Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

Italian Deli Coming to Pentagon Row — “Napoli Pasta Bar, the Bib Gourmand-designated Italian restaurant in Columbia Heights, will expand into Northern Virginia next month when it adds a sister deli in Arlington. Napoli Salumeria is expected to open in early October at 1301 South Joyce Street… The Pentagon Row space was largely turnkey ready, as it formerly functioned as a deli called A Deli.” [Eater]

Shirlington Movie Theater Reopens — The AMC Shirlington 7 theater reopened earlier this week, after closing over the weekend. A PR rep said the closure was due to a “plumbing issue.”

More Hazy Skies Possible — “More smoke from western wildfires likely to stream into DC area tonight and into Wednesday. Skies unlikely to be as blue as the past several days.” [Washington Post, Twitter]

Restaurant Break-in on Pentagon Row — “At approximately 10:41 a.m. on September 21, police were dispatched to the report of a larceny. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 12:25 a.m., two suspects forced entry to a business, causing damage, and stole an undisclosed amount of cash and items of value. The suspects are described as males, wearing hooded sweatshirts, masks, and gloves. The investigation is ongoing.” [Arlington County]

Cooking School Adapts During Pandemic — Cookology at Ballston Quarter mall was just hitting its stride when the pandemic hit. After shutting down for weeks, the cooking school reopened via “Cookology Live” virtual classes. And now, the business has secured outdoor space at the mall’s covered “Instagram Alley” in which to hold in-person classes. [Washington Business Journal]

Apartment Building Designated as Historic — “The Glebe Apartments (now known as Knightsbridge Apartments) in the Ballston area has been placed on the Virginia Landmarks Register… The apartment complex, located in the 200 block of North Glebe Road, is an example of garden-style apartment units that were constructed in Arlington from the 1930s to the 1950s to provide moderately priced housing for a growing number of federal workers and, after World War II, returning veterans.” [InsideNova]

Today: ‘Spirit of Community’ Event — “Please join us for the 2020 Spirit of Community celebration on Wednesday, September 23 at 12 p.m… The program will include interviews with Chris Nassetta, President and CEO of Hilton, and Steve Presley, Chairman and CEO of Nestle USA.” [ARLnow Events]

Confederate Costumes Cause Controversy — ” Party City is racing to clear its shelves of children’s costumes celebrating the Confederacy. An Arlington, Virginia mom of two adopted Black children, was shocked to find the Party City store at Bailey’s Crossroads selling Civil War rebel costumes emblazoned with the Confederate flag.” [WUSA 9]

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The Bed Bath & Beyond store at Pentagon Row is set to close by the end of the year.

USA Today reported Friday afternoon that the store is on a list of 63 Bed Bath & Beyond locations that will shutter by the end of 2020. The store first opened about 20 years ago, shortly after the opening of the shopping center itself.

The parent company is retrenching amid a difficult business climate for bricks-and-mortar retailers, the paper reported.

Bed Bath & Beyond also owns the World Market retail chain; World Market closed its Pentagon Row store last year.

Photo via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Restaurant Closes in Pentagon City — “Sad to report that A-Deli at ⁦@PentagonRow⁩ has gone out of business. Mr. Kapoor and his wife are great people. I hope they can rebound in a new venture.” [@CartChaos22202/Twitter]

Another Hazy Day on Tap — “It will be another day without much in the way of cloudiness. With at least some smoke likely to be in the air once again, highs will be held back somewhat, as readings will mainly reach the low and mid-70s.” [Capital Weather Gang]

Some COVID Tests Come With Steep Price — “When Lisa Robertson sought coronavirus testing for her college athlete daughter, a pediatrician recommended a small, independent pharmacy in Arlington, Virginia. Preston’s Pharmacy charged $35 to take a nasal swab specimen and sent it off to a lab, Principle Diagnostics, for quick results. The lab billed her insurance company $864 – more than eight times what the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reimburses for COVID-19 test.” [USA Today]

GOP Congressional Candidate Presses Case — “If you’re going to go down anyway, you might as well go down swinging. That seems to be the feeling of Jeff Jordan, the Republican nominee attempting to unseat U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-8th)… Jordan used a debate sponsored by the Arlington County Civic Federation to press his political philosophy. ‘I have fought socialism and tyranny my entire life,’ he told the online audience.” [InsideNova]

Marymount Rises in Rankings — “For the third consecutive year, Marymount University has risen in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges Rankings. After jumping more than 20 spots in last year’s list, Marymount is once again moving up among the Best Regional Universities in the South – now ranked at No. 31 in the region” [Press Release]

‘Space Jam’ Outdoors Tomorrow in Ballston — “Ballston Exchange will be hosting three separate movie nights on the Paseo in between 4201 and 4121 Wilson Blvd. One ticket is required for each group of four or less. Ticket includes a 6’x6′ feet picnic blanket and a $10 gift card to a Ballston Exchange retailer.” [Eventbrite]

Alexandria Architectural Board Disses Arlington — “‘They’re very nice buildings, but they don’t belong in Old Town,’ BAR member Lynn Neihardt said during the Sept. 2 meeting. ‘We’re getting buildings that don’t reflect the Old Town context at all under the guise of providing affordable housing… The buildings to me speak Ballston, Crystal City, but not Old Town.’ BAR member Christine Sennott underlined that point in saying: ‘This is Ballston. We don’t want to be Ballston.'” [Washington Business Journal]

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Morning Notes

Prosecutor Files Petition Against Judges — “A northern Virginia prosecutor who says her county’s judges are infringing on her discretion to dismiss charges and enter plea bargains is asking the state Supreme Court to intervene on her behalf. Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti filed a petition Friday asking the court for a relief from a policy imposed by the county’s four Circuit Court judges.” [Associated Press]

New BBQ Pop-Up Coming to Pentagon City — “In their spare time [chefs Kevin Tien and Scott Chung] dreamed up Wild Tiger BBQ, which launches Thursday, August 20 next to Bun’d Up at Pentagon Row in Arlington. The pop-up will run Thursday through Saturday for the first few weeks.” [Washingtonian]

‘Bumper Crop of Mosquitos’ — “With the floods of summer come the pests of summer — bloodsucking mosquitoes. It takes several days to a couple of weeks for mosquitoes to hatch, molt and fly out of floodwater, but the swarms eventually arrive, in greater numbers than before the flood. After the recent flooding from thunderstorms and Tropical Storm Isaias in the Washington region, a bumper crop of mosquitoes has emerged.” [Washington Post]

Retired Colonel Helps With COVID Response — “When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early March, retired U.S. Air Force Colonel David Ashley quickly found his planned spring and summer mountain climbing trips canceled. He spent about a week doing projects around his Arlington home, but after 27 years in the military, he realized he need something else, something with more purpose.” [Arlington County]

Cab Exec’s Offensive Post Makes Headlines — “An elected town council member in Strasburg, Va., who also is chairman of the 6th Congressional District’s Republican Committee admitted this week that he posted, then removed, a sexually offensive meme targeted at Sen. Kamala D. Harris… [John] Massoud, who is vice president of Arlington’s Blue Top taxi service and was an unsuccessful candidate against ex-Del. Bob Brink for a House of Delegates seat from Arlington in 1997 and 1999, moved to the Shenandoah Valley about 10 years ago.” [Washington Post]

Analysis of Rents Near Metro Stations — “The most expensive rents ($2,200 and up) are found in areas of Arlington and Washington, DC. Rent near the Ballston-MU station is in the mid-range among DC Metro stops. But while the median price increased near Court House, it decreased near Ballston-MU, according to the analysis. The median rent for a one-bedroom unit near Ballston-MU is $1,975, a 1.3 percent decrease from 2019.” [Patch]

Clement Rips Dems for Redistricting Stance — “An independent candidate for Arlington County Board has criticized the Arlington County Democratic Committee for its opposition to a nonpartisan-redistricting constitutional amendment on the state ballot in November. Audrey Clement, who is challenging incumbent Democrat Libby Garvey for County Board, said the Democrats’ vote seems disingenuous for a party that claims to be about good government.” [InsideNova]

Arlington Makes Top Travel Destination List — “For all the talk of a move to small, less densely populated destinations, Hotwire also ranked much bigger cities. Its ‘midsize must see’ picks were St. Louis; Tampa, Florida; Atlanta; Arlington, Virginia; Tucson, Arizona; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Virginia Beach, Virginia; Pittsburgh; Miami; and Cincinnati.” [CNBC]

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While other restaurants at Pentagon Row have reopened with social distancing, Aabee Express (1101 S. Joyce Street) has closed after nearly two years in business.

The restaurant focused on healthy Mediterranean cuisine with vegetarian options and earned a 4.5-star rating on Yelp.

Staff at the restaurant was packing up the appliances last week as the location was being emptied. Employees said the restaurant is looking at reopening somewhere near their current location, but no plans have been finalized as of yet for when or where that could happen.

Just around the corner, Champps closed earlier this summer as a result of the pandemic.

Staff photo by Vernon Miles

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The owner of a pair of major commercial developments in Arlington is applying for permits that would allow on-the-go alcohol consumption within each shopping center.

Federal Realty Investment Trust is applying for a new “commercial lifestyle center” permit for the Village at Shirlington and Pentagon Row, on behalf of the merchant association for each shopping center.

If approved by Virginia ABC, it would allow shoppers and diners to take their alcoholic beverages to go, for consumption in the centers’ common areas. A change to the law allowing it, sponsored by local state Sen. Barbara Favola, took effect earlier this month.

“Following the implementation of a new state law on July 1, 2020, FRIT submitted commercial lifestyle center ABC license applications for the Village at Shirlington and Pentagon Row on Friday, July 10,” Dan Corwin, Director, Asset Management — Mixed Use for Federal Realty Investment Trust, told ARLnow this morning.

“The applications would allow people of legal drinking age visiting the Village at Shirlington and Pentagon Row to consume alcohol purchased from Shirlington’s and Pentagon Row’s ABC licensees in common areas managed and maintained by Federal Realty,” he said.

Property owner JBG Smith applied for the the same permit for its shopping centers in the Crystal City area, near Amazon’s HQ2, last year.

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Like a lot of local restaurants, it’s been a rough spring for Bun’d Up — which opened at Pentagon Row (1201 S. Joyce Street) in December — but its owner hopes warmer weather and the forthcoming delivery of speciality Asian alcoholic drinks can help turn things around.

Bun’d Up’s Scott Chung said the business is being inspected later this week for a new ABC permit that, if approved, would allow it to offer in-restaurant serving or home delivery of beer and wine.

“We’re trying to jump on board with the take-home drink trend,” Chung said. “This area allows people to drink in the courtyard and we’re hoping to do take-home delivery of alcohol as well. We’ll see how it goes, and try to expand to do more Asian-inspired drinks.”

Chung said from what he’s heard, frozen drinks have been selling really well at other local restaurants. Bun’d Up just got new ice machines and Chung said he’s hoping to start with frozen drinks to test the waters.

“We’re going to focus on Asian-inspired Korean beers and soju, and specialize in Japanese whiskeys,” Chung said.

The restaurant is still trying to figure out which distributor to use and the prices for the drinks haven’t been set in stone, but Chung said it will be comparable to other restaurants in the area.

In general, Chung said he’s hopeful alcohol sales can help boost a business that’s been hurting over the last few months of the pandemic.

“In the beginning, it was pretty rough, but we’re doing better,” Chung said. “It’s still not comparable to before all this started, but we do see some weekends better than others. I think alcohol and getting an outside presence will help.”

There are other ideas in the pipeline, but Chung said the immediate focus will be putting together food that pairs well with alcohol and drawing more attention to the outside space — assuming the good weather holds up.

“The weather has still been pretty funny,” Chung said. “We had a cold rush last week, but right now it’s hot and there’s a ton of people outside.”

Chung said he’s eagerly looking forward to the third phase of reopening.

“Once Phase 3 [of reopening] happens, the business should get a lot better,” Chung said. “Once Phase 2 hit, even before that started — when they announced Phase 2, we were busier. It took some weight off people’s shoulders that it’s getting better.”

Chung is wary of a second coronavirus wave, however, and he said that’s curbed his enthusiasm for rehiring a full staff.

“We get complaints about how long it takes sometimes to get food ready,” Chung said. “That’s probably the number one complaint we hear, but we can’t staff at earlier levels. With a potential second wave, don’t want to staff more people and then turn around and lay them off again.”

Chung said if the recovery continues, he’ll hire more staff to help speed food preparation and delivery, but for now he’s waiting out the summer to see how the virus continues to impact the community.

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There’s no Taco Bamba in Arlington, but the popular regional Mexican eatery chain is giving local residents a way to get their fix while staying close to home.

Starting today, the company has started delivering to food drop-off zones in Ballston and Pentagon City.

“Taco Bamba delivers to the… satellite drop zones at 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., Monday through Friday,” the company said on its website. “We can take 15 orders per time slot for each location, so place your lunch order now.”

The drop-off zones are:

  • In front of the future Huevos restaurant, a new concept from Taco Bamba founder and chef Victor Albisu, at 4000 Wilson Blvd.
  • In front of Lebanese Taverna at Pentagon Row, at 1101 S. Joyce Street.

Orders can be placed online.

Other restaurants are also getting in on the drop-zone concept. On Monday D.C.-based Israeli street food restaurant Shouk dropped off food for customers in Ballston. Drop-off orders can be placed on the restaurant’s smartphone app.

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Mike Bloomberg’s former Arlington campaign office at Pentagon Row might soon become a liquor store.

A notice posted in the window says Virginia ABC is “considering establishing a retail store at this location,” on the 1300 block of S. Joyce Street. The sign first went up last month, before Bloomberg dropped out of the Democratic presidential race.

“As is customary when a new store location is under consideration, we post a sign for two weeks indicating a potential new store to gather local input before moving forward to secure a lease,” said Dawn Eischen, Public Relations Manager for Virginia ABC.

“Virginia ABC strategically chooses store locations to meet market demands and to better serve its customers,” she added.

There are currently eight state-run liquor stores in Arlington, according to the Virginia ABC website. The closest to the proposed Pentagon Row location are at the Arlington Ridge Shopping Center (2955A S. Glebe Road) and in Crystal City (320 23rd Street S.)

Eischen told ARLnow this morning that Virginia ABC “is currently going through the leasing process” at Pentagon Row, though an opening date is uncertain given the coronavirus outbreak.

“We are still planning to place a store at that location,” she said. “Due to adjustments ABC and others are making to business processes as a result of the coronavirus, we’re uncertain when the leasing process will be completed or when the store will be open to the public.”

Photo courtesy anonymous

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(Updated on 2/23/20) The sports bar and restaurant Champps in Pentagon Row has permanently closed.

Coronavirus wasn’t the sole cause of the bar and restaurant’s demise — a staff member at the now-closed restaurant said they’d been struggling for months — but he said that it had been the final nail in the coffin.

“We’re battling through the leases but as soon as coronavirus came through [the company] decided they couldn’t keep operating the ones that were losing money,” the staff member said.

The Pentagon Row Champps first opened in 2001, shortly after 9/11, and donated the first couple days of beverage sales to a relief fund for victims of the attack on the Pentagon. It was one of the first large restaurants in the then-new shopping center.

In the classic Arlington cycle of restaurant death and rebirth, Twitter users both mourned the late restaurant and started wondering what could be next for the large space.

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Arlington County Police are continuing their crackdown on thefts and robberies in Pentagon City parking garages.

Police have stepped up patrols in the area after a series of armed carjackings and other crimes in shopping center garages. On Saturday evening, those extra patrols may have helped stop a trio of alleged, would-be thieves.

Three juvenile suspects were taken into custody following a foot chase, after they were seen pulling on car door handles in a garage along Army Navy Drive, according to police. The address is in the area of both the mall and the Pentagon Row shopping center.

More from an ACPD crime report:

VEHICLE TAMPERING (Significant), 2020-02290159, 800 block of Army Navy Drive. At approximately 5:22 p.m. on February 29, police were dispatched to the report of a tampering with auto. Upon arrival, it was determined that a witness allegedly observed three suspects pulling on door handles of parked vehicles inside a garage. An arriving officer observed the suspects attempting to leave the scene in a stolen vehicle and activated his emergency equipment to stop the vehicle. Upon seeing police, the suspects fled from the vehicle on foot. Following a brief foot pursuit, all three suspects were apprehended. Petitions are being sought for the juvenile suspects.

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