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by Jackie Friedman — June 10, 2016 at 2:15 pm 0

The Panera Bread restaurant in Ballston has closed.

The Panera Bread was located in Ballston Common Mall and was previously expected to stay open during renovations before reopening as Ballston Quarter.

The store’s signage is down and the inside is vacant. The location also no longer shows up on Panera Bread’s website.

When calling the store’s phone number, an automated message states that the Ballston location has permanently closed and that their “customer’s business has been appreciated.”

No word yet on what ultimately led to the permanent closure of the store.

by ARLnow.com — June 8, 2016 at 9:00 am 0

Rosslyn skyline

Garvey Out-Raises Gutshall — Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey out-raised Democratic challenger Erik Gutshall by more than $20,000 in April and May. Garvey raised $57,143 to $36,751 for Gutshall. Both candidates received donations from about 300 people. [Washington Post]

More People Biking to Work — The traffic woes and Metrorail headaches caused by Metro’s SafeTrack maintenance work is apparently pushing more people to commute to work via bike. On Monday, Arlington’s “Bike-o-Meter” near the Key Bridge recorded 2,325 bike trips, double the normal number for a Monday around this time of year. The pleasant weather probably helped, too. [WJLA]

Outdoor Lab Exceeds Fundraising Goal — Saturday’s fundraiser for the Arlington Outdoor Lab shattered the $50,000 fundraising goal, garnering pledges of $84,000 for the educational facility. [Falls Church News-Press]

New Chef at Water & Wall — John Leavitt, previously of Provision No. 14 in D.C., is taking over kitchen duties at Water & Wall in Virginia Square from proprietor and chef Tim Ma. Expect a new menu to roll out next month. [Northern Virginia Magazine]

Credit Union Branch Opens in Crystal City — The Lafayette Federal Credit Union has opened a branch at 2231 Crystal Drive in Crystal City. The 80-year-old local financial institution will mark the opening of its seventh branch with a grand opening celebration next Thursday, June 16 at noon. [Layfayette FCU]

by ARLnow.com — June 6, 2016 at 1:00 pm 0

NKD Pizza, the pizza chain formerly known as Naked Pizza, has closed its Pentagon City location.

The pizzeria, in the Pentagon Row shopping center at 1101 S. Joyce Street, opened in July 2011, touting unique pizza recipes and all-natural ingredients. Subsequently a Ballston/Virginia Square location opened in 2012.

Today, the Pentagon City’s location was closed, with brown paper covering the windows and a sign posted on the door.

“Thank you so much for your past patronage — we’ve enjoyed serving you at this location for the past five years!” the sign read. “We would love to continue serving you as a carryout guest at our Ballston location.”

The Ballston NKD Pizza store is located at 933 N. Quincy Street.

by Jackie Friedman — June 3, 2016 at 10:55 am 0

Signs are up for a new pizza restaurant on Columbia Pike.

1000 Degrees, a quickly-expanding New Jersey-based pizza chain, will be opening “soon” on the ground floor of the Pike 3400 apartment complex. Interior construction appears to now be underway.

1000 Degrees has over 100 locations nationwide. The business is based around $7.99 personalized pizzas which are cooked in two minutes.

Customers can build their own personalized pizzas or choose from 15 neapolitan flavors including margherita and tuscan chicken. Breadsticks, wings and build your own salads are also offered.

The restaurant has yet to announce an official opening date. The Arlington location’s Facebook page was last updated on March 31.

by ARLnow.com — June 1, 2016 at 2:35 pm 0

The Arlington County Fire Department is on scene of a reported electrical fire in the basement of Thai Square Restaurant (3217 Columbia Pike).

Firefighters responded to the restaurant just before 1:30 p.m. for a report of smoke coming from the basement. There were no visible flames when firefighters arrived; the source of the smoke was believed to be electrical in nature.

The building was evacuated and no injuries have been reported.

Columbia Pike was shut down between S. Walter Reed Drive and S. Glebe Road as a result of the fire department response. Lanes have since reopened.

Photos courtesy Andrew Pang

by ARLnow.com — May 31, 2016 at 11:50 am 0

Police car (file photo)A man was seriously injured after trying to stop a diner who ditched his check at El Rancho Migueleno restaurant (3709 Columbia Pike) Friday night.

The incident happened just before 11:30 p.m. Police say the victim was a friend of the restaurant’s owner and was sitting outside on the restaurant’s patio when he saw a dispute unfold between the owner and a man who refused to pay his bill.

The victim intervened in the dispute, chasing the suspect into the parking lot and standing in front of his car. At that point, police say, the suspect drove forward, knocking the victim down. The suspect then drove over the victim’s legs and fled the scene, said Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage.

The victim suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries. He was transported to Inova Fairfax Hospital. The suspect remains at large.

From an ACPD crime report:

HIT AND RUN, 160527072, 3700 block of S. Columbia Pike. At approximately 11:25 p.m. on May 27, a male victim chased after a suspect who left a restaurant without paying his tab. The victim approached the suspect’s vehicle and they began to exchange words regarding the incident. The male suspect attempted to drive away and the victim stood in front of the vehicle in an effort to prevent him from leaving. The male suspect then struck the victim with his vehicle, drove over the victim’s legs and fled the scene. The victim’s injuries were non-life threatening. The suspect is described as a Hispanic male in his twenties, approximately 6’0″ tall and weighed 180 lbs. He was wearing a white shirt, blue jeans, and had a sleeve tattoo on his right arm.

by ARLnow.com — May 31, 2016 at 8:45 am 0

Sunday at Arlington National Cemetery (Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf)

Memorial Day in Arlington — It was an active Memorial Day in Arlington. Among the activities: a ceremony was held at the Air Force Memorial; volunteers handed out 30,000 roses to families of fallen soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery; President Obama laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns; and Arlington’s annual Memorial Day ceremony was held in Clarendon. [WJLA, WJLA, New York Daily News, Twitter]

Quarterdeck Owner Opening Restaurant in D.C. –Patrick Morrogh, who owns the Quarterdeck near Rosslyn, is reportedly opening another crab-centric eatery, “District Anchor,” in the former Rumors space at 1900 M Street NW in D.C. [Borderstan]

Arlington Woman Arrested for Handbag Scheme — Federal authorities have charged Arlington resident Praepitcha Smatsorabudh in a major fraud scheme. The feds say Smatsorabudh would buy luxury handbags online, then return high-quality knockoff handbags to the store while selling the real bag online, netting millions of dollars in the process. Per a news report: “The scheme was so prolific that at one point she was a major department store’s top online customer in the entire world.” [ABC News]

Metro Train’s Brakes Catch Fire — Blue Line service was shut down for more than an hour Saturday while Arlington County firefighters battled a brake fire on a Metro train at Arlington Cemetery station. [WJLA]

Home Prices Dip in Arlington — Real estate firm Long and Foster reports a six percent year-over-year drop in Arlington County median home sale prices for April. The number of units sold, however, rose 5 percent. [WTOP]

Deer on the Loose in Virginia Square — A deer was spotted running around the recently-renamed GMU Antonin Scalia Law School in Virginia Square on Monday. [Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

by Jackie Friedman — May 24, 2016 at 7:05 pm 0

The new beer garden at Spider Kelly’s is officially open for business.

The beer garden, which is located in the back patio of the Clarendon watering hole, first started serving customers last Thursday. With the sun finally shining after some not-so-nice weather this month, hopes are high for big crowds.

“We are really happy it’s here and our hope is that it will be something that our customers want,” said co-owner Nick Freshman.

“The goal in building it was to create a new outdoor space sort of supplemental to the space that we have inside,” Freshman said. “We kept a lot of the theme from the inside to the outside.”

A local graffiti artist, Andrew Funk, was hired to do a custom graffiti mural to add color to the space and to match the graffiti art inside.

The casual outdoor space offers seating for small and large groups. There is a combination of communal style seating with picnic benches and seating around two fire pits. There is also hightop seating at the bar. The large space offers a capacity of up to 300 people.

Beers, sangrias and ciders are served in the beer garden, and the beer list has been substantially expanded. There are 30 offered cans and 16 tap lines. There are also three homemade sangrias: red, white and sparkling.

For those arriving after work, there is a $4 happy hour drink special. The entire food menu is offered outside.

by ARLnow.com — May 24, 2016 at 9:15 am 0

Volleyball in Fairlington (Flickr pool photo by James L.)

McAuliffe Under Investigation — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) is being investigated by the FBI and the Justice Department for possible illegal campaign contributions. [CNN]

Board Accepting Feedback on Blue Ribbon Panel — The County Board’s so-called Blue Ribbon Panel was supposed to help the Board set county priorities without getting bogged down in bureaucracy and process. Instead, the panel’s implementation has been delayed and the county is now asking for public feedback on the panel and its charge. [Arlington County]

The Legacy of ACFD’s First Black Firefighters — The Halls Hill/High View Park community held an event this past weekend to honor the Arlington County Fire Department’s first black professional firefighters. Some members of the original group of 14 black firefighters to staff Arlington’s Fire Station No. 8 were on hand for the event. [InsideNova]

Don Rockwell Profiled — Don Rockwell, the mysterious proprietor of the influential Don Rockwell online restaurant forum, lives along Columbia Pike and dines out just about every day for lunch and dinner. At the end of the profile, Rockwell lists some of his favorite local restaurants and dishes. [Arlington Magazine]

Rosslyn Tops for Bike to Work Day — The Rosslyn Bike to Work Day pit stop was utilized by 972 cyclists this year, making it the busiest pit stop in the D.C. region. [Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by James L.

by ARLnow.com — May 18, 2016 at 10:30 am 0

Sugar Shack Donuts on Columbia Pike

Post Investigates Chinese Rice Customs — In a follow-up to the saga of the diners who received insults on their bill at Peter Chang’s restaurant in the Lee-Harrison shopping center, the Washington Post has taken a closer look at the rice-serving customs of restaurants in China. Could it be, the Post asks, that the servers were driven to frustration due to erroneous “mansplaining” about rice? [Washington Post]

County Considering Fraud Hotline for the Public — Arlington County staff is considering a proposal to expand the county’s new waste, fraud and abuse hotline, making it open to the public. The hotline is currently set up for county employees. [InsideNova]

Market Common Clarendon Sells for $406 Million — The Market Common Clarendon shopping center and apartment complex has sold for $406 million. The buyers are Florida shopping center developer Regency Centers and Arlington-based real estate investment trust AvalonBay. [Washington Business Journal, WTOP]

County Board Race Donations By ZIP Code — New maps show the percentage breakdown of campaign contributions to Democratic County Board contenders Libby Garvey and Erik Gutsthall, by ZIP code. According to the maps, Garvey is strongest in the north Arlington 22207 ZIP, while Gutshall’s strongest zone is the Crystal City and Pentagon City 22202 ZIP. [Data for Humans]

Review of New Synetic Theater Production — “The action-packed shows of Synetic Theater always have cinematic flair, but the second act of the company’s new ‘The Man in the Iron Mask’ takes on surprising storytelling depth. The always-superb fights are accompanied by unexpectedly gripping scenes of high melodrama and even flickers of camp.” [Washington Post]

by ARLnow.com — May 17, 2016 at 9:45 am 0

Boxed water at Roti restaurant in Rosslyn

Elementary School’s Satellite Launches — A “CubeSat” satellite built by students at St. Thomas More Cathedral School in Arlington was launched from the International Space Station yesterday. It’s the first time an elementary school CubeSat has been deployed into space. [CBS NewsThe Register, Twitter]

ConnectArlington Program Makes New Connection — Arlington County’s ConnectArlington fiber optic network is getting access to a collaborative research network of universities, industries and government agencies via the University of Maryland’s Mid-Atlantic Crossroads access point. The move is expected to help with economic development in Arlington. [Arlington County]

Shirlington Restaurant Investigated — The U.S. Dept. of Labor is reportedly investigating labor law violations at Aroma Indian Cuisine restaurant in Shirlington. [Patch]

by ARLnow.com — May 16, 2016 at 8:30 am 0

Kids climbing wall at 2016 Taste of Arlington festival

Kitchen Fire at Lebanese Taverna — Firefighters extinguished an early morning kitchen fire at Lebanese Taverna on Pentagon Row Saturday. [Twitter]

Arlington to Get Tourism Promotion Boost — A slight increase in Arlington’s hotel tax, approved by the County Board over the weekend, will allow the county to boost its tourism promotion budget by $1.25 million. The hotel tax increase was years in the making, as Arlington sought authorization from the state legislature, which stripped the county of the ability to levy the tax surcharge in 2011. [Arlington County]

Fire Station 8 Recommendation — The County Board’s Fire Station No. 8 task force is recommending that the current, aging station be torn down and a new, larger station be built in its place. The cost will be $5 million higher than the county’s estimate for what it originally wanted to do: move the station to county-owned land near Marymount University. That proposal met with resident resistance. [InsideNova]

New Temporary Home for County Buses, Vehicles — The County Board has approved a seven-year lease for a property near Shirlington, where it plans to temporarily store ART buses and county vehicles during separate construction projects. The land is near the CubeSmart self-storage facility. [Arlington County]

Bank Robbery Suspect Arrested — The “Ball Cap Bandit,” who allegedly robbed a bank near Fairlington while wearing a Brooklyn Nets hat, has been caught. According to the FBI, the suspect is 26-year-old Arlington resident Budder Khan. He’s being charged in three separate robberies. He wore Colorado Rockies and Oakland Raiders hats during his other two alleged robberies. [Washington Post]

Two Dozen APS Students Selected for Governor’s School — “This summer, 24 APS students will attend the Governor’s School for Academics, Mentorship, Visual and Performing Arts or the Foreign Language Academy. Both programs allow students to focus on a specific area of intellectual or artistic strengths and interests and to study in a way that best suits the gifted learner’s needs.” [Arlington Public Schools]

by ARLnow.com — May 11, 2016 at 4:45 pm 0

ARLnow is partnering with Taste of Arlington to preview some of the festival’s tastiest dishes this year.

Epic Smokehouse in Pentagon City will be bringing some mouth-watering barbecue ribs to the event, which is taking place starting at noon Sunday, on Wilson Blvd near Ballston Common Mall. (Tickets are still available online.)

We asked Epic’s Assistant General Manager, Chris Naylor, about it.

ARLnow: First, tell us about the dish you’re bringing. How is it prepared? 

Naylor: Smoked BBQ Ribs with Applewine BBQ sauce and a pinch of slaw. We dry rub our ribs and smoke them for six hours, then char them on the grill and brush them with the BBQ sauce.

How does it taste?

They are meaty, smokey, tangy, and just a tad sweet.

Why did you select it? How does it reflect your restaurant overall?

Who doesn’t love ribs? They’re delicious. Our ribs are our take on BBQ, not typical — which is pretty much us in a nutshell.

What’s your favorite thing about participating in Taste of Arlington?

We love to see the crowd and their excitement about trying our food, and the bragging rights when our tent’s crowd is larger than most.

ARLnow and our friends Sarah Fraser and Samy K. will have a “tasting table” near Epic and the booths of the other three restaurants we’re highlighting this week. Be sure to stop by and say hello!

by ARLnow.com — May 11, 2016 at 9:30 am 0

Former Mazda dealership in Ballston, now closed

Firings at Peter Chang After Receipt Incident — Three employees have reportedly been fired and the chef’s own daughter is also on the chopping block at Peter Chang restaurant along Lee Highway. The firings come after a server included the insults “i have a small penis” and “im a plad [sic] a**hole” on a customer receipt. Chang has promised to improve service at his restaurant. [Washington Post]

Arlington Restaurants on Cheap Eats List — More than a dozen Arlington eateries have been included in Washingtonian magazine’s list of the top 100 inexpensive restaurants in the D.C. area. Among them: Bayou Bakery, Cheesetique, Pupatella, Ray’s Hell Burger, Yona and Peter Chang. [Washingtonian]

Video of Track Issue at Court House Station — A video taken inside the Court House Metro station shows sparks and smoldering from the track area. The video comes after a number of well-publicized electrical issues at Metro. “It was kind of weird watching infrastructure fail before my very eyes,” said the man who took the video. [Washington Post]

Tech Company Saves the Day for Theft VictimsCourse Hero, a Silicon Valley-based company that provides study materials, has paid for a scholarship for the Penn State student whose mom left her purse, with $10,000 in tuition money inside, in an Arlington Falls Church Dunkin Donuts. Police still have not found the woman who stole the purse. [NBC Washington]

Most of Crystal City Could Change Hands — Vornado, the property owner that owns more than half of the square footage in Crystal City, is considering spinning off its D.C. properties from those it owns in New York. [Washington Post]

D.C. Complaining About DCA Flights — D.C.’s attorney general has sent an email to the FAA asking that flights to and from Reagan National Airport be shifted away from the District. In 2015 the FAA received 8,670 noise complaints from those in the District, 6,500 of them from the same person. [Washington Post]

by ARLnow.com — May 10, 2016 at 4:40 pm 0

ARLnow.com is partnering with Taste of Arlington this year to highlight some of the dishes we’re most excited about.

The annual festival — now featuring a 400-foot “street pub” — is taking place starting at noon on Sunday, on Wilson Blvd near Ballston Common Mall. Tickets are available online.

Together with Sarah Fraser and Samy K., we’ve curated four Taste of Arlington restaurants and dishes to include in our “tasting table.” Today, we’re highlighting the Spicy Salmon Belly Tartare from Ballston’s own Mussel Bar & Grille (800 N. Glebe Road).

Charles Vogt, Mussel Bar’s Chef De Cuisine, said he selected the dish because it’s representative of Mussel Bar’s commitment to fresh, high-quality seafood. What’s in it?

“Finely diced raw salmon belly tossed with Togarashi [blend of Japanese chili peppers], olive oil, elderflower and lime zest,” he said. “It’s then topped with compressed cucumber, dollops of yuzu yogurt on top of a house made lavash.”

How does it taste?

“The ‘fatty’ salmon belly seasoned with the spicy togarashi balances out beautifully with the crisp clean cucumber flavor and yuzu yogurt cutting through the richness of the salmon,” he said. “Each bite leaving you wanting for another.”

“It’s a beautiful raw dish,” Vogt added. “We want people to know we serve the best and freshest seafood in town.”

It will be Vogt’s first time at Taste of Arlington, but he’s hoping it’s a memorable experience for those stopping by his booth and for himself.

“I’m looking forward to being out there and meeting some potential new and current guests, as well as talking with other restaurant staff and just seeing the talent we have over here in Arlington,” he said.

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