Garvey to Hold Book Discussion — Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey is launching a series of community book discussions on various topics. Tonight Garvey and School Board Chair Nancy Van Doren will discuss the best-selling book “Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School.” The discussion will take place at Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street) from 7:30-9 p.m. [Facebook]
Beer Store, TechShop Collaborate for New Kegerator — Crystal City Wine Shop (220 20th Street S.) has teamed up with nearby TechShop to create a new kegerator. The custom-modified refrigerator allows the store to offer varieties of craft beer that aren’t available in bottles or cans. Customers can take the beer home in fillable cans known as crowlers. [Washington Business Journal]
Cosi Files for Bankruptcy — The Cosi chain of sandwich and salad restaurants has filed for bankruptcy and closed 40 percent of its locations. Among the closed stores: the Cosi in Courthouse. A rep for the company told us yesterday: “The decision to close this restaurant was based on its financial performance and market density. At this time, we do not have any plans to reopen this restaurant.” [Nation’s Restaurant News]
Flash Flood Watch Continues — Forecasters are expecting several more inches of rain to fall between now and Saturday. The potential for flash flooding along streams and low-lying areas remains and a Flash Flood Watch is still in effect. [Twitter, Twitter]
The Cosi restaurant in Courthouse has closed.
Lunch-goers hoping for a Cosi sandwich or salad found instead a locked door. A sign posted on the door said the restaurant is closed.
“We truly appreciate your patronage and we apologize for any inconvenience,” the sign said.
It was not immediately clear if the closure was permanent or temporary, although the restaurant’s interior appeared to be in the process of being cleared out and a number of items from the restaurant were placed in and around the dumpsters behind the building.
The Cosi is located at 2050 Wilson Blvd, just steps from the Courthouse Metro station.
Update at 5:45 p.m. — A Cosi in Reston Town Center has also closed.
Update at 4:40 on 9/28/16 — The restaurant is permanently closed and its parent company has filed for bankruptcy. “It is never an easy decision to close a restaurant,” Cosi Marketing Coordinator Devin Dourney told ARLnow.com in an email. “The decision to close this restaurant was based on its financial performance and market density. At this time, we do not have any plans to reopen this restaurant.”
The long-time Chinese restaurant, at 1100 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn, is perhaps best known for its weekend dim sum lunches.
Monday Properties, owner of the 1000-1100 Wilson Blvd twin towers, is requesting County Board permission to convert the 10,000 square foot retail space currently occupied by the restaurant into new television studios.
The permit application does not name the soon-to-be “former restaurant” but its location on the mezzanine level of the building and floor plan match that of China Garden.
“As of the date of this application, one of the retail tenants located in the mezzanine level of the building has decided to terminate its lease and to vacate the property,” an attorney for the building owner said in a letter to the county. “In the Applicant’s experience, retail space on the mezzanine level has proven difficult to lease, given its separation from the pedestrian realm on the street level. As such, the Applicant proposes to convert the former retail space into two new television studios and associated support facilities.”
The application also does not name the tenant that will be using the new studios, but the building is home to television station WJLA and NewsChannel 8. Station owner Sinclair renewed its lease in the building this summer.
County staff are recommending the Board approve the application.
A China Garden employee said today that the restaurant’s manager would not be available for comment until Friday.
Bin 1700, a restaurant and lounge inside the Crystal Gateway Marriott (1700 Jefferson Davis Hwy) in Crystal City, is currently undergoing renovations.
Numerous workers could be seen working inside the demolished and under-construction space Thursday afternoon.
It’s unclear what exactly will be replacing the restaurant, though county permits indicate that the work is part of a larger interior renovation of the hotel’s lobby, common areas, hallways and rooms.
Bin 1700’s only two Yelp reviews describe a fairly middle-of-the-road restaurant that primarily served hotel guests.
The California Tortilla location in Crystal City location has closed.
The locally-based Mexican fast casual chain opened the location at 2450 Crystal Drive in 2012. It apparently closed this week.
A sign posted on the door reads: “California Tortilla is closing! We thank you for your patronage these past four years, and wish you the best of tacos in the years to come!”
An employee was removing the lettering with the restaurant’s hours from the door this afternoon.
Separately, the former Seattle’s Best Coffee location down the block is under construction. Permits displayed on the windows indicate that a Navy Federal Credit Union location will be moving in.
Hat tip to @34smiley
Originally founded as a food truck, Pupatella opened its current Bluemont location, at 5104 Wilson Blvd, in 2010. Co-owner Enzo Algarme is now teaming up with the partners behind Elevation Burger to expand via franchising.
“After a decade of perfecting their craft, the owners have joined forces with two of the founding partners of Elevation Burger to begin offering franchises,” said a PR rep.
Additional Pupatella locations may be in store for the D.C. area, according to a press release. Other potential expansion locations, should franchise owners sign on, include Philadelphia, Richmond, Virginia Beach, Raleigh-Durham, Chapel Hill, Wilmington and as far away as the Middle East.
The full press release from Pupatella is below.
Started as a food truck in 2007, today Pupatella is a favorite Neapolitan Pizzeria among Northern Virginians, winning loyal fans with its classic artisan Neapolitan pizza. Due to high demand, Pupatalla has decided to expand through corporate development and franchise opportunities. To accomplish this, Enzo Algarme, Pupatella’s founder and owner, has joined forces with founding partners of Elevation Burger who grew the country’s first organic burger chain from one to more than 50 restaurants worldwide. Pupatella is now seeking entrepreneurs and franchisees that have a passion for classic, artisan pizza to help grow the brand.
Born and raised in Naples, Italy, Algarme takes tremendous pride in Pupatella’s “back to the basics” philosophy. The restaurant proudly possesses aVPN certification, a designation given to qualifying pizzerias by the Naples-based Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana. To obtain the VPN certification, the pizza is made according to the 200-year-old Neapolitan technique. Only wood-fired ovens are permitted; the dough is made of only four ingredients: 00 Italian flour, sea salt, fresh yeast and water. The toppings for the D.O.C. (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) pizza may only include sauce made of San Marzano tomatoes grown in Italy, fresh cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella made with buffalo milk or fior di latte, sea salt, fresh basil and olive oil.
“I came to the U.S. for college and the one thing I missed the most was classic Neapolitan pizza that you could find on every corner in Naples,” said Algarme. “Cooking was a huge part of my upbringing in Italy and I felt a calling to start a business that was true to my roots. We’ve experienced tremendous success, with lines out the door everyday, and I feel confident that our pizza will be embraced around the world as we move forward with our expansion plans.”
Pupatella is consistently named as one of the country’s best pizzerias by media and has received accolades by Business Insider and Washington Post. Its current location has experienced solid growth and high profit, totaling nearly 2.5 million dollars in gross sales in 2015. Pupatella has a top rating from more than 1,200 reviewers on Yelp. In addition to its classic artisan food, Pupatella is also known for it’s fast and affordable format. From a family outing to a romantic date night, guests appreciate Pupatella’s commitment to simple, true Neapolitan pizza served in a casual atmosphere where all are welcome.
Pupatella is now seeking entrepreneurs to help expand the pizzeria in key markets across the United States and Middle East. The ideal franchise partner has restaurant experience and a passion for executing a proven system. Specific areas for U.S. expansion include Washington D.C Metro, Philadelphia Metro, Richmond, VA, Virginia Beach, VA, Raleigh-Durham, NC, Chapel Hill, NC, Newark, DE, and Wilmington, DE. Franchise opportunities are also available in the Middle East.
To learn more about franchise opportunities, visit pupatellafranchise.com to submit an online application or call 703.825.6334.
As it turns out, Il Forno was ill fated.
The upscale Italian restaurant at 900 N. Glebe Road in Ballston closed last week after about three and a half years in business.
Paper now covers the restaurant’s windows, which is usually an indication that construction is taking place inside and another business is on the way. However, no construction permit applications have been filed, based on a check of the county’s permit system Tuesday afternoon.
In April, ARLnow.com reported that Il Forno was listed for sale on a business broker website. The listing noted that the restaurant was “investor owned” but in need of an “operator-owner.”
Il Forno was located next to the recently-opened Applebee’s.
A restaurant in East Falls Church is looking to shake the idea that French cooking is unhealthy.
Chef Jacques Imperato, who took over Côte d’Or Café (6876 Lee Highway) earlier this year, hopes to show off “the healthier side of French cooking” with seasonal menus and a lighter approach to making food.
Imperato, who attended culinary school in Nice, France and previously owned Chalet de la Paix and Mediterranee restaurants in Arlington and Great Falls, aims to achieve his goal by cooking with seasonal ingredients and low-calorie alternatives in a “modern classic Burgundy style.”
That means instead of making sauces with heavy cream, for instance — butter, cream, flour and cheese are hallmarks of French cuisine — Imperato uses healthier oils.
“The Burgundy cooking style uses less cream than other French regions use in their cooking,” he said.
In place of processed or prepared foods, the chef prepares dishes with “fruits, vegetables, and herbs that are fresh and in-season.” Last week, Imperato served a dinner where peaches starred as the primary ingredient in every dish, for example.
Grass fed beef is also now on the menu, Imperato noted.
“Grass fed beef is all they had when Burgundy style cooking was concocted and that kind of beef adds an earthy taste to the dishes,” he said. “When you substitute poor corn fed beef the dishes lose the taste that is essential in this style of cooking.”
Fairlington Park Forum — Next month the Arlington Dept. of Parks and Recreation will hold a public forum about proposed renovations to Fairlington Park. The forum will take place on Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. at the Fairlington Community Center. [InsideNova]
Fundraising for Italian Earthquake Victims — Shirlington’s Osteria da Nino is raising money for victims of last week’s deadly Italian earthquake. For a limited time the restaurant is donating $10 for every $17 Bucatini Amatriciana dish it sells to the Italian Red Cross. [Facebook]
Fire Station No. 10 Meeting — Where will Rosslyn’s Fire Station No. 10 relocate to on a temporary basis? That controversial question will be the subject of a public meeting next Wednesday, Sept. 7, at Key Elementary. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
With plenty of turbulence in the Clarendon restaurant scene this summer — opening, closings, rumors — it’s worth noting that some long-time establishments are doing just fine, thank you very much.
Clarendon Grill, which has been in business since 1996, is still among the local winners. The cover band, trivia night and happy hour destination, at 1101 N. Highland Street, just extended its lease.
Owner Peter Pflug says Clarendon Grill is continuing to do well enough that he decided to extend its lease by five years, through March 2022.
Pflug, who has been dubbed the “one of the godfathers of Clarendon nightlife,” chalks the recent turmoil up to an “oversupply of restaurants” in the area.
He said normal supply-and-demand dynamics aren’t working in Clarendon because once there’s an oversupply of restaurants it’s hard to get back to an equilibrium.
“Once a retail space becomes restaurant space, it usually stays that way,” he said. “It’s expensive to put in ADA bathrooms, kitchens, etc.”
Additionally, with the bricks-and-mortar retail industry on the decline thanks to competition from online retail, non-restaurant retailers are not rushing to fill empty space. Who is filling empty space? In some cases it’s savvy restaurant operators who execute well and are effective at carving out their local niche; in other cases it’s owners who are new to the Clarendon market and “may not be the best at doing their homework.”
Yes, rents are high, but that’s not the most important factor at play.
“I don’t think rental rates are nearly as important as oversupply,” Pflug said.
Clarendon Grill, which was renovated in 2010, continues to have a full slate of live entertainment on tap, including the aforementioned cover bands, “hilarious” Wednesday trivia nights, karaoke nights and salsa dancing nights.
The incident happened around 10 p.m. Monday in a restaurant on the 500 block of 23rd Street S., in Crystal City. Police and medics responded, but were told that an accident caused the injury.
The next morning, police were called again and told that the injury was the result of an assault, not an accident.
Two restaurant employees “were involved in a verbal altercation that turned physical,” said Arlington County Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “The victim was washing a knife at the time of the altercation and suffered a laceration to the hand which required medical treatment.”
From an Arlington County Police Department crime report:
LATE MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 160823025, 500 block of S. 23rd Street. At approximately 10:11 a.m. on August 23, officers responded to the report of a late assault with a weapon. Upon investigation, officers determined that the incident occurred the night prior when a male victim suffered a laceration to the hand following a verbal altercation. Police and medics had previously responded to the location on August 22 at approximately 10:00 p.m. but the incident was reported as an accident requiring medical attention. The victim was transported by medics to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The investigation is ongoing.
The rest of the past week’s crime report highlights, after the jump.
Now is your chance to own a piece of the former Hard Times Cafe in Clarendon.
The restaurant closed last month after many years in business directly across from the Clarendon Metro station.
Hundreds of items from the restaurant are now being auctioned off online — just about everything you can imagine, including signs, tables, chairs, beer taps and kitchen equipment.
Most items currently have bids under $10.
APS Testing for Lead in Pipes — Arlington Public Schools has been testing systemwide for lead in pipes. Already, the school system has replaced a water fountain in Jamestown Elementary School found to have lead levels above a level considered safe by the state health department. [InsideNova]
Bayou Bakery Raising Money for Flooding Victims — Bayou Bakery in Courthouse is raising money for Louisiana flooding victims. The restaurant is offering a special Shrimp Creole appetizer for $9 this week; half the proceeds from that dish will benefit flood victims, including chef/owner David Guas’ own aunt, whose home in Abbeville, LA flooded with two feet of water. [Bayou Bakery]
Arlington Names New Communications Director — Dr. Bryna Helfer has been named Arlington County’s new Director of Communications and Public Engagement. She joins county government from the federal government. “Helfer currently serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Engagement at the U.S. Department of Transportation and also serves as Senior Advisor to the Secretary on Accessibility and Workforce,” a press release notes. [Arlington County]
Crystal City Boxing Recap — It was a nine-bout, nine-knockout night at the Crystal City Hilton Friday night. [Fight News]
Transport Nerds ‘Playing With Traffic’ — A big group of “transportation techies” gathered recently at WeWork in Crystal City to discuss creative and tech-based solutions to transportation problems. The group is sponsored by Mobility Lab, the research arm of Arlington County Commuter Services. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub (3207 Washington Blvd) is set to host a 10th anniversary party on Sunday, Aug. 28 starting at 3 p.m. The event will feature a free buffet with chicken wings, mashed potatoes, roast beef and other pub fare from 3-6 p.m., said David Morrin, the eatery’s regional manager.
“It’s nice to have a milestone event,” Morrin said. “A lot of restaurants don’t make it very far. We’re excited to be reaching the double digits.”
The party will also have live music from three bands, $5 Guinness and the presentation of two annual awards: Customer of the Year and Employee of the Year.
“We’re going to use this as a thank you for the last 10 years,” Morrin said. “It’s our way to say thanks for keeping us here for 10 years and hopefully into the future.”
Image courtesy O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub
The Chili’s near the corner of Jefferson Davis Highway and 23rd Street S., in Crystal City, has closed.
As of this afternoon, the store’s awnings had already been taken down and a sign was posted on the door.
“After many years we are sad to say that we have closed this location,” the sign says. “Please be sure to visit one of our other local Chili’s restaurants.”
The sign lists two Chili’s locations in Alexandria and another on Route 7 in Bailey’s Crossroads.