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by ARLnow.com — February 3, 2016 at 3:50 pm 0

(Updated at 4:15 p.m.) Park Lane Tavern, a new European-inspired restaurant in Clarendon, opened for lunch this afternoon with some Scottish-inspired windy and rainy weather.

But that didn’t dampen the spirits of the restaurant’s four partners, who were all on hand for the opening and enthusiastic about their prospects in Arlington.

Located at 1200 N. Irving Street, tucked away on the ground floor of the Beacon at Clarendon apartment building, Park Lane Tavern is essentially across the street from Northside Social and just down the block from O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub.

Whereas if you were to speak to the owners of O’Sullivan’s you’d hear some authentic Irish brogue, the owners of Park Lane Tavern are all American. What they bring to the business, instead, is extensive restaurant industry experience and a good deal of European travels from which they gained inspiration for their expanding business. Just don’t call Park Lane Tavern a theme restaurant — call it “European inspired.”

“We’re not trying to be a themed business,” said Greg Knox, one of the partners. “Our inspiration for this business is the great pubs and taverns of Europe.”

The comfortable interior of Park Lane Tavern feels a bit more like an upper-middle-class country club than anything you’d find in, say, central London, but it is in fact modeled after an actual hotel bar in Paris, Knox said. He declined to reveal which one.

Continuing the pan-European inspiration, the interior includes typical pub carpeting from Britain and light fixtures from Spain — plus a modest collection of flat-screen TVs tuned to ESPN.

This is the third Park Lane Tavern location, but the closest yet to a major city. The others, which opened in 2009 as “The Pub” before being rebranded in 2012, are in Fredericksburg and Hampton, Va. The partners also own other eateries, from a Brixx pizzeria in Virginia Beach to a seafood restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Park Lane Tavern’s cuisine is described as “approachable comfort food” that’s “chef-y” but not overly presumptuous. Expect some familiar dishes from across the pond — bangers and mash, fish and chips, jagerschnitzel — along with a sizable menu of soups, salads, appetizers, burgers, pizzas and sandwiches that are mostly American with a sprinkling of European influence (think: fried Brie instead of mozzarella sticks.)

Prices are mid-range if not a bit lower for Clarendon: appetizers are in the $9-12 range, while burgers, pizza and sandwiches are in the $11-16 range. Entrees start at $15 and top out at $28.

On the beverage side, there are about two dozen draft beers sorted by country of origin, along with a rotating cask ale. Beer quality is a big focus: draft lines are cleaned weekly and all pint glasses are washed with filtered water before pouring. The restaurant’s “Beverage Bible” also includes a wine list, more than 40 Scotch whiskeys and a big selection of Bourbons and Irish whiskeys.

Imported draft beers range from $7 to $11, while a 3-6 p.m. happy hour brings the price of select draft beers and glasses of wines down to $5.

The Beverage Bible — a spiral-bound notebook of alcohol options — includes a page devoted to a curious creation: the “breakfast shot.” Take a shot of Jameson whiskey and butterscotch schnapps, followed by a shot of orange juice, followed by a piece of bacon, and it apparently tastes like a pancake breakfast. Despite the name, the shot is suitable for evening consumption, Knox assured us.

For those with a sweet tooth, the desserts are made to order. The signature dessert is a Jameson Irish Whiskey bread pudding.

Park Lane Tavern is open seven days a week, starting at 11 a.m. It’s open until midnight Sunday through Wednesday, until 1 a.m. on Thursday and until 2 a.m. on weekends. A Sunday brunch service is expected to begin next month.

by ARLnow.com — February 2, 2016 at 4:25 pm 0

3111 Columbia PikeThe name of the restaurant at 3111 Columbia Pike will be changing once again.

“Purple Ethiopian Restaurant & Lounge” will be opening at the location, according to a recent ABC license application. It’s the latest in a procession of eateries that double as nightlife spots to occupy the two-level restaurant space at 3111 Columbia Pike.

In the past, neighbors have been critical of excessive noise and crime at the location, which has at times hosted nighttime events. It didn’t help that a manager of Pines of Italy, one of the former establishments, apparently called Arlington County Board members “c-cksuckers” after a vote to revoke the restaurant’s live entertainment permit in 2014.

No word yet on when Purple might be opening.

by ARLnow.com — January 12, 2016 at 3:00 pm 0

Clarendon nightlife spot SoBe Bar & Bistro (3100 Clarendon Blvd) has closed last week and will be replaced with a new Spanish tapas restaurant.

The new restaurant will be called Pamplona and will be run by Social Restaurant Group, the company behind Provision No. 14 and The Prospect in the District, ARLnow.com has learned. Both restaurants are noted for their creative, theme-based decor.

Renovations are underway inside the former SoBe space, at the same time as a separate exterior renovation of the courtyard Pamplona will share with Mad Rose Tavern.

Social Restaurant Group wants to have Pamplona open by this spring, though hopes for speedy renovations in Arlington are usually met with disappointment thanks in large part to a stringent county permitting and inspection process.

Pamplona will face competition from La Tasca, Clarendon’s existing Spanish tapas destination.

by Jennifer Currier — January 8, 2016 at 2:00 pm 0

After originally planning to open last summer, European-style bar and restaurant Park Lane Tavern is set to open in Clarendon early next month.

The tavern — located at 1200 N. Irving Street in the Beacon at Clarendon apartment building — will open at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 2, according to general manager Jim Simmons.

Simmons described the menu as “chef-driven comfort food,” or higher quality versions of the dishes people crave on a regular basis.

“We’re creating an elegant environment to complement the food, but not in a stuffy way,” he said. “We want people to come in casually for a welcoming, glorious atmosphere with comfortable furniture to socialize and enjoy themselves.”

The entrée menu features a variety of dishes, from shepherd’s pie to jägerschnitzel to pizza. The restaurant also has a “Beverage Bible,” which Simmons said includes high-end scotches, bourbons and imported draft beers.

Simmons said work on the space is almost complete as his team is making final adjustments to the dining room, which will feature décor imported from Europe. The establishment is also in the hiring process — as advertised on its Facebook page — with training scheduled to begin on Monday.

The Clarendon Park Lane Tavern is on the same block as Jimmy John’s and O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub. It’s also the restaurant’s third location — all three are in Virginia.

Park Lane Tavern will be initially open from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. with slightly adjusted hours on the weekend, to be determined.

by ARLnow.com — January 8, 2016 at 10:15 am 0

A new Sugar Shack Donuts store may open next month on Columbia Pike.

“Now hiring” signs have been posted in the windows of the storefront along S. Glebe Road, in the new 3400 Pike apartment building. Owner and former state legislator Rob Krupicka says the store opening is “a few weeks away.”

“Very close… Construction is almost done and then we have to get the final permits and train staff,” said Krupicka, who also owns a Sugar Shack location in Alexandria. “Folks should follow us on Twitter @SugarShackDMV or Facebook at Sugar Shack Arlington.”

Richmond-based Sugar Shack makes their donuts in-house, by hand. The company made a USA Today list of the top 10 “tastiest donut shops in the USA.”

Sugar Shack’s neighbors at Pike 3400 — formerly the Rosenthal car dealership — include a recently-opened Chipotle and, soon, a 1000 Degree Neapolitan Pizza and a Supercuts.

by ARLnow.com — January 6, 2016 at 12:50 pm 0

District Taco opened the doors at its new Rosslyn restaurant today, at 1500 Wilson Blvd, serving large lunchtime crowds two days before its official opening date.

Just after noon today, diners who heard of the early opening via word of mouth formed a long line inside the restaurant.

This is the seventh brick-and-mortar location for founder Osiris Hoil, who started District Taco as a tiny food cart after being laid off from a construction job during the recession. Rosslyn was one of the original cart’s most frequent destinations.

“We wanted to go back to Rosslyn because this place means a lot to us,” Hoil said last month. “This is where DT evolved — with our customers there… We stopped going to Rosslyn with the taco cart because we wanted to focus on our [brick and mortar] locations, but now we have come back and we’re here to stay for a long time!”

by ARLnow.com — December 29, 2015 at 2:15 pm 0

District Taco, which started out as a humble food cart serving Rosslyn, Crystal City and other Arlington locales, plans to open its much-awaited brick-and-mortar restaurant in Rosslyn in early January.

The growing local Mexican food chain says its Rosslyn grand opening will be held starting at 10 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 8. The restaurant will offer a complimentary meal for all active duty military personnel from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on that day.

“District Taco expects a positive turnout so it is best to arrive prior to the opening time,” the company said. A percentage of sales made that day will also be donated to the Association of the United States Army.

The Rosslyn District Taco is located at 1500 Wilson Blvd, below the new Target store. The company did not say whether the restaurant will open its doors for a “soft opening” before Jan. 8.

In a press release, District Taco notes that by the time the Rosslyn restaurant opens, the company will employ more than 300 workers. It’s a true American success story for co-owner Osiris Hoil, an immigrant who started the District Taco cart after being laid off from a construction job during the recession.

The seventh brick-and-mortar restaurant brings nostalgia to Co-Owner, Osiris Hoil, as he was the only employee running the food cart when it launched six years ago. After Rosslyn opens, more than 300 workers will be employed at District Taco.

Hoil says, “We wanted to go back to Rosslyn because this place means a lot to us. The first day I took the cart out, I went to Rosslyn. This is where DT evolved — with our customers there. I was able to test new recipes and start a social media following. We stopped going to Rosslyn with the taco cart because we wanted to focus on our [brick and mortar] locations, but now we have come back and we’re here to stay for a long time!” Construction has begun for restaurants in Tenleytown and Bailey’s Crossroads. Leases for three more locations, including an expansion to Maryland, are in process.

by ARLnow.com — December 17, 2015 at 6:00 am 0

A new restaurant on Columbia Pike is ready to reintroduce Arlington to whiskey.

Marble & Rye opened last week at Penrose Square (2501 Columbia Pike), near the Giant and new Starbucks. Although the restaurant has served customers for only about two weeks, the restaurant is already making a name for itself when it comes to its whiskey and ribs, said spokeswoman Sarah Lakey.

“We really want to be known as the new place for whiskey in Northern Virginia,” Lakey said.

The new whiskey bar and restaurant features a tasting room, more than 150 different whiskeys and whiskey-based cocktails, in addition to its wine and beer selection.

From strong and smokey to smooth and sweet, the staff can recommend just the right whiskey for you from their extensive list. The cocktails have also been popular among both whiskey fans and newcomers.

One of the more popular drinks is the Marble & Rye Old Fashioned, which uses a whiskey infused with orange zest and cherries. The drink is getting rave reviews, with customers saying it is one of the best they have tried. Staff members also recommend the Gold Rush, which features a pistachio sugar rim.

Beyond the drink menu, the restaurant boasts a seasonal menu, made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. One must-try dish is the baby back ribs, which are moist and fall right off the bone. The ribs can compete with some of the best in the city, but customers are encouraged to come try for themselves.

For those who are vegetarian or gluten-free, Marble & Rye has plenty of options, which are highlighted on the menu. Vegetables, including this season’s crispy Brussel sprouts and roasted squash, are cooked in a wood fired oven, giving them a little extra flavor in the process.

To compliment the locally-inspired menu, Marble & Rye brings in wine and beer from Virginia wineries and local breweries.

The local angle extends beyond the food.  They used a local artist to paint the large backsplash mural and logo and the chandelier was done by an Arlington resident, Lakey said, adding that all furniture was made in the United States using reclaimed wood for the tables and walls.

To enhance the experience, it was important that the staff had a say on what was being presented to customers so they could stand behind it. Each server has sampled every dish, every cocktail, wine and beer, they understand where it comes from and what makes it special.

While the restaurant hopes to bring whiskey to Columbia Pike, Marble and Rye is focused on creating a dining experience and working with other Columbia Pike restaurants to make the Pike a destination.

“Our goal is to be a neighborhood place where people can relax, enjoy a great drink or sip on some whiskey, and just have a great time,” Lakey said. “We want to create an experience for everyone who walks through the door.”

Marble & Rye is open on Monday from 4-11 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Thursday from 11 a.m. to midnight, Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The preceding post was written by Heather Mongilio for ARLnow.com.

by Jennifer Currier — December 2, 2015 at 3:45 pm 0

A contemporary Chinese restaurant is open in Rosslyn after construction and permit issues delayed its original opening date more than a year and then kept the new date something of a secret.

Secret Chopsticks is now open at 1850 N. Fort Myer Drive on the ground level of the Turnberry Tower condo building. The 120-seat white tablecloth restaurant is open for dinner services seven days a week, focusing on authentic, healthy Chinese food.

“We’re trying to change what people think of when they think Chinese food,” general manager Jonathan Theriault said today. “This is fine dining, and everything we do has a strong Asian influence with a twist. You won’t find the large portions of take-out food but a very authentic experience instead.”

This authenticity comes from the restaurant’s executive chef, Robin Li, who is a native of mainland China and began his culinary career there. He came back to the United States — after studying here, serving in the Navy and spending more time in China — in 2014 with plans to open Secret Chopsticks.

“There are a lot of differences between this and other Chinese restaurants,” Li said previously. “Whatever they are cooking in China now, we are going to cook.”

The focus, he explained, is contemporary, modern takes on these dishes.

The menu has two meal options for diners. First, an a la carte menu offers individual portions to mix and match. Prices for these items range from $6 to $32.

For a more traditional fine dining experience, guests can choose from one of the restaurant’s fixed-price tasting menus. There are four options: dim sum, protein, tofu and vegetarian. Each one is nine courses, and prices range from around $60 to $90.

Theriault recommended the tasting menus for four or five people who are willing to share and try new foods.

The restaurant also has a full bar with beer, wine and cocktails. Guests are allowed to bring their own wine in, so long as it isn’t available on the existing wine list.

Secret Chopsticks is currently only open for dinner from 5:30-9:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 5 p.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday.

Starting next week, Theriault said, lunch will also be served from 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. with happy hour from 4-7 p.m. These are the restaurant’s winter hours, which are likely to change in the warmer months. Additional outdoor seating will also be available during that time.

Despite the setbacks and ongoing work to improve its offerings, Theriault was hopeful about the outlook for the restaurant.

“We’re really excited to be here in Rosslyn and to have finally made this happen,” he said. “I hope it’s a place people know has great food and a great ambience to make all these authentic elements feel like the real thing.”

by ARLnow.com — December 1, 2015 at 3:50 pm 0

(Updated at 4:30 p.m.) A new Hawaiian-inspired restaurant has opened in Shirlington.

Hula Girl Bar and Grill, a restaurant based on a popular food truck, originally opened last week at 4044 Campbell Avenue. It closed unexpectedly over the weekend due to a power issue, but reopened for dinner last night (Monday).

Hula Girl’s furnishings are unmistakably Hawaiian, down to flip flops on the wall, surf boards hanging from the ceiling, Spam cans on the tables, surf films on the TVs and the Outrigger Canoe Club hat on chef/owner Mikala Brennan’s head.

The food menu includes Poke, a Hawaiian raw fish dish, along with a Hula Girl teriyaki plate, grilled mahi-mahi and barbecue ribs. There are also salads, sides and desserts to choose from, all island inspired.

On the beverage menu, beers from Maui Brewing and Kona Brewing are featured along with local brews. A wine menu has selections from relatively exotic non-Hawaiian locales: Texas, New York, Michigan, New Mexico and Maryland, among other more standard winemaking regions.

The cocktail menu includes plenty of tropical fruit and names like “Hawaii Kai Margarita,” “Blue HI,” “Say Pineapple 5X Fast” and “Never Below 75,” along with a signature Hula Girl Mai Tai.

While overworked, Brennan said she “feels great” about the new brick and mortar extension of her food truck vision.

“I had been looking for a location for 2 years — and we finally found our home here in Shirlington,” she told ARLnow.com. “The community has been so supportive and positive with us opening — feels like the Aloha Spirit is coming alive!”

Hula Girl is currently open Sunday through Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 5 to 11 p.m. Lunch service is expected to begin “late December.”

by ARLnow.com — December 1, 2015 at 9:55 am 0

Puddle runner (Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf)

Shirlington Tree Lighting Rescheduled — Due to rain, the Shirlington tree lighting event scheduled for tonight has been rescheduled. The holiday event is now set for Monday, Dec. 7 from 6-8:30 p.m. [Facebook]

Yona Now Open in Ballston — New ramen restaurant Yona opened for lunch yesterday in Ballston, attracting a “packed house” for $15 bowls of ramen. The restaurant, at 4000 Wilson Blvd, plans to start serving dinner on Friday. [Yona, Twitter]

Pothole Attracts Attention of Pentagon Police — A pothole on a stretch of roadway near the Pentagon attracted the attention of security forces after at least three cars became disabled due to running over it. Pentagon police are sent to investigate any time a vehicle stops on the site of the highway in view of the building. In 2010 a man fired shots at the Pentagon from his car on the side of I-395. [WTOP]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

by ARLnow.com — November 30, 2015 at 12:00 pm 0

Chipotle Mexican Grill has opened its first Columbia Pike location in Arlington.

The burrito chain is now open at 1002 S. Glebe Road, on the ground floor of the 3400 Pike apartment building at the corner of Glebe and the Pike.

The restaurant opened to relatively large crowds, at least for the weekend after Thanksgiving. Service was sluggish as employees received on-the-job training.

The new Chipotle’s hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. Online ordering and pickup is available. The restaurant is still in the process of getting its state liquor license in order to serve beer.

Chipotle faces competition from local favorite Pedro and Vinny’s, the tiny but mighty burrito stand a few blocks down the Pike in a CVS parking lot.

by ARLnow.com — November 30, 2015 at 9:05 am 0

Metro riders heading to work (Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf)

Wreath Shortfall Projected for Cemetery — Wreaths Across America projects it will be 30,000 short of its goal of 230,000 wreaths to place on graves at Arlington National Cemetery this year. The organization is hoping more donors step up before its fundraising deadline tomorrow. [Fox News]

Sehkraft Brewing Now OpenSehkraft Brewing in Clarendon opened to large beer garden crowds late last week. The brewpub has fire pits outside and is hosting live music nightly. [Facebook]

Arlington Ranks No. 2 for Roommates — Among major U.S. localities, Arlington ranks No. 2 for having the highest percentage of adults living with roommates. According to the website, 23 percent of 18-39 year olds in Arlington live with a roommate. That compares to 21 percent for the No. 4 city, Washington, D.C. [Priceonomics via Greater Greater Washington]

Barbershop Chorus to Sing at Metro Stations — The Arlingtones, a barbershop chorus, will be performing barbershop music at three local Orange Line Metro stations this month. [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

by ARLnow.com — November 24, 2015 at 3:30 pm 0

A new Potbelly Sandwich Shop in Rosslyn is planning to open its doors next week.

The restaurant, at 1735 N. Lynn Street, is set to officially open on Tuesday, Dec. 1. It will also be open for a lunchtime “oven-warming” on Monday, with 100 percent of proceeds going to nearby Key Elementary School.

In addition to offering sandwiches, shakes and salads, Potbelly plans to host live music from local performers.

The company, which has more than 300 locations in the U.S., issued the following press release about the Rosslyn opening.

Potbelly Sandwich Shop announced today the opening of a new location in Rosslyn at 1735 N. Lynn St. Set to open on Tuesday, December 1st, the widely acclaimed neighborhood hangout will feature its toasty warm sandwiches, hand-dipped milkshakes, tasty made-to-order salads and live, local music, which make it “The Best Place for Lunch.”

Earning a reputation in neighborhoods across the United States for having delicious food, fun décor and local musicians performing, Potbelly shops are also well known for their friendly and lively people. Khaled Elmeligy, the general manager of the new sandwich shop, has worked with Potbelly for two years.

“We look forward to becoming Rosslyn’s favorite neighborhood sandwich shop,” said Elmeligy. “Our toasty, warm sandwiches, hand-dipped milkshakes and market-fresh salads, will give guests the perfect lunchtime escape.”

Potbelly Sandwich Shop fans have grown to adore the brand while visiting its nearby shops in Ballston. Known for its good vibes in addition to great sandwiches, live music has been a part of the Potbelly experience since the first shop opened in 1977. Neighborhood musicians put a little rhythm into lunch at Potbelly Sandwich Shops around the country. Interested performers in and around Arlington should contact the new shop manager to apply and to schedule an audition.

“There is no doubt we are going to be a welcome addition to the area,” Elmeligy added. “We have already heard from a few locals who are excited to have us open. It won’t be long before our friends, families and neighbors in Rosslyn are calling Potbelly Sandwich Shop home.”

To celebrate the launch of the new location, Potbelly Sandwich Shop will host its traditional oven warming event. The shop will donate 100 percent of proceeds from the pre-opening event to Key Elementary School. The fundraising celebration will occur on Monday, November 30th between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. for lunch.

The new Potbelly Sandwich Shop includes about 20 staff members, ranging from customer service to managers. The shop will be open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. from Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Delivery service will be available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays with minimum orders of $25.

by Jennifer Currier — November 24, 2015 at 10:00 am 0

A casual ramen and Asian small plates restaurant is set to open in Ballston next week.

Yona will open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. starting next Monday. It will also serve dinner beginning the following Friday, Dec. 4.

The new restaurant is owned by former “Top Chef” contestant Mike Isabella, who also owns two other Arlington establishments, Kapnos Taverna and Pepita. All three businesses opened this year in the same building, at 4000 Wilson blvd.

Unlike his other two eateries, Isabella won’t be the brain behind the food at Yona. That job is for Chef Jonah Kim.

“Yona is going to be more than just a way for Jonah to show off his mastery of Japanese and Korean flavors,” Isabella said in a statement. “We are creating a concept unlike anything in Northern Virginia. Ramen may be a humble dish, but it’s one that pays back the care and attention to detail a great chef can put into it.”

The menu Kim created features a handful of ramen options, but it also features several small plates and raw dishes, including fluke and smoked hamachi.

Kim said he thinks these items will complement each other well and bring something unexpected to the restaurant.

“There’s something about a truly substantial, warm bowl of soup that people don’t expect from a ramen place,” Kim said. “That’s still the focal point, but I think guests will be surprised by a non-traditional approach to it, especially with the cold dishes on the menu.”

A full drink menu will also be available, offering sake, cocktails, beer and wine.

The space itself can seat approximately 50 people at both communal and private tables. It also has an open kitchen and interior and exterior decorations inspired by Japanese and Korean influences.

Yona will be open from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

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