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by Jackie Friedman — May 24, 2016 at 7:05 pm 0

The new beer garden at Spider Kelly’s is officially open for business.

The beer garden, which is located in the back patio of the Clarendon watering hole, first started serving customers last Thursday. With the sun finally shining after some not-so-nice weather this month, hopes are high for big crowds.

“We are really happy it’s here and our hope is that it will be something that our customers want,” said co-owner Nick Freshman.

“The goal in building it was to create a new outdoor space sort of supplemental to the space that we have inside,” Freshman said. “We kept a lot of the theme from the inside to the outside.”

A local graffiti artist, Andrew Funk, was hired to do a custom graffiti mural to add color to the space and to match the graffiti art inside.

The casual outdoor space offers seating for small and large groups. There is a combination of communal style seating with picnic benches and seating around two fire pits. There is also hightop seating at the bar. The large space offers a capacity of up to 300 people.

Beers, sangrias and ciders are served in the beer garden, and the beer list has been substantially expanded. There are 30 offered cans and 16 tap lines. There are also three homemade sangrias: red, white and sparkling.

For those arriving after work, there is a $4 happy hour drink special. The entire food menu is offered outside.

by ARLnow.com — May 24, 2016 at 9:15 am 0

Volleyball in Fairlington (Flickr pool photo by James L.)

McAuliffe Under Investigation — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) is being investigated by the FBI and the Justice Department for possible illegal campaign contributions. [CNN]

Board Accepting Feedback on Blue Ribbon Panel — The County Board’s so-called Blue Ribbon Panel was supposed to help the Board set county priorities without getting bogged down in bureaucracy and process. Instead, the panel’s implementation has been delayed and the county is now asking for public feedback on the panel and its charge. [Arlington County]

The Legacy of ACFD’s First Black Firefighters — The Halls Hill/High View Park community held an event this past weekend to honor the Arlington County Fire Department’s first black professional firefighters. Some members of the original group of 14 black firefighters to staff Arlington’s Fire Station No. 8 were on hand for the event. [InsideNova]

Don Rockwell Profiled — Don Rockwell, the mysterious proprietor of the influential Don Rockwell online restaurant forum, lives along Columbia Pike and dines out just about every day for lunch and dinner. At the end of the profile, Rockwell lists some of his favorite local restaurants and dishes. [Arlington Magazine]

Rosslyn Tops for Bike to Work Day — The Rosslyn Bike to Work Day pit stop was utilized by 972 cyclists this year, making it the busiest pit stop in the D.C. region. [Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by James L.

by ARLnow.com — May 18, 2016 at 10:30 am 0

Sugar Shack Donuts on Columbia Pike

Post Investigates Chinese Rice Customs — In a follow-up to the saga of the diners who received insults on their bill at Peter Chang’s restaurant in the Lee-Harrison shopping center, the Washington Post has taken a closer look at the rice-serving customs of restaurants in China. Could it be, the Post asks, that the servers were driven to frustration due to erroneous “mansplaining” about rice? [Washington Post]

County Considering Fraud Hotline for the Public — Arlington County staff is considering a proposal to expand the county’s new waste, fraud and abuse hotline, making it open to the public. The hotline is currently set up for county employees. [InsideNova]

Market Common Clarendon Sells for $406 Million — The Market Common Clarendon shopping center and apartment complex has sold for $406 million. The buyers are Florida shopping center developer Regency Centers and Arlington-based real estate investment trust AvalonBay. [Washington Business Journal, WTOP]

County Board Race Donations By ZIP Code — New maps show the percentage breakdown of campaign contributions to Democratic County Board contenders Libby Garvey and Erik Gutsthall, by ZIP code. According to the maps, Garvey is strongest in the north Arlington 22207 ZIP, while Gutshall’s strongest zone is the Crystal City and Pentagon City 22202 ZIP. [Data for Humans]

Review of New Synetic Theater Production — “The action-packed shows of Synetic Theater always have cinematic flair, but the second act of the company’s new ‘The Man in the Iron Mask’ takes on surprising storytelling depth. The always-superb fights are accompanied by unexpectedly gripping scenes of high melodrama and even flickers of camp.” [Washington Post]

by ARLnow.com — May 17, 2016 at 9:45 am 0

Boxed water at Roti restaurant in Rosslyn

Elementary School’s Satellite Launches — A “CubeSat” satellite built by students at St. Thomas More Cathedral School in Arlington was launched from the International Space Station yesterday. It’s the first time an elementary school CubeSat has been deployed into space. [CBS NewsThe Register, Twitter]

ConnectArlington Program Makes New Connection — Arlington County’s ConnectArlington fiber optic network is getting access to a collaborative research network of universities, industries and government agencies via the University of Maryland’s Mid-Atlantic Crossroads access point. The move is expected to help with economic development in Arlington. [Arlington County]

Shirlington Restaurant Investigated — The U.S. Dept. of Labor is reportedly investigating labor law violations at Aroma Indian Cuisine restaurant in Shirlington. [Patch]

by ARLnow.com — May 16, 2016 at 8:30 am 0

Kids climbing wall at 2016 Taste of Arlington festival

Kitchen Fire at Lebanese Taverna — Firefighters extinguished an early morning kitchen fire at Lebanese Taverna on Pentagon Row Saturday. [Twitter]

Arlington to Get Tourism Promotion Boost — A slight increase in Arlington’s hotel tax, approved by the County Board over the weekend, will allow the county to boost its tourism promotion budget by $1.25 million. The hotel tax increase was years in the making, as Arlington sought authorization from the state legislature, which stripped the county of the ability to levy the tax surcharge in 2011. [Arlington County]

Fire Station 8 Recommendation — The County Board’s Fire Station No. 8 task force is recommending that the current, aging station be torn down and a new, larger station be built in its place. The cost will be $5 million higher than the county’s estimate for what it originally wanted to do: move the station to county-owned land near Marymount University. That proposal met with resident resistance. [InsideNova]

New Temporary Home for County Buses, Vehicles — The County Board has approved a seven-year lease for a property near Shirlington, where it plans to temporarily store ART buses and county vehicles during separate construction projects. The land is near the CubeSmart self-storage facility. [Arlington County]

Bank Robbery Suspect Arrested — The “Ball Cap Bandit,” who allegedly robbed a bank near Fairlington while wearing a Brooklyn Nets hat, has been caught. According to the FBI, the suspect is 26-year-old Arlington resident Budder Khan. He’s being charged in three separate robberies. He wore Colorado Rockies and Oakland Raiders hats during his other two alleged robberies. [Washington Post]

Two Dozen APS Students Selected for Governor’s School — “This summer, 24 APS students will attend the Governor’s School for Academics, Mentorship, Visual and Performing Arts or the Foreign Language Academy. Both programs allow students to focus on a specific area of intellectual or artistic strengths and interests and to study in a way that best suits the gifted learner’s needs.” [Arlington Public Schools]

by ARLnow.com — May 11, 2016 at 4:45 pm 0

ARLnow is partnering with Taste of Arlington to preview some of the festival’s tastiest dishes this year.

Epic Smokehouse in Pentagon City will be bringing some mouth-watering barbecue ribs to the event, which is taking place starting at noon Sunday, on Wilson Blvd near Ballston Common Mall. (Tickets are still available online.)

We asked Epic’s Assistant General Manager, Chris Naylor, about it.

ARLnow: First, tell us about the dish you’re bringing. How is it prepared? 

Naylor: Smoked BBQ Ribs with Applewine BBQ sauce and a pinch of slaw. We dry rub our ribs and smoke them for six hours, then char them on the grill and brush them with the BBQ sauce.

How does it taste?

They are meaty, smokey, tangy, and just a tad sweet.

Why did you select it? How does it reflect your restaurant overall?

Who doesn’t love ribs? They’re delicious. Our ribs are our take on BBQ, not typical — which is pretty much us in a nutshell.

What’s your favorite thing about participating in Taste of Arlington?

We love to see the crowd and their excitement about trying our food, and the bragging rights when our tent’s crowd is larger than most.

ARLnow and our friends Sarah Fraser and Samy K. will have a “tasting table” near Epic and the booths of the other three restaurants we’re highlighting this week. Be sure to stop by and say hello!

by ARLnow.com — May 11, 2016 at 9:30 am 0

Former Mazda dealership in Ballston, now closed

Firings at Peter Chang After Receipt Incident — Three employees have reportedly been fired and the chef’s own daughter is also on the chopping block at Peter Chang restaurant along Lee Highway. The firings come after a server included the insults “i have a small penis” and “im a plad [sic] a**hole” on a customer receipt. Chang has promised to improve service at his restaurant. [Washington Post]

Arlington Restaurants on Cheap Eats List — More than a dozen Arlington eateries have been included in Washingtonian magazine’s list of the top 100 inexpensive restaurants in the D.C. area. Among them: Bayou Bakery, Cheesetique, Pupatella, Ray’s Hell Burger, Yona and Peter Chang. [Washingtonian]

Video of Track Issue at Court House Station — A video taken inside the Court House Metro station shows sparks and smoldering from the track area. The video comes after a number of well-publicized electrical issues at Metro. “It was kind of weird watching infrastructure fail before my very eyes,” said the man who took the video. [Washington Post]

Tech Company Saves the Day for Theft VictimsCourse Hero, a Silicon Valley-based company that provides study materials, has paid for a scholarship for the Penn State student whose mom left her purse, with $10,000 in tuition money inside, in an Arlington Falls Church Dunkin Donuts. Police still have not found the woman who stole the purse. [NBC Washington]

Most of Crystal City Could Change Hands — Vornado, the property owner that owns more than half of the square footage in Crystal City, is considering spinning off its D.C. properties from those it owns in New York. [Washington Post]

D.C. Complaining About DCA Flights — D.C.’s attorney general has sent an email to the FAA asking that flights to and from Reagan National Airport be shifted away from the District. In 2015 the FAA received 8,670 noise complaints from those in the District, 6,500 of them from the same person. [Washington Post]

by ARLnow.com — May 10, 2016 at 4:40 pm 0

ARLnow.com is partnering with Taste of Arlington this year to highlight some of the dishes we’re most excited about.

The annual festival — now featuring a 400-foot “street pub” — is taking place starting at noon on Sunday, on Wilson Blvd near Ballston Common Mall. Tickets are available online.

Together with Sarah Fraser and Samy K., we’ve curated four Taste of Arlington restaurants and dishes to include in our “tasting table.” Today, we’re highlighting the Spicy Salmon Belly Tartare from Ballston’s own Mussel Bar & Grille (800 N. Glebe Road).

Charles Vogt, Mussel Bar’s Chef De Cuisine, said he selected the dish because it’s representative of Mussel Bar’s commitment to fresh, high-quality seafood. What’s in it?

“Finely diced raw salmon belly tossed with Togarashi [blend of Japanese chili peppers], olive oil, elderflower and lime zest,” he said. “It’s then topped with compressed cucumber, dollops of yuzu yogurt on top of a house made lavash.”

How does it taste?

“The ‘fatty’ salmon belly seasoned with the spicy togarashi balances out beautifully with the crisp clean cucumber flavor and yuzu yogurt cutting through the richness of the salmon,” he said. “Each bite leaving you wanting for another.”

“It’s a beautiful raw dish,” Vogt added. “We want people to know we serve the best and freshest seafood in town.”

It will be Vogt’s first time at Taste of Arlington, but he’s hoping it’s a memorable experience for those stopping by his booth and for himself.

“I’m looking forward to being out there and meeting some potential new and current guests, as well as talking with other restaurant staff and just seeing the talent we have over here in Arlington,” he said.

by ARLnow.com — May 10, 2016 at 1:30 pm 0

The former Wendy’s restaurant in Courthouse is no more.

A construction crew demolished the restaurant yesterday, reducing it to a pile of rubble. As of last night, only a couple of newspaper boxes and small brick wall that was in front of the restaurant’s drive-thru lane still stood.

Wendy’s closed in December, as did its next-door neighbor, the Wells Fargo bank. The bank is next in line for demolition.

The site is set to be redeveloped into a 12-story office building that will feature Wells Fargo as its marquee ground floor retail tenant.

There are now three remaining Wendy’s restaurants in Arlington: at 5066 Lee Highway, 3431 Columbia Pike and 5050 S. Chesterfield Road, which is just off of Route 7 on the Fairfax County border.

by ARLnow.com — May 9, 2016 at 4:30 pm 0

Taste of Arlington is less than a week away.

The annual festival is bringing dozens of local restaurants — and a 400-foot “street pub” — to Wilson Blvd, near Ballston Common Mall, from noon to 7 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are still available online.

This year, ARLnow.com is partnering with Taste of Arlington to highlight four especially tasty dishes being offered at the event. Together with Sarah Fraser and Samy K., we’ll have our own “tasting table” in the middle of the action, around the four Arlington-based restaurants that are serving the dishes our mouths are watering over: Texas Jack’s Barbecue, Epic Smokehouse, Pepita Cantina and Mussel Bar.

Today we asked Texas Jack’s to tell us about their dish, which is crafted by acclaimed chef/pitmaster Matt Lang. Texas Jack’s opened in Lyon Park, near Clarendon, in December.

ARLnow: First, tell us about the dish you’re bringing. What is it?

Texas Jack’s: We are bring Allen Bros. Beef Brisket and Coleslaw. Our beef is antibiotic-free, hormone-free, steroid-free and cage-free and of course, our produce is always fresh.

Why did you select it?

We chose to go with Brisket and Coleslaw because this is an ideal barbecue meal. It is a traditional meat and that has been perfected overtime. Our brisket is what barbecue is meant to be.

How is it prepared?

Our brisket is prepared with salt and pepper at 210 degrees and smoked for 12-14 hours with red and white oak.

How does it taste?

Our brisket is so tender it will melt in your mouth before you know it. The smokey flavor is especially pronounced in the brisket.

What’s your favorite thing about participating in Taste of Arlington?

This is our first time, we are very excited to be a part of the Taste of Arlington and to be welcomed into the Arlington community.

by ARLnow.com — May 9, 2016 at 2:45 pm 0

Insult-filled receipt from Peter Chang restaurant (courtesy photo)A group of friends who dined at Peter Chang restaurant (2503-E N. Harrison Street) on Saturday were shocked to find the words “asshole” and “I have a small penis” on their receipt at the end of the night.

The words were apparently insults typed in by one of the servers, in response to a particularly persnickety member of the group.

One of the diners, Matthew, emailed us and the Washington Post about the experience but asked that his last name be withheld. Matthew said the trouble started when one member of his party, who previously lived in China and speaks Mandarin, but is not Chinese, commented about the way the rice was served.

“One of my friends — who lived in China for 5 years — questioned the authenticity of how the rice was supposed to be served at a Chinese restaurant,” Matthew said. “Peter Changs [sic] served it in one bowl instead of individually, which is how I guess they serve it in China. I guess the waitress took offense to that.”

Then the receipt arrived. Below the various food items, it included the following lines: “im plad [sic] asshole” and “i have a small penis.”

The man who questioned the rice serving was wearing plaid that night, Matthew said. Management, according to Matthew, tried to pass it off as a “joke.”

“I wasn’t too offended by it, but the waitress and the management kept saying it was simply a ‘joke’ and they didn’t do too much to apologize,” he said. “Ultimately we got a $20 gift card. Like many incidents, the cover up was worse than the crime.”

It’s unclear whether the server purposely included the lines on the receipt or if they were only intended to vent some steam internally.

The restaurant has not responded to a request for comment from ARLnow.com. A manager told the Washington Post that “servers had previously been warned before about leaving offensive comments in the [point-of-sale] system” and that he’s cut the hours of the server who left the insults on the receipt.

The Post also reported that when the group asked to split the check four ways, the server replied sarcastically, “That’s totally how they do it in China.”

Chef Peter Chang, whose Szechuan cuisine has earned him something of a cult following, opened his eponymous restaurant in Arlington’s Lee-Harrison shopping center last March.

by ARLnow.com — May 5, 2016 at 11:45 am 0

Arlington responds to suspected hazmat at Crystal Plaza Apartments, Dec. 8, 2014An Arlington County Fire Department hazmat team has been called to a Chinese restaurant in Falls Church for a report of an “unusual odor in the bathroom,” according to scanner traffic.

The incident was reported just after 11:30 a.m. at the Happy Family restaurant at 301 S. Washington Street.

Initial reports suggest that the odor is the result of pipe relining in the area.

File photo

by ARLnow.com — May 3, 2016 at 5:05 pm 0

Sehkraft Brewing posterSehkraft Brewing (925 N. Garfield Street) in Clarendon is holding a series of beer release parties this month.

Starting on Thursday, May 5 — Cinco de Mayo — the brewery and beer hall will release varieties of its in-house brews. First up is Sehkraft’s “Good to Go IPA,” starting at 5 p.m. on May 5, followed on May 12 by the release of its “Hoptastic IPA” at 8 p.m. Both release events include a free concert from 8:30-11 p.m.

From May 19-21 Sehkraft will be holding a “haus party,” with five of its in-house beers on tap: Good to Go, Hoptastic, Sehkraft Amber, Wicked Weiss (a Berliner-style wheat beer) and Uber Awesome IPL (India Pale Lager).

“It’s American Craft Beer Week that week so what better way to ‘Say Craft’ by throwing our Haus Party/Grand Opening of Sehkraft,” owner Devin Hicks told ARLnow.com in an email. “We’ll have our friends Hardywood, DC Brau, and Left Hand Breweries over to help celebrate on the 21st. They’ll be bringing a couple of their brews over and we’ll be doing BBQ specials all day on Saturday. DC Brau is bringing over their Wings of Armageddon and 5th Anniversary brews and Hardywood is bringing over some Richmond exclusive brews.”

“Going to be quite an event,” Hicks added. There will also be free live music each night and a kids show Saturday morning, he said.

After the “haus party” week, Sehkraft will be rolling out a number of other brews, including “Pro Forma Pils,” “Hopriculous Double IPA,” “Earl of Clarendon Robust Porter,” and “Nova IPA,” a collaboration with Vienna-based Caboose Brewing.

Hicks, who has clashed with Arlington County’s zoning staff in the past, took the opportunity to say that Sehkraft would have opened earlier — it opened in November — had it not been delayed by various local regulatory holdups.

The opening was delayed for four months because, according to Hicks, zoning inspectors insisted that the “brewery tanks blocked the view in the windows to the activities inside the venue.” He called it “a huge waste of time and money.”

“Obviously, a major hardship to us eventually opening, paying taxes, providing quality jobs and contributing to making Clarendon and Arlington County a better place to live, work and visit,” Hicks said. “Obviously we had other delays via the zoning’s ‘effective methodologies’ but this definitely set the tone to our construction nightmares right off the bat.”

“I am hopeful that with my words about the difficulties with navigating through zoning’s bureaucracy, it will help other businesses have a less stressful, less time consuming and less costly ordeal in opening in a great County to do business in,” Hicks continued. “That office needs to recognize that we are all on the same team.”

Previously, Hicks said that county inspectors forced him to install a bulky wheelchair lift in the middle of the restaurant in order to provide those with disabilities access to the venue’s small entertainment stage.

by ARLnow.com — May 2, 2016 at 8:55 am 0

Under-construction parking garage rises above the busy Costco parking lot

Oracle Acquiring OpowerUpdated at 9:55 a.m. — Technology giant Oracle is acquiring Arlington-based Opower in a $548 million cash deal. Opower recently went through a round of layoffs. [Reuters, Oracle]

Clarendon Z-Burger to Get New Name — The Z-Burger location in Clarendon will be rebranded soon as part of a legal settlement between the founder and the former partners in the business. [Washington Business Journal]

Arlington Unemployment Remains Lowest in Va. — Arlington’s unemployment rate ticked up by a tenth of a percent in March, but remained the lowest in Virginia. The county’s unemployment rate is currently 2.7 percent, with just under 4,000 residents looking for work while 142,000 are employed. [InsideNova]

Foggy Morning Commute — Arlington and much of the region was under a Dense Fog Advisory this morning. [Weather Channel]

by ARLnow.com — April 28, 2016 at 3:15 pm 0

SpinFire co-owners Fouad Qreitem and Pierre Garçon. Photo credit: Joy Asico.Washington Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garçon will be holding an NFL Draft day party tonight in Rosslyn at his pizza restaurant, SpinFire.

“Garçon and his teammates will help welcome in the new class of professional players with a watch party for football fans and pizza aficionados alike,” according to a press release (below).

The event is free and open to the public, and will feature a $20.16 pizza and wing special.

The event is taking place starting at 6 p.m. at SpinFire, which is located at 1501 Wilson Blvd.

Wide receiver Pierre Garçon will celebrate the 2016 Draft Day with a special party at SpinFire Pizza’s Rosslyn location on April 28 at 6 p.m.

Garçon and his teammates will help welcome in the new class of professional players with a watch party for football fans and pizza aficionados alike.

SpinFire, which Garçon founded with his business partner Paisano’s Pizza founder Fouad Qreitem, will offer partygoers a $20.16 special which includes one large pizza and eight wings.

Guests can also try SpinFire’s seven delicious new menu items, including buffalo and barbecue chicken wings, garlic breadsticks and signature SpinFire salads, including The Greek, which features romaine, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, green peppers, banana peppers, kalamata olives and feta cheese and The Spinach Salad, topped with roasted red peppers, goat cheese, candied pecans and dressed with balsamic vinaigrette.

SpinFire, with locations in Arlington’s Rosslyn neighborhood and Ashburn, Va., specializes in made-to-order individual pizzas, gourmet salads and hearty calzones, all freshly served in 90 seconds.

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