Arlington, VA

District Taco began as a stand-alone food cart and expanded into the burgeoning regional restaurant chain it is today.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of District Taco, which was co-founded by Marc Wallace and Osiris Hoil. The company is marking the occasion with an event in Rosslyn tomorrow (Thursday).

“ATTN, amigos!” the company said in a social media post. “Join us back where it all started for our 10 year anniversary… from 12-1 p.m. we will be on the corner of Lynn St & Wilson Blvd, in Rosslyn, handing out tacos and giveaways! Come celebrate with us and pose for a photo with our original taco cart.”

Hoil said he also plans on celebrating by taking a trip down to Mexico in August to visit family and reminisce about his mother’s cooking — the inspiration for many District Taco recipes.

Hoil’s entrepreneurial story began when he came to the United States as an immigrant and was laid off from a construction company during in 2007, around the time of the economic crisis. He said despite his dismay at the time, he still thinks highly of the firm and hired them to build several District Taco locations.

The District Taco cart launched in 2009, but was retired in 2014. Since then, two bricks-and-mortar District Taco locations have opened in Arlington: at 5723 Lee Highway — its very first storefront — in 2010 and in Rosslyn (1500 Wilson Blvd) in 2016.

District Taco now has 14 locations, according to its website, and plans to add at least three more in 2020, according to Hoil. They also want to double their office space by 2021.

“Everything we have done is by scratch,” said Hoil. “We have learned so much from other people and big companies.”

Photo 1 via Twitter

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Rosslyn’s dining scene has transformed.

With a wide variety of sit-down restaurants and dozens of the region’s most desirable fast-casual places, there’s something for everyone. In the coming months, the neighborhood’s dining options will continue to expand to meet increasing demand from a growing residential population, a diversified employee base and a strong visitor market.

Read on for a quick list of what’s to come.

Common Ground Social Eatery

Corner of N. Moore Street & Central Place Plaza — A second-story eatery with a view of Central Place Plaza, this food hall will serve as a culinary incubator where notable and emerging chefs can share their delicious creations with customers. It will be a vibrant spot to eat and socialize.

Happy Endings Eatery

Corner of 19th & N. Moore Street — Another second-level establishment, Happy Endings Eatery will feature five or six fast-casual food stalls serving Asian food, including a Vietnamese grill, a fusion tea house and a Vietnamese coffee stand.

Open Road

1800 N. Lynn Street (entrance on Central Place Plaza) — This casual bar and restaurant with another location in Virginia was recently named Favorite Gathering Place at the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington’s annual RAMMY Awards. Soon, Rosslyn will have its own location on Central Place Plaza.

Oz Rey Food Hall

1700 N. Moore Street — Although not yet named, this food hall operated by culinary experience company Oz Rey will be mostly located on the second level of Rosslyn City Center. It will have twelve food stalls and two bars.

Salt

1201 Wilson Boulevard (entrance on N. Lynn Street) — This new happy-hour spot promises to be a fun destination in the heart of Rosslyn.

South Block Juice

1550 Wilson Boulevard — Soon Rosslyn will have its own location of this popular home-grown and trending micro juicery featuring healthy drinks, smoothies and acai bowls.

Taco Rock

1501 Wilson Boulevard — This distinctive taco shop is the latest venture from Arlington restaurateur and chef Mike Cordero, who’s also a partner in the Rosslyn restaurant Barley Mac. The colorfully decorated, 50-seat eatery will serve tacos with innovative flavor combinations and offer several varieties of tequila and imported Mexican beers.

Sfoglina

1100 Wilson Boulevard — D.C. area restauratuers Fabio and Maria Trabocchi are bringing their wonderful Italian fare to Rosslyn with this restaurant featuring handmade pastas, small plates and a few meat and seafood entrées.

Open Kitchen

1300 N. 17th Street — This will be a great new breakfast and lunch option located in a stylish work lounge that has fast, free Wi-Fi. Open Kitchen will offer the best in American and Asian cuisine.

Interested in staying informed on opening dates for these places? Follow the Rosslyn BID on social media or subscribe to their weekly eBlast for updates!

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A 35-year-old D.C. man exposed himself to a woman in Rosslyn and then spit on her, according to Arlington County Police.

The alleged incident happened Saturday morning around 8:15 a.m., outside a business on the 1700 block of N. Lynn Street, just south of Wilson Blvd.

“The victim was attempting to enter a business when the male suspect allegedly confronted her outside the entrance, exposing his genitals and touching himself inappropriately,” police said in a crime report today. “The male made inappropriate comments to the victim and spit on her. The male subsequently entered the business and was refusing to leave”.

“Arriving officers located the male suspect inside of the business and took him into custody without incident,” the ACPD crime report continues. “Donte Smith, 35, of Washington, D.C. was arrested and charged with Indecent Exposure and Assault & Battery.”

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Morning Notes

Officials Pledge Action on Flooding — “Perhaps sensitive to growing community disenchantment over past performance in addressing heavy-rain incidents, County Board members on July 13 pledged to find ways to improve local-government efforts to address the impact of flooding. ‘We have to up our game,’ acknowledged County Board Chairman Christian Dorsey.” [InsideNova]

Residents Demand Stormwater Fixes — “Alexandra Lettow was near tears as she described the losses her family suffered in Monday’s flooding to neighbors and county officials gathered at a home in Arlington’s Waverly Hills neighborhood… It was at least the seventh time the neighborhood had flooded in 19 years.” [Washington Post]

Flood Insurance Doesn’t Cover All Losses — “They have a FEMA-backed flood insurance policy through Liberty Mutual… When the insurance adjuster came Tuesday to assess the damage she dropped a bombshell. Right there in the middle of the policy it reads, for property in a basement, coverage is limited.” [WJLA]

Arlington Man Leads Police on Chase — “At first the Expedition refused to stop for the trooper, but finally pulled off and stopped on the shoulder. A few minutes into the traffic stop, the driver of the Expedition drove off from the trooper and a pursuit was initiated westbound on I-66.” [Press Release]

Board Approved 23rd Street Tunnel Request — “After years of maintaining the little-used 23rd Street pedestrian tunnel that runs under Richmond Highway in Crystal City, Arlington will request its closure from the state.” [Arlington County]

New Renderings of Rosslyn Hotel Development — “The proposed development… would replace the Holiday Inn at 1900 N. Fort Myer Drive with a building which combines residential, hotel and conference center uses along with retail and restaurant space. A 38-story tower fronting N. Fort Myer would contain a four-star hotel with 344 rooms (compared to the previously-proposed 327), and a 25-story residential tower fronting Nash Street would deliver roughly 500 studio-to-three-bedroom units (compared to the previously-proposed 490).” [Urban Turf]

Interim Economic Development Director Named — “Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz has named Alex Iams interim director of Arlington Economic Development. Iams currently serves as assistant director of the department. He succeeds Victor Hoskins, who has served as director since January 2015.” [Arlington County]

Hoskins: Arlington in Good Shape — “Hoskins said that Arlington County has ‘nothing to worry about’ with Amazon coming in, adding that the move to Fairfax County is coming at the right time — ‘Yes, I’m done in Arlington.'” [Tysons Reporter]

Photo courtesy Craig Fingar

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(Updated at 9:45 p.m.) The View of DC, the observation deck on the 31st floor of Central Place Tower in Rosslyn, appears to be closing to ticketed guests.

On the venue’s website, tickets are only available through Friday, July 26. A somewhat cryptic message on the website (below) suggests that the observation deck will “pivot” to being primarily a private event venue.

As we continue to improve operations at The View of DC to offer an elevated and exceptional experience, we have also been carefully evaluating and analyzing our performance for our guests. As a result of that analysis, we will be transitioning The View of DC to serve Arlington County residents and their guests and after-hours events attendees. We believe this will allow us to better serve Arlington County residents and to better leverage The View of DC as a point of civic pride and the go-to event venue in the region.

We will honor all group and advance sales admissions tickets through Friday, July 26, 2019 and pivot to a full-service special event venue immediately thereafter.

Reached be phone today, an employee said staff had not been told the plans but were scheduled to have a 3 p.m. meeting to discuss the changes.

It’s unclear when Arlington residents will be able to access the observation deck after July 26. The county’s site plan for Central Place Tower — formerly known as CEB Tower — specifies that “a minimum of 2 days of every week… as well as the 4th of July, the Observation Deck will be open to Arlington residents free of charge.”

Before the observation deck opened, hopes were high that it would be a major tourism draw for Rosslyn. It is “the tallest destination inside the Beltway that is open to the public — until the Washington Monument reopens,” according to the Washington Business Journal.

While online reviews of The View of DC are largely positive, with praise for the venue’s staff and the views, complaints abound about the price of admission. For non-Arlington residents, tickets are up to $22.

When the tower, part of the Central Place development next to the Rosslyn Metro station, was first approved in 2007, the developer envisioned a more modest admission fee.

“As the applicant estimates an annual operating cost of approximately $1.5 million… an admission fee would be charged for entry to pay for operating expenses,” the original site plan said. “The applicant estimates that a future admission charge would be approximately $3.00 in order to be revenue-neutral.”

Legends, the hospitality company behind One World Observatory at the World Trade Center in New York City and OUE Skyspace in Los Angeles, manages The View of DC, which also features various exhibits and a rooftop Champagne bar.

Photo via View of DC/Facebook

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Morning Notes

Police Operation in Ballston — Arlington County Police say they arrested a wanted individual in Ballston Wednesday evening, in front of the DARPA building on N. Randolph Street. Officers used a “diversionary device” — witnesses described it as a flashbang grenade — during the operation, a police spokeswoman told ARLnow. “One suspect was taken into custody without incident,” ACPD spokeswoman Kirby Clark said. Additional details were not immediately available. [Twitter]

‘Perfect Friday Night Date in Rosslyn’ — “A round of miniature golf is one of summer’s pleasures, whether putt-putting past pirate statues at a course by the beach or playing in a regional park closer to home. It works equally well as part of a date night or a group outing with friends. And it’s definitely not the kind of thing you’d expect to find popping up in the plaza outside a Rosslyn office building.” [Washington Post]

Beer Hall Nears Opening in Ballston — The opening of Bronson Bier Hall in Ballston, the successor to A-Town Bar and Grill, is about a month away. Most of the major interior construction appears to have been completed. [Instagram]

Amazon Hosts LGBT Reception — “A special reception [was] hosted by Amazon at a location in the heart of its massive planned expansion was held at Freddie’s Beach [Bar in Crystal City] to greet the area’s LGBT community.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Subsidies for Late Night Commuters — “The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority has kicked off an effort to support late-night workers who travel when transit service is not available. Since July 1, qualified workers – such as those in the hospitality or health-care industries – have been eligible to receive a $3 subsidy toward travel on Lyft for trips taken between their home and workplace between midnight and 4 a.m.” [InsideNova]

Arlington Community Foundation Awards Scholarships — “The Arlington Community Foundation awarded new college scholarships totaling more than $540,000 to 72 students who will attend college next year. An additional 105 scholarships totaling $281,000 were renewed for returning college students, for a total of 177 recipients.” [Press Release]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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Sfoglina — an acclaimed Italian restaurant run by chef and restaurateur Fabio Trabocchi, with two locations in D.C. — is planning an opening in Arlington soon after Labor Day.

Jessica Botta, director of training and culinary development at Fabio Trabocchi Restaurants, told ARLnow that construction is currently humming along at 1100 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn and the opening is expected sometime in September.

The restaurant is pronounced sfoal-yee-nah and is named for the female artisans who traditionally rolled sheets of pasta with rolling pins.

The restaurant is planned to open in a 4,500 square-foot space inside the 32-story building that also houses TV station WJLA.

The restaurant is still hiring restaurant and general managers. Those interested can email [email protected] or apply online.

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BASH Boxing and the Hyatt hotel in Rosslyn are teaming this weekend to sponsor a brunch and boxing charity event to benefit the Aga Khan Foundation and Save the Children.

Boxing fans can enjoy a 35-minute BASH training session followed by a tapas-style brunch this Sunday (June 29), from 10 a.m.-12 p.m., at the Hyatt Centric Arlington (1325 Wilson Blvd).

Bloody marys and mimosas are available for participants over the age of 21. Event guests will be automatically entered into a raffle for a two-night stay at the Hyatt Centric Arlington. An additional raffle will offer up a two-night stay at Central Park Hotel in New York City. 

The Aga Khan Foundation and Save the Children both work to improve the lives of impoverished people by increasing access to education and healthcare. All of the proceeds will go toward the foundations. 

Tickets are $40 and are available for purchase online or at 703-908-4692.

Photo via BASH Boxing 

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Newly-revised plans for the redevelopment of the Key Bridge Marriott site in Rosslyn include a new bike path.

Los Angeles-based developers Woodridge Capital Partners and Oaktree Capital Management purchased the hotel at 1401 Lee Highway for $190 million last year. Since then, the developers proposed renovating the 582-room hotel and adding three residential buildings to the site — two with condominiums and one with apartments.

On June 11, Woodridge and Oaktree Capital Management LP submitted plans to build a pedestrian and cyclist “esplanade” on the north side of the site, with a connection to Lee Highway. The county noted earlier this month that the developers need to ensure pedestrians and cyclists weren’t hampered by their plan to demolish the footbridge over Lee Highway, which connects the Custis Trail and Gateway Park.

“This area, which will be fully open to the public, will offer spectacular views of the Potomac River and connect to the bike path leading to the Key Bridge,” the developers wrote in the new plans.

“The esplanade, which will not be open to general vehicle traffic, will be fully open to pedestrians and cyclists and offer a new option for cyclists to access and navigate through the site,” the developers added. “It will also offer greater connectivity to the Custis Trail from the Key Bridge through a new bicycle path connection on the northeastern end of the property.”

A February traffic impact analysis indicates that developers plan to close the hotel’s current connection to N. Fort Myer Drive and keep the two entrances off of Lee Highway. The plans also call for several roadways on the site itself, including:

  • an east-west roadway connecting the buildings to be used for pick-ups and drop-offs
  • two north-south roadways on either side of the hotel
  • an emergency vehicle access road along the backside (northside) of the property

“The new streets, combined with esplanade, will provide much improved bicycle and pedestrian circulation through the site,” the developer’s site plan application says.

Woodridge and Oaktree are requesting the County Board’s permission to build 446 rooms in the renovated hotel along with 151 condominium units, 300 apartments units, and 635 parking spaces. The apartment building will sit on the parking garage on the west side of the lot, bringing its total height to 16 stories.

In exchange for increased density, Woodridge and Oaktree are promising to build LEED-certified energy efficient buildings and a yet-to-be-determined public art project.

Read More

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The Rosslyn boathouse project is one step closer to setting sail, thrilling some local officials but also facing opposition from some local residents.

The National Park Service ushered the project along to a new phase this week, announcing that the proposed site for the boathouse in Rosslyn will have no significant environmental impact. This closes NPS’ environmental assessment of where the boathouse could be located that has dragged on for seven years, and means the design phase can begin.

“I personally am thrilled about this possibility,” Mary-Claire Burick, president of the Rosslyn Business Improvement District, told ARLnow yesterday (Wednesday). “Access to the river is so important not only for the county but also for our residents and visitors throughout Rosslyn. I would say that the Potomac River is probably the greatest un-utilized recreational resource that we have.”

“I think we still have quite a bit to go in the process,” she added. “But I think this is a very important milestone.”

But not all share Burick’s optimism about the project’s progress. The Arlington County Civic Federation voted 33-1 earlier this month to request the Arlington County Board hold more discussions with the public about the site for the boathouse and the project in general, as the Sun Gazette reported.

The resolution approved by the federation accused the Board of “not acting in accordance” with its standards for public planning processes. Members were upset about the Board initially slating the vote for the boathouse on their meeting’s consent agenda instead of planning a public hearing, the Sun Gazette reported. They also asserted that the county’s Park and Recreation Commission and the Environment and Energy Conservation Commission were not consulted about the plan.

Previously, the Arlington County Board voted unanimously to allow NPS to finish the environmental assessment of 2105 N. Lynn Street (formerly known as 1101 Lee Highway), the planned location for the boathouse. The County Board’s vote sided with NPS in eschewing an alternative site at Gravelly Point.

“Since the 1980s, Arlington residents have sought a community boathouse to provide access to the Potomac for recreation, education and fitness activities,” said Erik Meyers, Arlington Boathouse Foundation president. He added in a statement that he was “grateful” NPS brought the project closer to that goal.

“We are pleased to see this long-planned project pass such an important milestone,” said Jane Rudolph, director of Arlington’s Department of Parks and Recreation, in a statement.

Rudolph said the county looks “forward to continuing to work with our community partners to establish this resource to benefit all Arlingtonians.”

The current plans propose a 14,000-square-foot boathouse, a 300-foot-long dock, a facilities building with lockers and bathrooms, an access road, and a small parking lot.

Burick said the BID is committed to acting as “a community convener” to bring civic associations and other groups to table during the upcoming design phase of the project. She believed Rosslyn residents will be excited about the project, considering residents’ love for outdoor recreation and the site’s Metro accessibility.

Burick added that she is a Potomac paddle boarder and hopes that a boathouse on the Potomac’s Virginia shores will teach people to love the river as much as she does.

“I think it will bode really well for the health of the river because the more people who start using it fall in love with it,” she said.

When asked if she thought the boathouse project moving forward put wind in the sails of Arlington’s long-debated gondola project, Burick said it could be a useful transit option for the region to explore.

“A lot of people say gondolas sound fanciful,” she said. “But you know what? I think we should be looking at water taxis, we should be looking at gondolas.”

Image via Arlington County

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Morning Notes

Last Week of School — The 2018-2019 school year is concluding this week for Arlington Public Schools. Today is the last day of school for high schools, while Friday is the last day of school for middle and elementary schools. [Arlington Public Schools]

Park Service Advances Boathouse Plan — “Plans to establish a community boathouse on the Potomac River in Arlington just passed a major milestone. The National Park Service completed its Environmental Assessment (EA) with a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), which sets up the project to move forward.” [Arlington County, Twitter]

State of the County Address — “Christian Dorsey began his State of the County address by thanking the Arlington Chamber of Commerce and the Arlington business community for their partnership ‘on specific issues from the transient occupancy tax, to dedicated funding for the Metro, to helping us put our best foot forward in the competition for  Amazon’s HQ2.'” [Press Release]

Arlington Public Safety Awards — “Following the State of the County address, awards were presented to honor Arlington County’s public safety personnel…  Stories of their heroic actions include two firefighters rescuing a person trapped inside a vehicle that was fully submerged in water, a detective dismantling a large, local cocaine trafficking organization with limited investigative leads, and a police officer saving two unresponsive passengers in an overturned, burning vehicle on the roadway.” [Press Release]

Fraud Alert from Arlington Police — “The Arlington County Police Department and Sheriff’s Office are warning the public about a telephone scam that uses the threat of arrest to extort money from potential victims.” [Arlington County]

Metro Studying Second Rosslyn Metro Station — “After decades of discussion, Metro kicked off a study this week of a new, second station at Rosslyn and other changes that could overhaul the way trains on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines run throughout the system.” [WTOP]

ACPD: No Plans for ‘Mass Deportation’ — “The Arlington County Police Department called the plan ‘political’ and said they have no intention on working with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to fulfill [President] Trump’s mass deportation plan. The Fairfax County Police Department said it doesn’t participate with ICE on civil enforcement either.” [Fox 5]

Photo courtesy Dennis Dimick

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