The combination bowling alley and restaurant has hit a few snags, not the least of which was the most recent global pandemic, and staff said that’s also impacted the business’s opening.
Alan Morrison, district manager for Bowlero, said that after yesterday’s ribbon-cutting around 25 customers came in the early afternoon to bowl, drink, or play in the arcade. In other circumstances that might have seemed low, but Morrison said the bowling alley — like other new businesses — is having to adapt to different expectations.
“The pandemic has affected us,” Morrison said. “People aren’t coming out and rightfully so. We’re adhering to guidelines and seeing less traffic than normal, but I’m confident once it’s passed they will.”
Morrison said the bowling alley has a “three-tier” approach to trying to combat the spread of a virus in sport that’s inherently very hands-on.
Every fifteen minutes staff sweep through the facility and clean all of the balls and equipment. There are supplies at the lanes to help facilitate cleaning equipment between use, and there are sanitation stations throughout the facility with disinfectants.
All employees and guests at the facility are required to wear face masks, Morrison said, and the seating is set up at every other lane.
“Folks are nice and spaced out,” Morrison said. “It’s a huge venue so we can seat people pretty far apart. We have directional arrows to stop people from getting close to each other, and that’s worked pretty well so far.”
Still, like many in Arlington, Morrison is hoping sometime soon people will be able to gather and roll at Bowlero without concerns about spreading COVID-19.
“We’re looking forward to folks in the neighborhood being able to check us out,” Morrison said. “And if you’re in the mood to just come in and have a drink we have an awesome bar.”
Photos courtesy Bowlero
This past Saturday was a heck of a time to open a new gym.
General Manager Richie Poe didn’t shy away from saying COVID-19 and other factors made opening the location — the first non-D.C. location for the high-end local fitness chain — a challenge. But he said the gym’s budding community has been supportive.
“The opening was originally challenging,” Poe said. “This is the third VIDA location I’ve opened, but this is much different. Opening the gym was challenging. We have a lot of construction delays and COVID-19. But once we were able to finally get the doors open, the members have been happy and positive.”
Part of that opening process has been regular health inspections to ensure that the gym’s equipment is properly spaced and mechanisms are in place for frequent cleaning.
“We had to have a health inspection specifically for what we’re doing in response to COVID-19,” Poe said. “We were prepared for that and had everything in place. We’re following the mask policy for indoor use, social distancing orders by putting equipment out of service. Every day we switch the out of service equipment to make sure people are 10 feet apart and we have hand sanitizer stations around the club.”
Poe said the gym follows protocols above and beyond the state requirements, like using a machine that creates a sort of disinfectant fog that cleans the dumbbells between uses. So far, Poe said that’s paid off with support from gym members.
“A member just emailed me and said she felt safe and comfortable,” Poe said. “It was really nice to hear. She commented on all the protocols in place and that she felt comfortable. Members I’ve talked to feel safe and comfortable here.”
Poe noted that VIDA Fitness offers a delay in membership to people who don’t feel coming to gyms yet but don’t want to cancel their services.
“It does affect our revenue, but because this club is brand new, we were able to modify the budget to accommodate those things,” Poe said. “We’re not making money, but hoping to continue to build the trust in the community. We want to make sure people are safe.”
Another challenge Poe said he’s facing is signage, noting with a laugh that it seemed to be one of those specific regulations Arlington County seemed very intent on enforcing. There’s very little signage outside the building directing patrons around the side to where the gym entrance is, but Poe said he’s looking into putting up sandwich boards or some other form of wayfinding reminders.
Further east, a new VIDA Rosslyn at the Highlands development is still in the works. Poe said the plan was to launch the gym later this year, but with everything that’s going on, it would not be a surprise if the Rosslyn opening date gets pushed back to 2021.
Photo via VIDA Fitness/Facebook
Mezeh will open at Fashion Centre at Pentagon City later this year, ARLnow has learned.
The fast-casual Mediterranean grill, which just opened a new location at Ballston Quarter mall, is planning to open at the Pentagon City mall in late summer or early fall, according to Renaud Consulting leasing agent John Marigliano.
The restaurant is set to open on the same level as the food court, Marigliano said. It is not yet clear as to which space it will occupy.
The company’s first stand-alone restaurant opened in Crystal City, at 2450 Crystal Drive, in 2015.
Photo courtesy Mezeh
Work is nearly complete on the interior of the space at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Randolph Street, on the ground floor of the Origin apartment building that was built as part of the recent renovations to what is now Ballston Quarter mall.
The new cafe will offer the same drink selection as other Compass Coffee locations — including the Rosslyn location at 1201 Wilson Blvd that opened in 2018 — but its food menu will vary slightly depending on the needs of the Ballston neighborhood, Stephanie Junkin, the manager of the new location, said. Customer favorites such as cold brew coffee and croissants will be offered in Ballston.
The cafe will host a “Free Coffee Day” on or soon after the day of its opening. Customers will be able to receive a drink of their choice at no charge on this day, Junkin said.
Compass is currently in the process of hiring baristas for the Ballston location.
The widened stretch of the Custis Trail through Rosslyn finally opened to pedestrian and cyclist traffic late yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon.
The new improvements widen the Custis Trail along westbound Lee Highway from N. Lynn and N. Oak streets, a popular stretch of the trail that connects the Metro corridor to the Key Bridge and the Mount Vernon Trail.
A new wider section of the Custis Trail is expected to make its debut Wednesday, weather permitting. The expanded trail section is along westbound Lee Highway between North Lynn and North Oak Streets. https://t.co/DDEadCr3nB pic.twitter.com/DJLsieLA7L
— ArlingtonVA (@ArlingtonVA) August 26, 2019
After months of passing each other in the narrow confines of the slimmed-down path along Lee Highway, cyclists and pedestrians both immediately took to the new trail. The former travel lane has now been blocked off with orange barriers.
Even with the widening wrapped up, the project website said work will still continue on installing permanent signs along the trail, but with a minimal impact on trail traffic.
Beautiful day in Rosslyn by the newly reopened section of the Custis Trail. The full width is available now for about 80% in the project area and will continue to grow as work continues. Bike and walk in peace. Love each other. https://t.co/a0B5lRHJss pic.twitter.com/hQiMhyfD9b
— Arlington Department of Environmental Services (@ArlingtonDES) August 29, 2019
Sloppy Mama’s Barbeque is now open at 5731 Lee Highway.
The location is the first full bricks-and-mortar restaurant for the popular D.C. food truck. The barbecue joint does have an outlet in the Ballston Quarter Market food hall, but co-owner Joe Neuman told ARLnow the Lee Highway restaurant handles much of the cooking for the Ballston Quarter location.
The Lee Highway restaurant also offers a wider array of barbecue options not available in the Ballston Quarter location or the food truck due to size constraints. So if you’re interested in a full slab of cooked meat, the North Arlington eatery is the Sloppy Mama’s to go to.
The restaurant is open from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. today (Friday) and Saturday, and from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday, then will be closed on Monday to review the first few days and make some final tweaks, Neuman said. The restaurant was also open on the Fourth of July, and said via Facebook that it was “crushed” by crowds of customers.
Come for the bbq stay for the Mrs Pac-Man…. In case you didn’t hear we opened the door at 5731 Lee Hwy yesterday and…
“Thanks to all the friends, family and loyal Sloppy Mama’s BBQ lovers out there that have helped us get here we hope to see you sometime soon for some proper BBQ,” the company said in a press release.
Two new Ballston eateries are reportedly opening over the next two weeks.
Sidekick — a new bakery and “confectionary concept” — is scheduled to open on Monday, June 10 at Ballston Quarter (4238 Wilson Blvd), according to a press release.
A spokeswoman described the bakery as the “hybrid intersection of the whimsical and playful with the familiar,” like offering cereal or candy flavors for standard bakery items.
The restaurant is also planned to offer frozen drinks, like milkshakes.
Sidekick owner Salis Holdings is also opening a new location of its Ted’s Bulletin restaurant chain next door. While both restaurants are separate concepts, they do share a head pastry chef.
Staff at another Ted’s Bulletin location said the Ballston location is planning to open late next week.
The press release about Sidekick is below, after the jump.
For owner John Andrade, the move brings his new bar — at 6035 Wilson Blvd — a little closer to home. Andrade is from the neighborhood and many of the wait staff are hired from the nearby neighborhoods.
“I live a quarter-mile away and my daughter goes to Ashlawn,” Andrade said. “I know the neighborhood, and I’ve gotten to understand the void for folks here for craft beer.”
Andrade said oversaturation and competition with a new wave of breweries having their own bars forced Meridian Pint out of D.C., but added that the move is also an opportunity to rebuild the small community bar scene.
“There is a focus on D.C. or even Clarendon or Ballston for beers, but the neighborhoods are neglected,” Andrade said.
A sign at the front says the restaurant will be called Dominion Pint, but Andrade said there was a legal challenge to the name so the bar is sticking with Meridian Pint. The restaurant has been holding a series of soft openings for neighbors and other invitees this week, but the official public opening is Thursday.
It will be the sixth restaurant Andrade has opened, including those no longer operating. Andrade also runs three other D.C. restaurants: Brookland Pint, Rosario’s Tacos & Tequila in Adams Morgan, and Smoke & Barrel in Adams Morgan.
Andrade said the focus of Meridian Pint will be on American grilled food and craft beer — both local and national brands. In addition to beers, Andrade said he’s focusing on the restaurant’s homemade ice cream.
Jace Gonnerman, the beer program director for Meridian Pint, said his goal is to maintain a careful balance of obscure and approachable beers.
“We want to have a beer for everyone,” Gonnerman said. “We want something for the community, but also the latest and greatest for aficionados.”
UNTUCKit, a clothing brand focused on untucked, professional shirts, has just launched a new store in Pentagon City.
The new store opened late last week on the second floor of the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall.
According to a press release:
UNTUCKit was created in 2011 to solve the problem of the long, sloppy look of untucked and ill-fitting dress shirts, by designing shirts that are meant to be worn untucked. They’ve since introduced categories ranging from t-shirts and polos to sports jackets and performance wear — plus, the launch of women’s and boys’ lines in 2017.
UNTUCKit at Pentagon City was the brand’s 61st store nationwide and the third in the region.
“We’re excited to be here, even closer to the District,” said Tomas Kurtz, assistant manager at the Pentagon City location. “It’s a new brand and we’re excited to see it grow.”
Kurtz said the store stands out for the way staff works closely with customers to find the right cut and style for them.
“It’s interesting because it’s not at all like a department store,” said Kurtz. “If you come in, you get fitted and staff will help walk you through it. It’s very personalized.”
CorePower Yoga may be opening its third Arlington location soon in Ballston.
Black wrapping paper behind the new Ballston Exchange studio’s front doors reads “Coming Soon.” The announcement comes a month after the county approved a building permit for the new studio.
“The Ballston studio is set to open late this summer,” a company spokeswoman told ARLnow, adding that she was unable to share more details.
Construction crews could be seen today (Monday) working between the metal framing inside the space. The construction will include “non-structural partitions” and hanging new doors, according to the building permit.
The Denver-based CorePower Yoga specializes in “high intensity” classes offered in heated rooms designed to make participants sweat, according to its website.
Hat tip to Craig W.
(Updated 12 p.m.) True Food Kitchen — a health-food chain — is planning to open its new Ballston Quarter location next Wednesday (May 8) at 11 a.m.
The restaurant has a seasonal menu that includes a variety of vegan and vegetarian choices, like tofu bowls and cheese-less pizzas, in addition to a selection of burgers, sandwiches and entrees with and without meat.
The Arlington restaurant will have an opening dining area, an outdoor patio, and two private dining rooms for special occasions. A bar at the location includes fresh-pressed fruit and vegetable juices, seasonal cocktails, local beer and wine, according to the restaurant website.
The restaurant is also currently hiring staff, including bartenders, servers, and a butcher.
If you want to try True Food before then, the next closest location is the Mosaic District (2910 District Ave.) in Fairfax County.