Local Man Killed in Crash Near Shirlington — “At approximately 7:44 p.m. on July 3, 2020, police were dispatched to the area of Walter Reed Drive and S. Wakefield Street for multiple reports of a crash with injury. The preliminary investigation indicates that the motorcyclist was traveling southbound on Walter Reed Drive at a high rate of speed when he lost control, struck a pole and was thrown from the vehicle.” [Arlington County]
Yorktown Grad Entering Third NFL Season — “The upcoming NFL season, if it is played, will be M.J. Stewart’s third, and the Yorktown High School graduate is more than eager for this month’s training camp then the 2020-21 season to start. ‘I just want to get to training camp,’ said the 5-foot-11, 200-pound defensive back for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.” [InsideNova]
Ethiopian Community Facing Dual Challenges — “The Supreme Court on June 25 okayed the Trump administration’s policy of limiting the number of asylum seekers in the country… Most likely to feel the impact locally is the Arlington-based Ethiopian Community Development Council Inc., the refugee-support and State Department-authorized transition agency with offices just off Columbia Pike… this sub-sector of Arlington’s diverse population is among those hit hardest by the coronavirus lockdown.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Why Galaxy Hut is Not Opening Indoors — Updated at 9:10 a.m. — “We just decided ultimately that the questions are too many. Too many questions about how safe it is to be out and dine. And we didn’t feel like with our small size in particular that we would be a good candidate for trying this out. We didn’t want to take the risk.” [WJLA]
River Rescue Blocks Chain Bridge — From Sunday afternoon: “River incident the Potomac River vicinity Fletchers boathouse. Injured 18 year old who fell approximately 20 feet from rocks. Will require patient to be lowered to shoreline and transported by boat.” [Twitter]
Wardian Completes Delaware Run — “Ultrarunner Mike Wardian ran the length of the state of Delaware, starting the 130-mile (209-kilometre) route on July 2 and finishing 26 hours later. He began the run in the afternoon, just north of Wilmington, Delaware’s largest city, near the state border with Pennsylvania. He ran in [93 degree] weather straight through the night and next morning, and 26 hours, 19 minutes and 43 seconds later, he crossed the state’s southern border and ran into Maryland.” [Canadian Trail Running]
Photo courtesy Eliana Carreño
This content was written and sponsored by The Keri Shull Team, Arlington’s top producing residential real estate team.
As NoVA enters the next phases of re-opening, residents are getting excited about returning to the best restaurants, bars and entertainment options in the area. That means that now is the perfect time to discover a new favorite spot or return to an old haunt — and we want to share one of our top choices with you!
A Revolutionary New Experience
Walking through the doors of The Spirit of ’76 is like stepping through a particularly patriotic time machine. This locally owned eatery, sitting in the heart of the Clarendon neighborhood of Arlington, is decorated with all sorts of Americana and references to the colonial and revolutionary periods of the country’s history.
One of the most striking artistic features is the large Bennington Flag that adorns the wall. This variant of the American stars and stripes, which bears the number ’76’ on its canton, is a popular collector’s item with the history buffs who are interested in the early days of the republic. In the cozy atmosphere of The Spirits of ’76, it makes for a fine centerpiece.
John Rodas, one of the founding fathers of the eatery, tells us that not all of the decorations were brought in by the restaurant’s owners. “With the name Spirits of ’76,” he recounts, “we obviously wanted to give it a twist of some Americana — and some of our customers have actually donated some of the items.”
The name isn’t simply a reference to the American-themed decorations, however. In addition to an incredible ambience and great food, this beacon of independent restaurant culture carries 76 different varieties of bourbon.
Keeping the Spirits Alive
As you can probably tell from the name, libations are a staple of The Spirit of ’76. Patrons can choose from nearly 80 different types of bourbon for smooth sipping — in addition to a vast menu of unique mixed drinks!
In addition to classic favorites like a smooth Old Fashioned or refreshing Texas Mule, you’re sure to enjoy sipping on one of the house creations at The Spirit of ’76. Put a twist on a gin-based favorite with their ’76 Fizz — or pay homage to the ‘freedom fries’ movement with the cheekily named American ’76, a play on the popular French 75 drink.
And if you’re looking to beat the hot Arlington summer, then you’re in luck! The Spirits of ’76 offers pitchers of frozen cocktails, so you can get a cool treat with friends and family.
Liberate Your Appetite
Not all of the delicacies at The Spirit of ’76 are liquid, of course. There is also a robust menu of classic American fare and a variety of dishes to sate your appetite!
Start off with a plate of their signature wings, tossed in your choice of sauce, then move on to a scrumptious sandwich or set of tacos — everything on the menu is a savory treat. Personally, we recommend the fish tacos or one of the many options for burgers.
Virginia started Phase 3 of its reopening on Wednesday, allowing more activity in indoor public spaces like restaurants and gyms.
While the Commonwealth remains one of just over a dozen states where the COVID-19 epidemic is in decline, some fear that further reopening could send us in the direction of Texas, Florida and other states currently seeing a virus resurgence.
In recent days, both Florida and Texas reversed course and closed bars. California, which has also seen a big jump in coronavirus cases, yesterday announced that it would “shutter indoor operations at restaurants, museums, bars and other venues” for at least three weeks. And New York is delaying its plans to reopen indoor restaurant dining rooms.
A growing body of research suggests that restaurants — indoor settings where where diners sit near one another and converse for extended periods of time — are fertile ground for coronavirus infections. More evidence of that from USA Today:
Money spent in restaurants and supermarkets could offer insight into how fast or slow the coronavirus pandemic may spread.
According to a note from Jesse Edgerton, an economist with JPMorgan Chase, the level of spending in restaurants three weeks ago – most notably in-person versus online – was the strongest predictor of a surge in coronavirus cases during that time period.
Based on spending by 30 million Chase credit and debit cardholders, Edgerton found that higher spending in supermarkets predicted a slower spread of the virus, suggesting consumers are practicing “more careful social distancing in a state.”
Outdoor settings, meanwhile, are believed to be safer, as the respiratory particles that spread the virus are quickly diluted in the open air. That’s why Virginia’s Phase 1 reopening included only outdoor dining and why Arlington has allowed restaurants to expand their outdoor dining areas.
Do you think Virginia should stay the course and see what happens, bring back Phase 2 restrictions, or try to preempt a possible resurgence by closing indoor dining areas altogether? That latter, while perhaps safer, could be a death knell for many already-struggling local restaurants, however.
The result: a towering, colorful mural currently being painted onto an empty brick wall.
Local artist MasPaz — whose distinctive style can be found from across the region from D.C. to Tysons — has been working on designing and painting the mural. The artwork’s design was inspired by the Wynwood Walls in Miami, but the theme came from the local response to COVID-19.
The project spun out of the Arlington Art Truck program when participants were asked to summarize their feelings on life in Arlington under the quarantine, according to the Lee Highway Alliance. MasPaz’s word was “community” and the subsequent mural depicts someone hugging several homes close to them.
Beyond the mural, the new patio will also feature lighting and other renovations. The plan is to host a ribbon-cutting ceremony, but the Lee Highway Alliance is still awaiting the final lighting installation, later this month.
Virginia’s Phase 3 reopening starts today, with relaxed rules for restaurants, stores, fitness studios and social gatherings.
But as new coronavirus cases continue to surge in the South and West, the reopening raises the specter of Virginia’s waning epidemic returning.
Unlike New Jersey, which recently postponed the return of indoor dining, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is opting to continue reopening indoor, communal settings. He announced yesterday, however, that bar seating will be prohibited inside restaurants.
Arlington County, meanwhile, is encouraging residents to stay “safer at home” and to continue social distancing, telecommuting, and wearing masks in indoor public settings.
“Because Arlington is an urban, high-density area — and because there is still community spread of the virus — the County is going to similarly move forward with caution in the hopes of continuing to stop the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the safety and well-being of the entire community,” the county said in a press release today.
The press release notes that fitness rooms and gyms will reopen at four community centers — Fairlington, Madison, Thomas Jefferson and Langston Brown — next Friday, July 10.
The good news for Arlington is that the current level of coronavirus spread remains low: five new cases were reported overnight, for a seven-day total of 46. The seven-day rate of new hospitalizations stands at just three, a new low since such data started to be reliably reported by the Virginia Dept. of Health.
The county press release about the reopening is below.
Arlington County, along with the entire Commonwealth of Virginia, is transitioning to Phase 3 of the Forward Virginia plan on Wednesday, July 1.
In Phase 3, Arlington will maintain a Safer at Home strategy with continued recommendations for social distancing and teleworking, and the requirement that individuals wear face coverings in indoor public settings. All businesses should continue to follow physical distancing guidelines, frequently clean and sanitize high contact surfaces and keep enhanced workplace safety measures in place.
As part of a cautious approach to entering Phase 3, Governor Northam on Tuesday announced that bar seating will remain prohibited in restaurants to reduce the likelihood of patrons gathering in bar areas without observing social distancing guidelines. The Governor added he is prepared to implement tighter restrictions if needed.
Because Arlington is an urban, high-density area — and because there is still community spread of the virus — the County is going to similarly move forward with caution in the hopes of continuing to stop the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the safety and well-being of the entire community.
Arlington will continue to open government facilities gradually to ensure adequate space for social distancing and follow public health guidelines. […]
Playgrounds and Outdoor Restrooms Now Open, Select Fitness Rooms to Open July 10
Continuing its gradual reopening, in according with public health and safety guidelines, Arlington’s Department of Parks and Recreation reopened playgrounds and outdoor restrooms, including playgrounds located at Arlington Public Schools, effective Friday, June 26. Additionally, athletic field and court lighting returned to regular schedules.
Starting Friday, July 10, fitness rooms and gyms will reopen in four of DPR’s centers: Fairlington, Madison, Thomas Jefferson and Langston Brown.
Community and nature centers and spraygrounds remain closed.
Candidates Support Stormwater Investment — “How it gets paid for (and by whom) perhaps is a question for another day, but the three candidates in the July 7 Arlington County Board special election voiced support for increased stormwater-management efforts. ‘We need to be making a generational investment,’ said Susan Cunningham, one of three candidates on the ballot seeking to fill the seat of the late Erik Gutshall.” [InsideNova]
Analysis of N. Arlington House Numbers — “In the ZIP code 22207, serif addresses vastly outnumber sans serif addresses, 7,759 to 2,111. Many blocks feature no sans serif houses at all, or just one or two. But in isolated pockets–individual blocks or even orange and red “hot zones” spread across a couple of streets–sans serif numbers are beginning to break through.” [Slate]
How a Local Chiropractic Practice Is Doing — “Some businesses are still trying to get adjusted to the flow of business in the new normal. ‘I would say we’re about 75% close to where we were before,’ Dr. Hooman Hamidi said. Hamidi is a chiropractor in Arlington, Va. When the global pandemic shut things down, his business slowed to a crawl.” [WUSA 9]
Galaxy Hut Staying Takeout-Only, For Now — “Based on what we’ve seen, we still don’t feel it’s the safest option to allow people to hang out at our restaurants at this time. Instead, we will be expanding our pickup hours and introducing some new yums at both Galaxy Hut and Spacebar in the coming weeks.” [Facebook]
ACPD to Report More Traffic Stop Info — “The Community Policing Act, Virginia House Bill 1250, takes effect July 1, 2020. This law requires law enforcement and State Police to collect certain information from the driver during all motor vehicle (traffic) and investigatory stops and prohibits law enforcement officers and State Police from engaging in bias-based policing.” [Arlington County]
New Laws Taking Effect Today — “Marijuana will be decriminalized, local governments will have the ability to take down Confederate monuments, and Virginians will pay more in taxes for gasoline and cigarettes starting Wednesday. July 1 is the start date for most of the new laws passed earlier this year by the General Assembly.” [Associated Press]
Arlington has been removing some parking spaces to facilitate the expansion of outdoor dining in two local neighborhoods.
The County Board approved a process for restaurants to apply for expanded, temporary outdoor dining areas in late May. Since then, county crews have blocked off street parking spots in six places to allow pedestrians to better get around the sidewalk cafes.
According to Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services, the repurposed parking spaces are located in the Shirlington and Clarendon areas, including:
- Washington Boulevard between Wilson Blvd and 13th St N, about 2 parking spaces
- Wilson Blvd between N Cleveland St and N Danville St, about 4 parking spaces
- Wilson Blvd between N Hudson St and N Irving St, about 6 parking spaces
- S Campbell St between S Arlington Mill Dr and S Quincy St, all on-street parking spaces
- West side of S Randolph St immediately south of S Campbell St, a few spaces (exact number not available at this time)
- West side of S Quincy St immediately south of S Campbell St (exact number not available at this time)
Crews were seen blocking off the Shirlington parkings areas Monday morning.
DES spokesman Peter Golkin said additional parking spaces may be repurposed as restaurants apply for Temporary Outdoor Seating Areas (TOSAs), though no additional, specific locations are currently planned.
“We are creating pedestrian space around outdoor seating as restaurants apply for outdoor seating,” Golkin said.
Jay Westcott contributed to this report
The rate of new COVID-19 infections in Arlington continues to drop.
Seventeen new cases have been reported since Friday, bringing the trailing seven-day infection total to 42 — an average of six per day. One new hospitalization has been reported since Friday and no new deaths have been reported, according to Virginia Dept. of Health data.
Arlington’s test positivity rate, meanwhile, now stands at just 2.5%.
“It appears that wearing masks, social distancing, and being outside have had a very positive impact on the area,” Virginia Hospital Center ER chief Dr. Mike Silverman wrote Friday in a public social media post. “We’re still seeing patients that require COVID evaluations at a similar rate to the last couple of weeks but this remains well below the peak volumes we saw in April and we did not appear to see a bump in cases as a result of the protests.”
“COVID is not gone though I know some people think it is. It does appear to be less prevalent,” he added. “We’ve even seen a drop in the rate of our asymptomatic screening patients which gives me a sense for the prevalence in the general area.”
One area of concern is what might happen as Virginia enters Phase 3 of the reopening on Wednesday, allowing more people to gather indoors at restaurants and other businesses, albeit with masks required.
A surge in new coronavirus cases prompted Texas and Florida to close bars last week. A few hours from Arlington, bars have been temporarily closing on the Delaware shore as employees get sick, and Pittsburgh is banning alcohol consumption at bars starting Tuesday amid a spike in new cases.
Chain gastropub Bar Louie appears to have permanently closed its location on 23rd Street S. in Crystal City.
“Space for lease” signs now cover the windows of the former after-work watering hole, which opened in late 2013.
Though coronavirus closures have caused significant financial hardship for bars and restaurants, Bar Louie’s troubles started before the pandemic: it filed for bankruptcy in January.
The chain’s marquee location in D.C., adjacent to Capital One Arena, closed in January amid the bankruptcy filing. Other Bar Louie locations have recently closed in Massachusetts, Kentucky and Pennsylvania.
While Bar Louie has closed, Crystal City is set to get a new nightlife option on the same block in the near future: bowling alley Bowlero.
‘BLM’ on Fairlington Bridge Restored — Residents of the Fairlington area used ties to restore a Black Lives Matters message on the bridge over I-395 over the weekend. The letters “BLM” had previously been placed on the bridge’s fence but later removed by an unknown party. Also this weekend, below the BLM letters someone scrawled “Trump 2020,” but that was later covered and “Black Lives Matter” written over it in chalk. [Twitter]
ACPD Details De-Escalation Training — “In response to community questions, ACPD has created this fact sheet highlighting how we train officers to de-escalate incidents and safely resolve situations.” [Twitter]
Update to Jim Pebley Obit — Per an email from former county treasurer Frank O’Leary: “You will be pleased to hear that, due to the actions of former commanders of our County’s namesake ship, it appears that Commander Pebley’s ashes will be spread at sea by the USS ARLINGTON. This is a singular honor and reflects the high respect the Navy feels for Jim. Nothing less than he deserves. There is an old adage, ‘The Navy takes care of its own.’ Perhaps, the same can be said of Arlington.”
Candidates on the Arts — “Arlington County voters will go to the polls on July 7 to determine who will fill the County Board seat of the late Erik Gutshall. In order to help voters understand each candidate’s stand on the importance of arts and culture in the County, Embracing Arlington Arts sent out a questionnaire for the three candidates to complete covering several issues pertaining to the arts in Arlington.” [Press Release, Embracing Arlington Arts]
TTT Now Serving Unlimited Weekend Brunch — “There’s a new all-you-can eat brunch in town. TTT in Clarendon, which stands for Tacos, Tortas and Tequila, has joined its Street Guys Hospitality brethren, including beloved Ambar, in offering unlimited eats on weekend mornings.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]
Reminder: Metro Stations Back Open — “Metro plans to reopen the Clarendon and Virginia Square Metro stations in Arlington, starting Sunday.” [ARLnow]
Nearby: Fairfax Teachers Revolt — “A day after one of the nation’s largest school systems announced its proposal for fall learning, teachers within Fairfax County Public Schools rose in revolt and refused to teach in-person, as the plan demands, until officials revise their strategy.” [Washington Post]
While Virginia’s reopening continues, not everyone wants to dine indoors at restaurants.
Just today, Texas closed bars and reduced restaurant capacity to stem a recent surge in new coronavirus cases. For those who want to get out of the house and support local restaurants, however, outdoor dining is generally considered to be safe.
ARLnow’s Turquoise Jackson compiled the following list of Arlington restaurants with outdoor dining areas over the past week. Have any additions or updates? Email her at [email protected].