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Smoothie Shop in Virginia Square Closes for the Season, Leaving Future in Doubt

Pulp Juice and Smoothie Bar has temporarily closed in Virginia Square — but that closure could someday become a bit more final.

The smoothie shop neighbored Extreme Pizza in retail space below the Virginia Square Towers apartments at 3444 Fairfax Drive.

The store closed for the season last Wednesday (Oct. 31) after losing $250,000 since it opened last year, a principal agent of the franchise for Pulp Juice and Smoothie told ARLnow, adding that the smoothie shop may come back to the space in March or close permanently.

The store had cash flow issues as it struggled with brand recognition in the area, he said.

Pulp Juice and Smoothie was a five-minute walk away from competitors Tropical Smoothie Cafe and JRINK. In addition to smoothies, the Arlington location sold cold wraps, side bowls, salads and fresh juices.

The Ohio-based company’s opening in Virginia Square last March marked the first store in Virginia for the franchise. Pulp Juice and Smoothie’s website lists 30 locations — one in Pennsylvania, one in South Carolina and 28 in Ohio.

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Coffee and Juice Bar Serving Up Smoothies, ‘Superfood’ Debuts in Clarendon

A new shop serving up smoothies, coffee and “superfood” recently opened in the lobby of an office building in Clarendon.

The Waterhouse Coffee and Juice Bar debuted last Tuesday (Oct. 30) with a soft opening for the office building tenants to sample the food and drink, Connie Kim, the owner and manager, told ARLnow.

Located at 3033 Wilson Blvd, customers use the street entrances on Wilson Blvd and N. Garfield Street or the sliding doors in the lobby of the office building to reach Waterhouse.

The tenants have come back since the soft opening, Kim said. While Kim said she is familiar with tenant customers from her first and, now-closed, business in the building shared by CNN and the U.S. Department of Education, these customers surprised her.

“I never knew tenants could be this intimate and regular,” she said.

The menu spans hot and cold coffee and teas to smoothies and freshly squeezed juice for drinks. The “natural fruit smoothies” are made from ice and fruit juice, while the “power boost smoothies” pack in about seven different ingredients, Kim said. Food options include toasts, salads, sandwiches, acai bowls and all-day breakfast.

“I wanted to do really good coffee, really good juice and smoothie bars, where it’s a very comfortable place,” Kim said.

The name “Waterhouse” popped into her head while sitting in an airport about four years ago, Kim said. Initially, she wanted to open a taco place, but then decided a coffee shop would be a better fit for the space by the Clarendon Metro station. Previous establishments at the space include a cafe and deli known for its vegan sandwiches and an Italian hoagie and Mediterranean food shop.

Waterhouse seats about 15 people inside the shop, with an additional 15 seats in the lobby. Kim plans to have four tables outside in the spring.

The shop is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day.

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Morning Notes

Bryce Harper Sightings — There have been a number of sightings of Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper in Clarendon in recent days. In addition to his Clarendon activities — two people claim to have seen him on separate days at smoothie shop South Block — Harper has been busy on the baseball field, setting an MLB record for runs in the month of April. [Twitter]

Gutshall Endorsed by GGW — The urbanist website Greater Greater Washington has endorsed Erik Gutshall for Arlington County Board in the upcoming Democratic caucus, calling him “thoughtful and insightful.” [Greater Greater Washington]

Northam, Perriello in Ballston — Democratic candidates for governor Ralph Northam and Tom Perriello were in Ballston last night for a progressive forum. Technical difficulties cut off part of Northam’s appearance from the forum’s livestream video. [Blue Virginia]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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Smoothie Shop to Open in Virginia Square

Pulp Juice and Smoothie opening soon(Updated at 6:58 p.m.) Virginia Square will soon have a new outpost for fruit smoothies, juices and wraps.

A Pulp Juice and Smoothie Bar is moving into the storefront at the Virginia Square Towers at 3444 Fairfax Drive. Signs advertising the new eatery went up recently.

A look through the Ohio-based company’s menu reveals a long list of smoothies in flavors such as “pulp fusion,” “peach beach” and “orange chill.” The cafe also sells wraps, which can be filled with ingredients like spicy turkey, tuna and peanut butter.

The business is slated to open within weeks, according Pulp Juice and Smoothie founder Tom Knepp.

“We are hoping to open in the first or second week of March,” he said. “We are just waiting on some of our proprietary products to get in.”

This is the first Pulp Juice and Smoothie in Virginia.

Photo by Buzz McClain

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Protein Bar in Ballston Closes, Seeks New Location

Protein Bar in Ballston closes  Protein Bar closes in Ballston

The Ballston location of the health food chain Protein Bar has closed and apparently plans to relocate.

The shop, which specialized in smoothies, raw juices and healthy food choices, cut its hours in February to lunchtime only. Its location on the ground floor of 800 N. Glebe Road, next to Mussel Bar, opened in January 2013 but did not get the traffic Protein Bar CEO and founder Matt Matros had in mind. It was the eighth location for the Chicago chain, and third in the D.C. area.

“While we were excited to serve the customers of Ballston,” Matros told ARLnow.com in an email, “we weren’t pleased with our specific location and have decided to relocate the store. Because the other lease is not quite final, I can’t comment yet on the location.”

As Protein Bar closes, the first Arlington location of gourmet pizza shop Pizza Vinoteca plans to open next door by the end of the month, a spokeswoman said in an email.

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Sweet Leaf Cafe Opens in Courthouse

The new Sweet Leaf Cafe in Courthouse quietly opened its doors this past weekend and handed out free food to customers who stopped in. Now, the restaurant is officially open for business.

Sweet Leaf Cafe moved in at 2200 Wilson Blvd, formerly occupied by Hikaru Sushi. It is the third location, with others in McLean and Vienna. Owner Arita Matini said she’s been wanting to expand into Arlington for a while.

“I love the young environment here, it’s so refreshing,” she said.

Matini believes the cafe stands out because it doesn’t specialize in just one food item. Customers can pick up a little bit of everything, including sandwiches, smoothies, coffee or all day breakfast items. There is also a kids menu and a variety of freshly baked treats.

“We try to do a little bit of everything but also try to keep it simple. We care about providing really good quality food and being part of the community,” said Matini. “Customer service is really big for me. I want to be sure that everyone who comes in is really happy when they leave.”

Matini grew up in Northern Virginia and was an interior design major at Marymount University. She was inspired to get into the restaurant business during her commute to and from Marymount because she felt there were too many chain restaurants in the area. She sought help from her mom, who owns Sweet Stuff in McLean. Matini says all the members of her family now play some role at Sweet Leaf Cafe.

“It wasn’t really something that we thought we were going to do, it was one of those things that kind of just happened. We all loved it and it was successful and we wanted to open another one,” said Matini. “My parents definitely helped me out. Without them, this probably wouldn’t have happened.”

From the couches in the lounge area to the doorknobs functioning as coat hooks to the pieces of an old chicken coop serving as a holder for bags of chips, Matini’s interior design education shows through. She travels around the area searching for unique antiques to adorn the restaurant. She describes the vibe as “farm fresh, country, like your mother’s home.” The free sunflower seeds placed on the table for customers to munch on also add to the country feel.

If things go well with the new location, Matini would like to expand into other areas of Arlington, such as Rosslyn. She hopes to have a grand opening celebration in a few weeks. Until then, the staff will continue serving the curious customers who have been steadily coming in.

“It’s been a good welcome to the neighborhood,” said Matini. “Everybody’s been really nice and welcoming.”

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Tropical Smoothie Cafe Coming to Virginia Square

A new restaurant is coming to Virginia Square. “Coming Soon” signs have gone up for a Tropical Smoothie Cafe at 3811 Fairfax Drive.

The chain restaurant highlights its use of fresh, simple ingredients. Fresh fruit and turbinado sugar are used in the smoothies, and the wraps, salads and sandwiches are also made with healthy ingredients.

Patrick McKiernan, Area Developer for Northern Virginia, Maryland and DC, said two partners who recently graduated from William and Mary College in Williamsburg were interested in bringing the franchise to the metro area. They liked what they saw in Virginia Square.

“They liked the mix of business and residential there, and the proximity to the Metro,” McKiernan said. “It’s our first location near a Metro, so we’re anxious to see how it goes.”

McKiernan stresses that the restaurant is more than just a place to grab a smoothie; the sales are about 50 percent smoothies and 50 percent food. He thinks the sandwiches, wraps and salads will bring in a good lunch crowd, while the focus on fresh foods will bring in those seeking health conscious options.

McKiernan says they’re pretty early on in the process, and hope to start construction next month if all the permits are obtained quickly. He said it’s tough to estimate an opening until things move along a little further, but he’s guessing sometime during the summer.

There are a number of Tropical Smoothie Cafes throughout Northern Virginia, but this will be the first location in Arlington.

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