(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.
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.
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.
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
(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.
Cheesetique to Open in Ballston — Cheese-and-wine shop Cheesetique has signed a lease for the former Pizza Vinoteca space at 800 N. Glebe Road in Ballston. It’s Alexandria-based Cheesetique’s third location and its second in Arlington. Cheesetique opened in Shirlington in 2011. [Washington Business Journal]
Snow Forum Tonight — Amid a driving rainstorm, Arlington County will hold a public forum to gather feedback on its post-blizzard snow removal efforts. The forum is taking place starting at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria of Key Elementary (2300 Key Blvd). Arlington received more than 3,000 responses to an online questionnaire about snow removal, most from the 22207 ZIP code and 46 percent saying they were dissatisfied. [Arlington County]
More on Snow Feedback — At the County Board meeting Tuesday afternoon, County Manager Mark Schwartz said many residents expected to see a plow on their neighborhood street within a day or two of the historic storm. “There seems to be a disconnect between people’s expectations and our resources,” he said. “We simply don’t have the resources to do that.”
Palette 22 Up and Running in Shirlington — Art-themed street food restaurant Palette 22 opened its doors on Monday. Defying those dubious about its theme and small plate offerings, Palette 22 was busy when ARLnow.com walked by Monday night. (The other two busy Shirlington restaurants Monday: Busboys and Poets and Guapo’s.) At 6,000 square feet, Palette 22 will have to keep packing them in even after the opening hype dies down. [Washington Post]
Hillary Clinton Event in Courthouse Tonight — Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign will be holding an event in Courthouse tonight with women’s health advocate Cecile Richards, the president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “Richards will talk about what’s at stake for women in this election and highlight Hillary Clinton’s proven record of standing up for women’s access to affordable reproductive health care regardless of income, race, or ZIP code,” said a press release. The event is taking place at Arlington Rooftop Bar & Grill (2424 Wilson Blvd) starting at 7 p.m.
Changes to Library Fines Proposed — Under a proposed change, Arlington Public Library’s daily fine structure for overdue materials would change — from 20 cents for children’s materials, 30 cents for adult written books and $1 for DVDs — to a flat 30 cents per day for everything. The flat rate structure would be similar to that of Fairfax County’s libraries and is expected to be a wash financially. [InsideNova]
Baseball Teams Joust at Barcroft Field — During a rain delay yesterday at Barcroft Field, the George Washington University baseball team and their opponents from Delaware State had a bit of a jousting duel, video of which was posted online. [WJLA]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
A new ramen noodle eatery is coming to Columbia Pike.
Maruko Sushi, at 2915 Columbia Pike, has closed and in its place is coming “Boru Ramen.” Interior work appears to be underway at the restaurant, though thus far there are few details about Boru other than a small “coming soon” sign on the door.
“Maruko Sushi Business is Closed,” says the old restaurant’s website. “New Ramen Noodle Restaurant will come soon, many thanks for your support over past years.”
Maruko’s owner has not responded to an email inquiry from ARLnow.com.
The former restaurant had been in business for some 35 years on the Pike. It was renamed Maruko after an ownership change in 2010. It was previously known at Matuba Japanese Restaurant.
Revolutionary War-Themed Bar Coming to Clarendon — The Spirits of 76, a new Revolutionary War-themed bar from the general manager of Georgetown’s former Rhino Bar, is coming to Clarendon. The bar will be built in the former Taste of Morocco space at 3211 Washington Blvd, between O’Sullivan’s and the new “European inspired” Park Lane Tavern. Spirits of 76 hopes, optimistically, to open in April. [Washington Business Journal]
Geese from Oil Spill Released — About 20 Canada geese that were affected by the Roaches Run Waterfowl Sanctuary oil spill last month have been released back to the Potomac. Some 60 waterfowl were covered in oil as a result of the spill and 29 died, according to the Coast Guard. Dominion recently admitted that the oil came from its Crystal City power substation. [Washington Post]
Emergency Water Main Repairs in Clarendon — The westbound lanes of 10th Street N. in Clarendon are closed between N. Hudson and N. Irving streets for emergency water main repairs, according to Arlington Alerts.
Superintendent Hoping for No More Snow Days — Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Patrick Murphy is crossing his fingers for an early spring. “Believe me: I want to be back in school on a regular basis more than any of you,” Murphy told School Board members last week. Meanwhile, one local civic activist wants teachers to return to school before students following major snowstorms. [InsideNova, InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
Palette 22, a new restaurant in Shirlington that fuses street cuisine with street art, is slated to open next Monday — appropriately, on 2/22.
The restaurant, in the former Extra Virgin space at 4053 Campbell Avenue, has been in the planning stages for some 18 months. Four months of construction are wrapping up this week and the restaurant was a hive of activity today with construction crews drilling and hammering, prospective employees interviewing for positions and artists working on murals and paintings.
Of the entire Extra Virgin restaurant, only a single sink remains. We’re told that the rest of the former Italian eatery, even the concrete floor, was in a poor enough condition to warrant replacement.
Palette 22 combines food, art and fun, focusing on modern street food small plate dishes with an international flavor. Local art and artists are integrated into the whole dining experience, with painters, mosaicists, photographers and others, working during operating hours in dedicated artist workstations. The restaurant features a seasonally driven menu of more than thirty small plate offerings inspired by street food, culinary traditions, key ingredients, and cultural international small plates.
Expect to see at least one of Palette 22’s “artists in residence” working while you dine. A number of artists from different backgrounds are chosen every three months to work at least two shifts a week, creating art amid diners and answering questions from guests. A committee and the restaurant’s full-time art director select the artists.
When dining at Palette 22, expect to order several small plates to share with friends, and to spend about $25 per person for dinner or $12 for lunch. Individual plates range from $5-11.
The dinner menu includes a number of international street food flavors, like Singapore chili-crab potstickers, Vietnamese sugar cane shrimp, Spanish grilled octopus, Argentine empanadas, Korean bulgogi beef and Chinese Peking duck. The menu also includes flatbreads, mussels and spareribs cooked in a locally-made brick oven, that features prominently in the floor plan.
The cocktail menu continues the theme of creativity, with $10-12 cocktails featuring custom-made syrups, creative garnishes, interesting spices and fresh fruit. There are two house-made sangrias on draft — yes, on draft — along with 12 draft beers, mostly local. Ten wines are offered by the glass, and plenty of other beer and wine is available by the bottle (or can).
Palette 22 is open from for lunch on weekdays, dinner all week and will remain open until 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. A weekend brunch service will debut next Saturday, Feb. 27. Happy hour runs from 4-7 p.m. on weekdays.
Sugar Shack Donuts & Coffee began serving customers at its new Columbia Pike location over the weekend.
The first Arlington store for the popular Richmond-based donut chain is located on the ground floor of the new 3400 Pike apartment building, at 3400 Columbia Pike.
Sugar Shack is open from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. today (Tuesday), as part of a week-long “soft opening,” the store said via its Facebook page. The official opening is scheduled for Saturday.
“The Columbia Pike community has been really amazing and supportive and we are excited about serving them,” said owner Rob Krupicka, a former state legislator who also owns a Sugar Shack location in Alexandria. “Neighbors will see that the walls of the new store will be covered with pictures of people from the Pike and we are so looking forward to partnering with the community and local food stores to create some unique donut flavors.”
Sugar Shack is noted for making its donuts in-house, by hand, and for its variety of flavors.
On Saturday, all Arlington County public servants – firefighters, police officers, teachers and government employees – will get a free donut by showing their ID, the store said in a press release.
“I used to be a public servant for many years,” Krupicka said in a statement. “I know how hard it is. We are delighted to be in this vibrant neighborhood and are really looking forward to getting to know the Arlington community that much better.”
Another trendy East Coast donut chain, Duck Donuts, has been serving large crowds since it opened in the Lee-Harrison shopping center on Lee Highway in November.
Photo via Facebook
A sign on the recently-closed El Rancho Peruvian Chicken restaurant (3610 Columbia Pike) suggests that a new chicken eatery may be opening there soon.
The restaurant is just down the street from a new Chipotle location.
No word yet on when the new eatery may open. Attempts to find a phone associated with the new business were unsuccessful.
Photo courtesy Terry Belt
Trendy salad purveyor Sweetgreen will be opening the doors of its new Crystal City location (2200 Crystal Drive) this Thursday, Feb. 11.
The store will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., offering organic salads and seasonal bowls. During the grand opening, Sweetgreen will be donating 100 percent of the day’s proceeds to FRESHFARM Market’s Matching Dollars program.
Another popular and growing local fast casual restaurant chain, Taylor Gourmet, is expected to open next door later this winter.
(Updated at 4:15 p.m.) Park Lane Tavern, a new European-inspired restaurant in Clarendon, opened for lunch this afternoon with some Scottish-inspired windy and rainy weather.
But that didn’t dampen the spirits of the restaurant’s four partners, who were all on hand for the opening and enthusiastic about their prospects in Arlington.
Located at 1200 N. Irving Street, tucked away on the ground floor of the Beacon at Clarendon apartment building, Park Lane Tavern is essentially across the street from Northside Social and just down the block from O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub.
Whereas if you were to speak to the owners of O’Sullivan’s you’d hear some authentic Irish brogue, the owners of Park Lane Tavern are all American. What they bring to the business, instead, is extensive restaurant industry experience and a good deal of European travels from which they gained inspiration for their expanding business. Just don’t call Park Lane Tavern a theme restaurant — call it “European inspired.”
“We’re not trying to be a themed business,” said Greg Knox, one of the partners. “Our inspiration for this business is the great pubs and taverns of Europe.”
The comfortable interior of Park Lane Tavern feels a bit more like an upper-middle-class country club than anything you’d find in, say, central London, but it is in fact modeled after an actual hotel bar in Paris, Knox said. He declined to reveal which one.
Continuing the pan-European inspiration, the interior includes typical pub carpeting from Britain and light fixtures from Spain — plus a modest collection of flat-screen TVs tuned to ESPN.
This is the third Park Lane Tavern location, but the closest yet to a major city. The others, which opened in 2009 as “The Pub” before being rebranded in 2012, are in Fredericksburg and Hampton, Va. The partners also own other eateries, from a Brixx pizzeria in Virginia Beach to a seafood restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Park Lane Tavern’s cuisine is described as “approachable comfort food” that’s “chef-y” but not overly presumptuous. Expect some familiar dishes from across the pond — bangers and mash, fish and chips, jagerschnitzel — along with a sizable menu of soups, salads, appetizers, burgers, pizzas and sandwiches that are mostly American with a sprinkling of European influence (think: fried Brie instead of mozzarella sticks.)
Prices are mid-range if not a bit lower for Clarendon: appetizers are in the $9-12 range, while burgers, pizza and sandwiches are in the $11-16 range. Entrees start at $15 and top out at $28.
On the beverage side, there are about two dozen draft beers sorted by country of origin, along with a rotating cask ale. Beer quality is a big focus: draft lines are cleaned weekly and all pint glasses are washed with filtered water before pouring. The restaurant’s “Beverage Bible” also includes a wine list, more than 40 Scotch whiskeys and a big selection of Bourbons and Irish whiskeys.
Imported draft beers range from $7 to $11, while a 3-6 p.m. happy hour brings the price of select draft beers and glasses of wines down to $5.
The Beverage Bible — a spiral-bound notebook of alcohol options — includes a page devoted to a curious creation: the “breakfast shot.” Take a shot of Jameson whiskey and butterscotch schnapps, followed by a shot of orange juice, followed by a piece of bacon, and it apparently tastes like a pancake breakfast. Despite the name, the shot is suitable for evening consumption, Knox assured us.
For those with a sweet tooth, the desserts are made to order. The signature dessert is a Jameson Irish Whiskey bread pudding.
Park Lane Tavern is open seven days a week, starting at 11 a.m. It’s open until midnight Sunday through Wednesday, until 1 a.m. on Thursday and until 2 a.m. on weekends. A Sunday brunch service is expected to begin next month.
“Purple Ethiopian Restaurant & Lounge” will be opening at the location, according to a recent ABC license application. It’s the latest in a procession of eateries that double as nightlife spots to occupy the two-level restaurant space at 3111 Columbia Pike.
In the past, neighbors have been critical of excessive noise and crime at the location, which has at times hosted nighttime events. It didn’t help that a manager of Pines of Italy, one of the former establishments, apparently called Arlington County Board members “c-cksuckers” after a vote to revoke the restaurant’s live entertainment permit in 2014.
No word yet on when Purple might be opening.
Clarendon nightlife spot SoBe Bar & Bistro (3100 Clarendon Blvd) has closed last week and will be replaced with a new Spanish tapas restaurant.
The new restaurant will be called Pamplona and will be run by Social Restaurant Group, the company behind Provision No. 14 and The Prospect in the District, ARLnow.com has learned. Both restaurants are noted for their creative, theme-based decor.
Renovations are underway inside the former SoBe space, at the same time as a separate exterior renovation of the courtyard Pamplona will share with Mad Rose Tavern.
Social Restaurant Group wants to have Pamplona open by this spring, though hopes for speedy renovations in Arlington are usually met with disappointment thanks in large part to a stringent county permitting and inspection process.
Pamplona will face competition from La Tasca, Clarendon’s existing Spanish tapas destination.
The tavern — located at 1200 N. Irving Street in the Beacon at Clarendon apartment building — will open at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 2, according to general manager Jim Simmons.
Simmons described the menu as “chef-driven comfort food,” or higher quality versions of the dishes people crave on a regular basis.
“We’re creating an elegant environment to complement the food, but not in a stuffy way,” he said. “We want people to come in casually for a welcoming, glorious atmosphere with comfortable furniture to socialize and enjoy themselves.”
The entrée menu features a variety of dishes, from shepherd’s pie to jägerschnitzel to pizza. The restaurant also has a “Beverage Bible,” which Simmons said includes high-end scotches, bourbons and imported draft beers.
Simmons said work on the space is almost complete as his team is making final adjustments to the dining room, which will feature décor imported from Europe. The establishment is also in the hiring process — as advertised on its Facebook page — with training scheduled to begin on Monday.
Park Lane Tavern will be initially open from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. with slightly adjusted hours on the weekend, to be determined.