The scoop in Shirlington is that Jeni’s Ice Creams is finally opening this week.
A reader tipped off ARLnow that they spotted the ice cream shop at 4150 Campbell Avenue holding a “friends and family night” earlier this week.
The shop is planning a public “soft opening” starting Thursday, Feb. 16, a spokesperson confirmed. A grand opening event is likely set for “early to mid March,” they said.
It’s been close to a year since we reported that the Columbus, Ohio-based premium ice cream chain was setting up shop in Shirlington. Besides window stickers, there were only a sprinkling of updates throughout 2022. Then, last month, the company confirmed they were looking to open early this year.
While the middle of February is usually not the ideal time for a cold treat, this Thursday’s weather looks to be unusually mild with temperatures expected to be in the mid-60s.
Jeni’s is filling a notable gap in Shirlington. With the recent closings of Yogiberry and I-CE-NY in late 2021, there were no dedicated frozen treat shops in the Village of Shirlington shopping center.
That has now been rectified.
“After a long wait we are looking forward to an ice cream store in the neighborhood!” our tipster said.
Elsewhere in Shirlington, Our Mom Eugenia still has yet to open though the plan was to start serving this month. The two-level beer-and-coffee venue Astro Beer Hall is also expected to open soon, with new banners around the building proclaiming a May 2023 date.
If you can’t wait until Thursday, there are also Jeni’s in D.C., Old Town Alexandria, and Tysons.
Hat tip to Thomas G.
(Updated 3:40 p.m.) Work is ramping up on a new Arlington County bus maintenance building and parking garage in Green Valley.
Crews are set to wrap up laying the foundation for the Arlington Transit (ART) Operations and Maintenance Facility at the end of this month, says Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Alyson Jordan Tomaszewski.
“The facility will perform regular preventive bus maintenance, repairs and other unscheduled maintenance work,” per a project webpage. “It also will include administration and operations functions and parking for buses and staff.”
Then, passers-by may notice a crawler crane on site, which will be used to install steel columns. That work is set to last until sometime in March, according to the project webpage.
Meanwhile, work on the foundation of the parking garage is planned to start at the end of January, she says.
Construction began in June 2022 and is expected to be completed in the fall of 2024.
“We have experienced both weather and supply chain delays with the ART Operations and Maintenance Facility,” she said. “However, we are still on track for completion in fall 2024. To mitigate the supply chain issue, we are expediting material approval and procurement as best we can.”
ICYMI: Foundation and other infrastructure taking shape at the ART Operations and Maintenance Facility site along Shirlington Road. Work proceeds through next year. https://t.co/d6DdG1ZpQD pic.twitter.com/WNFKcZ0Oz8
— Arlington Department of Environmental Services (@ArlingtonDES) January 16, 2023
The Green Valley Civic Association welcomes the new facility.
“The county used to park about 60 ART buses right in Jennie Dean Park, next to the basketball court,” Robin Stombler, community-affairs chair of the civic association, tells ARLnow. “Moving the buses into a new operations facility adjacent to I-395 is not only a welcome change, but should mitigate noise and light disturbances on the residential community.”
Still, the civic association has some lingering concerns.
“We were vocal on the need for improved environmental conditions. This meant a state-of-the-art facility outfitted for a future electric bus fleet, better stormwater management and bioretention ponds, and lit signage that does not face the residential part of Green Valley,” Stombler said.
“The new county bus campus will house a staff-only, multi-story parking garage,” she continued. “We need some creative thinking to make sure this amenity is shared with the rest of the neighborhood.”
Next door, the general manager of the Cubesmart storage facility tells ARLnow that the county has “been very sensitive to the fact that we have traffic flowing in and out of there and has done great job keeping the road clean.”
The Cubesmart opened a second facility near the construction site back in March 2021. Between the original building, now “The Annex,” and the new building, there are nearly 2,400 storage units, she said.
This construction project follows on the heels of other recently completed ones in the Green Valley neighborhood, aimed at realizing a community vision of an arts and industry hub. The new John Robinson, Jr. Town Square, with a towering sculpture, as well as the renovated Jennie Dean Park opened with great fanfare this spring.
The County Board approved the purchase of the three parcels in Green Valley to build the ART facilities back in 2018.
“This project is essential for ART’s long-term sustainability and will address the current and future needs for parking, operations and maintenance of the County’s growing ART bus fleet,” according to the project webpage. “ART has significantly increased its number of routes and hours of service during the past 10 years and plans to continue growing during the next 20 years, supported by a fleet of more than 100 buses.”
The total cost to buy the land, plan and design the project and construct it is $81.2 million.
Work hours are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday through Friday, with some weekend work occurring between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m.
This article was updated to add comments from the Green Valley Civic Association.
Our Mom Eugenia is hoping to opa next month in Shirlington.
The popular, family-owned and Great Falls-based Greek restaurant is looking to finally open its new 3,604 square-foot space at 4044 Campbell Avenue by mid-February, a restaurant manager told ARLnow. It’s moving into the former location of Aroma Indian Cuisine and next to RAMMY award-winning CHIKO, which opened in late 2021.
Our Mom Eugenia’s Shirlington opening has been delayed due to the familiar refrain of waiting on county permits. Initially, it was set to open in the fall of last year, then by the end of 2022, and, now, in February 2023.
ARLnow reported in May that the restaurant was expanding its local presence with a new Shirlington eatery.
This will be the restaurant’s third location, with the original in Great Falls and a second location in the Mosaic District that opened in 2020.
The restaurant is named after its co-owner Eugenia Hobson, a native of western Greece and a long-time local chef who cooked at several notable D.C. area Greek restaurants including Nostos in Tysons. She opened her own restaurant with her two sons in Great Falls in 2016.
The menu is full of traditional Greek dishes, including Greek salad, spanakopita, lamp chops, saganaki (fried cheese), pastitsio (Greek lasagna), dolmades (stuffed grape leaves), and grilled octopus.
Besides Our Mom Eugenia, Shirlington is expecting several other high-profile openings this year. Jeni’s Ice Cream is looking to start scooping by early spring while the two-level beer-and-coffee venue Astro Beer Hall has not yet revealed an expected opening timeframe.
The $50 million renovation of WETA’s headquarters in Shirlington is nearing completion.
After about two years, the local public broadcasting station WETA is set to finish off its 17,000-square-foot expansion on Campbell Avenue later this year. The refresh will include four floors of studios, offices, a consolidated headquarters, and more large spaces for public gatherings and screenings, Vice-President of External Affairs Mary Stewart told ARLnow.
It will also allow WETA to fully move out of the building down a few blocks at 3620 27th Street S, which was sold to the county in 2020 and is now scheduled to be torn down.
Some production is still being done out of the old building, which WETA first moved into in the 1980s, but that will stop once the renovation is completed on the building on Campbell Avenue, Stewart said.
Externally, much of the work appears to be nearing the finish line with the expansion extending into a space that was once a courtyard. It’s the internal renovations, said Stewart, that still need some time. Those are expected to be done in “late 2023,” despite some “supply chain hiccups.” Some of the studios and public spaces could be open to employees by the summer, though.
Two main studios and one flash (smaller) studio are set to be added. One of the main studios will be used by the PBS NewsHour.
The national nightly news broadcast, which recently debuted a new pair of anchors, will get an updated set, with modern tech, video walls, and an outward-facing TV screen on the ground floor. The goal for the new set is to be “flexible,” modern, and for the video screens to allow remote interviews to be more “natural and cohesive,” said Stewart.
Also set to start filming in the new studios will be the six-decade-old teen quiz show “It’s Academic.” In the fall, the longest-running TV quiz show in history announced it was moving into WETA’s renovated building with the hope it would start producing episodes there in early 2024.
The studios will also be home to PBS NewsHour Weekend and Washington Week, as well as local programming like WETA Arts. Additionally, the update will also allow pledge drives and special broadcasts to take place in the new studios.
“We will now be a 365-day, 7-day-a-week production,” Stewart said.
She said the biggest drivers of the expansion are to modernize, allow for more production flexibility, and consolidate all of WETA in one building.
The local PBS station actually first began operating out of Yorktown High School more than six decades ago, in 1961. It moved to D.C. for a time, before consolidating operations back in Arlington in 1983 at the still-standing 3620 27th Street S. location. In 1995, WETA purchased the building on Campbell Avenue and moved its headquarters there, while production remained mostly at the other building a few blocks away.
But with this $50 million expansion, WETA will be whole for the first time in its 62-year history.
“With this expansion of our building, it means WETA will have a permanent home in Arlington,” said Stewart.
The spring warm-up may herald the arrival of some cold treats in Shirlington.
Jeni’s Ice Cream is aiming to open its first Arlington location by early spring, a spokesperson tells ARLnow.
“As of right now, we are aiming to open in Q1 of this year,” the spokesperson said via email. “We’ll hone in on the grand opening date in the next few weeks.”
The Ohio-based ice cream shop is set to move into 4150 Campbell Avenue, the former home of rolled ice cream purveyor I-CE-NY. While this will be Jeni’s first location in Arlington, there are nearby scoop shops in Alexandria, Tysons, and D.C.
Signs announcing Jeni’s arrival first went up at the Village of Shirlington early last year, but until now there was only a sprinkling of details about an opening date. The location is still not listed on the company’s website.
Due to recent closings, Shirlington currently lacks a dedicated frozen treat shop. Yogi Castle shuttered last year while I-CE-NY closed in late 2021.
Jeni’s Ice Cream is not the only notable business set to open in Shirlington in the coming months. The well-regarded Greek restaurant Our Mom Eugenia should be opening soon as well as Astro Beer Hall, in the former Capitol City Brewing space.
Arlington County police are investigating after someone fire a gunshot at an apartment building in the Shirlington area.
The incident happened Saturday night on the road that leads from Shirlington to Fairlington, during an apparent argument inside the building. No one was hurt and police are still investigating in an effort to find a suspect.
From today’s ACPD crime report:
SHOT FIRED, 2023-01070239, 4500 block of 31st Street S. At approximately 10:07 p.m. on January 7, police were dispatched to the report of trouble unknown after receiving reports of an argument and possible shot fired inside a residential building. Responding officers located damage to the ceiling of a hallway which was consistent with the discharge of a firearm. No injuries were reported. There is no suspect description. The investigation into the circumstances of the incident is ongoing.
Also in today’s crime report, a Maryland man was arrested early this morning in the Clarendon bar district following a fight inside an establishment.
Police say the suspect left the area, returned, and then led police on a foot chase that ended in a struggle with officers and an arrest.
More from ACPD:
ASSAULT ON POLICE, 2023-01090007, 3100 block of Clarendon Boulevard. At approximately 12:19 a.m. on January 9, police were dispatched to the report of disorderly conduct. Upon arrival, it was determined a fight had occurred inside an establishment. While officers were investigating the circumstances of the incident, the suspect left the scene. A short time later, police were contacted again when the suspect returned to the area. As an officer approached the suspect to continue the investigation, he attempted to flee on foot but was stopped by another officer and a struggle ensued, during which the suspect was non-compliant, actively resisted arrested and assaulted an officer. With the assistance of additional officers, he was taken into custody. During a search of his person incident to arrest, suspected narcotics were recovered. [The suspect], 25, of Columbia, MD was arrested and charged with Obstruction of Justice, Assault on Police, Drunk in Public and Possession of Schedule I/II Controlled Substance.
Fast-casual Mexican restaurant Taco + Pina is closed in Shirlington, at least for now.
Neither the restaurant nor the Village of Shirlington has confirmed whether the closure of the eatery at 4041 Campbell Avenue is permanent.
The door was locked, a ladder was inside the eatery, and no employees were present when ARLnow went to the restaurant late last week around lunchtime. When calling Taco + Pina, the phone rings for a while before going to a full mailbox.
The website also notes that every item and dish is “out of stock.”
Taco + Pina opened in Shirlington at the height of the pandemic, in May 2020. It moved into the former location of Lotus Grill and Noodles. Owner Graham Bartlett was a former executive chef under local restaurateur Richard Sandoval, who owns El Centro in D.C. and Tysons’ La Sandia.
“TACO + PINA’s is a labor of love which has been in the works for almost a year and a half now,” Bartlett said at the time. “While some may question opening during a pandemic I believe it is our destiny to launch on Cinco de Mayo, which this year also falls on Taco Tuesday.”
If it is in fact closed, it’s not immediately when exactly it happened. There hasn’t been a social media post since October, but there are several Yelp reviews from as recently as last month. (The taqueria has a four-out-of-five star rating on Yelp.)
Over the past year or so the Village of Shirlington has had a number of high-profile establishments announce they were moving into the dining-and-shopping center. Many have yet to open.
Great Falls-based Greek restaurant Our Mom Eugenia was looking to open this fall, but it appears that’s been delayed to early next year. ARLnow had the scoop that Jeni’s Ice Cream was set to start serving in Shirlington way back in April, but doors remain locked with no timeline for when the ice cream shop might open.
Astro Beer Hall announced that it was moving into the former Capitol City Brewing Co. space a year ago, but that also has yet to make its debut.
A new “indoor dog park & bar” says it’s coming to the Green Valley neighborhood, apparently moving into the current home of New District Brewing.
Snouts & Stouts announced late last week via social media and an email blast that it was set to open in August 2023 while advertising that it will be the “only indoor dog park & bar in Northern Virginia.”
It appears to be moving into an 11,000-square-foot building at 2709 S. Oakland Street, within barking distance of the outdoor Shirlington Dog Park.
However, that is also the same address as New District Brewing.
It remains unclear what exactly is happening to the well-known, local brewery. The building has been publicly posted for lease. Snouts and Stouts and New District Brewing are not owned by the same people, we’re told.
New District ownership informed ARLnow that they are “not ready to comment yet” but hope to be able to provide more information in a few days.
ARLnow has reached out to both the contact information listed on the lease advertisement and Snouts & Stouts but has yet to hear back as of publication.
In an Instagram post on Friday, the new canine-centric business posted a video rendering of what the space could look like when it opens.
There was also a message along with the video that alludes to “obstacles” that had to be overcome that “impacted our location and opening date announcement.” Additionally, the message noted that the business will be occupying the whole building in “late spring” with construction set to begin then.
Admittance for dogs Snouts & Stouts will be membership-based, per the website. While dogs require a membership, “humans always enter for free.” There will be also doggy daycare, boarding, bar, and private events.
Perhaps answering the question as to why opening an indoor dog park essentially next to the county’s biggest outdoor dog park, the website notes the reliability of staying indoors:
As dog owners who frequent the dog park, the biggest concern is always the weather. Rain? No dog park. Intense heat? No dog park. Intense cold? No dog park. Even if the weather is fine, our dogs always come home dirty and need a bath.
Well at Snouts & Stouts weather and dirt is never a concern! Our massive indoor dog park, with specialized K9 turf, means that no matter the weather, your dog will be able to play and not need a bath afterward.
As for the claim to be the region’s first indoor dog park and bar, that might be a bit dubious with Backhaus in Alexandria opening two years ago. The business recently has had some issues with neighbors complaining about the “inescapable barking” coming from the facility.
As for New District, earlier this year the brewery purchased a new canning line and again set up a beer garden at the Arlington County Fair in August. When it opened in 2016, New District was “Arlington’s first production brewery in one hundred years.”
The brewery is set to celebrate its sixth anniversary early next month.
The lights are being turned back on in Shirlington for its annual holiday event next week.
Shirlington’s “Light Up the Village” is set for Thursday, Dec. 1 from 6-8:30 p.m.
Like previous years, the holiday event will include a Christmas tree lighting, horse-drawn carriage rides, selfies with Santa, and a holiday market featuring local makers. There will also be strolling entertainment, face painting, and balloon twisting.
Additionally, students from Bishop O’Connell High School and Shirlington-based Signature Theatre are both scheduled to perform holiday music.
The schedule with times is below:
- 6:00 pm Holiday Musical Performance by Signature Theatre
- 6:30 pm Tree Lighting celebration
- 6:40 pm Horse and Carriage Rides
- 7:00 pm Photos with Santa (located at Hardwood Artisans)
- Live Holiday Music Performance by Bishop O’Connell High School
- FREE Face Painting and Balloon Twisting
- Strolling Entertainment
- Merchant specials and promotions
The event is free. It first started about 20 years ago.
Attendees will continue to be able to “sip and stroll,” as has been the case since 2020.
Food items and donations to the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) will also be accepted at the event.
The Village of Shirlington, which is owned by Bethesda-based Federal Realty Investment Trust has had a slew of business openings in recent months with more likely on the way.
Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls and Diament Jewelry opened at the shopping center over the summer. Greek restaurant Our Mom Eugenia is looking to open soon, while Jeni’s Ice Cream is still setting up shop in a space formerly occupied by a Thai rolled ice cream business.
Shirlington-based Signature Theatre has announced a slew of new shows and events as part of a season-long tribute to Stephen Sondheim.
Earlier this week, the well-known local theater on Campbell Avenue released its show schedule for the upcoming season. It will feature a season-long tribute to the American musical icon Stephen Sondheim, who died last November.
The theater has produced 31 Sondheim productions in its history, more than any other theater in North America, per a press release from Signature.
“So Many Possibilities: A Season of Sondheim” will include three all-new productions from Signature of Sondheim classics: “Into the Woods,” “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” and “Pacific Overtures,” a rarely-produced musical due to the need for specific casting and production demands.
The addition of three more shows will bring the total of Sondheim shows performed at Signature to 34, a press release notes.
“As the American theater that has produced and championed more of Sondheim’s work than any other, Signature Theatre is proud to present So Many Possibilities in honor of his memory and in celebration of his unparalleled contribution to the American musical theater canon,” Artistic Director Matthew Gardiner said.
Along with three new fully produced musicals, there will also be a number of other events celebrating the lyricist. That includes book signings, sing-alongs, and a collective effort to sing (or speak) every lyric of every Sondheim song called “Sharing Sondheim.”
Signature Theatre opened in Shirlington nearly three decades ago, converting an old auto garage into a theater. In 2007, the theater moved about a quarter of a mile away into a $16 million space that was built in partnership with the county. Signature won the Regional Theatre Tony Award in 2009.
Signature Theatre’s show and event schedule through July 2023, from the press release, is below.
Two design concepts have emerged for a temporary outdoor arts space where Inner Ear Studios, the epicenter of the D.C. punk scene, used to be.
Last year, Arlington County acquired two parcels of land — 2700 S. Nelson Street and 2701 S. Oakland Street — and the warehouse that sits on it, which housed Inner Ear, a Ben & Jerry’s catering outfit and, temporarily, part of Arlington Food Assistance Center, while its main building was under renovation.
Shortly after the acquisition, Arlington County began making plans to raze it and build an outdoor entertainment space as part of an effort to implement an arts and industry district in Green Valley.
Dealing with the optics of demolishing a famed recording studio to build an arts and industry district, the arts division argues the space responds to community needs and makes art more accessible.
“Arlington County is prioritizing a community-based vision that is reflective of local needs and ideas for public arts programming,” per a recent report.
So this spring and summer, Arlington Arts and a placemaking and public arts firm Graham Projects engaged with nearly 400 people, nearly half of whom live or work nearby in Green Valley, Shirlington and elsewhere, through in-person and virtual events, as well as an online engagement page.
Participants shared their feedback on colors, themes, local history and programming, which formed the basis of the two designs. Generally, they envisioned an open space with natural landscaping and plantings, murals and temporary sculpture installations.
Respondents suggested creating a space that could host open-mic nights, art classes, festivals, kids performances, movie nights, partnerships with schools and community arts programs, and food-related programming to dovetail off the work of nearby Arlington Food Assistance Center, per the report.
Some requested multicultural programming and an emphasis on ethnically and racially diverse artists to highlight the same diversity in Green Valley. Others suggested a new recording studio to pay homage to Inner Ear Studios, which has returned to founder Don Zientara’s basement in Arlington Heights.
In short, as one resident said, the open space should be “a place to create music and art, and not just another performance venue or theater stage.”
Another resident urged the county not to “replicate things that are already available to the community within Jennie Dean Park.”
After going over the feedback, Graham Projects came up with two designs, dubbed the “Grid” or the “Glade.” Both feature:
- a large event space
- a small performance area
- a temporary public arts space
- a makerspace
- natural berm seating and built seating
The “Grid” design features community tables while the “Glade” has some pergolas covering community tables.
But not everyone wants to see these features take over the open space.
One had concerns that portable art would be stolen, while some others said the county should consider adding parking for visitors to and staff at the Arlington Food Assistance Center.
“‘Pave paradise’ and please, please, please, put up a parking lot,” one said.
People can provide their feedback on these designs through Monday, Nov. 21.
Demolition could start in late 2022 or early 2023, according to a county webpage for the project.