The Virginia Dept. of Motor Vehicles is getting ready to open its new Metro-accessible DMV location in Virginia Square.
The office, which will supplement the existing Arlington DMV location on Four Mile Run Drive, is set to open on
Monday, Nov. 7. (See update, below.)
Located on the ground floor of an office building at 3434 Washington Blvd, the office will offer all DMV services with the exception of road tests.
Update on 11/7/16 — The DMV is now not expected to open until Wednesday, Nov. 9. From the Virginia DMV’s Twitter account:
— VirginiaDMV (@VirginiaDMV) November 7, 2016
Located at 520 12th Street S., near the new Whole Foods, Commonwealth Joe offers hot and cold coffee and espresso drinks, plus baked goods and bags of their own signature roasted coffees. The star of the menu, however, is the five varieties of Commonwealth Joe’s smooth, creamy nitro cold brew coffee which are available on tap.
Commonwealth Joe offers a homey, airy space for the usual legion of laptop tappers to camp out in while sipping their coffee. Wifi is available.
Over the next week Commonwealth Joe will be operating under reduced hours — opening at 7 a.m. and closing at 5 p.m. on weekdays and 3 p.m. on weekends. The hours will be expanded after employee training wraps up.
This is Commonwealth Joe’s first branded cafe, although the company — founded by four friends in 2012 — also operates the Java Shack in Courthouse. On 12th Street S. Commonwealth Joe will face competition from a familiar foe: Starbucks, which opened a block away earlier this summer.
Balkan small plate restaurant Ambar is set to open its doors for dinner Wednesday night (Oct. 5).
The restaurant is opening in the former Boulevard Woodgrill space at 2901 Wilson Blvd. It’s location No. 3 for the well-reviewed Ambar; the original is located on Barracks Row on Capitol Hill and a second is located in Belgrade, Serbia.
Ambar will at first be open seven days a week for dinner, but will eventually serve both lunch and weekend brunch as well.
Since Boulevard closed at the end of July, the interior has received mostly decorative changes, helping to modernize a restaurant space that had remained largely the same for a decade and a half. Nya Gill, the wife of Ambar owner Ivan Iricanin, designed the 3,600-square foot interior.
Iricanin told ARLnow.com that he has been looking to open in Arlington for some time.
“I was looking at Arlington County because there are so many young people that fit our demographics but there’s also families… it’s a very healthy mix of people,” he said. “We [also] want a presence here because I really see the future and I really believe in the growth of Virginia.”
He said Boulevard Woodgrill presented an ideal opportunity in terms of layout and location.
“I wanted to have a really great location and interior space, with a nice corner,” Iricanin said. “I think that this place hit it on every single target: location was great, outer patio, a lot of windows, high ceilings, open kitchen, we have a charcoal grill which is crucial for us and which we don’t have in Capitol Hill… those are the elements that made my decision easy.”
While it hasn’t been finalized yet, Ambar’s menu in Clarendon will be substantially different than that of the Capitol Hill location, Iricanin said.
“We want to do everything differently because it’s easy to copy and paste, but I don’t want my chefs to get their guard down and get relaxed,” he said. “I want to push it to the limits and that’s what I’m going showcase here.”
The menu will include dishes made with fresh, organic meats sourced from Amish farms in Pennsylvania. Lest one think that “Amish farm” is a marketing term, an Amish man — complete with beard and straw hat — was at the restaurant, talking with the chefs Tuesday afternoon.
Iricanin said diners should expect high-quality food at affordable prices. There will be all-you-can eat meal options, he said, the most expensive of which is a $35 all-you-can-eat dinner.
“We really, really want to be a neighborhood spot and we are very price-conscious,” said Iricanin. “For $35… you can try 10-15 different flavors, different textures, different things and we can take you to the whole Balkan region in 2-2.5 hours.”
Iricanin wanted to offer an all-you-can-drink option as well — the all-you-can-drink brunch is popular in D.C. — but Virginia ABC laws prohibit it.
Another notable feature of the restaurant is that it has a DJ booth near the bar. But Iricanin was quick to point out that Ambar is not trying to be a danceclub — instead, the DJs are more about sophisticated nighttime ambiance.
“Obviously any time you dine, you have the background music… and I want to control what I’m playing,” he said. “This is not going to be a club, it’s not going to be a restaurant club, it’s just going to be thoughtfulness behind the process. We have a very nice sound system put in place, and what I want to achieve is that you come here like 10:30 and have a nice dinner while the DJ is playing music. Nothing too loud, nothing too abrasive… but you’re going to feel like you’re at a funky, cool vibe restaurant.”
The full press release about Ambar’s opening, after the jump.
Matchbox American Kitchen + Spirit will be opening in Pentagon City on Thursday, according to a spokeswoman.
Located in the newly-expanded portion of the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall, at 1100 S. Hayes Street, it will feature an expansive, 12,000 square foot, multi-level dining space with a second floor patio.
More from a press release:
matchboxfoodgroup will roll out new offerings in all of its matchbox American Kitchen + Spirit locations in August, including the company’s tenth and eleventh matchbox locations, scheduled to open in Arlington, VA and Short Pump, VA in late summer.
matchbox will debut in Arlington, VA in the bustling Fashion Centre at Pentagon City (1100 S Hayes Street) with a sprawling 12,000 sq. ft. restaurant, set across two levels with an elevated outdoor dining terrace. Deepening the brand’s roots on the east coast, the company will also debut near Richmond with matchbox slated for Short Pump Town Center (11720 W Broad Street) in a freestanding 7,000 sq. ft. multi-level dining space complete with an outdoor patio. Both locations will prominently feature wood-fired masonry ovens as well as reclaimed materials – highlights of the concept’s signature open, energetic design.
Stephen Lyons, Vice President of Culinary Operations, has spent the summer developing original spins for the concept’s updated menu, and will introduce a number of new sandwiches, entrees and salads. The restaurant’s all-day menu will include two grinders, each served on stuffed and baked wood-fired pizza dough, with flavors such as Italian with salami, prosciutto, and capicola or meatball. The sandwiches join a new fried chicken cobb and seared salmon salad, as well as chicken + walnut pesto fettuccine. Longtime favorites like the 3.6.9 mini burgers and artisanal pizzas continue to anchor the revitalized menu, due to roll out progressively in late summer beginning with matchbox 14th street in Washington, DC.
In 2013 matchbox announced a partnership with famed California winemaker Jed Steele, creating its proprietary “matchbox blend” red wine. This month the partnership expands with a white wine blend, which Steele expects to fully roll out in fall with limited availability beginning late summer. matchbox Co-Founder Ty Neal shares, “Outstanding wine does not have to be expensive, and we are so happy with the blend Jed has developed for us. It’s approachable and refined, and we are proud to serve it.”
The brand’s proprietary bottled wines join a focused list of American craft spirits and beers, as well as an innovative draft wine system that is now standard at new locations.
General Assembly is opening a campus in a yet-to-be-determined location in the county, company spokeswoman Lauren Roberts said today. The outpost is slated to arrive by the end of the year, along with nine other new campuses around the world.
At General Assembly, students can hone their computer skills — including coding, design and digital marketing — through short courses and 12-week “boot camp” classes online and in 15 campuses, including outposts in D.C., New York, London and Hong Kong.
“General Assembly is choosing to open new campuses in less traditional tech hotspots to increase accessibility for those looking to obtain in-demand digital skills,” Roberts said in an email. “Companies outside the Silicon Alleys and Valleys of the world can now leverage GA to hire a more diverse talent as well.”
Before the Arlington campus opens, General Assembly is scheduled to hold classes and workshops throughout Northern Virginia, including in Crystal City and Rosslyn.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Indoor rowing gym RowVigor has opened its first location, a “pop-up” studio in Clarendon.
The studio, located inside the Saffron Dance studio at 3260 Wilson Blvd, will offer free trials and promotional packages through the end of the summer.
One of the company’s three founders, Kevin Allen, was a contestant on the second season of Donald Trump’s The Apprentice reality show. He suggested that indoor rowing could be the next big trend in the fitness industry.
“Rowing as fitness has been in the dark for too long and our vision is to bring it to the light starting first with those communities that have known the benefits for years,” said Allen. “Cities like Washington DC, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and Cleveland have strong on-water rowing communities and are starving for an organized indoor experience that can connect them with rowing fitness enthusiast around the world. We are excited to be the entity to fill this need.”
The studio will have eight Concept 2 rowing machines and it offers a variety of different classes during the early mornings and late afternoons.
The company’s press release is below.
Washington DC, Virginia and Maryland will have an opportunity to experience the area’s first indoor-rowing fitness studio at the ROWViGOR™ “Pop Up” located in Arlington, Virginia. Starting today and through the end of summer they will be offering free trials and promotional packages.
ROWViGOR™ is building a presence in the DC / Virginia metro area to support the growing need for a fitness experience that builds community through technology and rowing. Top fitness experiences like CrossFit™ already use indoor rowing as an essential part of their mix but ROWViGOR™ believes it deserves it’s own environment. The “Pop Up” will open August 1, just three blocks from the Clarendon metro station inside Saffron Studio at 3260 Wilson Blvd. Open to all skill levels, individuals can choose to row for fitness as an individual or as a team.
Technology and data collection will help drive goal setting and camaraderie. With a small group training philosophy, the studio will have eight Concept 2 Rowers. Coaches are hand selected and trained through an exclusive program developed by rowing and fitness professionals specifically for ROWViGOR™. The experience will include dynamic music, innovative interval training and most important, great fun. The low-impact high efficient cardiovascular workouts strengthen and tone upper and lower body while packing an intense fat burn.
“Rowing as fitness has been in the dark for too long and our vision is to bring it to the light starting first with those communities that have known the benefits for years. Cities like Washington DC, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and Cleveland have strong on-water rowing communities and are starving for an organized indoor experience that can connect them with rowing fitness enthusiast around the world. We are excited to be the entity to fill this need.” – Kevin Allen ROWViGOR™ Managing Partner
Founded in 2016 by Kevin Allen (Donald Trump’s Season 2 The Apprentice), Fola Awosika and Moses McCall, The partners realized the fitness benefits of rowing and how data based technology would lead and enhance our fitness choices. With strong support from notable rowing expert Libby Peters, (Founder of Philadelphia CityRowing, University Penn Assistant Rowing Coach and 2nd Coach to the US 2016 Olympic Rowing Team) they plan to break the boundaries of rowing and open it up to new generations and new communities. #RespectYourVigor
Photo courtesy of RowVigor
The new Whole Foods store in Pentagon City will open its doors at 9 a.m. tomorrow (Wednesday).
Located at the corner of S. Eads Street and 12th Street S., two blocks from the Metro station, the 36,800-square-foot store will serve both those who live and work in the area — Pentagon City is growing with new apartment towers and other planned development — and those driving in from elsewhere. Underground parking is available.
As part of tomorrow’s opening, the store will holding a “bread-breaking ceremony.”
“The public is invited to join team members and community leaders in a bread-breaking ceremony that begins at 8:45 a.m. and will include the presentation of a $2,000 check to the Arlington Food Assistance Center,” said a press release. “Opening day shoppers will experience first-to-market exclusive products and special door buster savings. The first 500 shoppers who spend $50 will receive a limited edition Whole Foods Market Pentagon City canvas tote bag.”
“Those who can’t make the bread-breaking ceremony will want to stop by for the store’s inaugural happy hour from 4-6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 29, when chef, restaurateur, reality TV star and winemaker Fabio Viviani will meet customers and sign bottles of his wine collection – Fabio Viviani Wines,” said the press release.
On Thursday, its second day in business, the store will donate 5 percent of the day’s sales to two local nonprofits — Blue Star Families in Falls Church, which supports D.C. area military families, and the Animal Welfare League of Arlington.
In Pentagon City, Whole Foods is seeking for be more than a grocery store — there’s a bar, a coffee shop and other features intended to get customers hanging out instead of just shopping.
Among the store’s features are:
- “A full service coffee and juice bar with nitro dispensed cold brew coffee, hemp milk lattes, cold brew teas, breakfast and lunch sandwiches, and acai bowls.”
- “Farmstand Freeze. Fruits and veggies are frozen overnight, put in a Pacojet machine and shaved while injecting air to create a light, fluffy, fruity frozen dessert. Low sugar, only sweetened with honey and dates, and also non-dairy.”
- “The Basin Barroom, offering 15 beers and one flavor of kombucha on tap, as well as wine and cocktails.” Plus a seafood-focused food menu that includes “a must-try lobster roll served on local favorite LeoNora Gourmet Bakery’s split top roll.”
- “Paper Horse, ramen master Erik Brunner-Yang’s latest venue.”
- “In-house smoked and dry-aged meats.”
- “Eight varieties of scratch-baked bread daily.”
- An extensive bulk foods aisle.
- A barbecue station, featuring smoked meats and sauces.
- A kitchen that includes a large pizza oven.
- A dog-friendly outdoor patio.
- “More than 2,500 organic offerings in the grocery aisles… Every product in the store will be free of artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, preservatives and hydrogenated oils.”
Disclosure: Whole Foods is an ARLnow.com advertiser.
The Earth Treks climbing gym in Crystal City is expected to open soon, perhaps by late July.
ARLnow reported last year that the gym in Crystal City was expected to open in “late spring,” however the opening date has since been pushed back.
“We’re presently targeting the second half of July,” said Earth Treks VP Chris Jenkins. “We’re in the home stretch, but I still don’t have an exact date.”
He said the company may wait a month or two after the gym’s initial opening to hold a grand opening event.
“We are going to have a member’s ‘grand opening’ party, but not immediately after we open,” said Jenkins. “As it would be open to members primarily we like to have a little breathing space between when we open the doors and when we have our first big event celebrating it so we have some time to build the membership base.”
The gym features a 35,000-square-foot climbing area along with training areas, dedicated yoga and group fitness rooms and private climbing teaching areas.
This will be Earth Treks’ first Virginia location. The company has three other gyms in Maryland, located in Rockville, Timonium, and Columbia.
Photos courtesy Earth Treks
(Updated at 4:30 p.m.) A new Hawaiian-inspired restaurant has opened in Shirlington.
Hula Girl Bar and Grill, a restaurant based on a popular food truck, originally opened last week at 4044 Campbell Avenue. It closed unexpectedly over the weekend due to a power issue, but reopened for dinner last night (Monday).
Hula Girl’s furnishings are unmistakably Hawaiian, down to flip flops on the wall, surf boards hanging from the ceiling, Spam cans on the tables, surf films on the TVs and the Outrigger Canoe Club hat on chef/owner Mikala Brennan’s head.
The food menu includes Poke, a Hawaiian raw fish dish, along with a Hula Girl teriyaki plate, grilled mahi-mahi and barbecue ribs. There are also salads, sides and desserts to choose from, all island inspired.
On the beverage menu, beers from Maui Brewing and Kona Brewing are featured along with local brews. A wine menu has selections from relatively exotic non-Hawaiian locales: Texas, New York, Michigan, New Mexico and Maryland, among other more standard winemaking regions.
The cocktail menu includes plenty of tropical fruit and names like “Hawaii Kai Margarita,” “Blue HI,” “Say Pineapple 5X Fast” and “Never Below 75,” along with a signature Hula Girl Mai Tai.
While overworked, Brennan said she “feels great” about the new brick and mortar extension of her food truck vision.
“I had been looking for a location for 2 years — and we finally found our home here in Shirlington,” she told ARLnow.com. “The community has been so supportive and positive with us opening — feels like the Aloha Spirit is coming alive!”
Hula Girl is currently open Sunday through Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 5 to 11 p.m. Lunch service is expected to begin “late December.”
(Updated Aug. 11 at 2 p.m.) The TargetExpress store coming to 1500 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn is now hiring.
Earlier this summer Target confirmed that a 23,000-square-foot store would be coming to Rosslyn, and the company now says the store will open this October.
In addition to a sign outside the new location that announces the company is now hiring, Target will hold a job fair this week from Aug. 13-15 at Hyatt Arlington (1325 Wilson Blvd).
The job fair will run from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day. Target says they are looking to hire roughly 60 new employees.
The store is slated to include an in-house Starbucks and a pharmacy, and will also carry groceries, prepared foods and clothing.
Arlington’s Metropole Brewing Company has two big events on the horizon: the opening of its first brewery and a name change for the company.
There was speculation in March that Metropole, a brewing company started by Arlington local Mike Katrivanos, might be opening its first facility at 2709 S. Oakland Street, near the Shirlington dog park and the W&OD Trail. Those suspicions were confirmed via a post on the business’s Facebook page Monday night.
“Arlington’s first package brewery since 1916 is coming to your community!” said the post. “Time and time again, Arlington County is featured as one of the best places to live in the United States. Help make Arlington an even better place to live by supporting your local brewery.”
Steve Katrivanos — Mike’s brother and former bandmate in local alt rock group Sematic — said he anticipates the brewery, which will include a tasting room, will open this fall. In addition to on-premises sales, the brewery will sell its beer to local retailers.
“This started as my brother’s dream seven years ago, and he worked with Arlington for two years to make it a reality,” said Katrivanos. “We’re almost at at the finish line now.”
Katrivanos described the company as a craft brewery that strives to use locally-sourced and quality imported ingredients. In the past, Metropole has used Virginia honeysuckle to make their beer, and Katrivanos said the company recently acquired some local honey which they plan to use in a beer sometime soon.
“We pride ourselves on unique but drinkable craft beer,” said Katrivanos.
So far, Katrivanos says the community has been very supportive, with residents coming out to look at the space or help with renovations “pretty much every weekend.”
“We want to be part of the Arlington community,” said Katrivanos.
The brewery opening isn’t the only change for Metropole: the company is in the process of changing their name to New District Brewing Co., a transition Katrivanos expects to be completed sometime within the next week.
Photo courtesy Steve Katrivanos
Fourth of July revelers will have another option for dining out this holiday weekend: Vietnamese eatery Pho Deluxe plans to open at 2300 Clarendon Blvd on Sunday, in the space previously vacated by Toscana Grill.
Owners Dan and Hue Nguyen announced plans to open the Courthouse location earlier this year, and now that plan is coming to fruition.
Hostess Michelle Nguyen said that the space required minor renovations, but the bulk of Pho Deluxe’s time and energy was spent redecorating. The restaurant should be ready for business as soon as it passes the fire marshall’s inspection.
Pho Deluxe currently has a sign in the window advertising positions for busboys and waiters. Nguyen says that they are in the midst of conducting interviews right now, and estimates that the new location’s staff is about 80 percent hired.
The Courthouse branch will be the third Pho Deluxe in Virginia; the restaurant also has locations in Tysons Corner and Fairfax. According to Nguyen, there are no current plans for an grand opening celebration.
Beloved donut chain Duck Donuts is slated to open new locations in Arlington and Fairfax this summer.
The Fairfax branch will open in the “first or second week of June” in the Boulevard Shopping Center at 10694 Fairfax Boulevard, said a Duck Donuts employee today by phone.
The Arlington franchise, which currently has no opening date, will be located in the Lee Harrison Shopping Center according to a brochure distributed May 12 by the development company that owns the center. It appears as though the new branch will open in the space formerly occupied by a Baskin-Robbins.
Duck Donuts specializes in made-to-order donuts coated in toppings like peanut butter icing, bacon, and rainbow sprinkles.
Earlier this month, the donut company opened a branch in Herndon. Duck Donuts also plans to open new locations in Newark, Del., Charlotte, N.C., and Bristow, and Virginia Beach, Va.
Photo via Facebook.com/DuckDonuts
The “tacos, tequila and beer” spot will be opening in the former Eventide space at 3165 Wilson Blvd. Scott Parker, one of five partners in the business, says Don Tito should officially open to the public on Sunday, March 15, with a “soft opening” starting perhaps as soon as Wednesday, March 11.
Interior work is still underway, but should be wrapping up before the soft opening. The establishment’s exterior sign is expected to arrive this coming Thursday.
Parker says Don Tito will be different than A-Town Bar and Grill, the popular but sometimes rowdy Ballston bar that’s owned by the same group.
“[Don Tito] will have more of a lounge feel to it,” Parker said. “It will be a good place to have a good time and drink but it won’t be as much of a party atmosphere.”
He added that Don Tito will have a bit more of an emphasis on food compared to A-Town.
Parker said retrofitting the former Eventide space went “as well as could be expected.” Patrons can expect a “cantina look” inside, with a lot of exposed brick, wood grain and two bars on the rooftop.
The roof will open when the weather allows, he said.
ARLnow.com is holding its fifth anniversary bash in Crystal City tonight from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
If you haven’t booked your tickets yet, you can still do so through 5:00 p.m. on Eventbrite. Tickets will also be available at the door.
The event, at the ever-expanding headquarters of the Crystal Tech Fund and Disruption Corporation, will feature two hours of all-you-can eat food from Ruth’s Chris and plenty of wine and beer, thanks to our friends at the Crystal City BID.
To help celebrate our fifth anniversary (which technically is on Thursday), we’re recounting some of the top stories of 2010.
Coming off of the depths of the Great Recession, the year that was 2010 was especially active for business openings in Crystal City. Here are some of the memorable openings in our first year:
- The Arlington Community Federal Credit Union, presenting sponsor of tonight’s bash, opened its flagship Columbia Pike branch
- District Taco opened its first brick and mortar restaurant, on Lee Highway
- Buffalo Wild Wings opened in Crystal City
- Chick-fil-A opened in Crystal City, complete with people camping out in a nearby park for the opening
- Nordstrom Rack opened in Pentagon City
- Food trucks Bada Bing, Rebel Heroes and BBQ Bandidos launched. Only Bada Bing is still serving customers.
- Bakeshop opened in Clarendon, kicking off the Arlington version of the gourmet cupcake craze
- Red Mango opened in Clarendon, kicking off the Arlington version of the froyo craze
- Crumbs opened in Clarendon
- Northside Social opened in Clarendon
- Lyon Hall opened in Clarendon
- Bayou Bakery opened in Courthouse
See you tonight, Arlington!