Le Village Marché, a Parisian-inspired store in Shirlington Village, is expanding across the river just in time for Bastille Day tomorrow (July 14).
Owner Angela Phelps opened the store’s second location in Cathedral Commons (3318 Wisconsin Ave. NW) in D.C. on June 25.
The new store is very similar to the one in Shirlington, Phelps said, though it stocks more furniture. Both stores have a French theme and sell items that range from French glassware to cookbooks and doormats.
“It appeals to people, not just because we have great items, but it’s like a trip to Paris without actually going there,” Phelps said.
Developers in Cathedral Commons reached out to Phelps, prompting her to open the second location, she said.
For local Francophiles looking to throw a Bastille Day party, Phelps recommended serving French baguettes, wines and cheeses, perhaps followed by a French martini and an entrée Coq au vin for the party. She also recommended some French decor and little gifts, like fluers de lis, which she bien sûr carries at the store.
On the 14th, both stores are offering a free gift with a $25 purchase, Phelps said.
The Village at Shirlington announced late last month that DAK Chicken would be opening in the former Bonsai space on Campbell Avenue.
“DAK Chicken, a modern Korean fusion restaurant will offer Korean style soy garlic, spicy, or honey glazed chicken, as well as a variety of Korean style fusion food and unique Korean drinks,” the shopping center said via Facebook.
The concept is similar to Bonchon, a Korean-style chicken restaurant that opened on N. Pershing Drive in Lyon Park in 2013.
ABC Distributors, Inc., a lumber yard near Shirlington, will be closing its doors at the end of the summer.
The 50-year-old company is currently holding a liquidation sale to sell off the store’s entire stock. The sale started today and will last about six weeks, said Bernard Lynch, the president of the company and one of the owners.
Merchandise has been marked down by 10 to 40 percent, depending on the item, and prices will be reduced as the sale goes on, Lynch said.
“So everything has to go,” he said.
The store is also raffling off a 60-inch Visio Smart TV; customers can enter to win when they buy something.
The business’ closure comes after the owners of the property it sits on decided to sell. ABC Distributors is a part owner, but it owns a much smaller percentage of the property than those that decided to sell, Lynch said.
“It’s been a struggle, to be honest with you, in the last seven years to stay in business,” he said.
The home building business has been struggling as well after housing market crashes, Lynch said. He has seen multiple customers who were contractors go out of business or lose their jobs. And others just do not have the need to shop for housing materials as often because fewer people are building houses, at least according to Lynch.
ABC Distributors must be out of its location by Sept. 1, Lynch said. There are no current plans to bring the business to a new location.
The property was bought by an investors group, but Lynch said he does not know what their plans are.
Chester’s Billiards Bar & Grill will be located at 2620 S. Shirlington Road, which has been without a restaurant tenant since Lucy’s closed in December 2013.
Co-owner Derrick Fulghum, Sr. told ARLnow.com today that he’s hoping to open by mid-August, should all go well with his permits and licenses.
Chester’s will largely pick up where Lucy’s left off. No interior construction of note is planned — the pool tables and bar will be in about the same place. Two things that are changing: more of a focus on live entertainment and on families.
Fulghum said he will be applying for a live entertainment permit, to allow him to offer performances by standup comics, bands and DJs.
As for his customer base, Fulghum said he hopes to attract families and local residents around the Shirlington area. That’s a bit of a contrast from Lucy’s, which proudly displayed the motto “Shrews. Brews. Cues.”
“I have a family and I’m planning on bring them here,” he said. “It will be very inviting, a fun atmosphere. We look forward to giving back… and becoming part of the Shirlington community.”
Chester’s will serve American cuisine — “good food,” Fulghum promises. He said local residents he’s talked to have been positive about the concept. Plus, he’ll benefit from reduced competition: The Bungalow Sports Grill in Shirlington, which had billiards tables, closed last month.
This will be Fulghum’s second South Arlington and third D.C. area establishment. He and his business partner own Andalusia Tea Room, a hookah bar in Crystal City, as well as a bar and grill in Rockville, he said.
Photo via Google Maps
The Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia is bringing its annual Israel Fest to Arlington this weekend.
The free event — dubbed Israel@67 — is billed as a celebration of Israel and Israeli culture. It will take place from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday at the Village in Shirlington.
The event will include live entertainment, Israeli dancing and hands-on activities. There will be food to purchase and an Israeli-styled market.
While the festival has been held in the past in other Northern Virginia locations, this is the first time it has come to Arlington, said Laurie Albert, the center’s Director of Community Engagement.
“The location is wonderful,” she said.
The JCC decided to bring the festival to Arlington because it is a family-friendly area and the organization would reach a community it had not previously, Albert said.
The event will feature nine live musical acts, including Israeli pop singer Hadar and singer-songwriter Yoni Jahasi. There will also be a teen area with a live DJ.
More than 10 synagogues and community partners will have booths for visitors to stop by, and there will also be a moon bounce and balloon artists for children.
To accommodate the festival, Arlington County Police will shut down Campbell Avenue in Shirlington from S. Quincy Street to S. Randolph Street between 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Johnny Rockets has closed its doors in Shirlington.
A sign posted in the window of the retro burger restaurant at 4251 Campbell Ave this weekend stated that it had closed its doors permanently. No reason for the closure was given.
Johnny Rockets is the seventh business to close in Shirlington since last October. Other shuttered businesses have blamed high rent and slow business.
Photo top via Google Maps. Photo right courtesy @EdwardRyder.
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Candidates Want Manager to Live in Arlington — The candidates for Arlington County Board said they would like Arlington’s next county manager to live in Arlington. Retiring county manager Barbara Donnellan lives in Clifton, Va. [InsideNova]
(Updated at 3:35 p.m.) Next month, the Bungalow Sports Grill plans to close its Shirlington location. Yesterday, the doors of Bonsai Grill were locked and the lights were off in the restaurant, indicating the Japanese restaurant has likely closed.
If Bonsai doesn’t reopen and Bungalow indeed closes on June 10 — when manager Carla Marquina tells ARLnow.com it will — the two businesses will be added to the growing list of Shirlington establishments that have fallen by the wayside, and more could be on the way.
Since last October, counting Bonsai and the Bungalow, seven businesses in the Village at Shirlington have closed: Bloomers, Periwinkle, Aladdin’s Eatery, Cakelove and The Curious Grape are all gone. Other than the Curious Grape, whose space was quickly taken over by an Italian restaurant, all of the spaces remain vacant.
With the vacancies have come less foot traffic and rising frustrations, business owners say. Some are blaming Village of Shirlington owner Federal Realty Investment Trust for their woes, saying the company keeps raising rents even as tenants struggle in a local economy that seems to be slowing.
“We are struggling to survive,” one Shirlington restaurant owner told ARLnow.com, speaking on the condition of anonymity for fear of landlord repercussions. “The landlord should reduce the rent or at least keep it the same. They don’t care about the business.”
Marquina, the Bungalow manager, said landlord problems are the reason that the neighborhood sports bar, which has occupied its large space off S. Randolph Street for decades, is shutting down.
“The owners have had disputes with the landlord,” she said. “They haven’t been fixing things that they should fix, and it’s not worth it to us to fix it.”
Bungalow owner Win Froelich spoke to ARLnow.com this afternoon and said Marquina “was not involved with what was going on,” and added “Federal has been lovely to work with.”
“We had an extended negotiation over renewing the lease, and the economics of renewing for us just didn’t work,” Froelich said. “There’s nothing that the landlord is obligated to repair that the landlord hasn’t repaired. The total package that worked for us and the total package that worked for them didn’t match up in price… They’ve been a great landlord and we’re sorry that we’re going to be leaving the Shirlington Village.”
While some vacancies have filled — the Extra Virgin space that has sat empty for two years will soon be home to an art-themed restaurant called Palette 22 — many others remain, and even store owners who say they have “a great relationship” with FRIT say they wish the Bethesda-based real estate firm would step up its effort.
“Walking down this really small area and seeing a bunch of empty spaces is depressing,” another store owner, who claims to be “doing fine” with no complaints about his relationship with FRIT, said. “[FRIT] could be doing a lot more to bring in new business.”
When Periwinkle closed, its owner told ARLnow the rent was too high, a refrain repeated by at least five business owners we contacted. According to multiple business owners, FRIT raises rent every year — a not uncommon practice for commercial and residential real estate — despite what they see as declining foot traffic.
Shirlington isn’t the only place FRIT is losing tenants either; in Pentagon Row, Denim Bar closed in April and another retailer is expected to announce its closure soon. When asked for comment, FRIT spokeswoman Jill Powell said she “was unable to reach the appropriate people at corporate.”
Along with Palette 22, FRIT is renovating Shirlington’s AMC movie theater and Powell said they are expecting to make “another exciting new lease announcement” soon. Regardless of Shirlington’s future businesses, some of its current tenants remain deeply dissatisfied.
The first owner said she’s not sure how much longer she’ll be able to stay open. She said she doesn’t take home a salary and works 14 hours a day, seven days a week.
“We signed a contract and agreed to the rent. We can’t blame [FRIT],” she said. “But people aren’t going out to eat anymore. If the landlord understood about the economy, they’d stop raising the rent every year.”
The venture, called Palette 22, was announced by Village at Shirlington’s owner, Federal Realty Investment Trust. The new restaurant, at 4053 Campbell Ave., will be the first business in the corner storefront since Extra Virgin closed in March 2013.
In between, Italian restaurant La Tagliatella had signed a lease to move into the vacated shop, but the international chain’s planned U.S. expansion fizzled out, and it never moved in. It has since closed its location in Clarendon.
It’s unclear when Palette 22 will open, or who will be running it when it does. Multiple calls to Federal Realty today have not been returned.
“Palette 22 combines food, art and fun, focusing on modern street food small plate dishes with an international flavor,” The Village at Shirlington’s website says. “It will integrate local art and artists into the whole dining experience.”
Shirlington Movie Theater to Renovate — The AMC Lowes Shirlington 7 movie theater will be undergoing a “complete renovation” this year, starting as soon as July. The theater will be getting reclining leather seats, like the AMC theater in Courthouse, plus a new concession area with beer and wine and new bathrooms. [Washington Business Journal]
Downed Trees, Wires in Arlington — On Sunday morning a tree fell on Old Dominion Drive, bringing wires down with it, causing power outages and and closing the road for hours. On Sunday night, an accident on Wilson Blvd caused downed wires and the closure of Wilson from N. Illinois to N. Jefferson Street. [WTOP]
Candidates: Lack of Diversity at Top County Ranks — Candidates for Arlington County Board spoke about the lack of diversity among top county staff last week, at a forum sponsored by the African-American Leadership Council of Arlington. The County Board has little direct involvement in the hiring of county staff, save the Board’s hiring of and direction to the County Manager. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Fifteen restaurants and shops are participating in “Shirlie’s Chocolate Crawl,” with free mini-chocolate ganache and chocolate and cream cheese cupcakes at Best Buns and a free chocolate tasting at Cheesetique among the offerings.
The event itself is free for participants, who must register online. With the temperature expected to be in the mid-70s and no rain in sight, the event should draw dozens, if not hundreds, of chocolate lovers to the streets of Shirlington.
Here is a list of the participating businesses, according to the event website:
- Ah! Love Oil and Vinegar — An opportunity to meet the gourmet shop’s “Chocolate master” and pair spices and chocolates.
- Best Buns — Free mini cupcakes in chocolate ganache and chocolate cream cheese flavors, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. while supplies last.
- Blue Sea Seafood & Bar — Complimentary chocolate strawberries and $5 chocolate martinis. From 4:00-7:00 p.m., Blue Sea is serving $1 oysters.
- Bungalow Sports Grill — $4 “coco loco” shooters.
- Busboys & Poets — The café will be serving $9 chocolate martinis, $7 gluten-free hazelnut chocolate, $6 chocolate layer cake and $6 white chocolate banana bread pudding.
- Café Pizzaiolo –House-fried dough with chocolate drizzle, paired with two 4-ounce chocolate stouts ($10 sharing plate for two) and a chocolate stout float ($7 single serving).
- Cheesetique — Meet Rob Kingsbury of Kingsbury Chocolates and enjoy a free chocolate tasting from 6:00-8:00 p.m. Plus, happy hour from 4:00-7:00 p.m., including $2 off all beer/wine, $4 off all three-item or more cheeseboards.
- Copperwood Tavern — Serving “Shirlie’s Raspberry Chocolate Martini” made with Bailey’s, Stoli Vanilla, Kahlua and Chocolate Raspberry sweet moonshine.
- Dogma Bakery — 15 percent off all chocolate or expresso colored beds, and limited time only carob coated bully sticks.
- Hardwood Artisans — “Fresh baked Ghirardelli Brownies & other goods. Perhaps some wine, too.”
- Le Village Marche — 10-40 percent items in the store, with free chocolate giveaways. The signature item for the event, chocolate-dipped Oreos, will be served here.
- Luna Grill & Diner — Luna is offering an extensive $4 dessert menu, which can be paired with $4 chocolate martinis.
- PING by Charlie Chiang’s — Two chocolate cocktails will be on the menu, and local chocolatier Robert Rhoda of Tempered Chocolates will be on site as with samples of his debut line of Tastes of Asia Truffle Collection: Sesame Sake Truffle, White Chocolate Yuzu Matcha Truffle, and a Lapsang Souchong Chai Truffle.
- Samuel Beckett’s — Sample “Sam & Shirlie chocolate specialty drinks.” Customers get a chocolate dessert free with a dinner entrée and drink from the “Land and Sea” menu.
- THAI in Shirlington — $5 chocolate martinis.
Tomorrow, Campbell Avenue Shirlington will close down while dozens of breweries will open up tents and booths for the second annual Spring Beer Festival.
From 4:30 a.m. to about 8:00 p.m., Campbell Avenue will be shut down between S. Randolph and Quincy Streets, according to the Arlington County Police Department, to allow the more than 35 breweries in attendance to set up their tents.
The actual event begins at noon, when festival-goers can purchase a $30 booklet of 10 tickets for tastings from the breweries, which are largely from the mid-Atlantic region. The taps will turn off at 6:00 p.m.
In addition to vehicular traffic, parking will also be restricted in the area. Residents and visitors should look for “no parking” signs in the area before leaving their car parked overnight.
(Updated at 7:00 p.m.) The Curious Grape, the wine bar and shop in Shirlington, closed Saturday night, but a new restaurant will be taking its place shortly.
Coming in to the location on 2900 S. Quincy Street will be Osteria da Nino Cucina Italiana & Bar, an Italian restaurant that plans to start its soft opening on Thursday, its owners told ARLnow.com today.
The restaurant is being launched by a pair of couples and helmed by Italian chef Nino Pino, who has worked at a number of restaurants in Northern Virginia, including Palio Ristorante in Leesburg. Crews will be working around the clock until Thursday night, when Osteria da Nino hopes to get in a few practice runs before a planned Easter brunch on Sunday.
The turnaround might catch some by surprise — many restaurant openings take more than a year in Arlington. Even more so because The Curious Grape had been a Village at Shirlington staple for more than a decade.
“As most people know, running a restaurant is really a 24/7 commitment,” Curious Grape owner Suzanne McGrath said in an email. “Actively managing the restaurant has also diverted my efforts away from wine education, which is really my career focus. We have so appreciated all the support of our loyal customers and the wonderful people who enjoyed The Curious Grape.”
Osteria is looking for waitstaff, bussers and kitchen staff to join the team immediately, and is asking those interested to apply in person.
The event will take place outdoors, closing down a portion of Campbell Avenue. It will feature tastings from 35 area craft brewers, all of which will be from Virginia, Maryland or the District, including “several newly opened breweries.”
“New this year, all participating breweries will sport their own exhibition tents that showcase their company creations and colorful brand designs,” organizers said in a press release. “A variety of Shirlington Village restaurants and local eateries will feature their favorite springtime fare with music provided by a popular local DJ.”
The event is scheduled for Saturday, April 25. Much like Capital City’s Shirlington Oktoberfest event, the Spring Beer Festival will run from noon until 7:00 p.m., rain or shine, with taps closing at 6:00 p.m.
Tickets to the event will be available for purchase the day of the event, starting at 11:30 a.m. Tickets are $30 and include a wristband, tasting glass and 10 drink tickets. Additional tasting tickets will be sold for $1 each, with a $5 minimum.
Non-drinkers and children can attend for free.
A man was transported to Virginia Hospital Center after crashing into the fence of the Shirlington dog park this morning.
According to multiple witnesses, the driver of the Dodge sedan revved his engine on S. Oxford Street and sped into the fence of the park, smashing through the chain links, metal poles and a tree. An Arlington County Fire Department source on the scene said he suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
The driver was an employee of Arlington Collision Center, the body shop’s manager confirmed to ARLnow.com, and the Dodge was a car the shop was servicing.
Witnesses said the car barreled through the entrance to the park, but no dogs or owners were hurt in the crash. One witness said the car “wasn’t just parked and he revved his engine. He sped into the fence.”
Another witness said the driver never lost consciousness, but went into shock a couple of minutes after the crash occurred. ACFD’s rescue crew had to use its “jaws of life” device to tear the roof off the vehicle to remove the driver and place him on a stretcher.
The owner of Wag More Dogs daycare and boarding center right next to the park, Kim Houghton, told ARLnow.com employees of the collision center “race these cars” down Oxford Street “all the time.”
“From where the end of the street is to here, they just gun it with the wrecked cars they have,” Houghton said. S. Oxford Street is only a few hundred feet long. “I’ve told them they need to go slow because there are people letting their dogs out and it’s dangerous.”
The collision center’s manager declined further comment. No other injuries were reported.
The entrance to the dog park was severely damaged in the crash, and it’s unclear how functional the dog park will be until the county can repair it.