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by ARLnow.com — October 18, 2016 at 9:15 am 0

Mid-October in Clarendon

Arlington Featured on MTP — Arlington County was featured in a Meet the Press segment on Sunday, comparing the level of support for Hillary Clinton here to support for Donald Trump in a rural Ohio county. The show interviewed residents in the Clarendon area. [NBC News]

Surge in Registration, Absentee Voting — Officials are anticipating about 43,000 absentee ballots in Arlington this year, up 50 percent compared to the last presidential election in 2012. Throughout the region and the state, absentee voting is on the rise, which is generally good news for Hillary Clinton. Meanwhile, a surge in last-minute voter registrations yesterday and a statewide software slowdown has the county advising that it could take several days to process all of the applications. [Washington Post, WTOP, WTOP]

Vehicle Decal Design Contest Starts — The Treasurer’s Office Decal Design Competition is back for another year. Local high school students will compete to design the next Arlington County vehicle decal, which will appear on some 160,000 vehicles in the county. The submission deadline is Nov. 28. [Arlington County]

Pike Recycling Center May Move — Next month the Arlington County Board is expected to consider whether to relocate the recycling facility at the corner of Columbia Pike and Four Mile Run Drive to the Arlington Trades Center in Shirlington. County officials want to lower the level of illegal dumping that’s currently taking place. [InsideNova]

Historic Designation for Ballston Cemetery? — On Wednesday night Arlington’s Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board will discuss the merits of a proposed local historic district designation for the Ball cemetery in Ballston. The cemetery is currently slated to be relocated to make way for the redevelopment of a church. [Preservation Arlington]

Last Day at Fuego Cocina — Fuego Cocina y Tequileria in Clarendon served its final meals and margaritas Sunday. “We’re turning the light off now. Farewell,” the restaurant said via Twitter. [Twitter, Twitter]

by ARLnow.com — October 17, 2016 at 12:15 pm 0

Luna Grill and Diner (4024 Campbell Ave) in Shirlington has been closed since last week, but there are no signs or announcements explaining the closure.

The restaurant remained closed during lunchtime today. Chairs were still placed atop tables and nothing looked amiss, save the fact that it wasn’t open as usual.

There were no signs in the window, nor recent social media posts on the restaurant’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.

The Luna Grill website has a simple one-sentence line of text — “This site has been suspended” — and nothing else. The diner’s phone line has apparently been turned off.

Unconfirmed rumors suggest that Luna Grill was sold — it has been offered for sale, as we’ve previously reported — and that it would reopen later this year with a new owner.

The most recent Facebook post, from September, announces a new chef and a coming “grand reopening.”

“Luna is excited to have renowned Chef Scott Sunshine on board!” the post says. “Join Chef Scott Sunshine for a look at some of our new dishes: Roasted Duck Eggrolls, Watermelon Soup, Chard and Kale Caesar Salad, Crispy Red Curry Shrimp Wrap and Seared Scallop Pappardelle Pasta. Coming soon, [a] grand reopening with completely new exciting menu!”

by ARLnow.com — October 14, 2016 at 1:45 pm 0

The Five Guys location at 2300 Wilson Blvd in Courthouse has been temporarily closed for at least the past week.

“Attention: This location will be temporarily closed,” says a sign on the door of the popular burger restaurant. “We apologize for this inconvenience. Please visit our other nearby locations during this time.”

Online ordering from the location is also listed as “temporarily unavailable.”

It’s unclear why the eatery is closed. Workers could be seen inside the restaurant yesterday, performing some sort of work on or in the ceiling. Thus far a phone call to a company spokeswoman has not been returned.

When ARLnow.com drove by today a group of firefighters could be seen walking up to the restaurant and then walking back, empty-handed, to their truck.

The first Five Guys opened in Arlington in 1986. The company is now headquartered in Lorton and has well over 1,000 locations nationwide.

by ARLnow.com — October 12, 2016 at 9:15 am 0

"Pink clouds and moon" by Errin Shirley

Court Judgment Against Fmr. Johnny Rockets Owner — The owner of the former Johnny Rockets diner in Pentagon City mall has been ordered to pay more than a half million dollars in back wages and damages to 55 servers. The servers worked at Johnny Rockets locations in Pentagon City and Union Station in D.C.; a Dept. of Labor lawsuit alleged they had to share tips with non-tipped employees and did not receive overtime for working more than 40 hours per week. [Patch]

Arlington GOP Still Supports Trump — In an email this week, the chair of the Arlington County Republican Committee said that the party continues “to strongly support Donald Trump for president,” despite joining with GOP leaders in denouncing Trump’s recorded 2005 remarks about women. [Blue Virginia]

Delta to Fly from DCA to LAX — Delta Air Lines has announced plans to start flying from Reagan National Airport to Los Angeles International Airport, starting April 24. Currently, American Airlines and Alaska Airlines fly the direct DCA to LAX route. [Patch]

Food Truck Party on the Pike — On Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Columbia Pike residents have organized a “food truck party” in the recycling center lot at the intersection of the Pike and Four Mile Run Drive. [Columbia Forest]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

by ARLnow.com — October 11, 2016 at 11:50 am 0

Police car (file photo)Three masked men with guns robbed a business in the Arlington Forest Shopping Center last night.

The robbery happened around 11:40 p.m. The men fled on foot with cash from the business’ cash register.

Police would not reveal which store was robbed, but the only business in the shopping center that is open past 10 p.m. is the Brick’s Pizza shop.

From an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

ARMED ROBBERY, 161010039, 4800 block of N. 1st Street. At approximately 11:39 p.m. on October 10, three unknown black males entered a business armed with handguns wearing black ski masks. The suspects stole an undisclosed amount of cash from the register and fled the area on foot. Investigation is ongoing.

by ARLnow.com — October 10, 2016 at 12:00 pm 0

Eight months after opening, Park Lane Tavern (3227 Washington Blvd) in Clarendon has closed.

The European-inspired pub, which offered reasonably-priced pan-Euro cuisine and a sizable collection of beers and whiskeys from across the pond, opened in February in a location not far from the Clarendon Metro but well off the beaten path. It was the company’s third Park Lane Tavern, with existing locations in Fredericksburg and Hampton, Va.

Skepticism about the restaurant surviving in a more competitive, urban environment was apparently warranted, though it was generally well-reviewed on Yelp.

While a sign on the door today suggested the closure was temporary, equipment could be seen being hauled out of the restaurant this morning. An employee who answered the phone confirmed that the closure was permanent.

by ARLnow.com — October 6, 2016 at 5:55 pm 0

The rumors were true, unfortunately: Fuego Cocina y Tequileria in Clarendon is closing.

The restaurant confirmed in a press release this evening that its last day will be Sunday, Oct. 16. Fuego opened four years ago, in October 2012, at the corner of Clarendon Blvd and N. Fillmore Street.

“Even great-tasting restaurants battle tough odds, but we cannot thank our devotees enough who were a constant support and presence at our bar and in our dining room,” chef and co-owner Jeff Tunks said in a statement.

Separately, it appears that another Clarendon eatery — Spice, a well-reviewed Italian hoagie and Mediterranean food shop at 3033 Wilson Blvd — has closed after just over two years in business.

There was no notice of a closing in the windows and nothing posted on the restaurant’s social media accounts, but the doors were locked and the phone disconnected throughout the day today. Numerous boxes littered the restaurant’s interior. So far, however, there has been no confirmation that it is permanently closed.”

“[Spice] is a favorite for my coworkers and me,” one regular customer told ARLnow.com. “Do you know if it’s officially closed? Too bad, if so! It was a great place.”

This has been a turbulent year for Clarendon restaurants, with at least a half dozen — including local staples Hard Times Cafe and Boulevard Woodgrill — closing since the end of April. At the same time, however, there are a number of new restaurants and bars opening — like Ambar and Wilson Hardware.

The full press release about Fuego’s closing, after the jump.

(more…)

by ARLnow.com — September 29, 2016 at 8:55 am 0

Pumpkins at the Columbia Pike farmers market (Flickr pool photo by Alan Kotok)

Garvey to Hold Book Discussion — Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey is launching a series of community book discussions on various topics. Tonight Garvey and School Board Chair Nancy Van Doren will discuss the best-selling book “Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School.” The discussion will take place at Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street) from 7:30-9 p.m. [Facebook]

Beer Store, TechShop Collaborate for New Kegerator — Crystal City Wine Shop (220 20th Street S.) has teamed up with nearby TechShop to create a new kegerator. The custom-modified refrigerator allows the store to offer varieties of craft beer that aren’t available in bottles or cans. Customers can take the beer home in fillable cans known as crowlers. [Washington Business Journal]

Cosi Files for Bankruptcy — The Cosi chain of sandwich and salad restaurants has filed for bankruptcy and closed 40 percent of its locations. Among the closed stores: the Cosi in Courthouse. A rep for the company told us yesterday: “The decision to close this restaurant was based on its financial performance and market density. At this time, we do not have any plans to reopen this restaurant.” [Nation’s Restaurant News]

Flash Flood Watch Continues — Forecasters are expecting several more inches of rain to fall between now and Saturday. The potential for flash flooding along streams and low-lying areas remains and a Flash Flood Watch is still in effect. [Twitter, Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Alan Kotok

by ARLnow.com — September 27, 2016 at 3:35 pm 0

The Cosi restaurant in Courthouse has closed.

Lunch-goers hoping for a Cosi sandwich or salad found instead a locked door. A sign posted on the door said the restaurant is closed.

“We truly appreciate your patronage and we apologize for any inconvenience,” the sign said.

It was not immediately clear if the closure was permanent or temporary, although the restaurant’s interior appeared to be in the process of being cleared out and a number of items from the restaurant were placed in and around the dumpsters behind the building.

The Cosi is located at 2050 Wilson Blvd, just steps from the Courthouse Metro station.

Update at 5:45 p.m. — A Cosi in Reston Town Center has also closed.

Update at 4:40 on 9/28/16 — The restaurant is permanently closed and its parent company has filed for bankruptcy. “It is never an easy decision to close a restaurant,” Cosi Marketing Coordinator Devin Dourney told ARLnow.com in an email. “The decision to close this restaurant was based on its financial performance and market density. At this time, we do not have any plans to reopen this restaurant.”

by ARLnow.com — September 20, 2016 at 3:35 pm 0

China Garden restaurant is terminating its lease, a permit application on this week’s County Board agenda suggests.

The long-time Chinese restaurant, at 1100 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn, is perhaps best known for its weekend dim sum lunches.

Monday Properties, owner of the 1000-1100 Wilson Blvd twin towers, is requesting County Board permission to convert the 10,000 square foot retail space currently occupied by the restaurant into new television studios.

The permit application does not name the soon-to-be “former restaurant” but its location on the mezzanine level of the building and floor plan match that of China Garden.

“As of the date of this application, one of the retail tenants located in the mezzanine level of the building has decided to terminate its lease and to vacate the property,” an attorney for the building owner said in a letter to the county. “In the Applicant’s experience, retail space on the mezzanine level has proven difficult to lease, given its separation from the pedestrian realm on the street level. As such, the Applicant proposes to convert the former retail space into two new television studios and associated support facilities.”

The application also does not name the tenant that will be using the new studios, but the building is home to television station WJLA and NewsChannel 8. Station owner Sinclair renewed its lease in the building this summer.

County staff are recommending the Board approve the application.

A China Garden employee said today that the restaurant’s manager would not be available for comment until Friday.

by ARLnow.com — September 16, 2016 at 9:55 am 0

Bin 1700, a restaurant and lounge inside the Crystal Gateway Marriott (1700 Jefferson Davis Hwy) in Crystal City, is currently undergoing renovations.

Numerous workers could be seen working inside the demolished and under-construction space Thursday afternoon.

It’s unclear what exactly will be replacing the restaurant, though county permits indicate that the work is part of a larger interior renovation of the hotel’s lobby, common areas, hallways and rooms.

Bin 1700’s only two Yelp reviews describe a fairly middle-of-the-road restaurant that primarily served hotel guests.

by ARLnow.com — September 7, 2016 at 4:30 pm 0

The California Tortilla location in Crystal City location has closed.

The locally-based Mexican fast casual chain opened the location at 2450 Crystal Drive in 2012. It apparently closed this week.

A sign posted on the door reads: “California Tortilla is closing! We thank you for your patronage these past four years, and wish you the best of tacos in the years to come!”

An employee was removing the lettering with the restaurant’s hours from the door this afternoon.

Separately, the former Seattle’s Best Coffee location down the block is under construction. Permits displayed on the windows indicate that a Navy Federal Credit Union location will be moving in.

Hat tip to @34smiley

by ARLnow.com — September 6, 2016 at 4:45 pm 0

Pupatella, the humble but very well-reviewed Neapolitan pizzeria in Bluemont, may be on the verge of a major expansion.

Originally founded as a food truck, Pupatella opened its current Bluemont location, at 5104 Wilson Blvd, in 2010. Co-owner Enzo Algarme is now teaming up with the partners behind Elevation Burger to expand via franchising.

“After a decade of perfecting their craft, the owners have joined forces with two of the founding partners of Elevation Burger to begin offering franchises,” said a PR rep.

Additional Pupatella locations may be in store for the D.C. area, according to a press release. Other potential expansion locations, should franchise owners sign on, include Philadelphia, Richmond, Virginia Beach, Raleigh-Durham, Chapel Hill, Wilmington and as far away as the Middle East.

The full press release from Pupatella is below.

Started as a food truck in 2007, today Pupatella is a favorite Neapolitan Pizzeria among Northern Virginians, winning loyal fans with its classic artisan Neapolitan pizza. Due to high demand, Pupatalla has decided to expand through corporate development and franchise opportunities. To accomplish this, Enzo Algarme, Pupatella’s founder and owner, has joined forces with founding partners of Elevation Burger who grew the country’s first organic burger chain from one to more than 50 restaurants worldwide. Pupatella is now seeking entrepreneurs and franchisees that have a passion for classic, artisan pizza to help grow the brand.

Born and raised in Naples, Italy, Algarme takes tremendous pride in Pupatella’s “back to the basics” philosophy.  The restaurant proudly possesses aVPN certification, a designation given to qualifying pizzerias by the Naples-based Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana.  To obtain the VPN certification, the pizza is made according to the 200-year-old Neapolitan technique. Only wood-fired ovens are permitted; the dough is made of only four ingredients: 00 Italian flour, sea salt, fresh yeast and water. The toppings for the D.O.C. (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) pizza may only include sauce made of San Marzano tomatoes grown in Italy, fresh cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella made with buffalo milk or fior di latte, sea salt, fresh basil and olive oil.

“I came to the U.S. for college and the one thing I missed the most was classic Neapolitan pizza that you could find on every corner in Naples,” said Algarme. “Cooking was a huge part of my upbringing in Italy and I felt a calling to start a business that was true to my roots. We’ve experienced tremendous success, with lines out the door everyday, and I feel confident that our pizza will be embraced around the world as we move forward with our expansion plans.”

Pupatella is consistently named as one of the country’s best pizzerias by media and has received accolades by Business Insider and Washington Post. Its current location has experienced solid growth and high profit, totaling nearly 2.5 million dollars in gross sales in 2015. Pupatella has a top rating from more than 1,200 reviewers on Yelp. In addition to its classic artisan food, Pupatella is also known for it’s fast and affordable format. From a family outing to a romantic date night, guests appreciate Pupatella’s commitment to simple, true Neapolitan pizza served in a casual atmosphere where all are welcome.

Pupatella is now seeking entrepreneurs to help expand the pizzeria in key markets across the United States and Middle East. The ideal franchise partner has restaurant experience and a passion for executing a proven system. Specific areas for U.S. expansion include Washington D.C Metro, Philadelphia Metro, Richmond, VA, Virginia Beach, VA, Raleigh-Durham, NC, Chapel Hill, NC, Newark, DE, and Wilmington, DE.  Franchise opportunities are also available in the Middle East.

To learn more about franchise opportunities, visit pupatellafranchise.com to submit an online application or call 703.825.6334.

by ARLnow.com — September 6, 2016 at 1:45 pm 0

As it turns out, Il Forno was ill fated.

The upscale Italian restaurant at 900 N. Glebe Road in Ballston closed last week after about three and a half years in business.

Paper now covers the restaurant’s windows, which is usually an indication that construction is taking place inside and another business is on the way. However, no construction permit applications have been filed, based on a check of the county’s permit system Tuesday afternoon.

In April, ARLnow.com reported that Il Forno was listed for sale on a business broker website. The listing noted that the restaurant was “investor owned” but in need of an “operator-owner.”

Il Forno was located next to the recently-opened Applebee’s.

by Tim Regan — August 29, 2016 at 3:30 pm 0

A restaurant in East Falls Church is looking to shake the idea that French cooking is unhealthy.

Chef Jacques Imperato, who took over Côte d’Or Café (6876 Lee Highway) earlier this year, hopes to show off “the healthier side of French cooking” with seasonal menus and a lighter approach to making food.

Imperato, who attended culinary school in Nice, France and previously owned Chalet de la Paix and Mediterranee restaurants in Arlington and Great Falls, aims to achieve his goal by cooking with seasonal ingredients and low-calorie alternatives in a “modern classic Burgundy style.”

That means instead of making sauces with heavy cream, for instance — butter, cream, flour and cheese are hallmarks of French cuisine — Imperato uses healthier oils.

“The Burgundy cooking style uses less cream than other French regions use in their cooking,” he said. 

In place of processed or prepared foods, the chef prepares dishes with “fruits, vegetables, and herbs that are fresh and in-season.” Last week, Imperato served a dinner where peaches starred as the primary ingredient in every dish, for example.

Grass fed beef is also now on the menu, Imperato noted.

“Grass fed beef is all they had when Burgundy style cooking was concocted and that kind of beef adds an earthy taste to the dishes,” he said. “When you substitute poor corn fed beef the dishes lose the taste that is essential in this style of cooking.”

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