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Like the swallows of Capistrano, the Hello Kitty truck keeps returning to a warm and welcoming place: Pentagon City.

As it did last summer, the truck will be setting up shop along Pentagon Row this weekend, offering its baked goods and pink-hued merchandise to the masses. Only credit and debit cards will be accepted during the event, which is set to take place from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, near the DSW store.

Hello Kitty, for the uninitiated, is an internationally beloved Japanese character first created in the mid-1970s and still going strong as a multi-billion-dollar media franchise.

The truck will only be in the area for one day. After the Arlington stop on the truck’s East Coast tour, it’s off to New Jersey.

More from a press release, below.

The Hello Kitty Cafe Truck is continuing its 2022 tour across the U.S. with its all-pink cafe on wheels carrying exclusive treats and collectibles celebrating all things Hello Kitty.

Fans of Hello Kitty can look forward to edible goodies and limited-edition merch, including:

  • NEW Hello Kitty Cafe Glass Mug with Sprinkle Handle
  • NEW Hello Kitty Cafe Coin Bank
  • NEW Hello Kitty Cafe Lunchbox
  • Hello Kitty Cafe Lavender T-Shirt
  • Hello Kitty Cafe Canvas Tote
  • Stainless Hello Kitty Cafe Rainbow Thermos (18oz and 32oz)
  • Hand-Decorated Cookie Sets
  • Madeleine Cookie Sets

Other best-selling items include: Hello Kitty Cafe Plush Toys and giant Hello Kitty Cafe chef cookies.

*Hello Kitty Cafe Truck accepts only credit/debit card payments -no cash.

Following DC, the Hello Kitty Cafe Truck will continue its 2022 East Coast tour with a stop in Cherry Hill, NJ on 8/20.

Since the Hello Kitty Cafe Truck made its debut in October 2014 as part of Sanrio’s first food-related venture, the cafe on wheels has delighted thousands of fans from all over the U.S., drawing crowds of up to hundreds of Hello Kitty lovers at each stop. To date, two Hello Kitty Cafe trucks have traveled to more than 100 cities across both coasts – from Los Angeles, Seattle and Houston – to Chicago, New York and Miami.

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A man absconded with thousands of dollars yesterday after swiping a bag of cash from an employee who was filling an ATM in Pentagon City.

The incident reportedly happened around 1:45 p.m. Wednesday at the Harris Teeter store at 900 Army Navy Drive, in the Pentagon Row shopping center.

“Upon arrival, it was determined the reporting party was filling an ATM with money when the unknown suspect approached and stole a bag containing an undisclosed amount of cash,” Arlington County police said today in a crime report. “The suspect then fled the scene on foot.”

An armored truck could be seen parked outside of the store as an ARLnow photographer arrived on scene. Initial reports suggest that the suspect may have stolen tens of thousands of dollars simply by running off with the cash without any use or threat of force.

“There was no force reported,” ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow. “The incident is a larceny.”

The suspect was described as a teen or man in his early 20s. Police searched the area but did not locate him.

“The suspect is described as a Black male in his late teens to early 20s with a slim build,” said the crime report. “He was wearing dark gray pants, a black long sleeve shirt and carrying a backpack. The investigation is ongoing.”

Morning Notes

Rainy evening on Crystal City’s 23rd Street restaurant row (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

New Renderings of Days Inn Development — “The plans to replace the Days Inn on Arlington Boulevard with 251 multi-family units and around 3,000 square feet of retail are coming into focus. New plans filed with Arlington County last week provide the first renderings for The Arva, the eight-story project designed by STUDIOS Architecture.” [UrbanTurf]

Yorktown Girls Lax Wins State Tourney — “After qualifying for the state tournament for the first time in 2019 and enjoying success by going 1-1 and losing in the semifinals, the Yorktown Patriots were hungry for much more in that competition. This spring, the girls lacrosse team indeed got considerably more, by winning the Virginia High School League’s Class 6 state tourney with a 3-0 record and capping its best season in program history.” [Sun Gazette]

Woman Assaults Officers in Pentagon City — “1100 block of S. Hayes Street. At approximately 9:00 p.m. on June 11, police were dispatched to the report of a disorderly subject. Upon arrival, officers met with security who advised the female suspect had been smoking inside the building and they wanted her banned from the property. Officers located the suspect and asked her to leave the premises. During the incident, the suspect became combative and struck an officer in the face. The suspect continued to attempt to strike the officers, and with the assistance of an additional responding officer, she was taken into custody.” [ACPD]

Buses Causing Damage in Ballston — “Another Arlington light pole bites the dust, this time in Ballston. Police are on the scene. A tour bus that was here earlier, possibly the striking vehicle, has since left… More bus mayhem in Ballston: a tour bus ran over and damaged some of the landscaping in front of the Westin hotel, per a reader who sent this photo.” [Twitter]

Cobbler Moving to Alexandria to Expand — “After twenty years in Pentagon Row, family-owned leatherworking shop Best Foot Forward is moving to the Bradlee Shopping Center in Alexandria early next month… ‘My dad started it as a one-man business. Now we’re looking to expand and Bradlee would be twice as big.'” [ALXnow]

Va. Realtors Worried About Market — “Members of the Virginia Realtors trade group report declining sales conditions and more concern about the future, owing to higher interest rates, more inventory and perhaps the sense among some residents that it’s time to batten down the hatches rather than take on the responsibility of a new home.” [Sun Gazette]

Arlington Bear Now in Fairfax County? — “A bear was sighted in the Belle Haven area on Thursday (June 9), and one Nextdoor user snapped some photos of it crossing George Washington Memorial Parkway near Belle View Boulevard… The Fairfax County Police Department says its Animal Protection Police and wildlife management specialist were alerted to bear sightings in the area over the weekend. The department has also received recent reports of a young bear moving through McLean.” [FFXnow]

Missing Middle Modifications in Portland — “The Portland City Council unanimously approved a long list of seemingly technical zoning tweaks that ease the city’s rules on construction of… housing types like townhomes, fourplexes, and cottage clusters… The program got hearty praise at the time as the nation’s most ambitious low-density zoning reform. It’s spawned an infant industry of developers building smaller, more affordable ‘missing middle’ housing. Nevertheless, the results thus far have been fairly modest, producing only about 100 additional units since the program went into effect in August 2021.” [Reason]

It’s Tuesday — Rain and storms, potentially severe, in the morning. Clearing in the afternoon. High of 82 and low of 73. Sunrise at 5:44 am and sunset at 8:36 pm. [Weather.gov]

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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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