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by ARLnow.com — April 26, 2016 at 11:30 am 0

Rosslyn is getting a new bourbon bar and neighborhood hangout.

Barley Mac, located in the former Red, Hot & Blue space at 1600 Wilson Blvd, is set to open later this week. An official opening date has not been announced yet, but a safe bet is to expect a couple of quiet, “soft opening” periods, followed by a more official opening later this week, perhaps Thursday or Friday.

The ownership group behind Barley Mac is a familiar one — you’ve heard of some of their other, highly successful bar/restaurant ventures, notably A-Town Bar and Grill in Ballston and Don Tito in Clarendon. Barley Mac, says partner Scott Parker, will be the group’s most mature, food-centric establishment yet.

Case in point: the pedigree of some of the team members behind the restaurant. Executive chef Jeremy Magnanelli got his culinary start at the prestigious Inn at Little Washington, and most recently was sous chef at Lincoln Restaurant in D.C. Beverage program manager Mitch Johnson comes by way of the Robert Wiedmaier Group.

(Other team members include executive chef Mike Cordero, who is creating the menu, and interior designer Yvette Irene.)

The food menu, still a work in progress, is billed as “American tavern cuisine with an Italian twist.” In terms of drinks there will of course be draft beer and craft cocktails, but the star of the show will be the whiskey selection. Parker says to expect more than 100 whiskeys, half of which are bourbons.

Among the whiskeys on the menu: Elijah Craig 18 year, Hudson Baby Bourbon, A. Smith Bowman whiskey from Fredericksburg, Old Rip Van Winkle, Whistle Pig Rye, plus Yamazaki and Hibiki Japanese whiskeys.

Barley Mac has been more than a year in the making but Parker says the wait will be worth it. He and his partners are expecting Barley Mac to be another smashing success, thanks to pent up demand for a go-to after-work spot for those who live and work in Rosslyn.

The Rosslyn market, he said, is “underserved” by existing restaurants, particularly when it comes to happy hour and late night options.

“We expect to be really busy from day one,” Parker said. “We think Rosslyn has a lot of good spots but it doesn’t have that neighborhood gathering place. That’s what we’re aiming to be, the go-to spot… the place in Rosslyn everybody knows.”

Barley Mac plans to remain open until 2 a.m. seven days a week. It expects to serve only dinner this week, with lunch service added next week. After about a month, Barley Mac will offer a “huge brunch buffet” on weekends and will also add outdoor, patio dining options.

by ARLnow.com — April 19, 2016 at 1:35 pm 0

A slick new burger restaurant and bar has opened in Courthouse.

Basic Burger pairs a relatively straightforward menu — burgers, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, fries, salads, shakes — with a clean, modern interior and a bar offering beer, cider and wine.

It’s a bit Shake Shack-esque, with some unique touches, including sweet potato fries, onion rings, fried pickles and fizzy beverages from “craft soda” brand Stubborn Soda.

Located at 2024 Wilson Blvd, just down from the now-closed Wendy’s and up from Ray’s Hell Burger, Basic Burger opened for business on Monday. Its hours are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

by ARLnow.com — April 11, 2016 at 3:00 pm 0

A Sweetgreen restaurant is coming to Clarendon, according to construction permits.

Sweetgreen will be located in a restaurant space next to Bronx Pizza, on the ground floor of the recently renovated 3100 Clarendon Blvd office building. The space appears to be in the early stages of interior construction.

This will be the fourth Sweetgreen in Arlington. The salad purveyor also has locations in Ballston, Crystal City and another on the way in Pentagon City.

Thus far there is no opening date announced for the Clarendon Sweetgreen. The new location does not currently appear on the company’s website.

A previous effort at selling fancy, fast casual salads to the Clarendon masses, Rabbit, closed in 2013 after two years in business. It was located one block away from the future Sweetgreen.

by ARLnow.com — April 11, 2016 at 10:10 am 0

Lest there be any doubt that our tipsters were right about what’s replacing the now-closed Greene Turtle in Ballston, signs are now up announcing a new Applebee’s location.

The signs, on the ground floor of 900 N. Glebe Road, say the restaurant is “coming soon,” after renovations. The tipsters say to expect an opening date this summer.

Meanwhile, interior work on the new Cheesetique next door at 800 N. Glebe Road is proceeding. Demolition started Friday, according to the restaurant’s Facebook page.

Signs are up in the windows of the former pizza restaurant, announcing Cheesetique to passersby with cheesy witticisms like “it’s all Gouda” and “where would I Brie without you?”

by ARLnow.com — April 5, 2016 at 1:05 pm 0

The sign on the front door says it all: new pie store Livin’ the Pie Life expects to open “April-ish.”

Located at 2166 N. Glebe Road, near the intersection with Lee Highway, the store is the bricks-and-mortar manifestation of what has up until now been a business that sold its wares primarily at local farmers markets.

Owners Heather Sheire and Wendy MacCallum, two Arlington moms who founded the company in 2011, says they don’t have an opening date set yet — but they’re close.

The store just added a new espresso machine and will be serving Virginia-based Red Rooster Coffee. That’s of course in addition to cookies, cakes, pies (savory and sweet) and other pastries.

The pies will be served in regular and individual sizes, plus by the slice. There are also plans to serve ice cream later this year, once a suitable vendor is selected.

The store is awaiting a couple of county permits before opening. It includes a sizable kitchen, a counter service area and a seating area for customers.

Sheire and MacCallum will still be selling pies at the Westover Farmers Market, and on Saturday will begin serving the Courthouse Farmers Market for the first time. The company only offers whole pies at farmers markets.

by ARLnow.com — April 4, 2016 at 4:55 pm 0

The Greene Turtle in BallstonToday is the last day in business for the Greene Turtle Sports Bar & Grille in Ballston.

The restaurant, at 900 N. Glebe Road, will close permanently at its normal midnight closing time tonight, a tipster told us and an employee confirmed.

The Greene Turtle first opened in January 2012, in an expansive space featuring more than 50 TVs on the walls and in booths. It struggled to attract enough customers to make it viable, we’re told, owing at least in part to its location across busy Glebe Road from Ballston’s main business district.

“Greene Turtle has been starving from the moment it opened,” an insider told us last month. “That side of Glebe is just brutal.”

Another tipster told ARLnow.com last month that the Greene Turtle would be replaced by an Applebee’s restaurant later this summer. An employee today said that was true. So far, the company has not confirmed the news.

Restaurant staff was informed of the closure on Friday, we hear.

by ARLnow.com — April 4, 2016 at 10:50 am 0

Ground floor of the Metropolitan Park Acadia building in Pentagon CityTrendy salad purveyor Sweetgreen and trendy sweat producer Orangetheory Fitness are both coming to Pentagon City, permit applications show.

The businesses are coming to the ground floor of The Acadia at Metropolitan Park apartment building. That the same building in which a CorePower Yoga studio just opened.

Sweetgreen applied for its construction permit on the 12th Street S. side of the building on Feb. 24. Orangetheory applied for a permit on the S. Fern Street side of the building on April 1.

Also coming to the building: a European Wax Center location. And, according to a retail leasing document, a thus-far unnamed coffee shop.

Orangetheory has existing Arlington locations in Rosslyn and Ballston. Sweetgreen recently opened in Crystal City and also has a Ballston location. European Wax Center has a location in Courthouse.

The 12th Street extension between S. Eads and Fern streets is rapidly becoming a powerhouse retail corridor, even though it’s a block from an existing, expanding retail hub: the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall. A Whole Foods and a Commonwealth Joe coffee shop will be opening this summer on 12th Street S., at The Bartlett apartment building.

by ARLnow.com — April 1, 2016 at 11:05 am 0

CD Cellar in ClarendonA coffee shop may replace the former CD Cellar in Clarendon.

A building permit application has been filed to convert the former music store at 2607 Wilson Blvd — roughly half-way between the Clarendon and Courthouse Metro stations — to a coffee shop.

The permit application doesn’t name the coffee shop, but the listed permit holder, a Courthouse resident named Andira Jabbari, recently registered the domain name Blumencafe.net, according to a Google search.

A website has yet to be set up at that domain and no other information about the coffee shop was immediately available.

CD Cellar closed in January and moved its inventory to its store in Falls Church.

Hat tip to Chris Slatt

by ARLnow.com — March 28, 2016 at 10:45 am 0

Sweet Leaf Cafe at 800 N. Glebe Road in Ballston

Sweet Leaf Cafe has opened its second Ballston location.

The local salad, sandwich and coffee chain officially opened for business last week at 800 N. Glebe Road, which is about a 10 minute walk from its first Ballston location, at 650 N. Quincy Street.

“Ballston has a heavy lunch crowd and we believe it’s dense enough to support two stores,” co-owner Andre Matini tells ARLnow.com. “We have had a lot of positive feedback, most of our diners had not been to our location on Quincy Street. With all the development of Liberty Center and and redevelopment of Ballston Common Mall we think there is more than enough to go around.”

Sweet Leaf’s new location has been a challenging one for sit-down restaurants, which have struggled to convince diners to cross to the western side of busy Glebe Road, where high-rise Ballston meets the residential Bluemont neighborhood.

One high-profile casualty was Pizza Vinoteca, which closed after just six months. A new Cheesetique store is coming to the former Pizza Vinoteca location, and a new Total Wine store is coming to the same building.

There are also rumors of changes afoot at the Greene Turtle restaurant, just up the street at 900 N. Glebe Road.

Sweet Leaf now has six locations total, all in Northern Virginia. Its first Arlington eatery opened at 2200 Wilson Blvd in Courthouse in 2013.

Photo courtesy Sweet Leaf Cafe

by ARLnow.com — March 22, 2016 at 5:30 pm 0

Exterior signage is up at the future Shake Shack at the Pentagon City mall.

The burger-and-shake restaurant is opening within a new, still under-construction expansion of the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City along S. Hayes Street. It’s the chain’s first restaurant in Arlington.

The mall’s website says Shake Shack “is expected to open as of 4/1/2016,” but a PR rep said that information is “inaccurate.” No updated opening date was immediately available. Initially, it was said that Shake Shack would open at some point this spring.

Other restaurants and stores coming to the expanded front entrance of the mall include:

Another new store at the mall, Garrett Popcorn, is currently said to be opening around June 1.

by ARLnow.com — March 22, 2016 at 11:15 am 0

The ever-evolving Ray’s Hell Burger (formerly known as Ray’s to the Third) restaurant in Rosslyn is changing once again.

This time, the restaurant at 1650 Wilson Blvd is splitting into two. Somewhat cryptic signs outside are heralding the imminent arrival of what’s being described to us as a sit-down restaurant with Georgian (as in, the country) and Mediterranean influences.

“The Tasty Dugout,” as the new restaurant will apparently be called, is set to open Friday, April 1. It held a small “preview” event this past weekend.

The Tasty Dugout is located next to Ray’s Hell Burger, in what used to be a dining area for the original restaurant. Among the dishes it expects to serve:

  • Khachapuri — Georgian pizza, basically
  • Kharcho — A traditional Georgian soup
  • Shasklik — “A form of Shish kebab popular in Eastern and Central Europe”
  • Shakshouka — A Tunisian poached egg and tomato sauce dish

Ray’s honcho Michael Landrum was said to be out of the country and unavailable for comment when ARLnow.com stopped by the restaurant this week.

by ARLnow.com — March 15, 2016 at 12:05 pm 0

Ri Ra exterior photo(Updated at 1:15 p.m.) A new restaurant and lounge will be coming to the former Ri Ra Irish Pub space in Clarendon.

An ownership group that includes a number of local restaurant and nightlife veterans has signed a lease for the space, ARLnow.com has learned. Among them are partners in Opera Ultra Lounge in D.C. and local nightlife impresario Jad Bouchebel.

Bouchebel is a partner in a number of hot new hangouts in the District, including Provision No. 14, The Prospect and Bonfire.

For now, Bouchebel declined to provide additional details about the group behind the new Clarendon establishment but he did reveal a few early details about what’s planned.

“The group intends to develop a sleek and fresh restaurant, bar and lounge,” he wrote. “The restaurant will offer lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch, serving contemporary American dishes with extensive wine and beer selections. The venue will also provide daily happy hour specials and periodic live music.”

Tentatively, the new restaurant is expected to open this fall.

by ARLnow.com — March 14, 2016 at 10:40 am 0

Secret ChopsticksAn expanding Northern Virginia Mexican restaurant chain may be coming to Rosslyn.

Pancho Villa Mexican Cuisine has filed a Virginia ABC application for 1850 N. Fort Myer Drive, the former home to the short-lived Secret Chopsticks restaurant. It’s the second ABC license for the space: another was filed last month for a new restaurant called “Anjorie.”

Pancho Villa has existing locations in Stafford, Fredericksburg and Dahlgren, with another set to open in Centreville.

If it opens, the new Pancho Villa restaurant in Rosslyn is expected to seat between 101-150 people, according to the license application.

by ARLnow.com — March 8, 2016 at 3:55 pm 0

Future location of Nando's Peri-Peri in Ballston

Nando’s Peri-Peri will be bringing its Portuguese-style chicken to Ballston this fall.

The chicken chain is planning to open in the former Vapiano space at the NRECA building (4401 Wilson Blvd), according to a recently-filed construction permit application.

A tipster tells us that Nando’s is eying a November opening. The company did not respond to a request for comment from ARLnow.com last month.

Nando’s has an existing Arlington location on Pentagon Row, which opened in 2012.

Hat tip to Chris Slatt

by ARLnow.com — March 1, 2016 at 3:55 pm 0

(Updated at 4:45 p.m.) Secret Chopsticks in Rosslyn has closed after only three months in business.

The upscale Chinese restaurant opened in December November, after various issues delayed its opening by a year and a half. The delayed opening wasn’t the restaurant’s only problem — it had an inconspicuous lead-up to its opening, garnered mediocre reviews from diners and its general manager reportedly left in December, shortly after it opened.

Last month, a Virginia ABC permit application was filed for a new restaurant called “Anjorie,” listing Secret Chopsticks’ address and phone number. An employee reached by ARLnow.com last week declined to comment and referred us to a manager, who we were unable to reach despite multiple attempts.

Few details are available about Anjorie, except the name of the company behind it — Vandor Management LLC — and the fact that it plans to serve wine, beer and cocktails, and seat more than 150.

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