Press Club

Our Mom Eugenia, a popular Great Falls-based Greek restaurant, is opening a new outpost in Shirlington.

The family-owned Greek eatery is aiming to open by the fall, a press release announced. It’s moving into the 3,604 square-foot space at 4044 Campbell Avenue, next to CHIKO which opened late last year.

Our Mom Eugenia appears to be replacing Aroma Indian Cuisine. In early 2020, that restaurant moved from next door into the larger location. Prior to that, 4044 Campbell Avenue was the location of Hula Girl Bar and Grill but that restaurant closed in 2019.

There’s no word yet on when or if Aroma will be closing to make way for Eugenia.

This will be Our Mom Eugenia’s third location, with the original opening in Great Falls in 2016. The second location in the Mosaic District started serving in August 2020.

The restaurant is owned and named after Eugenia Hobson. A long-time local chef, she was born and raised in western Greece. She cooked at a number of other area Greek restaurants, before opening her own business a few years ago with her two sons.

“Eugenia learned the secrets of Greek cuisine from her grandmother for whom she is named,” notes a press release.

The menu consists of traditional Greek fare, like avgolémono soup, dolmades (stuffed grape leaves), pastitsio (Greek lasagna), grilled octopus, lamb chops, spanakopita, and saganaki (fried cheese).

Our Mom Eugenia is the latest in a line of other notable restaurants and businesses looking to open later this year in Shirlington. Astro Beer Hall is moving into the former Capitol City Brewing space and is aiming for a fall 2022 opening as well. Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls is also potentially looking at an early fall starting date. Last month, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream also announced its move into Shirlington, though the company only provided a sprinkling of details beyond that.

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Girls on the Run 5k road closures (via ACPD)

It’s going to be a scorcher this weekend, but that’s not likely to stop a series of outdoor events planned in Arlington.

Four events in particular will prompt road closures, Arlington County police said, including two in Green Valley, one in nearby Shirlington, and one that will close roads in Clarendon, Virginia Square and Ballston.

The Girls on the Run 5K is taking place Saturday in the Dulles area and Sunday morning in Ballston. The organization, which provides a “transformational physical activity based positive youth development program for girls in 3rd-8th grade,” has held the races in Arlington since at least 2014, usually on the same weekend as the Taste of Arlington festival, now the Ballston Quarterfest Crawl.

The last two spring 5Ks were nixed due to the pandemic.

Sunday’s race will kick off at 8:30 a.m. in Ballston and wind its way through some of Arlington’s Metro corridor neighborhood.

Among the planned closures is a long stretch of Fairfax Drive. More from ACPD:

The 2022 Girls on the Run 5k Race will take place in the Ballston neighborhood on Sunday, May 22, and will begin at 8:30 a.m. The following roadways will be closed in order to accommodate the event:

From approximately 3:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

  • N. Taylor Street will be closed in both directions from Wilson Boulevard to Fairfax Drive

From approximately 7:15 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

  • Fairfax Drive, from N. Utah Street to Kirkwood Road
  • 10th Street N., from Fairfax Drive to Washington Boulevard
  • N. Irving Street, from 10th Street N. to 7th Street N.
  • 9th Street N., from N. Irving Street to N. Garfield Street
  • 7th Street N., from N Irving Street to Washington Boulevard
  • N. Highland Street, from 7th Street N. to 10th Street N.
  • N. Garfield Street, from 10th Street N. to 7th Street N.
  • Washington Boulevard (eastbound lanes only), from 10th Street N. to Pershing Drive
  • Wilson Boulevard will be closed in both directions at 10th Street N. Westbound traffic will be diverted onto Fairfax Drive, while eastbound traffic will be turned south prior to Jackson Street, where drivers can access Pershing Drive and maneuver around the race course.

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Bus routes will be detoured but remain operational during the event.

The police department also released the following information on road closures for the other three events.

2022 Drew Dragon Dash

The 2022 Drew Dragon Dash will take place in the Green Valley neighborhood on Saturday, May 21, and will begin at approximately 9:00 a.m. The following roadway will be closed in order to accommodate the event:

From approximately 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

S. Kenmore Street, between 22nd Street S. and the Shelton parking garage (3215 24th Street S.)

Jennie Dean Opening Celebration

The Jennie Dean Opening Celebration will take place in the Green Valley neighborhood on Saturday, May 21, and will begin at approximately 12:00 p.m. The following roadway will be closed in order to accommodate the event:

From approximately 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

  • 2700 block of S. Oakland Street (Shirlington Dog Park parking lot)

The Shirlington Dog Park will remain open and will be accessible through the 2600 block of S. Nelson Street.

Shirlington Spring Fling: A Village Block Party

The Shirlington Spring Fling: A Village Block Party will take place in the Village at Shirlington on Saturday, May 21, and will begin at approximately 11:00 a.m. The following roadways will be closed in order to accommodate the event:

From approximately 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

  • Campbell Avenue, from S. Quincy Street to the Hilton Garden Inn
  • S. Randolph Street, from Dudley’s to the alleyway behind CVS

“Street parking near the events may be restricted,” ACPD noted in the press release. “Motorists should be on the lookout for temporary “No Parking” signs. Illegally parked vehicles may be ticketed or towed. If your vehicle is towed from a public street, call the Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222.”

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Morning Notes

Clouds over Rosslyn (Flickr pool photo by Jeff Vincent)

New Bikeshare Station Near Shirlington — “Hey Arlington! We’ve installed a new station at S Wakefield St & 28th Rd S, and it’s a perfect day to stop by and take a ride.” [Twitter]

Data Centers Coming to Nat’l Landing — “The plan to establish 5G connectivity in Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard, reshaping the larger community into a technological hub, includes a new addition: data centers. JBG Smith Properties, the area’s dominant property owner, will set up two “urban edge” data centers to serve as hubs for carriers and data aggregation.” [Washington Business Journal]

Clement Blasts Board Raises — “An independent candidate for Arlington County Board says she’d be OK with a major pay raise for County Board members, if they were providing adequate oversight duties. But they’re not, Audrey Clement contends. ‘Where is the hard work in avoiding hard decisions by kowtowing to staff?’ Clement asked in a recent campaign missive to supporters.” [Sun Gazette]

Metro Announces New CEO — “WMATA’s Board of Directors is excited to announce the selection of its new General Manager/CEO who will transform the agency and redefine how Metro continues to be an integrated part of the region’s success. Randy Clarke, the current President and CEO of Capital Metro (CapMetro) in Austin, TX, will begin his new position at WMATA late summer and was selected following an exhaustive nationwide search, which included important stakeholder and public input.” [WMATA]

It’s Wednesday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 70 and low of 51. Sunrise at 6:01 am and sunset at 8:12 pm. [Weather.gov]

Flickr pool photo by Jeff Vincent

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A “Maker’s Market” in Pentagon City and a “spring fling” block party at Shirlington are both set to take place later this month.

Currently scheduled for Sunday, May 15 and Sunday, May 29, a “Marker’s Market” is set to happen in the plaza at Westpost (formerly, Pentagon Row) in Pentagon City. It will feature more than 30 artists and craft vendors, including local businesses Shop by Nancy, Fera’s Loft, Chase McClough, and Victoria Barnes Photography.

The event is free and tickets are not required. The market will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

Then, on Saturday, May 21, the Village at Shirlington is putting on a “Spring Fling Village Block Party” from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The event will feature live music, a market, restaurant pop-ups, pet adoptions at Dogma, and a corn-hole tournament benefiting the Alzheimer’s Association. The tournament will start at noon and cash prizes will be awarded to the winners.

A number of restaurants are also participating in a “sip & stroll,” allowing customers to take their cocktails to go.

A featured pop-up at the block party will be Astro Doughnuts, the owners of which are bringing a beer hall to Shirlington. The beer hall is aiming for a summer opening.

The Shirlington block party is also free and tickets are not required.

The retail centers, both owned by Federal Realty Investment Trust, have seen a lot of turnover in recent months. Target and Nighthawk Pizza opened at Westpost over the past several weeks, while sushi restaurant Kusshi and “taco temple” Banditos are expected to start serving very soon.

At Shirlington, a Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams is replacing I-CE-NY. The Cookery closed earlier this year and Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls is moving towards an opening later this year.

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The $15.5 million renovation of ​​Jennie Dean Park in Green Valley is nearly complete, poised to open to the public in the middle of next month.

A lengthy design and construction process has resulted in a major reworking of the seven-decade-old park, located along Four Mile Run, across from Shirlington.

The renovations included adding more than two acres, updating and moving the playground, rebuilding the restrooms, renovating the picnic shelter, relocating and modernizing the baseball fields, and commissioning a site specific work of public art.

Last week, ARLnow got an exclusive tour of the park, which is in the midst of getting final landscaping and aesthetic touches.

The new, re-designed playground is now closer to S. Four Mile Run Drive to make it more “visible and accessible” to the community. It’s ADA accessible with age separated areas and state-of-the-art safety features, like poured-in-place rubber. The look is “heavily inspired by the industrial character of the area,” says landscape architect and county project manager Jeremy Smith, with lots of exposed wood and bolts.

The new all-gender restrooms, now a county-wide ordinance for all county facilities, have also been rebuilt and relocated closer to the front of the park due to safety reasons. The bathrooms are designed to be open year-round and will be open from sunrise to the park closes at 11 p.m.

The two baseball diamonds, one for youth leagues and the other for adult softball, are now moved further away from Four Mile Run. Previously, the diamonds were in the floodplain, so the move is to help mitigate flooding and over saturation. The diamonds are also now equipped with more efficient LED lights that will “focus the light on the fields and not the neighborhoods,” Smith tells ARLnow. First priority for field use are for scheduled and permitted activities.

If the fields are not scheduled, they are available for drop-in and free use.

The two fields have also been renamed after long-time community activists. Ernest Johnson was the leader of one of Arlington’s first African American Cub Scout Packs while Robert Winkler was a long-time employee of the county’s parks and recreations department. He was also a youth coach who helped provide financial support to local athletes.

To celebrate the park’s long history of baseball, the diamonds will display pennants of historic Green Valley teams that played on the fields in the mid-20th century. The pennants were being designed in collaboration with the Green Valley Civic Association but, as of last week, had not yet been installed.

Near the baseball diamonds is a history walk, with plaques embedded in the ground displaying some of the significant moments in the park’s and Green Valley’s history.

There’s also new public art. Wheelhouse, a green stainless steel multi-sectioned pavilion, “​e​xplores the industrial history of the Jennie Dean Park site through the lens of the great American pastime — baseball,” according the county website.

The design is supposed to look like a mill that once stood in this location in the early 18th century, as well as the heart of a homeplate’s strike zone that is often called a batter’s wheelhouse. It was designed by artist Mark Reigelman with community input and was budgeted at $200,000.

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(Updated, 1:50 p.m) A new indoor vertical organic farm has put down roots in Green Valley, looking to deliver Arlington-grown farm to table produce.

Inside of a nondescript warehouse on S. Oxford Street near the Shirlington Dog Park, Area 2 Farms is growing — both produce and as a company. Racks of green-leafed, brightly-lit veggies are stacked on top of each other. Water pipes twist between the planters. The smell of soil permeates the space.

Some of what is being grown is familiar to the average supermarket-goer, like carrots, arugula, and tomatoes. Others not so much.

Co-founder Tyler Baras hands over a green leaf with a warning. It’s fish mint, he says, and tastes exactly what it sounds like it would. He’s right.

There are also buzz buttons, the inside of a flower that tastes like a cucumber with honey, and foliage that’s reminiscent of Luxembourg cheese.

The aim of this community-supported indoor urban farm in Arlington isn’t just to deliver freshly-picked produce to customers within a ten mile radius — Arlington, Alexandria, parts of Fairfax County, and D.C. — on a weekly basis. It’s also about fostering a relationship between the community and the farmer.

“People want to know where they are getting their food from,” Baras tells ARLnow. “People can come get a tour of the farm, meet me, and have a relationship.”

Baras and his co-founders aren’t the only ones that think a local indoor vertical organic farm is a good idea. Today, Arlington County and the state announced a pair of $40,000 grants that will provide Area 2 Farms with for a total of $80,000 in public funding.

“It is always exciting when successful entrepreneurs like those behind Area 2 Farms bring their ideas and technologies to help grow Virginia’s largest and oldest industry, agriculture,” said Va’s Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry at the press conference this morning revealing the grant. “This project adds to the region’s growing cluster of innovative, indoor urban agricultural operations and shows us how the Commonwealth’s oldest industry will remain a vital and growing part of the Virginia economy going forward.”

Baras has spent his career being an indoor vertical farmer and has written a number of books about it. His methods are a combination of hydroponics and traditional farming, including using soil, worms, and compost.

It was about a year ago that he moved to Clarendon and realized that Arlington could be a perfect fit to set up an indoor urban farm.

“[Arlingtonians] love their food. So, everyone’s been so supportive,” he says. “I’ve seen vertical farms do really well when they act like traditional farms — when they do farm stands and build relationships with customers.”

The plan is to start slow and let the farm take root in the neighborhood. Area 2 Farms only moved into the warehouse on S. Oxford Street in October, so it’s still growing.

Next week is Area 2 Farms’ first big harvest. It will begin sending out boxes of their produce to the few dozen customers that have signed up so far later that week. At this point, that’s mostly friends and family, but new customers are welcome to sign up for boxes through the company’s website.

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(Updated at 11 p.m.) An Arlington County Police Department motorcycle officer has been hurt in a crash.

The officer was struck by the driver of a Chevrolet in Shirlington Circle, the I-395 interchange that has been the scene of a number of crashes, amid larger safety questions. The other vehicle and its driver remained on scene.

The officer was able to use his radio to request that medics and other officers respond to the scene. He suffered serious injuries not believed to be life-threatening, police said Tuesday night.

“At approximately 2:36 p.m., an Arlington County Police motorcycle officer was traveling in the area of Shirlington Circle when he was struck by another vehicle attempting to merge into his lane,” said ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “The officer was transported to an area hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries and has been released. The driver of the striking vehicle remained on scene and was cited.”

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Jeni’s is coming soon to Shirlington Village (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

A new Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams location is coming to Shirlington, though only a sprinkling of details are available so far.

Signs are up but the company and its PR reps have given the cold shoulder to ARLnow’s requests for more information.

The new ice cream shop is located in the former storefront of I-CE-NY, a Thai rolled ice cream purveyor which opened in 2018 and closed late last year. The windows of the 4150 Campbell Avenue location, near Signature Theatre and the Shirlington branch library, are now covered in colorful Jeni’s posters that say “Hello, Shirlington” and “Scooping Soon.”

There’s no word of an opening date and the location is not yet listed on the Jeni’s website.

The Columbus, Ohio-based premium ice cream company has existing scoop shops in Alexandria, Tysons, Bethesda and the District.

Hat tip to @DionMitchellVT

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Each night this week, an artificial fog will roll through the Village at Shirlington.

Its purpose is to get a murder of crows, which once again wintered in Arlington — doing their business near the Shirlington businesses — to leave and not return when roosting begins again in October.

The descent of crows on Shirlington for the winter is an annual occurrence going back to at least 2017 and leading to a bombardment of droppings on cars, mailboxes, trash cans, sidewalks, patios and tables.

This year, Federal Realty Investment Trust, which owns the retail center at 2700 S. Quincy Street, is trying a new way to deter the persistent perchers and their prolific pooping.

“Federal Realty has partnered with a wildlife management company to implement a Passive Deterrent System to mitigate the nuisance issues and community property damage caused by large flocks of roosting crows,” a spokeswoman for FRIT said. “This system deploys a fog to targeted areas within the tree canopy. This is a humane and non-lethal means to relocate these specific large flocks of crows.”

The fog was first released this past Monday and will be emitted every evening from 7:30-9:30 p.m. until this coming Monday.

More information from FRIT was distributed to residents of a nearby apartment complex and obtained by ARLnow.

The fog “has been a successful approach for several communities, companies and agencies, including the FBI Headquarters, Miami International Airport and the Smithsonian,” FRIT told local residents. “We feel very confident that this process will be an effective strategy to relocate the roosting birds on [the] property and discourage them from returning to roost in the future.”

The fogging has raised concerns for Diva Crows, an organization in Northern Virginia that cares for injured crows and ravens. The Animal Welfare League of Arlington, which handles animal control for the county, meanwhile, is keeping tabs on the situation to see if the fog causes an increase in injured or dead crows.

Sam Sparks, who works for Diva Crows, says this fog is made of a vaporized chemical called methyl anthranilate.

The chemical — which produces a grape odor — irritates the pain receptors associated with birds’ senses of taste and smell, according to one bird repellent company.

“There are two separate concerns,” Sparks says. “One is human exposure to the pesticide, for which there are limited studies on the toxicity to mammals. People have the right to know that they will be exposed to this for the next seven consecutive days that the fog will be deployed.”

Sparks added that this is “baby season” for wild birds, and the deterrent could lead parents to abandon their fledgling offspring, leading to dead baby crows littering Shirlington sidewalks.

It may also not drive them away for good, as crows are adaptable and have to be outsmarted through variable and unpredictable deterrence strategies.

AWLA spokeswoman Chelsea Jones said the animal control agency became aware of the deterrent efforts after receiving several complaints from citizens and business owners about the volume of bird poop.

“We have spoken with the property managers to offer other humane deterrent methods, and have also been in contact with local and state agencies,” Jones said. “This is a legal deterrent method and we have been assured that there is no risk to human or wildlife health.”

Around this time, crows are set to begin their migration, so residents should see a natural, temporary decrease in the local crow population “very soon,” Jones said.

“We have not found any deceased or injured crows thus far, but our Animal Control team continues to monitor the situation,” she said.

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Abingdon Elementary School’s field (via Google Maps)

Abingdon Elementary School says its grounds are getting too many unauthorized daytime visits from people looking to exercise or walk their dogs.

Some neighbors have been using the playground and field at 3035 S. Abingdon Street during the school day, which is against school rules, according to Arlington Public Schools and a nearby Fairlington condo association.

Signage throughout the property reminds residents that school hours start at 7 a.m. and end at 6 p.m., APS says.

The Fairlington Villages condo association took to Twitter last week to remind its residents of school rules after receiving complaints from the Abingdon community. The condos at 3001 S. Abingdon Street are a stone’s throw from the elementary school.

The association reminded residents that these facilities are to be used exclusively by students and faculty during the posted hours. Pet owners should not bring their dogs to the field after-hours, either, it added.

“This will eliminate the health risks to children who might otherwise encounter pet waste,” it said.

APS spokesman Frank Bellavia said Abingdon staff have also had to enforce school rules.

“Abingdon staff have spoken to community members to let them know that access to the track and playground is not allowed during the school day,” he said. “Contact with the condo association was made through a PTA parent who connected them with an Abingdon staff member.”

He took the opportunity to reiterate school rules about using public playgrounds and fields.

“While school is in session, the playgrounds are reserved for the use of APS students for the school day,” Bellavia said. “We ask that community members refrain from using school grounds for other activities, such as practicing sports, dog training, using the school as a cut-through or other activities during school hours.”

Abingdon is bordered by a 0.8-acre, county-owned public green space called Fort Reynolds Park (4585 31st Street S.), and connected to the park by a trail.

While pets are not allowed at the park, pet owners can exercise their dogs at the Shirlington Dog Park (2710 S. Oakland Street) and the Utah Dog Park (3191 S. Utah Street), both of which are a little more than a mile away.

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Morning Notes

Sunset behind homes along 14th St. N. in Westover (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Road Improvement Project Discussion — From Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services: “Tomorrow night: Virtual gabfest on the latest design for THE Ohio Street Safety Project at 12th Road North and 14th Street North.” [Twitter, Arlington County]

Indecent Exposure in Shirlington — “4000 block of Campbell Avenue. At approximately 7:29 p.m. on March 17, police were dispatched to the report of an indecent exposure. Upon arrival, officers located the suspect and took him into custody without incident. The investigation determined that approximately 20 minutes prior, the male suspect entered into the establishment and allegedly exposed himself to the female victims.” [ACPD]

Nearby: New Signs in F.C. — “Forty-two vehicular wayfinding signs have been installed to identify City boundaries for visitors driving into the City, and guide visitors driving to visitor-oriented destinations (City Hall, Downtown, Eden Center, State Theatre, etc.) and public parking. The City also plans to remove older signs that would conflict with the new signs within the next two weeks.” [City of Falls Church]

It’s Tuesday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 62 and low of 46. Sunrise at 7:10 am and sunset at 7:23 pm. [Weather.gov]

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