Press Club

A “Maker’s Market” in Pentagon City and a “spring fling” block party at Shirlington are both set to take place later this month.

Currently scheduled for Sunday, May 15 and Sunday, May 29, a “Marker’s Market” is set to happen in the plaza at Westpost (formerly, Pentagon Row) in Pentagon City. It will feature more than 30 artists and craft vendors, including local businesses Shop by Nancy, Fera’s Loft, Chase McClough, and Victoria Barnes Photography.

The event is free and tickets are not required. The market will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

Then, on Saturday, May 21, the Village at Shirlington is putting on a “Spring Fling Village Block Party” from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The event will feature live music, a market, restaurant pop-ups, pet adoptions at Dogma, and a corn-hole tournament benefiting the Alzheimer’s Association. The tournament will start at noon and cash prizes will be awarded to the winners.

A number of restaurants are also participating in a “sip & stroll,” allowing customers to take their cocktails to go.

A featured pop-up at the block party will be Astro Doughnuts, the owners of which are bringing a beer hall to Shirlington. The beer hall is aiming for a summer opening.

The Shirlington block party is also free and tickets are not required.

The retail centers, both owned by Federal Realty Investment Trust, have seen a lot of turnover in recent months. Target and Nighthawk Pizza opened at Westpost over the past several weeks, while sushi restaurant Kusshi and “taco temple” Banditos are expected to start serving very soon.

At Shirlington, a Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams is replacing I-CE-NY. The Cookery closed earlier this year and Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls is moving towards an opening later this year.

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Morning Notes

SoberRide vehicle in Clarendon on Cinco de Mayo (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

New Interim Economic Development Chief — “Today, I am pleased to appoint Shannon Flanagan-Watson as the Interim Director of Arlington Economic Development (AED), effective May 31. Shannon brings 28 years of combined experience working in and with local governments on a range of professional local government management and policy issues.” [Arlington County]

Shot Fired in Long Branch Creek — “1400 block of 28th Street S. At approximately 1:09 a.m. on May 5th, police were dispatched to multiple reports of shots heard in the area. Police canvassed the area and recovered evidence confirming a shot had been fired. The preliminary investigation indicates a verbal altercation between two subjects may have preceded the discharge of a firearm. No injuries were reported, and no property damage was located.” [APCD]

Netherlands Carillon Dedication — “Today, the National Park Service and Netherlands Embassy celebrated the 77th anniversary of Liberation Day and the end of a four-year restoration of the Netherlands Carillon. This celebration included remarks from Ambassador of Ukraine to the United States Oksana Markarova, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands André Haspels and National Park Service Director Charles F. ‘Chuck’ Sams III.” [Press Release, NBC 4]

More Funding for Metro Entrance? — “Additional financial support for Arlington County’s proposed west entrance to the Ballston-MU Metro station looks to be on the horizon. A recommendation from staff at the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission puts the request for an additional $4.5 million near the top of the list for regional projects that would be part of fiscal 2023-24 funding through the ‘I-66 Commuter Choice’ program.” [Sun Gazette]

Trying Out the Upton Hill Ropes Course — “Waiting in line to jump from the 50-foot apex of Climb UPton, Northern Virginia’s new ropes course, and trying desperately not to look down, I overhear three 10-year-old girls in front of me. ‘Are you scared?’ one asks… The $1.3 million ropes course opened last summer in Upton Hill Regional Park and is run by NOVA Parks. I recently attempted it on a sunny spring Saturday.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]

Reminder: Malibu Barbie Truck’s Visit — “On Saturday, May 7, the ‘Barbie Truck Totally Throwback Malibu Tour’ is planning on setting up shop at Westpost (formerly Pentagon Row) in the courtyard near DSW shoe store. The truck will be selling ‘retro-inspired’ Barbie merchandise — like Barbie logo embroidered denim jackets and Malibu Barbie necklaces — from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.” [ARLnow]

It’s Friday — Rain throughout the day. High of 65 and low of 58. Sunrise at 6:06 am and sunset at 8:07 pm. [Weather.gov]

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A new taco-and-tequila spot in Pentagon City is now looking to open in the middle of next month.

The Baltimore-based Banditos Bar & Kitchen is planning on a mid-May serving date at 1301 S. Joyce Street in the Westpost shopping center, formerly known at Pentagon Row, the restaurant announced.

The restaurant is known for its 20 different types of tacos as well as a wide selection of tequila and mezcal. It currently has two other open locations, both in the Baltimore area.

The self-described “taco temple” is moving into the former home of Thaiphoon, which shuttered in November after more than a decade. Banditos is taking over a 3,000 square foot space with outdoor seating and will be adding several other features.

“Our Arlington location will be an energetic gathering spot showcasing an open urban vibe with indoor and outdoor dining,” co-owner Sean White says in the press release. “Our 3,000 square-foot restaurant features folding garage doors, an indoor to outdoor bar that opens to Pentagon Row Plaza and a convenient exterior pick-up window.”

Last year, White told ARLnow that the layout and design of the Arlington location would be similar to the other Banditos locations in Maryland. He also noted that Amazon’s HQ2, located less than a mile from Banditos in Westpost, made the county a good fit for the restaurant’s expansion.

A second Virginia location for Banditos, in Fairfax, is expected to open in the fall.

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(Updated, 4/8) The new, 34,000 square foot Target store in Pentagon City is finally open.

Store employees confirmed to ARLnow that the big box store at the corner of Army Navy Drive and S. Joyce Street at Westpost — the mixed-use retail center formerly known as Pentagon Row — is indeed open to shoppers.

The store had a “soft opening” on Tuesday with an official grand opening set for this Sunday (April 10). A sign on the door still notes the April 10 opening, which was pushed back from what had originally been an announced April 3 opening.

Construction and supply chain delays pushed the opening back by a few days, a store employee said.

https://twitter.com/CartChaos22202/status/1511753287166476291

The store will be open from 7 a.m to 10 p.m., according to the company’s website. This is Arlington’s third Target, joining more locations in Ballston and Rosslyn.

The store takes over the space that was formerly occupied by Bed, Bath, & Beyond, which closed back in September 2020. It had been at that location in Pentagon City for nearly two decades.

Target is not the only highly-anticipated business to open at Westpost over the past several weeks. Nighthawk Pizza, a beer and pizza hall with “90s vibes,” began doing business late last month.

Hat tip to @CartChaos22022

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(Updated at 12:20 p.m.) The former Champps space at Pentagon Row is back in business as a beer-and-pizza spot.

Nighthawk Pizza will open to the public on Thursday (March 24) at 3 p.m., in the large space at 1201 S. Joyce Street, after a series of private “friends and family” nights this week.

The concept marries a 90s vibe with a pizza-centric menu and an on-site brewery operated by Aslin Beer Company. It’s helmed by Chef Johnny Spero, of Netflix’s Final Table fame plus other culinary cred, and backed by a group that includes local serial entrepreneur Scott Parker. (The group also recently opened Poppyseed Rye in Ballston.)

In addition to thin-crust pizza and beer, the menu includes a range of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, burgers, and cocktails — both handmade and on tap. The red-and-blue neon lights, bench seating and retro arcade games help to give the restaurant its 90s feel, partially offset by the abundant flat screen TVs that surround the large bar and the cavernous dining area.

“The design inspiration for the space was The Max from ‘Saved By The Bell,'” Parker noted.

In all, the brew pub has 10,000 square feet of space, plenty for the crowds Parker and company are hoping to attract from the growing neighborhood, which includes Amazon’s HQ2, set for a 2023 opening a few blocks away.

Parker said his group of partners “is already looking for our next locations for Nighthawk, as well as developing other projects.” Additional locations in the D.C. area and other cities are expected to be announced “in the coming months,” he said.

Meanwhile, Nighthawk is not the only spring opening at Pentagon Row, which was renamed “Westpost” in 2020.

“Taco temple” Banditos Bar & Kitchen is set to open in April, one restaurant over and also overlooking Westpost’s central square and soon-to-be-dismantled-for-the-season ice skating rink. Also expected to open next month are a new, 34,000 square foot Target store, on April 3, as well as sushi restaurant Kusshi.

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“Taco temple” Banditos Bar & Kitchen appears to be preparing to open in Pentagon City next month.

A new black and pink banner declaring an “April 2022” opening for the Baltimore-based Mexican eatery was spotted hanging over the exterior of 1301 S. Joyce Street at Westpost.

We reported about a year ago that Banditos was coming to Westpost, the Pentagon City shopping center formerly known as Pentagon Row.

ARLnow has reached out to both Banditos and Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRIT), which owns the development, for more details about the plans.

The self-described “taco temple” is moving into the 3,000 square foot space plus outdoor seating that was previously occupied by Thaiphoon, which closed in November after more than a decade at the spot.

Company owner Sean White told ARLnow last year that the size, design, and layout of the Arlington location will be roughly the same as the other Banditos restaurants in Maryland. This is the eatery’s first location in Virginia, but is opening a Fairfax eatery later this year, according to its website.

White also noted that Amazon’s continued expansion into Arlington, a few blocks from Westpost in Pentagon City, made the county a particularly good fit for Banditos’ own expansion.

The brunch, lunch, and dinner menu includes more than 20 different types of tacos, burritos, quesadillas, street corn, more than 40 different brands of tequila, and mezcal.

Hat tip to CartChaos22202

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A 34,000 square foot Target store is opening early April in Pentagon City, filling the space once occupied by Bed Bath & Beyond.

Signs on the building at the corner of Army Navy Drive and S. Joyce Street at Westpost announce the store’s expected Sunday, April 3 opening. There are also signs noting the location is looking to hire employees. Inside, construction is still ongoing but nearing completion.

The location is not yet listed on Target’s website with store hours unknown at this point.

A building permit was first applied for in June 2021 for a Target to replace the Bed Bath & Beyond, which closed in September 2020 and one of nearly 200 locations that has closed over the two years. It had been in that location at Westpost for nearly two decades.

This will be the third Target in Arlington, joining the relatively new store in Ballston and a smaller location in Rosslyn which opened in 2015.

There are also nearby Targets in Falls Church, Potomac Yard, Skyline, and Seven Corners.

This opening is part of a larger transformation of Westpost that dates back to its rebranding in December 2020. The former “Pentagon Row” has seen a plethora of new stores, businesses, and buzzy restaurants come to the shopping center near the Pentagon City Metro station.

Just in the next two months, the development could see a high-end sushi and sake Japanese restaurant, a food and beer hall with a “90s vibe,” and a Baltimore-based “taco temple” all open.

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Sushi restaurant Kusshi at Westpost (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Kusshi, known for its sushi and sake, is aiming for an early April opening at Westpost.

The Bethesda-based, high-end Japanese restaurant first announced it was coming to the Pentagon City retail center in June 2021, filling the space once occupied by Nepalese eatery Namaste Everest. That restaurant closed about two years after opening.

Now, Kusshi is hoping to open its doors in less than two months at 1201 S. Joyce Street.

Kusshi was initially supposed to start serving by the end of last year, but delays typical these days (supply chain, permitting, materials) forced the opening back by several months.

Kusshi co-owner Tony Chow tells ARLnow that they decided to make the move to Westpost because the development is owned by the same developer Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRIT) as Bethesda’s Pike & Rose, where the restaurant opened its first location in 2018.

Chow also notes Amazon’s growing presence in the neighborhood as another major reason for choosing Pentagon City for its next location.

There will be indoor and outdoor seating and the menu will be “similar” as the Bethesda location, Chow says. That includes sushi, sashimi, ramen, katsu, sake, and other Japanese fare. The restaurant also offers omakase, a formal meal left to the chef’s choice.

Westpost has changed drastically over the last two years. That even includes the center’s name, changing from Pentagon Row to Westpost in late 2020.

A number of buzzy restaurants opened last year, including Cathal Armstrong’s Mattie and Eddie’s, Lucky Danger, and Mimi’s Handmade Ice Cream.

There are still several more looking to start serving in 2022, including Nighthawk Pizza and Banditos Bar & Kitchen. Target is also planning to open a 34,000 square-foot store in the former Bed, Bath, & Beyond space.

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Specialty athletic shoe store Road Runner Sports is sprinting towards opening next week in Pentagon City.

It will be the first Arlington location for the running shoe retailer, with its next closest store being in Falls Church. It’s filling the 4,500 square-foot space at 1101 S. Joyce Street once occupied by Unleashed. The Petco off-shoot closed more than a year ago.

This is the store’s 42nd U.S. brick and mortar location.

“We’ve enjoyed serving customers in our Falls Church location and know our opening in Arlington will provide us with the opportunity to help even more consumers achieve their running, walking and fitness goals,” the company’s director of customer acquisition Sean Peterson tells ARLnow.

As part of its planned opening on Friday, Feb. 25, the store is partnering with Project Sole, which will donate three dollars to the nonprofit Athletes Helping Athletes (AHA) for every used or unwanted shoe collected. AHA helps provide free adaptive bikes to children with permanent physical disabilities.

The store was first announced in October. Back in November, a spokesperson for Federal Realty Investment Trust, which owns Westpost, told ARLnow that Road Runner was on track for May or “possibly earlier.” It appears the shoe store will end up opening several months sooner than expected, a rarity as supply chain woes delay many retail and restaurant openings.

Westpost, formerly known as Pentagon Row, is in the midst of a bit of a transformation, with a number of new businesses, restaurants, and stores moving in.

This includes Nighthawk Pizza, a beer and pizza hall with a “90s vibe,” which is aiming for a late March opening. The Baltimore-based Banditos Bar & Kitchen, at last check, is hoping to open by April.

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Nighthawk Pizza, the beer and food hall with a “’90s vibe,” is aiming for a late March opening in Pentagon City, co-owner Scott Parker tells ARLnow.

The newest venture from the local serial entrepreneur was initially expected to start serving  in the late fall, but supply chain hang-ups (a common refrain these days) pushed the date a few months.

The restaurant is a much-anticipated addition to Westpost, the retail and dining center formerly known as Pentagon Row, filling the large former Champps space.

The head chef is Johnny Spero, breakout star of Netflix’s Final Table and one of the buzziest chefs in the D.C. region right now. The menu will feature thicker-crust Sicilian pizzas and a crisper, thinner tavern-style pizza as well as sandwiches, smoked wings, fried cheese curds, ribs and ice cream sundaes.

The beer will be from Northern Virginia-based Aslin Beer Company, which will brew “approachable low ABV beers, that will be reminiscent of old-world styles for the working class.”

The 10,000 square foot beer and pizza eatery is leaning hard into the ’90s vibe with the design inspired by the after-school hot spot “the Max” on the television show “Saved by the Bell.”

“The whole space is not going to be as bright or as loud, but when we were looking for design touches, that was the inspiration,” Parker says. The interior is currently under construction, so photos are not available quite yet to compare Nighthawk to Zack Morris’s favorite place to hang out.

There will also be an outdoor bar, which pairs nicely with Westpost now permitting “sipping and strolling.” Meaning, patrons can roam the shopping plaza with a drink in hand.

Nighthawk Pizza is the latest from Parker, well known in Arlington not just for his restaurants but barbershops, boxing gyms and doggy daycares.

He says one of the reasons he chose to open his newest creation at Westpost was because of the abundance of buzzy openings in recent months, including Lucky Danger, Mattie and Eddie’s, and soon-to-open Banditos Bar & Kitchen. Amazon’s arrival in the neighborhood is driving these restaurants to set up shop in Pentagon City, says Parker.

As to why Arlington is constantly the setting for Parker’s new businesses, he says it’s because of the clientele.

“There are so many people who are doing well professionally right out of college,” he says. “It’s just a great demographic with a lot of people who have disposable income. For the business I’m part of, that just fits well.”

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It appears that the Italian market in Pentagon City has closed.

Napoli Salumeria on S. Joyce Street at Westport (formerly Pentagon Row) opened just over a year ago, but now it has seemingly served its last focaccia.

The windows are covered with brown paper, most signage is gone, and the storefront has seemingly been cleared out.

ARLnow has reached out to ownership for confirmation and to get a reason for the apparent quick departure, but has yet to hear back as of publication.

A spokesperson for Federal Realty Investment Trust, which owns Westpost, noted the market was always intended to be a pop-up and not permanent. It’s not known yet what might replace it.

Napoli Salumeria was owned by Antonio Ferraro and served Neapolitan street food — like focaccia and fried mozzarella — as well as sandwiches, homemade sauces, pasta, Italian meats, and cheese.

Ferraro also owned Napoli Pasta Bar in D.C., which was named a Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant in 2018. That eatery closed its doors in early 2021.

While a number of businesses in Westpost have closed in recent months, including Thaiphoon, the development is preparing for a big year of openings, including Nighthawk Pizza, Banditos Bar & Kitchen, and Target.

Hat tip to CartChaos22202

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