by Heather Mongilio — October 27, 2015 at 4:35 pm 0

Brixx Wood Fired Pizza, a new pizza restaurant on N. Hudson Street in Clarendon, has fired up its oven.

The new pizza joint, located at 1119 N. Hudson Street next to Nam Viet, opened yesterday, and business has been good so far, said general manager Roberto Gonzales.

Brixx serves regular and gluten-free pizza on vegan crust. It has traditional pizza options, like four cheese and pepperoni and mushrooms, along with specialty pizzas, like roasted butternut squash and spicy shrimp. In addition to pizza, the restaurant offers sandwiches, pastas, salads and alcoholic drinks.

“Most of our products are made from scratch,” Gonzales said. “We have a good wood fire oven.”

The North Carolina-based chain’s newest location will be able to seat 150 people, between its inside and outdoor seating. The restaurant is set up to welcome both groups or people or single customers, with tables and booths, as well as bar seating and a counter.

“We have something for just about everyone,” Gonzales said.

The atmosphere is meant to be energetic and friendly, Gonzales said. The tables are situated in a way that allows patrons to watch employees make pizza.

“We want to create a relaxed atmosphere in which customers can feel the same as if they were home,” Gonzales said.

The new Clarendon joint is the third Brixx location in Virginia — there is one in Charlottesville and Woodbridge. Brixx is open from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday.

by Heather Mongilio — October 20, 2015 at 6:00 pm 1,029 0

A new sushi restaurant has opened on Lee Highway in Cherrydale.

Maneki Neko Express opened six weeks ago in the spot of former Thai restaurant Thai 24 (3813 Lee Highway). The new restaurant will serve both Japanese and Thai food as part of a partnership with the former Thai 24’s owners, said Maneki co-owner KanyaThongprasert.

“Maneki Neko Express will be serving Japanese and Thai food in a cafe-like setting,” the restaurant said on its website.

The Cherrydale restaurant is the Maneki Neko’s second location. Maneki Neko first started in Falls Church about 14 years ago, Thongprasert said, adding the original location only serves Japanese food.

Business at the new restaurant has been ok in the first few weeks,Thongprasert said. Customers from the Falls Church location have followed the company to Arlington, she added.

“They love it. They love the taste,” she said.

The most popular dishes include pad thai and the restaurant’s bento box option, which allows customers to pick items from the sushi bar and the kitchen, such as a California roll and teriyaki chicken.Thongprasert has applied for a liquor license and plans to serve beer, wine and sake on and off the premise.

Maneki Neko Express offers special sushi rolls, such as a Three Amigos roll, which is a roll with tuna, salmon, yellowtail, avocado, jalapeño and spicy mayo. Customers can also choose from daily specials.

One of the specials is a Halloween roll, pumpkin tempura, eel and tobiko, and the restaurant is prepared for the upcoming holiday with ghosts, pumpkins and spiderweb decorations on its windows.

The restaurant serves lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner from 4-9 p.m. Monday through Friday. On Saturday the restaurant serves lunch from noon to 2 p.m. and dinner from 4-9 p.m. and on Sunday, it is only open for dinner from 4-9 p.m.

by ARLnow.com — October 19, 2015 at 11:35 am 1,044 0

2001 Clarendon Blvd (file photo)A new burger restaurant may be coming to the Courthouse neighborhood.

On Friday a building permit application was filed calling for a tenant fit out for an establishment called “Basic Burger.” The restaurant will be located on the first floor of the new apartment building at 2001 Clarendon Blvd.

Little information is available about Basic Burger, but one could make obvious assumptions about the type of food it will serve.

The arrival of a new burger restaurant could come at a good time for Courthouse: the Wendy’s just up the street is slated to be torn down at some point for a new office development approved by the County Board earlier this year.

Hat tip to Chris Slatt. File photo.

by ARLnow.com — October 15, 2015 at 9:45 am 1,788 0

Sun rays peeking through clouds on the Potomac (Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman)

Church Squatter Arrested — A man who has managed to squat in the attic of an Arlington church for three years has been arrested and charged with trespassing. An air conditioning repairman discovered the man and his makeshift living space in the attic of St. Ann’s Catholic Church, near Ballston. [NBC Washington]

New Rosslyn Sushi Restaurant Close to Opening — Rolls By U, a new sushi restaurant at 1731 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn, is getting set to open next week, after originally hoping to open last month. The restaurant will offer burrito-sized sushi rolls in addition to regular-sized rolls. [Washington City Paper]

Fundraiser for Former Yorktown Football Player — Friends have organized an online fundraising campaign for a former Yorktown High School football player who was injured in an incident that was caught on video. Josh Bunche was attempting a flip while tailgating at a Clemson football game, but he slipped and suffered serious facial injuries. [Patch, GoFundMe]

McMenamin Responds to Sewage Plant Fence — Independent Arlington County Board candidate Mike McMenamin has issued a statement calling the $350,000 public art installation along a fence at the county’s sewage plant “wasteful.” Said McMenamin: “Extravagant projects like this help drive up taxes in Arlington County, making it more costly to own a home or to start a business.”

County Touts Fully Funded Pension — Arlington County’s employee pension fund is now 99 percent funded, thanks to prudent management. While some other communities struggle with underfunded pensions, Arlington has now been able to decrease the percentage of employee compensation going to the pension fund, from 24 percent — about $58 million — last year to 22 percent this year. [Arlington County]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

by ARLnow.com — October 9, 2015 at 3:45 pm 0

The paper has been taken off the windows at Secret Chopsticks in Rosslyn, but when is it opening? Well, that’s a secret.

A restaurant representative declined to speak on the record to an ARLnow.com reporter this afternoon and declined to allow photography inside the soon-to-open contemporary Chinese eatery. Inquisitive members of the public, however, can walk up and see the interior for themselves by looking through the large plate glass windows.

Secret Chopsticks (1850 N. Fort Myer Drive) was originally slated to open last summer. We were told in August that construction and permitting delayed the opening by more than a year.

The restaurant will feature authentic modern Chinese cooking, Secret Chopsticks’ Robin Li said previously.

“Whatever they are cooking in China now, we are going to cook,” he said.

Update at 4:15 p.m. — Secret Chopsticks general manager Malia Milstead explains via email: “We are striving for perfection and want to do [a] preview for press in a couple of weeks.”

by Heather Mongilio — October 7, 2015 at 1:45 pm 0

Billiards may return to Shirlington as a new pool hall looks to open next week.

Chester’s Billiards Bar & Grill is opening in the same building that housed pool hall Lucy’s ARL until 2013, said co-owner Derrick Fulghum, Sr.

The restaurant hopes to have “a busy atmosphere with great food,” said Fulghum. It’s currently waiting on some permits from the county before it can open, but hopes to have those by Thursday.

In the meantime, Chester’s owners are hanging the restaurant’s new sign and putting the final touches on its menu.

The menu currently includes appetizers like chicken tenders, buffalo wings and crab cakes, salads, soups and a raw bar. The restaurant is opening with a special of barbecue and “all you can eat salad” for $8.75.

The menu will mostly contain American cuisine, “and everything is pretty much under $10,” Fulghum said.

Once open, the restaurant is planning to serve food from 11 a.m. midnight Monday through Wednesday, and until later at night on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It will be open until 11 p.m. Sunday, according to Fulghum.

by ARLnow.com — October 6, 2015 at 12:15 pm 0

Dudley’s Sport and Ale, a new sports bar that’s coming to the Village at Shirlington, is tentatively aiming to open in March.

Dudley’s owner Reese Gardner, who also owns Copperwood Tavern in Shirlington, told nearby residents via Facebook that Dudley’s will be “huge,” with Shirlington’s first rooftop bar.

“The space is huge and I’m doing a complete rework of the space and adding a rooftop,” Gardner said. “Trust me I live in walking distance also and I’m just as excited.
March will be the soonest.”

In addition to the rooftop bar, Dudley’s will feature more than 40 flat screen TVs and a private party area. So far there are no plans for live music at the bar, Gardner said.

On its website, Dudley’s says it’s starting the hiring process for all positions.

“We’re looking for smart, hard working and passionate people to join our team,” the site says. “Please send your resume if you are interested in any position from Chef to Server to Bartender to Prep Cook and beyond.”

Dudley’s is located at 2766 S. Arlington Mill Drive, in the former Bungalow Sports Grill space.

by Heather Mongilio — October 2, 2015 at 3:35 pm 1,491 0

A new pizza joint has opened on Lee Highway, replacing a Little Caesars franchise location at the corner of Lee Highway and N. George Mason Drive.

Fillmore Pizza opened its second location at 5175 Lee Highway five days ago, said owner Bahruz Ahmadbayli. The Lee Highway location is the restaurant’s second in Arlington — the first is at 923 S. Walter Reed Drive.

The new restaurant sells pizza, pasta, sandwiches, salads and wings and uses high quality and expensive ingredients, Ahmadbayli said. A small, 10-inch cheese pizza sells for $7.75, while a extra large, 18-inch pizza costs $14.95. Fillmore also sells gourmet pizzas, which start at $11.75 for a small, 10 inch pizza.

“The pizza is totally different from other stores,” he said.

The reason the pizza is better than other places is because of the cheese Fillmore Pizza uses, Ahmadbayli said.

“The main ingredient in this business is cheese,” he said. “Our cheese is the best quality and expensive.”

The restaurant runs daily pick up and delivery specials, and customers can order online. The new Lee Highway restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

The Little Caesars, which previously occupied the space, opened in 2013. The company has another Arlington location on Columbia Pike.

by Heather Mongilio — October 1, 2015 at 11:05 am 0

New Sweet Leaf location on N. Glebe Road in Ballston

Sweet Leaf Café is planning to open another Ballston location.

The new café should open before the end of the year, but the company does not have a set opening date, said Sweet Leaf CEO Andre Matini.

The new Ballston location at 800 N. Glebe Road is about a 10 minute walk from the company’s first café in Ballston (650 N. Quincy Street).

“Our first Ballston location is doing really well. Having another one in the area will reduce some of the load for our team and for customers,” Matini said.

Sweet Leaf — which serves coffee, breakfast, sandwiches and salads — is planning to open a new café at Tysons Corner Center mall, as well. Both the Ballston and Tysons restaurants are set to open in winter 2015, as listed on the company’s website.

“We want to make healthy eating available, we also want people to be able to stop in as conveniently as possible. We think everyone wants to eat healthy,” Matini said. “Unfortunately, it can more more convenient to grab a value meal instead. Opening another location [in Ballston] will help us achieve our goal.”

The company is thinking about expanding into Rosslyn and Clarendon, Matini said, adding that the original Ballston and Courthouse locations have been doing well.

“We have had a great experience opening our first location in Courthouse and our second location in Ballston, the community has a real appreciation for health oriented, natural, tasty and affordable meals in a fast-casual environment,” Matini said.

Sweet Leaf is currently hiring for the Ballston location and is looking for chefs, assistant managers and shift leaders. Job applications can be found on the company’s website.

Hat tip to Rick Williams

by Heather Mongilio — September 29, 2015 at 2:00 pm 2,480 0

Oz, a new Australian restaurant in Clarendon, has started serving traditional dishes like Rissole eggs, meat pies and fish and chips as part of its soft opening.

The restaurant was open for dinner yesterday. The soft opening continues today with dinner from 5-9 p.m. Full service, including lunch and happy hour, will potentially start on Friday, said co-owner Ashley Darby.

Once fully opened, the restaurant will serve dinner seven days a week, with brunch on Saturday and Sundays and lunch on Wednesdays through Fridays.

The restaurant serves authentic Australian cuisine, Darby said, adding that the food is new to many of the restaurant staff, including herself.

“We’re all learning as we go,” said Darby, who was crowned Miss D.C. in 2011.

Darby co-owns the restaurant with her husband, Michael, who is an Australian native and the co-founder of local real estate development firm Monument Realty.

A few waiters and one of the hostesses are also from Australia, Darby said.

The Australian theme extends past the food. The interior of the restaurant is designed to have elements reminiscent of a house on the outback, Darby said.

The main dining room represents the inside of the house that has just seen a brush fire, she said. The back wall is made up of alternating light and dark wood panels to give the impression of “trees scorched by fire,” Darby said. Aboriginal artwork, including painted boomerangs, are hung around the room.

Guest have the option to sit in the covered “porch,” with vines hanging across the walls to make it feel as if the guests are on the front porch of a house.

Customers can grab a traditional Australian drink at the bar and enjoy it under an “open” sky. The bar was designed to look like the back deck of the house, with the ceiling painted like an outback sky. The bar has a small lounge area, with copper tones and a backsplash made to look like sand dunes, Darby said.

In addition to the seating inside, the restaurant offers outdoor seating along its front and side. The Australian theme does not get carried outside, Darby said.

So far, Darby says she has heard good things from customers, adding that there are a few taste adjustments the restaurant will make.

“I think people are curious and willing to try, and [they] come in open-minded,” Darby said.

by ARLnow.com — September 24, 2015 at 10:05 am 0

New Taylor Gourmet and Sweetgreen locations in Crystal City

Two new outposts of trendy local chain restaurants — Sweetgreen and Taylor Gourmet — are under construction in Crystal City.

Located in the former Corner Bakery space on the 2100 block of Crystal Drive, the restaurants are both expected this winter.

“The Crystal City location should be opening by the end of the year, though we don’t have a firm date to share just yet,” said a PR rep for Sweetgreen.

“We are thinking early 2016 right now,” Hilary Chattler of Taylor Gourmet told ARLnow.com last week.

This will be the second Arlington location for the two eateries; both have existing locations in Ballston. Corner Bakery closed in June.

by Heather Mongilio — September 11, 2015 at 1:45 pm 1,994 0

(Updated at 6:15 p.m.) A D.C. based shawarma and falafel chain has opened up a new restaurant in Rosslyn.

Shawafel, which opened at 1919 Wilson Blvd on Monday, Sept. 7, is bringing an “Americanized” twist to traditional Lebanese cuisine, said co-owner Ali Amarlooi.

The new Rosslyn location is the third Shawafel location — there is one at Nationals Park and on H Street in northeast D.C. — but it will serve as the flagship as Shawafel becomes a franchise, Amarlooi said.

The new restaurant can currently sit 30 people, but will have a few more seats once their countertop seating opens, he said. Shawafel is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday.

“It is a fun place. We play good music and everyone seems to have fun working here,” he said.

Shawafel is named after one of the restaurant’s popular sandwiches, the Shawafel, which is chicken or meat shawarma, falafel, tomatoes, pickles, lettuce, parsley and tahini, he said. The restaurant also offers a variety of meat, chicken and vegetarian sandwiches, as well as flatbreads, salads, hummus and platters.

“We have a very good vegetarian menu,” Amarlooi said.

For those new to Lebanese cuisine, Amarlooi recommends trying the Shawafel, the meat shawarma sandwich and shish Taouk sandwich, which is a “chunks of grilled chicken.” New customers should also try the cauliflower, falafel and Batinjan, crispy eggplant, sandwiches, as well as the hummus, cauliflower, Tabouleh salad and baba ghanouj, which is an eggplant dish, he said.

“Our meat shawarma is a combination of meat and lamb,” Amarlooi said. “It’s extremely juicy.”

The shawarma is cooked on large roasting sticks behind the checkout counter at the restaurant. It takes about 30-45 minutes to cook the meat and about five minutes to make and sandwich, he said.

Amarlooi and co-owner Alberto Sissi decided to open the restaurant in Rosslyn because of a sizable Middle Eastern population in Arlington, Amarlooi said.

“It fits our food because we’re trying to come as an Americanized version the Lebanese cuisine,” he said.

by Heather Mongilio — September 10, 2015 at 4:45 pm 3,137 0

4000 Wilson Blvd, the future home of Pepita, Kapnos Taverna and Yona

Restaurant entrepreneur and Top Chef contestant Mike Isabella is throwing a “block party” to celebrate the opening of his three Ballston restaurants.

The event will be held at the patio at The View apartment building (4000 Wilson Blvd) on Sept. 12 from 1-4 p.m.

For $65, guests will enjoy food from Isabella’s three Arlington-based restaurants — PepitaKapnos Taverna and Yona, which opens in the fall — while listening to live jazz.

“The event is going to be a big party. It is a great way to experience food from all three of Mike Isabella’s Ballston restaurants, including forthcoming Yona, with live entertainment from the jazz duo The Potash Twins and DJ Toast,” said Madeline Harrington, a public relations rep for the restaurants.

Guests will be able to sample food from each restaurant at the event. There will be crispy cauliflower and barbecue goat tacos and Mexican corn on the cob from Pepita. From Kapnos Taverna, guests will be able to try spit roasted pork, falafel and classic Greek spreads. Yona, Isabella’s newest restaurant, will provide pork and kimchi dumplings, Japanese curry potato croquettes and Korean fried chicken.

“[There will be] great food, great drinks and lively music,” Harrington said. “A great way to say goodbye to the summer.”

Isabella’s first Arlington venture, Kapnos Taverna, opened last January. Pepita opened in the same building at the end of July, and new restaurant Yona is expected to open in late fall, she said.

Yona will be a Japanese noodles and small plates restaurant with new and traditional takes on ramen and other Asian dishes, she said.

“Mike loves the neighborhood. Both Kapnos Taverna and Pepita have been a huge success, and each concept is set up so that it doesn’t compete with the others other,” Harrington said. “Yona will be something fresh and new for Ballston, so it made sense [for him to open another restaurant].”

by Heather Mongilio — September 8, 2015 at 12:10 pm 1,363 0

Grill Kabob, a family-run chain, has opened a new location in Crystal City.

The new store at the corner of 23rd Street S. and S. Eads Street — in the former Cafe Pizzaiolo and Hearthstone Pizza space — opened on Sept. 1, and business has grown steadily each day, said manager David Rasoli.

“The people keep coming since day [one],” Rasoli said.

Grill Kabob (507 23rd Street S.) is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. The restaurant is also planning to open for 24 hours one day a week, “which is good for Arlington, good for people, good for us,” he said.

The kabob place serves multiple types of kabobs, including ground chicken, ground beef, lamb, chicken and veggie.

“Nobody else has veggie kabobs,” Rasoli said.

The restaurant also sells falafel and gyros, and everything is made fresh. Recipes are a family tradition, and everything is kept the same throughout the 10 Grill Kabob locations, said Rasoli’s daughter Toba.

Rasoli said the most popular dishes are the chicken and ground chicken kabobs. All meals come with two sides of rice, homemade bread and a salad. For the grand opening of the store, Grill Kabob also offered chicken and lentil soup on the house.

The food is healthy, fresh and not made with any additives, Toba said.

“You’re getting the best of the best, basically,” she said.

The new kabob restaurant will have some competition with Kabob Place a couple buildings down on 23rd Street S.

by Heather Mongilio — September 3, 2015 at 4:30 pm 1,717 0

Brixx Woodfire Pizza

Clarendon’s newest pizza joint plans to open its doors in six weeks.

Brixx Wood Fired Pizza, located at 1119 N. Hudson Street next to Nam Viet restaurant, hopes to start serving pizza and beer mid-October, barring any construction delays, according to Tim Miner, the director of marketing for the company.

The North Carolina-based chain hopes to start training staff in the second week of October, Miner said, with the new restaurant opening a week later.

In addition to regular and gluten-free pizza, Brixx serves sandwiches, pasta, beer, wine and cocktails, according to its website.

Brixx does not plan to have any grand opening specials, but will start “business as usual” on the opening day, he said. The restaurant will have wine specials on Sundays and Thursdays and craft beer specials on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Miner could not elaborate on the deals because of Virginia law, he said.

The pizza joint also features buy one, get one pizza and appetizers after 11 p.m.

The Clarendon location will be Brixx’s third Virginia restaurant — there is another location in Charlottesville and Woodbridge. The chain came to Clarendon because of its exciting neighborhood, Miner said.

“It’s a thriving community, and we feel the folks that live in the area are a perfect fit,” he said.


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