Press Club

Our Mom Eugenia, a popular Great Falls-based Greek restaurant, is opening a new outpost in Shirlington.

The family-owned Greek eatery is aiming to open by the fall, a press release announced. It’s moving into the 3,604 square-foot space at 4044 Campbell Avenue, next to CHIKO which opened late last year.

Our Mom Eugenia appears to be replacing Aroma Indian Cuisine. In early 2020, that restaurant moved from next door into the larger location. Prior to that, 4044 Campbell Avenue was the location of Hula Girl Bar and Grill but that restaurant closed in 2019.

There’s no word yet on when or if Aroma will be closing to make way for Eugenia.

This will be Our Mom Eugenia’s third location, with the original opening in Great Falls in 2016. The second location in the Mosaic District started serving in August 2020.

The restaurant is owned and named after Eugenia Hobson. A long-time local chef, she was born and raised in western Greece. She cooked at a number of other area Greek restaurants, before opening her own business a few years ago with her two sons.

“Eugenia learned the secrets of Greek cuisine from her grandmother for whom she is named,” notes a press release.

The menu consists of traditional Greek fare, like avgolémono soup, dolmades (stuffed grape leaves), pastitsio (Greek lasagna), grilled octopus, lamb chops, spanakopita, and saganaki (fried cheese).

Our Mom Eugenia is the latest in a line of other notable restaurants and businesses looking to open later this year in Shirlington. Astro Beer Hall is moving into the former Capitol City Brewing space and is aiming for a fall 2022 opening as well. Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls is also potentially looking at an early fall starting date. Last month, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream also announced its move into Shirlington, though the company only provided a sprinkling of details beyond that.

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Hawkers, the Asian street food restaurant chain, is now aiming for a mid-August opening in Ballston.

The eatery was initially supposed to open back in spring 2021 and, then, June of this year, but supply chain issues have delayed it now twice, the company says.

“Because so much of our equipment is incredibly specialized to fit our concept — for instance, our wok stations are all completely customized to our menu, and our electrical panels are customized to handle our neon signage installations — the supply chain constraints delayed our construction timeline,” writes a company spokesperson. “Our manufacturers and suppliers worked as quickly as they could, but they could only build as specific parts and electrical components became available.”

The growing chain first announced it was opening a location at 4201 Wilson Blvd, on the ground floor of the Ballston Exchange office complex, nearly two years ago in July 2020.

Orlando-based Hawkers was founded in 2011 when “four best friends joined forces (like the Avengers, but better) to bring the streets of Asia to the streets of Orlando, Fla.” The restaurant has about a dozen open locations in several different states. That includes a Bethesda outpost — the first in the D.C. area — which opened in late 2020.

The menu highlights street food from across the Asian continent, including dim sum, baos, chicken wings, pad Thai, noodle dishes, and fried rice.

When the new Ballston location opens in a few months, it will be the first Hawkers in Virginia and the first to have a take-out window.

“The Ballston community is vibrant, full of energy, and incredibly social — all of which are qualities that align perfectly with the Hawkers brand,” the spokesperson said, when asked why the company chose the neighborhood. “We cannot wait to open our doors and get to know the Ballston community on a deeper level.”

The restaurant is currently hiring servers, bartenders, line cooks, hosts and dishwashers.

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JINYA Ramen Bar is set to open its newest location in Ballston this weekend.

The noodle eatery says its official opening will happen this Saturday (May 21) at 11 a.m. The first hundred people in line will get free ramen. Additionally, there will be specials, a live DJ, and coupon giveaways.

The restaurant first announced it was coming to the space adjacent to the Quarter Market food hall in November. It was formerly occupied by Copa Kitchen & Bar, a Spanish tapas restaurant and soccer-watching venue. That restaurant closed in the fall 2021.

JINYA was initially aiming to open in March but experienced delays “common in construction,” according to a spokesperson.

This will be the restaurant chain’s fifth D.C.-area location with other locations in Reston, Merrifield, D.C., and Bethesda. It has locations across the United States and several in Canada.

JINYA Ramen’s D.C. area locations are all owned by Sam Shoja, a company spokesperson confirmed. He’s also the co-owner of Paraiso in D.C. and previously held a stake in Hot Lola’s, which has a location in Ballston Quarter and is another that is opening in Rosslyn soon.

JINYA eatery specializes in ramen made with broths that are simmered for up to 20 hours, according to its website.

“JINYA is ramen culture, where the relationship between broth and noodles is serious but delicious business,” the company previously said a press release. “From the water we use to prepare our broths — we only use FUJI which is 99.9 percent free from impurities — to the special aging process that our noodles undergo before they’re cooked and served, we’re crazy about ramen and pay meticulous attention to everything that goes into your bowl… You’ll quickly see why at JINYA we say, No ramen, no life.'”

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A new cafe and lounge is hoping to open in Crystal City within the next couple of months, the owner tells ARLnow.

Crush Cafe at 546 23rd Street S. comes from Yoseph Abegaz, who owns Flirt Lounge next door. It’s filling a space that was once occupied by a dry cleaners and shoe repair shop. The location was first rented last June and a building permit to alter the interior was first applied for in September.

The new cafe is set to serve coffee, Abegaz tells ARLnow, as well as beer, wine, and mixed alcoholic beverages.

Abegaz described the new cafe as essentially an “expansion” of Flirt Lounge, a hookah bar and lounge that opened in 2016. He declined to give an exact timeframe about when his newest venture may open, only that they are still in the midst of licensing and permits.

It will be at least a “couple of months” before Crush Cafe can open, Abegaz said.

That strip of 23rd Street S. is known as “restaurant row.” With Amazon HQ2 moving in down the road and extensive development happening in the neighborhood, there remains some questions of the aging, low-slung retail strip’s long term viability.

Nonetheless, much like Crush Cafe, new eateries continue to set their sights there.

Beauty Champagne & Sugar Boutique just started serving bubbly earlier this month at the corner of 23rd Street S. and Fern Street. A halal restaurant franchise is hoping to open a new concept by the end of the year on S. Eads Street, just around the corner from Crush Cafe’s new home. A half block down, a Korean rice dog eatery was planning for an early 2022 opening but that appears to be delayed, with the restaurant’s website still not accepting orders.

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(Updated at 3:50 p.m.) B Live, a live music venue and restaurant, is officially opening to the public this week in the former Whitlow’s on Wilson space.

“The space, which was formerly a portion of beloved classic Whitlow’s on Wilson, will allow guests to engage with the local music scene and enjoy food and drink with a nostalgic, retro diner feel,” said a press release. “B Live will feature live performances 5 nights a week, with a rotating line-up of acoustic solo performances, live bands, and djs.”

The venue at 2854 Wilson Blvd is set to open on Thursday (May 12) with limited bar snacks menu. A full menu and brunch will start serving later in this month on May 25. The first three live musical acts are set with Bryen O’Boyle performing Thursday, My Hero Zero on Friday, and 8 Track Jones on Saturday.

B Live is the latest venture from Michael Bramson, owner of The Lot beer garden and Clarendon Pop-Up Bar in the Clarendon Ballroom space, both of which are located less than a half a mile away from his newest nightlife hangout.

B Live is occupying about 4,100 square feet of what was once Whitlow’s, the beloved Clarendon nightlife spot that closed last June. Capacity will be under 300, including a planned outdoor dining area with seating for 48.

Another Bramson concept, dubbed Coco B’s, is set to open on the rooftop later in the summer.

The interior of B Live “pay[s] homage to live music history” with vinyl record covers and musicians collages lining the walls, and “music hall lighting” adding to the ambiance.

The highlight is a mural entitled “Legends Live Forever” featuring caricatures of musicians such as “Bob Marley, Prince, and Janis Joplin crossing the famed Penny Lane in Beatle-esque fashion.” It was created by local artists Michael Pacheco and Rodrigo Pradel.

“There will be plenty of photo ops throughout the space: find your favorite album on the wall, stand by one of Legends that Live Forever, or snag a photo in front of a neon sign saying ‘bad decisions make good stories,'” notes the release.

The menu, though not yet finalized, is set to be curated by Chef Juan “Nacho” Olivera, formerly of Virginia Square’s Detour Coffee Co. and other local restaurants. There will be an all-day brunch menu, “Clarendon’s only DIY Bloody Mary Bar,” and “cereal milk shooters.”

“Cereal milk from childhood favorites like Lucky Charms, Fruity Pebbles, and Cocoa Puffs will be infused with vodka and liqueur and served in 4 oz mini cereal bowls,” the release says.

ARLnow reported that B Live was coming to the former Whitlow’s space in December, after Five Guys pulled out of a deal to come to the location.

In March, neighbors brought up concerns about noise at the new venue.

“We are all in support of music, we are all in support of living in an urban dwelling, we understand the considerations that come with living in these neighborhoods,” one neighbor told the County Board after it approved use permits for the space. “But it’s now at a point on Wilson Blvd, in Clarendon, that it’s having a tremendous impact on individuals.”

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Salad shop Chopt plans to open its new Ballston location next month, touting the chain’s new “sustainable restaurant design.”

The Chopt at 4201 Wilson Blvd — in the Ballston Exchange complex, near Shake Shack — will open on a yet-to-be-announced date in June. It will feature “a more eco-friendly means of operating… the first of its kind for the brand, designed explicitly to have a reduced environmental impression,” according to a press release.

The eatery will also emphasize contactless ordering, much like its burger-oriented neighbor, with self-service kiosks and QR codes for ordering at the tables.

“At 1,912 sq ft, Ballston seats 16 guests total, 10 at the bar with views of the salad making station and 6 in a large booth,” said the release. “The storefront will be the first Chopt to go to complete contactless ordering with a variety of advanced ways to order its creative salads, wraps and warm bowls, including self-service kiosks and new QR code tableside ordering and delivery.”

Chopt will compete fellow salad chain Sweetgreen — located two blocks away, along Wilson Blvd — for the patronage of Ballston’s office and apartment dwellers.

In addition to a number of locations in the District, Chopt has existing locations in Rosslyn and McLean.

The full press release is below.

Chopt, the fast-casual salad pioneer, announces plans to expand its footprint in Virginia with a new sustainable restaurant design set to open in the Ballston Exchange at 4201 Wilson Blvd Suite 0185 this June. Opening dates to come.

Chopt’s goal has always been to find a more eco-friendly means of operating and the Ballston restaurant is the first of its kind for the brand, designed explicitly to have a reduced environmental impression. This store will have an energy efficient HVAC system, smaller spatial footprint, energy efficient kitchen wares, and streamlined operations to lower overall energy consumption, and potentially, GHG emissions.

“Sustainability is on everyone’s mind right now and it’s a focus for us as we build and design each new restaurant,” said Dennis Lee, VP of Development at Founders Table. “We’ve invested in shrinking our environmental footprint, and made an effort to quantify the energy savings associated with the new store model – we look forward to seeing how our work can continue to evolve.”

At 1,912 sq ft, Ballston seats 16 guests total, 10 at the bar with views of the salad making station and 6 in a large booth. The storefront will be the first Chopt to go to complete contactless ordering with a variety of advanced ways to order its creative salads, wraps and warm bowls, including self-service kiosks and new QR code tableside ordering and delivery. In addition to its classic and customer craft salad options, Chopt creates limited-edition “Destination Menus” and Ballston will open with Destination California.

“We eagerly anticipate this opening, to see how our customers respond to the new store design,” said Julie Atkinson, Chopt’s Chief Marketing Officer. “It’s important to play our part in improving our environmental impact and we’ll continue to make decisions with this in mind across all of our efforts.”

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Late night chalupas and booze appears to be coming soon to Courthouse, with Taco Bell preparing to open its newest Cantina location.

A permit was filed earlier this week for a new Taco Bell at 2039 Wilson Blvd, county records show. The location is likely to be the fast food chain’s restaurant-bar combo, Taco Bell Cantina, as reported by the Washington Business Journal.

The permit notes that work is being limited to the first floor and will include a new HVAC system, electrical, plumbing, furniture, and kitchen equipment. A single-use restroom will also be part of the construction.

The space at 2039 Wilson Blvd was formerly after-work staple Guarapo Lounge, which closed nearly six years ago after being open for a decade and a half. Next door is a post office.

It appears that Taco Bell will be just filling the space’s 2,166-square-foot first floor, leaving the second floor open for another tenant.

The restaurant’s dining room will have an occupancy of 48 and the queuing area of a dozen, per the Washington Business Journal.

It’s unclear when the new eatery might open.

“We don’t have any details to share currently,” a Taco Bell spokesperson told ARLnow.

If this new Courthouse location does end up being a Taco Bell Cantina, it will be the third regional location of the fast food spin-off. This includes eateries in Old Town Alexandria and in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of D.C.

The main difference between a regular Taco Bell and a Cantina is that the latter sells alcohol, including beer, wine, sangria, and “Twisted Freezes.”

This would notably be a return to the neighborhood for the chain. More than a decade ago, there was a Taco Bell on the hill between Rosslyn and Courthouse — alongside the late, lamented bar Dr. Dremo’s — before the old buildings were demolished and a new mixed-use development at 2001 Clarendon Blvd went up.

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With construction nearly complete, Bar Ivy in Clarendon is aiming to open later this month.

Tables and chairs are already out at the large outdoor cafe at 3033 Wilson Blvd, located a block from the Clarendon Metro station. Workers appeared to be putting the finishing touches on the coffee kiosk as much of the signage has also gone up.

The hope is to open Bar Ivy sometime in the second half of May, a spokesperson tells ARLnow.

The mostly outdoor bar and restaurant was first proposed to the County Board in October 2020. Construction began last summer.

Bar Ivy is aiming for a “cool, relaxed vibe of the West Coast with a Mid-Atlantic approach to ingredients,” said an April press release. It’s set to have a large 125-seat patio that will be shaded by mature crepe myrtles. There will also be a 20-seat interior bar plus several booths.

“Guests can expect an elegant but laid-back atmosphere with subtle influences from the opposite coast, with attractive garden dining, an open, airy bungalow-style interior,” the release says.

Bar Ivy is from D.C.-based Blagden Hospitality Group, which owns several popular bars and restaurants in the District as well as Hei Hei Tiger in Tysons. This is the restaurant group’s first foray into Arlington, though Bar Ivy chef/owner Nathan Beauchamp and Executive Chef Jonathan Till previously worked at Restaurant Eve and Evening Star Cafe, respectively, in Alexandria.

The name, according to Arlington Magazine, is a nod to the ivy at D.C.’s Calico and the famed Los Angeles restaurant often frequented by celebrities.

Bar Ivy will initially be open for dinner with a small kiosk serving coffee and pastries all day. The plan is to eventually serve lunch and brunch as well.

The menu will be “heavily influenced by seafood and vegetable-forward dishes,” according to the press release.

The beverage program will be “seasonal herb and produce-forward” along with house-made fortified wines, vermouth, and amari utilizing “self-foraged ingredients.” There will also be a separate menu dedicated to low/no-alcohol drinks.

The menu and exact hours are expected to be announced in the coming weeks. The restaurant group is already planning to open a second Bar Ivy in Bethesda.

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Morning Notes

Blooming trees and the dog park at Gateway Park in Rosslyn (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Animal Shelter at Capacity — “Our dog kennels are at capacity (every single kennel is occupied)… but what about your home? That extra seat on your couch sure would be a lot cuter with a furry friend curled up on it.” [Animal Welfare League of Arlington, Fox 5]

Parents Peeved at Teacher Transfer — From an online petition with nearly 500 signatures: “Dr. Sharon Gaston has worked at Taylor Elementary school for 12 years as the lead reading specialist. For the past 11 years she was appointed under 2 different principals as their designee. This past school year she applied to be the principal and unfortunately was passed over. The new principal… is transferring her to a high school. Why? We want answers.” [Change.org]

APS Announces New Principals — “So happy and proud to announce that Ms. Frances Lee has been appointed as the next principal of Ashlawn Elementary! She is currently assistant principal of Escuela Key.” “At the April 28 School Board meeting, the School Board appointed Ms. Bridget Loft as the new Swanson principal. Her appointment is effective May 3.” [Twitter, Arlington Public Schools]

New Japanese Eatery at Mall Food Court — “Sarku Japan… The largest and most successful Japanese Quick Service Restaurant chain in the US is coming! Come celebrate the grand opening of Sarku Japan at Fashion Centre at Pentagon City. Sample their famous signature chicken teriyaki at the food court.” [Twitter]

Arlington Man Sentenced for Bias Attack — “A man from Arlington, Virginia, was found guilty and sentenced Friday for a hate crime attack on two Latino construction workers back in 2019. A judge sentenced Kurt Madsen, 53, to 540 days — nearly a year and a half — in jail, but suspended his term to time served as long as he completes two years of probation. Before his trial, Madsen spent 160 days in jail.” [WTOP, U.S. DOJ]

Police Memorial Ceremony Planned — “The annual Arlington County Peace Officers Memorial Day Ceremony will be held on Tuesday, May 10 at 8 a.m. at the Arlington County Justice Center, 1425 North Courthouse Road… The public is invited; the event also will be live streamed through the county government’s Facebook page.” [Sun Gazette]

Metro Starting to Buy Electric Buses — “New details of Metro’s Zero-Emission Bus Transition Plan, presented at this week’s meeting of the Board of Directors, outlines how the agency will transition to a zero-emission bus fleet including testing and evaluation, infrastructure and facility upgrades, and procurement efforts.” [WMATA]

It’s Monday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 76 and low of 61. Sunrise at 6:10 am and sunset at 8:03 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Burrito buffs will finally be able to get their Chipotle fix in Clarendon.

The granddaddy of all fast-casual, assembly-line style eateries is opening its latest Arlington location today at 10:45 a.m., and offering the first 50 people in line “complimentary Chipotle Goods merchandise.”

It’s the county’s sixth Chipotle and the first that we’re aware of with a walk-up ordering window — though it was not immediately clear this morning where that window is located.

“Chipotle Mexican Grill is opening a new Clarendon Blvd restaurant on Thursday, April 28 with a walk up window,” a PR rep said. “This location will be the brand’s 6th location in Arlington, joining existing sites in Ballston, Crystal City, Columbia Pike, Pentagon City, and at the Lee Heights Shops.”

After years of hope and rumors, Chipotle’s impending arrival in the former Pete’s New Haven Apizza space at 3017 Clarendon Blvd was revealed by ARLnow in February. Now less than three months later — an impossibly speedy permitting and construction process by Arlington standards — it’s opening its doors.

The new Chipotle will be open daily from 10:45 a.m. to 10 p.m. The store is currently hiring, the PR rep noted.

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Morning Notes

Dogwoods in bloom along Arlington’s Bluemont Trail (Flickr pool photo by Tom Mockler)

Taco Bell Returning to Courthouse — “Arlington’s Courthouse neighborhood has gone more than a decade without a Taco Bell. That sad period in its history will soon come to an end. The fast-food chain’s restaurant-bar combo, Taco Bell Cantina, will replace a portion of the multistory Guarapo, the lounge-tapas-hookah bar place that shuttered roughly six years ago, according to plans obtained from Construction Journal.” [Washington Business Journal]

Farewell, Farmbird — “It sounds like D.C. Farmbird locations are now closed, in addition to the Ballston location… People could be seen hauling items out of the Farmbird in Ballston today after an online auction for the restaurant’s equipment.” [Twitter, Barred in DC]

Economic Development Director Leaving — “Telly Tucker, Arlington Economic Development’s director for the last couple years, is leaving that post and heading back to his old stomping grounds in south-central Virginia to helm a regional economic development group there. Effective May 31, Tucker will be the maiden president for the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research.” [Washington Business Journal]

Clarendon Sector Plan Changes Approved — “The Board voted to adopt certain elements of the Clarendon Sector Plan that include:
An update to the 2006 plan, which includes several revisions to policies and design guidelines related to future development. General Land Use Plan (GLUP) Map and Booklet amendments. Zoning ordinance amendments to coincide with the updated sector plan.” [Arlington County]

Beyer Gets Some Conservative Points — “Is U.S. Rep. Don Beyer getting more conservative as his congressional career continues? By one measure the answer is ‘yes,’ although nobody is likely to confuse him with Barry Goldwater anytime soon. Beyer (D-8th) garnered a score of 5 on a 0-to-100 scorecard detailed by the American Conservative Union Foundation on April 26, based on votes taken during the 2021 congressional session. That’s up from 4 a year before.” [Sun Gazette]

Rosslyn ‘Doggie Spa Day’ Today — “Calling all Rosslyn dogs and their humans! Pamper your pup with… special treats for your furry friend. Come out to the Gateway Park Interim Dog Park on… Thursday, April 28 from 3:30-5:30 p.m. for our Rosslyn Refresh pup giveaways at the Rosslyn Trike!” [Rosslyn BID]

Carillon Dedication Scheduled — “A community event and Freedom Concert to mark the rededication of the Netherlands Carillon adjacent to the U.S. Marine War Memorial (Iwo Jima Memorial) will be held on Thursday, May 5 from 10 a.m. to noon. The date marks the 77th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands by Allied Forces during World War II.” [Sun Gazette]

It’s Thursday — Clear throughout the day, after a chilly and breezy morning. High of 57 and low of 35. Sunrise at 6:15 am and sunset at 7:59 pm. [Weather.gov]

Flickr pool photo by Tom Mockler

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