow Sloppy Mama’s to offer a wider variety of barbecue options, so Neuman said in contrast to the traditional plate combo style meals, if someone wants to come in for just slabs of cooked meat, they can get just slabs of cooked meat.

Inside, the restaurant has a very traditional southern barbecue joint feeling, with a metal food counter and long wooden tables in one big, open room.

According to Neuman, the contractors for the restaurant are just making the finishing touches of the restaurant, like sanding and staining the table.

“It’s a lot of little things,” Neuman said. “Finger’s crossed: we’ll open just after Father’s Day.”

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The owner of Ambar and Baba in Clarendon is planning to open the last piece of a three-tier set of Mexican eateries at 2900 Wilson Blvd on Monday (June 10).

TTT Mexican Diner — a street food-style eatery on the first floor — and Buena Vida — a more traditional Mexico City dining experience — are both already open. But the rooftop cantina called Buena Vida Social Club will complete the set.

Ivan Iricanin, the owner of Buena Vida Social Club, is not Mexican, nor is general manager Marijana Skerlic. Both are Serbian, but worked together with celebrity chef Richard Sandoval, from whom they developed a passion for Mexican cuisine. For Buena Vida Social Club, Iricanin said he is working with chef Gerardo Vázquez Lugo, whose restaurant Nicos in Mexico City has earned acclaim.

The restaurant boasts a variety of seafood options and food from Acapulco with prices ranging from $9 to $16. Drinks range from cocktails served in fresh coconuts and frozen margaritas to agave-infused sangria, priced from $8 to $80.

The restaurant is open daily from 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Brunch hours on Saturdays and Sundays are planned to open sometime in July.

Opening restaurants in direct competition with each other can be hazardous, but Iricanin said he’s confident that the concepts for each of the Mexican eateries and the other nearby restaurants are distinct enough that they won’t poach each other’s business.

“I think Arlington needs a lounge,” said Skerlic. “This is not a sports bar. The whole place has the feel of a Mexican lounge. We want to give it a very social feel.”

Skerlic’s background is in tending bar, a job she’s worked since she was 17, so her passion is for the mix of new cocktails being offered at Buena Vida Social Club.

“I feel proud,” Skerlic said. “It’s not my restaurant, but to be able to run it… that feels special.”

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After five years of churning out pies for wholesale in the basement kitchen of 2803 Columbia Pike, Acme Pie Company has moved up to the street level and opened a retail pie shop.

In every sense, the store is the product of its founder Sol Schott — from the throwback ’30s aesthetic to some of the unorthodox choices in pies. But more than pastries, Schott has visions of Acme as a community gathering place in a classic Americana sense.

“One of the things I wanted to do with this place is I wanted to do exactly what I wanted to do,” said Schott. “I wanted it to be mine, from concept to everything, for good or bad. I wanted to see if I could do something exactly how I wanted to do it.”

Schott said visually, the store is based on Woolworth’s lunch counters from the 1930s. The wall art over the sound absorbers on the wall is inspired by Depression-era art from the Works Progress Administration. More often than not, when you walk in, the 1936 film serial Flash Gordon will be playing.

Acme Pie Company is only open from 3-9 p.m. during weekdays (except Monday, when it’s closed) and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on weekends, but the baking process starts as early at 5 a.m. and can take much of the day.

The pie shop had previously operated inside Twisted Vines Bar and Bottleshop. But when that restaurant closed, Schott said he had to take a risk and move into retail. The Acme Pie Company’s retail shop opened in April.

“It’s been a big transition,” said Schott. “I’m not so much of a retail guy as I am a baker, that’s my history and passion. But it’s been going well. I enjoy talking to customers and dealing with people, that sort of thing. It’s been fun and it’s been successful.”

The pie shop is a change for Schott in more than one way. He admitted that a little over a decade ago, he was dubious about the prospect of making pies.

“I don’t want to say I hated making pie, but I didn’t know how to do it very well,” Schott said. “This was 16 years ago. We were buying the pies, and at some point [the retailer] decided she didn’t want to wholesale them anymore, so I realized… ‘damnit, I’m going to have to make pies.’ I didn’t have an appreciation for it, it was a pain in the neck. But I’d spent a lot of time making these pies, and learning to do it really well.”

Eventually, Schott gained an appreciation for the art and realized that he could carve out his own piece of the pie in a market crowded with other pastry chefs.

“I knew I could do that with pies, because most pastry chefs haven’t spent the time learning to make pies because they’re European trained, like myself, and that’s a different skill set,” Scott said. “I realized that I could wholesale sell them to places that wouldn’t buy anything else. They have bakers and cake guys and scones and cookies and muffins, but a real lack of quality pie.”

Now, Schott says they’re churning out around 20,000 pies a year, and Schott said every one of those pies tells a story. The blackberry pies — Schott’s favorite — are inspired by going blackberry picking and making the pies with his mother as a child. The cherry pies are made with materials from an Amish family in upstate New York.

Working out of a shop has allowed Schott to also experiment with more types of pie than he could when he was working wholesale.

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Morning Notes

Arlington Tech Company Acquired — Silicon Valley cybersecurity firm Imperva has acquired Arlington-based bot mitigation startup Distil Networks. [TechCrunch, Imperva]

Permits Filed for B&E’s on Lee — Bob and Edith’s Diner finally applied for construction permits last month for its planned but delayed Lee Highway location. [Arlington Economic Development]

Jail Holds Family Event for Inmates — “Some Arlington County children got a rare opportunity Tuesday night: a chance to visit with their fathers and mothers — who are in jail — without any barriers between them.” [WJLA]

Local Girl Scouts Help Seniors — “They came in need of help, smartphones in hand… Girl Scout Troop 60013 was on it. This week, the Arlington, Virginia-based scouts hosted ‘TechBridge,’ their first walk-in clinic to help local senior citizens learn how to use their cellphones.” [CNN]

County Fair Seeking Judges — “Organizers of the Arlington County Fair are seeking volunteers both to register and judge entries for the competitive-exhibit competition. Volunteers with expertise will serve as superintendents and judges in a host of categories, with judging taking place Thursday, Aug. 15 at 10 a.m. at Thomas Jefferson Community Center.” [InsideNova]

Campaign Ad Questioned — A TV ad placed by a political action committee on behalf of commonwealth’s attorney candidate Parisa Dehghani-Tafti is being questioned. The ad brings up recent anti-abortion laws in other states says incumbent Theo Stamos “would enforce anti-choice laws” in Virginia. The video cited in the ad shows Stamos saying she “takes an oath to uphold the law” but would not enforce an unconstitutional law. [Blue Virginia]

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