Arlington, VA

The long-awaited resurrection of the Lee Highway Taco Bell is finally at hand.

The drive-thru Taco Bell next to the Kentucky Fried Chicken reopened today (Tuesday) at 4923 Lee Highway.

The restaurant shut down in September to be torn down and completely rebuilt. The new interior features new self-checkout stations, where staff were helping walk newcomers through the ordering process today. The self-checkout stations feature a wider range of options and customization than what’s featured on the display menus.

Despite little advertising of the reopening visible from the street, the rebuilt Taco Bell still had a steady stream of customers around lunchtime — most of whom were too busy with their meals to indulge interview requests.

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A week after devastating flash flooding, the lights are coming back on for some affected businesses in Arlington.

SER Restaurant in Ballston, which was inundated by water coming through the ceiling during the Flash Flood Emergency, is planning to reopen at 5 p.m. today (Monday), co-owner Christiana Campos told ARLnow.

The reopening comes after the local community rallied to raise more than $10,000 for SER in a GoFundMe campaign. SER says the donations are being used to help fund needed repairs while the owners work through the insurance claim process.

“Thanks to our hard working staff, our construction crew who have been working around the clock to fix the damage and thanks to the humbling outpouring of support from the community, we are so thrilled to being opening today,” Campos told ARLnow. “The power of this community is truly incredible.”

In Westover, where floodwaters destroyed merchandise and knocked out power, the two hardest-hit businesses — Westover Market and Beer Garden, and Ayers Variety and Hardware — first reopened in a limited fashion on Wednesday. Over the weekend, Westover Market announced it was back on utility power and off generators.

“Finally! Regular hours going forward!” the store exclaimed on Facebook. “Limited fresh produce [and] meats have been delivered! Every day we’ll inch closer to 100%. Thanks so much for all the incredible support! We need it! And please send support and prayers to the other businesses affected by the storm!”

A GoFundMe campaign for the Westover merchants has raised more than $67,500.

Also in Westover, the weekly farmers market was held over the weekend, thanks to quick repairs to 18th Street N., which was damaged by the flooding. On Saturday, the director of the company that organizes the market wrote the following letter to Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz, lauding the dedicated repair crews.

Mr. Schwartz —

I was notified late this afternoon that the emergency street repairs on 18th Street N. have been completed. Our nonprofit organization is very grateful for the County’s quick response to address the street damage caused by the torrential rain last Monday morning…

This section of the roadway serves on Sunday mornings as a key part of the Westover Farmers Market. We have been in contact with vendors all week regarding whether the Westover Farmers Market could take place, given the roadway damage caused by the storm. This evening I was able to send them an “all clear” message. So tomorrow morning’s market should run without a hitch. […]

Please send our thanks to the personnel in the Department of Environmental Services and to the contractors who assist them for a job well and quickly done. The neighbors who shop each week at this farmers market will benefit from their outstanding efforts this week.

Rob Swennes, Executive Director
Field to Table, Inc.

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Morning Notes

VHC Land Swap Ready to Move Forward — “Nearly six months after a divided Arlington County Board approved a major expansion of Virginia Hospital Center, board members are set to take the next step.” [InsideNova]

Ballston IHOP Reopens — “Good news IHOP fans: the Ballston location is back open and serving customers. Here’s why it closed.” [Twitter]

DEA Finds Temporary Digs — “The Drug Enforcement Administration has found temporary space in Crystal City for its employees while its… headquarters in adjacent Pentagon City gets a major makeover. Representatives for the DEA recently applied to Arlington County for interior alteration permits to renovate three floors at 2200 Crystal Drive.” [Washington Business Journal]

Road Closures for Ballston 5K Race — “The 2019 Girls on the Run 5K Race will be held in the Ballston-Virginia Square area on Sunday, May 19, 2019. The Arlington County Police Department will implement the following road closures from approximately 8:15 AM to 10:15 AM to accommodate the event.” [Arlington County]

Carlee Defines the ‘Arlington Way’ — “‘In its most positive framing’ [the Arlington Way] means ‘engaging with the public on issues of importance or concern (not always the same) in an effort to reach community consensus or… a shared understanding and an opportunity for everyone to be heard,’ [former County Manager Ron Carlee] writes. ‘In its negative framing’ the phrase has been ‘derided as a way to talk everything to death so that ideas are killed or that people are so worn-down that by the end, they do not care what happens as long as it is just over.'” [Falls Church News-Press]

Photo courtesy @klk_photography11/Instagram

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With any luck, Ballstonians can get their pancake fix at the IHOP (935 N. Stafford Street) by the time the weekend rolls around.

The restaurant was closed after a fire on April 9 — the second fire since October. Renovations are now underway, making for the second such extended closure for construction since the first fire.

Among the visible changes: a new expanse of faux wood under the restaurant’s large blue roof. Staff at the IHOP said the remodeling is complete and the restaurant is expected to re-open in the next three to four days, pending final approval of permits.

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Stageplate Bistro (900 N. Glebe Road) will be closed for the next few weeks, but has plans for a “grand reopening” Saturday, September 1.

“After almost a year of passionately pursuing our dream, we are taking a breath,” a posting to the door reads, in part. The notice is signed by proprietors Mary Marchetti and Nelly Gonzalez, the married duo who serve as the restaurant’s general manager and executive chef, respectively.

That “breath” means instead of pulling 100-hour-plus work weeks, Marchetti and Gonzalez will work from 9 a.m-5 p.m. on some updates, Marchetti said. That will include training, shaping their social media presence and updating the restaurant’s website.

Stageplate Bistro held its grand opening in October after a soft opening last August. Their menu primarily features American cuisine.

“Reflecting on the past year after opening our first restaurant has been really exciting, and one of the biggest takeaways we have is how wonderful this community has been,” Marchetti said.  “We’re so thankful to be in Ballston and we’re so thankful for the community support and our amazing guests.”

Final details about the re-opening will be available on Stageplate Bistro’s website.

“We’re going to finally get everybody together on [Sept. 1] and get our big scissors out and cut our ribbon,” Marchetti said.

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Legend Kicks & Apparel appears set to reopen on Columbia Pike almost four months after a man broke into the store, then located at 2617 Columbia Pike, and proceeded to steal merchandise and set a fire.

The new site is just down the street at 2609 Columbia Pike. According to the store’s Instagram page, it will open this Saturday (Aug. 4).

Arlington County police arrested a suspect in connection with the arson and burglary less than a week after the crimes occurred.

Located in the Penrose area, Legend Kicks and Apparel sells items including shoes and customers may also sell or trade merchandise.

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Morning Notes

L.A. Bar and Grill Reopening — After closing for renovations (and because it was late in renewing its state alcohol license) Columbia Pike watering hole L.A. Bar and Grill is planning to reopen this weekend, just in time for Cinco de Mayo. [Facebook, Facebook]

The D.C. Case for the Rosslyn Gondola — “The Gondola will provide anyone within the Metro catchment area a faster trip to Georgetown. With the Gondola, the total travel time to Georgetown drops to less than 30 minutes for a much larger part of the region, including areas of the District with the greatest need for employment opportunities, giving them a faster way to connect with jobs in Georgetown.” [D.C. Policy Center]

Petition Against iPads in Middle School Cafeterias — An online petition, signed by nearly 100 people, seeks to have Arlington Public Schools strengthen its rules regarding iPad use in middle schools. Specifically, the signers want iPads to be used in classrooms and not during lunchtime or recess. Such a policy, the petition creators wrote, would “ensure that APS electronic resources enhance, and do not detract from, the learning process of middle school students.” [Change.org]

More ART Arrival Info IssuesOnce again, Arlington Transit is having problems with its real-time bus arrival system. Officials told ARLnow.com that a technical issue with the contractor that provides the system was to blame. [Twitter]

Native Plant Sale This Weekend — The Long Branch Nature Center will host a sale of “plants that are accustomed to local climate and wildlife” on Saturday afternoon. [Arlington County]

Scott McGeary Lauded — “Decades ago, Scott McGeary’s parents would take him to occasional celebratory dinners at the Key Bridge Marriott, where they would enjoy both the food and the vistas of the nation’s capital… On May 2, McGeary was again at the hotel, this time in the 14th-floor ballroom as he was inducted into the Arlington Business Hall of Fame.” [InsideNova]

Four Mile Run Dye Testing — Arlington County is conducting dye testing along S. Four Mile Run Drive today. Traces of green and red dye may be seen in Four Mile Run as a result. [Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

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Arlington County’s only Jerry’s Subs & Pizza has reopened after remodeling.

The eatery at 2041 15th Street N. in Courthouse appears to have been given a new lick of paint and some upgraded lighting.

When an ARLnow reporter dropped by on Monday evening, business was steady after the reopening, which employees said happened last week.

Jerry’s serves pizza, hot and cold subs and a variety of cheesesteaks. It is across the street from Arlington County jail, next door to a bond office and is a block away from an entrance to the Courthouse Metro station.

Hat-tip to Joshua Folb

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Clarendon Apple Store after its reopening (file photo)Locals looking to pick up the newest iPhone or Macbook Pro will once again be able to do so in Pentagon City.

The Pentagon City mall Apple Store, which closed for renovations last September, is due to reopen this weekend. A grand reopening party is set for Saturday, March 4, at 10 a.m.

“You’ll love what we’ve done with the place,” the company wrote on the store’s website and in an email.

“There’s a lot more to see at your new Apple Store in Arlington,” said the email. “Stop by on March 4 to take a look at what’s changed and try the latest Apple products.”

According to the aficionados at MacRumors.com, the store is slated to reopen with a “next generation” design that includes indoor trees, wood tables and 6K video screens throughout the store.

Last year, the Clarendon Apple Store also temporarily shuttered for a facelift. That location reopened in September.

File photo. Hat tip to Chaz P.

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Arlington won’t be temporarily without an Apple Store, after all.

In an email sent to local customers this afternoon, Apple said its Clarendon store, which has been under renovation since April, will reopen this weekend. A grand reopening is planned for Saturday, Sept. 24 starting at 10 a.m.

“You’ll love what we’ve done with the place,” the iPhone maker said in the email and on the store’s website.

“There’s a lot more to see at your new Apple Store in Arlington,” the email continued. “Stop by on September 24 to take a look at what’s changed and try the latest Apple products, including iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2.”

Some exterior work was still underway outside the store today.

The Apple Store in the Pentagon City mall is scheduled to close for renovations starting this coming Sunday, Sept. 25.

Hat tip to Chaz P.

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(Updated at 9:45 p.m.) The Pinkberry frozen yogurt shop in Clarendon is back open after apparently closing for a period of time.

The shop, at 2930 Clarendon Blvd, is marked closed on Yelp and as soon as mid-March a tipster asked ARLnow.com whether it had closed for good.

“For the past couple months, the Pinkberry in Clarendon has not been open during normal business hours,” said the tipster. “There’s no sign up to say that it’s closing or indication that anything is wrong.”

As of today, the store was open and serving customers, with a sign saying “Pinkberry is now open” outside. Signs posted on the windows say the store is now hiring.

We’re told the store closed for the winter, but didn’t post any signs stating that the closure was temporary. Pinkberry’s parent company said such decisions are up to the individual franchisees.

The lone employee inside around 5:30 today said she wasn’t sure when the store first reopened.

The store also closed in late 2014 after its franchise owner went bankrupt. It then reopened last May, before apparently closing over the winter.

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