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by Chris Teale August 7, 2017 at 3:45 pm 0

Just months after national chain Applebee’s closed in Ballston, its replacement, Filipino restaurant Bistro 1521, has opened its doors.

Located at 900 N. Glebe Road on the first floor of the the Virginia Tech Research Center and next door to the recently-opened Stageplate Bistro, the new spot occupies a large restaurant space, with seating capacity for 220 inside and 60 on the outside patio. It opened July 31.

The restaurant has a slew of Filipino staples, including soups, salads, rice and dishes with noodles and various meats. Bistro 1521 also has various grill and house specialty dishes including jumbo squid stuffed with tomatoes and onions; Cebu crab cakes and a “1521 Burger” with ground beef, longaniza (a Spanish sausage), atchara (pickle) and sweet potato fries.

Those behind the restaurant include Manny Tagle, bartender Jo-Jo Valenzuela and wife Christina Valenzuela, and general manager Solita Wakefield. Wakefield was previously a co-owner of Bistro 7107, a Filipino restaurant on 23rd Street S. in Crystal City, which recently closed. Jo-Jo Valenzuela said the dishes will be recognizable to those who love Filipino food.

“We want to be careful about calling our food authentic, because everyone’s mother cooks meals differently,” he said. “But we’re definitely traditional Filipino comfort food.”

The restaurant’s name refers to the year Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan discovered the Philippines, and the artwork on the wall includes references to the country’s flag and other part of its history.

Dinner service begins at 4 p.m. each day, with lunch and brunch services set to launch in the near future.

by ARLnow.com August 7, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

Clarendon is getting a new option for coffee, donuts and ice cream.

A joint Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin Robbins store is coming to a ground floor space on at the corner of Clarendon Blvd and N. Garfield Street, one block from the Metro station. The space was formerly occupied by a dining area for Pete’s New Haven Apizza, which downsized earlier this year.

Permits have been issued for the interior buildout of the store, but so far there’s no word on an opening date. The new shop will join existing, nearby Dunkin’ Donuts locations in Courthouse, Virginia Square, Ballston and Cherrydale.

In March, ARLnow reported that reps for Dunkin’ had visited the space at 3017 Clarendon Blvd and were considering a lease.

by ARLnow.com August 2, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

‘Open Road’ Coming to Rosslyn — A new location of Open Road, from the restaurant group behind Circa, is expected to open in Rosslyn next year. Open Road is expected to have a large, covered outdoor patio area. [Washington Business Journal]

Milkshake Shipped from Cleveland for Cancer Patient — Using dry ice and overnight shipping, a popular Cleveland restaurant shipped one of its famous milkshakes to a terminal cancer patient in Arlington. A photo of the patient, Emily Pomeranz, enjoying the shake in her hospice room has gone viral. [Facebook, Fox 8 Cleveland]

Street Work Schedule — Arlington County will be performing micro-sealing work on a number of streets this month as part of its preventive maintenance program. Among the roads with planned nighttime closures: Shirlington Road, Washington Blvd, N. George Mason Drive, N. Pershing Drive, S. Arlington Ridge Road and Army Navy Drive. [Arlington County]

Arlington Had a Little Italy — Arlington County once had its own Little Italy, a “makeshift village occupied by Italian quarrymen and their families on the banks of the Potomac, accessible only by footpath.” The former quarry site is located along the Potomac Heritage Trail, according to an article posted earlier this summer on WETA’s Boundary Stones local history blog. [WETA]

Flickr pool photo by Bekah Richards

by ARLnow.com August 1, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

ACPD Says It Follows the Constitution — In a public statement of values, the Arlington County Police Department said yesterday that it “has always adhered to the Constitution and is committed to safeguarding the rights of all individuals.” The department continued: “We faithfully, and without bias, honor our obligations to the community and will continue to provide professional law enforcement services in accordance with our core values.” [Facebook]

Bistro 1521 Now Open — Filipino restaurant Bistro 1521 reportedly opened last night. The 7,000 square foot eatery is located in the former Applebee’s space at 900 N. Glebe Road in Ballston. [Washington City Paper]

District Taco Opening in Pa. — District Taco, which started as a tiny food cart in Arlington, is continuing to expand. DT is planning to open a location in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, its first restaurant outside of D.C., Maryland and Virginia. [Twitter]

Fmr. Arlington Resident Sexually Enslaved Housekeeper — A former American diplomat, who reportedly used to live in Arlington, “has for the second time been found liable for enslaving and sexually trafficking a housekeeper while posted at the U.S. Embassy in Yemen.” [Washington Post]

ACFCU Branch Closed After Fire — The N. Glebe Road branch of Arlington Community Federal Credit Union is closed after a fire yesterday evening. “Thx for understanding as we work 2 make sure bldg is safe,” the credit union said via social media. [Twitter]

ACFD Battles Fire in Bailey’s Crossroads — The Arlington County Fire Department has had a busy couple of days. The department battled at least three fires yesterday afternoon and also, on Saturday, assisted on a blaze in an empty apartment at a three-story complex on Oakview Gardens Drive in Bailey’s Crossroads. Five people were displaced and $20,000 in damage was caused, but no injuries were reported. [Falls Church News-Press]

Photo courtesy Curtis Prathers 

by Chris Teale July 31, 2017 at 1:25 pm 0

A new deli serving a wide range of food and drink is coming to Courthouse and could open as early as this fall.

The Chelsea Market & Deli will be located at 2250 Clarendon Blvd in the plaza near county government headquarters. It will replace the shuttered City Market convenience store, and be opposite Starbucks, Clarendon Nail Spa and GNC near the Courthouse Plaza apartments.

Owner Shawn Kim said Chelsea Market & Deli could be open sometime in October, depending on how permitting and construction goes. Kim said he is adding a full kitchen with a pizza oven, which could make things more complicated, and that he anticipates being open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The new deli will serve traditional deli food like corned beef pastrami, hot sandwiches, pizzas and salads as well as international cuisine like Jamaican food. After living in New York and being a regular at various street-corner delis and markets, Kim said he wanted to bring that back to Arlington.

“It seems like here, everything is so franchised and the food is good sometimes, but you don’t get that home cooking taste anymore,” Kim said. “I’m trying to bring that food back.”

Chelsea Market & Deli has filed an application with Virginia ABC to serve beer and wine, and Kim said it will also serve various breakfast staples like waffles, pancakes, omelets and French toast. Cheeses and other snacks will also be sold.

He added that the new eatery, which will be focused on being a carry-out market rather than a full sit-down restaurant, will try to keep prices low.

“I’ve been working in the food industry for a long time, and the need for sandwiches and pizza for a good price, it’s hard to find these days,” Kim said.

by Chris Teale July 26, 2017 at 2:15 pm 0

The newest addition to the Ballston restaurant scene is set to open Monday, August 7.

Stageplate Bistro at 900 N. Glebe Road will begin a limited lunch service that week from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., with a view to ramping up to full dinner service soon after.

The eatery had been planning to open as early as May, but after needing some additional permits and some finishing touches to the design, it is almost ready to go.

General manager Mary Marchetti said that she anticipates dinner service starting soon thereafter, once any kinks have been worked out.

“I didn’t want to put a box around it and have people be disappointed,” she said.

Marchetti operates the restaurant with her husband and executive chef Nelson Gonzalez. The pair have been involved in providing catering to bands and artists and their traveling road crews for years, and are bringing that experience to Stageplate Bistro.

The eatery on the first floor of the Virginia Tech Research Center is the successor to Backstage Bistro Cafe near Dulles International Airport, which closed last October. Backstage also hosted a catering company that specialized in events and providing food for touring entertainment acts.

“On the road, it doesn’t matter if you’re a bus driver or the talent, everyone is a VIP,” Marchetti said.

That VIP treatment at Stageplate includes the service, which is intended to be as personal as possible, and various small details, according to Marchetti. For instance, filtered still water will be offered free of charge and at various temperatures. Marchetti said that variation in temperatures leans on their experience working with singers and dancers: while the former generally want room temperature water, the latter usually want chilled.

The food at Stageplate will be American and Mediterranean-inspired with some subtle tweaks. Instead of serving pizza, Stageplate will serve Turkish pide, a street food version of pizza that can be filled with various different ingredients.

Guests can also expect pasta, sandwiches, soups and salads, all made from scratch, while the bistro’s signature cocktail is a sangria wine slush. In the evenings, the menu will have various rotating entrees depending on which in-season ingredients come in fresh that day.

On Sundays, Stageplate will host a “live-action” buffet brunch where chefs prepare food in front of customers. They also plan to have live music on those days, featuring a rotation of gospel, jazz, Motown and the hits of Frank Sinatra.

The restaurant will have around 125 seats indoors, 28 outside on the patio and nine at the bar, while the back area can be hired out for small events and functions of no more than about 50.

And after work on the restaurant that began late last year, those involved with Stageplate are excited to get open and share their food creations with the world.

“We’re going to feed the soul,” said Gonzalez.

by ARLnow.com July 26, 2017 at 10:05 am 0

The pace of restaurant openings has noticeably slowed down in Arlington.

That doesn’t mean, however, there are no new restaurants to get excited about in Arlington. In fact there are a number of restaurants — bar-oriented restaurants, in particular — that are coming soon and have the potential to be new go-to spots.

Which of the following are you most looking forward to?

  • Brickhaus on Columbia Pike, which announced Monday via Facebook that it was just awaiting county inspections before opening: “One step closer to opening day (no, friends – there’s no firm date yet 😊).”
  • Dudley’s in Shirlington, which on June 1, after 15 months of back-and-forth with the county, finally received a building permit to start constructing a rooftop deck.
  • The G.O.A.T. Sports Bar in Clarendon, from the owners behind A-Town and Don Tito, which is currently expected to open later this summer.
  • Wilson Hardware, a new bar and lounge in Clarendon, which has announced a “late summer” opening.
  • Verre Wine Bar in Courthouse, which is now hiring and says it will “deliver a superior wine bar experience by offering the best value wine list in the DC area paired alongside classic, wholesome and heartwarming meals as well as a variety of shareable small plates.”

Some honorable mentions not included in our poll, as they seem to be more food-oriented, are Gyu-Kaku, a forthcoming Japanese BBQ restaurant in Clarendon that has not yet applied for construction permits; Bistro 1521, coming to the former Applebee’s space in Ballston; and Stageplate Bistro in Ballston, which is still not open despite being “close to opening” in May.

by Chris Teale July 25, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

The new fast-casual pizzeria &pizza is aiming to open in the late fall in Ballston, its first shop outside a mall or airport in Virginia.

The build-your-own-pizza restaurant will move into 3924 Wilson Blvd, next to Freshbikes near the intersection with N. Quincy Street. It will occupy more than 2,000 square feet of space in the building, facing Wilson Blvd and across the parking lot from Gold’s Gym.

Guests can expect &pizza’s signature customizable oblong pizzas with unlimited toppings using local ingredients and no artificial flavors.

“We pride ourselves in creating neighborhood shops built for the neighborhood and supporting local, like-minded brands doing big things – whether that’s in downtown D.C. or Arlington,” said Michael Lastoria, co-founder and CEO of &pizza, in a statement. “We are so grateful to have grown this quickly, and directly attribute our growth to the DMV community’s support over the last five years.”

More from an &pizza press release:

&pizza, the beloved Washington, D.C.-based pizza brand, announces a new shop opening in Virginia this fall. The anti-establishment establishment will soon be serving up its signature oblong pies in the Ballston section of Arlington at 3924 Wilson Boulevard.

Occupying 2,123 square feet, Ballston will be &pizza’s sixth shop in Virginia. Other Virginia locations include a Tysons Corner shop slated for opening in October, Springfield Mall and multiple airport locations at both Dulles and Reagan. The first standalone shop in Virginia outside of mall or airport, the Ballston location will deliver the full &pizza experience in a way suburban Virginia has never seen before.

Each of &pizza’s outposts celebrates oneness, unity, and inclusion. “We pride ourselves in creating neighborhood shops built for the neighborhood and supporting local, like-minded brands doing big things – whether that’s in downtown D.C. or Arlington,” said Michael Lastoria, co-founder and CEO of &pizza. “We are so grateful to have grown this quickly, and directly attribute our growth to the DMV community’s support over the last five years.”

&pizza has made their critically-acclaimed pies, unlimited toppings and commitment to community the new type of pizza shop.  They have successful track-records in both urban and suburban communities, choosing to always focus on creative food, hyper-local design and charitabe giving. With shops in Adams Morgan, Tysons Corner and New York City’s Astor Place also slotted to open this fall, &pizza continues its trek as one of the fastest-growing pizza brands on the East Coast.

&pizza has also signed a lease at 401 Morse Street NE slated for a 2018 opening. More information to follow.

// THE MENU + THE BRAND

&pizza prides itself on serving up experiences in addition to fresh pizza. Guests have the opportunity to craft their own individual pie with unlimited ingredients or choose from eight signature pizzas with bold and unique flavor combinations such as the Maverick (meat lovers), the egg-topped Farmer’s Daughter (breakfast with a kick), and the Gnarlic (more than a white pie). The brand works with Little Giants (local producers) to create innovative menu offerings that span a variety of food and beverage categories, including craft &SODA and small batch &TEA. &pizza is all about cleaner labels – using local produce and no high fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors. They also have a variety of gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan offerings.

// ABOUT &pizza:

Founded in 2012 in Washington, D.C.’s historic H Street NE corridor, &pizza set out to create a different kind of pizza shop – one where experience is the focal point, and every shop reflects the culture and people of its neighborhood. &pizza quickly became a part of the fabric of its local D.C. communities with its strong sense of social mission as a champion fighter in the battle for a living wage for its tribe, local food partnerships as a way to create a twist on classics, and in turn, with the signature ampersand tattoos that are now proudly worn by nearly 100 guests and members of its devoted Tribe of employees.

Evidence of their disruptive success can be found in the organizational culture of its employees, its rapid expansion and numerous recognitions. The brand was recently named Business Insider’s “Most Popular Pizza Chain” in Washington, D.C. and took home wins in 7 different “Best Of” categories by Washington City Paper – including “Best Pizza.” With the opening of &pizza in New York’s NoMad neighborhood in June 2017, Buzzfeed declared that “The Next Generation of Pizza Is Descending Upon New York.”

&pizza currently has 22 shops across Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York, with additional locations opening soon in Adams Morgan in D.C., Tysons Corner in Virginia, and Astor Place in New York.

by Chris Teale July 18, 2017 at 1:15 pm 0

Trendy fast-casual pizzeria &pizza is coming to Ballston, according to permit applications filed with the county.

The build-your-own pizza restaurant looks set to move into 3924 Wilson Blvd, next to Freshbikes near the intersection with N. Quincy Street.

Freshbikes is set to expand in its current location across from Gold’s Gym, while &pizza is set to occupy the front of the building facing Wilson Blvd, according to employees at the bike store. The plaza is also home to the eyebrow threading service Perfect Eyebrows.

Applications indicate that the restaurant is looking to add outside seating. No word yet on an opening date.

As well as giving guests the option to design their own pizza with customizable toppings, dough, cheeses and spreads, &pizza also offers several fixed selections. The eatery also offers its own flavored drinks, including sodas and teas.

It already has one location in Arlington, in Terminal C of Reagan National Airport, as well as others in Northern Virginia, D.C., Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania.

Hat-tip to Chris Slatt.

by Chris Teale July 14, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

The successor to the former RiRa Irish Pub in Clarendon is aiming to be open in “late summer.”

Wilson Hardware at 2915 Wilson Blvd has been under construction for almost a year, but appears to be nearing completion. Signs are up and facing the street, and a back outdoor patio is taking shape.

When it is finished, customers can expect a 7,000-square-foot bar and lounge with three distinct bar areas, including one on the roof.

Inside, a large papier-mâché mural covers the bar’s exposed brick wall, designed by D.C. firm SWATCHROOM. And upstairs on the rooftop, the bar features a graphic tile motif in black and white and plants overhead, along with high tables and two large flat-screen televisions.

Wilson Hardware will serve contemporary American food and a menu of signature cocktails. It is named for the Virginia Hardware store, which occupied the space from the early 1960s until 2005.

“Clarendon has definitely been overdue for a place like Wilson Hardware, so we’re thrilled to be in the neighborhood,” said co-owner Jad Bouchebel in a statement. “We know how important the history of this landmark is and look forward to welcoming new faces to our restaurant.”

More from a press release, after the jump.

(more…)

by Katherine Berko July 6, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

Rosslyn’s new Sweetgreen will open its doors on the ground floor of the Central Place apartment tower next week.

The D.C.-founded salad purveyor will be fully open for customers on July 11 at 1800 N. Lynn Street, after staff training and a soft opening in the days before.

A spokeswoman for the Rosslyn Business Improvement District said that new employees are being trained on making Sweetgreen’s various salads, then donating them to the homeless. Local advocacy group A-SPAN and D.C. Central Kitchen across the Potomac River will receive the prepared salads.

For the soft opening, customers can receive free lunch or dinner at an RSVP-only event, while on Monday, July 10, Sweetgreen will host a free lunch in honor of Neighborhood Day, another RSVP-only event.

All proceeds from the eatery’s official launch on Tuesday will be donated to Dreaming Out Loud, a local nonprofit that looks to build healthy, equitable food systems.

This will be the fifth Sweetgreen in Arlington. Other locations are in Ballston, ClarendonCrystal City and Pentagon City.

by Chris Teale June 29, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

A new beer garden in Rosslyn will open tomorrow afternoon, just in time for the Fourth of July holiday celebrations.

The Continental Beer Garden at 1901 N. Fort Myer Drive will open to 3:30 p.m. on Friday, June 30. Its regular hours will be 3:30-11 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. It will have space to seat 180 people: 150 outside and 30 inside.

Also outside are two full-sized bocce courts, with picnic tables and other seating dotted around the space. Work included a full renovation of the former service station located under the office building.

As of Thursday, workers were putting the finishing touches on the outdoor seating area and bringing in barrels of beer and other drinks.

Beers from Virginia and Germany will be served by the pint or pitcher, while wine can be ordered by glass or carafe from kegs. A slushy machine will also be among the drink offerings.

On the food menu is a selection of sausages including bratwurst with sauerkraut and a classic D.C. halfsmoke with grilled onions and cheese. There will also be other snacks, entree salads, a selection of skewers served over basil quinoa salad and hot sandwiches like grilled cheese and pulled pork.

The beer garden is owned by Curt Large, who also owns the nearby Continental Pool Lounge. The project received support from the Rosslyn Business Improvement District and landlord JBG.

by ARLnow.com June 22, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

McDonald’s may have been the first restaurant to open on the ground floor of the new Central Place apartment tower in Rosslyn, but two health-oriented eateries will soon join it.

D.C.-founded salad purveyor Sweetgreen and NYC-based, fast-casual vegetarian chain Little Beet are both under construction along the 1800 block of N. Lynn Street.

There’s no word yet on an exact opening date but Sweetgreen is now hiring and appears to be nearing the completion of its interior build-out, while Little Beet is closer to the beginning of its construction process.

Also planned for Central Place are a Compass Coffee, a Cava Grill, and a Nando’s Peri-Peri. Nando’s has applied for a license to serve wine and beer. A cursory check around the block did not reveal active construction for any of the three.

by Chris Teale June 12, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

Despite delays, a new beer garden on Columbia Pike is still on track to open soon, its owner says.

BrickHaus at 2900 Columbia Pike had anticipated opening last month, having finished construction and put the final touches on the space once occupied by Blanca’s Restaurant.

But the restaurant remains unopened, at least for now. In an email, owner Tony Wagner – who also owns Twisted Vines across the street — said BrickHaus is “in the midst of inspections,” and that he could have a “good idea” of an opening date as early as this week.

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 mezzanine will have upstairs dining with a menu including steaks, German food and other entrees.

It will offer mostly regional brews from Virginia, D.C. and Maryland, in addition to perhaps a couple of German beers. Wagner said draft wine will also be available.

The aging building has received an extensive renovation after being vacant for years following the departure of Blanca’s Restaurant.

by ARLnow.com June 7, 2017 at 1:00 pm 0

(Updated at 1:30 p.m) The space vacated by Applebee’s in Ballston less than three weeks ago will not be empty for long.

The restaurant at 900 N. Glebe Road closed on May 27. Applebee’s closing followed the closure of the Greene Turtle Sports Bar & Grille in the same space in April 2016.

Despite the challenges of filling the large restaurant space on the western side of Glebe Road with customers, a new eatery called Bistro 1521 is set to move in soon.

Solita Wakefield, a partner in the business and the restaurant’s general manager, said that Bistro 1521 will serve traditional Filipino cuisine like lumpia, adobo and pancit (noodles), plus fusion dishes mechado with a Spanish flair.

Wakefield was previously a co-owner of Bistro 7107, a Filipino restaurant on 23rd Street S. in Crystal City, which recently closed, according to Yelp. There are no other large sit-down Filipino restaurants in Arlington, Wakefield said, and only a handful elsewhere in the D.C. area. She expects to win over both Filipino customers — including those who work at the Philippines embassy — as well as those new to the cuisine.

Bistro 1521 is located in the same building as Stageplate Bistro, on the first floor of the the Virginia Tech Research Center. It occupies a large restaurant space, with seating capacity for 220 inside and 60 on the outside patio.

“It’s going to be grand,” Wakefield said.

Wakefield plans to keep the interior of the former Applebee’s largely unchanged, with the addition of some Filipino paintings and other decorations. She also plans to keep Applebee’s regularly-scheduled events, like cornhole, trivia night and painting night.

Wakefield is hoping that the business permits are approved in time for the restaurant to open in July.

Hat tip to Todd B.

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