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by Tim Regan — January 5, 2017 at 10:05 am 0

A beloved burrito stand on Columbia Pike has split off from its parent company and adopted a new name.

The business formerly known as Pedro and Vinny’s (2599 Columbia Pike) is now a standalone eatery called “Burrito Bros.” The change happened about a week ago, according to Richard Arnez, who co-owns Burrito Bros with Roger Coronel.

“We were kind of like a franchise,” Arnez explained. “But we just wanted to be independent.”

Since the name change, most customers haven’t noticed anything different, Arnez said. After all, they’re there for the burritos, not the branding. There are some slight changes, though. For instance, Arnez said he had to give up the recipes behind the sauces when he left the Pedro and Vinny’s family.

A visit to the restaurant yesterday revealed the burritos are indeed more or less the same as before. The sauces — though still piquant — do taste slightly different now.

Still, some longtime fans might wonder whether in-house animosity could have led to the break-up. Is a burrito battle looming on the horizon?

Probably not, said Pedro and Vinny’s owner John Rider, who still staffs the original burrito cart in downtown D.C. each day. The split was merely a business decision, he explained.

“There’s no animosity with the situation,” Rider said. “I wish him the best of luck.”

Still, Rider said he feels a twinge of pain every time he drives past his former Columbia Pike restaurant and sees it without its familiar sign.

“I was hoping that Richard would open more Pedro and Vinny’s,” Rider said. “It’s too bad it happened, but it wasn’t my choice.”

There’s no guarantee Rider, who has vowed to open another brick and mortar location, won’t return to his old stomping grounds. In fact, he said he’s eyeing a Columbia Pike storefront just down the block from Burrito Bros.

“I love Arlington. Those customers are awesome,” Rider said. “We’re looking around that area, but I don’t know where we’re going to end up.”

by ARLnow.com — January 4, 2017 at 10:45 am 0

Shirlington smoothie stop Robeks has closed, apparently to get an interior upgrade.

The windows of the store at 4115 Campbell Avenue have been papered over, and a sign on one of the windows says the store is closed for remodeling.

The newly-remodeled store will reopen tomorrow (Thursday), the sign says.

by ARLnow.com — January 3, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Happy New Year gear lying on a Clarendon sidewalk on a rainy day

Heavy Traffic, Metro Issues — Commuters were welcomed back to work and back to school with a soaking rush hour rain, heavy traffic and delays on Metro’s Yellow and Blue lines. [Washington Post, Twitter]

Are We In a Restaurant Bubble?At last count, more restaurants closed than opened in Arlington last year. There’s talk that certain parts of Arlington’s restaurant scene — sit-down restaurants in particular — are oversaturated. While there’s always room for top-notch restaurants, Arlington’s restaurant woes are seemingly consistent with the assertion that we are in a national restaurant bubble. [Thrillist]

Take Our 2017 Reader Survey — Once a year, we give our readers a chance to weigh in on how we’re doing and what we might do to improve. We also over-share potential changes that we’re considering (some more seriously than others). Now is your chance to share your insights and opinions about ARLnow. [SurveyMonkey]

by ARLnow.com — December 22, 2016 at 8:30 am 0

Morning departure from Reagan National Airport DCA (Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann)

Two Arrested for McD’s Beating — Arlington County Police have arrested two men for the beating of a 17-year-old boy at a McDonald’s on Lee Highway last week. The victim’s mother said she “believes the attack is payback for her son reporting a crime against him months ago.” [Fox 5]

Ray’s Files for Bankruptcy — The parent company of Ray’s The Steaks has filed for bankruptcy for the second time in two years. Owner Michael Landrum says Ray’s is in no danger of closing, however. [Washington Business Journal]

Rosslyn Hyatt Changes Branding — The Hyatt hotel on Wilson Blvd is now the first “Hyatt Centric” in the Mid-Atlantic region. Hyatt Centric is described as “a full-service brand that aims to attract a younger traveler, as well as to engage more with the neighborhood in which the hotels are located.” [Washington Business Journal]

Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann

by ARLnow.com — December 9, 2016 at 11:25 am 0

Shawafel, a fast-casual restaurant near Courthouse, quietly closed earlier this fall after about a year in business.

The eatery opened at 1910 Wilson Blvd in September 2015, offering “an ‘Americanized’ twist to traditional Lebanese cuisine.”

According to Yelp users, it closed in October.

There was no announcement on the restaurant’s Facebook page; its phone number has since been disconnected. The original Shawafel on H Street NE in D.C. appears to still be open.

Though such restaurants often appeal to a lunchtime crowd, the Arlington Shawafel was located on a big hill between the employment centers of Rosslyn and Courthouse.

Hat tip to Christopher Cahill

by ARLnow.com — December 8, 2016 at 3:50 pm 0

Outback Steakhouse in Arlington ForestFirefighters responded Thursday afternoon to a possible fire in an air conditioning and heating unit at the Outback Steakhouse in Arlington Forest.

The restaurant at 4821 1st Road N., near Route 50, was initially reported to be filling with smoke due to a problem with its HVAC system. Firefighters arriving on scene said there was no active fire and that a haze inside was beginning to dissipate.

The smoke came from an overheated motor in the rooftop HVAC system, according to scanner traffic. No word yet on whether the incident will prevent Blooming Onion fans from getting their fix at dinner tonight.

Photo via Google Maps

by ARLnow.com — December 8, 2016 at 10:20 am 0

Snow man painted on a restaurant window in Shirlington

W-L Student Pens Open Letter on Boundary Changes — The boundary changes approved by the School Board on Dec. 1 will decrease socio-economic diversity at Arlington’s high schools, despite diversity being a stated “core value” at Arlington Public Schools. That’s the argument made by a Washington-Lee student in an open letter to the School Board, published by the Crossed Sabres student newspaper. The article has been widely shared online and, we’re told, has broken traffic records on the newspaper’s website. [Crossed Sabres]

Rollover Crash Last Night — A crash involving an SUV that flipped on its roof was reported near the intersection of Little Falls Road and N. Glebe Road just before 8 p.m. last night. Another crash, involving a person potentially trapped in a vehicle, was reported on Old Dominion Drive just over the border in McLean, around 6 p.m. [Twitter, Twitter]

AFAC Collecting Lots of Donated Food — Holiday-time food collections are bolstering supplies at the Arlington Food Assistance Center. Just yesterday AFAC said it had received around 3,900 lbs of food from property owner Vornado and 1,900 lbs from apartment operator Dittmar. Dittmar says its total holiday food drive goal this year is 5,500 lbs. Other organizations collecting food for AFAC include local real estate agents that have formed a group called Arlington Realtors Care. [Instagram]

More Special Needs Students at APS — The percentage of special needs students at Arlington’s public schools has remained steady, but due to enrollment growth the number of special needs students has increased, presenting budgetary and instructional challenges. [InsideNova]

Cruz and Cornyn’s Queso Comes from Ballston — When Texas Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn needed some authentic Texas-style queso to square off in a taste test against cheese dip from Arkansas, they went to Uncle Julio’s Mexican Restaurant in Ballston. (The restaurant chain is based in Texas.) Unfortunately, the Arkansas cheese won the competition. [Roll Call]

by ARLnow.com — December 8, 2016 at 9:15 am 0

Former Jerry's Subs and Pizza location on Ball Street near Potomac YardDomino’s Pizza is planning to open its first dine-in location in Arlington.

As detailed in an item on the County Board’s Saturday agenda, Domino’s is planning to move its current pizzeria at 2923 S. Glebe Road, in the Arlington Ridge Shopping Center, to the ground floor of the Camden Potomac Yard Apartments.

That’s the same location, at 3535 S. Ball Street, as a former Jerry’s Subs and Pizza restaurant. The new location will include 18 dine-in seats, a first for a Domino’s in Arlington County.

The County Board item is a site plan amendment to allow delivery service from the new storefront. Domino’s is proposing delivery hours of 10 a.m.-1 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 a.m.-2 a.m. Friday and Saturday, with up to five drivers making deliveries at any given time.

by ARLnow.com — December 7, 2016 at 4:45 pm 0

Pio Pio, a Peruvian charcoal rotisserie chicken restaurant at 3300 Wilson Blvd, is “closed for maintenance,” according to a sign in the window.

The restaurant, located roughly between the Clarendon and Virginia Square Metro stations, was also closed yesterday, though the sign says the closure is “today afternoon.”

No maintenance could be seen being done inside the restaurant this afternoon. An employee who answered the phone at Pio Pio’s Wheaton, Maryland location said there’s a problem with the roof that needs to be fixed by the landlord before the Arlington location can reopen.

by ARLnow.com — December 5, 2016 at 9:45 am 0

Struggling fast-casual restaurant chain Noodles & Co. has closed its location at the Pentagon Row shopping center (1201 S. Joyce Street).

The eatery closed last month after 14 years in business. The restaurant’s exterior sign has since been removed and its interior has been largely cleared out.

A sign on the front door directs customers to the Noodles & Co. location at 2011 Crystal Drive in Crystal City.

by ARLnow.com — December 1, 2016 at 3:30 pm 0

Tacos (photos via Don Tito/Facebook)

Clarendon watering hole Don Tito (3165 Wilson Blvd) will be hosting what it’s billing as the “first annual Arlington taco eating contest.”

The event is being held on Monday, Dec. 19 at 7 p.m.

It will feature up to 100 contestants trying to eat as many chicken and beef tacos as they can in one minute. After 10 preliminary heats, each with 10 competitors, the winner of each heat will advance to a preliminary round in which the first person to eat 10 tacos with varying levels of spiciness will be crowned the “Taco King of Arlington.”

Said Taco King will receive a $150 Don Tito gift card and a championship belt. The second and third place winners will, respectively, get a $100 gift card and a $50 gift card.

The cost of entry is $20. Registration is available online. Spectators can attend for free.

Photo via Facebook

by ARLnow.com — November 29, 2016 at 4:35 pm 0

Sugar Shack Donuts on Columbia PikeYou might soon be able to enjoy a cold beer and a warm donut all in the same place along Columbia Pike.

Sugar Shack Donuts (1014 S. Glebe Road) has applied for a Virginia ABC license to serve beer on premises. The application was filed Nov. 7.

Owner Rob Krupicka wasn’t ready to discuss his beer-related plans when contacted by ARLnow.com.

“Need to see if we get a permit,” he said via email.

Krupicka’s Sugar Shack Donuts store in Alexandria has a hidden “speakeasy” bar called Captain Gregory’s, which serves cocktails and a small food menu featuring mostly savory, non-donut dishes.

by ARLnow.com — November 18, 2016 at 10:00 am 0

It looks like a ramen noodle restaurant is coming to the former Amsterdam Falafelshop space in Clarendon.

Saul Centers, which owns the building, now lists “Hanabi Ramen House” on its leasing chart for the retail bay at 3024 Wilson Blvd.

No additional information was immediately available about the restaurant nor when it may open.

Separately, the leasing chart shows a portion of the space currently occupied by Pete’s New Haven Apizza — the portion at the corner of Clarendon Blvd and N. Garfield Street — as available for lease, though Pete’s is still listed as the tenant for most of its existing space.

Peter’s co-founder Joel Mehr confirmed to ARLnow.com that it is planning to downsize its space while staying in Clarendon. He added: “We are still working out details with our landlord, so it’s not a done deal yet.”

Rumors had previously swirled in commercial real estate circles regarding Pete’s status in Clarendon and whether Chipotle might have been poking around for a potential Clarendon location.

by ARLnow.com — November 18, 2016 at 9:05 am 0

Unusual trash day items (Photo courtesy Peter Golkin)

ACFD Battles Fire in Fairlington — Firefighters from Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax together helped to battle a kitchen fire in a Fairlington condominium this morning, preventing it from spreading further. S. Abingdon Street near Abingdon Elementary was blocked for part of the morning as a result of the emergency response. [Twitter, Twitter]

ACPD Cracks Down on Fake IDs — An Arlington County Police Department campaign to crack down on fake IDs, in partnership with Clarendon bars, has netted more than 450 fakes since May. At one point this summer, according to a manager, Don Tito collected about 20 fake IDs per week. [WJLA]

Metro Pulls 4000 Series Cars — Metro has removed all 4000-series railcars from service to due safety concerns. Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) said he asked the agency to prioritize 8-car train service on the Blue Line while the railcars are out of service. Metro’s general manager “assured me there’d be very little impact to BL riders,” Beyer tweeted. [WMATA, Twitter]

Sietsema Lauds Ambar — Ambar’s new Clarendon outpost not only lured the Washington Post’s Tom Sietsema west of the Potomac River, but it received 2.5 out of 3 stars from the restaurant critic. Sietsema’s main gripe: too much noise. “Surely the same folks who dispense so much good will and satisfying food can solve a problem like disquiet,” Sietsema wrote. [Washington Post]

Post Profiles Old Dominion Neighborhood — The Washington Post’s continued anthropological study of Arlington’s neighborhoods in the real estate section has this week brought it to the Old Dominion community. A pair of recent homebuyers said they liked that Old Dominion “had a neighborhood feel and was also walkable.” [Washington Post]

Big Wins for Arlington at NAIOP Awards — Arlington County fared well at the 2016 NAIOP Northern Virginia commercial real estate awards on Wednesday. Among the local projects being recognized were the Bartlett in Pentagon City, WeWork/WeLive in Crystal City, Arlington’s Dept. of Human Services building along Washington Blvd and Opower in Courthouse. [NAIOP]

Photo courtesy Peter Golkin

by ARLnow.com — November 17, 2016 at 5:00 pm 0

Nick FreshmanNick Freshman is a native Arlingtonian who is the co-owner of Spider Kelly’s and was the co-owner of the former Eventide Restaurant in Clarendon.

In this week’s 26 Square Miles podcast, we talked with Nick about the current state of Arlington’s restaurant business, why so many restaurants are closing, and why he’s decided to start investing in and advising new restaurants. Nick also discusses the ups and downs and strategy behind running a bar and restaurant.

Be sure to subscribe to our podcast, 26 Square Miles, on iTunes, Google PlayStitcher or TuneIn.

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