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by ARLnow.com January 11, 2018 at 5:15 pm 0

Linda’s Cafe is an unassuming, long-time diner at 5050 Lee Highway in Arlington, serving a clientele that includes families and senior citizens.

The restaurant is not active on Facebook and doesn’t have a website that we could find. On Yelp, diners are mostly satisfied with the service and the food — “the service is good and the staff is nice,” is a typical comment. A sign in the window touts “excellent burgers.”

But on Twitter — at least over the past year or so — Linda’s Cafe has a much different personality: quarrelling with customers, warning of speed traps along Lee Highway and saying “f*** the pilgrims” on Thanksgiving.

One long-time customer who contacted ARLnow said the Twitter account is not befitting the character of the restaurant nor the values of its customers.

“Their servers, chefs and other employees have been spouting profanities, talking about… controversial subjects on their restaurant’s official Twitter account,” said the customer, who did not want to be named.

Reached by phone, an assistant manager who said his name was Luciano seemed confused when asked about the Twitter account, saying he was aware of its existence but not the content. He declined further comment. The restaurant’s owner was traveling and not available for comment, we were told.

Photo and screen shots via Twitter

by ARLnow.com January 9, 2018 at 9:45 am 0

Immigrants Afraid to Report Crimes — President Donald Trump’s hawkishness on immigration enforcement has apparently led to a drop in crimes reported in some of the country’s largest immigrant communities, including in Arlington. Per a new report: “In Arlington, Virginia, domestic-assault reports in one Hispanic neighborhood dropped more than eighty-five per cent in the first eight months after Trump’s Inauguration, compared with the same period the previous year.” [New Yorker]

Lawmakers React to Immigration Decision — Local lawmakers are speaking out against a Trump administration decision to end temporary protected status for some 200,000 Salvadoran immigrants. “Donald Trump’s open hostility to immigrants runs against the values and history of this country,” said Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), while Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) called the decision “heartless.” [Rep. Don Beyer, Twitter]

Ramp Near Pentagon Closing at Night — The ramp from eastbound Route 27 to northbound Route 110, near the Pentagon, will be closed each night through Friday for bridge deck work, according to VDOT. “Traffic will be detoured via Route 27, George Washington Memorial Parkway and I-395 back to northbound Route 110,” the agency said. [Twitter]

InsideNova Sold — The parent company of the Arlington Sun Gazette has sold its InsideNova website along with two other local weekly newspapers, while retaining the Sun Gazette papers. Sun Gazette articles will reportedly still be published on InsideNova. [Washington Business Journal]

Arlington’s Top 10 Press Releases of 2017 — Arlington County has posted an article ranking the 10 most popular press releases of 2017 on its website. The article concludes that “2017 was a good year in Arlington County, laying the foundation for great years to come.” [Arlington County]

Nearby: Plans for Boozy Taco Bell — A Taco Bell “Cantina” that “mixes the traditional Taco Bell fare with new shareable menu items and alcoholic beverages including twisted freezes, beer and wine” is coming to Old Town Alexandria. [Washington Business Journal]

More Fog Photos — The fog covering parts of the region this morning made for some great photos, particularly among those who trained their lenses on the half-covered Washington monument. [Twitter, Twitter, Twitter]

by ARLnow.com January 5, 2018 at 9:45 am 0

Arlington Chamber Seeking State Help — Possibly in response to the push for housing conservation districts, “the Arlington Chamber of Commerce is asking the General Assembly to ‘serve as a backstop and a safeguard’ against overreach by localities on planning and zoning matters.” [InsideNova]

Reminder: SmarTrip Change Next Week — As of Monday, Metro riders will no longer be able to run a negative balance on their SmarTrip cards. [WMATA]

‘Meet the Chair’ Scheduled — Arlington residents will be able to meet newly-minted Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol on the evening of Jan. 18, when the Leadership Center for Excellence holds its annual Meet the Chair event. [Leadership Center for Excellence]

SoberRide New Year’s Record — A record 1,225 people used the free safe ride service SoberRide on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Thanks to its new partnership with Lyft, SoberRide’s organizer says it “has removed well more than two times as many would-be drunk drivers from Greater Washington’s roadways as compared with the previous year.” [PDF]

District Taco Continues to Expand — Five Guys may be given a run for its money as the most successful Arlington-born restaurant chain. District Taco is now opening a location in the Center City section of Philadelphia. [Eater]

Snow Shovel Contest Winner — “This is Susan. She won our snow shovel, writing that her favorite phase of snow treatment/removal is Phase 1. Brine makes her giddy. Susan’s old shovel is from Nebraska and cracking. Way to go, Susan.” [Twitter]

Photo courtesy @BoccatoGelatos

by Chris Teale January 3, 2018 at 9:45 am 0

A longtime Italian restaurant in Clarendon has officially changed its name.

Faccia Luna became Alto Fumo on January 1, but not much has changed other than some new food options.

Boubker Errami, who has been involved with the restaurant since it opened in 1992, said the restaurant will now offer dishes like oysters and fried calamari as well as staples like pizza and pasta.

He also said the eatery at 2909 Wilson Blvd will have new salads and small plates and an expanded happy hour featuring numerous craft beers. No other aspects of the restaurant, including the furnishings, will change, he said.

As of Tuesday (January 2), the menus on display had been updated with the new name, but the old awnings remained with the Faccia Luna name. Alto Fumo also has a new Facebook page.

Faccia Luna’s Facebook page, meanwhile, posted on Monday, thanking customers and encouraging them to visit Faccia Luna in Alexandria.

Thank you Faccia Luna Arlington customers for your loyalty, support, and for making us a part of your family traditions.

Starting January 1, 2018 Faccia Luna Arlington will be closing its doors. You can still enjoy our great wood-fired pizzas, and classic Italian pastas at Faccia Luna Trattoria in the heart of Old Town Alexandria.

Errami said the changes come as Clarendon continues to add new restaurants and bars, and as Alto Fumo’s owners look to expand their customer base.

“We have great loyal customers, we’re just looking for more to come in the door, because we’ve been here since 1992,” he said. “We want to stay the neighborhood spot for this area.”

by Chris Teale December 29, 2017 at 2:45 pm 0

Months after going on an apparent and indefinite “hiatus,” Ray’s Hell Burger appears to be officially leaving Rosslyn.

The restaurant at 1650 Wilson Blvd is now available for lease, albeit with the Ray’s awnings and signs still up, including one noting the hiatus.

Earlier this year, the Washington Business Journal reported that owner Michael Landrum wanted out of his lease on the spot, across the street from the redeveloping Wilson School site. That storefront was across from the original Hell Burger, which was visited twice by then-President Barack Obama.

Customers can still visit a Ray’s Hell Burger on K Street NW in D.C., as well as Ray’s the Steaks at 2300 Wilson Blvd in Courthouse. The latter received renewed praise from Northern Virginia Magazine earlier this year as one of its 50 best restaurants of 2017.

Landrum declined to comment further.

by Chris Teale December 27, 2017 at 1:45 pm 0

A longtime pizza restaurant in Clarendon is soon to shutter and reopen under new management.

Signs posted on the doors of Faccia Luna at 2909 Wilson Blvd show it will soon become Alto Fumo, another Italian restaurant. Faccia Luna first opened in Clarendon in 1992.

Permit applications filed with Arlington County indicate that the restaurant is under new management, but for now little is expected to change other than the name.

“Alto Fumo means ‘high-rising smoke’ in Italian, like smoke rising from a pizza oven,” the sign reads. “You will enjoy the highest quality customer service and foods and also enjoy our new additions.”

Faccia Luna also has locations in Old Town Alexandria and State College, Pennsylvania. A sign on the door at the Alexandria location thanked customers “for all the support.”

In 2015, co-owner Joe Corey said Faccia Luna has been a spot for successful first dates, with hundreds of couples ending up married after eating together at the Clarendon pizza joint.

by Chris Teale December 21, 2017 at 1:45 pm 0

After initially suggesting it closed for renovations, Spinfire Pizza in Rosslyn is gone for good, with its former space now seeking a new tenant.

The pizza joint at 1501 Wilson Blvd, part-owned by former Washington Redskins player Pierre Garcon, had been planning to reopen on December 31, according to its Yelp page. That has since changed to it being permanently closed.

It offered customizable personal pizzas in 90 seconds, with toppings ranging from pizza staples like pepperoni and mushrooms to Sriracha sausage, candied pecans and dried cranberries.

Its other location is in Ashburn.

by Chris Teale December 19, 2017 at 11:30 am 0

Update December 21 at 1:45 p.m. — &pizza will open on Wednesday, December 27 after a spokesman said the eatery hit “a few last-minute details that needed to be addressed and the team simply ran up against the Christmas break.” Multiple tipsters said that staff at the restaurant said it had run into permitting issues with the county.

Earlier: The new fast-casual pizzeria &pizza will open to the public on Thursday in Ballston.

The build-your-own-pizza restaurant will move into 3924 Wilson Blvd, next to Freshbikes near the intersection with N. Quincy Street. It will occupy more than 2,000 square feet of space in the building, facing Wilson Blvd and across the parking lot from Gold’s Gym.

Ahead of the full opening, &pizza is hosting a now-sold-out soft opening today and tomorrow (Wednesday). Each attendee will receive a complimentary pizza so that employees can practice.

“&pizza is a different kind of pizza shop — one where experience is the focal point, and every shop reflects the culture and people who visit most,” the invite reads. “With the opening our Ballston shop, we want to invite you to join us for a lunch or dinner on us.”

Guests can expect &pizza’s signature customizable oblong pizzas with unlimited toppings using local ingredients and no artificial flavors.

More from a press release, after the jump.

(more…)

by Chris Teale December 18, 2017 at 4:45 pm 0

A Mediterranean and pizza restaurant with locations in Alexandria, Springfield and Sterling will replace the former Tazza Kitchen in the Arlington Ridge Shopping Center.

Signs at the storefront at 2931 S. Glebe Road, near the county’s border with Alexandria, show Delia’s Mediterranean Grill & Brick Oven Pizza will move in soon. Tazza Kitchen closed last year in the space next door to the sweetfrog frozen yogurt store.

And permitting applications filed with the county show it is looking to remove a half wall in the dining area and bring in new cooking equipment.

Delia’s serves Mediterranean-inspired food, and has a full bar with cocktails, wine and craft beer, as well as catering services based in Falls Church. It describes its Springfield and Sterling locations as family-style restaurants, which offer a “more casual experience.”

Hat-tip to Thomas N.

by Chris Teale December 18, 2017 at 3:45 pm 0

A Japanese restaurant is now open at the Westmont Shopping Center on Columbia Pike.

Takohachi opened last Monday (December 11) at 3249 Columbia Pike, near its intersection with S. Glebe Road in Arlington Heights.

It replaced the Sports House Grill, a sports bar that ran into some controversy in recent years, between a State Farm agent and a Mattress Firm store.

The restaurant has a sushi bar, as well as traditional Japanese food like noodles, ramen, tempura and several types of saki — a Japanese rice wine — on the menu.

It is open for lunch every day from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. On Sundays through Thursdays, it is open 5-10 p.m. for dinner, and on Fridays and Saturdays from 5-10:30 p.m.

by Chris Teale December 14, 2017 at 4:45 pm 0

A wood fire kitchen and whiskey bar on Columbia Pike will close at the end of the year, staff confirmed.

Marble and Rye at 2501 Columbia Pike will close on December 31. A staff member said it will shutter after Sunday brunch that day. Staff in the restaurant declined to comment on a reason for the closure.

It opened in late 2015 at the Penrose Square property, replacing RedRocks Neapolitan Bistro.

The menu features pasta, pizza and seafood dishes as well as sandwiches and burgers. It has more than 150 different whiskeys and whiskey-based cocktails, in addition to its wine and beer selection.

When it opened, Marble and Rye had been hailed as part of a growth of whiskey bars on Columbia Pike.

Events company Magnolia Open Mics will host its final open mic night at Marble and Rye this Sunday (December 17), in conjunction with the Songwriters Association of Washington. The event begins at 6 p.m., and includes a raffle.

by Chris Teale December 11, 2017 at 4:30 pm 0

A longtime Mexican restaurant in Crystal City has closed its doors.

Cantina Mexicana at 515 23rd Street S. shuttered late last month. An employee who answered the phone at the restaurant’s location just off Columbia Pike confirmed the closure, which he said happened “a couple of weeks ago.”

He added that several employees from the Crystal City eatery had made the switch over to its other location, on Columbia Pike. That location has been open since 2013 and a sign on the door encourages patrons to continue visiting it.

“Thanks for the memories!” the sign reads. “It’s been a great journey. We sincerely appreciate your friendship and all your patronage the last 40 years!”

The restaurant served “fine Tex-Mex cuisine,” and had been in business in various guises since 1978. In 1995, former dishwasher Gloria Arias bought the restaurant, then known as The Taco House, and in 2005 changed its name to Cantina Mexicana.

Hat-tip to Michael H.

by Chris Teale December 11, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

Pancho Villa Mexican Cuisine has apparently closed in Rosslyn.

The restaurant at 1850 Fort Myer Drive opened last year in the former home to the short-lived Secret Chopsticks restaurant. It is across the intersection from Arlington Temple United Methodist Church.

As of Monday morning, the restaurant’s chairs and tables were still in place, but the inside looked bare and the bar area had been stripped of all its bottles and draught beers. A sign on one of the outside windows appeared to have been ripped down.

The phone number listed on its website is also out of service.

Pancho Villa served made-from-scratch Mexican food. Its menu included staples like tacos, burritos, enchiladas and fajitas, as well as so-called “special dinners” for customers to have different combinations. It also had an extensive drinks menu.

by Chris Teale December 6, 2017 at 4:45 pm 0

A Rosslyn pizza joint owned by a former Washington Redskins football player is temporarily closed.

Spinfire Pizza at 1500 Wilson Blvd is scheduled to reopen on December 31, 2017 after renovations, according to its Yelp page.

A sign on its front door has no further details on the work, only that it is closed. It offers customizable personal pizzas in 90 seconds, with toppings ranging from pizza staples like pepperoni and mushrooms to Sriracha sausage, candied pecans and dried cranberries.

Garcon posted a photo on his Facebook page in October showing him paying the restaurant a visit. Its other location is in Ashburn, near where the Redskins have their practice facility. Spinfire opened its Rosslyn space in 2015.

Posted by Pierre Garçon on Saturday, October 14, 2017

Hat tip to Christopher C.

by ARLnow.com November 23, 2017 at 9:55 am 0

A fire on the eve of Thanksgiving has damaged well-known local restaurant Caribbean Grill.

The fire broke out around 11 p.m. inside the restaurant at 5183 Lee Highway, according to fire officials. It was “caused by hot coals that fell out of [a] grill on to combustibles nearby.”

A large fire response was dispatched, but the fire was quickly extinguished and only minor damage — including smoke damage — was reported. No one was injured. The restaurant filled with smoke and firefighters remained on scene to ventilate the structure afterward.

Wednesday night was a busy night for the Arlington County Fire Department. Around 7 p.m. last night, firefighters battled a brush fire in the woods on the 3000 block of N. Quincy Street, in the Dover Crystal neighborhood.

A fire department spokesman estimated that the fire, which was extinguished without incident, scorched about 400 square feet of woodlands.

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