Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.
Bo Davis, CEO and co-founder of MarginEdge, has been in the restaurant business since 2005, when he opened a sushi conveyor belt restaurant called Wasabi in the Tysons Corner mall.
But Davis is also familiar with the technology sector, as he started a software company called Prometheus that was later sold in 2002. In his experience running a restaurant, Davis had to deal with tons of paperwork involving lots of purchasing information. He also struggled with getting all the purchasing information into his account system while keeping all inventory and recipes up to date.
Then MarginEdge, a software application designed to help restaurants with their back office accounting processes, was launched by Davis and a group of co-founders in 2015.
The web-based platform comes with a phone app that allows restaurant employees to take a pictures of invoices and receipts. From there a team in India does the data processing from the invoices and within 24 hours all item-level detail is in MarginEdge’s system.
The software also ties into a restaurant’s point of sales, allowing MarginEdge to pull from the restaurant’s sales data by gathering the cost of things bought and sold. Then MarginEdge can compile reports on food costs, spending and other points of interest, Davis said.
Basically, MarginEdge simplifies accounting procedures and makes things more transparent for restaurants, he added.
For the first couple years of MarginEdge, Davis said the Arlington-based startup only had 20 restaurants for customers that were friends of the co-founders. It’s only within the past year that the company began taking on more customers and now has 200 clients, growing 400 percent in the process.
Most of the clients are local restaurants including District Taco, Buffalo Wing Factory and Glory Days Grill.
“We’re pretty conservative people so we spent two years making sure it was robust, it was strong enough,” Davis said. “And so it was more of a question taking our time to make sure we got it right, and then once we felt like it was really working then we were ready to take it out.”
On MarginEdge’s website, Greg Casten owner of Ivy City Smokehouse, Tony & Joe’s and Nick’s River Place, said the software has “so dramatically improved the way we process invoices and monitor critical costs that we credit it for producing the most profits we’ve ever achieved period after period.”
Restaurants have told Davis that they’ve saved 10-20 hours a week in data entry since using the product.
“I’m most proud of the fact that restaurateurs are enjoying what they get out of it and it’s making their lives easier,” Davis said.
Some clients have also decided to invest into MarginEdge. The company announced last month that it had raised $3 million to take its service national.
“It’s exciting to think that customers that we didn’t know liked it so much they invested in the company,” Davis said.
Photos via MarginEdge
Partisans Stake Out Sides on Country Club Tax Bill — There are two very different political perspectives on the state bill that would greatly lower the tax bills of Arlington’s two country clubs. On one hand, a writer on the conservative blog Bearing Drift says Arlington’s tax treatment of Army-Navy Country Club (which is covered by the bill along with Washington Golf & Country Club) is “manifestly unfair, and… impacts an especially distinguished and patriotic group of older folks.” On the other hand, progressive blog Blue Virginia says the bill, which passed the Virginia General Assembly last week, should be vetoed by Gov. Ralph Northam (D) because it would “lavish big $$$ on super-rich people, weaken local autonomy vs state AND set a horrible precedent.” [Bearing Drift, Blue Virginia]
County Launches Online Payments for Building Permits — After years of grumbles from local businesses, starting today Arlington County is accepting online payments for building permits. Payments can only be made online when one is submitting permits via the ePlan Review portal. [Arlington County]
Arlington Tourism Tax Bill Passes — “More than a dozen Republican members of the House of Delegates voted against, but Arlington’s effort to retain its ability to levy a surtax on hotel stays to pay for tourism promotion is headed to the governor’s desk.” [InsideNova]
Arlingtonian Making World Record Attempt — Crystal City resident and elite runner Tyler Andrews will attempt to break the 3o-year-old record for fastest 50K run next month. [STRIVE Trips]
First Down Marks Ninth Anniversary — First Down Sports Bar & Grill in Ballston is celebrating 9 years in business today. [ARLnow Events]
Nearby: Lebanese Taverna Closing in Bethesda — Arlington-based local restaurant chain Lebanese Taverna is closing its Bethesda location, citing an inability to reach agreement on a new lease with the landlord of Bethesda Row. [Bethesda Beat]
Photo courtesy Paola Lyle
(Updated at 11:45 a.m) Darna Restaurant and Lounge in Virginia Square has been ordered temporarily closed by the county building inspector.
A recent inspection of the nightclub at 946 N. Jackson Street “revealed that there were numerous violations of the Building, Fire, Zoning and Environmental Health codes, affecting the health, safety and welfare of the public,” according to county staff.
A bright orange sticker on the door of the lounge warns that “this structure is unfit for habitation.” A separate sign says “Darna Lounge will be closed for repairs to our sprinkler system.”
Detour Coffee, on the first floor of the building, was open as of Monday morning.
The Arlington County Board is expected to review Darna’s live entertainment and dancing permit at its upcoming February meeting, a month ahead of schedule. Among the likely topics of conversation are the building inspection findings and complaints about noise.
“During the last County Board review in October 2017, staff received correspondence from a neighboring citizen with concerns about loud music during and after the hours of live entertainment and dancing,” a county staff report notes. “Several calls to the police for noise and other complaints were identified during the last County Board review.”
Darna has been open for about six years, and has since expanded, adding an open air patio on the second floor.
Hat tip to Chris Slatt
Cassatt’s Café, the New Zealand bistro at 4536 Lee Highway, is rolling out a new dinner menu today.
The restaurant is introducing new dishes with ingredients and preparations from other parts of the globe, which will be offered in addition to the usual New Zealand classics. Behind the additions is a new executive chef, Evan Synder.
Synder has cooked at several local restaurants, including the French-Belgian restaurant Marcel’s in Washington, and Volt in Frederick, Md. The Le Cordon Bleu, Orlando, graduate most recently worked as the sous chef at Jose Andrés’ FISH at the MGM casino in Oxon Hill, Md., according to a press release.
“Dishes like Charred Cucumber with Mint, Dill Yogurt & Casovertrano Vin speak to Chef Snyder’s appreciation of Middle Eastern cuisine (specifically Israeli food) and personal love of bold flavors,” said the press release. Other new, less-than-Kiwi menu items include a $16 octopus shawarma dish and a $14 haloumi cheese plate.
The rollout of the new menu is happening on Waitangi Day, a significant New Zealand holiday celebrated annually on Feb. 6.
The restaurant, named after American impressionist painter Mary Cassatt, has been in business for 15 years. It is located in the Lee Heights Shops.
Photos courtesy Cassatt’s Cafe
Ristorante Murali is “closed forever,” according to the Italian restaurant’s website.
The signs on the restaurant’s building in Pentagon Row have been taken down with only a small sign in the door remaining.
The Italian restaurant had been open for 14 years before closing recently.
“After many years in business, we are forever closed. Thank you for your loyalty and we wish you well,” wrote the website.
Alexandria Absent from Short Bridge Park Plans — “While plans for the border-spanning park are underway on the Arlington side, one frustration expressed at the County Board was that Alexandria has no plans to develop its side of the park… ‘That’s a little disappointing,’ County Board member John Vihstadt said. ‘I am concerned we’re going to be spending significant amounts of money for improvements on the Alexandria side.'” [Arlington Connection]
Review of Columbia Pike’s Brickhaus — Brickhaus, which opened last year at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Walter Reed Drive, is like a miniature, “year-round, indoor beer garden [that] serves German-inspired fare.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]
Commuting Satisfaction in Arlington — According to data from Arlington County’s Mobility Lab, Arlington residents commute to work by means other than driving alone 60 percent of the time. Those who walk or bike have the highest rate of satisfaction with their commute, while those who take a train have the lowest satisfaction rate. [Mobility Lab]
Fmr. Clarendon Restaurant Owners Like Falls Church — David and Rebecca Tax, the founders behind classic Clarendon restaurants like Big Belly Deli, Lazy Sundae, Clare and Don’s and Mexicali Blues, are happy with their decision to move Lazy Sundae and Clare and Don’s to Falls Church more than a decade ago. “Falls Church is a lot like what Clarendon was like in 1996 when we opened Lazy Sundae,” said David, while Rebecca remembered the Clarendon of the mid-to-late 90s as “more family oriented, fewer singles.” [Eater]
Mobile Phones Could Be Banned at Pentagon — A military review of personal electronics policies, ordered by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, could result in non-military cell phones being banned at the Pentagon. About 30,000 servicemembers, civilians and contractors work at the Pentagon. [Stars and Stripes]
Japanese Embassy Lauds New Arlington Decal — Via a tweet from the Embassy of Japan in D.C.: “As this year’s @CherryBlossFest nears, we’re excited to hear that the blooming cherry trees along the Potomac River will soon be displayed on windshields in Arlington County. Congratulations to @OConnellHS’s Schuyler Workmaster for winning @ArlingtonVA’s decal contest!” [Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Foodies can enjoy discounted prix fixe meals through Sunday, Jan. 28 during this year’s Metropolitan Washington Winter Restaurant Week.
More than 250 restaurants in the District, Maryland and Virginia are participating in the event, which kicked off on Monday. In Arlington, 18 eateries are also taking part.
Restaurants will offer three-course lunch and brunch menus for $22 and a three-course dinner for $35. The annual event is sponsored by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington.
Participating Arlington restaurants include:
- Ambar Clarendon (2901 Wilson Blvd)
- Cheesetique Ballston (800 N. Glebe Road)
- Cheesetique Shirlington (4056 Campbell Ave)
- Epic Smokehouse (1330 S. Fair Street)
- Kapnos Taverna (4000 Wilson Blvd)
- La Cote d’Or Cafe (6876 Lee Highway)
- Lyon Hall (3100 Washington Blvd)
- Osteria da Nino (2900 S. Quincy Street)
- Oz Restaurant & Bar (2950 Clarendon Blvd)
- Pepita Catina (4000 Wilson Blvd)
- SER Restaurant (1110 N. Glebe Road)
- Stageplate Bistro Arlington (900 N. Glebe Road)
- The Liberty Tavern (3195 Wilson Blvd)
- The Melting Pot (1110 N. Glebe Road)
- Yona (4000 Wilson Blvd Suite C)
Linda’s Cafe is an unassuming, long-time diner at 5050 Lee Highway in Arlington, serving a clientele that includes families and senior citizens.
The restaurant is not active on Facebook and doesn’t have a website that we could find. On Yelp, diners are mostly satisfied with the service and the food — “the service is good and the staff is nice,” is a typical comment. A sign in the window touts “excellent burgers.”
But on Twitter — at least over the past year or so — Linda’s Cafe has a much different personality: quarrelling with customers, warning of speed traps along Lee Highway and saying “f*** the pilgrims” on Thanksgiving.
One long-time customer who contacted ARLnow said the Twitter account is not befitting the character of the restaurant nor the values of its customers.
“Their servers, chefs and other employees have been spouting profanities, talking about… controversial subjects on their restaurant’s official Twitter account,” said the customer, who did not want to be named.
Reached by phone, an assistant manager who said his name was Luciano seemed confused when asked about the Twitter account, saying he was aware of its existence but not the content. He declined further comment. The restaurant’s owner was traveling and not available for comment, we were told.
Photo and screen shots via Twitter
Immigrants Afraid to Report Crimes — President Donald Trump’s hawkishness on immigration enforcement has apparently led to a drop in crimes reported in some of the country’s largest immigrant communities, including in Arlington. Per a new report: “In Arlington, Virginia, domestic-assault reports in one Hispanic neighborhood dropped more than eighty-five per cent in the first eight months after Trump’s Inauguration, compared with the same period the previous year.” [New Yorker]
Lawmakers React to Immigration Decision — Local lawmakers are speaking out against a Trump administration decision to end temporary protected status for some 200,000 Salvadoran immigrants. “Donald Trump’s open hostility to immigrants runs against the values and history of this country,” said Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), while Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) called the decision “heartless.” [Rep. Don Beyer, Twitter]
Ramp Near Pentagon Closing at Night — The ramp from eastbound Route 27 to northbound Route 110, near the Pentagon, will be closed each night through Friday for bridge deck work, according to VDOT. “Traffic will be detoured via Route 27, George Washington Memorial Parkway and I-395 back to northbound Route 110,” the agency said. [Twitter]
InsideNova Sold — The parent company of the Arlington Sun Gazette has sold its InsideNova website along with two other local weekly newspapers, while retaining the Sun Gazette papers. Sun Gazette articles will reportedly still be published on InsideNova. [Washington Business Journal]
Arlington’s Top 10 Press Releases of 2017 — Arlington County has posted an article ranking the 10 most popular press releases of 2017 on its website. The article concludes that “2017 was a good year in Arlington County, laying the foundation for great years to come.” [Arlington County]
Nearby: Plans for Boozy Taco Bell — A Taco Bell “Cantina” that “mixes the traditional Taco Bell fare with new shareable menu items and alcoholic beverages including twisted freezes, beer and wine” is coming to Old Town Alexandria. [Washington Business Journal]
More Fog Photos — The fog covering parts of the region this morning made for some great photos, particularly among those who trained their lenses on the half-covered Washington monument. [Twitter, Twitter, Twitter]
Arlington Chamber Seeking State Help — Possibly in response to the push for housing conservation districts, “the Arlington Chamber of Commerce is asking the General Assembly to ‘serve as a backstop and a safeguard’ against overreach by localities on planning and zoning matters.” [InsideNova]
Reminder: SmarTrip Change Next Week — As of Monday, Metro riders will no longer be able to run a negative balance on their SmarTrip cards. [WMATA]
‘Meet the Chair’ Scheduled — Arlington residents will be able to meet newly-minted Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol on the evening of Jan. 18, when the Leadership Center for Excellence holds its annual Meet the Chair event. [Leadership Center for Excellence]
SoberRide New Year’s Record — A record 1,225 people used the free safe ride service SoberRide on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Thanks to its new partnership with Lyft, SoberRide’s organizer says it “has removed well more than two times as many would-be drunk drivers from Greater Washington’s roadways as compared with the previous year.” [PDF]
District Taco Continues to Expand — Five Guys may be given a run for its money as the most successful Arlington-born restaurant chain. District Taco is now opening a location in the Center City section of Philadelphia. [Eater]
Snow Shovel Contest Winner — “This is Susan. She won our snow shovel, writing that her favorite phase of snow treatment/removal is Phase 1. Brine makes her giddy. Susan’s old shovel is from Nebraska and cracking. Way to go, Susan.” [Twitter]
Photo courtesy @BoccatoGelatos
A longtime Italian restaurant in Clarendon has officially changed its name.
Faccia Luna became Alto Fumo on January 1, but not much has changed other than some new food options.
Boubker Errami, who has been involved with the restaurant since it opened in 1992, said the restaurant will now offer dishes like oysters and fried calamari as well as staples like pizza and pasta.
He also said the eatery at 2909 Wilson Blvd will have new salads and small plates and an expanded happy hour featuring numerous craft beers. No other aspects of the restaurant, including the furnishings, will change, he said.
As of Tuesday (January 2), the menus on display had been updated with the new name, but the old awnings remained with the Faccia Luna name. Alto Fumo also has a new Facebook page.
Faccia Luna’s Facebook page, meanwhile, posted on Monday, thanking customers and encouraging them to visit Faccia Luna in Alexandria.
Thank you Faccia Luna Arlington customers for your loyalty, support, and for making us a part of your family traditions.
Starting January 1, 2018 Faccia Luna Arlington will be closing its doors. You can still enjoy our great wood-fired pizzas, and classic Italian pastas at Faccia Luna Trattoria in the heart of Old Town Alexandria.
“We have great loyal customers, we’re just looking for more to come in the door, because we’ve been here since 1992,” he said. “We want to stay the neighborhood spot for this area.”
Months after going on an apparent and indefinite “hiatus,” Ray’s Hell Burger appears to be officially leaving Rosslyn.
The restaurant at 1650 Wilson Blvd is now available for lease, albeit with the Ray’s awnings and signs still up, including one noting the hiatus.
Earlier this year, the Washington Business Journal reported that owner Michael Landrum wanted out of his lease on the spot, across the street from the redeveloping Wilson School site. That storefront was across from the original Hell Burger, which was visited twice by then-President Barack Obama.
Customers can still visit a Ray’s Hell Burger on K Street NW in D.C., as well as Ray’s the Steaks at 2300 Wilson Blvd in Courthouse. The latter received renewed praise from Northern Virginia Magazine earlier this year as one of its 50 best restaurants of 2017.
Landrum declined to comment further.
A longtime pizza restaurant in Clarendon is soon to shutter and reopen under new management.
Signs posted on the doors of Faccia Luna at 2909 Wilson Blvd show it will soon become Alto Fumo, another Italian restaurant. Faccia Luna first opened in Clarendon in 1992.
Permit applications filed with Arlington County indicate that the restaurant is under new management, but for now little is expected to change other than the name.
“Alto Fumo means ‘high-rising smoke’ in Italian, like smoke rising from a pizza oven,” the sign reads. “You will enjoy the highest quality customer service and foods and also enjoy our new additions.”
Faccia Luna also has locations in Old Town Alexandria and State College, Pennsylvania. A sign on the door at the Alexandria location thanked customers “for all the support.”
In 2015, co-owner Joe Corey said Faccia Luna has been a spot for successful first dates, with hundreds of couples ending up married after eating together at the Clarendon pizza joint.
After initially suggesting it closed for renovations, Spinfire Pizza in Rosslyn is gone for good, with its former space now seeking a new tenant.
The pizza joint at 1501 Wilson Blvd, part-owned by former Washington Redskins player Pierre Garcon, had been planning to reopen on December 31, according to its Yelp page. That has since changed to it being permanently closed.
It offered customizable personal pizzas in 90 seconds, with toppings ranging from pizza staples like pepperoni and mushrooms to Sriracha sausage, candied pecans and dried cranberries.
Its other location is in Ashburn.
Update December 21 at 1:45 p.m. — &pizza will open on Wednesday, December 27 after a spokesman said the eatery hit “a few last-minute details that needed to be addressed and the team simply ran up against the Christmas break.” Multiple tipsters said that staff at the restaurant said it had run into permitting issues with the county.
Earlier: The new fast-casual pizzeria &pizza will open to the public on Thursday in Ballston.
The build-your-own-pizza restaurant will move into 3924 Wilson Blvd, next to Freshbikes near the intersection with N. Quincy Street. It will occupy more than 2,000 square feet of space in the building, facing Wilson Blvd and across the parking lot from Gold’s Gym.
Ahead of the full opening, &pizza is hosting a now-sold-out soft opening today and tomorrow (Wednesday). Each attendee will receive a complimentary pizza so that employees can practice.
“&pizza is a different kind of pizza shop — one where experience is the focal point, and every shop reflects the culture and people who visit most,” the invite reads. “With the opening our Ballston shop, we want to invite you to join us for a lunch or dinner on us.”
Guests can expect &pizza’s signature customizable oblong pizzas with unlimited toppings using local ingredients and no artificial flavors.
More from a press release, after the jump.