Today Is ‘Terrible Traffic Tuesday’ — Today is the Tuesday after Labor Day, when students in Arlington and around the region go back to school. As a result of the extra school buses, parents and students on the roads, and the end of summer vacations, it is also dubbed “Terrible Traffic Tuesday” by AAA Mid-Atlantic. In reality, however, the day after — which now has a name: “Woeful Wednesday” — is worse in terms of commuting times, and next week should be even more woeful. [Washington Post, WTOP]
Chili’s Dying Out in D.C. Area — The Chili’s in Bailey’s Crossroads has closed. The restaurant chain closed its Crystal City location last year and its Reston location the year before that. The nearest Chili’s to Arlington is now along Route 1, outside the Beltway, in Fairfax County. [Twitter]
Roosevelt Profiled by Conservative Media — GOP candidate Adam Roosevelt is getting some attention from conservative media outlets. Roosevelt “is a moderate Republican running for the Virginia House of Delegates against current Democratic Delegate Alfonso Lopez, who has never before faced a GOP opponent during his six years in office,” writes the Daily Caller, calling the district he’s running in, which includes part of Arlington, “far left.” The lead sentence in Newsmax’s article about Roosevelt has a different focus: “A conservative Republican candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates, who happens to be black, has recently emerged as one of the most spirited advocates of keeping Confederate statues up in the Old Dominion State.” [Daily Caller, Newsmax]
Webb Removed from Civ Fed Debate — School Board candidate Mike Webb has had his invitation to tonight’s Arlington County Civic Federation debate — the unofficial kickoff to campaign season in Arlington — rescinded because he reportedly “failed to return required paperwork in time to allow participation.” Allison Dough, the other candidate to challenge Democratic endorsee Monique O’Grady, has said she has other commitments and will be unable to attend the debate. [InsideNova]
Arlington Man Evicted From ‘Big Brother’ House — Arlington resident Matt Clines, 33, has been evicted from the Big Brother house. Clines had advanced about half-way through the CBS reality show before being voted off. [Reality TV World, Parade, Hollywood Reporter]
DeVos to Make Big Announcement in Arlington — Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is reportedly planning to make a “major announcement on Title IX, the campus gender equality law,” from George Mason’s Antonin Scalia Law School in Arlington on Thursday. [BuzzFeed]
Flickr pool photo by Jim Webster
The last still-operating reminder of when Clarendon was known as “Little Saigon” is celebrating its reopening with an open house today (Wednesday).
Nam-Viet at 1127 N. Hudson Street closed temporarily last month for renovations, but is back in business today with a free lunch buffet from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. It will reopen for regular business hours tomorrow (Thursday).
During the renovations, workers raised the restaurant’s ceilings, refreshed the ceiling tiles, added new tables, chairs and toilets and, literally, raised the bar. The eatery seats 90 people inside and another 60 on the patio outside. General manager Richard Nguyen said the refresh was the first since the restaurant opened in Clarendon in 1986.
“We figured, hey, we stayed here 31 years, have longevity, let’s see if we can stay here for even longer,” Nguyen said.
When customers walk into the restaurant, they will see photos of former prisoners of war, who Nguyen said have helped make Nam-Viet a success. The restaurant holds reunions for POWs as well as other private events.
Nguyen said customers can expect the same menu as before, filled with traditional Vietnamese food which has stayed more or less unchanged throughout its decades in business.
“The only thing that’s changed over 31 years is the décor,” he said. “Everything else has stayed the same.”
The renovation came a month after Nam-Viet closed its second location, in D.C.’s Cleveland Park neighborhood. Nam-Viet’s full letter to its customers is after the jump.
Buuz Thai Eatery opened a few months ago on the ground floor of the 1919 Clarendon Blvd apartment building, but with an address of 1926 Wilson Blvd. It is located between the Virginia ABC store and a realty office, across the street from the Colonial Village condos.
Buuz’s predecessor, Lucky Pot, opened in 2014. The interior looks largely unchanged, even after the business changed hands. One reader emailed to say he has visited Buuz twice already, “and it’s been packed and [the] food is good.”
Co-owner Zola Enkh is Mongolian, and said she wanted to combine her native country’s food with that of Thailand. The menu is filled with traditional Thai and Mongolian dishes, like stir fry, curry, pad Thai rice and vegetable dishes.
“I’m sure there’s many Thai restaurants, but there’s not many Mongolian restaurants here,” she said.
And while the restaurant seats only around 20 people in addition to its carry-out and delivery service, Enkh said she hopes those wanting Thai and Mongolian food in Courthouse will find it welcoming.
“Even those it’s small, it can be enjoyed,” Enkh said.
Photos 5-8 via Buuz Thai Eatery.
Clarendon restaurant Don Tito will host a viewing lunch and happy hour on Monday, August 21 for the solar eclipse.
The watering hole at 3165 Wilson Blvd will begin the festivities at noon, with the eclipse viewing expected to begin at approximately 1:21 p.m. The eclipse is anticipated to be at its maximum around 2:47 p.m., and the viewing and the eclipse itself will wrap us around 4 p.m.
To mark the occasion, the first total eclipse visible in the continental U.S. in decades, Don Tito will offer what it described as “eclipse-inspired refreshments” and taco specials.
This year’s eclipse is expected to be seen by more than 500 million people. The total solar eclipse will cross from Salem, Ore. to Charleston, S.C., with the rest of the country able to see a partial eclipse.
“This is truly a historic event and a wonderful opportunity to view one of nature’s stunning displays,” the Don Tito event’s organizers wrote.
So far, no other viewing events in Arlington have been widely announced, but The Connection pop-up library in Crystal City (2100 Crystal Drive in the Crystal City Shops) gave out hundreds of free glasses with which to watch the eclipse, supplied by PBS. The free glasses proved to be popular and the supply quickly ran out.
At least 20 local restaurants will participate in this year’s Metropolitan Washington Summer Restaurant Week, which begins today (August 14).
Restaurants throughout the greater Washington region will offer three-course lunch and brunch menus for $22 and a three-course dinner for $35 at fixed prices. The annual event is sponsored by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington.
The Arlington restaurants participating, as listed on the Restaurant Week website, are:
- Ambar / Ba Ba (2901 Wilson Blvd)
- Cheesetique Ballston (800 N. Glebe Road)
- Cheesetique Shirlington (4056 Campbell Avenue)
- Circa at Clarendon (3010 Clarendon Blvd)
- Epic Smokehouse (1330 S. Fair Street)
- Fyve at The Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City (1250 S. Hayes Street)
- Hula Girl Bar and Grill (4044 Campbell Avenue)
- Jaleo Crystal City (2250 A Crystal Drive)
- Kapnos Taverna (4000 Wilson Blvd)
- La Cote d’Or Cafe (6876 Lee Highway)
- Lyon Hall (3100 Washington Blvd)
- Mazagan Restaurant and Lounge (2901 Columbia Pike)
- McCormick & Schmick’s – Crystal City (2010 Crystal Drive)
- Morton’s The Steakhouse (1750 Crystal Drive)
- Osteria da Nino (2900 S. Quincy Street)
- Pepita Cantina (4000 Wilson Blvd)
- SER Restaurant (1110 N. Glebe Road)
- The Liberty Tavern (3195 Wilson Blvd)
- The Melting Pot (1110 N. Glebe Road)
- Yona (4000 Wilson Blvd Suite C)
Advanced Towing Lobbied Hard for Bill — Advanced Towing spent $10,000 on lobbyists and made a $1,500 donation to state Sen. Barbara Favola while successfully pushing for a state bill to override Arlington’s second-signature towing requirement. Supporters of the bill say it passed and McAuliffe ultimately signed it because it had the support of the business community. Advanced is one of the largest towing companies in Northern Virginia and has drawn the ire of many local residents for its ruthless efficiency at trespass towing from private lots. [NBC Washington]
Russian Military Jet Flies Over Arlington — Yesterday an unarmed Russian military jet flew over the Pentagon, CIA headquarters, and the U.S. Capitol “as part of a longstanding treaty that allows the militaries of the United States and Russia to observe the other from the air.” [CNN, Axios]
Arlington Still Hiring Teachers — Arlington Public Schools is still hiring teachers for the upcoming school year. “A total of 280 full- and part-time contract positions were unfilled as of Aug. 1… as the school system continues to process applicants,” the Sun Gazette reported. [InsideNova]
Uber, Lyft Make Mark on Local Restaurant Biz — Although readers were skeptical in a poll late last year, the Washington City Paper reports that Uber and Lyft are having a significant impact on the local restaurant industry, drawing customers from a wider area geographically than would have visited before the ride hailing services existed. It’s also bringing more customers to hot non-Metro-accessible restaurants. And it’s not just hipster-y D.C. restaurants drawing customers from around the region: Lyft said Clarendon’s Don Tito was its most visited bar in the D.C. area in 2016. [Washington City Paper]
It takes a special talent to make strangers pause and smile during the rush of their busy days. Yet Adrienne Ellis does it on a weekly basis.
Ellis is the general manager at the Circa restaurant in Clarendon (3010 Clarendon Blvd), and she also provides the witty, colorful quotes that adorn the chalkboard on the sidewalk outside. In fact, Ellis’s work is so popular, she created an Instagram account to showcase it.
“Nothing is more fun than seeing someone stop out there and take a picture of [my work], or giggle and keep walking,” said Ellis.
Ellis has been drawing and painting since she was a child. She used to want to be an art teacher, until she led an art class in middle school. She began chalkboard painting at her previous job at Chef Geoff’s. She mainly did advertising on those chalkboards, but once she moved to Circa almost two years ago, she gained more creative liberties with her work.
“I free-hand everything,” Ellis said. “I just try to get an idea of what would be entertaining more than anything and catch people’s eye.”
Ellis uses the internet for inspiration and generally makes one new chalkboard painting per week.
“I’ll update funny quotes or do a new picture, a little bit of everything,” she said. “I do a lot of cartoons. If it’s Easter, [I’ll do a] Bugs Bunny, [or] something like that.”
Mainly, Ellis paints the current Clarendon trends, including brunch, kale and summer restaurant week.
“Clarendon, I think, is very particular,” Ellis said. “I mean, they love to brunch out here, they love their Champagne. Wine night is really big here so I pick those [things] to poke a little fun at and make people laugh.”
Ellis uses chalk paint for the illustrations and currently, non-waterproof chalkboard boards. The quote paintings usually take around 30 minutes to make while the more intricate paintings can take two hours.
“That’s just me being meticulous,” she explained.
Ellis said her favorite paintings so far have been a Scooby-Doo and a Bugs Bunny. However, passerby seem to have really enjoyed the food puns, like “Champangry,” a cartoon painting of Doug and the Disney figures.
“Any pop culture [reference], people respond really well to,” Ellis said. “I think, again, it’s the area. It’s a lot younger area and they appreciate that humor.”
The McDonald’s on Arlington’s western end of Columbia Pike has reopened after a renovation.
The fast food restaurant at 5005 Columbia Pike closed on June 20 for the refit, and reopened to the public on this past Monday, a spokeswoman said, with updated decor and fixtures and the addition of some new ordering technology.
During the closure, workers added self-service kiosks for customers to place their orders electronically. A spokeswoman said that technology has been rolled out in more than 2,500 McDonald’s restaurants, which includes the recently-opened one at Central Place in Rosslyn.
The restaurant also introduced table service as part of the revamp, which a spokeswoman said “provides a more relaxing and custom dining experience.”
A grand re-opening ceremony is planned from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday (Aug. 5), and will include face painting, games, food and drink and music by local Spanish language radio station El Zol.
Healthy fast-casual eatery Bowl’d is closing, the restaurant announced via Facebook Friday evening.
Bowl’d opened in March 2015 at 1028 N. Garfield Street, in Clarendon, two blocks off the main Clarendon Blvd drag. It served gluten-free rice and salad bowls, plus fruit juice and smoothies among other options.
More via the Facebook post:
Dear BOWL’D Friends and Family,
Thank you so much for the opportunity to serve this community for the last 2+ years. We had a mission to help serve healthy food made to order to help you eat healthier more of the time. Our intent was to provide delicious and nutritious food for people who wanted that option without breaking the bank.
We thank you for all of your support and generous feedback. We have decided to close and wish all of our countless neighbors and friends all the best on their personal journeys to a healthy lifestyle.
The BOWL’D Team.
A new Roti Modern Mediterranean opened in Pentagon City today.
Roti is located on the ground floor of the Met Arcadia apartment building, between a Starbucks and an Orangetheory Fitness. It opened at 11 a.m. today (Friday), and will be open 11 a.m.- 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 11 a.m.-8 p.m. on Sundays.
Staff marked the occasion with balloons and various other decorations, and before 11 a.m. were doing final cleaning tasks ahead of opening the doors.
The fast casual restaurant serves wraps, rite plates and salads, with a variety of protein, topping and sauce options. It focuses on “Food That Loves You Back,” touting high-quality, healthy ingredients. It also offers an option to “try a little of everything,” allowing diners to pick as many sides as they want.
The restaurant is headquartered in Chicago and has other locations around the country, including in Rosslyn (1501 Wilson Blvd), its only other in Arlington.
More from Roti’s press release:
Rōti Modern Mediterranean is excited to announce the opening its newest location in the DC area, in Pentagon City, which opens today. This past January, Roti updated their menu to include a “try a little of everything” approach to entrees, giving customers the option to add as many sides and toppings as they’d like. This past Spring, Spicy Lamb Meatballs were added to the menu at all locations. Packed with flavor and spice, the meatballs are prepared using red quinoa, Sriracha sauce, mint, parsley, red chili, and other spices. This new offering is gluten-free and a great source of protein.
To reinforce their mission of Food That Loves You Back, Roti’s space includes enhanced food presentation, new interior design features, and a hand drawn food story mural scaling the length of the dining room. There is also additional communal seating to accommodate larger lunch and dinner groups.
Honeygrow, a healthy fast-casual eatery that serves custom salads and stir-fry dishes, has started to incorporate virtual reality when training its new employees in Arlington.
“The company is expanding so much but we still want to keep our core values,” said a spokeswoman for Honeygrow, which opened its Pentagon City mall location in 2016.
Honeygrow uses virtual reality for training to ensure that each new employee learns the company’s core values, which can be left in the dust once businesses undergo rapid expansion. Honeygrow’s first location opened in 2012 in Philadelphia but the company has grown so quickly that by the end of 2017, Honeygrow will have expanded to approximately 25 stores, spanning from Boston to Chicago and as far south as Pentagon City, which is one of two locations in the D.C. area
“This [virtual reality] has enabled us to be able to consistently train everybody,” said Brennagh Tourigney, a district manager for Honeygrow.
The virtual reality program was launched in May 2017. Honeygrow’s founder and CEO, Justin Rosenberg, was inspired to use virtual reality at his company when he received a cardboard virtual reality with his Sunday New York Times.
“It engages the team members,” said Tourigney. “This kind of keeps people excited, it sets us apart from our competitors.”
The virtual reality training does not replace hands-on training, but is an additional component. On orientation day, new workers are given the goggles and taken on a tour of a typical Honeygrow restaurant.
The video teaches trainees what the different roles of the workers are: they watch somebody make a salad, they observe a “noodler” carefully prepare noodles so they are a Goldilocks-approved “just right” — not too hard or too soft — and they see how cashiers ensure each order was correctly made. The video even has an interactive part when the goggles take trainees into the Honeygrow refrigerator.
Trainees are taught how to place food in the refrigerator, as foods served raw always go on the top. They must then use a clicker to place the different meats in correct order on the shelves and cannot go on to the next part of the video until they put fish on the top shelf, then beef, then pork and finally, chicken on the bottom shelf.
“I’ve never been in a working kitchen before, but I understand it is a very tough environment so this is a great way to assimilate new hires into a fast-paced kitchen environment, where a million things are going on at once,” said the spokeswoman.
The video was filmed in Honeygrow’s Cherry Hill location in New Jersey. Not a single person featured in the video was an actor, but were employees. Rosenberg introduces the video and gives closing remarks at the end.
“Because it’s led by our CEO and founder, it’s a great way to bring people into the community. You really feel like you’re part of the Honeygrow family from the minute you start,” said the spokeswoman.
Long-time Clarendon restaurant Nam-Viet will be closing for several weeks of renovations starting next week.
The restaurant announced the renovations this morning, saying that the time has come to “revitalize” the restaurant, the first such project since the eatery first opened its doors 34 years ago.
Nam-Viet is the only remaining Vietnamese restaurant in Clarendon from the time when the neighborhood was known as “Little Saigon,” home to bustling Vietnamese-owned businesses after thousands of refugees from the Vietnam War were settled here in the 1970s.
The renovation announcement comes a month after Nam-Viet closed its second location, in D.C.’s Cleveland Park neighborhood.
More from a letter to Nam-Viet customers, below.
Dear Nam-Viet Patrons,
This year marks our 34th year in business in Arlington, Virginia. We are humbled to be one of the longest standing restaurants in Arlington surrounded by a wonderful community of patrons that have traveled far and wide to support Nam-Viet.
2017 has been a big year for Nam-Viet; we bid farewell to Cleveland Park after 20 years, and we have regrouped in Arlington. Beginning July 31, 2017, we have decided to take on a big project that will revitalizes Nam-Viet for the first time since we opened our doors. We will be undergoing renovations during the month of August that we anticipate should be completed within a three week time frame. We invite you to come in this week for lunch or dinner before we undergo our renovations.
Please visit our website www.namviet1.com for more information on our updates and our reopening date. Thank you for your support over the years and we can’t wait to unveil to you our new renovations.
A Thai restaurant in Ballston shuttered late last week.
Tara Temple at 4001 Fairfax Drive closed Friday, July 21. It offered a variety of Thai foods including noodles and curries, as well as what it called a “sizable menu” of Japanese options. The restaurant offered a carry-out option, as well as delivery after 5 p.m. on weekends.
It was located on the ground floor of the Quincy Street Station office building, next door to fellow tenant Cafe Tirolo.
As of Monday, tables and chairs had been removed from the restaurant while materials from inside the kitchen were being brought out for removal. The eatery’s patio was still intact, but with items from inside starting to pile up nearby.
Calls to the restaurant’s main phone number went unanswered.
Hat tip to Brent Murray
Zaika, an Indian restaurant in Clarendon, has closed.
Located on the second level of the Market Common Clarendon shopping center, Zaika described its menu as modern Indian food, with eastern flavors and a western twist. Dishes included classic Indian entrees, such as Chicken Tikka Masala, as well as Indo-Chinese options, like the Manchurian: “A classic Chinese dish with authentic Indian spices.”
Zaika’s phone number has been disconnected and OpenTable no longer allows people to make reservations to eat there. Yesterday the restaurant was empty and dark, with no explanation for the closing posted in the windows or on the business’s Facebook page.
Zaika’s Twitter account, meanwhile, has been converted to an account for Angeethi, an Indian restaurant in Herndon.
Tens of Thousands of Bees Found in Nauck Building — An elaborate series of bee hives were found in a now-county owned building set for demolition in Nauck, prompting the county to call a husband-and-wife beekeeping team that lives in the area. The couple helped “rescue” the hive — estimated to contain 70,000 bees and 100 pounds of inedible honey — and transport it to the community park at 10th Street and N. Barton Street near Courthouse. [Arlington County, Washington Post]
‘Oz’ Owners Splitting Up — “Real Housewives of Potomac” cast members and Oz restaurant owners Ashley Darby and her husband, Michael Darby, have reportedly split. Ashley Darby said she moved out of the luxury Courthouse condo she shares with Michael, but also “dangled the possibility of reconciliation” on a “reunion” show for the series. Despite the drama, the pair were all smiles when they jointly hosted a tasting dinner at Oz in Clarendon on June 27. [Washington Post]
County Wants CSX to Consider Fewer Train Horn Blasts — Arlington County has been working with CSX to try to encourage the railroad to cut down on trains blowing their horn while traveling through densely populated Crystal City. CSX has rules in place that require a horn blast on certain sections of track at certain times for safety reasons. [InsideNova]