A beloved Clarendon restaurant will be closing its doors next weekend.
Boulevard Woodgrill (2901 Wilson Blvd) will close its doors at 9 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 7. It’s expected to be replaced by a new location of the well-regarded Capitol Hill eatery Ambar.
In a statement posted on Facebook, the restaurant thanked customers for their patronage over the past decade and a half.
“After nearly 15 wonderful years of business in the heart of Clarendon, we have decided to sell our business and will be closing The Boulevard,” the restaurant said. “We have thoroughly enjoyed serving you over the years (nearly 2 million meals!) and will be forever grateful both for your support as well as the amazing efforts of our employees, both current and past. We hope you will stop in and see us a time or two before we say goodbye and perhaps down the road we’ll be able to see each other again!”
“It’s a sad day for us, but we are so happy to have had the chance to be a part of a truly wonderful community!” the restaurant added. “Onward!”
Minh Vietnamese Restaurant, located at 2500 Wilson Blvd, has closed citing lease issues and other business concerns.
There is a sign posted by the owners that reads “Dear Customers, We are very sorry to inform you that due to business concerns including our lease on this space, Minh has ceased operation effective immediately. We appreciate your patronage over the years we have been here, and we are sad to be leaving.”
The restaurant has been at that location for over 10 years and it was one of the few remaining Vietnamese restaurants in the Clarendon area, a hotbed of Vietnamese businesses before the construction of the Orange Line. It was said to be “one of the original Vietnamese restaurants that put Clarendon on the map.”
There is no word yet on whether those behind the restaurant plan on reopening in another location.
Multiple sources tell ARLnow.com that the bar and restaurant at 3101 Wilson Blvd is either set to close or, at least, give up part of its space for a new Verizon Wireless store. No timeline was given for when either might happen.
A local manager at American Tap Room told us that it’s not planning to close. The restaurant’s Reston-based parent company, Thompson Hospitality, did not return a call last week seeking comment.
In late 2014 we reported, citing commercial real estate sources, that American Tap Room was seeking a buyer to take over its large, pricy lease for space just across from the Clarendon Metro station. It has remained open since that report.
Goody’s Pizza in Clarendon is a small restaurant struggling to stay afloat in an increasingly expensive neighborhood.
The owners, Nick and Vanessa Reisis, say they’ve put a lot of time and effort into their family-run business, located at 3125 Wilson Blvd, but they are having trouble competing with the wave of newer, more upscale restaurants in Clarendon.
There is “a new generation that’s coming in, they’re all young people and they all have good jobs, and… they’re not looking for a little mom and pop shop anymore,” said Vanessa, who’s known to some customers as “Momma Goody.” Business has been “a little down lately,” she acknowledged.
Goody’s is tiny compared to some of Clarendon’s cavernous restaurants and nightspots. But even larger restaurants face the threat of closing. Earlier this month long-time local fixture Hard Times Cafe closed over Independence Day weekend.
Reisis said the feeling of community that was once unique to Clarendon businesses is dissipating.
“It’s not the friendly little neighborhood places anymore,” Vanessa explained. “[At] all these upscale kind of places, it’s just cold.”
Reisis was sad to see Hard Times close — the two restaurants had enjoyed a close relationship, she said. “We recommended them, they recommended us. We were working together.”
This isn’t a new issue — Reisis was once the main subject of an article with the tagline “Can Arlington’s mom-and-pop eateries survive in an increasingly upscale restaurant landscape?” Five years later, Goody’s is still open, still serving a voracious late night bar crowd, and still offering only two types of pizza by the slice: plain and pepperoni.
Despite being an old school spot in a neighborhood full of shiny new places, Goody’s is looking to the future. Tentative plans include getting new furniture and maybe a new outdoor sign.
“We love this restaurant, it’s our passion, it’s like our little baby,” said Reisis.
“We’re thinking of upscaling,” she added, “but that costs money, which we don’t have in our budget.”
We talked with managers and owners of several businesses in the area about how to snag a summer job.
Anne-Marie Schmidt, owner of Backyard BBQ & Catering Co., said she is looking for summer help now. However, she won’t hire someone for the summer unless the prospective employee seems committed to working, rather than vacationing.
“One or two vacations is fine, but… before I hire them I make sure that they’re available when I need them,” Schmidt said.
Another option is working at a pool. The pool at Yorktown High School is among the local swimming area that have summer help. At that pool, employees must be at least 15 1/2 years old and have a lifeguard certification. Other than that, “we like fun energetic people, and enthusiastic people,” Luis Garcia, the pool’s manager said.
But not every business is looking for summer help.
Lost Dog Cafe is among those places.
“By the time they learn our system, they are ready to leave, so we spent two months training somebody that’s never gonna be capable of working,” said a manager there.
Lisa Ostroff, owner of Trade Roots gift store and coffee shop, also doesn’t hire college or high school students for the summer.
“It takes a while to learn how to work here, learn the products, and the histories, and the stories, and make the coffees and teas, you can’t just learn it in a summer,” she said. Trade Roots is, however, currently looking to hire for the fall.
The new Sweetgreen restaurant in Clarendon opened today to big lunchtime lines.
Located at 3100 Clarendon Blvd, the popular salad shop had a line stretching all the way out the door this morning for its official opening. It was similarly busy on Wednesday and Thursday as the restaurant gave away free food during RSVP-only “preview” events.
One hundred percent of today’s opening day proceeds were to be donated to the FRESHFARM Markets Matching Dollars program, which provides fresh, local produce to under-privileged communities in the D.C. area.
“It’s awesome that they donate the first day’s proceeds to a local nonprofit,” said one woman who was enjoying a “Guacamole Greens” salad inside the restaurant’s small dining area. She and her friends “actually biked [to Sweetgreen] from Rosslyn,” despite temperatures in the 90s.
Due to courtyard construction work at 3100 Clarendon Blvd, Mad Rose Tavern is adjusting to a summer without its popular outdoor patio.
With the patio closed for the next month or so, until construction wraps up, the restaurant has added new specials and events to help maintain business during the summer months.
(The normal daily happy hour is from 4-8 p.m.)
Also recently introduced is a “Rosa Brava” international party night on Thursdays with top 40 and Latin music. Before the party starts, free dance lessons are now being offered starting at 9:30 p.m.
Here is a full list of events and specials, according to the restaurant:
- Sunday — Yappy Sunday: “Brunch with your best friend” from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. All you can eat for $22. Bowls provided.
- Tuesday — District Karaoke — Extended happy hour runs through 9 p.m. Karaoke runs through 11 p.m.
- Wednesday — All You Can Eat Crab Legs: Buffet cost is $29.99. RSVP at https://www.seatme.yelp.com/r/mad-rose-tavern/
- Thursday — Rosa Brava International Party Night
- Saturday — Brunch
- Friday and Saturday nights — DJs: Dance club experience featuring Top 40, EDM and international music.
Arlington County firefighters are responding to a two-alarm blaze at a restaurant in Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood.
The second alarm was sounded just before 4 p.m.
The mutual aid call is for a fire at Al’s Steak House (1504 Mt. Vernon Avenue), which reopened today after a months-long hiatus, according to an article published on Del Ray Patch less than an hour ago.
Fire at Al's Steakhouse in Del Ray. Opening day. This sucks. No one injured. pic.twitter.com/ixNCKw8cw7
— Birgitta Sunderland (@buggie73) July 6, 2016
“Room 19,” as the speakeasy is called, will take place weekly in the back of Boulevard Woodgrill restaurant (2901 Wilson Blvd), starting next Monday night, July 11. It will feature classic cocktails in an intimate setting.
“The goal of Room 19 is to give the DC and NOVA crowd something they have not experienced before,” wrote Minh Tran, a spokesman for the venture.
“We want patrons to feel as if they have stepped away from 2016 and entered a hidden world,” Tran said in an email. “Room 19 will feel intimate, dark, and secretive. This is about having an immersive experience of the Prohibition era. Jazz music from the 1920’s and 1930’s will add to the ambience. This is a place you want to have a great time with your date or to share a new experience with friends. It is an escape.”
Behind Room 19, Tran said, are Boulevard Woodgrill owner Joe Corey and mixologist Chris Bassett, whose resume includes Ping Pong Dim Sum and Old Town Alexandria speakeasy PX. The cocktail menu includes classics like a Negroni, a Sazerac, and a “cedar smoked” Old Fashioned, plus cocktails with names like “Sherry’s got me by the stones,” with tequila, apricot liqueur and sherry; and “That smokey sweetness,” with single malt whiskey, raspberry syrup and lemon juice.
Room 19 will initially take place Mondays from 6 to 11 p.m., but may stay open later if the crowd doesn’t thin out. Additional days of the week are expected to be added.
There’s a dress code: casual attire is allowed, but flip flops, tank tops and “regular,” non-trendy sneakers are all verboten. Those wishing to make table reservations are asked to email [email protected].
Hard Times Cafe in Clarendon is closing for good this weekend.
The restaurant, noted for its chili and chili dogs, will serve its last customers Saturday.
“Folks, I am communicating to you the sad news that Hard Times Cafe will be closing our doors at close of business tomorrow, Saturday July 2, 2016,” the restaurant’s manager said in an email to a group that holds events there.
Hard Times employees and other local business owners were told of the closing Friday afternoon. There had been rumors of an impending closing since a “for lease” sign had been placed above the entrance in March. That sign has since been taken down, though a leasing representative did not reveal any future plans for the space when contacted by ARLnow.com today.
The 8,240 square foot, three level location — located directly across the street from the Clarendon Metro station, at 3028 Wilson Blvd — is being marketed as a “trophy restaurant or retail space.”
Bracing for the Next Two Metro Surges — There will be no Metrorail service at the National Airport station during the next two Metrorail maintenance surge projects, from July 5 to July 18. Blue and Yellow line riders can expect major service impacts and should consider alternative means of commuting, from biking to Uber to taking the bus. The new Metroway Bus Rapid Transit line from Alexandria to Crystal City will be free during the two surges. [Washington Post, NBC Washington, Twitter, WMATA]
Tributes to Cafe Asia — As ARLnow.com first reported, today is expected to be the last day in business for Cafe Asia in Rosslyn. The restaurant was a go-to lunch, after work and event spot for some of Rosslyn’s media and political types, who have been posting memories of Cafe Asia on Twitter and elsewhere. [Washington Business Journal, Twitter, Twitter]
Garvey Profiled in Weekly Standard — Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey, who defeated challenger Erik Gutshall in the Democratic primary two weeks ago, has been profiled by the conservative political magazine the Weekly Standard. “From her fight for fiscal conservatism over a costly streetcar plan to her endorsement of Republican-turned-independent John Vihstadt (who eventually became a fellow Board member), it is no wonder that some of her fellow liberals are worried about the county’s direction,” the magazine wrote. [Weekly Standard]
Photo by Jackie Friedman
Venerable Rosslyn restaurant and happy hour spot Cafe Asia (1550 Wilson Blvd) is closing its doors this week.
The pan-Asian restaurant will serve its last customers Wednesday night, according to a restaurant manager. No special events are planned for the closing, we’re told.
The manager said that Cafe Asia’s owners declined to renew its lease, after some 15 years in business. The owners will be “taking a break” before deciding what to do next, she said.
Cafe Asia serves dishes from Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, China, Japan and Vietnam in a large, airy dining space that includes a sizable bar and separate event space.
“It’s a shame,” a customer told ARLnow.com. “It was an affordable go to place for sushi and the staff was great.”
Hat tip to @Colknewman
Crews with video cameras. Television production lights mounted on the ceiling.
It appears that some reality show filming was underway at Oz restaurant in Clarendon as of Wednesday evening.
The restaurant, at 2950 Clarendon Blvd, is co-owned by Ashley Darby, a cast member on the Bravo TV show Real Housewives of Potomac. The show began filming its second season in April — a process that was expected to take 3-4 months.
There were no tables being flipped or wine glasses being hurled when an ARLnow.com editor walked by today, just a seemingly mundane conversation between two people on the sidewalk outside of the restaurant.
Arlington County and Pentagon police are responding to two Noodles and Company restaurants in Arlington due to bomb threats.
According to initial reports, someone phoned in multiple bomb threats to the Noodles and Company restaurants at 2011 Crystal Drive in Crystal City and 1201 S. Joyce Street on Pentagon Row.
The restaurants have been evacuated, we hear, and bomb-sniffing dogs from the Pentagon Force Protection Agency are en route to sweep the area.
W-L Soccer Captures State Title — The Washington-Lee boys soccer team defeated First Colonial 3-1 on Saturday to win the school’s first Virginia 6A boys soccer state title. Despite an injury, Maycol Nunez led the team with two goals. [Washington Post, InsideNova]
Ceremony for W-L Grad Killed in WW2 — A special ceremony will be held today at Arlington National Cemetery to honor the memory of Merrill Walter Hoover, a star athlete at Washington-Lee High School who was killed while serving in the Coast Guard during World War II. Hoover’s body was never found following a ship collision in which he worked selflessly to save his shipmates. [Falls Church News-Press]
Arlington RAMMY Winners — Clarendon’s Northside Social and chef Jonah Kim of Yona in Ballston were big winners during last night’s RAMMY awards, picking up “Favorite Gathering Place of the Year” and “Rising Culinary Star of the Year” awards, respectively. The awards program for Washington’s restaurant industry also honored major Ballston restaurant operator Mike Isabella Concepts. [RAMW]
Worker Rescued in Crystal City — On Saturday, a worker whose lift platform became stuck 30 feet in the air in Crystal City was rescued by Arlington County firefighters. [Twitter]
Cousins Tweets W-L Senior’s Yearbook Quote — “Best of luck at VCU this fall!” Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins told Washington-Lee senior Joseph Langley, in a tweet, after Langley used Cousins’ famous “You like that?!” moment as his yearbook quote. [ESPN]
More on Applebee’s Ballston Plans — Applebees is opening in Ballston with a “new, urban-focused design.” Why Ballston? “There are lot of Millennials in the area, and it’s an area that has a lot of office buildings as well as residential,” a company spokesman said, as quoted in a 1,070 word magazine article about the restaurant’s Ballston plans. [Arlington Magazine]
CPRO Names New Executive Director — The Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization has named its interim executive director, former Rosslyn BID honcho Cecilia Cassidy, as its permanent executive director. CPRO’s previous executive director, Takis Karantonis, resigned in January after five years on the job, and is currently working for County Board candidate Erik Gutshall’s campaign. [CPRO]