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by ARLnow.com — May 31, 2016 at 2:55 pm 0

No official opening date has been set yet, but signs are up outside the new Pancho Villa Mexican Cuisine restaurant in Rosslyn.

The eatery is located at 1850 N. Fort Myer Drive, the former home to the short-lived Secret Chopsticks restaurant, at the bottom of the Turnberry Tower luxury condo building.

A manager today told ARLnow.com that the restaurant would be opening “soon” but said the opening date is still in flux. Virginia ABC recently approved a liquor license for the restaurant.

Only a few changes have been made to the interior of the restaurant — a new purple paint job being the most notable difference, compared to Secret Chopsticks’ more muted tones.

Pancho Villa’s website is still under construction. The company has a number of existing locations around Virginia, including in Stafford, Fredericksburg, Dahlgren and Culpeper. There’s also a Pancho Villa location in Jacksonville, North Carolina.

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 Michelle Rosenfeld — May 23, 2016 at 11:10 am 0

Startup Monday header

Editor’s Note: 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.

Doofl logoFinding himself “bored” with the options for charity fundraising, Ted Decareau’s interest was piqued by the viral Ice Bucket Challenge.

“I wanted to see if we could create a platform that would give any nonprofit the opportunity to reach those heights,” he said. And so Rosslyn-based Doofl was born.

The name Doofl is derived from “Do” (taking action) and “fl” (raffle). The no-cost mobile application – which launched in January – is open to anyone age 13 or older with a Facebook or Twitter account.

“With Doofl, you can create your own virtual fundraiser and have your friends or followers impact the video that you make with their votes and pledges,” Decareau said. “You get the app and pick three fun dares or challenges you’re willing to do, and then have your friends vote and pledge to make it happen. Completing the dare and posting the video acts as the trigger to convert all pledges to donations.”

Users can choose charities from a list of 7,500 verified organizations, or they can request that a specific charity be added to the list for their challenge. The list was generated from Guidestar and Charity Navigator and all donations are tax deductible.

“I thought it would be cool to turn ‘trivial’ social media content into something of value for non-profits,” Decareau said.

Doofl is also offering a limited-time promotion to match the first $100 pledge.

“We have a set number of matches that we allow each promotion and we will bring it back from time to time,” Decareau said.

Users also can win money for their preferred charity without making a video.

“Every month we’re going to give away a $1,000 to the charity of a randomly selected user,” Decareau said. “So just by installing the app and linking your Twitter or Facebook account, you’ll be eligible to ‘win’ the donation for your charity.”

Eventually, Doofl will enhance this monthly drawing by letting users “earn” more chances to win by voting, donating and sharing through the app.

“I think this ‘bonus donation’ drawing is a bit unique and it will be fun to give away extra donations,” Decareau said, adding, “Hopefully we can grow so we can do bonus donations weekly.”

Doofl also has plans to add a feature in coming weeks to generate a unique mobile web page for voting, pledging and donating outside of the app.

Decareau said he picked Rosslyn for Doofl’s home base because of the great co-working spaces – it’s based in MakeOffices – and the neighborhood’s convenient location.

by Adrian Cruz — May 20, 2016 at 5:30 pm 0

Seven Arlington students graduated Friday from a culinary program that trains individuals who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless in the skills necessary to get a job in a commercial kitchen.

This was the sixth incarnation of the D.C. Central Kitchen’s Culinary Training Program, which meets locally at the Fairlington Community Center. The graduation ceremony was held in Rosslyn Friday afternoon and the Arlington students were joined by eight other students from the Central Union Mission, a homeless shelter in D.C.

One of the speakers at the ceremony was Napolean Boakye, a graduate of the fifth Arlington class. He first found out about the program while living in the Carpenter’s Shelter in Old Town Alexandria. As a result of the program, he was offered two jobs in the culinary field and he now works with the National Youth Escape Arena in Maryland.

“This job training sponsored by Arlington County positively influenced me and prepared me to change my way of thinking and my life,” said Boakye. “I said to myself, never again. I’m tired of failure. I’ve been there, done that, I’m moving on to success.”

Two students won the program’s Ron Swanson Life Skills Award: Bryce Churchman from the Arlington program and Gary Lucas from the D.C program.

Along with culinary classes, the students also receive self-empowerment classes and get to train outside of the classroom, with each student receiving a month-long internship. Some of the internship sites included the Key Bridge Marriott, Mess Hall in D.C. and Nando’s Peri-Peri.

The graduation rate for Arlington students ranges between 85 to 90 percent and graduates have an 90 percent job placement rate.

Photos by Jackie Friedman

by Adrian Cruz — May 20, 2016 at 3:30 pm 0

After months — maybe even years — of constant “harassment” from an anonymous neighbor, North Highlands resident Mary McCutcheon had enough, as did the rest of the community.

On Thursday, McCutcheon organized a neighborhood meeting in front of her house — in the small community just north of Rosslyn — to discuss a neighbor who was constantly calling Arlington County to report supposed violations of zoning codes in local yards. It was enough of an issue that even County Board Chair Libby Garvey showed up.

“The county enforces some of the property maintenance and zoning codes in response to complaints and almost never in a proactive way,” McCutcheon told ARLnow.com. “This wouldn’t be bad except it effectively deputizes the small number of complain-o-holics around town with a great deal of power.”

Over the last couple of years, McCutcheon has constantly battled Arlington County over her plants. The owner of three properties in the neighborhood, she has received numerous violation notices as a result of complaint-driven code enforcement. In a letter to the editor sent to ARLnow in 2014, McCutcheon described in detail an instance in which an Arlington County inspector deemed her in violation of a weed-related ordinance following a complaint.

And she’s not alone. Someone, it seems, does not like the aesthetics of other nearby properties, either. And neighbors are fed up with it.

“Finally there is a critical mass of people who have been complained about,” she said, of the meet. “We have approached the County Manager and the County Board and the higher-ups in zoning and code enforcement.””

Some 20 neighborhood residents attended the meeting, along with Garvey and the county’s new Resident Ombudsman, Robert Sharpe.

At the meeting, McCutcheon displayed the offending items including her overgrown rose bushes, a fence surrounding the property and a small library she kept in front of her home.

“I think that complaint-driven code enforcement has so many inherent evils that we must put an end to it,” said McCutcheon. “We must have codes in this county that are enforceable and will be enforced and are worthy of being enforced, otherwise rewrite them. When code is enforced capriciously like this, I hope the county stops accepting this type of complaint.”

Garvey seemed sympathetic, agreeing that the code should have room for interpretation in situations where the perceived violation is not a threat to safety or other people’s property.

“There are situations where things should apply where they shouldn’t and there ought to be a way to exercise judgment,” said Garvey. “This property is beautiful but it doesn’t fit the narrow definitions of what we have had. I’m not sure what the solution is because I can’t say we’re not going to enforce our code but maybe there is a way of giving the code a little judgment or some situational awareness.”

McCutcheon was not the only one there who experienced the passive aggressive wrath of an anonymous resident.

One resident mentioned an incident where her babysitter received an threatening letter from an anonymous source due to her parking her car in the wrong location. The letter contained profanity and other threats and it was signed “The County Board.”

McCutcheon claimed the harassment began after she took down a white mulberry tree that was on public land near her house. The white mulberry is known to be an invasive species, crowding out native species. After removing the tree, McCutcheon says that a particular neighbor immediately became hostile, claiming that the tree was the only thing blocking his view of townhouses in front.

After the initial event, she described how this neighbor — a particularly grumpy British man — would become increasingly aggressive and rude to her in later encounters on the street. Soon after, she began receiving calls from county officials about the complaints, which she assumed came from the same person.

“One time I was walking my dogs and he was walking backwards just to scream at me. I was so scared I wrote a letter to Adult Protective Services but I never sent it,” said McCutcheon.

Other residents shared their own experiences, suggesting that the prickly Brit was the source of the complaints.

While she was describing the chronology of events, the neighbor in question exited his house and quickly became upset with the gathered group. He also began aggressively questioning the presence of a reporter, an ARLnow.com intern, and threatened to call the police after another resident tried to intervene.

Sharpe arrived soon after, temporarily defusing the situation as he took the man aside to discuss the issue.

After speaking with the man, Sharpe recommended that for the short term, McCutcheon comply with the directives to trim her rose bushes in order to avoid further conflict while the county comes up with a more permanent solution.

The mystery, however, deepened after the meeting adjourned.

In a later email, McCutcheon notified ARLnow that after speaking with Sharpe, it was confirmed that the neighbor was not, in fact, the source of the complaints.

[He] is still a nasty man,” McCutcheon said. “But it is someone else who is complaining.”

by Jackie Friedman — May 20, 2016 at 10:20 am 0

Today is Bike to Work Day around the D.C. area. More than 1,500 people were expected to participate in Arlington alone.

This year Arlington County hosted seven “pit stops” for the event — in Ballston, Crystal City, East Falls Church, Rosslyn, Shirlington and at Penrose Square on Columbia Pike. Six were morning pit stops; the seventh, also in (or, at least, near) Shirlington, is an “afternoon party” at New District Brewing, from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

The two biggest stops were Ballston and Rosslyn, where bicyclists gathered en masse, enjoying the nice weather and offerings from various vendors in a festival-like atmosphere. At the stop in Rosslyn, Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) pedaled in and gave a brief speech.

“Let’s make Arlington and D.C. a better place to live,” he said.

Tim Kelley, marketing manager for BikeArlington, said that Bike to Work Day started in 2002 and has become a fun annual tradition for bike commuters and occasional cyclists alike. BikeArlington was expecting 500 people to stop by the Ballston pit stop and more than 1,000 at the Rosslyn location.

by ARLnow.com — May 16, 2016 at 1:35 pm 0

Firefighters freed an individual from an overturned car in Rosslyn yesterday morning.

The incident happened around 10:30 a.m. Sunday. A two-car crash on N. Nash Street, in front of the Turnberry Tower condo building, led to one of the vehicles flipping on its roof.

“It appeared to me that the grey car was pulling out of a parking spot on the east side of N. Nash and it and the black car collided,” said David Mitchell, who witnessed the aftermath of the wreck. “The black car appeared to be going north on N. Nash and the impact of the collision caused the black car to roll over. There did not appear to be any damage to the cars parked on the west side of N. Nash.”

“I did speak to one person who arrived on the scene about the same time as Engine 110,” Mitchell continued. “He reported, ‘the firemen dived right into the car to check on the occupants.’ He was impressed with their actions and the speed at which they worked. I would say that the sole occupant of the black car was extricated within 15 minutes after ACFD’s arrival.”

There were no reports that anyone suffered life-threatening injuries in the crash.

Photos courtesy David J. Mitchell

by ARLnow.com — May 6, 2016 at 10:00 am 0

Mannequins displayed in the window at Pacers Running Store in Clarendon

Two Add’l Endorsements for Gutshall — Democratic County Board Erik Gutshall has picked up two more endorsements. The campaign announced this week that Gutshall was endorsed by Clerk of the Circuit Court Paul Ferguson and former county treasurer Frank O’Leary. [InsideNova]

Garvey’s Idea for I-66 — In an interview with the urbanist blog Greater Greater Washington, County Board Chair Libby Garvey, who is running for reelection, talked about her belief in more Bus Rapid Transit service as a transit solution and her plans for making Arlington a “great” place to live. Among her ideas: building large decks over I-66 to provide more parkland, more bus parking and to “knit our community back together.” [Greater Greater Washington]

Barley Mac Grand OpeningBarley Mac in Rosslyn is holding its grand opening celebration this weekend: “The party will kick off each night at 8:00 p.m. and go until 2:00 a.m., and we’ll serve [complimentary] passed appetizers and light bites in the bar from 8:00-10:00 p.m.” [Facebook, Rosslyn BID]

Native Species Returning to Arlington — The removal of invasive species from Arlington’s parkland is paying off. A number of plant and animal species once thought to be gone for good have started returning to the county, including certain frogs, otters, foxes and turkeys. The county announced this in a press release with the alliterative headline “Nurtured Nature Nets New Natives.” [Arlington County]

Inexpensive Local Art on Sale — The Arlington Artists Alliance is holding an art show and sale later this month where every work of art is priced at $95 or less. [Patch]

Real Housewives Filming in Clarendon? — An episode of the Real Housewives of Potomac was reportedly being filmed at Oz restaurant in Clarendon last night. The restaurants is owned by cast member Ashley Darby and her husband. [Twitter]

by ARLnow.com — May 4, 2016 at 4:35 pm 0

Gateway Park in Rosslyn will be converted into a 20,000 square foot parkour park later this month for a festival called Beast Coast.

The event, from May 28-30, is being organized by the D.C.-based group American Parkour, which promotes the running, jumping and climbing exercise discipline.

Beast Coast graphic“Beast Coast is the world’s largest annual parkour event,” the organization claims.

“Our parkour park will be the stuff legends are made of. Design and construction has already started on our one of a kind playground. If you were there last year you know the scale, this year will be bigger with some fun new challenges and lots of new obstacles. With challenges for all skill levels and a kids area it’s shaping up to be the best year yet!”

The event will feature more than 450 parkour athletes from as far away as Switzerland. There will also be a DJ, sponsors, giveaways, seminars, a film festival and a “nature day.”

The event is $10 to attend as a spectator. Ticket prices are higher for participants.

Those who are in town Memorial Day weekend might also see parkour participants jumping around in Crystal City. The event’s official hotel is the Courtyard Arlington Crystal City/Reagan National Airport.

by ARLnow.com — May 4, 2016 at 10:35 am 0

Plaza on 19th (photo courtesy Rosslyn BID)The Rosslyn BID is planning a special Cinco de Mayo celebration tomorrow afternoon.

Weather permitting, the “fiesta” will be held from 4-8 p.m. on the plaza at the corner of 19th and N. Moore streets, a block from the Metro station.

The event will feature seasonal beers and wine available for purchase from a “mobile event bar,” a live music from Cecilia Esquivel and a photo station.

Also scheduled: a rare appearance from the famous El Chilango food truck, which does not often stray far from its home base of 14th Street N. in the Courthouse area. In 2014 Yelp named the truck one of the top 100 places to eat in the entire country.

Admission is free but revelers must be 21 or over. In the event of rain the event will be moved to the Continental.

by ARLnow.com — May 3, 2016 at 2:15 pm 0

Rosslyn Outdoor Film Festival (file photo)Rosslyn’s annual summer movie festival will kick off on Friday, June 3 with the theme “Incredible Journeys.”

The movies start just after sundown Friday nights on the lawn at at Gateway Park (1300 Lee Hwy). Admission is free.

This year’s film festival will feature new food, beer and wine options.

“Food will be available for purchase from food trucks and local restaurants and from 5 p.m. until the film starts, grab a glass of beer or wine at our Mobile Bar in partnership with the Alexandria Aces and Mobile Event Bars,” said the Rosslyn BID, which is organizing the festival.

This year, June 10, July 15 and Aug. 5 are designated as special family movie nights, with kids’ activities and story time before the movies.

The full movie lineup is below.

  • June 3 – E.T. the Extra Terrestrial
  • June 10 – Beethoven 2
  • June 17 – Eat, Pray, Love
  • June 24 – Indiana Jones Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • July 1 – Coming to America
  • July 8 – Dirty Dancing
  • July 15 – Finding Nemo
  • July 22 – Casablanca
  • July 29 – Top Gun
  • August 5 – Up
  • August 12 – Roman Holiday
  • August 19 – Casino Royale (2006)
  • August 26 – The Notebook

File photo

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — May 3, 2016 at 7:30 am 0

The proceeding post is sponsored and written by Rosslyn Key

As developers scrambled over recent years to meet the demand for luxury homes in the D.C. area they pushed projects further and further into the suburbs, losing much of the urban appeal, character and convenience that is found in the area’s epicenter. Families followed the real estate trend and moved further out in search of new construction communities, but young professionals quickly filled the area’s urban spaces. What followed this shift in demographics was a resurgence of energy and an immediate demand for a vibrant social lifestyle in what were formerly considered to be “boring” neighborhoods.

Rosslyn was one of the most notable benefactors of this urban resurgence as the neighborhood transitioned from a pass-through area of corporate buildings and lunch delis to an area rich in dining, shopping and nightlife. Most importantly Rosslyn emerged from this transition and maintained its urban character, becoming very appealing to homebuyers looking for exactly that.

A problem for home shoppers arose, however, as professionals drawn to Rosslyn’s urban feel and newfound social vibrancy were hard pressed to find newly constructed homes to purchase. Most of what was on the market were remnants of the “boring” Rosslyn, requiring buyers to consider costly upgrades following a purchase if they wanted the latest in modern luxury. Enter Rosslyn Key.

Rosslyn Key, an urban community of luxury townhomes by Madison Homes, gave buyers exactly what they wanted: new construction luxury homes with all the conveniences and urban appeal Rosslyn had to offer. Purchasing a newly constructed home within walking distance to both Georgetown and Clarendon without having to remodel or reconstruct became a mission for high-end home shoppers in this transformed neighborhood, and Rosslyn Key delivered.

The community of 4-level city townhomes offers standard features such as Thermador designer kitchens, hardwood floors, rooftop terraces, 2 car garages and even have elevators available all within 3 blocks to Rosslyn’s metro, shopping and bistros. The features and layout of these townhomes are certainly one of a kind.

Rosslyn Key scratched the itched of the luxury buyer looking for new construction. Because of everything these townhomes have to offer combined with their location in one of the D.C. Metro’s hottest neighborhoods, buyers have already snatched up 20 of the 25 available homes. Only 5 remain before Rosslyn Key is completely sold out.

Priced from $1.3 million, Rosslyn Key truly combined luxury with location to become Arlington’s hottest townhome community. Visit RosslynKey.com to view the floor plans, features and options in each of these homes. The furnished model home is open Friday – Tuesday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. or by appointment to see these amazing homes in person or call 703-665-1792 to set an appointment. Visit rosslynkey.com for more information.

by ARLnow.com — May 2, 2016 at 11:45 am 0

A peeping tom in Rosslyn apparently took a photo of a woman through her window and then ran off.

The incident happened around 1 a.m. Saturday at the River Place condos in Rosslyn. From an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

PEEPING TOM, 160430004, 1000 block of N. Arlington Boulevard. At approximately 1:00 a.m. on April 30, a female victim noticed a flash come through her window and a male subject fleeing from the area. The suspect is described as a male, wearing a dark jacket, dark pants, and a baseball hat.

Another peeping tom was reported early Sunday morning not too far away, in the Courthouse area.

PEEPING TOM, 160501006, 1200 block of N. Troy Street. At approximately 1:10 a.m. on May 1, a woman observed a male suspect looking into a neighbors window. The suspect is described as a Hispanic male, approximately 5’4″ – 5’8″  tall and weighed 150 lbs. He was wearing dark clothing, a dark hat, and had a book bag.

Police are investigating both incidents. So far no arrests have been announced.

by ARLnow.com — April 26, 2016 at 11:30 am 0

Rosslyn is getting a new bourbon bar and neighborhood hangout.

Barley Mac, located in the former Red, Hot & Blue space at 1600 Wilson Blvd, is set to open later this week. An official opening date has not been announced yet, but a safe bet is to expect a couple of quiet, “soft opening” periods, followed by a more official opening later this week, perhaps Thursday or Friday.

The ownership group behind Barley Mac is a familiar one — you’ve heard of some of their other, highly successful bar/restaurant ventures, notably A-Town Bar and Grill in Ballston and Don Tito in Clarendon. Barley Mac, says partner Scott Parker, will be the group’s most mature, food-centric establishment yet.

Case in point: the pedigree of some of the team members behind the restaurant. Executive chef Jeremy Magnanelli got his culinary start at the prestigious Inn at Little Washington, and most recently was sous chef at Lincoln Restaurant in D.C. Beverage program manager Mitch Johnson comes by way of the Robert Wiedmaier Group.

(Other team members include executive chef Mike Cordero, who is creating the menu, and interior designer Yvette Irene.)

The food menu, still a work in progress, is billed as “American tavern cuisine with an Italian twist.” In terms of drinks there will of course be draft beer and craft cocktails, but the star of the show will be the whiskey selection. Parker says to expect more than 100 whiskeys, half of which are bourbons.

Among the whiskeys on the menu: Elijah Craig 18 year, Hudson Baby Bourbon, A. Smith Bowman whiskey from Fredericksburg, Old Rip Van Winkle, Whistle Pig Rye, plus Yamazaki and Hibiki Japanese whiskeys.

Barley Mac has been more than a year in the making but Parker says the wait will be worth it. He and his partners are expecting Barley Mac to be another smashing success, thanks to pent up demand for a go-to after-work spot for those who live and work in Rosslyn.

The Rosslyn market, he said, is “underserved” by existing restaurants, particularly when it comes to happy hour and late night options.

“We expect to be really busy from day one,” Parker said. “We think Rosslyn has a lot of good spots but it doesn’t have that neighborhood gathering place. That’s what we’re aiming to be, the go-to spot… the place in Rosslyn everybody knows.”

Barley Mac plans to remain open until 2 a.m. seven days a week. It expects to serve only dinner this week, with lunch service added next week. After about a month, Barley Mac will offer a “huge brunch buffet” on weekends and will also add outdoor, patio dining options.

by ARLnow.com — April 14, 2016 at 3:15 pm 0

Firefighters respond to the Rosslyn Metro station (file photo)Update at 3:30 p.m. — Metro says trains are no longer single tracking.

A Metro train got stuck in the Potomac River tunnel outside of the Rosslyn station this afternoon, leading to delays and a paramedic dispatch.

Metro evacuated passengers to the front of the disabled train — then through another train — and into the station, a video (below) shows. Metro requested that an Arlington County medic unit respond to the station as a precaution.

Orange, Blue and Silver line trains were single-tracking through station as a result of the incident. Passengers should expect significant delays.

The train that became disabled in the tunnel is one of Metro’s new 7000-series trains.

File photo

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