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by Chris Teale — May 25, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

A long-time diner closed its doors today after 32 years in business.

Arlington Diner, at 2921 S. Glebe Road in the Arlington Ridge Shopping Center, will now no longer serve its all-day breakfast — nor lunch or dinner. On Thursday morning, workers were in the building removing various appliances and other fixtures and fittings.

A sign on the door of the eatery announced the closure.

To our beloved customers,

The crew of Arlington Diner wants to thank you for 32 years of friendship and great memories.

We regret to inform you that we will be closing our doors on May 25, 2017.

We will miss you but we will remember you fondly.

It has been a pleasure serving you! Thank you very much.

In an interview with the Arlington Connection earlier this year, owner Louie Alpos said he was not able to negotiate a financially feasible lease renewal with his landlord.

The diner, a fixture of a shopping plaza that also includes a Domino’s Pizza and a Giant grocery store, was open every day except Christmas Day.

Hat tips to Thomas N. and Christina R.

by ARLnow.com — May 23, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Fourth High School Option Floated — Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Patrick Murphy has added a fourth option for adding additional high school seats to the three finalists announced last month. Murphy said the existing Arlington Education Center near Washington-Lee could be used to house 600 students while adding another 700 seats in an expansion of the Arlington Career Center. [InsideNova]

World of Beer Sues Local Owner — Just a week after it was first reported that the owner of the World of Beer franchises in Ballston, Reston and Fairfax was rebranding the restaurants as “Crafthouse,” comes word that the World of Beer corporate office is suing him for allegedly violating their franchise agreement. [Reston Now]

VideoBlocks Moving to Courthouse — After announcing last year that the company would be moving to Arlington, subscription stock video service VideoBlocks has settled on a location: a full floor of Courthouse Tower at 1515 N. Courthouse Road. [Washington Business Journal]

County Board To Discuss Taxi Changes – After a vote on Saturday, the Arlington County Board will hold a public hearing next month to discuss proposed changes to the county’s taxicab ordinance. The changes, recommended by the county’s Transportation Commission, would allow the removal of lights from the vehicle’s roof, modifications to cabs’ color and lettering, and use of GPS metering instead of traditional taxi meters. [Arlington County]

How Rosslyn Landed Nestlé — It was a team effort to land Nestlé as the anchor tenant of the 1812 N. Moore Street tower in Rosslyn, says the head of the Rosslyn Business Improvement Districts. In the end, Rosslyn’s urban amenities, the area’s talented millennial workforce and a handful of state and local incentives helped to “sweeten the deal.” [LinkedIn]

Flickr pool photo by Arlington VA

by Chris Teale — May 15, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

Around six months after it opened, a fast-casual Korean barbecue restaurant has closed in Crystal City.

KBQ Korean BBQ & Bar at 2450 Crystal Drive opened last November, next to Buffalo Wild Wings. But the eatery closed its doors earlier this month and now sits empty.

“KBQ is closed,” a sign on the door reads. “We appreciate your patronage, and hope you enjoyed it while it lasted!”

It allowed customers to build their own rice and lettuce bowls, lettuce wraps, tofu dogs and rice burgers, and offered six proteins and nearly a dozen sides. On Yelp, users lauded the service but gave middling marks to the food.

There was also a separate “bubble tea shop” offering a selection of bubble teas, including taro, chai and mango, and a bar serving cocktails, beer, wine and “bombs” — as in soju, Jager, car and cherry bombs.

Hat tip to Irina K.

by ARLnow.com — May 15, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

World of Beer Gets Rebranded — The Ballston location of World of Beer is no longer part of the chain and has instead been rebranded as “Crafthouse.” The restaurant — along with former WoB locations in Fairfax and Reston — is now offering a full menu of American craft fare and a drink menu that includes local beers, bourbons, whiskey, wine and other spirits. [Reston Now]

County’s Stance on Rising Homeless Population — Via an Arlington County press release: “We believe that the increase in Arlington’s numbers this year do not reflect the long-term trend in our County,” said Arlington County Board Vice Chair Katie Cristol. “Since 2008, when we launched the 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness, Arlington has cut its number of homeless persons by more than half. We’ve made great strides in housing veterans and chronically homeless individuals and families.” [Arlington County]

Metro Changes Next Month — Starting June 25, Metrorail’s operating hours are being shortened while rail and bus fares are increasing, rush hour rail frequency is decreasing and some bus routes are being discontinued. [WMATA]

Freddie’s Named Top Brunch Spot — Freddie’s Beach Bar and Restaurant, a gay bar in Crystal City that hosts a Broadway brunch on Saturdays and a Champagne brunch on Sundays, has been named one of the 100 best brunch spots in America by OpenTable. [OpenTable]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

by ARLnow.com — May 12, 2017 at 10:05 am 0

The famousever-evolving Ray’s Hell Burger restaurant in Rosslyn, often named on lists of the best burgers in the United States, is closing.

Signs up at Ray’s Hell Burger, at 1650 Wilson Blvd, say it is going on “hiatus.” Last night an employee told ARLnow.com he did not know when it would reopen.

“Beginning Sunday, May 14 this location of Ray’s Hell-Burger will be on hiatus. The last service will be on Saturday, May 13,” the sign says. “Please continue to visit Ray’s Hell Burger at 449 K Street NW, 7 days a week. Ray’s the Steaks accepts reservations 7 days a week at 2300 Wilson Blvd (sorry, no burgers).”

Owner Michael Landrum could not immediately be reached for comment.

Hat tip to Sarah W.

by ARLnow.com — May 5, 2017 at 10:45 am 0

Arlington Taking Roadwork Suggestions — “Arlington’s Neighborhood Complete Streets Program is asking residents to nominate neighborhood streets they believe could be made safer and more comfortable for all users for potential improvement projects. If you know a neighborhood street that is missing a section of sidewalk, needs an accessible curb ramp or better street lighting, consider nominating it. The County is accepting submissions through Friday, June 16.” [Arlington County]

Commuting Habits in Arlington — Arlington County’s new “Profile 2017” data packet has a surprising statistic on community habits: more Fairfax County residents commute into Arlington each day than Arlington residents commute into D.C. [Twitter]

Candidates Dither on Exotic Pet Ban — Three out of four of the Democratic candidates for County Board would not give a straight answer to the question of whether they support a proposed ban on wild and exotic pets. [InsideNova]

Metro 29 Named Best Diner in Va. — A new list of the best diner in all 50 states lists Metro 29 diner on Lee Highway as the best in Virginia. [Mental Floss]

Beyer on House Healthcare Bill — Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) says yesterday’s narrow passage of the GOP healthcare bill is “a dark stain on the history of the House of Representatives.” [Rep. Don Beyer]

Comment Ads Turned Off — To improve the user experience, we’ve turned off those semi-trashy tile ads below the comments. They’re prevalent on lots of websites, especially news websites, and they generate decent revenue, but we could not longer stand having them associated with our site. Replacing the ads are links to previous ARLnow.com articles.

by ARLnow.com — May 4, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

Police Warn of Fraud Scheme — The Arlington County Police Department is warning that home repair and tree service fraud schemes become more prevalent in the spring. Police say to be wary of would-be service providers who approach or knock on your door unannounced, pressure you to make an immediate decision, claim to have leftover materials or to be working in the area, and only accept cash payment. [Arlington County]

Arlington Restaurant Makes Sietsema’s Top 10Ambar in Clarendon has been included in restaurant critic Tom Sietsema’s list of the top 10 new restaurants in Washington. It is the only Virginia restaurant on the list. [Washington Post]

Beyer Supports Budget Bill — Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) says that while it’s not perfect, he supports the compromise omnibus funding bill that passed the House of Representatives on Wednesday. Beyer says the bill contained key environmental protections and funding for scientific research. [Rep. Don Beyer]

No Endorsement from Garvey — County Board member Libby Garvey says she will vote in the upcoming Democratic caucus, but so far she is not endorsing any candidate for County Board. [InsideNova]

ACDC Candidate Forum — The Arlington County Democratic Committee held its candidate forum/debate last night, with all four candidates for County Board weighing in on topics from affordable housing to WMATA and transit to diversity in county government. [Blue Virginia]

Trustify’s Swanky Digs — Arlington-based startup Trustify’s new 8,000 square foot office in Crystal City has “a view that arguably is one of the dreamiest” among local startups. The design of the office was “‘film noir’-inspired.” [DC Inno]

by Chris Teale — April 28, 2017 at 1:15 pm 0

Five Arlington restaurants are partnering with local nonprofit Doorways for Women and Families to raise awareness of sexual assault and help available for victims.

Starting tonight, Liberty Tavern, Lyon Hall, Northside Social and O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub in Clarendon and the Crystal City Sports Pub in Crystal City will provide customers with coasters that feature Doorways’ 24-Hour Domestic & Sexual Violence Hotline (703-237-0881) and the message, “Sexual assault impacts everyone.”

The weekend campaign coincides with the end of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

“Our goal with this outreach is twofold,” said Doorways president and CEO Caroline Jones in a statement. “First and foremost, we want to show survivors that they’re not alone. Secondly, we want to ensure that everyone is aware of the resources here in Arlington, namely our 24-Hour Domestic & Sexual Violence Hotline — help is available in our community.”

Last year, 187 adults and 40 children were served by Doorways’ hotline response as a direct result of sexual assault.

According to RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, an American is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds, and 54 percent of sexual assault victims are between the ages of 18 and 34.

Other services offered by Doorways include hospital accompaniment, counseling and court advocacy, which provides education about the legal system, companionship during the petition and court hearing processes and extensive safety planning for anyone impacted by family violence.

by ARLnow.com — April 5, 2017 at 1:15 pm 0

Heaps of new customers have been saying g’day to Oz restaurant in Clarendon over the past year, its owners say.

Contrary to its portrayal on the new Real Housewives of Potomac season — a teaser video showed proprietors Ashley and Michael Darby arguing about it “not doing well” — Oz (2950 Clarendon Blvd) is currently a profitable business, according to Mr. Darby.

The argument happened in real life on June 22, 2016. Since then, Oz’s brunch business has boomed and helped reverse its fortunes. And a revamped food menu has been greeted with generally positive customer reviews.

That’s a welcome change from when the Washington Post panned Oz’s Australian cuisine as “bland,” shortly after it opened in September 2015, and locals took note of the empty tables one could see inside around dinnertime.

Darby, the Australian-born cofounder of D.C. developer Monumental Realty, admits that things were “not up to scratch” when Oz opened, but said issues with the service and the food have since been corrected. What viewers see at the beginning of “RHOP” season two is part of the restaurant’s “rebuilding” stage.

“We made a significant change that has brought about the success we’re having now,” Darby said. “Over the course of the show, you will find that the restaurant turns that corner and becomes the busy restaurant we have today.”

The other half of the power couple, Ashley Darby — a former Miss District of Columbia who is active in the restaurant’s day-to-day management in between her Instagram-chronicled globetrotting — echoed Michael’s words.

“America witnessed my candid reaction to the growing pains we were experiencing at Oz during the RHOP premiere, filmed last year,” she said. “It has taken some time to find our groove in the trendy Clarendon neighborhood, but we’re really getting into the swing of it. Our weekends are so busy I barely get time to sit down.”

Oz’s $35 bottomless brunch — with unlimited food, penny mimosas, 50 cent beers and $2 bloody marys — has packed them in, according to Michael Darby. Some 500 customers a day visit Oz on the weekends, he said. And the restaurant has high hopes for increasing its weekday bar business and becoming more of a nighttime going-out destination on weekends.

“This is a very fun bar, we have that Australian attitude,” Darby said. Oz is proud of its craft cocktail menu and Australian wine selection; it now brings in a DJ on Saturday nights and, yes, you can order didgeridoo shots, if so inclined.

Darby credits the chef they brought on after the “mediocre” opening for being a big part of Oz’s transformation. Chef Brad Feickert, a tattooed Northern Virginia native who worked for celebrity chefs and also spent time at restaurants in Australia, has created an Australian-influenced menu adjusted for American palates.

“The quality of the food improved significantly when he came in,” Darby said. “The chef is just a good chef, that’s what it comes down to.”

The menu, which is ever evolving, includes both Australian and American staples, along with culinary mashups and exotic meats, including kangaroo, camel and ostrich. (It’s not exotic, but Darby recommends the Australian lamb.)

Just don’t confuse Oz with that well-known “Australian” restaurant chain — needless to say, there are no bloomin’ onions on the menu.

“We’re not Outback Steakhouse in any way,” Darby said. Outback is “not even an Australian product.”

(more…)

by ARLnow.com — April 4, 2017 at 10:05 am 0

(Updated at 11:30 a.m.) A Maryland man has been arrested and charged with half a dozen counts of assaulting police officers and medical personnel.

Police were called to a restaurant on the 4700 block of Lee Highway last night just before 10 p.m. for a “report of a disorderly subject.” The name of the restaurant was not released, but Metro 29 Diner, Thirsty Bernie and Cowboy Cafe are located on or near that block of Lee Highway.

The suspect then became combative and assaulted five police officers and bit the finger of a paramedic while in custody, according to police.

More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

ASSAULT & BATTERY ON POLICE, 2017-04030296, 4700 block of Lee Highway. At approximately 9:52 p.m. on April 3, police were dispatched to the report of a disorderly subject inside a restaurant. The responding officers escorted the subject outside and as they were conducting the investigation, he allegedly became combative and assaulted multiple officers. Once in custody, the subject bit the finger of an Arlington County Fire Department Medic attempting to evaluate him for injuries. Jorge Luis Quintero-Amaya, 28, of Temple Hills, MD was arrested and charged with Assault & Battery on Law Enforcement (x5), Assault on Medical Personnel, Resisting Arrest, Obstruction of Justice and Failure to ID. He was held on no bond.

by ARLnow.com — March 30, 2017 at 11:45 am 0

It’s the end of the road for P. Brennan’s Irish Pub and Restaurant at 2910 Columbia Pike.

The cavernous local pub will shutter after closing on Friday. Owner Brian Dolphin, who also owned the ill-fated McGinty’s near Potomac Yard, says P. Brennan’s “did pretty well” by staying in business for seven years, but never made much money.

“It never kicked off to the extent we thought it would,” Dolphin told ARLnow.com Thursday morning. He said P. Brennan’s liquor license expires after March 31 and he chose not to renew it.

Also contributing to the bar’s demise: its large size — “too big,” Dolphin said, in retrospect — and the cancellation of the Columbia Pike streetcar, which seemed to deflate some of the excitement and prospects for change along the Pike.

“Things went south on us a bit and never picked up,” said Dolphin regarding the aftermath of the cancellation.

Nothing out of the ordinary is planned for P. Brennan’s last day tomorrow, but Dolphin said he expects that many long-time patrons will be there enjoying a pint or two.

by ARLnow.com — March 27, 2017 at 10:15 am 0

Metro to Raise Fares, Reduce Service — In order to plug a budget gap, Metro will be raising rail and bus fares and cutting service starting in July. [WTOP, NBC Washington]

Pupatella Expanding to RichmondBeloved Bluemont pizzeria Pupatella is expanding via franchising. One of the first places getting new Pupatellas: Richmond, where a local franchisee is opening four new locations. [Richmond Times-Dispatch]

McAuliffe to Talk Self-Driving Cars in Arlington — On Thursday, Gov. Terry McAuliffe will be in Arlington to “give remarks at [a] workshop hosted by the Secretary of Transportation on autonomous vehicles,” according to the governor’s public schedule. The workshop is taking place at 1776 in Crystal City (2231 Crystal Drive).

People Are Increasingly Leaving the D.C. Region — All of the D.C. region’s population growth in the latest U.S. Census estimates were from births and international immigration. The region’s domestic migration is negative and increasingly so, with more people moving from D.C. than to D.C. Writes the WBJ: “The challenge for Greater Washington is there are other metro areas that offer jobs and high quality of life, and are also far less expensive — driving people away for what they see as greener pastures.” [Washington Business Journal]

Does Our Site Seem Faster? — We were working Saturday, moving ARLnow and our sister site Reston Now to a powerful cloud-based server from a traditional dedicated server. Things should be faster today, but if you notice any glitches please let us know. [Twitter]

Photo courtesy Erinn Shirley

by ARLnow.com — March 20, 2017 at 9:05 am 0

Soggy jog (Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf)

Florida Men Arrested for Credit Card Skimming — Three men from Miami, Florida were arrested earlier this month on the 5600 block of Columbia Pike, in Fairfax County. They’re suspected of using Bluetooth-enabled credit card skimming devices to steal credit card numbers from gas station customers. [Falls Church News-Press]

School Board to Consider Wakefield Modifications — The Arlington School Board is expected to approve a $4 million internal modification project at Wakefield High School that will increase its student capacity to 2,300 from 1,900. [InsideNova]

School Board Members Can Now Get Raises — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has signed a state bill that removes a cap of $25,000 on the salaries of Arlington School Board members. Arlington was the only jurisdiction in the state the salary cap applied to; school board members will now have the ability to approve a salary increase in 2021. [InsideNova]

Northern Virginia Restaurant Week Kicks Off — Nineteen Arlington restaurants are participating in Northern Virginia Restaurant Week, which starts today and runs through Monday, March 27. [Arlington Chamber of Commerce]

Top 10 Shirlington Area Restaurants — Eater has compiled a list of the top 10 restaurants to try in and around Shirlington. And yes, the Weenie Beenie is on the list. [Eater]

It’s the First Day of Spring — “While warm spring days will be tough to come by in the short term, the equinox is a reminder that the sounds of chirping birds and humming lawn mowers aren’t too far off.” [Capital Weather Gang]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

by Chris Teale — March 14, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

With the worst of the snow over, businesses and restaurants around Arlington appear to be mostly back to normal ahead of a potential refreeze tonight.

In Clarendon this afternoon, only Crate & Barrel and Barnes & Noble appeared to still be closed as their doors were locked.

There are also some early closings: The Container Store is set to shutter at 6 p.m. tonight because of the weather, while the Washington Sports Club gym posted a sign informing members that no group exercise classes would be held.

Although main roads are plowed and largely clear of snow and ice, it appears that those who did get a snow day mostly chose to spend it inside — especially as winds picked up and dropped the wind chill well below freezing.

The lunch rush was virtually non-existent at Clarendon fast casual salad eatery Sweetgreen. While lines usually snake to the door, today employees said it was “not anywhere near” as busy as it usually is at lunchtime.

Similarly, the Trader Joe’s grocery store had lines almost out the door on Monday evening as shoppers prepared for the onset of the storm, but on Tuesday afternoon was quiet and still had plenty of items on the shelves.

Several businesses looked to cash in on many people not being at work, or their children being out of school. Ireland’s Four Courts on Wilson Boulevard opened its doors and let children eat for free all day.

Also in Courthouse, Bayou Bakery is celebrating Pi Day — the date is 3/14 — with a $3.14 special on slices of pie. However, the business is closing early so you’ll have to hurry.

by Chris Teale — March 13, 2017 at 1:45 pm 0

A Shirlington restaurant owner brought her Hawaiian-influenced cooking to one of the Food Network’s most recognized shows.

Mikala Brennan, owner of Hula Girl Bar and Grill, competed on season 32 of “Chopped,” the competitive cooking show where four contestants are handed a basket of mystery of ingredients with which to cook across three rounds.

A panel of expert judges tries the creations and after each round one contestant is eliminated — “chopped” — from the competition.

Brennan’s episode, entitled “Raw Deal,” was the 400th in the show’s history. She competed against Steven Londono and Timothy Walker, both from New York City, and eventual winner Marie Yniguez, from Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Brennan was eliminated after the second round and did not reach the final course, and said that while she enjoyed the experience, being chopped was still emotional.

The corridor chopped contestants exit through “is a hall of shame when you walk down that thing,” she said. “I was definitely trying not to pop a tear, because it’s really upsetting.”

Brennan’s episode was filmed in the network’s New York studio in August, one month after the show’s production staff descended on her Campbell Avenue eatery to film and gather background information. Brennan and her staff signed non-disclosure agreements promising not to share the news, then had to wait until the Food Network announced an air date.

The episode premiered on February 28, and will be re-run at various times throughout the network’s schedule.

In the first round, Brennan and her fellow competitors had to make an appetizer using sushi burgers, fresh wasabi, longan berries and pork floss as main ingredients, with the help of the show’s well-stocked pantry and fridge.

Then the entrée round called for the use of buffalo top sirloin steaks, porcini mushrooms, aji dulce and sea buckthorn juice.

In the dessert round, held after Brennan was eliminated, the final two chefs used polenta cake, bechamel sauce, plums and pink Himalayan sea salt.

Such ingredients required some creative thinking to prevent the episode’s judges Chris Santos, Amanda Freitag and Maneet Chauhan from eliminating her.

“It’s one of those things where you almost go into a surreal mode,” Brennan said. “You start flipping through every single recipe you’ve ever done or come across, and you’re trying to figure out what you can do. I’ll be honest, I really didn’t have a plan that quickly.”

Brennan has some experience with the Food Network, having previously competed on the show “Rewrapped” which aired in 2014 and asks chefs to recreate classic snack foods before making a new dish using that same snack food as the main ingredient.

But she said the experience of cooking in the “Chopped” kitchen, surrounded by cameras and being asked questions by host Ted Allen while planning and executing a meal against the clock, is a whole different ball game.

“It’s a very weird experience, because as a chef you’re just trying to figure out what you’re cooking, and then you’re also jumping over cables to get the things in the pantry, then you’re trying to get around camera people and other people you’re competing against,” Brennan said. “Then there’s Ted Allen over there asking questions. It’s a high-stress situation, but that’s the whole point of it.”

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