A number of roads will be closed this weekend in Ballston to accommodate the 30th annual Taste of Arlington.
The outdoor event spans Wilson Blvd from N. Randolph Street to N. Nelson Street, and this year will include more than 50 restaurants, live music and food trucks. Tickets are still available online, or can be bought on the door.
More on the road closures, from an Arlington County Police Department press release:
The 2017 Taste of Arlington event will be held on Sunday, May 21, 2017. The following road closures will occur from approximately 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 20th, 2017 through 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 21, 2017.
- Wilson Boulevard will be closed between N. Randolph Street and N. Monroe Street, all North/South cross streets will be blocked.
- N. Quincy Street will be closed with modified traffic between N. 5th Street and N. 9th Street.
- All traffic trying to cross Wilson Boulevard on Pollard, Piedmont, Oakland, Nelson and Monroe Streets will be turned around.
- N. Randolph Street will be open between the Ballston Parking Garage/Loading Dock to N. 9th Street, the area garages will not be closed.
- Other area roadway restrictions may be in place to keep traffic impacts near the event and area neighborhoods to a minimum.
In addition, street parking in the area will be restricted. Motorists should be on the lookout for temporary “No Parking” signs. Illegally parked vehicles may be ticketed and/or towed. If your vehicle is towed from a public street, call 703-558-2222.
Image via Ballston BID
(Updated at 2:30 p.m. on 3/29/17) You’ll need a paid wristband to get into Taste of Arlington this year.
Previously a free event, attendees at this year’s festival on May 21 will need to pay $5-15 for admission ($5 is the current early bird price) then pay an additional $5 for each drink ticket and $1-5 for each taste, paid directly to the restaurant or food truck.
Many restaurants and food trucks will accept cash and credit cards, although some may only take cash. A number of ATMs will be on site.
Previously, attendees had to buy a $30-40 book of tickets to sample the food at the various restaurant booths; now it’s a la carte. The drink ticket is $1-3 less expensive than an equivalent pour last year, a spokesman pointed out.
More than 50 restaurants, food trucks and chefs are expected to participate, including international cuisine.
Restaurants will compete in the “Best of the Best” food competition in the following categories: Best Appetizer, Best Brunch, Best Fast Casual Entrée, Best Fine Dining Entrée, Best Dessert and Fan Favorite. Winners will be announced at 5 p.m. on the main concert stage.
This year’s festival has also moved closer to the Virginia Square Metro station on Wilson Boulevard, and stretches along Wilson from N. Randolph Street to N. Nelson Street. It will last from noon to 6 p.m.
Last year, Taste of Arlington raised $40,000 for BallstonGives, the charitable arm of the Ballston Business Improvement District, and the Arlington Food Assistance Center.
What does it take to plan an event with 50,000 attendees and dozens of restaurants, vendors and entertainers?
For the four-person team behind Taste of Arlington, planning this year’s event started the day after last year’s event.
“It’s a year-long project,” said Tina Leone, CEO of the Ballston Business Improvement District, which organizes the annual event. “It starts off like a tsunami, very calm, then it explodes. We’re a four person team and we have many other projects going on. The stress level definitely rises, but we always pull it off, every year.”
“You immediately start to renew the sponsors,” Catherine Roper, the BID’s Chief Marketing Officer, said of the early planning. “When planning something of this magnitude you have to work smart. So we form a lot of strategic alliances, partnerships with folks.”
Those partnerships — with organizations from TV and radio stations to local professional sports teams to this very website — have helped the event to grow from around 10,000 attendees when the BID took over its planning to the nearly 50,000 attendees expected this year.
“It’s one thing to plan something and execute it well but you need the people to come,” said Roper.
This year the BID is also partnering with the Arlington Food Assistance Center. AFAC is helping the BID recruit some 450 volunteers for the event. In return the BID has committed to donating at least $25,000 in proceeds from Taste of Arlington to AFAC.
In years past, the setup on Wilson Blvd took place from midnight to 6 a.m. on the morning of the event. With the growth of the event — it now takes place up over several blocks — the BID decided to start the setup on Wilson Blvd the day before.
“This year we get to set up on Saturday and get the tents up in the daylight,” said Roper. “When you’re dealing with something outside, you have to bring everything to the streets [and] you have to make sure you have energy to make everyone happy.”
The expanded layout means that long food lines and jam-packed streets are mostly a thing of the past.
“We expanded the footprint and fortunately [attendees] don’t all come at one time, it’s over seven hours,” said Leone. “It never feels overcrowded, we’ve made improvements to the layout of restaurants. You can now buy tickets online so we don’t have to worry about” long ticket lines anymore.
The day of the event, hundred of volunteers help to make the event happen while the core team makes sure everything runs smoothly.
“We train our volunteers very well, they know what they’re going to be doing that day, they know the map,” said Roper. “We couldn’t do this without our volunteers. It’s crazy, there’s a lot of energy, but it’s all for a good cause.”
Taste of Arlington is taking place this Sunday, May 15 from noon to 7 p.m. This year it will feature a 400-foot “street pub” plus an expanded, family-friendly KidZone and a lineup of eight bands on two stages. Tickets are still available online.
Don’t miss ARLnow.com’s “tasting table” with our friends Sarah Fraser and Samy K, amid the main restaurant row at Taste. See the four dishes we selected for the tasting table here, here, here and here.
ARLnow is partnering with Taste of Arlington to highlight some of the festival’s most mouth-watering dishes this year.
If you haven’t gotten your tickets yet, get them online and save $5 over the price at the event itself, which is taking place starting at noon on Sunday. (Sunday’s forecast: mild and dry.)
Yesterday we stopped by our fourth and final “tasting table” selection, Ballston’s Pepita Cantina (4000 Wilson Blvd), to get a preview of the suckling pig taco they’re bringing to Taste of Arlington.
Here’s what Pepita’s manager, Chris Boitel, had to say about the dish.
This taco is served on a corn tortilla, with an apple purée, roasted pork, topped with a habanero mustard, finished with a diced apple and pickled mustard seeds salad. This dish is sweet, spicy, and savory. All though pork can feel like a heavy or hearty choice, our pig taco is light and refreshing.
This dish debuted as a special for our Cinco De Mayo party on May 5th. We decided that it was so good we would introduce it at the Taste of Arlington. Executive Chef Juan Rivera will be serving this on our upcoming summer menu.
We love the taste of Arlington for its competitive nature as well and the positive effect it has on the community. Restaurants take food seriously in Arlington and so do we!
ARLnow is partnering with Taste of Arlington to preview some of the festival’s tastiest dishes this year.
Epic Smokehouse in Pentagon City will be bringing some mouth-watering barbecue ribs to the event, which is taking place starting at noon Sunday, on Wilson Blvd near Ballston Common Mall. (Tickets are still available online.)
We asked Epic’s Assistant General Manager, Chris Naylor, about it.
ARLnow: First, tell us about the dish you’re bringing. How is it prepared?
Naylor: Smoked BBQ Ribs with Applewine BBQ sauce and a pinch of slaw. We dry rub our ribs and smoke them for six hours, then char them on the grill and brush them with the BBQ sauce.
How does it taste?
They are meaty, smokey, tangy, and just a tad sweet.
Why did you select it? How does it reflect your restaurant overall?
Who doesn’t love ribs? They’re delicious. Our ribs are our take on BBQ, not typical — which is pretty much us in a nutshell.
What’s your favorite thing about participating in Taste of Arlington?
We love to see the crowd and their excitement about trying our food, and the bragging rights when our tent’s crowd is larger than most.
ARLnow.com is partnering with Taste of Arlington this year to highlight some of the dishes we’re most excited about.
Together with Sarah Fraser and Samy K., we’ve curated four Taste of Arlington restaurants and dishes to include in our “tasting table.” Today, we’re highlighting the Spicy Salmon Belly Tartare from Ballston’s own Mussel Bar & Grille (800 N. Glebe Road).
Charles Vogt, Mussel Bar’s Chef De Cuisine, said he selected the dish because it’s representative of Mussel Bar’s commitment to fresh, high-quality seafood. What’s in it?
“Finely diced raw salmon belly tossed with Togarashi [blend of Japanese chili peppers], olive oil, elderflower and lime zest,” he said. “It’s then topped with compressed cucumber, dollops of yuzu yogurt on top of a house made lavash.”
How does it taste?
“The ‘fatty’ salmon belly seasoned with the spicy togarashi balances out beautifully with the crisp clean cucumber flavor and yuzu yogurt cutting through the richness of the salmon,” he said. “Each bite leaving you wanting for another.”
“It’s a beautiful raw dish,” Vogt added. “We want people to know we serve the best and freshest seafood in town.”
It will be Vogt’s first time at Taste of Arlington, but he’s hoping it’s a memorable experience for those stopping by his booth and for himself.
“I’m looking forward to being out there and meeting some potential new and current guests, as well as talking with other restaurant staff and just seeing the talent we have over here in Arlington,” he said.
Taste of Arlington is less than a week away.
The annual festival is bringing dozens of local restaurants — and a 400-foot “street pub” — to Wilson Blvd, near Ballston Common Mall, from noon to 7 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are still available online.
This year, ARLnow.com is partnering with Taste of Arlington to highlight four especially tasty dishes being offered at the event. Together with Sarah Fraser and Samy K., we’ll have our own “tasting table” in the middle of the action, around the four Arlington-based restaurants that are serving the dishes our mouths are watering over: Texas Jack’s Barbecue, Epic Smokehouse, Pepita Cantina and Mussel Bar.
ARLnow: First, tell us about the dish you’re bringing. What is it?
Texas Jack’s: We are bring Allen Bros. Beef Brisket and Coleslaw. Our beef is antibiotic-free, hormone-free, steroid-free and cage-free and of course, our produce is always fresh.
Why did you select it?
We chose to go with Brisket and Coleslaw because this is an ideal barbecue meal. It is a traditional meat and that has been perfected overtime. Our brisket is what barbecue is meant to be.
How is it prepared?
Our brisket is prepared with salt and pepper at 210 degrees and smoked for 12-14 hours with red and white oak.
How does it taste?
Our brisket is so tender it will melt in your mouth before you know it. The smokey flavor is especially pronounced in the brisket.
What’s your favorite thing about participating in Taste of Arlington?
This is our first time, we are very excited to be a part of the Taste of Arlington and to be welcomed into the Arlington community.
Taste of Arlington will feature a mammoth “street pub” this year.
The 400-foot long portable bar travels the country, offering draft beer from Oregon-based Deschutes Brewery at various large events. Proceeds from the beer sales will be donated to charity, said a rep for the Ballston BID, which organizes the annual event.
“This partnership will not only take the beer garden to a whole new level, but will greatly increase Taste’s fundraising clout,” said Mollie Wagoner.” As a signature event of the Ballston BID’s new charitable arm, BallstonGives, they hope to outdo all past fundraising. The BID has already guaranteed a minimum $25,000 donation to Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) with a goal of raising much more.”
The event, held along Wilson Blvd in Ballston, features food from more than 50 restaurants and attracts some 40,000 people each year. The beer and wine sales area is consistently one of the most crowded sections of the festival.
This year’s Taste of Arlington is scheduled for May 15 from noon to 6 p.m.
Taste of Arlington Winners — The judges at Sunday’s Taste of Arlington event in Ballston selected four winners among the dozens of restaurants that participated. Il Forno won for Best Appetizers, Liberty Tavern won for Best Fast Casual, Water and Wall won for Best Fine Dining and Northside Social won for Best Dessert.
Real Estate Prices Rise — Real estate prices in Arlington continue to rise. The median home sale in Arlington between January and April was $545,000. That’s up 9 percent year-over-year. [InsideNova]
Clarendon Real Estate Was a Bargain in 1900 — Clarendon is full of nice restaurants, luxury condos and million dollar homes now, but in 1900 it was an emerging suburban community with vacant land for sale. How much were plots of land going for? Between $90 and $140. [Ghosts of DC]
Presidential Candidate in Arlington Today — Mark Everson, a former IRS commissioner and a candidate for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, will speak and greet supporters at a $100-a-head reception in Courthouse today. The event is being held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Courthaus Social, 2300 Clarendon Blvd. [Mark Everson for President]
APS Educator Named Top Hispanic Teacher — Arlington Traditional School art teacher Veronica Perez has received the Victoria D. de Sanchez Northern Virginia Hispanic Teacher of the Year Award. [InsideNova]
This year, Taste of Arlington will feature 49 restaurants and a beer and wine garden that’s bigger than ever. Booklets of tickets for tasting and drinking are on sale now.
Stop by the Ballston farmer’s market tomorrow evening, from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. at 901 N. Taylor Street, for a $25 packet of 10 tickets. If you purchase on the Ballston Connect mobile, app, a packet costs $30. Packets purchase online are $35 and packets purchased at the festival will be $40. Tickets to the VIP pavilion, with unlimited beer, wine and hors d’oeuvres provided by SER, cost $100 online, and $110 at the festival.
The festival will close down the streets of Ballston all day: Wilson Blvd from N. Glebe Road to Quincy Street and Stuart and Randolph streets from Wilson to 9th Street N.
In addition to the restaurant booths, beer and wine garden and VIP pavilion, there will be three stages for live music, a Kids Zone with games and face painting and the return of the World Pup Tournament, which costs $10 to enter one’s dog to participate.
The restaurants in attendance will compete for a “Best of the Best” food title in the following categories: Best Appetizer, Best Fast Casual Entrée, Best Fine Dining Entrée and Best Dessert. The judging will be held at 3:00 p.m. in the VIP pavilion and the winners will be announced at 4:00 p.m. on the main stage.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the Arlington Food Assistance Center. The restaurants participating and competing are as follows:
- Westover Beer Garden
- Sehkraft Beer Garden
- Thunder Beast
- Tasty 6
- Naan Stop DC
- Pepita Cantina
- Water & Wall
- Rito Loco
- Postmodern Foods
- Curley’s BBQ
- Sweet Fix DC
- Bracket Room
- Orient Bowl
- Don Tito
- Sushi Rock
- Urban Bumpkin BBQ
- Ben’s Chili Bowl
- American Tap Room
- Dolce Sweets
- Pizza Vinoteca
- Koolzone Ice and Treats
- Mac’s Donuts
- Northside Social
- Lyon Hall
- Mussel Bar & Grille
- Liberty Tavern
- Commonwealth Joe
- Epic Smokehouse
- RedRocks Pizzeria
- The Melting Pot
- Which Wich
- The Front Page
- P.F. Chang’s
- Nando’s Peri-Peri
- La Tasca
- Il Forno
- World of Beer
- Fuego Cocina y Tequileria
- Kapnos Taverna
- Big Buns
- A-Town Bar and Grill
- Lebanese Taverna
File photo. Disclosure: Ballston BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser
(Updated at 6:20 p.m.) The annual Taste of Arlington food festival in Ballston will be back for 2015 on Sunday, May 17.
Last year, the festival drew a record 40,000 attendees, according to its organizer, the Ballston Business Improvement District. This year, the BID hopes to surpass that mark, with new restaurants Pizza Vinoteca and Kapnos Taverna joining Taste of Arlington regulars P.F. Chang’s, Pete’s Apizza and Fuego Cocina y Tequileria.
All food and drinks can be tasted with the purchase of a ticket booklet, which costs $30 until May 1, when the price goes up to $35. Each booklet contains 10 tickets. Tickets to the VIP Pavilion, which includes unlimited beer, wine, champagne and appetizers, cost $75, and go up to $100 on May 1.
There will again be a KidZone and a Bark Park and World Pup Tournament, so families with pets and children can all have something to participate in. There will also be a Girls on the Run 5K race in the morning, before the main event, which runs from noon to 6:00 p.m.
The actual event is free for all to roam around Wilson Blvd and surrounding streets that will be closed to traffic for the afternoon.
File photo. Disclosure: Ballston BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser.