NAACP Wants War Memorial Plaque Changed — The Arlington chapter of the NAACP wants a plaque on the war memorial in Clarendon updated. The plaque lists Arlingtonians killed in World War I, but separates two “colored” military members from the rest of the local war dead. The NAACP says it would like to get the plaque removed and replaced. “We owe it to those who fought and died,” said local NAACP president Karen Nightengale. [InsideNova]
Two Restaurant Chains Coming to Arlington — Two regional franchise operators have signed agreements that will bring two expanding restaurant chains to Arlington. A former Domino’s Pizza franchisee is planning to open an Arlington location of Wisconsin-based Toppers Pizza, in addition to locations elsewhere in Northern Virginia. Meanwhile a Five Guys franchisee says it will be opening 10 Newk’s Eatery locations in Arlington and Fairfax counties. The Mississippi-based soup, salad, sandwich and pizza chain is big in the Southeast U.S., with more than 100 locations in 13 states and an aggressive expansion plan. [WTOP, Washington Business Journal]
Arlington Hotels Hacked — Two Arlington hotels have reportedly had their payment systems compromised by hackers. HEI Hotels and Resorts says malware was found on its systems at 20 hotels, including the Le Meridien in Rosslyn and the Sheraton Pentagon City on Columbia Pike. The hack potentially exposed the credit card information of hotel guests and customers. [Associated Press]
Pokemon Go at the Pentagon — Department of Defense officials have put the kibosh on DoD employees playing Pokemon Go on government phones, citing concerns about the game tracking the movement of its employees. The DoD has also reportedly told Pentagon employees to only play the game outside of the building. A Pokemon “gym” inside the Pentagon has been removed. [The Guardian, Twitter]
Bethesda Man Bought $1 Million Lottery Ticket in Arlington — The $1 million-winning Powerball ticket that was sold at a Ballston 7-Eleven store last month was sold to a Bethesda resident. Larry Elpiner says he plans to “share his winnings with family and friends,” in addition to paying for his daughter’s college education. [WUSA 9]
Photo courtesy Noah Kaufman
A fast-casual eatery in Pentagon City gave select locals a taste of its noodle, rice and salad bowls and its automated ordering and payment system today, ahead of its scheduled opening next week.
Honeygrow, which is slated to make its official debut Monday in the recently-expanded Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall, served up samples of its sesame garlic and Philly roast pork stir-fry bowls and other food during an RSVP-only preview lunch.
The restaurant follows a Chipotle-style ordering model that allows customers to pick between its suggested salad and stir-fry noodle or rice options, or create their own meals. Diners also can order a “honeybar,” a dessert with fresh fruit, honey and other toppings, such as coconut flakes and granola.
But unlike Chipotle, customers use touch screens to order and pay for their food, which they can eat in the restaurant or take away with them.
Honeygrow’s Arlington outpost is the Philadelphia-based company’s ninth restaurant and its first location in the D.C. area. The chain is slated to open a location in the District’s Chinatown neighborhood later this year, along with two other outposts in Baltimore.
(Updated at noon) Columbia Pike has a new restaurant serving an authentic and lovingly crafted version of a college dorm staple: ramen.
Customers can choose from five Japanese noodle soup dishes, such as the spicy miso ramen or buta kakuni (braised pork belly) bowls, according to the eatery’s menu. Unlike the ramen you cook on the stovetop for four minutes, the broth at Boru Ramen is simmered for more than eight hours.
“For something we love so much, we could never follow the easy path,” the menu says.
The restaurant also serves rice bowls, edamame, Japanese fried dumplings called gyoza and a sticky rice dessert known as mochi ice cream.
Although Boru Ramen has a bar, no booze is for sale. Diners can have non-alcoholic drinks, including Japanese soda called Ramune and iced green tea made with matcha, instead. The restaurant applied for a wine and beer license on Monday.
Boru Ramen is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
(Updated at 5:05 p.m.) Continental Pool Lounge is expanding with a new, 180-seat indoor/outdoor beer garden.
The new Continental Beer Garden will be located in what’s currently a pop-up urban park with tables, chairs, potted plants and a mural, at the corner of 19th Street and N. Moore Street. Despite being a block from the Metro station, in the bustling, bus-clogged heart of Rosslyn, the 4,000 square foot outdoor beer garden will be a relaxing place to eat, drink and have fun with friends, says Continental owner Curt Large.
“The seating will include a large communal table, picnic tables, outdoor sofas and Adirondack chairs,” Large told ARLnow.com. “Our menu will feature foods meant for sharing, including sausages, appetizers, and other light fare. The beer garden will showcase local Virginia craft beer along with a couple of German brews. Continental will also build outdoor bocce courts for beer garden patrons and will host bocce tournaments and leagues.”
The space, which is just steps away from the Continental Pool Lounge, was formerly the parking lot of a service station. It sat vacant for some two decades, Large said, before being converted to an outdoor seating area by property owner JBG and the Rosslyn Business Improvement District in 2014. The space has hosted a number of events, including a pop-up beer garden organized by the Continental two years ago.
Large says the inside of the service station will be incorporated into the beer garden.
“We will also renovate the interior service station area, located under the office building at 1901 N. Fort Myer Drive,” he said. “The approximately 1,000 foot area will have a bar and small seating area, along with a kitchen and bathrooms. The interior will embrace the industrial grit of the former service station, showcasing some great 1970s vintage garage cabinets and signs behind the bar area.”
Mary-Claire Burick, head of the Rosslyn BID, said the beer garden will be a welcome new amenity for the area, building upon the “pop-up” events that have been held there over the past two years.
“This is a big part of what we do as a BID,” she said. “We saw this underutilized, industrial open space with a ton of foot traffic and made it a priority to reclaim and activate it with our partners, Continental Pool Lounge and JBG. ”
Large has applied for building permits and a liquor permit. He hopes to open the beer garden in the spring of 2017.
It’s been a busy summer for local restaurateur Reese Gardner.
Gardner has two new Arlington establishments in the works — Dudley’s Sport and Ale in Shirlington, which we first reported on in August 2015, and Quinn’s on the Corner, which we first learned about this past June, while lease negotiations were still reportedly in progress.
Despite Dudley’s nearly one year head start, it’s going to be Quinn’s, at 1776 Wilson Blvd, that opens first.
The neighborhood bar and restaurant, which will offer sports on the TVs and Irish and Belgian beers on draft, is aiming for a September opening, Gardner tells ARLnow.com. Work appeared to be in progress at the restaurant today.
Dudley’s, meanwhile, had been beset by permitting and regulatory delays stemming from its addition of a rooftop patio.
The county permit page for Dudley’s, at 2766 S. Arlington Mill Drive, tells the tale of the tape — a solid column of rejected permit applications, with comments from county inspectors like:
- “This is not a tenant improvement. The conversion of the roof to a terrace with roofs over stairs, restrooms, and bar is an addition. Change permit information from CTBO to CADD or submit another permit for the addition.”
- “The drawings indicate that new storefront will be installed. However, no information is presented regarding the U-factor of the storefront system, the air infiltration rate of the storefront system or the SHGC of the glass used in the storefront system.”
- “Sheet E0002 includes motion sensor switches in the restrooms. It is unclear if these switches meet the requirements of section C405.2.2.2 of the 2012 VECC. In the resubmission, include a note on sheet E0002 that states that these motion sensors will shut off all non-emergency lighting within 30 minutes of all occupants leaving the space.”
Gardner, who in February said he was hoping to open Dudley’s in time for the beginning of the summer, did not provide an updated estimate on when it might open now. He said the process has been excruciating, ballooning in complexity as time has gone on.
“We actually had to divide the permit into and interior permit and exterior permit because of the rooftop and new facade,” Gardner said. “If you read they are also making us go through a special inspection process over and above the normal one.”
Though some improvements have been made in recent years, Arlington County has been criticized for having a permitting process that many business owners describe as unfriendly to smaller, brick-and-mortar businesses.
Wahlburgers Coming to Ballston — Wahlburgers, the burger chain founded by the show biz Wahlbergs (Mark, Donnie, Paul), is coming to Ballston next year. The eatery will be located near the intersection of Wilson Blvd and N. Glebe Road. [Washington Post]
SER Expanding to Capitol Hill? — The team behind SER restaurant in Ballston — or, at least, part of the team — is opening a new restaurant on Capitol Hill in the former Sona Creamery and Wine Bar space. [Washington Business Journal]
Metro Releases Cause of Derailment — What caused a Metro train to derail near the East Falls Church station on Friday? The transit agency says it was a deteriorated section of track in which the rails became too wide. [Washington Post]
Dark Star Park Day — Yesterday Arlington County held its annual observance of Dark Star Park Day in Rosslyn. The public park, built in 1984, is designed to have its shadows line up once a year, on Aug. 1. [Storify]
County Touts Innovation Recognition — Three Arlington County programs have been recognized for innovation from the Virginia Association of Counties. [Arlington County]
Road Rage on a Bike Trail — Road rage isn’t something that only happens with motorists. Occasionally, it happens among cyclists as well, as this story from an incident on the Mt. Vernon Trail demonstrates. [Storify]
No official opening date has been set yet, but construction and building permits are up outside the new Nando’s Peri-Peri restaurant in Ballston.
“We are getting close at Ballston,” said Jim Popkin, a representative for the company.
The restaurant is located at 4401 Wilson Blvd, the former home to Italian eatery Vapiano’s.
A Virginia ABC notice outside of the restaurant indicates that Nando’s is seeking to serve wine, beer and cocktails in a space with more than 150 seats.
The Portuguese-style chicken chain has an existing Arlington location in Pentagon City.
Ambar, a Balkan restaurant with locations on Capitol Hill and in Belgrade, is apparently planning to open in Clarendon.
A liquor license application indicates that Ambar will be located at 2901 Wilson Blvd — the current location of Boulevard Woodgrill.
A representative for Boulevard Woodgrill said today that the owner could not be reached for comment. Earlier this month the restaurant announced that it was opening a new “speakeasy” bar in the back of the restaurant.
There was no answer at a phone number associated with the liquor license application and Ambar. The restaurant, originally founded as a partnership between celebrity chef Richard Sandoval and Ivan Iricanin, is also planning to open a new location in D.C.’s Shaw neighborhood.
Ambar’s Capitol Hill location, at 523 8th Street SE on Barracks Row, has received rave reviews on Yelp and other online review sites.
A business billing itself as a “superfood cafe” is on track to open soon in Rosslyn.
Vitality Bowls is set to arrive on the ground floor of 1515 Wilson Blvd “by the end of this summer,” according Mackenzie Coopman, a representative for the company.
The California-based restaurant chain specializes in “acai bowls,” which are blends of the “superfood” berry topped with ingredients such as bananas, strawberries and granola. Other menu options include smoothies, juices salads and paninis. All of the cafe’s food is organic, according to its website.
“Conveniently situated at the busy intersection of Wilson Boulevard and Oak Street, local residents, professionals and students will have easy access to healthier food options while out and about,” Coopman said.
Vitality Bowls claims that it plans to open 10-20 locations in Arlington and the D.C. area. The company currently has 20 locations across the U.S. and says it has another 30 “in development.”
Local entrepreneurs Anisha Sharma, Narender Neerukonda and Raghu Gondi are leading the opening of the forthcoming eatery in Rosslyn.
The new Sweetgreen restaurant in Clarendon opened today to big lunchtime lines.
Located at 3100 Clarendon Blvd, the popular salad shop had a line stretching all the way out the door this morning for its official opening. It was similarly busy on Wednesday and Thursday as the restaurant gave away free food during RSVP-only “preview” events.
One hundred percent of today’s opening day proceeds were to be donated to the FRESHFARM Markets Matching Dollars program, which provides fresh, local produce to under-privileged communities in the D.C. area.
“It’s awesome that they donate the first day’s proceeds to a local nonprofit,” said one woman who was enjoying a “Guacamole Greens” salad inside the restaurant’s small dining area. She and her friends “actually biked [to Sweetgreen] from Rosslyn,” despite temperatures in the 90s.
According to the mall’s website, D.C.-based Matchbox is set to open its first Arlington location in August and candy-shop-slash-restaurant Sugar Factory is slated for an October opening of what will be its first D.C. area location.
A mall spokesman confirmed that the openings are nearing, but couldn’t confirm any dates.
“Matchbox is slated to open later this summer and Sugar Shack is said to open in October, however the exact date is not yet confirmed,” said the spokesman.
Also opening as part of the expansion is Philadelphia-based stir-fry chain Honeygrow, which will be launching its first D.C. area location.
“Slated to open in early August, honeygrow will contribute to the mall’s extensive dining selection by providing shoppers with a variety of fully customizable stir-fry and salad options,” said a recent press release. “Located in the new Hayes Street expansion, the eatery will feature locally and seasonally sourced ingredients, noodles freshly prepared by ramen chefs, house-made dressings and sauces and proteins sourced from providers including Creekstone Farms and Freebird.”
The first tenant to open its doors in the new expansion was Shake Shack, which opened in May to large crowds.
It’s being billed as Columbia Pike’s first beer garden.
BrickHaus, a new beer-centric watering hole and restaurant, is coming to the former Blanca’s Restaurant space at 2900 Columbia Pike, at the corner of S. Walter Reed Drive.
News of the opening comes a year after ARLnow first reported that the long-vacant Spanish Revival-style building was perhaps getting a renovation to accommodate a restaurant with a rooftop seating area. A look inside the window reveals that some work has been performed, but there’s a long way to go before it will look anything like a beer garden.
The building was once briefly considered for a “southside” version of the popular Clarendon cafe Northside Social. But prospective tenants worried about the poor condition of the interior and other challenges, not the least of which is the age and relatively small size of the building and the challenge of setting up any substantial level of outdoor seating on the small adjacent lot or roof.
The potential downsides were not enough to deter Tony Wagner, the owner of BrickHaus, who’s also the owner of Twisted Vines Bottleshop and Bistro, which is located across the street at 2803 Columbia Pike.
“Columbia Pike is such a thriving and growing community, we want to make sure there are great [dining and drink] options out there,” he said. “We’re going to make BrickHaus a great gathering spot for the community… It’s very exciting, this is going to be a fun one.”
Wagner said BrickHaus will be a beer garden on the first floor, with some 20 beers on tap and an approximately 30-seat outdoor patio. The second floor — the mezzanine — will be a sit-down steakhouse.
Wagner said extensive renovations will be getting underway on the “beautiful, historic property,” which was once a bank before becoming a restaurant and then, most recently, serving as the construction office for the next-door Halstead apartment building. The interior will be pretty much all new and the exterior will be rehabilitated. Plans for rooftop seating fell through after it failed to receive Arlington County’s approval, he said.
Beer-wise, BrickHaus will offer almost all regional brews from Virginia, D.C. and Maryland, in addition to perhaps a couple of German beers, Wagner said. Just as Twisted Vines offers wine for sale and a special wine club, BrickHaus plans to offer beer for retail sale and, eventually, a beer club. BrickHaus’ ABC permit application would also allow the business to sell kegs of beer.
Wagner said he got the idea for BrickHaus after listening to feedback from customers at Twisted Vines, who said they wanted an outdoor option on the Pike and were also looking for better beer options. Staring out the front window at the vacant building on the other side of the intersection also sparked his interest.
It’s because of the success of Twisted Vines that Wagner is looking to expand on the Pike. Since taking over ownership last summer, Wagner says Twisted Vines has “had a really fantastic year.” An anniversary celebration is being planned for Aug. 10.
Whereas Twisted Vines has “one of the best wine-by-the-glass and whiskey selections” in Arlington, in Wagner’s estimation, he’s hoping BrickHaus can be its beer counterpart, filling a void in the community.
“We wanted to keep it local,” he said. “We said, let’s give Columbia Pike another great option with great beer.”
BrickHaus is hoping to open by late summer, in time for Oktoberfest.
A new Sweetgreen in Clarendon will open on Friday, July 8, a company rep tells ARLnow.com.
The restaurant is currently under construction on the ground floor of the 3100 Clarendon Blvd office building, near Pacers.
Salad purveyor Sweetgreen has been expanding quickly in Arlington. The company is also working to open a new location in Pentagon City.
A new Applebee’s restaurant has opened in Ballston.
The chain eatery opened its doors on Wednesday (June 15). It’s located at 900 N. Glebe Road, in the former Greene Turtle Sports Bar & Grille space. The Greene Turtle closed in April.
While some locals were skeptical of Applebee’s ability to find success in an urban neighborhood like Ballston, it was packed with customers around dinnertime Thursday, when ARLnow.com visited.
Applebee’s has an outdoor patio, over 200 seats indoors and a bar. Business hours are from 11 a.m.-11 p.m every day except on Saturdays, when it’s open 11 a.m.-10 p.m., according to the Applebee’s website.
Pancho Villa Mexican Cuisine has opened in Rosslyn.
The restaurant is located at 1850 N. Fort Myer Drive, former home to the short-lived Secret Chopsticks restaurant. The space is largely unchanged, save the new purple paint job.
Pancho Villa had its soft opening this past Thursday. According to district manager Marta Hernandez, there was a big turnout.
“So many customers came into the restaurant and we received so many compliments about the food and service, it was a big success,” said Hernandez.
The Mexican cuisine served at Pancho Villa is made from scratch, said Hernandez, and the chips and salsa are made fresh everyday. “The food here is made with lots of love,” she said.
Pancho Villa has other locations around Virginia and one in North Carolina. While the restaurant expects to have its official grand opening celebration in 3-4 weeks.