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by Melanie Pincus June 15, 2018 at 2:45 pm 0

Louisiana flavor is coming to Arlington tomorrow (June 16) with Rustico Ballston‘s (4075 Wilson Boulevard) second annual Bluegrass & Crawfish Boil.

The event will run from 12-7 p.m. and feature craft beers from four Virginia breweries, live music, games like table tennis and corn hole and plenty of fresh Louisiana crawfish for $15 per pound.

Saturday’s festivities will also include the launch of Rustico’s new beer garden, General Manager Ryan Cline wrote in an email to ARLnow. The lounge area will include 124 additional seats and provide a venue for live music on Fridays and Saturdays in the future, Cline added.

Rustico isn’t the only local restaurant commemorating crawfish season — Bayou Bakery (1515 N. Courthouse Road) has held two crawfish boils this spring and plans to host another on Saturday, June 30.

Jaleo Crystal City (2250 Crystal Drive) will join the cohort of restaurants organizing summer food festivals on Monday (June 18) from 5-8:30 p.m. with a kickoff party for its 16th annual Paella Festival.

Spanish chef Quim Márquez will join Jaleo’s team to prepare five rice dishes for all patrons who purchase a $35 ticket. Márquez will remain with Jaleo for the duration of Paella Festival, which runs through July 1.

by ARLnow.com June 14, 2018 at 9:00 am 0

What Arlington Residents Think About Arlington — “Arlington residents of all ages are concerned about housing costs. Many like new urban amenities and denser development but are worried about displacing lower-income neighbors. Others point to the county’s affluence and pockets of racially homogenous communities and wonder what that says about their progressive values.” [Greater Greater Washington]

Salt Storage Facility to Be Torn Down — Arlington County is planning to dismantle the rusted-out road salt storage tank on Old Dominion Drive near 25th Road N. later this year, deeming it unsafe for use during the upcoming winter season. In its place, the county hopes to build a temporary facility that could remain functional for several years. [InsideNova]

New Restaurant Kiosks Planned in Crystal City — “Two new funky restaurant spaces could be coming to Crystal City in 2019… JBG Smith wants to build two unusual standalone restaurant buildings, one that resembles a green house and one that calls to mind a tree house, in green space that sits in front of 2121 Crystal Drive. The green is currently a mix of walking paths, open seating, trees and lawn.” [Washington Business Journal]

How Critics Could Fight W-L Name Change — Those opposed to changing the name of Washington-Lee High School have floated the idea of a community-wide referendum, though state law does not currently allow Arlington to hold an advisory referendum. One more fruitful path may be convincing the Republican-controlled state legislature to block the name change, though any such action would likely not survive Gov. Ralph Northam (D)’s veto pen. [InsideNova]

Employer Moving Out of Rosslyn — Amid a series of economic wins for Rosslyn and Arlington, there are also some losses. Among them, The Carlyle Group is planning to consolidate its Rosslyn office — with some 300 employees — into its larger D.C. office on Pennsylvania Avenue NW, after striking a deal to expand its lease and modernize its space. [Washington Business Journal]

Photo courtesy StardogCZ

by ARLnow.com June 11, 2018 at 8:45 am 0

That Time Anthony Bourdain Visited Va. Square — The late, lamented Anthony Bourdain visited Arlington’s El Pollo Rico for a 2009 episode of his Travel Channel show No Reservations. [Patch, YouTube]

Arlington At the RAMMYs — Updated at 9:15 a.m. — No individual Arlington restaurant won a RAMMY regional restaurant award Sunday night, though regional chain Moby Dick House of Kabob, which has locations in Shirlington and Clarendon, won in the “Favorite Fast Bite” category, and Cheesetique in Shirlington was nominated under the “Favorite Gathering Place of the Year” category. [Washingtonian]

Clarendon, Crystal City Bike Races — Despite the threat of rain, both the Clarendon Cup and the Crystal Cup of the annual Armed Forces Cycling Classic largely avoided weather woes over the weekend. [Twitter, Twitter, Cycling News]

Photo courtesy @thelastfc

by Alex Koma June 8, 2018 at 10:50 am 0

A new Turkish restaurant is now open for business near Ballston.

Istanbul Grill started serving up kebabs and other traditional Turkish fare yesterday (June 7), according to owner Turgut Yiğit. The new eatery, located at 4617 Wilson Blvd, replaces long-time Mexican restaurant El Ranchero.

Yiğit says he’s a newcomer to Arlington, but spent the last eight years working as a chef at a McLean restaurant. He added that he fully renovated the inside of the restaurant and installed all new appliances to spruce up the space.

The building was constructed back in 1949, according to county property records.

Istanbul Grill will also eventually offer beer and wine, once Yiğit’s state license is approved. He’s even planning to someday enclose the restaurant’s front-porch to offer a “European-style” experience, but those plans are a long way off, he said.

by Alex Koma June 7, 2018 at 5:00 pm 0

Earl’s Sandwiches is planning to close down its Ballston location next Friday (June 15).

The local sandwich shop announced the decision on its Facebook page yesterday (June 6). The location at 4215 N. Fairfax Drive, across from the Ballston Metro station, opened back in 2012.

Earl’s added in the Facebook post that the restaurant’s Clarendon store will remain open as part of this shuffle.

“While we have had a fabulous time running our second location, we’re ready to get back to our roots and fully concentrate on creating amazing sandwiches [and] experiences for our customers,” the post reads.

Earl’s first opened its Clarendon location, at 2605 Wilson Blvd, back in 2005.

We'd like to announce the closing of our Ballston location effective June 15th, 2018. While we have had a fabulous time…

Posted by Earl's Sandwiches on Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Photo via Facebook

by Alex Koma June 7, 2018 at 9:55 am 0

A new Bob and Edith’s Diner along Lee Highway could open its doors in the next six to nine months, a lawyer for the local chain’s owner tells ARLnow.

Attorney Ryan Brown says Bob and Edith’s owner Greg Bolton is planning “significant renovations” of the space that once held Linda’s Cafe (5050 Lee Highway) before opening his fifth restaurant in the Northern Virginia area there. Linda’s had operated out of the space for the last 20 years before Bolton bought the property last Thursday (May 31).

Linda’s general manager Joe Ellian previously told ARLnow that Bolton’s attorneys told him he’d need to move out of the space before the end of the month, as the restaurant changes hands, lamenting that he’d barely have enough time to pack up all his equipment, let alone find a new location.

Brown says Bolton is sympathetic to Ellian’s situation, but noted that Linda’s has been renting the space from owner Joe Mehrdad Djassebi “on a month-to-month basis for several years.”

“As such, Mr. Bolton was not required to give more than 30 days notice to the current tenant to terminate the lease after he acquired the property,” Brown wrote in an email. “Presumably the current tenant could have purchased the building from the prior owner, or entered into a long-term lease if they desired to continue their business at that location.”

Brown added that Bolton bought the property from Djassebi for $1.1 million, and he reasoned that “if Mr. Bolton had not purchased the property, it is likely that another purchaser would have acquired” it. Ellian previously argued that he never had trouble paying rent, and believed Djassebi received a lucrative enough offer that he felt forced to sell the property.

Bob and Edith’s currently operates two diners in Arlington, one in Alexandria and one in Springfield.

Photo by Alex Koma

by Alex Koma June 6, 2018 at 4:45 pm 0

Fast-casual restaurant The Simple Greek has tabbed this coming Monday (June 11) for its grand opening in a shopping center near Rosslyn.

The restaurant, located at 1731 Wilson Blvd in the Colonial Plaza shopping complex, will be the first location of six for the chain in the D.C. region, according to a press release.

The store’s owners were previously hoping to open the Rosslyn location earlier this spring, but ended up pushing back those plans. The Simple Greek will serve customizable pitas and bowls, with “a build-your-own assembly line style set-up in an open kitchen,” according to the release.

The chain opened 15 locations across the country last year, and plans to open 30 more before the year is out.

Entrepreneur Marcus Lemonis founded the chain in 2015, in conjunction with a pair of Pittsburgh-based restaurant owners, while hosting the CNBC show “The Profit.” The episode was later the subject of a lawsuit.

by Alex Koma June 6, 2018 at 9:35 am 0

(Updated, June 11 at 1:30 p.m.) A Fairfax dumpling restaurant will soon move into the space next to what was once the Arlington Diner in the Arlington Ridge Shopping Center.

District Dumplings, based in the Mosaic district, is planning to open a new location at 2923 S. Glebe Road, once the home of a Domino’s, according to a manager who answered the phone at the restaurant’s Fairfax location. She says the new eatery could be open as soon as next week.

The building’s landlord secured a permit for a 28-seat “fast casual restaurant” in early March, according to county records. One reader noticed signs advertising the change up at the location as of Monday (June 4).

The diner closed last May, after 32 years in business at the location. Its owner cited challenges in negotiating an affordable lease in his decision to close up shop.

The shopping center is also home to a Giant grocery store and a Gold’s Gym.

Photo via Google Maps

by Alex Koma June 4, 2018 at 3:45 pm 0

Longtime diner Linda’s Cafe is closing its doors and could soon be replaced by another Arlington institution: Bob and Edith’s Diner.

General manager Joe Ellian told ARLnow he heard from attorneys for the restaurant last Thursday (May 31), informing him that they’ve purchased the small space at 5050 Lee Highway from his landlord and giving him 30 days to move out. Bob and Edith’s did not immediately respond to a request for comment on their plans for the property.

“I’m going to miss all the customers and the neighborhood so much, it’s just very sad,” Ellian said. “It just isn’t enough time for a restaurant to pack up… I have bills to pay, food to sell, a family.”

Ellian says he’s run Linda’s out of the Lee Highway location for the last 20 years, and he’s heartbroken to be leaving the area. The restaurant was known for its all-day breakfast and burger offerings, as well as a sometimes colorful Twitter account.

“It was like a family here, we had good relationships with all the customers,” Ellian said. “As soon as we saw a car pull up, we knew who it was. We knew their order and had their food waiting for them.”

Ellian notes that he never had trouble making rent, but believes his landlord, Joe Djassebi, received a lucrative enough offer that he felt forced to sell. The property had an assessed value of more than $757,000 in 2018, according to county records.

Ellian isn’t sure what he’ll do next — he is hoping to bargain for more time to move all his equipment out of the Lee Highway location — but he may move Linda’s elsewhere in Arlington, if he can find the right spot.

“A good location is hard to find,” Ellian said.

Bob and Edith’s currently operates two diners in Arlington, with another in Alexandria and one in Springfield.

by Alex Koma May 30, 2018 at 10:45 am 0

(Updated at 1 p.m.) Longtime Crystal City restaurant Cafe Italia is getting new life, thanks to some former employees and one prominent local restaurateur.

Freddie Lutz, the owner and namesake of Freddie’s Beach Bar at 555 23rd Street S., says he’s planning to revive the restaurant after it closed in April.

Lutz worked for 25 years as a waiter and maitre d’ at Cafe Italia (519 23rd Street S.), and he hopes to reopen it in the next few months as “Freddie’s Italian Cafe.” To do so he’s teaming up with a former Cafe Italia bus boy and chef, brothers Adolfo and Birtillo Urrutia.

“I’ve missed it all these years, so it’ll be sort of like coming home,” Lutz told ARLnow. “Freddie’s brought a lot of diversity to Northern Virginia and Arlington and I’m proud of that, but I feel like I left my heart in Cafe Italia.”

Cafe Italia first opened its doors in 1976, and Lutz believes the place became “part of the history” of Crystal City. Though he says its former owners struggled to afford rising rent prices, thus leading to its closure, the Urrutias approached him a few weeks back with a plan to “bring it back to its former glory,” and he jumped at the chance.

“In the day, it really was something,” Lutz said. “I would tell people, ‘There’s an hour and 45 minute wait tonight,’ and they’d actually wait. I just hope we can restore it back to the fun, romantic little Italian restaurant it used to be.”

Lutz says he finished up the paperwork on the sale on May 21 and he plans to give the space a bit of “loving attention” before it’ll be ready for diners once more.

“The basic skeleton and soul of the restaurant is there,” Lutz said. “And the good news is we’re all in agreement that we want to get it open as soon as we can.”

Lutz, who still lives in the South Arlington home he grew up in decades ago, says he’s even kept in touch with some of the former patrons of Cafe Italia, and excitement is already building in the neighborhood. As new restaurants continue to cycle into that section of Crystal City, Lutz expects the revival of Cafe Italia will help the neighborhood continue to attract more business.

“Cafe Italia was always very gay friendly, and Freddie’s is very straight friendly,” Lutz said. “So both businesses will complement each other.”

by Alex Koma May 22, 2018 at 1:45 pm 0

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.

by Alex Koma May 17, 2018 at 1:30 pm 0

Ballston Quarter mall is unveiling 12 new restaurants with plans to open in the development, bringing the shopping center’s total to 22 confirmed eateries ahead of its scheduled re-opening this fall.

Forest City, the company that owns and manages the under-construction former Ballston Common Mall, announced the line-up of eateries today (Thursday). Some of the restaurants will be located in the development’s 25,000-square-foot “food hall,” while others will be spread throughout the mall or even located in the apartment building attached to the project.

The restaurants announced today include the return of Chick-fil-A, an old staple of the Ballston Common mall, and the first location of D.C. chain Compass Coffee outside the city. Union Kitchen Grocery and Baltimore-based The Local Oyster are also planning a location at Ballston Quarter, as is the previously-announced Ted’s Bulletin.

“Our overall mission for Ballston Quarter is to feature some of the most unique, trendsetting restaurants and reimagined brands possible, with a strong focus on best-in-class regional favorites,” Will Voegele, Forest City’s senior vice president of development, wrote in a statement.

The developer announced the mall’s first retail tenants last month, and several “experience-oriented” businesses in February. Forest City added it plans to announce more restaurants for the development ahead of its opening in the fall.

Full details from a press release on the 12 new restaurants, after the jump.

(more…)

by Alex Koma May 14, 2018 at 9:45 am 0

Crystal City’s McDonald’s is closed for renovations.

Signs posted at the restaurant located at 2620 Jefferson Davis Highway say only that the location is closed during construction, urging visitors to head to the McDonald’s locations along Columbia Pike instead. Construction materials litter the restaurant’s parking lot.

No one answered the phone number listed for the restaurant and construction fencing currently blocks off its parking lot. McDonald’s didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on how long the restaurant might be closed.

A tipster first notified ARLnow about the renovations this past Wednesday.

Photos by Alex Koma

by ARLnow.com May 7, 2018 at 2:00 pm 0

Two people are wanted by Arlington County Police after a fracas at a Clarendon restaurant early Sunday morning.

Police say the incident started after 2 a.m. when a customer “became irate over the quality of service provided by the business,” then went behind a service counter and struck an employee in the head. A second suspect struck an employee who came to the aid of the first, according to police.

Officers on the Clarendon bar detail responded on foot to the scene after observing “a large crowd and loud noise inside a business.”

The police department generally does not release the name of the business in which a crime takes place, and a police spokeswoman would only describe the business as a restaurant located on the 3100 block of Clarendon Blvd. Restaurants on that block include Mister Days, Bronx Pizza, Bar Bao and Pamplona.

More from an ACPD crime report:

ASSAULT & BATTERY (Significant), 2018-05060044, 3100 block of Clarendon Boulevard. At approximately 2:21 a.m. on May 6, officers assigned to the Clarendon Detail observed a large crowd and loud noise inside a business. Upon investigation, it was determined that a customer became irate over the quality of service provided by the business and went behind the service counter. After being escorted back to the customer area, the suspect returned to the area behind the counter and struck one employee in the head. Additional employees came to the aid of the victim, resulting in a physical altercation and a second suspect then struck an aiding employee in the neck. Warrants for Assault and Battery and Disorderly Conduct were issued for the two suspects.

by ARLnow.com April 27, 2018 at 8:30 am 0

Fedorchaks on Why They Love Arlington — Mark and Stephen Fedorchak — the brothers behind Northside Social, Lyon Hall and Liberty Tavern — reveal in a Q&A why they built their lives and restaurant empire in Arlington, and whether they’ll stay. [Washingtonian]

Hula Girl Makes Best Restaurants List — Shirlington’s Hawaiian-influenced restaurant, Hula Girl, made the list of the 30 best restaurants in America, according to Yelp reviewers. The restaurant, whose owner competed on the cooking show “Chopped” last year, came in at #27. [The Daily Meal]

Fire Recruit Graduation — The Arlington County Fire Department will hold a graduation ceremony tonight for more than two dozen fire and EMS recruits. Class members will receive their badges and helmets after being sworn in. The ceremony takes place from 6-8 p.m. at the Founders Hall Auditorium (3351 Fairfax Drive) on the George Mason University campus in Virginia Square.

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