Arlington, VA

Siné may be no more, but its expansive former Pentagon Row location will remain a destination for Irish food and drink.

Renowned local chef Cathal Armstrong is planning to open a new restaurant concept in the Siné space this spring. Called Mattie & Eddie’s Irish Bar and Restaurant, it will off “a full Irish farm-to-table menu, a signature style of the chef,” according to a press release.

The name of the restaurant holds special meaning for Armstrong, a native of Dublin.

“In addition to being Armstrong’s grandparents, the restaurant’s namesakes — Martha and Edward — were also drapers, a nod made through the appearance of scissors and well-dressed caricatures in the restaurant’s logo, designed by Armstrong’s brother,” the press release says. “As their story reads, they handmade curtains for a living, but their lives revolved around food.”

The menu includes Irish classics, prepared with a more modern touch. Among the offering are shareable Irish sausage rolls, a black pudding with onions and crusty bread appetizer, and a house cured corned beef with cabbage confit and parsleyed potato entree.

Also on the menu: Eamonn’s fish and chips — centerpiece of the late, lamented Old Town Alexandria eatery of the same name — with seven “secret sauces.”

“This restaurant is particularly personal for me, as it honors the very people who created my sense of place and purpose,” Armstrong said in a statement. “The menu will feature my version of familiar Irish dishes, with modern ingredients. We’re eager to create an Irish comfort food experience, paired with a great beer or glass of wine, in the company of the people you love. In honor of the people I love.”

Pentagon Row, now rebranded as “Westpost,” has seen considerable turnover recently, shedding old favorites while adding buzzy new options.

Among the recent closures of note are SinéAabee Express, A Deli, Bed Bath & BeyondChamppsStarbucksWorld Market, and Unleashed. New additions include:

“As we look towards the impending arrival of Amazon’s HQ2 along with the continued evolution of National Landing, we are focused on delivering a true destination, an outpost, that exceeds the expectations of the long-time residents and the newcomers that call National Landing, and the greater Arlington area, home, work, and all things in between,” said Stuart Biel of Westpost owner Federal Realty Investment Trust. “Westpost’s location is ideal, with just a short walk west from Amazon’s campus, but a world away as far as amenities and offerings.”

Armstrong’s other current restaurants include Kaliwa and Tiki TNT at the Wharf in D.C. and Hummingbird in Alexandria. His former concepts include Restaurant Eve and Society Fair.

No exact date was given for when Mattie & Eddie’s might open. The LLC associated with the restaurant in a recent Virginia ABC filing was formed a few weeks after Siné closed. A construction permit for the restaurant could be found, suggesting that Armstrong will be using much of the existing space as currently built, with perhaps new paint and furnishings.

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A new massage studio is opening this summer in Pentagon City.

Elements Massage is targeting June 5 as its grand opening at Westpost, the shopping center formerly known as Pentagon Row, at 1101 S. Joyce Street. It specializes in customized and therapeutic massage services.

It’s taking the place of the hair salon Aveda in Suite B10.

While Elements Massage is a national chain, this studio will be independently owned and operated by Annapolis, MD-based Stratus Wellness LLC.

“For the business, the vibrant growth-oriented future of National Landing made it a target location,” wrote owner George Armendariz in the press release.

Demolition of the previous space and build out of the massage studio is expected to start March 8, a Westpost spokesperson confirms to ARLnow.

The shopping center on S. Joyce Street has had a lot of comings and goings in recent months.

Earlier this year, both Irish pub Siné and pet store Unleashed closed. In the late summer of 2020, Bed Bath & Beyond and Aebee also shuttered.

In their place have come a slew of independently-owned businesses and attention-getting local restaurant concepts.

Origin Coffee Lab and Kitchen opened in a former Starbucks in January. Late last year, Napoli Salumeria started slinging fresh pasta and sandwiches as a market concept version of the now-shuttered Napoli Pasta Bar in D.C.

In the summer, a “raman-rubbed” barbeque pop-up opened in Bun’d Up.

And there are still more openings to come.

The very popular D.C.-based Chinese-American restaurant Lucky Danger is opening in April in Aebee’s former location.

Champps, which closed early in the pandemic, is being turned into Nighthawk Pizza. That’s a pizza and beer bar whose backers include local nightlife heavyweight Scott Parker. It’s planning to open in the fall.

The full press release is below.

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(Update 5:45 p.m.) The popular D.C.-based Chinese-American restaurant Lucky Danger is opening an Arlington outpost, as first reported by Washingtonian.

The new eatery will be located at Westpost, the shopping center formerly known as Pentagon Row, at 1101 S. Joyce Street. It takes the place of Aabee Express Mediterranean, which closed in August and was next to the F45 training studio.

Lucky Danger is hoping to open in April, according to Washingtonian, and will be takeout and delivery only. Unlike D.C., where Lucky Danger exists as a pop-up in Prather’s Alley in Mt. Vernon Triangle, the Arlington location is expected to be permanent.

The ease of drive-up for pickup and delivery drivers and the large parking lot, a Lucky Danger spokesperson writes ARLnow, is why the owners were attracted to Westpost.

There’s no sit-down capacity at the location, so Lucky Danger will remain only take-out and delivery.

According to Washingtonian, Lucky Danger has sold out of its food — a menu that includes classic Chinese-American takeout fare like sweet and sour chicken, duck fried rice and orange beef, as well as a “secret menu” of more traditional Chinese dishes — every day since opening in November.

Additional locations may be planned after opening in Pentagon City, the article suggests.

There has been significant turnover at the shopping center once called Pentagon Row.

Late last month, Origin Coffee Lab and Kitchen opened in what was formerly a Starbucks. Also in January, Irish pub Siné closed its doors and Unleashed was let off the hook. The shopping center’s Bed Bath & Beyond disappeared into the great beyond in September.

But Westpost has also become a somewhat unexpected location for pop-ups and buzzy restaurant concepts.

In August, Wild Tiger BBQ opened inside of Bun’d Up. In November, Napoli Salumeria debuted as a market concept version of D.C.’s now-closed Napoli Pasta Bar. While Champps closed earlier in the pandemic, it’s currently being converted into Nighthawk Pizza, a neighborhood gathering spot and watering hole that is set to open in the fall.

Nighthawk Pizza is a collaboration whose backers include local nightlife heavyweight Scott Parker. Likewise the duo behind Lucky Danger includes a restaurateur with prior Arlington experience: Tim Ma, who formerly helmed well-regarded Virginia Square restaurant Water & Wall, which closed in 2017.

“I’m overwhelmed by how much love this new concept has received since we opened as a year long pop-up just three months ago in D.C.,” Ma writes in a press release, “Now we have the opportunity to bring the full vision to life in a location in my backyard of Northern Virginia.”

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A new boutique coffee shop and roaster is now open at Westpost, formerly known as Pentagon Row.

Origin Coffee Lab and Kitchen served up its first morning cup of joe last month after initially announcing their arrival early last year. It’s located at 1101 S. Joyce Street, in the former Starbucks space between Basic Burger and Lebanese Taverna.

The coffee shop has a variety of options, including five different origins of coffee to choose from plus six methods of brewing.

Besides coffee, it also serves all-day breakfast like pancakes and benedicts as well as a “noon to night” menu with schnitzel and sliders.

Owner Andy Mekonnen tells ARLnow he opened the first iteration of this concept in Dubai in 2015. But he moved to the D.C.-area nearly five years ago and quickly realized Arlington could be a perfect place for another Origin.

“Arlington is vibrant… I thought the concept would be well-received here,” he says.

The shop was initially supposed to open in 2019, but COVID-19 related delays pushed it to 2021.

While recognizing that there are a number of boutique coffee shops in the county, Mekonnen says that what sets Origins apart is attempting to do it all in-house.

“The focus is not only on the coffee, but the food and pastries,” he says. “We are not out-sourcing anything, but trying to do everything in-house.”

That includes roasting. The shop has a glass-enclosed roastery inside that fully displays the roasting process to customers.

Mekonnen is also working on setting up roasting workshops, trainings, and coffee cupping sessions for customers.

“[Cupping sessions] is very similar to wine tastings,” he says. “Coffee isn’t just coffee. Coffee from different origins actually tastes very different.”

While opening up a small business in the midst of a pandemic comes with challenges, Mekonnen says a coffee shop like his has a natural advantage since most of his menu items can easily be offered as take-out.

“[We] have it sorta easier than other industries… because people have adapted to take-away,” he says. “People have learned to live with COVID.”

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Another business is closing at Pentagon Row.

The Unleashed by Petco store is closing on Saturday, Jan. 23, according to signs in the window. The store is currently holding a 10-50% off sale ahead of the closure.

Unleashed, a smaller-format version of the big-box Petco stores, opened at Pentagon Row in January 2013, replacing a Hallmark store.

Signs in the window direct customers to two other stores that are remaining open: an Unleashed location at 3902 Wilson Blvd in the Ballston area, and a full Petco location at 5825 Leesburg Pike in Bailey’s Crossroads.

The closure is the latest at the shopping center, which is in the process of being rebranded as “Westpost” and which now allows to-go alcohol consumption in common areas.

Other recent closures include Siné, Aabee Express, A Deli, Bed Bath & Beyond, Champps, Starbucks, World Market, and the Mike Bloomberg campaign office.

There are a number of new businesses, replacing some of the closures, including the currently open Bun’d Up, Wild Tiger BBQ, and Napoli Salumeria, as well as at least two that are coming soon: Nighthawk Pizza, Origin Coffee Lab and a Virginia ABC store. Signs for the latter recently went up in the windows of the former Bloomberg office.

https://twitter.com/CartChaos22202/status/1346162560110895106

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Siné Closes at Pentagon Row

Long-time Pentagon Row watering hole Siné has closed its doors.

The Irish pub, a popular gathering spot that was perpetually packed around St. Patrick’s Day, announced the closure on Saturday.

“It is with sadness that we have to say goodbye!” the bar said on Facebook. “We have closed our doors permanently. It has been a pleasure serving you and we hope that you all find a new home at one of the other fantastic restaurants here in Pentagon Row.”

Siné has a second location, in Richmond, that appears to still be open.

By ARLnow’s count, Siné is the 20th Arlington restaurant to close during the pandemic. Early during the public health emergency, in March, Champps sports bar — next to Siné — also closed its doors; it is now set to be replaced by Nighthawk Pizza, a beer-centric hangout, as Pentagon Row rebrands as “Westpost.”

Photo via Facebook

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Morning Notes

Restaurant Delivery Popular in Arlington — “When WTOP asked UberEats what the top neighborhoods for deliveries are around D.C., it ranked the top five, based on number of orders in 2020. They are Northeast D.C. (it did not specify a specific neighborhood), Shaw, Adams Morgan, Arlington County’s Lyon Park (a dense residential neighborhood south of Rosslyn) and Pentagon City.” [WTOP]

County Board to Elect New Chair — “The Arlington County Board will elect its 2021 Chair and Vice-Chair during its Monday, January 4 virtual Organizational Meeting, and Board Members will lay out their priorities for 2021. The new Chair will succeed 2020 Chair Libby Garvey and will serve for one year.” [Arlington County]

Arlington Housing Market Stays Hot — “Arlington County remains the most expensive D.C. suburb, with a median selling price of $660,000 in November, up 20% from last November, according to Long & Foster data. The number of homes that sold in Arlington last month — 221 — was 23% more than a year ago. The good news for potential buyers in Arlington is that the 530 active listings at the end of November was up 122% from November 2019.” [WTOP]

Gelato Comes With ‘Woke’ Facts — “Most ice cream pints display little more than nutritional information and ingredients, but Amore Congelato founder Thereasa Black wasn’t about to waste an opportunity to advance her company’s social justice mission. Each pint contains ‘stay woke’ facts printed on the side that cover pitfalls of the U.S. criminal justice system. Pick one up at her storefront in Arlington or at Glen’s Garden Market.” [Washington City Paper]

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Pentagon Row is no more. Now, it’s “Westpost at National Landing.”

The Pentagon City shopping center has rebranded as Amazon’s new HQ2 rises a few blocks away. The goal, according to a press release, is to create a “fresh vision” for the retail strip, which first opened in 1999.

In announcing the new branding, “Westpost” owner Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRIT) also announced a new tenant: Nighthawk Pizza.

Nighthawk is a partnership of Arlington nightlife (and grooming) kingpin Scott Parker; Northern Virginia brewer Aslin Beer Co.; and buzzy local chef Johnny Spero, of Reverie and Netflix fame.

The restaurant, expected to open next fall, will feature “approachable low ABV beers, that will be reminiscent of old-world styles for the working class,” along with “Spero’s innovative approach towards pizza, sandwiches.” It will also sport a 90s vibe and a beer hall-like atmosphere.

Though Spero’s food will give Nighthawk culinary cred, we’re told it will be more of a social destination — an after-work watering hole for future HQ2 employees and others who live and work in the area.

Nighthawk will be located in the sizable former Champps space. The shuttered sports bar had been struggling for months when the pandemic dealt a final blow in March.

Leading up to the “Westpost” rebranding, Pentagon Row added a trio of other restaurants helmed by notable local chefs and restaurateurs: Scott Chung’s Bun’d Up, Chung and Kevin Tien’s Wild Tiger BBQ pop-up, and, more recently, Antonio Ferraro’s Napoli Salumeria. Nighthawk “compliments the current mix and offers a look into the future of Westpost at National Landing,” FRIT says.

More from a press release, below.

The dynamic partnership of popular local chef Johnny Spero, Aslin Beer Co., Scott Parker and The Wave Group have created a new fun brand, Nighthawk Pizza. The restaurant is scheduled to arrive to the newly named Westpost in fall 2021.

Nighthawk Pizza will focus exclusively on making approachable low ABV beers, that will be reminiscent of old-world styles for the working class, with the innovation that Aslin is known for. Paired with Johnny Spero’s innovative approach towards pizza, sandwiches, and more, and The Wave Group’s ability to build brands with and through the community, the team plans to make a lasting impact in the DMV area and beyond.

“The team behind Nighthawk are thrilled to bring something special to Westpost at National Landing. We’re excited to add our experience in the Arlington bar scene to Johnny’s incredible food, and the Aslin team’s best-in-class beer-making abilities to create a new beer hall experience that pays homage to the 90’s in its design elements. Nighthawk will be a beer brand of its own, and will brew beer on-site for consumption and to-go,” says Scott Parker.

For Federal Realty, to create a fresh vision for Westpost, formerly known as Pentagon Row, couldn’t have happened at a better time. “With the impending arrival of Amazon’s HQ2 to the newly formed National Landing, our team has set out to deliver a true destination, an outpost, if you will, for the long-time residents and the new-comers that call National Landing, and the greater Arlington area, home, work, and all things in between,” says James Milam of Federal. “Westpost is ideally located just a short walk west from Amazon’s campus, but a world away as far as amenities and offerings. It’s the perfect place to disconnect from work, while staying connected with friends, great food and unique drinks, in a comfortable, relaxed environment,” Milam continues. The neighborhood is equally convenient to Arlington and points south, via Rt. 1, and D.C. via 395/Metro/Rideshare.

New additions to the neighborhood over the past year (Scott Chung’s Bun’d Up, Antonio Ferraro’s Napoli Salumeria, led by Chef Andy Clark and Wild Tiger, a partnership with Chung, and Chef Kevin Tien, formerly of Himitsu and Emilie’s and now Moon Rabbit) have delivered great buzz met with serious culinary innovation. Nighthawk Pizza compliments the current mix and offers a look into the future of Westpost at National Landing.

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Morning Notes

Day Laborer Site Now Closed — “Although not unexpected, mid-November nonetheless brought something of an end of an era to the Shirlington Employment and Education Center, better known as SEEC. The pavilion area in Shirlington that the organization had used since 2003 to connect day-laborers with contractors and homeowners who sought their services has been fenced off in preparation for changes to Jennie Dean Park, where it is located.” [InsideNova]

Tonight: Outdoor Art in Crystal City — “Walk along Crystal Drive on December 2nd from 6-9PM to see the words of Luisa A. Igloria, Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia projected onto the facade of 2011 Crystal Drive as the opening installation of Arlington Art’s Visual Verse. Their work will be brought to life by noted artist Robin Bell.” [National Landing BID]

Beyer Blasts Proposed Metro Cuts — From Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.): “The proposed WMATA budget cuts would be apocalyptic for Metro service and devastate its workforce. This catastrophe must not be allowed to happen, and Congress can prevent it by passing a new aid package. WMATA is not alone in its massive funding shortfall, which is a direct result of the pandemic. Cuts like this will hit across the country without robust aid for state and local governments and specific targeted funding for transit.” [Press Release]

ABC Store Coming to Pentagon Row — “It’s official: you will be able to buy booze in the former local Bloomberg campaign office in Pentagon City.” [Twitter]

Rosslyn Tree Lighting — “Thanks @ABC7Kidd for starting the countdown at tonight’s neighborhood tree lighting!” [Twitter]

Library Director’s Xmas Playlist — “For the past 13 years, I have published a ‘Too Cool for Yule’ playlist, as my love letter to the County and the people we serve. And while (sadly) Spotify has replaced the cassette tape, making the process easier, like much of 2020, this playlist was more difficult than ever to create.” [Arlington Public Library]

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A month after Shirlington Village first allowed it, “sipping and strolling” is now permitted at Pentagon Row.

The shopping centers, owned by Bethesda-based Federal Realty Investment Trust, both applied for new Virginia ABC “Commercial Lifestyle Center” permits earlier this year. Pentagon Row’s permit was just approved.

The permit, which was enabled by a new Virginia law that went into effect on July 1, allows customers to take beer, wine and cocktails to go within a privately-owned shopping center. In the case of Pentagon Row, patrons can buy the drinks at any of a half dozen restaurants, then enjoy them while strolling around the recently-opened ice skating rink or other parts of the retail district.

It’s kind of like Bourbon Street, but colder and with fewer beads.

FRIT said the permit approval “further supports Arlington businesses in the neighborhood.”

The company posted the following FAQ about the permit approval.

Can I carry an alcoholic beverage around Pentagon Row?
Enjoy alcoholic beverages to go from Asia Bistro, Basic Burger, Bund’Up, Wild Tiger, Saigon Saigon and Sin’ E Irish Pub and stroll throughout the designated common areas and participating stores at Pentagon Row. (You must be 21+). Please keep the beverage in a disposable cup provided by the restaurant where the drink was purchased.

Where to Sip & Stroll?
You can now roam with your cocktail on the main pedestrian walkways throughout Pentagon Row. Click here for a map of the specific designated areas. Alcohol not permitted in any parking lot or garage.

Can you bring your own alcohol to Pentagon Row?
No. Only alcoholic beverages purchased from Asia Bistro, Basic Burger, Bund’Up, Wild Tiger, Saigon Saigon and Sin’ E Irish Pub may be taken outside the restaurant and into the neighborhood. No outside alcohol is permitted.

Can I take my drink into a store while shopping?
Yes, apart from the stores that prohibit alcoholic beverages inside. If you see a sign on the store that reads “Sip & Shop”, you may enter that store with your alcoholic beverage.

Can you take a drink purchased from Asia Bistro, Basic Burger, Bund’Up, Wild Tiger, Saigon Saigon and Sin’ E Irish Pub into another restaurant?
No. You are welcome to Sip & Stroll to your heart’s content, but if you want to stop for a snack or a second beverage, you cannot take that same cup back into the restaurant where it was purchased or into any other restaurants. If you order a second beverage, the restaurant will provide you with a new cup.

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