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After More Than Two Years of Work, New Pizzeria Looks Set to Open in Clarendon

A local pizza chain finally looks ready to open in a space just off Clarendon’s main drag, after more than two years of construction work.

Stone Hot Pizza initially applied for permits to move to the neighborhood in September 2016, but has made little progress since then. But county records show the restaurant won a commercial business permit on Feb. 1, and a glance inside the storefront at 3217 Washington Blvd shows that construction is ramping up.

The restaurant’s staff did not respond to a request for comment on when, exactly, the pizzeria might finally open.

Stone Hot Pizza also operates locations in Alexandria, Falls Church and Fairfax. Menu items include specialty pizzas, calzones, sandwiches, pastas, salads, wings, meat pies and various appetizers and desserts, according to the chain’s website.

Whenever the new pizzeria starts serving up pies, it’ll be located on a suddenly busy block of Clarendon.

In addition to older businesses like O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub and Spirits of ’76, new restaurants Asiatique and Le Kon recently opened in the base of the nearby Beacon apartments.

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Fire at Fire Works Pizza in Courthouse

Fire Works Pizza in Courthouse is temporarily closed due to a fire Saturday afternoon.

The fire broke out around 1:30 p.m. at the restaurant, near the corner of Clarendon Blvd and N. Adams Street, but the flames were mostly confined to the kitchen and the restaurant’s duct work and exhaust system, which extends to the roof.

Roads around the restaurant, which is located on the ground floor of a Residence Inn hotel, were closed for more than an hour as firefighters worked to extinguish the fire inside the duct work. Smoke could be seen coming from the roof as firefighters arrived.

Fire Works remained closed as firefighters packed up. A county health inspector and building inspector were called to the scene to evaluate the damage, though no serious damage could be seen through the restaurant’s windows.

No injuries were reported.

More from the Arlington County Fire Department:

Photo (top) courtesy @samerfarha

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Morning Notes

Apartment Fire in Nauck — Firefighters extinguished a fire in an apartment Monday evening. The fire broke out around 5:15 p.m. on the 2100 block of S. Quincy Street, in the Nauck neighborhood. No injuries were reported. [Twitter]

Board Members Reluctant to Give Themselves a Raise — “Rather than seeking higher pay, current Arlington board members might take the opposite route – start scaling back their workload. ‘There is definitely a renewed emphasis on, ‘what is our role?” [County Board Chair Christian] Dorsey said at the Jan. 17 forum, responding to a questioner who suggested board members of recent years are more mired in the nuts-and-bolts of governance than their predecessors.” [InsideNova]

Local Restaurant Delivers Free Pizza to Air Traffic Control — Over the weekend Joe’s Place Pizza and Pasta delivered free pizza to the air traffic control tower at Reagan National Airport, where controllers have been working without during the government shutdown. [Instagram]

Restaurant Week Extended — Winter Restaurant Week has been extended until Sunday, Jan. 27 due to the government shutdown and last week’s snow. [Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Old Dominion Pizza Company Opens Along Lee Highway

Lee Highway officially has a new pizzeria.

The Old Dominion Pizza Company opened its doors in the Lee Heights shopping center last Thursday (Jan. 3), owner John Rodas told ARLnow. The restaurant replaces Upper Crust Pizzeria, which shuttered in the space at 4514 Lee Highway back in July.

Rodas says he’s envisioning this initial period as a “soft opening” for the restaurant, after he first started working to get Old Dominion open this fall.

But Rodas, who also helps run The Spirits of ’76 bar in Clarendon, says that the eatery is fully ready for customers, and even recently earned a state license to sell and deliver beer and wine.

Old Dominion now offers both traditional, “New York-style” pizzas and square, “Grandma-style” pieces, according to its menu.

The restaurant also serves up pizzas with cauliflower crust for anyone hoping for a gluten-free option, in addition to a small selection of sandwiches.

Photo 1 via Instagram, photos 2 and 3 via Facebook.

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Longtime Rosslyn Pizzeria Piola Shuts Down

Longtime Rosslyn pizzeria Piola has now shut its doors.

The restaurant, located at 1550 Wilson Blvd, announced the move on its social media channels last Wednesday (Dec. 26). Piola had operated out of the space for the last 12 years.

“To our many regular customers and social media fans, we are very grateful for the support you gave us,” staff wrote in a Facebook post. “This day would have come much sooner if it wasn’t for you! We apologize for not informing you sooner, but hope you understand that the cards were not in our favor.”

Piola was known for its pizza-heavy brunches, beer specials and large World Cup watch parties every few years.

It’s now the second long-tenured restaurant on the block to close down in recent years; Cafe Asia shut down next door back in 2016. The Bash Boxing gym and South Block smoothie shop have since moved into that space.

Piola’s former home also sits across from a massive redevelopment project that will someday become bring three new residential towers, a new fire station and an improved Rosslyn Highlands Park to the area.

The pizza chain also seems to have shuttered its D.C. location, according to its website. Piola is a Miami-based company, with several South Florida locations, and a few in Texas and North Carolina as well.

Photo 1 via Facebook

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Artists Paint New Murals on Exterior of Goody’s in Clarendon

Update, Friday at 8:30 a.m. — After this article was published, a county spokeswoman told ARLnow that zoning officials were “not aware of the mural at Goody’s.”

“A zoning enforcement inspector will be visiting the site to further investigate this matter,” spokeswoman Helen Duong wrote in an email.

Earlier: Artists are currently hard at work adorning the exterior of longtime Clarendon pizzeria Goody’s with some new murals.

The artwork depicts all manner of ingredients and menu offerings. Mushrooms, tomatoes and basil are all prominently featured, as are gyros and hamburgers.

Goody’s is adding the new exterior artwork roughly six months after new ownership took over the Clarendon institution and fully renovated its interior.

Its previous owners, Nick and Vanessa Reisis, sold the business back in April, leading to a brief closure for the pizzeria. The Reisis’s were long fans of seasonal drawings on the restaurant’s windows, though that artwork generally didn’t include the pizzeria’s walls as well.

Similar murals on Arlington businesses have attracted scrutiny from county zoning officials in the past. The county once tangled with Wag More Dogs on S. Four Mile Run Drive over a mural on its walls, which was deemed to be “advertising” that was therefore not allowed under local sign regulations.

There’s no word yet from a county spokeswoman on whether Goody’s might be subject to similar permitting requirements for its new artwork.

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Pizza Autentica in Ballston Shuts Down

Pizza Autentica in Ballston has shut down, after serving up slices for roughly eight years in the space.

Workers began emptying out the restaurant today (Wednesday) at its space in the ground floor of an office building at 850 N. Randolph Street.

A sign on the door thanks customers “for your business all these years,” adding that the restaurant’s lease just ended, prompting the permanent closure.

The pizzeria opened in the space back in 2010, and operates seven other restaurants around the D.C. area. Its only other Arlington eatery is located in Crystal City.

County permit records don’t show any other applications for a new business looking to move into the space, as of yet.

H/t Timothy R. 

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Morning Notes

Pupatella Raking in the Dough — “Budding Neapolitan pizza chain Pupatella has raised $3.75 million from several investors to open up to eight new company-owned pizza joints in the D.C. area.” [Washington Business Journal]

Arlington Ranks as Top Bike City — “Arlington ranked 17th, up from 25th two years ago. [Bicycling] magazine states Arlington could have made a higher jump in the rankings, but Metro funding issues left less for biking improvements and limited improvements.” [Patch]

Deer Danger on Local Roads — “Across Northern Virginia, nearly 500 motorists will likely strike a deer in the road over the last three months of the year. Virginia wildlife officials are warning drivers to slow down this fall to avoid striking deer and other large animals that are found more often in the roadway.” [InsideNova]

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New Pizzeria Set to Replace Upper Crust on Lee Highway

Just a few months after Upper Crust Pizzeria shut down along Lee Highway, a new pizza shop is now set to take its place.

Old Dominion Pizza Company is now planning to open up in Upper Crust’s old space at 4514 Lee Highway in the Lee Heights shopping center, owner John Rodas told ARLnow.

Rodas, who also helps run The Spirits of ’76 bar in Clarendon, says he’s still sorting out the menu for the new restaurant, but hopes Old Dominion will become a “good, local, neighborhood pizza place.”

He says he’d long enjoyed getting pizza at Upper Crust, but thought the restaurant’s management was a bit lacking. He even considered what he might do differently with the space.

“I remember saying, ‘If this spot ever comes open, I would love to put a nice neighborhood pizza place here,” Rodas said.

Accordingly, when Rodas saw ARLnow’s story on the store’s closure this July, he jumped at the chance to lease the space.

“I’d always wanted to do something in the neighborhood, but it wasn’t something I already had plans in the works for,” Rodas said. “But when I saw that it was closed, I drove right over there.”

He says he signed a lease for the space a few months ago, working in tandem with his chef at Spirits of ’76, Charles Smith, who is helping to design Old Dominion’s menu and will have an ownership stake in the pizzeria.

Rodas adds that the restaurant will deliver, and he plans to offer wine and beer in the space, though he expects the lengthy permit application process means the restaurant might not have it available as soon as it opens. As for that opening date, he’s currently hoping to start welcoming customers sometime in December.

Rodas is well aware that it might seem a bit strange to open up a new pizzeria in the same space as one that just failed, but he’s hoping that he’ll be able to bring a bit of what has made his Clarendon bar a success over to this new venture.

“We’re lucky to have great employees there, who take pride in the place and we have great customer service there,” Rodas said. “You know the guys who own the place and who work there… and we want to bring that over to Old Dominion.”

Photo via @olddominionpizza

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Morning Notes

Judge Dismisses Dewey Horse Punch Case — A man who was accused of punching a police horse in Dewey Beach is now trying to clear his name after the case was dismissed. Surveillance video reportedly exonerated the man, who might not actually be from Arlington as originally reported. [Cape Gazette]

Rosslyn Transportation Meeting Tonight — “Join Arlington County and the Rosslyn BID to provide feedback at this public meeting that will focus on the Core of Rosslyn Transportation Study. This study will examine the feasibility and potential impacts of permanent changes to the street network in the core of Rosslyn, with the goals of improving safety and accessibility for all users, including those walking, biking, using transit and driving.” [Rosslyn]

Another Commute Alternative: Running — As Metro continues on a downward ridership spiral, some are finding running to be an attractive commuting alternative, providing exercise and fresh air while eliminating costs and unpredictable delays. [Runners World]

Angels of the Battlefield Gala Tonight — The Armed Services YMCA will present its annual Angels of the Battlefield awards tonight during a gala at the Ritz-Carlton in Pentagon City. Among the 2018 recipients of the prestigious awards are Senior Airman Linda Wilson, who helped save lives during the Las Vegas mass shooting last year. [ASYMCA, Air Force Times]

New Film Fest Coming to Clarendon — “Georgetown’s Halcyon and Arlington’s Clarendon Ballroom will be the venues for a new film festival – Flicks4Change — that links the entertainment world with charitable activism. The film festival first started in Los Angeles, expanded to Australia and now comes to the DC area.” [Georgetown Dish]

Nearby: Pete’s Apizza Closes in Md. — Pete’s New Haven Style Apizza has closed its Silver Spring location. The D.C. and Clarendon locations remain open. [Bethesda Beat]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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We, The Pizza Set to Open Ballston Location This Fall

We, The Pizza is gearing up to open a new location in Ballston this fall.

The restaurant is set to be part of the Ballston Exchange building at 4201 Wilson Blvd currently undergoing some big renovations, following the departure of the National Science Foundation.

The Ballston store, located between a Dunkin Donuts and a UPS Store, will be We, The Pizza’s second restaurant in Arlington, with another location open in Crystal City. The chain serves up gourmet pizzas, chicken wings and beer, and was launched by former “Top Chef” contestant Spike Mendelsohn.

The building’s owner, Jamestown LLP, is still in the midst of recruiting new tenants for the property, with plans to wrap up construction by the end of the year.

Shake Shack, Cava and Philz Coffee plan to set up shop as retailers, while the coworking space Industrious recently committed to become the first new tenant in the building’s offices.

Photo courtesy of John Borowiec

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Finally, Pizza al Fresco! Fire Works Patio Is Open

The patio is open!

Fire Works American Pizzeria and Bar in the Courthouse neighborhood is a wonderfully warm place to while away a meal during the frigid months, but when spring finally arrived, so did the opening of the patio.

“I think we have one of the biggest patios in Arlington,” says Jason Silerto, the general manager of the eatery. “And this year, it’s completely dog friendly.”

In fact, Silerto and the restaurant management team has reinvented the patio, which was already a neighborhood favorite, by changing up the menu, redesigning the layout and adding more convenient outdoor beverage service.

Fire Works is now entering its eighth year in business which readers will know is a remarkable run in a region full of fickle diners. The key, Silerto suggests, is its consistent high quality in every aspect of the business.

That quality extends throughout the Fire Works family of restaurants, including Leesburg landmark Tuskie’s, the sandwich bakery South Street Under and events-oriented Birkby House, as well as Purcellville’s upscale Magnolias.

While Silerto would like you take a look at the Other Side of the Menu (the non-pizza side we wrote about last October; find it here), a dinnertime visitor can’t help but notice the copious amounts of pizza being marched out of the kitchen and into the dining room and patio.

The famous (some would say infamous) wood-fired crust boast a delightful savory char that some mistake for over-cooked. It is not, and it is delicious. The crust serves as a crispy thin bed for toppings ranging from Bakers farm sausage and grana padano to white sauce with shrimp and clams.

For those looking for the fare on the Other Side of the Menu, there is more traditional bar fare in wings, burgers and salads. Those co-exist with chef Thomas Harvey’s adventurous offerings — from from flank steak to wild caught salmon to an entrée sandwich of grilled gouda, goat and gruyere slathered with that tomato jam, among many other choices — and the enormous craft beer selection.

Ingredients are sourced from the closest purveyors possible, including fertile farms in Leesburg and Purcellville but also CommonWealth Joe Nitro Brewed Coffee from the neighborhood.

“We just believe in quality, and people like to see that,” Silerto says.

Fire Works American Pizzeria and Bar is at 2350 Clarendon Boulevard. The website is here for booking a table or call 703-527-8700 for reservations or to enquire about a private room and catering. The preceding was written by Buzz McClain and sponsored by Fire Works.

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Goody’s Back Open in Clarendon, Under New Owner

A little more than a month after closing up shop, popular Clarendon pizzeria Goody’s is back open, with some big changes on the way.

New owner Glenda Alvarez says the shop reopened its doors for the first time last Monday (May 15) and is ready for customers once more. Nick and Vanessa Reisis ran the pizzeria since 2006, but decided to retire and sell the store to Alvarez in early April.

Alvarez says she won’t be changing the restaurant’s name, or much about its menu: pizza and subs are still the main things on offer. She added that Goody’s will still be open late at night on the weekends to cater to bar-goers and even Arlington County police officers.

However, Alvarez has recently completed a full renovation of the restaurant’s interior, replacing its well-worn floors and furniture, with more changes on the way.

“Little by little, we’re adding on to it,” Alvarez told ARLnow. “It’s a friendly atmosphere. It’s welcoming, it’s run by a family. We want to make it a family-oriented place.”

Alvarez says she went to culinary school in Paris and used to own a Mediterranean restaurant before moving to Arlington. She says she spent years as an Arlington County government employee, but had long been interested in getting back into the restaurant business.

Alvarez says she’d repeatedly spoken with the Reisis’s about taking over Goody’s someday, and they approached Alvarez and her husband (who works at the small jewelry store next door to Goody’s) when they decided to retire.

“My husband and I talked it over, and it just seemed like a new opportunity for us,” Alvarez said. “So we thought, ‘Let’s go ahead buy it.'”

Though Goody’s may have a different owner running things, Alvarez says patrons shouldn’t expect the food to be too different — she kept on two of the same cooks and plans to leave their pizza and sauce recipes untouched.

However, she is planning on hiring a new chef and perhaps expanding Goody’s breakfast offerings, and even starting up a catering service.

“We’ll just try it all out, and see what works,” Alvarez said.

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Joe’s Place to Celebrate 40 Years Serving Pizza and Pasta

(Updated at 11:50 a.m.) Joe’s Place Pizza & Pasta will be celebrating its 40th anniversary next week, and several state legislators and Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol are expected to be in attendance.

On Wednesday, Joe’s Place will offer its pizza, pasta and salad buffet bar at the original price of $3.99 for both lunch and dinner.

The restaurant, at 5555 Lee Highway, is the final remaining branch of a family-run chain that began in Woodbridge in 1978, a rep noted. It was founded by Joe Farruggio, who came to the U.S. from his hometown of Agrigento, Sicily. It is now managed by Joe’s nephew, Rosario Farruggio, and hosts numerous community events and fundraisers for local schools, sports teams and nonprofits each month.

A private event will also be held at the restaurant next week and is expected to feature a brief program during which a Congressional proclamation from Rep. Don Beyer’s office will be presented to the office.

“We have so much to be grateful for, especially all of our longtime staff and loyal customers,” the restaurant’s staff wrote. “Thank you!”

File photo

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JUST IN: Goody’s to Serve Last Slices Tonight

Beloved Clarendon pizza shop Goody’s will be closing up shop after tonight (Saturday).

Co-owner Vanessa Reisis — affectionately known to customers as “Momma Goody” — confirmed in a brief phone conversation that the family-run pizzeria will be closing after Saturday night and that she and her husband will be retiring.

An anonymous tipster told ARLnow.com Saturday morning that “somebody bought them out” and that the petite storefront along Clarendon’s main drag of bars could “possibly reopen as pizza spot.” Reisis declined to provide additional details about the closure.

Goody’s opened in 2006 and has served legions of local residents, bar-goers and Clarendon office workers since. It is also popular with Arlington police officers, particularly those working the weekend Clarendon bar detail.

Over the past few years Goody’s managed to hang on to its loyal clientele despite competition from the likes of Bronx Pizza and the recently-downsized Pete’s Apizza. Despite the competition, Goody’s continued to serve only two varieties of New York style pizza by the slice: plain and pepperoni.

In a 2016 interview, Reisis said the closing of Hard Times Cafe was a bad harbinger for the “friendly little neighborhood places” that helped turn Clarendon into a popular food and nightlife destination. In 2017, Reisis said on ARLnow’s 26 Square Miles podcast that business had picked up, but running a small shop like hers was still difficult given the neighborhood’s rising rent.

In addition to what it was best known for — food and family — Goody’s was also noted for the hand-drawn seasonal signs on the front window, which always proclaimed that the “best pizza in Arlington” was inside.

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