Arlington, VA

Rasa, a fast-casual Indian restaurant based in D.C., is coming to Arlington with a new location in Crystal City.

“Rasa National Landing,” is expected to open at 2200 Crystal Drive this coming spring, near the existing Sweetgreen and Chick-fil-A restaurants. The row of restaurants is popular with the lunchtime office crowd, which these days includes employees of Amazon’s growing HQ2.

The location will mirror Rasa’s D.C. location’s colorful interior with basket swing seats, bookshelves stocked with South Asian authors, and paintings from local artist Nandita Madan, the company said in a press release.

The bowl-based menu will also stay the same, featuring popular dishes such as “Tikka Chance of Me” with chicken, pickled onions, and toasted cumin yogurt, along with “Caul Me Maybe” made with cauliflower, peanut sesame sauce, and lemon turmeric rice.

Owners Rahul Vinod and Sahil Rahmam, who have long worked as a duo, have introduced one more to their team: Washington Redskins tight end Vernon Davis, who is now an investor and brand ambassador.

“Once I tried the food, I immediately fell in love,” said Davis in a press release. “I loved Sahil and Rahul’s energy and passion. I could tell they were driven to succeed and most importantly their humility was few and far between.”

Rahman and Vinod opened Rasa in December 2017 in D.C.’s Navy Yard area, with the goal of making Indian cuisine more accessible, at a $10 price point. Davis, who also attended Dunbar High School in D.C., also owns several area Jamba Juice franchises.

Rasa also recently announced a second D.C. location, in the Mt. Vernon Triangle neighborhood.

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A new bubble tea joint is coming to Rosslyn.

Permits have been filed for a Gong Cha Tea Shop at 1650 Wilson Blvd, across from the new Arlington Public Schools facility The Heights.

There is a Gong Cha international franchise with locations throughout D.C. and Maryland with a Fairfax location in Annandale (4230 Annandale Road) that opened earlier this year.

The chain offers bubble tea — a tea-based drink with pearls of tapioca balls — at a variety of sweetnesses. It also offers egg waffle dishes with ice cream.

There was no evidence of construction activity at 1650 Wilson Blvd and Gong Cha could not be reached to learn when the shop will be opening.

Hat tip to Chris Slatt

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A new fast-casual taco restaurant from one of Arlington’s most prolific restaurateurs is slated to open in late September in Rosslyn, according to a spokesman.

“Taco Rock” from chef Mike Cordero will be located at 1501 Wilson Blvd, in the former Spinfire Pizza space.

The approximately 2,500-square-foot space will be rock-and-roll themed, with a large ceiling guitar and graffiti-style art throughout. There will be space for 50 diners and an 18-seat bar.

The menu will feature specialty tacos served on homemade blue corn tortillas, plus appetizers like corn elotes, ceviche, and “hot Cheeto jalapeño poppers.”

In addition, the restaurant will offer an extensive drink menu featuring tequila cocktails and Mexican beers.

Taco Rock will be Cordero’s ninth Northern Virginia establishment. Currently, Cordeo co-owns the popular Arlington bars Don Tito and The G.O.A.T, and is the force behind the just-opened Bronson Bier Hall in Ballston.

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Crystal City may not be without an Irish pub for much longer.

Fiona’s Irish Pub (567 23rd Street S.) closed suddenly in June, after only a few months in business. Signs in the window said the closure was temporary, but those signs have since been replaced with new ones announcing McNamara’s Pub and Restaurant.

Signs say McNamara’s will be opening soon, though inside much of the decorations and furniture still bear the Fiona’s Irish Pub logo.

Owners of the pub could not be reached for comment, but staff at a nearby restaurant said they were told it would also be an Irish pub. McNamara’s will be stepping into a space that has a long history as a pub, with Fiona’s being preceded by local sports bar Tortoise and Hare.

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A new hot pot restaurant is coming to 2301 Columbia Pike, near William Jeffrey’s Tavern.

The restaurant, called Supreme Hot Pot, is set for interior construction along S. Adams Street, on the ground floor of the Siena Park Apartments.

According to a permit application, Supreme will be a Chinese hot pot restaurant with an electric cooktop on each table, allowing customers to cook their own boiled soup pot. The storefront has been vacant since the building was constructed, the permit application says.

The company is listed as Supreme Hot Pot LLC, which filed with the Virginia State Corporation Commission in April.

So far there’s no word on when the restaurant is hoping to open.

Hat tip to Chris Slatt. Jay Westcott contributed to this story.

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Update at 3:55 p.m. on 8/29/19 — Bronson appears to be currently open as part of an unannounced “soft opening.”

Earlier: Ballston’s new beer hall is set to open its doors and its bench seating Friday afternoon.

Bronson Bier Hall, the Germanic successor to A-Town Bar and Grill at 4100 Fairfax Drive, will open at 3 p.m. Friday, according to co-owner Scott Parker. Starting Saturday Bronson will be open at 11 a.m. daily, he said.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to be opening,” Parker told ARLnow. “So much hard work has gone into it, and the day is finally here. We can’t wait to see everyone this weekend!”

Bronson offers a beer selection that includes a mix of local beers and German imports, and a food menu that features schnitzel and bratwurst. Games at the beer hall include shuffleboard, darts and ping pong.

The new watering hole is planning grand opening events on Friday, Sept. 6 and Saturday, Sept. 7. Per a Facebook event post:

Bronson will be open all day with the grand opening celebrations beginning around 8 PM both nights. We will be celebrating the opening with friends and family, and enjoying pretzels, beers, brats and amazing live music. Guests will enjoy playing table games, corn hole, ping pong and more! As always, Bronson is first come — first serve. There is no guest list: come one, come all! We are so excited to be bringing Ballston the Bierhall that it deserves, and we look forward to having a great time with all of you! See you on the 6th and 7th!

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Renegade Coffee and Kitchen is coming to the former Mister Days space at 3100 Clarendon Blvd.

“What we’ve got is full-service espresso with Stumptown Coffee,” said Patrick Crump, executive chef and owner of Renegade Coffee and Kitchen.

The Portland-based Stumptown Coffee is widely lauded, but a rare sight in the D.C. region. Taps are are being set up along the new coffee bar to serve nitro cold brew coffee. The unique offerings could help Renegade stand out, and steady daytime business could help the business afford the high Clarendon rent, but the restaurant faces plenty of competition, including a Peet’s Coffee across the street.

Other coffee competition in Clarendon competition includes Northside SocialWaterhouse CoffeeHeritage BrewingOby LeeDetour CoffeeBakeshopDunkin Donuts, Starbucks and the future East West Cafe and Kaldi’s Social House.

Crump is no stranger to Clarendon. He’s executive chef at Clarendon Ballroom, Spider Kelly’s and formerly Clarendon Grill — which closed in October after 22 years. Crump’s vision for Renegade is a full-service restaurant with an international menu — including cuisine from Morocco to Vietnam. The menu will mostly be small bites from around $3 to $5, he said.

Another part of the restaurant’s aim is helping to revive the local live music scene. The coffee bar only takes up one corner of the restaurant, so the rest is filled with seating, with plans to use some of it as a music venue — taking up the crown left unclaimed in the wake of Clarendon Grill and Iota Club and Cafe’s closures.

“We want to replace Iota for live music,” said Eric Anderson, general manager and partner. “We want to bring that back.”

In the evenings, Crump plans to turn the area into a nightclub to help carry on the Mister Days legacy.

The coffee shop is still working through some permit approvals, but the owners said they expect Renegade to open within five or six weeks. In the meantime, the company is currently hiring full and part-time baristas, servers and bartenders.

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Morning Notes

Bronson Opening on Friday — “The owners of A-Town Bar and Grill are opening a new German beer hall this week that will replace the popular gathering place for hard-partying bros in Ballston. Bronson is scheduled to open Thursday, August 29 Friday, August 30 in the 6,000-square-foot space at 4100 Fairfax Drive in Arlington.” [Eater]

Rising Home Prices Not Caused By HQ2 Workers — “The first Amazon employees have barely arrived in Northern Virginia, but the housing market close to the company’s new headquarters in Arlington County is behaving as if all 25,000 workers are moving in next week… The lightning speed of sales, the shortage of homes on the market and the elevated prices for available stock are all being driven by those who already call the Washington region home, real estate agents say.” [Washington Post]

HQ2ers May Work on Hardware Development — Amazon “said that its second headquarters would work on device development, specifically naming Amazon Fire TV… And it expressed interest in students who study ‘data science,’ they said. Amazon also said there will be plenty of non-tech related jobs at HQ2, such as in administration, human resources and program management.” [Washington Business Journal]

PSA: Move Over for Emergency Vehicles — “ACFD, @ffxfirerescue and @AlexandriaVAFD units battled major traffic in efforts to provide help on a serious accident with a person trapped on I395. Remember, if you can’t pull to the right, help open enough space lane for emergency vehicles to pass.” [Twitter]

Review of Signature’s ‘Assassins’ — “An odd little smile crosses the face of Bobby Smith as he relates the disordered thoughts of presidential killer Charles J. Guiteau in Signature Theatre’s perversely entertaining revival of ‘Assassins.’ In what twisted frame of mind would this man have to be to boast of his horrific homicidal achievement — and not just boast, but sing about it, too?” [Washington Post, Playbill]

Nearby: Man Dies After Bailey’s Crossroads Crash — “Detectives from our Crash Reconstruction Unit have preliminarily determined that Solomon Zelelew, of Alexandria City, was walking on a sidewalk near Columbia Pike and Carlin Springs Road. A 2015 Toyota Corolla was traveling west on Columbia Pike when the driver, in an attempt to avoid another vehicle, drove onto the sidewalk and hit Mr. Zelelew.” [Fairfax County Police Department]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Zoup! Eatery could be opening in Ballston —  the chain’s first Arlington location — by the end of October.

The soup joint is opening in 4401 Fairfax Drive, occupying the ground floor of an office building undergoing a revitalization effort. A contractor working at the site said much of the work should be done within the next few weeks.

(The building is also home to a new University of Phoenix campus and a reportedly forthcoming poke restaurant.)

“We’re setting up ‘soft opening’ days on Oct. 18 and 19 with proceeds going to charity, opening to the public on Oct 21,” franchise owner Jim Beverley said in an email to ARLnow, “and then doing a grand opening celebration 6 weeks or so after that… we haven’t nailed that down yet though.”

As the name implies, the restaurant specializes in soup, but it also offers a wide variety along with salads, sandwiches and more. The soups include vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free options served alongside a hunk of freshly-baked bread.

A press release for Zoup! Eatery noted that the company will also offer takeout and delivery options.

“Long before I even thought of becoming a franchisee, I was a Zoup! regular,” Beverley said in the press release. “A friend jokingly called me an addict after seeing my umpteenth Zoup! bag. I love Zoup!’s gourmet soups, fresh salads and sandwiches, delicious new Sustain-a-Bowls, and zesty craft beverages. I can’t wait to bring the Zoup! experience to my friends and neighbors in Ballston!”

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The new Rosslyn location of juice, smoothie and acai bowl emporium South Block is expected to open its doors on Monday.

Located at 1550 Wilson Blvd, the new South Block — the “Arlington born and bred” company’s 10th location — is next to BASH Boxing in the former Cafe Asia space. The 1,300 square foot space includes a mural created by local artists MasPaz and CheLove.

South Block is planning to host a soft opening in Rosslyn starting Monday, August 26. The eatery is scheduled to be open weekdays from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. and weekends from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

“When I opened my first location, I had no idea what to expect,” said owner and Northern Virginia native Amir Mostafavi, in a statement. “I’m not sure what ‘making it’ really means! I still don’t think I’ve made it… but I hope my story inspires others to pursue their passions.”

A subsequent grand opening event is planned next month. More from a press release:

South Block’s “good vibe tribe” will be out in full force at the Grand Opening “Block Party” on Saturday, September 7 at 9 a.m. The first 100 “Block Party” attendees will receive a swag bag complete with a reusable smoothie cup, sunglasses, and some fun surprises from local community partners. There will be plenty of fun surprises for all who attend while a live DJ keeps the good vibes rolling!

WHO: South Block Rosslyn
WHAT: South Block Rosslyn’s Grand Opening “Block Party”
WHEN: Saturday, September 7, 2019 at 9 a.m. (Store opens to the public on Monday, August 26).
WHERE: South Block | 1550 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22209

All proceeds on September 7 will go to South Block’s fundraising initiative, Fruitful Planet, to support the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC), a community-based non-profit that provides supplemental groceries to Arlington neighbors in need. South Block created Fruitful Planet as a way to give back to those in need and build healthy communities. “We believe that small acts can make a big impact! The Arlington community has been so great to South Block… we want to do everything we can to support the community and show love back said Mostafavi.

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(Updated 10 a.m.) The Little Beet, a veggie-focused eatery, is scheduled to open in the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City.

Diners can find The Little Beet underneath the escalators on the food court level, next to the Auntie Anne’s Pretzels. A listing on the mall’s website said the eatery is expected to open on Sunday, Sept. 15.

The restaurant features an entirely gluten-free menu and a variety of vegetables, proteins and sauces, to be mixed into a bowl with rice, lettuce or quinoa, similar to chains like Sweetgreen and Cava. The restaurant offers fish and meat, but also features vegan options, which are largely lacking in the current food court.

The new Pentagon City mall eatery is the New York-based chain’s second location in Arlington, after one at 1800 N. Lynn Street in Rosslyn.

The wrap around the exterior of the store indicated that Little Beet is looking to hire staff for the eatery, though no job listings were available online as of Wednesday.

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