Press Club

A number of Arlington restaurants were served good news yesterday when the finalists for 2022 RAMMY Awards were announced.

Northside Social, Queen Mother’s, Bayou Bakery, and Ruthie’s All-Day were among the finalists for various awards celebrating the D.C. region’s restaurants over the last year. Stellina Pizzeria and the restaurateurs behind CHIKO, both with Shirlington outposts, as well as Mark Bucher of Medium Rare (which has a Virginia Square location) were also named award finalists.

The RAMMY Awards are handed out by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington, the region’s restaurant industry trade association. It’s intended to honor restaurants for its work over the last year (from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2021). An in-person gala is set to be held in July, when the winners will be announced.

In total, seven finalists this year have Arlington ties, which is pretty much on par with other recent years. It’s a far cry from more than a decade ago when local restaurants were routinely given few accolades, further proof how far the reputation of Arlington’s food scene has come.

Last year’s awards were, understandably, altered, with more of a spotlight on how local restaurants adapted to pandemic conditions. For example, David Guas of Bayou Bakery was recognized with a “Good Neighbor Award” for his Chefs Feeding Families initiative. That category is no longer part of the ceremony this year.

This 2022 edition is, more or less, back to what it was in 2019, though “Hottest Sandwich Spot,” “Splendid Holidays at Home,” and “Outstanding Pop-up Concept” were new categories from 2021 that are being held over.

Four Arlington-based restaurants are finalists this year for an award.

Bayou Bakery in Courthouse is being recognized in the “Splendid Holidays at Home” category.

“Restaurants have a way of making special occasions feel extra special, and this year they continued to meet customers at their comfort level as Covid (and other interruptions during the year) uprooted holidays for many,” says the award description.”This nominee went all out to create celebratory menus with all the bells and whistles to help guests have memorable holidays at home.”

Chef David Guas, who’s back from Poland where he was helping to feed Ukrainian refugees, tells ARLnow that it is an honor that Bayou Bakery’s efforts in making Mardi Gras special despite challenges are being recognized.

“It was a nice surprise to be honored and a warm welcome home upon returning from an intense and rigorous two weeks in Poland assisting with World Central Kitchen. This nomination is the result of something our team created during the pandemic to help keep us afloat,” he says. “The cliche — ‘It’s a team effort’ really holds true in this scenario. I value my team everyday, and especially during the pandemic, which was such a peculiar time for us all. It was fun and rewarding to find new ideas to bring people together — that’s the New Orleans way!”

Clarendon’s Northside Social, which now has a satellite location in Falls Church, is a finalist for its wine program.

Ruthie’s All Day, which opened in October 2020 in the Arlington Heights neighborhood, is up for “casual restaurant of the year.”

Ruthie’s All-Day’s Instagram post celebrating RAMMY nomination (image via screenshot/Instagram)

Queen Mother’s, located in the restaurant incubator Cafe by La Cocina alongColumbia Pike, is honored in the “Hottest Sandwich Spot” category. Chef Rahman “Rock” Harper and the eatery are known for their fried chicken sandwiches.

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Northside Social in Clarendon (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

(Updated 12 p.m.) Today (Thursday) marks one month since Russia invaded Ukraine, plunging the country and Arlington’s sister city, Ivano-Frankivsk, into war.

In solidarity with Ukraine, Northside Social (3211 Wilson Blvd) is hosting a fundraiser this weekend, featuring traditional food and beer and live Ukrainian music from D.C.-area ensemble Gerdan.

The fundraiser begins at 3 p.m. on Sunday, and Gerdan will play “original arrangements of traditional Ukrainian folk melodies” from 4-6 p.m., according to a flier.

Northside Social will donate a percentage of proceeds to the International Committee of the Red Cross and World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit founded by local celebrity chef José Andrés that’s currently working to feed Ukrainian refugees and those still in the war-torn country. Proceeds from some wine sales will go to World Central Kitchen, the flyer says.

An Arlington-based glass artist, Maria Milton, will be selling pieces at the fundraiser and donating proceeds to United World Mission. The Arlington Sister City Association will be on-site raising awareness about the war and Ivano-Frankivsk.

“If you’d like to stop by and help support, I think it’s going to be a great event,” Arlington County Board Member Libby Garvey said at the Board meeting on Tuesday. “I know it always feels like we’re doing not much, but I think every little bit helps, and the more awareness builds, the more there’s global pressure to bring this horrible, horrible invasion to a halt.”

Locals can also bring new and gently used coats, as well as new blankets, heavy socks and gloves, to Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street), where a collection bin was set up yesterday (Wednesday).

The Northern Virginia Regional Commission will be sending collected items to relief agencies and churches in Poland “waiting and wanting these goods,” Garvey said.

NVRC requests items be donated no later than April 15.

As the Russia-Ukraine war enters its second month, the U.S. has announced it will accept 100,000 Ukrainian refugees. Today, President Joe Biden is participating in an emergency NATO summit that could lead to more aid for Ukraine and additional sanctions against Russia.

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(Updated at 11:15 a.m.) Dating can be awkward, but Northside Social in Clarendon seems to ease anxiety when it comes to the search for love.

While the Arlington eatery doesn’t go out of its way to promote the location as an ideal date spot, it may be the epicenter of local dating activity.

From coffee to wine to food like vegan pastries and gluten-free scones, the spot has a wide range of offerings throughout the day to suit various needs, preferences or cravings. That makes it a pretty safe bet for a first or second date.

Northside offers an “easy, approachable and comfortable” environment, Northside Social’s Wine Director Karin Logan told ARLnow. “None of the staff are particularly overbearing, which can I know can be difficult with a first, second or even third date atmosphere.”

“I don’t think I have a single friend who hasn’t been to at least one of our restaurants on a date,” said Logan, referencing Northside’s sister restaurants of Liberty Tavern and Lyon Hall in Clarendon. She said she sees plenty of first dates and can often recognize first-time meetups driven by apps like Tinder or Bumble.

Apart from app-driven dates, there are also some honest-to-goodness meet cutes happening at Northside. Logan can recall instances where people have ended up meeting potential partners there.

“All of the regulars I know have at least met one or two people there because of its a welcoming place and all of my regulars are friends with one another,” Logan said. “It’s conducive to meeting people.”

Over the two years that Logan has held her position, she said she’s also witnessed at least five or six engagement photoshoots at Northside, which is more than any other restaurant she has worked for during her 18 years in the restaurant industry.

“And those just happened to be the days I was working,” she added.

There have been actual engagements as well. Arlington resident Kayla Laubach was at a Friday happy hour at Don Tito in July of 2017 when she received a text from her boyfriend Nick, asking her to stop by Northside Social, a block away.

Confused, she agreed and walked up the stairs into the wine bar to find Nick with candles scattered throughout the room and a bottle of champagne on a single stand-up table.

“It was really cute,” she said. “I was so focused going up the stairs I didn’t even notice they had a little chalkboard sign that said ‘Congrats Kayla and Nick.'”

Shortly after, all of the couple’s family and friends gathered in the space to celebrate their engagement with an after-party. The venue was chosen because Northside was where Kayla and Nick would meet while she was living in Arlington and he was living in Maryland, earlier in their relationship.

Kayla, a regular, says she chose it because she knew Nick would love the sausage and poached egg breakfast sandwich.

“When we were in Arlington we would go there every Saturday and Sunday. It was crazy how often we went there,” she said. “It was the place we fell in love.”

Northside Social has plenty of competition among newer Clarendon area coffee shops like East West Coffee and Wine and This Is Fine Coffee. But Logan doesn’t seem concerned for the future of the hangout. It’s hard to duplicate the community that has formed around a place like Northside — and special features like the dog-friendly outdoor patio and charcuterie boards done just so don’t hurt either.

As for people looking for a place with fewer first dates, there’s always the newer Northside Social in Falls Church, which opened in 2018.

Photos courtesy Kayla Laubach

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Morning Notes

Bloomberg Event Prompts Protests — Dozens of gun rights protesters demonstrated in front of the Bloomberg presidential campaign office last night during an event featuring D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser. [Twitter, Twitter]

Dorsey Talks to Local TV Station — “Arlington County board member Christian Dorsey is speaking out about the ethics violation that led to his resignation from the Metro board… ‘I’m embarrassed certainly, and disappointed,’ Dorsey said.” [WJLA]

ACFD Responds to Four Alarm Blaze — “Fourteen townhomes and five buildings were destroyed in a massive blaze that tore through a five-story building in… Fairfax County Saturday morning and filled the air with black smoke that could be seen for miles.” [NBC 4, Washington PostTwitter]

Smoke from Fairfax Fire, Seen Locally — Saturday’s massive fire in Fairfax County, south of Alexandria, could be seen from Arlington and other nearby locales. [Twitter, Twitter]

Superintendent Finalists Won’t Be Revealed — “Arlington School Board members will cloak their search for a new superintendent in as much secrecy as their predecessors have done. ‘We will not have a community-selection committee and will not share our finalists,’ School Board Chairman Tannia Talento said on Feb. 6.” [InsideNova]

Imperfect Arlington, Revisited — In the spirit of the late, lamented Imperfect Arlington: What’s up with the (supposedly) smaller scones at Northside Social? “Was told by @NorthsideSocial staff that they have ‘accidentally’ been making them too big, apparently for several years.” [Twitter]

Nearby: Skyline Offices to Become Housing? — “Fresh off acquiring the aging Skyline office park in Baileys Crossroads, a team of developers is sketching out plans to convert three buildings there into… a total of 764 residential units. Somera, out of New York, bought the 6.4-acre property on Leesburg Pike for $215 million back in November, pledging to bring residential and retail uses to the 1970s-era office buildings there.” [Washington Business Journal]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

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Morning Notes

Free Amazon Mugs at Northside Social — Amazon is partnering with Northside Social to give out free branded to-go tumblers this morning. [Instagram]

Kojo Explores the Amazon Effect — “We’ll look back on Seattle’s history with Amazon and discuss how our local governments can navigate their relationship with the company. Plus, we’ll hear from a policy researcher on how the DMV’s housing market will shift over the next two decades as Amazon gets settled in the region.” [Kojo Nnamdi Show]

Amazon’s Tech Effect — “Within the [D.C.] area’s tech industry – the sector likely to be most affected by the [Amazon] news – leaders are either keeping mum about their reaction or publicly expressing excitement. But behind the scenes, experts say, there is a fair amount of apprehension.” [U.S. News]

Metro to Subsidize Late Night Uber Rides? — “With Metro hours due to remain limited for the foreseeable future, Metro plans to pay cabs or a company like Uber or Lyft $1 million to slightly discount trips for certain people rather than provide alternative bus or other service.” [WTOP, WMATA]

737 Max Grounded at DCA — “For people flying in and out of the Reagan National Airport, Wednesday’s grounding of all 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9 jets brought mixed reactions. Some flights were cancelled. Others were already in the air when the emergency order came down, and were grounded the moment they touched down.” [WJLA, NBC 4]

‘Poo’ at Wakefield High School — Arlington Public Schools has been slow to fix a direction sign at Wakefield High School that is missing the “L” in “pool.” [Sun Gazette]

Photo courtesy Dennis Dimick

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Watch our spotlight of Northside Social hosted by Drew Carpenter!

Posted by Keri Shull Team on Thursday, January 17, 2019

This content was written and sponsored by The Keri Shull Team, Arlington’s top producing residential real estate team.

At Northside Social in Clarendon, you can work from a laptop and sip lattes on the ground floor — then, when it’s finally time, close your laptop and head upstairs for a glass of wine.

In this video, Drew Carpenter of The Keri Shull Team takes us inside Northside Social.

“It’s a very tight-knit group of people; you see people at the store and walking down the street, at the bank and you see them in Northside. That always makes you feel good — that you know everyone’s name,” says Randi Milton, Northside Social’s general manager.

“People hang out here in the wine bar for a date night, but they’re also here for their morning coffee on their way to work.”

Northside by Day: Coffee, Baked Goods, Sandwiches and More

The first-floor coffeehouse offers freshly-made pastries and light café fare: salads, quiches and sandwiches. Northside by day is a great place to work or study.

Randi’s favorite drink is that famous, simple classic: the cappuccino, with its two shots of espresso, equal parts steamed milk and milk foam. It’s simple, delicious and Northside’s baristas prepare it well.

Northside’s café baked goods include gluten-free treats (like the No Gluten Lemon Blueberry Ricotta Scone). The Nutella Pop Tart is one of Northside’s signature baked goods — try it if you want something especially sweet. Those who like savory pastries might be tempted by Northside’s Ham and Cheese Croissant.

Randi’s favorite food item is the bacon and egg sandwich. Their bacon is actually house-smoked by Liberty Tavern across the street.

Northside Social’s wine bar also hosts full-service brunch on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Try the House-Smoked Salmon and Avocado Tartine, and choose from a variety of single origin manual brew coffees.

Northside by Night: Wine, Wine Cocktails and Beer

Northside Social’s wine bar opens after 5 p.m. every day of the week, and for brunch on Saturday and Sunday. The bar serves wine, wine cocktails like the Elderflower Fizz, draft beer and a huge selection of bottled beer. Northside sells wine by the bottle, half bottle and glass.

If you enjoy Northside Social in Arlington, you may also want to stop by their second location in Falls Church when you’re in the area.

What’s your vote?

Let us know in the comments.

If you enjoyed this article, be sure to watch for our upcoming articles as we explore the best entertainment venues Arlington has to offer. If you’re looking to buy or sell a home in the DMV area, The Keri Shull Team is here to help.

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Morning Notes

Full Arlington Memorial Bridge Shutdown Planned — One of the main links from the county into D.C. will close entirely for the weekend of Sept. 15-17, as workers get ready to start major repair efforts. Officials are warning of rolling lane closures after that, with another full shutdown sometime this fall. [Washington Post]

County Police See a String of Wheel Thefts — Since June 1, Arlington police say they’ve seen thieves make off with the tires and rims of five different cars. Many of the thefts have been concentrated in the Pentagon City and Crystal City area, where airbags have also started vanishing. [WTOP]

Arlington GOP Mulls Position on Bond Referenda — County Republicans will decide next month on whether to take a position on the more than $230 million in bonds that will go before voters this fall. Arlingtonians haven’t rejected a local bond on the ballot since 1979. [InsideNova]

Nearby: Parking Pains Plague New Northside Social Location — The second location of the Clarendon cafe that opened in Falls Church earlier this summer has created some huge parking headaches, including a 13,000 percent increase in cars towed from nearby lots. [Falls Church News-Press]

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Morning Notes

Primary Voting Underway — It’s an election day in Virginia. On the ballot in Arlington is the Democratic race for County Board, between Chanda Choun and Matt de Ferranti, and the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, with candidates Corey Stewart, Nick Freitas and E. W. Jackson. Voting will continue through 7 p.m. [Twitter]

Post-Parade Party in Courthouse — Those heading to the Capitals Stanley Cup victory parade downtown today can head on back to Arlington for an afterparty at Arlington Rooftop Bar & Grill, hosted by the Caps blog Russian Machine Never Breaks. The event starts at 3 p.m. [RMNB]

Final Issue of ‘The Citizen’ — Arlington County’s “The Citizen” newsletter is publishing its last issue this week. The county-run publication is ceasing its print issues due to budget cuts. The move was lamented by the Sun Gazette, which wrote that The Citizen provided “information that, most likely, many local residents will now not get, despite the government’s plethora of online-centric public-relations efforts.” [InsideNova]

Clement: Strip Washington from W-L Too — Independent Arlington School Board candidate Audrey Clement says it is “hypocrisy in the extreme” for the “Lee” in “Washington-Lee High School” to be removed without also removing “Washington.” Wrote Clement: “Had not George Washington, James Madison and Thomas Jefferson — all Virginia native sons and all slave holders — greased the skids of institutionalized slavery by agreeing to write it into the U.S. Constitution, Lee would not have taken up arms against his own nation.” [Audrey Clement]

Apartment Building to Get Free Broadband — “Arlington’s Digital Inclusion Initiative, announced in December 2017, will leverage the County’s fiber-optic network, ConnectArlington, to bring free broadband Internet access to low- and moderate-income households in Arlington, including those with school-age children. Arlington Mill Residences, a low- and moderate-income residential development, will serve as the demonstration project for the initiative.” [Arlington County]

Paving on Lorcom Lane — Crews are paving Lorcom Lane between N. Fillmore and Daniel streets today. [Twitter]

Nearby: Second Northside Social Opens — The new Falls Church outpost of Clarendon cafe Northside Social has opened in the Little City. “The business itself will offer a menu similar to its Clarendon location, but a basement that allows for a commercial-sized bakery and chef Matt Hill’s creative inklings will provide new lunch and dinner options.” [Falls Church News-Press]

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Morning Notes

Fedorchaks on Why They Love Arlington — Mark and Stephen Fedorchak — the brothers behind Northside Social, Lyon Hall and Liberty Tavern — reveal in a Q&A why they built their lives and restaurant empire in Arlington, and whether they’ll stay. [Washingtonian]

Hula Girl Makes Best Restaurants List — Shirlington’s Hawaiian-influenced restaurant, Hula Girl, made the list of the 30 best restaurants in America, according to Yelp reviewers. The restaurant, whose owner competed on the cooking show “Chopped” last year, came in at #27. [The Daily Meal]

Fire Recruit Graduation — The Arlington County Fire Department will hold a graduation ceremony tonight for more than two dozen fire and EMS recruits. Class members will receive their badges and helmets after being sworn in. The ceremony takes place from 6-8 p.m. at the Founders Hall Auditorium (3351 Fairfax Drive) on the George Mason University campus in Virginia Square.

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Morning Notes

Northside Social Sued by Songwriters — Clarendon cafe Northside Social is being sued by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) for “unauthorized public performance of its members’ copyrighted musical works.” [Patch]

Phil Vassar Visits Animal Welfare League — “We had a special visitor at AWLA today: country music singer Phil Vassar stopped by the shelter today to meet three neonatal kittens that are named after his hit songs; Deputy Ray, Carlene, and Amazing Grace.” [Facebook]

Focus on Arlington’s School Resource Officers — The Arlington County Police Department has thirteen School Resource Officers, whose job it is to connect with and protect the 27,000 students at Arlington Public Schools. [WJLA]

Arlington’s First Black Firefighters Faced Hardships — “The first of Arlington County’s black firefighters — members of the Hall’s Hill Volunteer Fire Department and the paid men at Station No. 8 — grappled with taunts and inequities in the days of Jim Crow, according to Arlington Public Library records.” [Arlington Fire Journal]

Dems Want More Social Followers — Arlington Democrats are pushing for more social media followers, particularly on Facebook, with the goal of having the most followers of any Democratic organization in the Commonwealth. At last check, Albemarle County Democrats had more followers than Arlington. [InsideNova]

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A Clarendon bakery closed at the beginning of this year ahead of its move into local stalwart Northside Social’s new Falls Church location.

A sign posted on the door of LeoNora (1108 N. Irving Street) said it closed as it prepares to open a new bakery at the forthcoming Northside Social in Falls Church (205 Park Avenue).

“In preparation for the opening of our custom-built bakery at Northside Social Falls Church, LeoNora Bakery is closed effective immediately,” the sign reads. “Please visit us at Northside Social Arlington, just across the street at 3211 Wilson Blvd, for our freshly baked pastries and breads.”

The bakery, next to O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub, described itself on its Facebook page as “the result of a never ending search for the best breads and pastries in terms of flavor, freshness and texture.”

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