On a cool, gray day when the calendar flipped to September, there was another sign of the start of fall in Arlington: the arrival of the ever-popular Pumpkin Spice Latte at at least some local Starbucks stores.
The sugary, caffeinated beverage is as much a harbinger of fall as crunching twigs and acorns, plaid flannel shirts and brown boots. This year its potential Sept. 1 availability was cryptically teased by Starbucks on its social media accounts, though an official release date has yet to be announced.
This morning at the Clarendon Starbucks store (2690 Clarendon Blvd), there were plenty of Starbucks customers who knew to ask for the “PSL” by name, despite a lack of signs or updated menus announcing its availability. And for those who asked for it, they received it.
After successfully ordering a grande Pumpkin Spice Latte (and paying $5.57 with tax for the privilege), an ARLnow.com reporter asked the barista how many PSLs had been served so far that morning.
“A lot,” she said.
(Updated 4:35 p.m.) The first retail tenant at Marymount University’s “Newside” building is getting closer to opening.
Signs are up for the new Starbucks at the property at 1000 N. Glebe Road in Ballston, but the build-out inside still ongoing. Marymount faculty and staff started moving into the new building earlier this month ahead of the new school year.
Marymount is using six floors of the nine-story office building on the site, with the other three floors available for other companies. Next door is a 12-story, 267-apartment residential building.
No word on an exact opening date yet.
Construction is almost complete at Marymount University’s “Newside” building, and it has landed its first retail tenant.
Two buildings are under construction on the site: a nine-story office building and a 12-story, 267-unit residential building.
The former will be owned by Marymount University, with the university using six floors as office and educational space. The top three floors will be leased out as office space.
Between the two buildings, there will also be a 10,600-square-foot public plaza and pedestrian passageway.
Construction is expected to be completed this summer.
With high temps in the 80s and 90s, one does not exactly get the twigs and acorns crunching pleasurably beneath one’s boots feeling that traditionally prompts a craving for fall-related items — you know, the ever-popular pumpkin spice latte or a malty Oktoberfest beer.
Starbucks has been offering the “PSL” since the end of August (McDonald’s now has a version, too) and Oktoberfests and pumpkin beers started hitting local store shelves even earlier than that.
We know that such seasonal beverages are popular choices when the air gets crisp and the days shorter. But are they popular now before the official start of fall? (The autumnal equinox is Thursday.)
Given the proliferation of Starbucks and the crowds at our fall beer tasting event over the weekend, it seems like the answer might be yes. But let’s see whether actual consumption so far this season actually bears that out.
There were enough people jaywalking between the Starbucks and the Whole Foods in Clarendon that it apparently prompted Arlington County to install a
recently appeared mid-block on the Whole Foods side of Clarendon Blvd. It instructs pedestrians not to cross and to use one of the marked crosswalks up the block.
The block is often congested with traffic turning into the Whole Foods parking lot, making it even more dangerous for pedestrians trying to cross the street outside of a crosswalk.
Update at 1:05 p.m. — As readers are pointing out, the sign has, in fact, been there since at least 2014, as proven by Google Street View. It is not “new” except, perhaps, on a geological timeframe. The 2012 Street View image does not show the sign. The 2007 and 2009 Street View images both show people standing where the sign currently is, apparently waiting to cross the street.
A brand new Starbucks store is open on the corner of 12th Street and S. Fern Street in Pentagon City.
The cafe opened last week and has already attracted a sizable flock of MacBook-bound latte sippers.
The coffee shop is one of the first businesses to open along the new 12th Street extension between Fern and S. Eads Street. A Whole Foods is also opening soon on the block, and a competing cafe — Commonwealth Joe — is working to open its “flagship” location on the block, on the ground floor of the new Bartlett apartment building, this summer.
The incident happened around 8 a.m. on Friday, Arlington County Police said today, after a Starbucks employee found a threatening note on the floor.
“Business was being conducted as usual when officers arrived,” ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage said. “K9s swept the store periodically throughout the day with negative results. There is no suspect description.”
The Starbucks was reported to be on the 1100 block of S. Joyce Street, at the Pentagon Row shopping center. Friday (April 1) was April Fool’s Day.
This will be the eighth Starbucks store in Pentagon City and Crystal City. That excludes Starbucks locations in the Pentagon and Reagan National Airport, which have at least two apiece.
Within biking distance of the new cafe are Starbucks stores on Columbia Pike, in the Arlington Ridge Shopping Center, at Potomac Yard and in Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. In other words, the new Starbucks will face competition from at least 15 other Starbucks locations within a two mile radius. That’s not to mention a sprinkling of Dunkin’ Donuts stores and independent coffee shops.
No word yet on when the new Starbucks may open.
Hat tip to Chris Slatt
A building permit application, filed on Nov. 2, indicates that a Starbucks will be built inside the Macy’s store at the mall. Thus far it’s unclear where exactly in the Macy’s the cafe will be located.
There is already a Starbucks at the mall — an often busy kiosk in the center of the ground-level food court. There is also a Starbucks across Hayes Street, in the Pentagon Centre shopping center, and one within a stone’s throw of the mall parking lot, at the adjacent Pentagon Row shopping center.
The license, if approved, would allow the Starbucks at 2690 Clarendon Blvd to serve beer and wine.
The company had earlier applied for Virginia ABC permits at two South Arlington locations, as part of the “Starbucks Evenings” program it’s rolling out. All three permit applications are still pending.
Starbucks Evenings stores will serve beer, wine and a selection of small plates at night, in addition to the usual coffee, tea, pastries and breakfast foods.
Starbucks customers may be able to order a glass of wine with their Pumpkin Spice Lattes at two Arlington locations in the next few months.
Starbucks has filed liquor license applications for its new Penrose Square (2413 Columbia Pike) and Arlington Ridge Shopping Center (2925 S. Glebe Road) locations. If approved, the stores will be able to serve beer and wine, in addition to the coffee and tea drinks the company sells.
Starbucks is offering beer and wine at select stores as part of its new “Starbucks Evenings” service, which also includes small plates.
According to a sample menu, the coffee chain will sell various red, white and sparkling wines by the bottle and glass, as well as craft beers. Small plates include truffle mac and cheese, bacon-wrapped dates, chicken skewers and truffle popcorn. Menus vary by region.
License applications for the two stores are currently pending, according to the Virginia Department of Alcohol Beverage Control.
Wine and beer will come to the Long Branch Creek location in “probably a few months,” said a supervisor at the store but she could not provide any additional information. USA Today reported in August that Starbucks is launching Starbucks Evenings at more than 2,000 of its 12,000+ U.S. stores, with many opening by the end of the year.
A Starbucks spokesman stopped short of confirming that the two South Arlington stores will in fact be serving beer and wine in the near future.
“Just as each customer is unique, so are our stores and we consider a broad range of products and experiences for each neighborhood,” said the spokeswoman. “And, as you’ve probably seen, we’re in the very early stages of considering our stores at 2413 Columbia Pike and 2925 S. Glebe Road for the Evenings menu. It’s a long and thoughtful process and the permit filing is just one of many steps we take.”
(Updated at 1:20 p.m.) Starbucks will be opening a new cafe in Rosslyn this fall, with the opening of the new TargetExpress store.
The coffee shop will be located inside the store, at 1500 Wilson Blvd, which is expected to open next month. A quick peek inside the glass doors yesterday revealed that much of the familiar Target interior is already complete, with workers continuing to work on fixtures like security cameras.
Curiously, this will be the third Starbucks location within a one block radius. Shoppers sipping their latte from the store will be able to look out the big glass windows and see two Starbucks across the street, one inside the Safeway (1501 17th Street N.) and the other freestanding (1525 Wilson Blvd).
A fourth Rosslyn Starbucks is down the hill on N. Lynn Street, about a quarter mile away.
Such dense placement of Starbucks stores is not unprecedented, and Arlington is noted for its love of Starbucks, but it does seem a bit excessive even for Manhattan on the Potomac. The Columbia Pike corridor, for instance, only just got its first Starbucks.
“As a standard course of business, Starbucks continually evaluates our store portfolio, using various criteria to ensure we are meeting the needs of our customers,” a Starbucks spokeswoman told ARLnow.com.
Business is reportedly robust at Rappahannock Coffee (2406 Columbia Pike) despite a new Starbucks moving across the street.
The independent coffee shop, which once was the only cafe serving the portion of the Pike around Penrose Square, is so far not seeing negative effects from its newfound competition with the Seattle-based chain, according to owner Gi Lee.
“Our customers are loyal customers,” Lee said.
The new Starbucks opened at 2413 Columbia Pike in the middle of August, worrying some Pike residents that it would hurt Rappahannock and cause it to close. The local coffee shop had faced previous threats of demolition back in 2013 when a developer proposed building apartments on the strip of land where Rappahannock is located.
ARLnow.com observed 17 customers in Rappahannock this morning over a half hour period. At Starbucks across the street, we counted 27 customers over the course of 15 minutes.
Although the chain store sees more customers in the morning, it might not be due to customers defecting from Rappahannock. Lee said most regular customers are still coming in for their morning cup of joe, the beans for which are roasted in-house.
“Everybody likes our coffee,” he said. “It’s very fresh here.”
Rappahannock customer and vocal fan Jason Gooljar said the chain may have attracted new customers from the neighborhoods around the Pike while the local coffee shop kept its old customers. He professed his reverence for the small shop in a Facebook post, which he posted from Starbucks.
“So yes, I’m here at the Starbucks,” he wrote last Wednesday evening. “[Rappahannock] closes early.”
(Starbucks is also open three hours later than Rappahannock, which operates from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Starbucks is open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. It is slow in the evening and Lee said he does not anticipate increasing the hours.)
Starbucks and Rappahannock offer two different environments, Gooljar said, and the two stores attract different types of customers.
Rappahannock has a more neighborhood feel, where customers interact with each other and the baristas, Gooljar said. Signs next to tables at the coffee shop encourage people to sit with their neighbors and meet new people.
“This store, people have made some really good friendships here,” he said.
On the other hand, Gooljar said, Starbucks is more individual — people typing away quietly on laptops or grabbing an espresso drink to go while on their commute.
One of the new Starbucks customers is South Arlington resident Kevin Keaty. He was already a loyal Starbucks customer and went to one of the chain’s stores in Pentagon City before the Columbia Pike location opened, he said.
“I really do like their products,” he said.
Horst Lummert, a new Arlington resident, visits both coffee stores and said he has noticed people in the Starbucks at night after Rappahannock has closed. On the other hand, Lummert said he sees about 20 customers in Rappahannock when he stops by in the morning. He has been a loyal Starbucks customer for many years, but he said there is something nice about visiting a local coffee shop.
“I come here because of the wonderful service,” he said. “And the coffee is pretty good.”
The manager of the Columbia Pike Starbucks referred ARLnow.com to the company’s corporate media relations department for comment.
The coffee shop plans to open its doors at 5:00 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 14. Located in the former Bar TNT and Society Fair space at Penrose Square, the store will be the first Starbucks along the Pike in Arlington.
In addition to the normal menu of coffee, espresso drinks, teas, pastries and sandwiches, the new Pike Starbucks will offer Starbucks Reserve, “a special collection of unique, small-lot coffees.”
“Customers will be able to order their Starbucks Reserve coffee brewed on The Clover Brewing System, which lets you discover new layers and dimensions within a coffee’s familiar aroma, flavor, body and acidity, brewed fresh by the cup,” said a spokeswoman.
Asked why the company chose to finally open a location on Columbia Pike, the spokeswoman said “Starbucks is always looking for great locations to better meet the needs of our customers.”
This isn’t the only Starbucks to open in Arlington this month. Yesterday a new Starbucks opened its doors at the Fort Myer Exchange on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall.
The vacant space at the corner of the Pike and S. Barton Street — where Bar TNT and Society Fair closed last fall — will be home to the coffee chain, the building’s management told residents today.
“We’re spilling the beans and we want our residents to be the first to hear the new,” said an email to the residents, which was forwarded to ARLnow.com. “Coming summer 2015, Penrose Square welcomes its newest retailer: Starbucks Coffee. Live, Work & Caffeinate at home in your very own Starbucks.”
The location is facing Penrose Square’s public plaza, next to the Giant and a block away from Red Rocks pizzeria. This will be the first Starbucks on Columbia Pike in Arlington; the closest location is in Pentagon City.