While visiting the Pentagon City mall on Saturday with her son, Beth Schweinefuss says that she saw a man walking around the food court and standing by himself with a plastic bag on his head.
“We were sitting on the third floor of the mall resting and doing some people watching,” Schweinefuss told ARLnow.com. “We both noticed the gentleman in the food court standing by himself and wearing a plastic bag on his head. His mannerisms suggested to me he was possible talking to himself and was just looking around and listening to something on a portable tape recorder. That caught our attention.”
Soon after, a couple of police officers went down to the food court to speak to the man and Schweinefuss noted that instead of kicking him out of the mall, they spent a few minutes talking to him, taking care to speak to him with respect.
“They were smiling and chatting and doing their best to make this gentleman feel valued,” she said.
Eventually, all but one of the officers left. The officer who stayed took the man to a hat kiosk, helping him to pick one out and paying for it with his own money.
“It was moving to us because clearly this gentleman was in from the rain and rather than just escorting him out of the mall, the officers obviously took that time to find out what was going on with him and to provide some relief,” she said. “They clearly didn’t HAVE to do this, but they saw a person in need and helped. It was an opportunity for us to talk about people in need and how to help, but also to talk about how we so often see the negative encounters people have with police and it was very uplifting to see a positive encounter.”
Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage said Schweinefuss contacted the department via its Facebook page, to share the story. After doing some digging, Savage was able to confirm that the officer had not only bought the man a hat, but had bought him dinner as well.
“We take protecting and serving beyond just our enforcement of the law. We like citizens to help each other and so the fact that we were able to do that and this woman and her son were able to see it and share a little bit of a life lesson — that’s more than we could really ask for in these types of situations,” said Savage.
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) May 23, 2016
(Updated at 2:55 p.m.) The new Garrett Popcorn Shop opened today at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City — and customers are lining up faster than they can pop the kernels. Some even brought homemade signs to mark the occasion.
Located in the former Johnny Rockets space, near the Metro entrance on the food court level, it’s the Chicago-based company’s 50th location and its first in the D.C. area.
To celebrate today’s opening, Garrett is offering $1 treat bags, $19.49 gallon tins of mixed popcorn and free D.C. tote bags to the first 200 customers (excluding those just buying the $1 treat bag.)
Those specials, and the allure of cheesy, buttery or crispy sweet popcorn from the Windy City, apparently was enough to convince customers to wait in an enormous line that stretched halfway through the food court.
A group at the front of the line insisted that they had been waiting for two hours. Was that worth it?
“Oh yeah, their popcorn is the bomb,” one of the women said.
At the very least, posts on the company’s Facebook page seem to confirm that the line is indeed as long as it looks.
Wrote one devoted popcorn fan: “The line isn’t moving. I’m like the 300th person in line. Did you guys run out of kernels?”
The incident happened last night around 6:30, at or near the Pentagon City mall.
Police say the group of teens that asked for the phone chased the other group, which took off running after declining the request. The assault then ensued.
The crime is being described as an attempted robbery — no belongings were stolen. The four teen suspects were all described as slender, 6’0″ tall black males.
From the Arlington County Police Department crime report:
ATTEMPTED ROBBERY, 160504044, 1100 block of S. Hayes Street. At approximately 6:35 p.m. on May 4, a group of juveniles approached a separate group of juveniles and asked to borrow a cellphone. The juveniles declined and took off running. The initial group of juveniles who asked to use the cellphone chased after them and struck two juvenile victims in the face. The suspects fled the scene after the assault without any of the victim’s belongings.
Construction on the Pentagon City mall’s expansion is still happening all around it, but Shake Shack is nonetheless planning to open its doors Wednesday.
The trendy burger-and-shake restaurant is serving patrons today as part of an invite-only “friends and family” event, allowing staff to work out the kinks before opening to the general public. Tomorrow, at 11 a.m., it’s expected to open to an inevitable crush of local workers, residents, tourists and mall shoppers.
Shake Shack’s wedge-like storefront in the mall’s expanded wing along S. Hayes Street, near the Pentagon City Metro entrance, includes a small-ish order counter but a more open, airy indoor seating area. There’s also what looks like a future outdoor seating area in front.
Shake Shack’s menu includes burgers, chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, fries, shakes, custard-based “concretes,” soda, coffee and beer. There are even a couple of options specifically for dogs.
The restaurant will be open from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Metro Delays and Traffic This Morning — There are residual delays on the Orange and Silver lines due to a malfunctioning train near the Clarendon Metro station earlier this morning. For drivers, morning rush hour traffic is noticeably heavier than usual around Northern Virginia inside the Beltway. [Twitter]
Firefighters Applaud New Metro Move — WMATA will now staff its Metrorail control center with a uniformed fire officer 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Arlington’s firefighter association applauded the move, calling it a “positive step for the safety of firefighters and citizens in the DMV.” [WTOP, Twitter]
CARD to Hold School Board Debate — The Pike Presidents’ Group and the Coalition of Arlingtonians for Responsible Development, which advocates for a wider distribution of affordable housing throughout the county, is holding a School Board candidate debate on Wednesday, May 11. CARD also sent a candidate questionaire to all four candidates seeking the Democratic nomination. Of them, only Tannia Talento declined to respond. [CARD, CARD]
Liberty Tavern Named Top Brunch Spot — A new-for-2016 list of the top brunch spots in the country, compiled from diner reviews by the restaurant reservation website OpenTable, includes The Liberty Tavern in Clarendon. [OpenTable, Patch]
Mall Launches Walking Program — Today, the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City is launching a new program called “Walk-Fit.” Open to all ages, the program is described as “an official way for walkers to meet up, exercise, socialize and even enjoy a morning cup of coffee,” all inside the mall.
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Exterior signage is up at the future Shake Shack at the Pentagon City mall.
The burger-and-shake restaurant is opening within a new, still under-construction expansion of the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City along S. Hayes Street. It’s the chain’s first restaurant in Arlington.
The mall’s website says Shake Shack “is expected to open as of 4/1/2016,” but a PR rep said that information is “inaccurate.” No updated opening date was immediately available. Initially, it was said that Shake Shack would open at some point this spring.
Other restaurants and stores coming to the expanded front entrance of the mall include:
Major Rosslyn Development Approved — A sweeping five-phase redevelopment of 7.65 acres of prime Rosslyn real estate was approved unanimously by the Arlington County Board on Saturday. The Board approved the framework for the development, though final approval will be necessary for each phase. Developers Vornado and Gould Property Company expect to complete the project over the course of 25 years. [Arlington County]
Gun Store Saga Continues — Who owns NOVA Armory, the gun store that’s planning to open in Lyon Park despite community opposition? The man who speaks on behalf of the business and holds its federal firearms sales license isn’t saying, exactly. Dennis Pratte declined further questions after describing it as “a female, minority-owned business” and stating “I may or may not be the owner.” Meanwhile, county leaders say there’s nothing they can legally do to prevent the store from opening. NOVA Armory is planning to a grand opening on March 26. [Washington Post, InsideNova]
Teen Tourist Scammed at Pentagon City Mall — A California teenager on a school trip to Washington was reportedly scammed out of $97 by an armed man at the Pentagon City mall. The man compelled the teen to give him $97 in exchange for what turned out to be a counterfeit $100 bill. [NBC Washington]
Arlington Natives Live Blog Day at Ballston Common Mall — Two friends who grew up in Arlington’s Bluemont neighborhood decided to spend all of Saturday at Ballston Common Mall, ahead of its imminent demise, and live-blog their experience. The blog mixes nostalgia for time spent shopping and working at the mall with observations about the current mix of largely chain restaurants and small, quirky stores. [Things Remembered: A Day at Ballston]
Other County Board Action — On Saturday, the Arlington County Board approved a Memorandum of Understanding to partner with Virginia Tech and join the national MetroLab Network, and voted to accept $731,813 in state funding to support the county’s permanent supportive housing program. [Arlington County, Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
This Sunday, Daylight Saving Time begins. Next Sunday is the start of spring. And the Sunday after that is Easter.
To celebrate the season, the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall is bringing the Easter bunny himself (or is it herself?) to the mall for photos with children.
The Easter bunny’s first official day on the job at the mall is Friday. The photo sessions will run though Saturday, March 26.
Look for the bunny and his photographer on the ground floor of the mall (not to be confused with the lower, “Metro” level), near Nordstrom. From the mall’s website, here are the dates and times for bunny photos.
- 3/11- 11am-8pm
- 3/12- 10am-8pm
- 3/13- 11am-6pm
- 3/14- 12pm-8pm
- 3/15- 12pm-8pm
- 3/16- 12pm-8pm
- 3/17- 12pm-8pm
- 3/18- 11am-8pm
- 3/19- 10am-8pm
- 3/20- 11am-6pm
- 3/21- 11am-8pm
- 3/22- 11am-8pm
- 3/23- 11am-8pm
- 3/24- 11am-8pm
- 3/25- 10am-8pm
- 3/26- 9am-8pm
A Garrett Popcorn Shop is coming to the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City.
The store will be located in the former Johnny Rockets space, between the Pentagon City Metro station and the mall’s food court. The retro burger-and-shake eatery closed earlier this month.
Chicago-based Garrett lists the store simply as “coming soon” on its website. In addition to its home base of Chicago, Garrett has stores in U.S. cities like Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit, Las Vegas and New York. This is the company’s first D.C. area shop.
Founded in 1949, Garrett is best known for its orange-colored “CheeseCorn.” It also offers plain, butter and caramel flavors, in addition to varieties with nuts mixed in.
The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City (1100 S. Hayes Street) and Eden Center (6751 Wilson Blvd in Falls Church) both are scheduled to host Lunar New Year celebrations Saturday. But only Eden Center plans to keep the party going on Sunday.
At Pentagon City, visitors can catch lion and dragon dances, along with interactive games, Asian-inspired fashion shows and live music, according to a news release from the mall. The party is set to run from noon to 6 p.m. on the ground level of the Nordstrom wing.
As for Eden Center, the Vietnamese shopping destination will have lion dances, face painting, balloon animals and a magician, a Facebook post says. The festivities are slated to begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Image via Eden Center
(Updated at 2:10 p.m.) The Johnny Rockets in the Pentagon City mall has apparently gone the way of sock hops and McCarthyism.
The 1950s themed burger-and-shake restaurant has been closed and boarded up for the past several days. While the Pentagon City location’s Facebook account is still publishing generic food photos, it has been removed from the company’s website and customers asking about the closure earlier this week have gotten no response.
There was no answer at the restaurant’s phone line. We’re still awaiting confirmation that the eatery has closed for good.
A Johnny Rockets in Shirlington closed last year.
Update on 2/6/16 — A PR rep for the mall writes in an email to ARLnow.com: “Johnny Rockets has been a valued eatery at Fashion Centre at Pentagon City for many years. We expect to make an announcement on plans for the space very soon. Further questions should be directed to Johnny Rockets.”
Police were dispatched to the store around 2:30 p.m. Monday.
A man was in the jewelry store for about 10 minutes looking at rings, said ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage. At one point, he allegedly grabbed one of the rings — a diamond engagement ring — and took off running.
So far, police have declined to identify the jewelry store or the release the value of the ring.
The suspect is described as a 6-foot-tall black male in his 40s, with a medium build. He was wearing a tan thermal hat and a zip-up sweatshirt at the time of the crime, we’re told.
Christian clothing store Altar’d State is coming to the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, according to building permit applications filed just before Christmas.
The retailer offers women’s clothing and accessories with a God-centric mission statement. Founded in 2009, the company has about 60 stores nationwide and donates one percent of all sales to local and international charities.
At Pentagon City mall, Altar’d State will serve both local customers and the throngs who visit the mall by the busload during school and church trips.
The permit application says the store will be 4,700 square feet and on the second floor of the mall.
Here’s how fashion website Racked described the retailer:
Altar’d State does not sell Christian apparel. The company sells feminine and flirty womenswear that taps into boho-chic trends for the Instagram set. Its stores push both in-house brands and external labels, all showcasing looks that are big on antiqued lace, soft tulle, and crochet detailing, with plenty of flowy layers in muted colors.
Which is to say that for a self-described Christian fashion company, there’s a surprising dearth of religious iconography when it comes to its clothes. Instead, there are graphic tees best worn by weekend warriors sipping on mimosas that read “Will Work for Brunch” and “I Hate Mondays.”
But Altar’d State’s faith is never far from view. Stores pipe in contemporary Christian music and the dressing rooms feature those aforementioned prayer request books. There are plenty of wood-block wall hangings with snappy messages like, “Just Sayin’,” “Be Nice or Leave,” and “I Totally Agree with Myself” — but the larger blocks displayed in-store include text like, “Be Patient. Our prayers are always answered but not always on the exact day we’d like them to be,” and “Don’t tell God that you have a big problem. Tell your problem that you have a big God.” A display near the front entrance of the Austin store features hand towels with Philippians 4:13 alongside joke linens (all stitched in the same distressed Courier font) that define a calorie as, “A tiny creature that lives in your closet and sews your clothes a little tighter every night.”
(Updated at 11:55 p.m.) Two suspects are in custody after leading Arlington County Police on a vehicle pursuit through the District of Columbia, following a shooting near the Pentagon City mall.
The alleged road rage incident happened around 3:10 p.m., at the 15th Street South exit of the mall’s parking lot. NBC 4 reported that a driver was having trouble using a credit card to exit from one of the gates. The driver was trying to get the car behind to let them reverse out, when someone in that car fired a gunshot in the air.
Witnesses called 911 and reported the shooting, describing the suspect vehicle as white in color with D.C. tags
A car matching the description given to police was spotted by an officer on I-395. That led to a pursuit across the 14th Street Bridge into D.C., near the National Mall, and back on I-395 before ending at 3rd and F Streets NW, near the Third Street Tunnel, where the suspects bailed out and took off running.
Arlington police, aided by D.C. police, were able to chase and apprehend both suspects, according to ACPD spokesman Lt. Kip Malcolm.
Reginald Carroll, a 21-year-old D.C. resident, has been charged with willfully discharging a firearm in public and felony eluding. Calvin Pelzer, also 21 years old and from D.C., has been charged with discharging a firearm and obstruction of justice.
The suspects threw a gun out of the window during the vehicle pursuit, Malcolm said. It was recovered along I-395 near the GW Parkway.
Arlington County Police normally don’t engage in car chases, but department policy specifies that such pursuits are authorized for violent crimes involving firearms, “for the safety of the community,” according to Malcolm.
No one was reported injured in the shooting. As of early Friday evening, investigators were still looking for bullet casings and other evidence near the scene. They’re also trying to find other witnesses as well as the other driver involved, who fled after the shooting.
“The investigation is ongoing,” Malcolm said.
Citing an “imminent health hazard,” the county’s health department has closed the following: Maki of Japan, McDonald’s, Popeyes, Panera Bread, Great Wraps and Which Wich.
“Public Health is aware of the situation and will work with the establishments to help get them up and running when it is safe to do so,” said Arlington County Dept. of Human Services spokesman Kurt Larrick.
Several other restaurants in the mall’s food court were unaffected by the sewage issue and remain open.