by ARLnow.com — November 13, 2015 at 9:00 am 0

A dog along the banks of Four Mile Run near Shirlington

Owner of Clarendon Restaurant on ‘Real Housewives’ — Ashley Darby, who co-owns the new Oz restaurant in Clarendon with her husband, will be a cast member on the upcoming “Real Housewives of Potomac.” The series will premiere on Bravo on Jan. 17. [Eater]

Arlington ZIP Code Makes ‘Most Expensive’ List — The 22207 ZIP code, which includes the northernmost neighborhoods of Arlington, has made the Forbes list of “Most Expensive ZIP Codes” in the U.S. The ZIP code ranked No. 339 on the list, with a median home price of $1,212,952. [Patch]

Biggest Developments Along Orange Line Corridor — Former ARLnow.com reporter Ethan Rothstein has compiled a list of “the 10 biggest developments in the R-B corridor pipeline.” The developments will be discussed at a Bisnow event on Nov. 18 in Ballston. [Bisnow]

Breezy Conditions Today — Expect a breezy day in the D.C. area today, with wind gusts up to 35-40 miles per hour. [Twitter]

by Jennifer Currier — November 12, 2015 at 5:45 pm 0

Whiskey at Twisted Vines (via Facebook:Twisted Vines)A new beverage trend is making its way into Arlington via Columbia Pike, and residents will soon have the opportunity to figure out what the hype is all about.

In such close quarters, a bar battle may be brewing — or perhaps, distilling — as the up-and-coming beverage in this case is whiskey.

Last week, Twisted Vines at 2803 Columbia Pike introduced 31 bottles of the brown liquor to its menu of wines and craft beer and is calling itself the first whiskey bar in the area.

(Copperwood Tavern, in Shirlington, may disagree.)

A short walk down the road from Twisted Vines is 2501 Columbia Pike, the home of the forthcoming Marble and Rye, a self-proclaimed wood fire kitchen and whiskey bar that’s planning a soft opening by the end of next week. Its current whiskey list includes 160 bottles and has plans to cap its selection at 200.

So, why whiskey, and why in Arlington?

“For us it’s actually a natural brand extension because we want to be a destination for fine wines, and now fine whiskey,” Tony Wagner, owner of Twisted Vines said. “People were asking for it. It’s a lot like with craft beer and wine in the sense that consumers are more knowledgable and interested in learning more about it.”

Wagner said when the restaurant first introduced its “extensive whiskey program” they started with the 31 bottles but hope to add 15 or 20 by the end of the year.

“We’re really proud of it,” he said of his whiskey plans. “Customers are becoming more sophisticated in their taste, so they want to go to a place where they can expand on that taste.”

Marble and Rye also hopes to teach locals the ways of whiskey, with a designated tasting room and cocktails that are “appealing to new whiskey drinkers and the whiskey fanatics.”

Whiskey at Marble and Rye (via Facebook:Marble and Rye)Restaurant spokeswoman Sarah Lakey described the restaurant’s menu as contemporary and locally-inspired while taking a sophisticated twist by pairing whiskeys with menu items. This is in the hopes that more customers will be encouraged to give the dark liquor a try.

“Whiskey is being enjoyed more and more as people realize there’s something for everyone,” she said.

The challenge of having a new whiskey bar as a next door neighbor, however, is welcomed.

“We are pleased that other restaurants on the Pike are expanding their whiskey offerings,” Lakey added. “Our hope is that the Columbia Pike corridor will become a destination for strong whiskey programs.”

The question of exactly how much room is on the Pike for whiskey bars, then, remains unclear. It seems that’ll be left for the drinkers to decide.

by Jennifer Currier — November 12, 2015 at 2:35 pm 0

New Toscana Grill (via Google Maps)A former Italian restaurant in Courthouse has found a new home on Columbia Pike and is planning to open by the end of the week.

Toscana Grill is all new with its new location (3207 Columbia Pike), new management and new menu, according to general manager Abdul Khalique.

The eatery’s Courthouse Plaza location closed earlier this year and was replaced by a Vietnamese restaurant.

(3207 Columbia Pike was formerly home to Pines of Florence, another Italian restaurant that had relocated from the Orange Line corridor.)

Khalique said the new Toscana Grill is planning a grand opening event this Friday, or as soon as they receive the final license from Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control.

“It’s totally different than before, now an independent corporation with new brand management and great food,” he said. “We’re excited to bring this kind of traditional, Italian food to the Columbia Pike.”

The new menu includes beer and wine, entrees of chicken, seafood or veal, as well as a “make your own” pasta option.

According to its new website, the restaurant will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. for eat-in, take-out and delivery.

Photo via Google Maps

by ARLnow.com — November 9, 2015 at 4:45 pm 0

Lime Fresh Mexican Grill in Pentagon RowLime Fresh Mexican Grill has closed its doors in Pentagon City.

Lime Fresh first opened its Pentagon Row location, near the Harris Teeter, in May 2012. It promised a “signature blend of fresh, mouth-watering Mexican dishes, dynamic ambiance, stylized interiors and scrupulous service,” but garnered mixed reviews online.

A Clarendon outpost of the Ruby Tuesday-owned restaurant chain opened a few months earlier, but closed a year later, in 2013.

Ruby Tuesday announced late last week that it was immediately closing 11 Lime Fresh locations and selling eight others in Florida. In completely divesting itself of Lime Fresh, Ruby Tuesday said it was “in our shareholders’ best interest that we exclusively operate our namesake brand restaurants.”

File photo

by ARLnow.com — November 6, 2015 at 10:10 am 0

"Peacock" tree in Bailey's Branch Park (Flickr pool photo by TheBeltWalk)

Task Force Recommends TJ Site — Ten months after the Arlington County Board nixed a proposed new elementary school next to Thomas Jefferson Middle School, a working group appointed by the Board has concluded that the site is, in fact, the best one for a new school. The group also recommended that the School Board starts planning for a second new South Arlington elementary school, most likely in the Pentagon City area. [InsideNova]

Election Day Bar Crawl Was a Bust — Organizers of an election day bar crawl in Clarendon say they have learned “that people are not up for celebrating democracy on a Tuesday night of a work week.” Despite giving out 65-70 bracelets for the crawl, which was to encourage younger people to vote, one of the participating bars — Whitlow’s — didn’t see a single customer wearing the bracelets. [Washington Post]

‘Suburban North Arlington Is Going to Develop’ — The urbanist blog Greater Greater Washington says that development is inevitable for Lee Highway. The website is encouraging residents of the car-oriented corridor to participate in a county-led planning process for Lee Highway that’s currently underway, including a “visioning charrette” this weekend. [Greater Greater Washington]

Ray’s Maintains Steak Supremacy — Despite an influx of flashy new steakhouses in the District, Ray’s the Steaks in Courthouse still has the best-tasting steak around, and for a lot less than the newcomers, says food critic Todd Kliman. [Washingtonian]

W-L, Yorktown Rivalry Game Tonight — Yorktown will face Washington-Lee in a cross-county rivalry game with playoff implications. Both football squads could make the playoffs with a win tonight. A win also comes with the unofficial distinction of being this year’s Arlington County champion. [Washington Post]

M.J. Stewart Back at UNC Following Suspension — Former Yorktown standout M.J. Stewart is back leading the University of North Carolina’s secondary, after an off-campus altercation led to an assault and battery charge and a suspension from the team. [Daily Tarheel]

Tuckahoe 5K Road Closures — The annual Tuckahoe 5K race will take place Saturday. Arlington police will close portions of Williamsburg Blvd, Little Falls Road, 26th Street and Underwood Street between 7:30 and 10:30 a.m. to accommodate the race. [Arlington County]

Dems Captured All But One Precinct — The two Democratic County Board members-elect nearly swept every voting precinct in the county during Tuesday’s election. Katie Cristol and Christian Dorsey together captured all but one precinct in Arlington. In the Madison precinct of North Arlington, a “bastion of Republicanism in an otherwise true-blue community,” Republican-endorsed independent Michael McMenamin finished second to Christian Dorsey. [InsideNova]

Jury Duty Questionnaires Due — If you were among the seven percent of Arlington and Falls Church residents who received a juror qualification questionnaire in the mail last month, it’s likely past due by now. Recipients are required by law to return the form within 10 days of receiving it. [Arlington County]

Development Forum Next Week — Registration is closing at noon today for a forum on development in Arlington County. Speakers at the event, scheduled for Nov. 10, include Arlington Economic Development Director Victor Hoskins, Rosslyn BID President Mary-Claire Burick and Shooshan Company COO Kelly Shooshan. [CREW Northern Virginia]

Flickr pool photo by TheBeltWalk

by ARLnow.com — October 29, 2015 at 12:00 pm 2,342 0

VIP opening party for Good Stuff Eatery in Crystal CityArlington County has seen a surge in new restaurants in 2015.

So far this year, 56 new restaurants have either opened or are expected to open by the end of the year. That includes all types of restaurants, from Oz to Pepita Cantina to Kona Grill to Cinnabon.

The 56 openings this year is compared to a relative lull in new restaurants in 2014, with only 30 restaurant openings.

(The statistics, which come from ARLnow.com’s reporting on new restaurants, are approximate and may exclude certain small restaurant openings and changes in business.)

While fewer in number, the vast majority of the restaurants that opened in 2014 are still in business, a notable achievement in the competitive and volatile restaurant business. There are, of course, some exceptions.

Chart of restaurant openings in ArlingtonPizza Vinoteca in Ballston was one of 2014’s most hyped openings and quickest closings. Another one that bit the dust this year was 100 Montaditos, which folded after 13 months in Rosslyn. Other notable restaurant closings, just since May 1, include Bungalow Sports Grill, Jay’s Saloon, Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt, Johnny Rockets, Ri Ra Irish Pub, Ted’s Montana Grill, Corner Bakery, Charlie Chiang’s, Boston Market and Willow.

The past two years of volatility in restaurant openings followed three years, from 2011-2013, when restaurant openings held relatively steady, with a slight year-over-year decline — 38 in 2011, 37 in 2012 and 36 in 2013. That period brought local restaurants with staying power, like Green Pig Bistro and Copperwood Tavern, and those that fizzled out, from Fat Shorty’s to Red Parrot Bistro to Wiinky’s.

What should Arlington food fans expect in 2016? Anecdotally, there haven’t been many new restaurant announcements as of late, but there are at least three 2016 openings worth watching, and they’re all in the same place: Matchbox, Sugar Factory and Shake Shack are coming to the expanding Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall next year.

by Heather Mongilio — October 20, 2015 at 10:30 am 2,335 0

Hungry people looking for half-priced burgers at Thirsty Bernie (2163 N. Glebe Road) Monday night were met with disappointment and turned away by a sign on the door reading “Closed on short notice. Sorry.”

The sports bar and grill off of Lee Highway was only closed for the night and will be open tomorrow, said an employee. He declined to say why the restaurant was closed because the manager was not there.

There were at least five people milling about inside the restaurant last night, despite it being closed.

The closure comes amid rumors that changes are afoot at Thirsty Bernie. Two tipsers have told ARLnow.com that the neighborhood sports bar is changing management and its format.

“Thirsty Bernie… is abandoning the sports bar concept in favor of a ‘lounge’ theme,” a tipster said. Another tipster described the new format as a “nightclub.”

So far we have been unable to reach the restaurant’s owner for confirmation.

by Heather Mongilio — October 14, 2015 at 2:05 pm 1,500 0

Oz restaurant in ClarendonA kitchen equipment problem prompted new Clarendon restaurant Oz to temporarily close Tuesday night.

“We had an issue with our hood [that goes over the stove],” said owner Ashley Darby. “We had to make sure it was ventilating properly.”

It took a couple hours to fix the hood, which meant the restaurant had to suspend dinner service for the day. Oz reopened today (Wednesday) and has been business as usual, she said.

Darby said she doesn’t foresee any more temporary closures.

Oz, which serves authentic Australian cuisine, began dinner service at the end of September. The restaurant started serving lunch today, Darby said.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — October 8, 2015 at 12:00 pm 0

Bracket Room is a standout sports bar, with TVs on almost every surface (including inside the U-shaped bar itself!). Come here for the sports, but we promise you’ll keep coming back for the delicious food. 

World ‘s Best Tater Tots Far from the microwavable tater tots that are a staple in the college diet, these giant tots are handmade from an old school potato croquette recipe. That means they’re deliciously moist and cheesy on the inside, but crispy on the outside. Served alongside any of the complimentary 15 dipping sauces.

Philly Cheesesteak Egg Rolls – Forget about cheez whiz; this slow braised ribeye is smothered in mozzarella and provolone cheese. The crunchy egg rolls are served with a honey mustard and sweet Thai chili sauce to add some Southeastern spice to an East Coast classic.

Watermelon Caprese Salad – Summer may be fading, but this savory and refreshing salad is vibrant and savory. Marinated watermelon, baby heirloom tomatoes, and mozzarella ovalinis are served with arugula for a little bite, and a sweet balsamic and basil oil drizzle.

Fresh Ahi Tuna Sashimi – This light dish is a great refresher to balance out that beer bucket you ordered when your team started losing. Citrusy arugula and salty cucumber complement fresh Ahi tuna that’s seasoned with a touch of olive oil.

Hand-Cut Filet Mignon – There’s nothing better than sports and beer, besides sports, beer and perfectly seared beef. The hand-cut steak is served alongside creamy garlic mashed potatoes, and asparagus wrapped in thick-cut prosciutto.

Slow Cooked BBQ Baby Back Ribs – Cooked for 12 hours, these are the most tender, fall-off-the-bone ribs you’ll ever try. The succulent rack of ribs is slathered in a sweet and tangy sauce made in-house. The best part? It’s based on one of our favorite men: Jack Daniels.

9 Rock Shrimp – These huge crustaceans get their crunch from a light and peppery batter. The spicy fried dragon preparation is served with a sambal sauce, a blend of Asian chiles that will make your taste buds rock n’ roll.

About Spotluck: If you’ve ever had trouble figuring out where to eat in Arlington, we hear ya. We’re a small (but mighty) D.C. area startup that created an awesome free restaurant discovery app that lets you “spin” for discounts at great local spots every day. Don’t be hangry, download Spotluck for iPhone or Android to discover and save money at a local restaurant today.

by ARLnow.com — September 21, 2015 at 10:10 am 1,736 0

Foggy view of D.C., the Capitol and the Memorial Bridge from Arlington (Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf)

Arlington Woman Sues Restaurant — Laura Donahue, a 36-year-old Arlington resident, is suing the new D.C. restaurant Fig & Olive, saying she became ill with salmonella after eating there.The restaurant was shut down by the health department for several days after numerous reports of diners afflicted with salmonella. [Washington Post]

County Board Approves Street Projects — At its meeting on Saturday, the Arlington County Board approved $2.9 million in neighborhood street improvement projects. The projects, in Ashton Heights, Lyon Village, Arlington Ridge and Leeway, will be paid for with neighborhood conservation bond funds. [Arlington County]

Refinancing to Save County Millions — Arlington County expects to save $2.2 million over 14 years via a refinancing of wastewater and water system bonds that was approved unanimously by the County Board on Saturday. [Arlington County]

Water Main Rehab Contract Approved — The Arlington County Board has approved a $2.4 million contract to rehabilitate some of the county’s aging water mains. Some of the mains set for a cleaning and a cement mortar lining are more than 60 years old. [Arlington County]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

by ARLnow.com — September 17, 2015 at 6:00 am 1,590 0

Steve Yoon is the owner of Sushi Rock (1900 Clarendon Boulevard), a sushi restaurant with a rock and roll theme.

The trendy restaurant is two blocks from the Courthouse Metro station and offers customers a fun place to unwind and try some sushi, both old favorites and unique house recipes.

Steve began training to be a sushi chef in 2001 in a Japanese restaurant, Hama Sushi, in Venice Beach California. He opened up his local restaurant in 2012. Now it has six sushi chefs and is known across the area for its great sushi and specialty drinks.

ARLnow sat down with him and asked him the questions you’ve always wanted to ask a sushi expert.

What is the most important ingredient in a piece sushi?

A lot of people think fish is the most important, but the rice is equally important. I’d say they each have 50 percent of the importance in a sushi roll.

We use short grain Japanese rice, or sushi rice, and we use rice seasoning vinegar. So every sushi restaurant and every sushi chef, they use their own seasoning vinegar recipe. The rice vinegar style is totally unique to each sushi restaurant.

What are the differences between Japanese and American sushi?

The Japanese generally know a lot more about fish than American people. So naturally I didn’t have to explain so much about fish to Japanese people than I have to for Americans.

So in America, salmon, yellowtail and tuna are more popular, and Japanese customers tend to be more comfortable eating clam, scallops — more knowledge means a wider variety of fish. But they also love yellowtail and tuna. But here, not everybody but most people prefer tuna, salmon and yellowtail. So the biggest difference is different knowledge means different fish.

Is there any difference in the way sushi is prepared in the States than in Japan?

No, the preparation of fish is exactly the same in both places.

What is the most difficult thing to master as a sushi chef to make the perfect nigiri [nigiri is the style of sushi that is sliced fish with a ball of rice underneath]?

You need a lot of practice. To make the perfect nigiri sushi you have to practice for two years. I was hired by an American company, which is a different training. To make nigiri you need to make the perfect rice, which takes a very long time. Then you have to learn to cut the fish. It takes a long time before you can make a perfect nigiri, which would be a nice shape.

What are some common mistakes people make when they eat sushi?

I see a lot of people in my restaurant, and one common mistake is when they eat nigiri is to dip the rice directly into soy sauce. I recommend dipping the fish part only and not the rice. That’s the most common mistake.


by Heather Mongilio — September 8, 2015 at 5:30 pm 6,000 0

New offerings inside Willow Restaurant: Nosh Bistro and Kate at Willow Bakery

Willow restaurant in Ballston will close its doors this month.

The eatery at 4301 N. Fairfax Drive announced its end in an email, saying that after 10 years and six days, the restaurant will “close for good” on Sept. 19.

“We plan on going out the same way we came in, with graciousness, generosity and positive energy… all sprinkled with some great food, wine & company,” Willow’s management team said in the email.

Nosh @ Willow, a small plates bistro within the restaurant, will also close.

The restaurant will offer specials and promotions leading up to it closing. In the email, the staff thanked its customers for the many years of support.

Willow Restaurant has been featured in several food events this year, including a Taste of Arlington, the Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week and the DC BRGR Bash, where it won for the third year in a row.

“For us, this adventure has always been about the people and the relationships that have grown out of Willow,” restaurant management said. “Whether it is a one time guest, a wedding reception, our amazing regular customers or our rock star staff, what stands out the most is how truly blessed we have been to have such amazing people in our lives.”

Willow opened in 2005, under the leadership of chef and co-owner Tracy O’Grady. ARLnow.com has reached out to O’Grady for more information on why the owners made the decision to close.

by ARLnow.com — September 4, 2015 at 10:35 am 1,912 0

End of summer sunset (Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley)

Ballston Restaurant Makes Habit of Breaking Plates — Order the suckling pig at SER restaurant (1110 N. Glebe Road) in Ballston and the chef will chop it at the table with the blunt edge of a plate. After the chopping is done, the chef will smash the plate, as part of a Spanish tradition. [Washington Post]

Dem Dinner May Be Renamed — The Arlington County Democratic Committee is considering renaming its annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, given that the event is currently named after two slaveholding presidents. [InsideNova]

Oakridge Pedal Desks Get National Attention — The pedal desks at Oakridge Elementary are getting some attention from a national cycling magazine, which write that the desk is “is a novel idea because it allows a child to fidget without creating a distraction.” [Bicycling]

School Bus Cameras to Start Issuing TicketsStop sign cameras on Arlington school buses will start issuing $250 tickets on Tuesday, the first day of school. The cameras were installed earlier this year and started issuing warnings this summer to those who drive past school buses while the stop sign is deployed. [ARLnow]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — September 3, 2015 at 1:00 pm 0

Located a block and a half from the Ballston Metro, this Arlington seafood staple offers delicious fresh mussels, a huge beer selection, and much more!

Surfy & Turfy Appetizer: Resting on a bed of smoked tomato aioli and spicy mayo, this tender Char Grilled Calamari is complemented with crispy pork belly that melts in your mouth.

Our New Favorite Broth: Of course you can’t leave Mussel Bar without trying some mussels! The Spicy Thai Green Curry Mussels are simmered in a broth with a kick that will keep you coming back for more. Surf for peanuts, cilantro, and basil in the light yet creamy sauce. Don’t laugh at the big spoon on the side either, chances are you’ll end up drinking this broth like soup.

Fries, Oh My: These Pommes Frites are deliciously crispy. They come with an aioli trio that will keep your taste buds on their toes. Between the trio of sauces and the spicy Thai green curry broth, don’t be surprised when these fries fly … off the table.

Under the Sea: The Chile Salt Grilled Salmon is smothered in a dry rub and char-grilled to perfection. The salmon is paired with fresh chunks of avocado and a sweet mango salsa to cut the saltiness. A tasty arugula salad with cilantro, red onion, radishes, and a light dressing also balances the dish.

Steak Salad: Deliciously juicy grilled steak on the Thai Steak Salad adds a heavier element to an otherwise refreshing green salad to keep you full ’til bedtime! The mint peanut soy vinaigrette features a secret weapon, cilantro, to stand out against the Fresno Chiles and red onions. The perfect summer snack!

 About Mussel Bar and Grille:
800 North Glebe Road, Arlington VA 22203
(703) 841-2337

About Spotluck: If you’ve ever had trouble figuring out where to eat in Arlington, we hear ya. We’re a small (but mighty) D.C. area startup that created an awesome free restaurant discovery app that lets you “spin” for discounts at great local spots every day. Don’t be hangry, download Spotluck for iPhone or Android to discover and save money at a local restaurant today.

by Eleanor Greene — August 27, 2015 at 4:45 pm 2,099 0

Ammanisahan flyerThe area’s first Uyghur restaurant will be opening this fall in Crystal City, according to one of its owners, Emam Maimaiti.

The restaurant will open in the space of the recently closed Charlie Chiang’s (320 23rd Street S.).

The new restaurant will be called Queen Ammanisa and feature Uyghur food from province Xinjiang in Northwest China, a place formerly known as Turkestan, Maimaiti explained. Uygur cuisine is being discovered in other parts of the United States, Maimaiti said, but he and his partner Fatima Baikeli are anxious to bring it to the D.C. area.

Uyghur cooking is a product of its geography and therefore is a mix of Persian and Chinese cuisines. It has kebabs and noodles “like you’ve never had before,” Maimaiti said. Lamb, mutton and beef are common in Uyghur food, as are carrots, raisins and lots of vegetables, he wrote in an email. Uyghur food is often halal too, due to the ethnic group’s predominantly Muslim culture.

As for the name, the partners had planned to name the restaurant Amannisahan, as posted on the window of the building now, which was the name of their previous restaurant in Beijing, where the suffix “han” means queen. They have decided to change it to the English translation, “Queen Ammanisa.” Queen Ammanisa was a queen and musician from the region who lived in the sixteenth century.

The owner would not reveal a specific opening date but hopes that the restaurant will be able to open mid to late fall.


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