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Ballston is about to get spicier with Hangry Joe’s Hot Chicken Pub & Wings opening next week.

The Nashville-style hot chicken chain plans to open its newest location on Monday (Jan. 30) at 875 N. Randolph Street, a block away from Wilson Blvd and a couple of blocks from the Metro station.

The location is the former home of breakfast and lunch spot Laura Cooks, which closed in July.

ARLnow first reported that Hangry Joe’s was coming to Ballston late last year. It was initially scheduled to open in early December, but it was delayed by several weeks.

The menu mostly consists of spicy fried chicken in sandwich, tender, and nugget form. The website touts its secret chicken recipe as a reason for its success. The location is expected to serve beer and wine as well, having applied for a Virginia ABC license.

The first Hangry Joe’s was opened near Richmond in 2021 by the founder of frozen yogurt purveyor Sweet Frog.

The fast-casual franchise has since expanded rather quickly. While this is the first Arlington location, there are already eleven other locations across Northern Virginia including several in Alexandria and Fairfax County. They’ve all opened within the past year.

Currently, there are plans to open eateries in at least nine other states across the country plus one in Dubai.

With Hangry Joe’s opening, the battle for Ballston’s best hot chicken is heating up with Hot Lola’s in the Ballston Quarter food hall now facing some competition.

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The Nespresso store at the Pentagon City mall is closing (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

(Updated at 2:00 p.m.) The Nespresso store is closing at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City.

The international coffee brand announced it will be closing its Pentagon City mall location early next month with its final day on Sunday, February 5. The reason, per a company spokesperson, is “shopping trends.”

“Nespresso evaluates the marketplace and shopping trends regularly to determine how we can deliver superior customer service and a high-quality coffee experience,” the spokesperson wrote ARLnow via email. “Following our latest evaluation, we have decided to close the Pentagon City boutique.”

The decision to close this location is part of “our long-term business strategy and reflects evolving consumer trends,” said the spokesperson.

They also noted that all employees affected by the closure and are “in good standing” will be given the option of taking another role at Nespresso or a severance package. The Nespresso stores at Tysons and in Bethesda will both remain open, so presumably, employees at the Pentagon City location could be moved to those locations.

“While we are confident this is the right step for our overall business operations, this is a decision that affects real people and their families, and we know it causes challenges and uncertainties for our employees,” the spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, a new Korean corn dog eatery is coming to the mall.

Kong Dog is expected to open within the next two months, per a company spokesperson, though it’s unclear exactly where and when. The mall’s website initially said February 15, but that specific date has since been removed from the site.

Kong Dog serves up Korean-style corn dogs with toppings like cheese, fried potato, and ramen. With U.S. locations mostly centered in Illinois and New Jersey, the Pentagon City eatery appears to be the first coming to this area, though a new Georgetown location is also “coming soon” per the company’s website.

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Two new Asian restaurants are coming to Clarendon later this year.

An “authentic” Chinese dim sum restaurant called Tiger Dumpling and a Japanese izakaya-style restaurant called Izakaya 68 are coming to the 3200 block of Washington Blvd in Clarendon, signage in the window suggests.

Both restaurants are owned by the Ivea Restaurant Group, which runs a number of Asian-inspired restaurants across the region. That includes Ballston’s Gyu San, which is expected to open this year.

A spokesperson for the group told ARLnow that the two restaurants — they declined to confirm the name of the izakaya-style eatery — are now aiming for a summer opening, a bit of a pushback from the hoped-for April launch date.

The location in Clarendon was chosen due to the neighborhood’s foot traffic and because it is on the ground floor of a relatively newly constructed building, the owners said. The restaurants will be filing spaces that were previously home to Utahime and La Finca, with the former closing in 2020 and the latter in 2021.

Those restaurant spaces have seen considerable turnover, owing at least in part to the placement at the edge of the Clarendon business district, though residential development on the former Red Top Cab lot may help them feel less on the periphery to diners.

Prior restaurants that have come and gone from the spaces include pan-European pub Park Lane Tavern, ‘Top Chef’ contestant Katsuji Tanabe’s Le Kon, and “cajun seafood and sushi lounge” Asiatique.

Tiger Dumpling and Izakaya 68 are not the only Asian restaurants coming to Clarendon. Wagamama is expected to reveal an opening date for its new location in the former Oz space “shortly,” according to a spokesperson. Wagamama was recently voted the sixth-most anticipated 2023 restaurant opening in Arlington by ARLnow readers.

Hat tip to Sean Alpert

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Great Falls-based Greek restaurant Our Mom Eugenia is set to open in Shirlington (staff photo by Matt Blitz)

Our Mom Eugenia is hoping to opa next month in Shirlington.

The popular, family-owned and Great Falls-based Greek restaurant is looking to finally open its new 3,604 square-foot space at 4044 Campbell Avenue by mid-February, a restaurant manager told ARLnow. It’s moving into the former location of Aroma Indian Cuisine and next to RAMMY award-winning CHIKO, which opened in late 2021.

Our Mom Eugenia’s Shirlington opening has been delayed due to the familiar refrain of waiting on county permits. Initially, it was set to open in the fall of last year, then by the end of 2022, and, now, in February 2023.

ARLnow reported in May that the restaurant was expanding its local presence with a new Shirlington eatery.

This will be the restaurant’s third location, with the original in Great Falls and a second location in the Mosaic District that opened in 2020.

The restaurant is named after its co-owner Eugenia Hobson, a native of western Greece and a long-time local chef who cooked at several notable D.C. area Greek restaurants including Nostos in Tysons. She opened her own restaurant with her two sons in Great Falls in 2016.

The menu is full of traditional Greek dishes, including Greek salad, spanakopita, lamp chops, saganaki (fried cheese), pastitsio (Greek lasagna), dolmades (stuffed grape leaves), and grilled octopus.

Besides Our Mom Eugenia, Shirlington is expecting several other high-profile openings this year. Jeni’s Ice Cream is looking to start scooping by early spring while the two-level beer-and-coffee venue Astro Beer Hall has not yet revealed an expected opening timeframe.

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Grill Kabob is now open in Ballston on N. Glebe Road (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

A new Afghan kabob restaurant in Ballston has officially started serving.

Grill Kabob at 708 N. Glebe Road opened this past weekend, a restaurant employee confirmed.

This is the 13th area location of the local chain of family-owned eateries. The design, decor, and menu are all similar to its other locations with the menu focusing on Afghan-styled kabobs along with salads and sandwiches.

Ownership did tell ARLnow last spring that the menu might change over time depending on the popularity of certain items at the Ballston location.

ARLnow first reported that Grill Kabob was opening a new location in Ballston back in April 2022. The initial plan was to open in the summer. ARLnow has reached out to ownership about the delay but has to hear back as of publication.

Co-owner Wais Shoja said the reason that they chose this site was because of all the new apartment buildings and the abundance of  office space, as well as the Metro accessibility and the neighborhood’s continued development. While the first Grill Kabob opened in the Springfield Mall more than two decades ago, Shoja said the focus since has been to open locations near residential and office areas.

Ballston has seen an influx of development over the past few years, along with a number of other restaurant either opening recently or planning to.

Across the street from Grill Kabob, Gyu San Japanese BBQ is set to start sizzling likely later this year. Coffee shop Slipstream is aiming to open around the corner from there within the next few months as well, a spokesperson confirmed to ARLnow recently.

A few doors down from Grill Kabob, the new Ballston Silver Diner opened last month.

There’s also the impending redevelopment of the Macy’s site, also located just across the street from where Grill Kabob just opened.

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A crew putting up signage above the entrance of the new Taco Bell Cantina in Courthouse in December (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

After the pandemic disrupted the restaurant business, there was something of a lull in new restaurant openings in Arlington.

But 2023 looks to be a eventful year for restaurant openings in Arlington, as Amazon opens its HQ2 and a number of long-anticipated establishments open their doors. We’re currently tracking about 25 eateries that are hoping to open this year.

So which are you, personally, most looking forward to? For the purposes of this poll, we’ll exclude two that are mostly dessert spots — Crumbl Cookies (Langston Blvd) and Jeni’s Ice Cream (Shirlington) — as well as a couple whose progress towards opening is questionable.

Here are links to more info on each of the above:

  1. Taco Bell Cantina (Courthouse)
  2. Astro Beer Hall (Shirlington)
  3. Carbonara (Virginia Square)
  4. Our Mom Eugenia (Shirlington)
  5. Westover Taco (Westover)
  6. Gyu San Japanese BBQ (Ballston)
  7. All About Burger (Langston Blvd)
  8. Chicken + Whiskey (Clarendon)
  9. Tawle (Clarendon)
  10. Hangry Joe’s (Ballston)
  11. Wagamama (Clarendon)
  12. Grill Kabob (Ballston)
  13. Haute Dogs (Williamsburg)
  14. bb.q Chicken (Virginia Square)
  15. Sabores (Columbia Pike)
  16. Peruvian Brothers (Pentagon City/HQ2)
  17. Good Company Doughnuts & Cafe (Pentagon City/HQ2)
  18. Chase the Submarine (Pentagon City)
  19. Stella Restaurant and Lounge (Columbia Pike)
  20. Eli’s Taqueria y Restaurante (Columbia Pike)
  21. Slipstream (Ballston)

Matt Blitz contributed to this post

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Jeni’s is coming to Shirlington (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

The spring warm-up may herald the arrival of some cold treats in Shirlington.

Jeni’s Ice Cream is aiming to open its first Arlington location by early spring, a spokesperson tells ARLnow.

“As of right now, we are aiming to open in Q1 of this year,” the spokesperson said via email. “We’ll hone in on the grand opening date in the next few weeks.”

The Ohio-based ice cream shop is set to move into 4150 Campbell Avenue, the former home of rolled ice cream purveyor I-CE-NY. While this will be Jeni’s first location in Arlington, there are nearby scoop shops in Alexandria, Tysons, and D.C.

Signs announcing Jeni’s arrival first went up at the Village of Shirlington early last year, but until now there was only a sprinkling of details about an opening date. The location is still not listed on the company’s website.

Due to recent closings, Shirlington currently lacks a dedicated frozen treat shop. Yogi Castle shuttered last year while I-CE-NY closed in late 2021.

Jeni’s Ice Cream is not the only notable business set to open in Shirlington in the coming months. The well-regarded Greek restaurant Our Mom Eugenia should be opening soon as well as Astro Beer Hall, in the former Capitol City Brewing space.

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There’s a Korean fried chicken restaurant coming to Virginia Square.

A new location of bb.q Chicken is planning to open in April at 3503 Fairfax Drive, franchise co-owner Lydia Om confirmed to ARLnow.

It’s opening along Fairfax Drive at the corner of N. Lincoln Street. That’s the former location of Cosi restaurant, which closed about three years ago.

It’s also about half of a block from the Virginia Square Metro station and just down the street from the Arlington campus of George Mason University.

There are more than 130 locations of Korea-based bb.q Chicken in the United States, specializing in Korean-styled fried chicken. Among them: five locations in Northern Virginia, including in Chantilly and Falls Church.

However, those are run by different franchisees than that which is opening in Virginia Square.

The location in Virginia Square, Arlington’s first, is set to be run by Om and her husband Harrison Om. This will be their first restaurant after running a grocery store in D.C. for years. They’ve decided to open their restaurant in Arlington because they “love” to come to eat here and know there is a crowd hungry for Korean fried chicken.

Om and bb.q Chicken have applied for a Virginia ABC license and are set to serve alcohol.

Nearby, the Arlington campus of George Mason University is currently undergoing a $250 million expansion.

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Chef Tim Ma is opening two new concepts inside of the cube at Westpost in Pentagon City (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Local chef Tim Ma is reviving a popular sandwich shop and bringing it to the former Bread and Water “cube” in Pentagon City.

Ma’s well-regarded Chase the Submarine, which closed in Vienna about five years ago, is making a comeback at Westpost on S. Joyce Street in Pentagon City, the chef confirmed to ARLnow. It’s a joint venture with Scott Chung, who co-owns Bun’d Up, also located in Westpost.

The sandwich shop is moving into the relatively small “cube” space in the development’s plaza which was home to Bread and Water until this fall.

This will be Ma’s second Westpost restaurant. Chinese-American take-out eatery Lucky Danger opened on the other side of the development in July 2021.

Construction is essentially done, Ma said, and he’s just waiting on permits. The hope is to start serving within a few weeks, meaning likely later this month.

Along with that, Ma is also planning another concept in the cube.

At night, sandwiches will transform into cocktails with a new wine and cocktail bar called No Chaser. That isn’t expected to open quite yet, with Chase the Submarine opening first and No Chaser coming later this year.

Window stickers are already on plastered on the building, advertising both the new eatery and the cocktail bar.

Ma, who grew up in Centreville and previously owned Water & Wall in Virginia Square, said that all of this came together very quickly.

When Bread and Water closed in October, Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRIT) suggested the space to him. FRIT owns the mixed-use development, as well as the Village of Shirlington.

Lucky Danger has been doing quite well at Westpost since it opened about 18 months ago, Ma said, and FRIT has continued to be a “fantastic partner.”

“I’ve been very happy with my return to Arlington and, generally, very hopeful about the [dining] future of the area,” he said.

So, they decided to take the space and, then, just had to figure out what to put there. They turned to an old favorite.

“My team and I always talked about bringing [Chase the Submarine] back,” Ma said. “It was truly one of my favorites.”

Ma said, at least for the time being, this version of Chase the Submarine will be a more “consolidated” version than the previous one in Vienna. There will be fewer hot sandwiches and some different cold sandwiches.

The exact menu and website have not been released publicly quite yet, but that’s expected to be out in the coming days. He said he’s excited to be partnering with Chung, with whom he worked on a night market this past fall.

As part of the agreement to open the two new concepts, Ma extended Lucky Danger’s lease to keep it in Westpost for the foreseeable future. That future includes the opening of Amazon’s HQ2 this year, a few blocks away in Pentagon City, as well as expected development across the street on the Riverhouse property.

“I’m here to stay for a long time,” Ma said.

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Soul Wingz at Pentagon City mall (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

A new locally-owned soul food restaurant is now open at the Pentagon City mall.

Soul Wingz appears to have opened last week, per its Instagram account, after several days of practice runs the week prior. It’s located next to Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, near the entrance to the Metro.

The new restaurant serves up chicken wings, pork chops, fried fish, shrimp and grits, hush puppies, and other items.

ARLnow first reported that Soul Wingz was coming to Pentagon City back in July. The restaurant started as a pop-up in 2008 and opened a food truck in 2016. Then, a brick-and-mortar location near D.C.’s Howard University opened last year.

It took “6 years of negotiations and meetings with several potentials investors” to get the Arlington location off the ground, reads an Instagram post from late last month.

The mall has seen some turnover over the past couple of months months, as 2022 transitioned into 2023. Noodle eatery Yong Kang Street closed in November while Rosa Mexicano opened in early December.

Maizal, a Latin American street food stand, and corn dog eatery Kong Dog are both expected to open soon at the mall.

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(Updated at 10:20 p.m.) It does not appear that the Asian-inspired restaurant Wagamama will be opening in Clarendon this year.

Back in March, the London-based chain with more than 200 locations in 27 countries announced it was set to move into Oz’s former home at 2950 Clarendon Blvd by the summer. It was a move that elicited excitement from many, considering Wagamama’s popularity overseas.

Eight months later, though, brown paper remains on the windows of the 5,100-square-foot space and the Oz signage is still up above the doors, as it has been for years.

County records show a number of permit applications submitted by Wagamama for improvements to the space were rejected in June, following the approval of interior demolition permits earlier in the year. No other permit applications have been filed since June.

ARLnow reached out to several contacts for an update on the new Wagamama location but was unable to reach anyone who was able to comment prior to publication. A spokesperson told us later Wednesday evening that “the restaurant will be opening in early 2023.”

Within the last several weeks, a number of jobs were posted for the restaurant. While that likely means the project is still on, it could still be months before staff is hired and trained.

Meanwhile, a prominent space in the middle of Clarendon will continue to remain vacant. Oz closed back in the summer of 2019, meaning no restaurant has operated there for more than three years.

Prior to that, the Italian restaurant La Tagliatella occupied the building. Washington Post restaurant critic Tom Sietsema once wrote a scathing review about it saying La Tagliatella “makes a strong case for hazard pay for restaurant critics.”

Wagamama is known for its noodle dishes, ramen, and dishes inspired by Japanese, Chinese, and Korean foods.

This isn’t the first time that Wagamama has attempted to enter the D.C. area market.

Back in 2009, the chain announced it was moving into a large space in D.C.’s Penn Quarter neighborhood. Three years later, Wagamama canceled its plans for that location and still has yet to open a restaurant in the region.

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