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Levi’s in Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, courtesy photo

For those venturing back to the mall for the first time in awhile, the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City might look a little different than you remember, thanks to some recent additions.

Four new stores have recently opened in the mall, at 1101 S. Hayes Street, with two more expected to open sometime in the next few weeks.

On the first level, denim retailer Levi’s has set up next to Altar’d State, overlooking the food court.

On the second level, luxury goods retailer Vince has set up next to Pandora and home décor store Casa Furniture has opened on the opposite side of the food court.

Down in the bottom-floor “dining pavilion” — the mall’s new term for its food court — there are a few additions underway. As Kelis attested in 2003, milkshakes are a popular attraction, and the new Day & Night Cereal Bar is offering a dozen specialized milkshakes and cereal bowls, along with coffee and flights of bacon.

The cereal-centric eatery has some unique combinations, like Marty McFly — a combination of Apple Jacks, Fruit Loops and gummy bears. Its website says it also offers oat milk and almond milk substitutions for those who are dairy averse.

A Subway had previously closed in the food court, but a new franchise for the sandwich chain is expected to open in November, a mall spokesman tells ARLnow.

Lastly, as previously reported, Mediterranean restaurant Sante’ is planning to open sometime this fall in the adjacent Ritz-Carlton hotel at 1250 S. Hayes Street.

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(Updated at 10:20 a.m.) The new Dunkin’ store at 3300 Wilson Blvd, near Clarendon, is now open.

The standalone Dunkin’, which features its own parking lot and a drive-thru window, officially opened on Tuesday, a company spokesman said. The coffee and donut purveyor was open this morning, serving a trickle of customers who notice the “now open” sign.

The building — which was previously a Dunkin’ Donuts, before it closed and was succeeded Peruvian chicken restaurant Pio Pio, Indian-Pakistani-Bangladeshi restaurant Naan Kabob, and, briefly, Red Hook Lobster Pound — was completely renovated over the past few months.

The new interior includes a steel “Arlington Runs on Dunkin'” sign and “next generation” Dunkin’ features like a front-facing bakery case and tap-based iced coffee, nitro cold brew, and iced tea pours.

The new store, which is about halfway between the Virginia Square and Clarendon Metro stations, takes the place of the previous, more central Dunkin’ location at 3009 Clarendon Blvd in Clarendon, which closed earlier this month.

A company spokesman says Dunkin’ is planning “a two-part grand opening celebration for the end of the month.”

“On [Thursday], Sept. 30 and Saturday, Oct. 2, we’ll be hosting a Free Medium Hot or Iced Coffee offer from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.,” the spokesman said. “We’ll also be offering guests Dunkin’ swag from the Dunkin’ Prize Wheel, photos with Dunkin’ mascot Cuppy and more.”

The grand opening will also include the presentation of a $2,500 donation to the Capital Area Food Bank from Dunkin’ franchisee DDC Management LLC, we’re told.

Given Arlington County’s propensity for encouraging more pedestrian-oriented and less car-oriented facilities — including county staff push-back on a proposed second drive-thru lane for a busy McDonald’s along Langston Blvd — the new Dunkin’ drive-thru is something of a curiosity. According to Transportation Commission Chair Chris Slatt, the use of the drive-thru window was grandfathered in, given that the building previously featured one.

ARLnow observed the drive-thru already in use this morning, as an Arlington police cruiser was seen making a U-turn on Wilson Blvd and then pulling up to the order lane, apparently after the driver saw the “now open” sign.

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(Updated at 3:35 p.m.) Tatte Bakery in Clarendon is finally set to open.

The growing Boston-based chain’s Arlington location will open tomorrow (Wednesday), according to a sign in the window. It was first announced earlier this year and was originally expected to open in July.

The cafe is located at 2805 Clarendon Blvd, around where the Baja Fresh used to be before it closed in late 2018, ahead of extensive renovations to the building.

Tatte now has more than 20 locations, with a majority in the Boston-area. However, over the last year, the bakery has expanded to the D.C. area, including two relatively new locations in D.C. and one in Bethesda, Maryland which just opened in March.

The Clarendon spot is focused on breakfast, brunch, and lunch, with hours from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will have the same menu as the other D.C.-areas locations, except no dinner. The menu includes sandwiches, tartines, shakshuka, salads, bowls, and coffee.

The interior of the restaurant features a modern aesthetic and tiled counters.

The bakery is housed within The Crossing Clarendon, the multi-block, mixed-use development and retail center formerly known Market Common Clarendon.

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(Updated at 10:15 a.m.) Work is nearly complete to convert a dilapidated former restaurant space near Clarendon to a “next gen” Dunkin’ store, while a nearby location has closed.

Signs — including “now hiring” — are up at the renovated storefront at 3300 Wilson Blvd, which will feature a drive-thru window for those who want their coffee and donuts on the go. The space was once a Dunkin’ Donuts, before it closed and was succeeded Peruvian chicken restaurant Pio Pio, Indian-Pakistani-Bangladeshi restaurant Naan Kabob, and, briefly, Red Hook Lobster Pound.

After only a few months of construction, the store is now expected to open at some point this month, according to a company spokesman. No exact date was given, but it could be as soon as this week.

A sign on the front door of the Dunkin’ location 3009 Clarendon Blvd, in Clarendon, says the store — which also housed a Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop — is now closed and customers should instead head to other Dunkin’ locations in Courthouse, Ballston or at 3300 Wilson Blvd. The latter is opening this coming Friday, Sept. 10, the sign says.

Located about halfway between the Virginia Square and Clarendon Metro stations, the new Dunkin’ will have some of the company’s “next generation” store features, which typically include things like front-facing bakery cases, tap-based iced coffee and tea pours, and mobile order pickup areas, a spokesman previously told ARLnow.

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(Updated at 11:30 a.m.) Beloved local watering hole Carpool is returning to Arlington after a more than four year absence.

A popular after-work and sports-watching spot, Carpool closed its Ballston-area location on the 4000 block of Fairfax Drive in 2017, to make way for what is now the 22-story J Sol apartment tower. After two decades in Arlington, the brand lived on in the Fair Lakes area of Fairfax County. But now it’s coming home.

Co-owner Mark Handwerger tells ARLnow that the new Carpool will open on the ground floor of the Virginia Tech building at 900 N. Glebe Road in Ballston. It will occupy a space that has been home to a succession of short-lived restaurant outposts over the past half dozen years or so, including Greene Turtle, Applebee’s and, most recently, Filipino eatery Bistro 1521.

“We have already put in for permits and licenses and hope to do minimal work and be open next month (October),” Handwerger said this morning. “We plan to bring back all the fun, tons of the decor, and a lot of the staff in a refreshed space and upgraded kitchen.”

“We also plan to feature some of our signature garage doors opening onto a large patio,” he added.

A PR rep later revealed additional details.

“CarPool’s new 6,382 SF location will offer the same fantastic experience locals and regulars know and love including billiards, pinball, craft cocktails, live sports, and an extensive draft beer selection,” the rep said via email. “The space will be able to accommodate up to 300 people, and host private parties of all sizes. Patrons will also enjoy an expanded menu, courtesy of a large, second-generation kitchen space.”

Carpool relocated to the Fair Oaks area of Fairfax County following its closure in Ballston, “but couldn’t come to terms with our landlord during the pandemic so [we] agreed to truncate the lease,” Handwerger said. That location closed at the end of May.

A second Carpool location, in the Herndon area, has been in business for nearly 20 years and remains open, he noted.

A full press release about the new Carpool in Ballston is below.

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Throughout this fall, there could be a few new faces around Shirlington as high-intensity gym F45 and some other businesses plan to launch in the next few months.

The gym is scheduled to have its grand opening at 2800 S. Randolph Street on Saturday, Sept. 11, according to a press release, though staff working amid a torrential downpour earlier this week said the gym had a soft launch last Saturday.

The grand opening is scheduled for 8 a.m.-noon, and will include free classes, a chance to win a raffle after each class, and exclusive membership offers.

The gym’s fitness program centers on high-intensity interval training, circuit training, and functional training — increasing the heart rate to boost metabolism and burn fat effectively, said the press release.

Just around the corner, Bearded Goat Barber is scheduled to open at 4150 Campbell Avenue sometime this fall. The Shirlington location, next to Samuel Beckett’s Irish Gastro Pub, will be the third for the barbershop, which first opened in Ballston in 2019.

Bearded Goat is aiming for an opening on Friday, Oct. 1, said co-owner Scott Parker, though the exact opening date remains a moving target.

Also coming this fall is CHIKO, a Chinese/Korean fusion restaurant at 4040 Campbell Avenue. The restaurant features a mix of dishes from both countries, like bulgogi stir fry and “orange-ish” chicken.

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Morning Notes

County Closures for Labor Day — County-run Covid vaccination clinics and testing will be closed Monday for the Labor Day holiday. County offices, libraries, rec centers, courts and schools will also be closed. Trash will be collected, but parking meters will not be enforced. [Arlington County]

Two Libraries Reopening Next Week — “Starting September 7, 2021, Arlington Public Library will reopen two locations — Cherrydale and Glencarlyn Libraries… ‘The Library continues to make steady progress toward filling an unprecedented number of public service vacancies caused by the pandemic and subsequent hiring freeze. We believe we are turning the corner and look forward to seeing more of our patrons,’ said Arlington Public Library Director Diane Kresh.” [Press Release]

No County Cash for Amazon This Year — “Arlington won’t pay Amazon.com Inc. any cash incentives this year — the second year in a row the pandemic has essentially thwarted that deal… ‘As a result of the continued impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and travel restrictions in place during much of the year, Arlington’s FY2021 Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) revenues did not yield the incremental growth necessary for Amazon to receive a grant for the second year of the 15-year performance period.'” [Washington Business Journal]

VRE Ridership Remains Low — “Despite upticks over the summer months, passenger counts for Virginia Railway Express (VRE) remain well down from pre-pandemic levels. For the weeks ending July 30, Aug. 6, Aug. 13 and Aug. 20, passenger counts were down 85.7 percent, 85.8 percent, 85.8 percent and 86.5 percent from the same periods in 2019, according to information provided by VRE officials to the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission.” [InsideNova]

New Restaurants Coming to Crystal City — “The Kabob Palace in Crystal City will soon have new neighbors. A halal restaurant franchisee has signed a lease for about 2,400 square feet at 2323 S. Eads St., where it plans to open a combined Peri Peri Original and Kallisto Steakhouse inside an end-cap space where the buffet-style Kabob Palace Family Restaurant had been.” [Washington Business Journal]

Map Chronicles Close Calls — “Developed with the help of Virginia Tech graduate students, the Near Miss Survey allows walkers, bicyclists, drivers, and other road users to report instances where they came close to getting into a crash or accident but were fortunate enough to avoid it. The resulting map highlights specific incidents as well as hotspots that are especially accident-prone, with the goal of helping local transportation and public safety officials see what areas need their attention.” [FFXnow]

Flickr photo by Bekah Richards

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Morning Notes

New Rosslyn Food Hall Now Open — “Assembly, the area’s latest food hall, located above the Rosslyn Metro stop in Arlington, hopes to entice you by taking a something-for-everyone approach, including plenty of healthy-ish options. Their lineup includes Great Lake Diner; Charo’s vegetarian tacos; Asian street food stall Beng Beng; GiGi’s salads, smoothies, and grain bowls; Big Day Coffee; sandwich joint Sammy Pickles; modern-minded bodega PNTRY; and Fog Point, a 40-seat sit-down oysters and seafood restaurant with a separate entrance.” [DCist]

Abduction Suspect Arrested in Va. Square — “The victim was inside a business when the suspect approached and attempted to engage her in conversation. The suspect then left the business, but remained seated outside. When the victim left the business, the suspect followed her into a neighboring building and onto an elevator, where he again attempted to engage her in conversation, advanced towards her, grabbed her waist and touched her buttocks. The victim attempted to step away but the suspect prevented her from exiting the elevator.” [ACPD]

Courthouse ‘DMV Select’ Office Reopening — “‘DMV Select’ services operated by the Arlington Commissioner of Revenue’s office in conjunction with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles will reopen Sept. 7 after an 18-month COVID shutdown. The office will operate by appointment Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Ellen M. Bozman Government Center, 2100 Clarendon Blvd.” [Sun Gazette]

How Ashton Heights was Sold — “‘Build Your Love Nest in Ashton Heights, Virginia,’ read the ad in the Evening Star a century ago. ‘$500 cash will finance your home; $20 will reserve your lot.’ Exclusive sales agents at the D.C.-based (all female) Kay-Alger Co. were luring federal employees to join the automobile generation’s embrace of suburbanization, to ‘get away from the crowded city and enjoy the freedom of a most picturesque surrounding.'” [Falls Church News-Press]

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Santé interior rendering, courtesy The Brand Guild

A restaurant specializing in cuisine from across the Mediterranean is planning on bringing that seaside vision to this side of the Potomac.

Santé, a restaurant described in a press release as “Mediterranean-inspired”, is scheduled to open in The Ritz-Carlton (1250 S. Hayes Street) in Pentagon City sometime this fall.

“Santé will be a destination in the Arlington area, whether you’re looking for an after work drink with friends, or a spot for an intimate dinner,” Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City General Manager Matthew Felix said in the press release. “We’re creating an atmosphere that will offer something unique for those who work and live in the neighborhood, along with visitors and hotel guests.”

The restaurant will center around seafood dishes — like grilled oysters and roasted sea bream, but will also have a variety of cocktails, wines and beer. The restaurant will have a range of breakfast to late-evening options.

The press release noted that the dining room will have enough seating for 64 people, with additional bar and lounge seating and a private dining room for groups up to 48 people.

The full press release is below.

Today, Santé, a new Mediterranean-inspired restaurant concept, announces its upcoming arrival in Northern Virginia. Slated to open in Fall 2021, the forthcoming culinary destination will call The Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City home, further establishing the property as an inspired neighborhood gathering place.

An expression often used to toast to health and happiness, Santé represents this sentiment and the Mediterranean way of life, while also celebrating the moment and those that you’re with. The concept brings the ease and elegance of the coastline region to life in the Arlington neighborhood, offering a sophisticated, yet approachable atmosphere.

“Santé will be a destination in the Arlington area, whether you’re looking for an after work drink with friends, or a spot for an intimate dinner,” said Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City General Manager, Matthew Felix. “We’re creating an atmosphere that will offer something unique for those who work and live in the neighborhood, along with visitors and hotel guests.”

Santé will invite guests to savor the flavors of the Mediterranean region through shareable dishes like the Grilled Oysters, and innovative mains including the Roasted Whole Sea Bream alongside a collection of craft beer, distinctive wine and handcrafted cocktails. Helmed by Executive Chef, Phil Skerman, the restaurant will offer breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, and an evening experience in the fireside lounge. With an emphasis on the present moment, Santé will offer an exceptional culinary experience and an ambiance that transports guests to the seaside.

Designed in partnership with designONE studio, Santé’s main dining room will feature seating for 64 people, with additional bar and lounge area seating, as well as a private dining room for groups up to 48. The space is accented with warm wood tones and varying coastal blues.

Santé will be located at 1250 S Hayes St, Arlington, VA 22202. For more information, please visit MeetAtSante.com, and follow Santé on social media at @meetatsante.

About Santé:

Led by Executive Chef Phil Skerman, Santé is a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant based in Arlington, Virginia. Showcasing the flavors of the coastline region, Santé offers inventive shareable meze-style dishes, handcrafted cocktails, unique wines and craft beers, in a lively yet elevated and approachable setting. For more information, please visit MeetAtSante.com, and follow Santé on social media at @meetatsante.

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A newly-opened bistro in Clarendon is hoping to attract a slightly more mature crowd in an area known for its youthful nightlife.

Maison Cheryl, located in the former Heritage Brewing space at 2900 Wilson Blvd, had its soft opening last Thursday. The 2,000-square-foot restaurant offers a refined, yet casual spot for Arlingtonians to take dates, meet their neighbors, and explore an ever-evolving menu of drinks, dishes and desserts.

Though the bistro can accommodate nearly 80 people in the dining room, the centerpiece of the eatery is the pristine, marble bar counter, around which strangers and friends gather, talk and indulge in creamy and rich “French-New American” food.

The restaurant’s chef and owner Robert Maher and his wife moved from New York City to Bethesda earlier in the pandemic to be back in his wife’s hometown. He planned to open a restaurant there, but found the Clarendon spot and loved the energy in the neighborhood.

“When I started it, I wanted a restaurant that would look beautiful but also a place you could take a date, but also something that was all-inclusive and not only have good food but have good drinks and have good wine,” said Maher. “I have a real problem. I like to make everybody happy. It’s a good thing, but it keeps you awake at night.”

With many Clarendon nightlife spots catered toward younger adults in their 20s, Maher and general manager Rami Sabri wanted to create a restaurant geared toward older millennials — those in their 30s, starting to settle down in Arlington. In other words, the kind of “elder millennial” that gets made fun of in those Progressive commercials.

The restaurant is planning on officially opening soon after Labor Day. Maher and Sabri said the community response has been very positive so far.

“We already have regulars,” said Sabri. “We have five or six couples who have already come back. Nothing has been sent back, almost nothing boxed.”

“Except my mom. My mom’s like this big,” added Maher, indicating her petite size. “She saves [leftovers] for breakfast the next day.”

Even after being in business less than a week, certain dishes are starting to stand out.

“My favorite dish has to be the fried burrata. It’s really simple, really fresh. There’s something so satisfactory about cutting burrata and it oozing out,” said Maher. “The shrimp with spicy kewpie mayo and cabbage and lime salad, I mean that is probably our number one selling dish.”

Sabri added that the crispy cauliflower always comes back as “a clean plate.”

Maher says menu items will rotate throughout the seasons and depending on what patrons say they’re interested in seeing added.

“My plumber was like, ‘Oh I love bison,’ and I was like, ‘Listen, tell me you’re coming, I will buy some bison and I will put it as a special.’ Anything to make anybody happy,” said Maher.

The bistro is also working on menus for brunch and lunch. It’s serving its first weekend brunch this Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to around 1 p.m. and will continue to offer it every weekend.

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Vienna-based Peruvian restaurant Inca Social is opening a new location in Rosslyn.

The restaurant and bar is coming to the former Kona Grill space at 1776 Wilson Blvd. We’re told the plan is to open sometime this fall.

Inca Social will have a selection of Virginia beers and various pisco cocktails, along with Peruvian food like the octopus-based pulpo anticuchero, according to Eater. The Rosslyn location will also have a sushi-and-ceviche bar, Northern Virginia Magazine reported.

Staff at Inca Social told ARLnow that the plan is for the Arlington location is to open in around two months — or late October — but that no definitive opening date has been set yet. Updates will likely be posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page closer to the opening date.

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