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.
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.
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
(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.
Looks like @Champps at @PentagonRow is closing for good. In the mid-2000s, it had a great vibe + was a go-to spot for locals but it really went (way) downhill over the years. It’s a huge space; curious what’s coming. @FederalRealty @ARLnowDOTcom pic.twitter.com/m7kOt8BfxN
— CartChaos22202 (@CartChaos22202) March 19, 2020
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.
The former Starbucks space at Pentagon Row will soon be serving coffee once again.
The shopping center’s owner announced today that Origin Coffee Lab and Kitchen will be coming to the 2,000 square foot space between Basic Burger and Lebanese Taverna. It’s expected to open this summer.
The new cafe will roast its own coffee in-house.
“Origin will have a glass enclosed roastery inside the restaurant to fully display the entire roasting process to customers,” a press release explained. “The store will have 10 different origins of coffee to choose from, as well as five to six methods of brewing the beans with an Origin’s skilled baristas explaining the entire process while making a customer’s cup of coffee.”
The cafe will also serve food. The initial menu includes breakfast foods like eggs, pancakes, benedicts and avocado toasts, and “noon and night” foods like salads, sandwiches, sliders and dinner entrees.
It appears to be the cafe’s first location.
More from a press release:
Federal Realty Investment Trust (NYSE:FRT) announced today that a new full service coffee roasting house, Origin Coffee Lab & Kitchen (Origin), will join Pentagon Row in the summer 2020. Origin will feature an in-house coffee roasting experience along with a full breakfast, lunch and dinner menu featuring healthy options. Located at 1101 S Joyce Street, the 2,000-square-foot eatery will be located between Basic Burger and Lebanese Taverna.
“Our concept is to offer a freshly roasted, excellent cup of coffee and amazing food all in one place,” said Andy Mekonnen, Owner. “More often than not, places with excellent food don’t have good coffee and vice versa so our goal from the on-set was to break that cycle.”
To achieve this unique concept, Origin will have a glass enclosed roastery inside the restaurant to fully display the entire roasting process to customers. The store will have 10 different origins of coffee to choose from, as well as five to six methods of brewing the beans with an Origin’s skilled baristas explaining the entire process while making a customer’s cup of coffee.
Furthermore, the beans will be directly sourced from farms to help empower farmers and eliminate middlemen. The engagement between customers, baristas, the store and farmers will help maintain the qualities that Origin Coffee Lab & Kitchen strives to achieve in their specialty shop as well as help to improve the infrastructure in and around the farms.
“Federal Realty is always on the search for exclusive brands to complement our merchant mix at Pentagon Row. We’re excited to have Origin open its first DC-area shop with us, joining the many other unique retail and restaurant concepts in the neighborhood,” said Emily Gagliardi, Director of Leasing at Federal Realty. “We are confident Origin will be right at home in Pentagon Row, providing the Arlington community with a new coffee house and dining destination.”
In addition to the coffee and dining options, Origin will also be hosting in house cupping events to allow customers to explore the coffee roasting process more in depth as well as barista trainings with various courses offered.
Michael Bloomberg’s presidential campaign is ramping up in Arlington.
This weekend the office will be hosting a leg of the campaign’s Gun Violence Prevention Bus Tour, featuring D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and the mother featured in Bloomberg’s gun violence-focused Super Bowl commercial.
More from the campaign:
On Sunday, February 9, two national surrogates for Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and senior Bloomberg advisor Debbie Weir, will travel to Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Arlington as part of a multi-state bus tour highlighting the urgent need to prevent gun violence in America.
Calandrian Simpson Kemp, a mother from Texas whose son, George Kemp Jr., was shot and killed is featured in the ad that aired during the Super Bowl, and her husband George Kemp, will participate in the tour. Simpson Kemp is an active member of Moms Demand Action, the grassroots movement fighting for public safety measures to protect Americans from gun violence.
Joining the Kemp family will be two Virginians who were highlighted in Bloomberg’s recent digital ads. Colin Goddard was shot and injured in the mass shooting at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007, in which 32 classmates and faculty were killed. Brenda Moss’ 34 year-old son, Shawn, was killed on August 26th, 2014 in Lynchburg, VA. He was shot 17 times in a senseless act of gun violence. Brenda has become an outspoken advocate for gun violence prevention and an active member of Moms Demand Action.
Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor of New York City and founder of Bloomberg LP, plans to double his campaign’s already prodigious ad spending in the wake of the chaotic conclusion to the Iowa caucuses. Once considered a long-shot to capture the Democratic nomination, Bloomberg’s poll numbers have been rising — tied for third with Sen. Elizabeth Warren in a recent national poll.
Former New York City mayor and presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg recently opened a campaign office in Pentagon Row (1301 S. Joyce Street) amid an unprecedented blitz of campaign spending.
The new office for the largely self-funded candidate is located between the DSW shoe store and Planet Fitness, on the ground floor of the shopping center.
As of Tuesday afternoon, staff at the campaign outpost were making phone calls to voters to talk about Bloomberg’s gun control plans, which have been a centerpiece of the billionaire businessman’s campaign. The office is also scheduled to phone bank from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. on Thursday.
Bloomberg has not made any public appearances in Arlington so far, but did hold a campaign event in Alexandria last month.
Other 2020 candidates also have active campaigns in Arlington.
Donald Trump has his secondary reelection campaign office in Rosslyn. While Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren don’t seem to have official campaign offices in Arlington, Sanders-supporting group Our Revolution is active in Arlington and the Elizabeth Warren campaign has phone banked from local residences. Pete Buttigieg, endorsed by local Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), held a campaign fundraiser in an Arlington backyard this past summer.
While Sen. Amy Klobuchar does not currently have any campaign events listed in Arlington, she does reportedly rent a house here.
H/T to @CartChaos22202
A new fast-casual restaurant has opened at Pentagon Row.
Bun’d Up opened Saturday at 1201 S. Joyce Street, featuring Taiwanese-style steamed buns filled with traditional Korean toppings, such as miso-braised pork belly and kimchi.
For now, Bun’d Up — which offers “a modern, Korean twist on the original Taiwanese ‘gua bao’ with handmade buns — will have limited hours from Thursday through Sunday, open for lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m.
In addition to the steamed buns, the Pentagon Row location will feature rice bowls, oxtail soup, and Korean street foods such as rice cakes and kimchi pancakes.
Bun’d Up began as a stand at area farmers markets — including the FRESHFARM Ballston Market — and has since expanded into Union Market in D.C.
“What started out as a farmers market stall has morphed into a business I am so proud of today,” owner Scott Chung via email. “I am honored to be a part of the growing Arlington community and encourage everyone to stop by.”
Chung also owns Rice Crook in Ballston Quarter, which specializes in Korean rice bowls and wraps.
Hat tip to Jessica Strelitz
An all-natural gelato shop is coming to Pentagon Row next month.
Health-oriented gelateria Amore Congelato features gelato sweetened with agave nectar and natural ingredients. It is scheduled to have its grand opening at 1201 S. Joyce Street on December 21, according to its website.
Amore Congelato’s slogan is “slim ingredients, fat tastes.”
Before launching the company, owner Thereasa Black served in the Navy. Devastated from having to be away from her three-year-old daughter during a 13-month deployment, Black came up with Amore Congelato as a way to never have to leave her again.
“Right before I left, I threw her a birthday party where I made her an ice cream cookie cake, and she fell in love with ice cream,” Black said. “I was like, we can’t have that be an everyday thing, so I came up with a healthy version as a compromise.”
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Black served her gelato at area farmers markets and wineries. After receiving positive feedback from customers, she decided to invest in a storefront.
Some of Black’s favorite flavors include Peach Cobbler and Beet it Berry Sorbet. Her “We Woke” flavor, featuring chocolate and espresso, is named in line with the company’s mission to “stay woke” and advocate against social injustice.
The grand opening celebration on December 21 will feature free gelato and Belgium waffles. Pints are currently available to order on the store’s website.
Just in time for the start of November and the arrival of cold weather, the ice rink at Pentagon Row is now open.
The outdoor rink in Pentagon City will be open daily through mid-March. In addition to skating for individuals and families, the rink also offers skating lessons, birthday parties and opportunities for group fundraisers.
“The 6,840-square-foot ice rink is the largest outdoor rink in Northern Virginia and the second largest in the state,” noted a PR rep. “It features on outdoor dual-sided stone fireplace for lounging during skating breaks.”
Admission is $10 for people 13-54 years of age and $9 for kids 12 and under or seniors 55 and up. Season passes are also available. Skate rental is $5.
The hours of operation are below.
- Sunday: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
- Monday-Thursday: Noon-10 p.m.
- Friday: Noon-11 p.m.
- Saturday: 10 a.m.-11 p.m.