Arlington, VA

Washington Capitals star, former Arlington resident and Papa John’s pitchman Alexander Ovechkin dropped by an Arlington fire station with free pizzas for the firefighters yesterday.

The surprise visit happened Thursday afternoon at Fire Station 2, near Ballston, where the Caps practice. Ovechkin can be seen in a video (below) dropping off pizzas and taking a brief tour of the station and ACFD’s Truck 106.

(The truck often runs calls in the City of Falls Church, which contracts with Arlington to provide fire services.)

“Yeah!” Ovechkin can be heard saying as he sits in the driver’s seat, with the truck’s lights blinking. “Everybody’s going to be afraid of me on the road.”

“We love station visits,” ACFD said in a Tweet shortly after the visit. “This one though… TOP! Thanks for dropping by @ovi8. Come by anytime!”

Screen cap via @Capitals/Twitter

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It’s official: We, The Pizza says it will open its new Ballston location next week.

The restaurant at 4201 Wilson Blvd, in the Ballston Exchange complex, is expected to open on Wednesday, Oct. 30. In addition to the usual pizza selection, the restaurant will be introducing four flavors of gelato shakes, including Hazelnut Nutella and Stracciatella

The nearly 2,000 square foot space, which should draw a large lunchtime crowd from nearby offices, sits 50.

More from a press release:

We, The Pizza opens October 30th, 2019 at Jamestown’s Ballston Exchange by Nour Sharkas, the latest franchisee to expand a concept by The Sunnyside Restaurant Group. We, The Pizza offers 17 pies by the slice, 12 homemade sodas, chef-made wings and Italian gelato shakes.

Mr. Sharkas began his career by managing Good Stuff Eatery and later working in We, The Pizza in Crystal City, VA. “I am excited to bring this fantastic concept to a great area such as Ballston,” said Mr. Sharkas. “We wanted to create a dynamic space in this community for people to enjoy the great food we serve in a fun, hip, casual atmosphere. We’re also offering delivery at this location.”

We, The Pizza is introducing four flavors of gelato shakes: Hazelnut Nutella, Cherry Amaretto, Tiramisu and Stracciatella. In addition, there will be some new pies: Spicy Sicilian, eggplant, spicy salami, fresh tomato sauce; Margharita Burrata, Vegan Veg Sicilian, Ace & Wes Cowboy Pie, pepperoni and sausage and a Ultimate Cheese.

We, The Pizza’s fourth location is opening at 4201 Wilson Boulevard and occupying a 1,894-square foot space. Seating capacity is 50.

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Pupatella, one of the county’s most beloved restaurants, could open its second Arlington location along S. Walter Reed Drive as early as next month.

“We are looking at the opening date around the end of October at this point,” owner Enzo Algarme tells ARLnow.

The Neapolitan pizzeria will be located at 1621 S. Walter Reed Drive where hopefully it will have better luck than past businesses. A string of restaurants there have quickly shuttered after opening, giving the Walter Reed address the reputation as a sort of restaurant “Bermuda Triangle.”

Italy native Algarme launched a pizza-serving food cart in Arlington in 2007, later opening Pupatella’s original brick-and-mortar location on Wilson Blvd in Bluemont in 2010.

The company has been expanding, with new locations in the Richmond area and more planned in the Mosaic District and in Reston. The team raised $3.75 million last year to open eight new restaurants across the D.C. area.

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Our report of Pizza Roma’s possible demise last week was a bit exaggerated.

The pizzeria, located across the street from the Ballston Metro station at 4219 N. Fairfax Drive, was indeed closed during lunchtime hours. At the time, there was no indication at the restaurant, over the phone or online that its hours had changed.

Now, a sign in the window says that until next Monday, Aug. 26, the restaurant will only open for dinner, starting at 5 p.m. Tipsters tell us Pizza Roma was open for dinner this past Friday and Saturday.

In June, ARLnow heard from another customer who thought the restaurant had closed — it turned out then, as well, that it was only open for dinner.

Though our article couched the observation that Pizza Roma “seems closed,” and we tried several ways of getting in touch with the owner during business hours, ARLnow apologizes for the insinuation that the restaurant might have closed for good without checking in person, at night to see if it was open for dinner.

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Update on 8/19/19 — Multiple sources tell ARLnow that Pizza Roma is, in fact, still open, but only in the evening. It stopped serving customers at lunchtime without notice.

Earlier: Pizza Roma, an Italian food bistro across from the Ballston Metro station, appears to have closed.

For at least two days in a row, Pizza Roma (4219 N. Fairfax Drive) has been closed around noon, despite having hours posted online saying it should be open. The phone number listed on the window rings, but eventually goes to a dead signal. The menu inside is plastered with “Not Available” sticky notes.

The restaurant averaged 3 out of 5 stars on Yelp, with reviewers praising the quality of the no-frills pizza, but generally agreeing that the restaurant’s aesthetics were pretty sparse.

Pizza Roma had been around for at least a decade, while the location next door had gone from Eat ‘n Run Deli, brgr:shack, Earl’s Sandwiches, and finally the Medina, which closed two months ago. The nearby Pizza Authentica also closed last October.

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Pete’s New Haven Apizza closed down its Clarendon eatery this weekend.

Sign posted on the front doors this weekend read “Pete’s is permanently closed.” The restaurant’s Instagram page has been taken down and online ordering was disabled for its Clarendon location as of Sunday night.

The eatery specialized in New Haven, Connecticut-style “apizza” — a thinner crust pizza known for their charred edges with simple, fresh toppings.

The eatery posted signs announcing it was shuttering its doors after first opening up shop in Arlington eight years ago.

Last year, Pete’s closed its flagship eatery in Columbia Heights as convenience chain WaWa prepared to take over the space on Irving Street NW.

The pizza joint previously downsized from its original 4,000 square foot space in the Clarendon Center development at 3024 Wilson Blvd. When the pizza joint began construction in Clarendon in 2010, it was the first Virginia location for the D.C.-based local chain.

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We, The Pizza is still coming to the Ballston Exchange, but a little later than originally planned.

Signs had originally been up at 4201 Wilson Blvd saying the pizza chain would open sometime in fall 2018. But fall 2018 came and passed, and the construction is still underway at the location.

Micheline Mendelsohn, Deputy CEO for We, The Pizza’s parent company, Sunnyside Restaurant Group, said no exact date has been set but the company is now eyeing mid-to-late September for an opening.

We, The Pizza will also be joined by a new CorePower Yoga near Dunkin’ Donuts on the northside of Ballston Exchange.

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Morning Notes

Listing Prices Around HQ2 Skyrocket — “From June 2018 to June 2019, the median asking price for a single-family home in Zip code 22202, home to Amazon’s planned Northern Virginia headquarters, skyrocketed a whopping 99.9 percent–essentially doubling over that period–according to a new report from listings service Bright MLS.” [Curbed, Bloomberg]

Board OKs Child Care Parking Changes — “The Arlington County Board today voted to reduce the parking requirements for child care centers, in keeping with the County’s Child Care Initiative to promote the expansion of accessible, available, high-quality child care throughout the County.” [Arlington County]

New Pizzeria Open on Lee HighwayChicago’s Pizza With A Twist opened a couple of weeks ago on Lee Highway, next to Maya Bistro. The Indian-Italian fusion restaurant serves unique dishes like a chicken tikka masala pizza. [Instagram]

New Pike Bus Stops Approved — “The Arlington County Board today approved a $1.6 million contract with Sagres Construction Corporation to build the first four of 23 transit stations planned for Columbia Pike. Construction is expected to begin this fall and be completed by fall 2020.” [Arlington County]

Arlington GOP Sitting Out County Races — “For the most part, Arlington Republicans will be sitting out the November general election – the party did not field candidates for the County Board, School Board and most legislative races on the ballot, although there are several non-Democrats who are running that might attract GOP support.” [InsideNova]

Swanson Middle School Teacher Honored — “Congratulations to @SwansonAdmirals teacher Mary Beth Donnelly who was named the 2019 Virginia History Teacher of the Year.” [Twitter]

Injured D.C. Fire K-9 Stops GW Parkway Traffic Updated at 9 a.m. — “Traffic stopped on the George Washington Parkway near Reagan National Airport Tuesday afternoon so a medevac helicopter could land, but the patient wasn’t human — it was a very special dog. The 6-year-old German shepherd named Kylie works for D.C. Fire and EMS as a cadaver dog… [she] seriously hurt one of her hind legs while helping another law enforcement agency conduct a search.” [WTOP]

Flickr pool photo by Brian Allen

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(Updated at 1:35 p.m.) Two-and-a-half years after the initial permits were filed, Stone Hot Pizza finally opened in Clarendon earlier this year.

Staff at the restaurant said they started cooking up the first pizzas in March, though a “now open” sign still adorns the front entrance.

The pizzeria advertises a lunch special of $7.99 for a one-topping pizza with an option to add a soda for 99 cents. It also offers paninis and other sandwiches for around $8.

Located at 3217 Washington Blvd, just off Clarendon’s main drag and next to Spirits of ’76, Stone Hot Pizza is open from 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, and 10:30 a.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.

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(Updated at 2:25 p.m.) A new pizza place, Pizzetta, is set to open on Pentagon Row sometime within the next month.

The restaurant is planned to open at 1201 S. Joyce Street next to the Smallcakes Cupcakery and a man who identified himself as a co-owner said he hoped to have the location open by the end of the month.

“After 12 years of providing its signature pizza dough to Washington-D.C. based pizza shops, the owners of Casamia Catering will soon open Pizzetta, its first storefront location offering fresh rustic pizza,” said a PR rep for the shopping center.

No menu was readily available or could be found online, but the co-owner said the restaurant will be focused almost exclusively on pizza. He added the owners had hoped to do “other stuff” but restrictions in the lease have kept the scope narrow for now.

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A new pizza restaurant and beer hall is coming to Ballston next year, according to a set of mustachioed storefront wrappings.

Window dressing on 4001 Fairfax Drive Pizza announced that “Quincy Hall” is slated to open in the ground floor of the Quincy Street Station in early 2020. The pizza and beer joint is slated to open in the same space once occupied by Thai restaurant Tara Temple, which closed two years ago.

Tara Temple’s distinctive red metal awning still decorates the suite’s front doors, but the windows are now blocked with polka-dotted paper with the new eatery’s name and mustachioed characters.

Information on the new eatery is scarce. As of Wednesday, the website on the storefront wrapping was listed as a parked domain and did not contain any information except for an animated GIF of a sleepy kitten falling over.

The restaurant is slated to open next to the new Bright Horizons daycare, which is coming to the adjoining suite of the building that the County Board approved over some neighborhood objections in January. Bright Horizons plans to care for 145 children and build a 4,700-square-foot playground in the courtyard near the side entrance of Quincy Hall.

Local nightlife, fitness and tonsorial mogul Scott Parker, who is working to open a new German beer hall called Bronson nearby in the former A-Town space, said he welcomed the addition to the increasingly crowded Ballston nightlife and restaurant scene. More going-out options could help previously workaday Ballston establish itself as an after-hours destination like Clarendon, he said.

“That’s the hope, that the neighborhood will become such a draw that it will help everyone,” Parker told ARLnow, adding that he isn’t worried about the competition.

Parker said Quincy Hall was being opened by Tin Shop, the same company that’s behind Penn Social and the popular Franklin Hall beer hall in D.C., as well as Highline RxR in Crystal City, though thus far that could not be independently confirmed by ARLnow.

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