65°Rain

by ARLnow.com — August 8, 2016 at 10:00 am 0

Business offered for sale in ArlingtonIn April, we published a list of businesses offered for sale in Arlington.

Given the recent restaurant turnover in Clarendon, it seems like a good time to revisit those offerings, which come from the Arlington listings of a major business broker marketplace.

Here are some of the businesses that are currently listed on the site and have either been added or updated since our last check. We are only naming the business if a name or website is provided in the listing.

  1. “At Luna Grill and Diner, we take pride in our passion for fresh, delicious foods that warm the soul in our restaurant’s lively and intimate setting.” The Shirlington restaurant was established in 1996. Listed at $250,000.
  2. A “beautiful state of the art restaurant and bar in Arlington. No expense spared in customer area or commercial kitchen… 4,200 sq ft with additional outdoor seating… Car included with sale of business!” Listed for $300,000.
  3. “This prestigious nail salon is located in one of the busiest street in Clarendon. It has established clientele. Established for over ten years, it consistently grosses over $600K per year and very profitable and has a lot of potential to grow even more.” Listed for $297,000.
  4. Little Caesars is the fastest growing and largest carry out pizza chain in the world with locations on five continents. Prior food experience is preferred, not essential. A net worth of $150k with minimum liquidity of $50k is required.” Listed for $160,000.
  5. A 1,000 square foot deli in Crystal City that “used to do more than $15K per week sale. But currently, they are doing little bit more than $7K per week.” Listed for $175,000.
  6. franchise restaurant in the Pentagon City mall food court that opened in 2013. “Connection with Metro and recently renovated shopping mall bring in tons of customers in this food court. 750 SF with $16,500 per month rent (HOT SPOT) 6 years and 2 X 5 years option left.” Listed at $320,000.
  7. “This pizza restaurant is in the perfect area of Arlington. A lot of foot traffic with offices and residential in this location.” Restaurant seats 60 in 2,000 square foot space. Listed for $399,000.
  8. “Very well established and profitable 5 days Deli, Hot Bar and Salad Bar business need[s] new owner. Located very busy commercial area, 1 Floor of High Rise B/D. Currently, they are doing about $100K per month in Gross Sale, due to the nearby B/D are filling up.” Listed for $599,000.

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

Out for a walk on the W&OD Trail along Four Mile Run Drive (Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley)

More on Randolph Principal Controversy — Some Randolph Elementary parents are still upset that the school’s well-liked principal has been removed with little explanation and demoted to assistant principal at Abingdon Elementary. [Washington Post]

Aerial View of Arlington — Arlington County has created a video of aerial footage of Arlington, shot during a recent ride on the U.S. Park Police Eagle 1 helicopter. [Facebook]

‘Dog Days of Summer’ Donations — Rosslyn eatery Bistro 360 is donating 25 percent of sales from a special “Dog Days of Summer” menu to the Animal Welfare League of Arlington and Homeward Trails Animal Rescue. [Facebook]

Late Civic Activist Celebrated — The Nauck community will hold a special celebration of the life of the late civic activist John Robinson this coming Saturday. Robinson, who died in 2010, fought against racism, against injustice and for education, and was the publisher of the Green Valley News for more than 40 years. [InsideNova]

Suspicious Package at Ballston MetroUpdated at 9:15 a.m. — Metro Transit Police investigated a suspicious package at an elevator entrance to the Ballston Metro station this morning. The entrance was blocked off with police tape for a period of time.

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

by ARLnow.com — August 4, 2016 at 12:00 pm 0

Amid a turbulent period for restaurants in Clarendon, there are rumors circulating about two other prominent neighborhood eateries.

Multiple sources have told ARLnow.com that Pete’s New Haven Apizza (3017 Clarendon Blvd), which opened in 2011, has been looking for another business to take over its space. One source said a deal is in the works which would bring a new Chipotle location to the current Pete’s space.

“That’s news to me,” Pete’s co-founder Joel Mehr said, when asked about it in June. He declined further comment.

There have also been persistent rumblings that Fuego Cocina y Tequileria (2800 Clarendon Blvd), which opened in 2012, may be closing by the end of the year. A spokeswoman said the Mexican restaurant is doing well and reports about a potential closure are false.

“Those rumors are not correct,” said Simone Rathle, on behalf of Fuego owner Passion Food Restaurant Group. She said the rumors may have started after Fuego stopped serving lunch on weekdays.

Over the span of a month this summer, three prominent Clarendon restaurants — Hard Times Cafe, Boulevard Woodgrill and American Tap Room — closed their doors. Brixx Pizza in Clarendon closed earlier this year after just six months in business.

While there are more new restaurants and bars on the way — Ambar, Pamplona, Opera — some insiders question whether there might be more restaurants in Clarendon than the market can handle. That would explain why even generally well-liked spots, such as Boulevard Woodgrill, have been closing.

Insiders say middle-of-the-road restaurant concepts that branch out as small chains after finding success in the suburbs — American Tap Room would be one example — are particularly vulnerable. Drawn to Clarendon by allure of the area’s young, affluent potential customers, they find that consumers have tastes more in line with D.C. than Fairfax County.

“I think the mini-chains don’t realize this clientele is so used to D.C. and big city ideas,” said one industry insider. “In a town far out it would probably do well, but people here want something different.”

There’s also the issue of quickly-changing consumer habits — the reason why the once-hot frozen yogurt and cupcake shops have been whittled down to one survivor apiece in Clarendon.

Still, neither explanation would apply to Pete’s, which originated in D.C., or Fuego, which was launched in Clarendon by savvy, successful D.C. area restaurateurs. In the end, it might come down to supply and demand: too many restaurants in one place, not enough potential customers.

by ARLnow.com — August 3, 2016 at 4:45 pm 0

(Updated at 5:05 p.m.) Continental Pool Lounge is expanding with a new, 180-seat indoor/outdoor beer garden.

The new Continental Beer Garden will be located in what’s currently a pop-up urban park with tables, chairs, potted plants and a mural, at the corner of 19th Street and N. Moore Street. Despite being a block from the Metro station, in the bustling, bus-clogged heart of Rosslyn, the 4,000 square foot outdoor beer garden will be a relaxing place to eat, drink and have fun with friends, says Continental owner Curt Large.

“The seating will include a large communal table, picnic tables, outdoor sofas and Adirondack chairs,” Large told ARLnow.com. “Our menu will feature foods meant for sharing, including sausages, appetizers, and other light fare. The beer garden will showcase local Virginia craft beer along with a couple of German brews. Continental will also build outdoor bocce courts for beer garden patrons and will host bocce tournaments and leagues.”

The space, which is just steps away from the Continental Pool Lounge, was formerly the parking lot of a service station. It sat vacant for some two decades, Large said, before being converted to an outdoor seating area by property owner JBG and the Rosslyn Business Improvement District in 2014. The space has hosted a number of events, including a pop-up beer garden organized by the Continental two years ago.

Large says the inside of the service station will be incorporated into the beer garden.

“We will also renovate the interior service station area, located under the office building at 1901 N. Fort Myer Drive,” he said. “The approximately 1,000 foot area will have a bar and small seating area, along with a kitchen and bathrooms. The interior will embrace the industrial grit of the former service station, showcasing some great 1970s vintage garage cabinets and signs behind the bar area.”

Mary-Claire Burick, head of the Rosslyn BID, said the beer garden will be a welcome new amenity for the area, building upon the “pop-up” events that have been held there over the past two years.

“This is a big part of what we do as a BID,” she said. “We saw this underutilized, industrial open space with a ton of foot traffic and made it a priority to reclaim and activate it with our partners, Continental Pool Lounge and JBG. ”

Large has applied for building permits and a liquor permit. He hopes to open the beer garden in the spring of 2017.

by ARLnow.com — August 1, 2016 at 10:30 am 0

Our sources were correct — American Tap Room in Clarendon closed over the weekend.

The struggling restaurant served customers Saturday, then was closed on Sunday. A sign posted on the door encouraged customers for “visit one of our other locations” and encouraged employees to “stop by Monday or Tuesday for information on other locations and pay checks.”

While its parent company didn’t return our phone calls, a manager at American Tap Room told us early last week that it was not closing. During a second call to the restaurant, on Friday, an employee said it was “hurtful” for us to suggest that the restaurant might be closing.

ARLnow.com has heard from multiple sources that a mobile phone retailer — likely a Verizon store — will be taking over at least part of the now-former American Tap Room space.

by ARLnow.com — July 28, 2016 at 4:25 pm 0

Boulevard Woodgrill in Clarendon

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!”

by Adrian Cruz — July 26, 2016 at 9:55 am 0

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.

by ARLnow.com — July 25, 2016 at 1:45 pm 0

American Tap Room in ClarendonMight changes be in the works at American Tap Room in Clarendon?

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.

by Lindsay Smith — July 19, 2016 at 9:45 am 0

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.”

by Lindsay Smith — July 12, 2016 at 1:15 pm 0

Trade RootsJobs are available to high school and college students this summer, if they know where to look.

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.

by Lindsay Smith — July 8, 2016 at 2:45 pm 0

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.

by Adrian Cruz — July 6, 2016 at 4:55 pm 0

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.

On Tuesdays, it will host District Karaoke, which is moving from the former Hard Times Cafe across the street along, with an extended happy hour.

(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.

by ARLnow.com — July 6, 2016 at 4:05 pm 0

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.

by ARLnow.com — July 5, 2016 at 11:45 am 0

Entrance to Room 19, in the back of Boulevard Woodgrill in Clarendon (courtesy photo)Clarendon is getting a new “speakeasy.”

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.”

Room 19 graphicBehind 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].

Courtesy photo

by ARLnow.com — July 1, 2016 at 5:05 pm 0

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.”

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