A casual ramen and Asian small plates restaurant is set to open in Ballston next week.
Yona will open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. starting next Monday. It will also serve dinner beginning the following Friday, Dec. 4.
The new restaurant is owned by former “Top Chef” contestant Mike Isabella, who also owns two other Arlington establishments, Kapnos Taverna and Pepita. All three businesses opened this year in the same building, at 4000 Wilson blvd.
Unlike his other two eateries, Isabella won’t be the brain behind the food at Yona. That job is for Chef Jonah Kim.
“Yona is going to be more than just a way for Jonah to show off his mastery of Japanese and Korean flavors,” Isabella said in a statement. “We are creating a concept unlike anything in Northern Virginia. Ramen may be a humble dish, but it’s one that pays back the care and attention to detail a great chef can put into it.”
The menu Kim created features a handful of ramen options, but it also features several small plates and raw dishes, including fluke and smoked hamachi.
Kim said he thinks these items will complement each other well and bring something unexpected to the restaurant.
“There’s something about a truly substantial, warm bowl of soup that people don’t expect from a ramen place,” Kim said. “That’s still the focal point, but I think guests will be surprised by a non-traditional approach to it, especially with the cold dishes on the menu.”
A full drink menu will also be available, offering sake, cocktails, beer and wine.
The space itself can seat approximately 50 people at both communal and private tables. It also has an open kitchen and interior and exterior decorations inspired by Japanese and Korean influences.
Yona will be open from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.
(Updated at 1:35 p.m.) The crew behind the new Texas Jack’s Barbecue plans to start serving diners near Clarendon on Dec. 7, giving them a comfortable place to eat while going beyond expected barbecue standards.
The restaurant occupies the former home of Tallula and EatBar at 2761 Washington Blvd in Lyon Park.
The space now is unrecognizable, combining both locations to create a dining room and bar, partially separated by a wall with two doorways and three large, open windows. Both rooms are filled with reclaimed wood and other locally-sourced materials that make up the chairs, tables, bar and wall panels.
“We wanted to just make sure no matter when people come into the space, they feel comfortable being here and really enjoy themselves,” co-owner Steve Roberts said. “We also obviously wanted to focus on outstanding barbecue, making creative choices with top-quality meats.”
This choice meat comes from throughout the United States, including locally. Roberts said it’s all hormone- and antibiotic-free and spends three to four hours in one of two massive smokers.
“It’s what I’ve always been interested in cooking, and that’s what I mainly do,” he said. “My idea is to elevate the dishes you typically see at barbecue restaurants and give people what they aren’t expecting.”
While the meats — including brisket, pulled pork, sausage and pork and beef ribs — will be fairly straightforward, Lang is putting his own twist on Mexican-American fare to create separate dining room and bar menus, though guests can order from either in both areas.
He also had advice for how diners should approach the menu.
“I’d like to encourage guests to share and have them understand the best way to do this is get a plate of barbecue with whatever sides you want and share,” he said.
Platters and meals with barbecue meats cost between $12 and $20. The menu, though it’s not finalized, will also have appetizers and sandwiches, prices ranging from $8 to $16.
Other restaurant amenities include an open kitchen, ADA-friendly tables, accommodations for large parties or communal dining, a room that can be rented for private events, valet parking during peak hours, a bar equipped with outlets and USB ports, and both beer and wine on tap.
The space is also environmentally-friendly, reducing waste by installing all LED lighting fixtures and serving food on traditional enamelware, unlike many barbecue places that serve on paper plates and in cardboard boats.
“Many times, you’ll go into a barbecue place and there’s a lot of waste,” Roberts said. “There’s nothing throwaway about anything we have here, and we’re trying to be as sensitive as we can as far as sustainability and what we’re doing to the environment.”
Texas Jack’s plans to be open seven days a week from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Rolls By U quietly opened on to the public on Saturday. Though the restaurant signed a lease on a location approximately a year and a half ago, the final license from the County came through last Friday.
The restaurant is the work of Latin Concepts, the same company behind Guarapo in Courthouse.
According to Faris Salim, one of the company’s partners, they were anxious to open Rolls By U as quickly as possible to give customers what they’ve been asking for.
“We want to create new thinking where people know they can come into the restaurant and create their own,” Salim said. “Arlington is one of the best places to do that. Why not give the people the power to choose what they want to eat while keeping it healthy, especially with sushi.”
The menu includes three basic items: bowls, rolls and “ritos,” the restaurant’s version of a sushi burrito. Diners can customize each of these by ordering in an assembly line fashion. They can choose proteins, veggies, extra items like quinoa or cream cheese, and sauces.
The kitchen is also completely open and visible to customers as they place their order.
For those who are more comfortable ordering off a set menu, there are specialty ritos and rolls to choose from. The rolls are from the menu of another Latin Concepts sister restaurant called Maté in Georgetown.
Salim said it was his experience working at Maté that gave him the idea for Rolls By U.
“People would always want to customize their orders because of allergies, wanting them to be vegan or gluten free,” he said. “I wanted to expand to Arlington and give it a shot, and that’s how we thought of putting a fast-casual restaurant here.”
Salim described the menu as having something for everyone, including those have allergies or prefer to eat vegan, gluten- or dairy-free. The menu items also aren’t limited to fish, as guests can choose grilled chicken, hanger steak or tofu as their protein.
While the entire menu is currently available, the restaurant is still making final preparations before holding an official grand opening within the next two weeks. Some of these include a sauce-tasting station, delivery service and a bar serving beer, wine, sake, cider and champagne.
There’s even outlets and USB ports along the walls in the dining area for the restaurant’s constantly-connected customers.
“We want people to be able to come in and out, but also feel like they can come here to relax and have a drink without having the pressure of sit down or fine dining,” Salim said.
Rolls by U is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
Water Main Break in Courthouse — Courthouse Road is closed between Route 50 and 14th Street N., near the police station, due to a water main break that was discovered overnight. Repairs are still underway as of this morning’s rush hour. [WTOP]
Arlington Scores New Office Tenant in Va. Square — Arlington County will fill 50,000 square feet of vacant office space in Virginia Square thanks to a new tenant. GW Medical Faculty Associates will be moving into 3811 N. Fairfax Drive this coming spring, creating more than 200 jobs. [Arlington County]
Secret Chopsticks Open Today — The previously secretive Secret Chopsticks is planning to open to the public today. The 120-seat upscale, white tablecloth Chinese restaurant is located at 1850 Fort Myer Drive, on the ground floor of the Turnberry Tower condominium. [Washingtonian]
Garvey Wants Strategic Plan for County — Should County Board member Libby Garvey become the board chair next year, she wants to develop a strategic plan for Arlington. “We really don’t have one,” she said over the weekend. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
It’s been an arduous journey from conception to completion, but Devin Hicks is finally getting ready to open his homegrown Arlington brewpub and entertainment venue in Clarendon.
With a flurry of last-minute construction, Hicks is hoping to open Sehkraft Brewing (925 N. Garfield Street) on Monday, Nov. 23, in time for the Thanksgiving holiday. But he warns that that the opening date is is still in flux and admits that he hasn’t had great luck with setting opening dates.
The brewpub was originally slated to open in March. After various delays, in August Hicks promised that Sehkraft would definitely be open by mid-September — as he put it, “in time to watch the Nationals kill it in the playoffs and hopefully watch the Redskins be competitive.”
We all know how that turned out.
“We’re at the finish line, finally,” Hicks told ARLnow.com on Wednesday, as he supervised some two dozen workers, including Sehkraft’s extensive management team, an “all star crew” that includes everything from a brewmaster to a music supervisor to a cheesemonger.
“It’s been an ordeal,” he said of Arlington County’s permitting process, with which he has had plenty of trying times at his other business, Westover Market. “We’ve been through the wringer.”
Citing a need to maintain a healthy working relationship with the county, Hicks declined to get into specifics about his permitting issues. But he did acknowledge that a quirky feature at the center of the restaurant — a bulky wheelchair lift that leads only to the small entertainment stage — was the result of orders from county inspectors.
Sehkraft will be one of the more ambitious non-chain establishments to open along the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor in recent memory. At more than 9,000 square feet, with seating for 210 (including 66 on two patios outside), Sehkraft is huge. And that’s not even to mention the 10 barrel brewing system inside, or the centrally-located entertainment stage and state-of-the-art sound system.
Sehkraft will have 40 brews on tap, including 5 of its own homemade beers and 35 guest taps for a selection of beer, cider and even a honey mead. IPAs will be heavily represented on the menu, and there will be a pressurized growler fill station at the bar, allowing for take-home beer that can stay fresh for up to 90 days.
In addition to the beer, Sehkraft will have 8 wines on tap, plus others by the bottle. Just don’t come to the bar expecting hard liquor.
“Go elsewhere for Jaeger bombs,” advised one of the half dozen or so beer employees milling about on Wednesday. The beer team has an impressive pedigree, with experience at breweries like Port City and Lost Rhino, and at well-respected local restaurants like Lyon Hall and Northside Social.
The beer and wine will be accompanied by plenty of food, with three separate menus for lunch, dinner and bar fare. Expect chicken dishes, steaks, burgers, sausages and seafood, in addition to soups, salads, sides and snacks.
There’s a new pizza shop in town for those who live in the neighborhoods along Lee Highway.
Upper Crust Pizzeria has opened in the former HomeMade Pizza Company space, in the Lee Heights Shops, at 4514 Lee Highway. The restaurant quietly opened for business on Oct. 27, said Chief Financial Officer Ben Deb.
It’s the first D.C. area outpost of the small Boston-based chain since it went bankrupt and closed a former location in the District. Other new stores planned include a location on U Street NW in the District and one in Beverly Hills, California, both of which are slated to open within the next couple of months.
Upper Crust offers 25 specialty pizzas, some with D.C.-centric names, like “The GW,” “Pennsylvania Ave,” “The Nationals” and “The Dupont.” For customized pizzas, the company offers 40 toppings, nine cheeses, a gluten free dough option and three sizes: personal (10″), small (14″) and large (18″). Cheese, pepperoni and a “slice of the month” and “slice of the day” are offered by the slice.
Also on the menu are salads, baked lasagna, beer and wine. Take-out and free delivery are offered; in addition, there’s a small dine-in area and back patio.
Shawn Shenefield, Upper Crust’s Operations Director, says the opening so far has gone “really well.” He described the past two weeks as a soft opening, in which staff get on-the-job experience and training while business ramps up.
Shenefield said Upper Crust seeks to be a community-oriented business — Arlington, he noted, is comparable to Brookline, Mass., where the company has a store — and has been focusing on partnering with local schools. For instance, it has been planning fundraisers with nearby Marymount University and Glebe Elementary.
A new sushi and ramen restaurant is coming to Shirlington.
Signs for “Ichiban Sushi and Ramen” appeared in the windows of the former Blue Sea Seafood and Bar space at 4251 Campbell Avenue within the past couple of days. Blue Sea closed last week, after less than two years in business.
A logo on the sign appears to be the same as that of Ichiban Sushi House in Old Town Alexandria.
So far, there’s no word on an opening date for the new restaurant.
There are other changes afoot at the Village at Shirlington, meanwhile. Interior construction is underway at the new art-themed restaurant Palette 22, which is opening in the former Extra Virgin space.
Colorful new “coming soon” graphics have been placed in the windows of the restaurant while the construction takes place.
The permit is for renovation of 850 square feet of office space into a “fast casual restaurant” serving meatless burgers and other alternative foods.
According to the restaurant’s nascent website, Alt’s is where “people go to eat tasty burgers without the guilt.” It lists the bacon “Altburger” with cheese as a menu item with less than 350 calories and 25 grams of protein.
The permit does not specify when the interior renovation of the space will begin.
Representatives for the restaurant could not be immediately reached for comment.
Hat tip to Martin L. Photo via Google Maps.
Update on 11/17/15: The opening date has been pushed back to Nov. 23.
Hula Girl, a restaurant based on a popular local food truck, is set to open in about two weeks in Shirlington.
Located at 4044 Campbell Avenue, the restaurant says it will open its doors
on Thursday, Nov. 19.
Hula Girl will serve Hawaiian-inspired fare like teriyaki steak, sesame tuna and even a sushi-like dish made with Spam. It will also offer Hawaiian cocktails and a mix of local and Hawaiian beer.
From a press release sent out last night:
Mikala Brennan, the owner and operator of the popular Hula Girl food truck is pleased to open her first brick and mortar space in the Washington area, located in The Village at Shirlington, 4044 Campbell Avenue, Arlington, 22206 on November 19. Guests can enjoy their favorite Hula Girl truck dishes in the 3,600 square foot space created by the local design firm Hapstak Demetriou. The space will have a retro vibe with seating for 100 guests, as well as an outdoor patio with seating for 25. Brennan’s goal is to create a warm and whimsical space, welcoming to everyone, including the family dog, which can join their people on the patio.
The restaurant will offer Hula Girl food truck’s classic Hawaiian fare such as teriyaki, plate lunches and Spam Musubi, as well as traditional chef-driven dishes like Poke – a traditional raw tuna dish with sesame, shoyu, ginger & green onion. Fans of the Hula Girl food truck will now have the option to enjoy Brennan’s take on Hawaiian cocktails, as well as mix of local and Hawaiian beers. To perfect her menu, she spent time in Hawaii this summer researching around the island to develop new concepts and dishes for the restaurant.
Born & raised in Hawaii, Brennan wanted to bring the Aloha spirit of her youth to DC. Decked out like a 1960’s Woody, her Hula Girl truck launched in 2011 serving up authentic and grilled to order teriyaki steak, chicken and tofu and authentic tastes of Hawaii to eager Washingtonians. Featured on the Travel Channel twice – on Andrew Zimmerman’s Bizarre Foods American (one of Andrew’s top 5 picks) and Street Eats – the Hula Girl Truck has gained enormous momentum in DC. Hitting up the local scene through social media, Brennan has also been published in the Washington DC – Chef’s Table cookbook and more recently in Behind the Food Carts. She was also on the Food Network competing on ReWrapped in 2014 – where she beat two contestants for the win.
Brennan is no stranger to the restaurant scene. She opened her first restaurant in 1998 in San Diego, CA, becoming one of the market leaders in a small group of women chefs & restaurateurs in the area. She sold the venture to a business partner in Canada and was tapped by Marriott International to lead their new food and beverage department, bringing her hands-on, from scratch cooking approach into this hotel giant’s corporate structure. Then in 2001, she struck out again on her own to create Evolve Consultants. Under this company, Brennan created, designed and opened over 40 concepts both domestically and internationally.
A member of Women Chefs & Restaurateurs, Brennan is a tireless supporter of Habitat for Humanity, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Ovarian Cancer, My Sister’s Place, the American Heart Association and The American Stroke Association, Wounded Warriors, and Red Cross.
A new restaurant is looking to serve classic Texas barbecue near Clarendon this month.
Texas Jack’s Barbecue is occupying the former home of Tallula and EatBar at 2761 Washington Blvd in Lyon Park, after it closed last year. There is no target date for the BBQ restaurant, but it is hoping to open later this month, said restaurant rep Lindley Thornburg.
While Texas Jack’s window signs and website say it’s “coming fall 2015,” the restaurant is still currently undergoing construction inside.
“Steve, Remzi [and] Matt are working around the clock to get our doors open soon…” the restaurant said on its Facebook page Oct. 29.
Once opened, Texas Jack’s will be able to hold 145 people inside the restaurant between its 14-seat bar, tables and 20-seat communal table, and will have 25 seats on its patio, according to a press release.
The menu will consist of classic barbecue offerings like brisket, pulled pork and beef short ribs, as well as items from Mexican and German cultures. Matt Lang, winner of Food Network’s Best in Smoke in 2011, will head up the kitchen.
“The menu for Texas Jack’s is focused on barbecue classics, while also showcasing the Mexican and German food cultures that served as early inspiration for what barbecue has become today,” the restaurant said.
The theme of classic barbecue will extend to the restaurant design, which will consist of western murals and a combination of wood and brick to give the place a “rustic yet refined” look.
“Guests will find western murals, repurposed wood and other salvaged materials combined with sleeker urban finishes to create a comfortable, relaxing vibe for dining,” the restaurant said.
Texas Jack will play homage to the original owner of the Washington Blvd property — Whitey’s. The owners kept the “EAT” sign that hung outside Whitey’s as well as the original bar.
Roberts said the new Texas Jack’s sign uses the same colors and font as the “EAT” sign and both will light up at night.
RedRocks Neapolitan Bistro, the anchor restaurant at Penrose Square on Columbia Pike, will be closing after tonight.
RedRocks first opened at 2501 Columbia Pike in early 2013, then “relaunched” last year with lower prices, more burgers and delivery service. With middling results, the owners decided to shutter RedRocks and launch an all-new restaurant.
RedRocks will close its doors after 10 p.m. tonight.
A new restaurant and bar called Marble and Rye will be opening in its place, “offering a locally-sourced, seasonal menu highlighting the wood fire stove.”
Marble and Rye will offer “20 craft beers on tap, a carefully thought out cocktail menu, and bourbons and ryes to pair with every item on the menu,” according to its website.
“Marble and Rye is moderately-priced contemporary American wood fire kitchen and whiskey bar that combines locally-inspired, seasonal, and creative food with one of the best and most extensive lists of whiskeys, and specialty seasonal cocktails,” a restaurant spokeswoman, Sarah Lakey, tells ARLnow.com.
“It will offer high quality food with a great atmosphere, ambiance, have a friendly and knowledgeable staff, and provide free and convenient parking in order to create a sense of ‘place’ and provide a great experience to our customers.”
Helming the new restaurant will be chef Kate Bennett, who has most recently been working as a private chef for a local real estate developer. Before that she worked for as an assistant kitchen manager for a large restaurant group in New York City.
“Our chef, Kate Bennett’s menus are always fresh and adapting with the seasons in order to provide farm-fresh northeast ingredients… from nearby farms and specialty purveyors,” says the website.
An early menu sent to ARLnow.com includes small plates from roasted marrow bone to mushroom gnocchi, a selection of wood-fired vegetables, salads, wood oven pizzas and grilled entrees like cedar plank salmon, caramelized diver sea scallops, baby back ribs, two types of burgers and quinoa cakes.
Entree prices range from $13 for a basic “chef’s burger” to $26 for an espresso rubbed filet.
“The restaurant will offer a lunch menu that will compliment our dinner menu, including specialty pizzas, salads and sandwiches, a daily happy hour, weekly events including Whiskey Wednesdays where customers can experience high end whiskeys from our tasting room at a reasonable price and a unique Sunday brunch with drink specials,” said Lakey.
The restaurant will also “actively promote and support local breweries and distilleries with an attractive tasting room and open floor plan for private events.”
While still majority owned by the owners of RedRocks, it will be run under the leadership of Bennett and a new management team.
Marble and Rye is expected to open in mid-to-late November.
Sugar Shack Donuts, a Richmond-based eatery serving fresh donuts and coffee, and 1000 Degrees Neapolitan Pizza, a quickly-expanding New Jersey-based pizza chain, are coming to the ground floor of the Pike 3400 apartment building, according to building permits.
Sugar Shack attracted plenty of cult-like buzz — and actor Kevin Bacon — when it opened in Alexandria earlier this year. The location is owned by former Virginia delegate Rob Krupicka and makes its donuts in-house, without the help of machines.
The new Sugar Shack on the Pike will also be owned by Krupicka. He told ARLnow.com that the store should be open in “early 2016.”
1000 Degrees has been opening hundreds of new locations nationwide, building a business based around $7.99 personalized pizzas which are cooked in two minutes — similar to existing local fast-casual eateries like Spinfire. 1000 Degrees also offers breadsticks, build-your-own salads and fire roasted wings.
So far there’s no word on when 1000 Degrees will open.
Another building permit application indicates that a Supercuts hair salon is also planning to open at 3400 Columbia Pike.
Hat tip to Joe M.
The Spring Mill Bread Company is expected to open its doors on Pershing Drive on Saturday.
The bakery’s owner tells ARLnow.com that final preparations are underway and the aroma of freshly-baked bread should begin wafting from the 2209 N. Pershing Drive location in Lyon Park tomorrow.
Philadelphia-based fast casual stir fry eatery Honeygrow is coming to Pentagon City.
A PR rep confirmed that the restaurant will be opening in the expanded portion of the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City along S. Hayes Street. So far, no opening date has been set.
Founded in 2012, Honeygrow offers stir fry bowls, salads, smoothies and honey-covered fruit bowls, using local and seasonal produce. The restaurants also feature touch screen ordering stations.
The company received a $25 million investment for expansion earlier this year.
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.