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by Chris Teale September 19, 2017 at 2:15 pm 0

It’s official: signs are going up for a new kabob restaurant in place of the former Pio Pio restaurant between Clarendon and Virginia Square.

Naan Kabob at 3300 Wilson Blvd will serve Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi food and offer carry-out and catering services. Its parking lot is currently taped off for renovations, while work is getting underway to revamp the inside too.

A copy of the menu suggests it will have kabobs, Karahi dishes (cooked in thick, circular pots) and curries, as well as traditional desserts. As of Monday, signs had gone up advertising its new name and food offerings.

Employees at the restaurant declined to say for sure when it would open, but are hopeful of getting underway “soon.”

by Chris Teale September 15, 2017 at 9:45 am 0

The county’s latest Dunkin’ Donuts opened Friday morning in Virginia Square.

And the donut-and-coffee shop made a splash this morning at 3701 Fairfax Drive with free prizes from a giveaway wheel, a balloon arch outside and appearances by mascots Cuppy and Sprinkles alongside cheerleaders for the Washington Capitals.

It is located on the first floor of the former DARPA headquarters and current FDIC office.

To mark the opening, guests could get a free classic donut with any drink purchase until 10 a.m. Friday. Then on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., patrons will receive a free medium hot or iced coffee, while children under 12 can decorate donuts. The giveaway wheel will once again be spinning, while an on-site DJ will provide music.

The cafe was already doing brisk business just before 8:30 a.m. when an ARLnow reporter stopped by. It is the 11th in the county, after one opened in April on N. Glebe Road.

by Chris Teale September 8, 2017 at 11:25 am 0

A rarely-open restaurant near Clarendon could be set for some big changes.

Pio Pio at 3300 Wilson Blvd has been the source of fascination for months, with some calling the Peruvian restaurant’s unpredictable hours downright “mysterious.” Pio Pio closed earlier this year, reportedly for maintenance on its roof.

But a permit approved in late July by the county indicates that someone has filed to open a new restaurant with indoor seating in the space.

There are no other concrete details available about the future of the eatery, but a tipster said it would be a kabob restaurant.

“They are fixing up the building and parking lot,” said the anonymous tipster.

As of Friday morning when an ARLnow reporter visited, no work appeared to have been done, with tables and chairs still sitting in the vacant restaurant.

by Chris Teale August 3, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

Casual Adventure will be open until at least Christmas, after it signed a new short-term lease on its Virginia Square building.

Owner Eric Stern said he and his staff requested the extension from property owner 1404 Hancock Street Investment LLC, a company registered to local custom home builder BCN Homes.

The pair then agreed on the extension, in part, Stern said, because new development in the area is taking a “little bit longer than originally anticipated.”

“We’ve had a great business relationship, and we were able to extend at least for the time being,” he said. “Then we’ll figure things out from there.”

The long-time outdoor retailer had been set to close its 3451 Washington Blvd location this spring after 61 years in business. It first announced its closure in April and subsequently held an “End of an Era Sale” with large discounts.

Stern said the influx of customers and outpouring of sadness at the store’s closing showed there is still “an obvious need or want for us in this space.”

“The general support from the public has been overwhelming in a positive way,” he said. “I certainly appreciate everybody who’s come in and shared their stories of the trips they’ve taken over the years, the products they’ve bought from us over the years and the photos they’ve had from their trips.”

Casual Adventure is currently holding a summer clearance sale with merchandise marked down as much as 70 percent. Stern said fall items will start arriving shortly.

Hat tip to Buzz McClain

by Chris Teale August 3, 2017 at 11:20 am 0

Plans for the redevelopment of a seven-acre site in Virginia Square — which include a new apartment building, YMCA facility and affordable housing — are slated to come before the Arlington Planning Commission this fall.

The plans, for several properties around the intersection of Washington Blvd and N. Kirkwood Road, could result in a new six-story apartment building; a rebuilt, 100,000 square foot YMCA building; and a 161-home affordable housing project. The plans call for retaining American Legion Post 139 on the property.

On its property — the largest parcel on the site — the YMCA says it “intends to redevelop its site to allow for an expanded, world class, modern athletic and community YMCA facility as part of a mixed use project which would also allow for new residential uses on, or adjacent to, the Property.”

Within the site is the Ball family burial ground, designated as a local historic district in 1978 and the resting place of several family members. Given the desire to study the site, individual site plans and construction are still years away from coming to fruition.

The county and its Long Range Planning Committee has spent several months discussing land use planning for the parcel and the area as a whole, in advance of a site plan process.

The committee met on July 25 to discuss the latest round of suggestions for land use. Anthony Fusarelli, principal planner in the county’s Department of Community, Planning, Housing and Development, said in an email “it was suggested” that be the final meeting on the topic, and that the study be advanced to the full Planning Commission.

Ahead of that Planning Commission meeting, which could be as early as September, Fusarelli said an updated study document will be released for community review, incorporating the feedback of LRPC members and the public.

At the meeting of the LRPC last month, county staff presented various options for the site’s land use, while taking into account how buildings’ heights decrease as they get further from a Metro station.

Among those options, staff presented two that would create a so-called “Special District,” which would help coordinate development in the area and set clear guidelines for projects. The area would be designated as the Washington/Kirkwood Coordinated Mixed-Use Development District.

And in terms of density, staff has several options left on the table, including several that would allow for varying types of housing, which they said reflected local residents’ desire to have a transition between the dense Metro corridor and the neighborhood.

Staff also provided an option that would not change any land uses on the site, which they said would allow some development, including a hotel by right that would not require Arlington County Board approval. But they said only “limited improvements” could be made to the YMCA under that plan.

by Kalina Newman July 24, 2017 at 4:45 pm 0

The local chapter of KidicalMass, a national organization centered around casual community bike rides for families, will take a trip to Carvel Ice Cream this Sunday (July 30).

The organization kicks off its third annual “Kidically Summer 3.0” series of bike rides with a journey to Carvel in Virginia Square. The ride begins at 4:45 p.m. at Hayes Park (1516 N. Lincoln Street), where kids and families can cool off in its sprayground prior to the ride.

From there, cyclists will ride through the Virginia Square, Ashton Heights and Lyon Park neighborhoods on a course just over three miles long. The ride will end with ice cream at the Carvel store in Virginia Square.

According to the event description, “The route is pretty short, and as flat as they come in Arlington.” There will be stop lights at all of the major intersections and the group will travel back together from Carvel.

KidicalMass describes their bike rides as slow, short and easy with each ride no longer than four miles and going at speeds of typically six miles per hour. The group has previously hosted similar events for Father’s Day, as well as a “Junior Park Ranger Ride” along the George Washington Memorial Parkway.

The group typically hosts one bike ride a month and all events are posted on its website.

Image via KidicalMass

by ARLnow.com July 13, 2017 at 9:50 pm 0

(Updated at 10:20 p.m.) A person was struck by a train at the Virginia Square Metro station Thursday night.

The incident happened around 9:30 p.m. Initial reports suggest the person who was struck is still on the tracks and has died.

Police and firefighters are on the scene. Metro Transit Police say an adult male was on the tracks “intentionally” and was struck and killed. One witness said the deceased individual “jumped in front of… a Silver Line train headed into the city.”

Metro’s Orange and Silver lines are suspended between East Falls Church and Clarendon. Shuttles are being dispatched to the stations. Metro riders should expect delays on both lines.

by ARLnow.com May 30, 2017 at 3:45 pm 0

A Dunkin’ Donuts location is coming to Virginia Square, right across the street from the Metro station and a Starbucks.

The restaurant is coming to 3701 Fairfax Drive, the former DARPA headquarters and current FDIC office.

Interior construction appears to be underway inside. No word on when the donut-and-coffee shop is expected to open.

There are existing Dunkin’ locations in Courthouse, Ballston and along Lee Highway, among other Arlington outposts. A new Dunkin’ Donuts opened last month on N. Glebe Road near Route 50.

Hat tip to Gabe C.

by ARLnow.com May 26, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

The Montana State Society’s annual Testicle Festival is returning to Virginia Square next week.

Featuring unlimited rocky mountain oysters, Crown Royal and beer (usually Budweiser), the event takes place at the American Legion post at 3445 Washington Blvd. This year, the “Testy Fest” is scheduled from 6-11 p.m. on Saturday, June 3.

Tickets for the event are $25 online or $30 at the door. Attendees must be 21 years of age or older.

As usual, organizers have used the choice of cuisine to take liberties with their write-up about the event. From the event page:

You’d be NUTS to miss this! The Montana State Society would like to invite you to have a ball (literally!) at the 13th annual D.C. Testy Fest – “The Original Sack Lunch” – to be held from 6:00PM – 11:00PM on Saturday June 3rd, 2017 at the Arlington American Legion.

Last year over 600 people flocked to the event to enjoy live music provided by the Wil Gravatt Band and graze on all-you-can-eat Rocky Mountain Oysters! Thirsty? Wash them down with a limitless supply of Crown Royal (A.K.A liquid courage) & beer – all for the bargain price of $25 bucks!

Our Rocky Mountain Oysters are prepared by legendary chef Frank McGraw, and shipped fresh from the Rock Creek Lodge in Western Montana. Not your ‘bag’? Don’t worry baby! We will have food trucks there selling delicious grub. Get there early, the first guests will also get a T-Shirt to forever memorialize the event.

Prepare to go Ballistic! For more information and to see all of your friends who are attending please visit our Facebook page for the event! https://www.facebook.com/events/1832050013725803

by ARLnow.com May 9, 2017 at 6:15 pm 0

Update at 6:45 p.m. — The fire department has cleared the scene and all lanes of Fairfax Drive are back open.

The Arlington County Fire Department is investigating a hazmat incident at George Mason University’s law school in Virginia Square.

The incident happened on the third floor of the law school building, at 3301 Fairfax Drive, and involves a suspicious envelope containing a “powdery substance,” according to fire department spokesman Lt. Jeff Crooke. One person who opened the envelope is being evaluated but is not believed be suffering any medical issues at this time.

Police have blocked the westbound lanes of Fairfax Drive due to the emergency response.

The law school was recently renamed the Antonin Scalia Law School, after the late Supreme Court justice.

Map via Google Maps

by Chris Teale May 4, 2017 at 4:05 pm 0

Long-time Virginia Square outdoor retailer Casual Adventure is still open, but will close once its spring stock has sold out.

The 61-year-old store at 3451 Washington Blvd announced its closure last month. After the announcement, the retailer kicked off its “End of an Era Sale,” featuring up to 50 percent off any remaining outdoor, tactical and sporting goods in stock.

Store owner Eric Stern said Casual Adventure has received two final deliveries of spring merchandise, which is being sold at reduced prices. Once everything is sold, the store will close, he said.

“We’ve definitely got a good selection, and we’re just blowing it out at this point,” he told ARLnow.com.

Stern said there is still no firm closing date, and there is significant “wiggle room” on when it needs to vacate the premises. Stern said he is looking to host regular Andrew Towne on Memorial Day weekend for a talk on his latest attempt to summit Mount Everest, and said Casual Adventure will continue supporting various community projects.

“It’s nice as we transition out of here that we can take care of our customers,” he said.

The Washington Business Journal reported that the store’s new owner is 1404 Hancock Street Investment LLC, a company registered to local custom home builder BCN Homes. As yet, no building or demolition permit applications have been filed with the county.

Casual Adventure already has an online store set up through Amazon, and Stern said it is actively looking for a new location for its store, but that there is “no rush.”

by Katie Pyzyk April 11, 2017 at 2:30 pm 0

Police responded to an armed robbery at a Virginia Square store Saturday night.

Two masked men reportedly entered a store on the 3400 block of Washington Blvd a little after 9 p.m., showed a firearm and demanded money and other items. Police did not specify which store was robbed, but that block is home to a 7-Eleven.

The suspects fled on foot with their loot. Their descriptions are in the full report from ACPD below.

ARMED ROBBERY, 2017-04080244, 3400 block of Washington Boulevard. At approximately 9:07 p.m. on April 8, officers responded to the report of a robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined two masked male subjects, one brandishing a firearm, entered a store and demanded cash and items of value. The suspects fled the scene on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash and items of value. The first suspect is described as a light skinned black male, approximately 6’0″ tall. He was wearing a black jacket, gloves, and a black mask. The second suspect is described as a male, approximately 5’8″-5’9″ tall. He was wearing a black winter jacket, gloves, and a black mask. The investigation is ongoing.

by Chris Teale April 6, 2017 at 11:55 am 0

Police closed a section of Washington Blvd in Virginia Square this morning after a U.S. Postal Service truck struck a utility pole.

Officers shut down the 3400 block of Washington Blvd between N. Kirkwood and N. Lincoln streets just after 11 a.m. Thursday.

The driver of the truck told police she turned left from N. Kirkwood Street onto Washington Blvd, but in the heavy rain and slippery conditions lost control of the vehicle and hit the pole.

No injuries were reported, there was reportedly no other traffic nearby and businesses nearby did not appear to lose power.

Crews from Dominion Virginia Power were on the scene to repair the pole and the power lines attached to it.

by ARLnow.com April 3, 2017 at 10:10 am 0

(Updated at 10:30 a.m.) Casual Adventure, the long-time Virginia Square outdoor retailer that promises to “outfit you from Great Falls to Nepal,” is closing.

The store, at 3451 Washington Blvd, made the announcement this morning. The owners “received a reasonable offer for the sale of our building” and took it, they said.

E-commerce has made the bricks-and-mortar retail business increasingly difficult. “It’s no secret that the old retail model no longer works,” said Eric Stern, whose family has owned the store for 61 years.

Casual Adventure will be closed Monday and Tuesday and will reopen Wednesday to kick of its “End of an Era Sale,” featuring up to 50 percent off any remaining outdoor, tactical and sporting goods in stock. An exact closing date has not been announced.

The business may be revived, however, in a modified form later this year.

The family “has plans to reopen elsewhere in Northern Virginia in late summer or early fall, with a focus on corporate, league, military and government sales,” Arlington Magazine reported. A company rep wouldn’t comment on that report.

“We’ll share details with our loyal customer base and the Arlington community if it becomes necessary,” said Nathan Carroll. “For now we are squarely focused on selling all of our current inventory.”

The full announcement is below.

Dear Friends:

This business, which my great-grandfather Oscar founded over six decades ago, has been a source of great pride to our family over the years. Like all businesses, we’ve had to evolve: from our beginnings as a district grocery store, to an Army-Navy surplus store, to becoming the outdoor, tactical, and sporting goods store you know us to be today.

It’s no secret that the old retail model no longer works, so when we received a reasonable offer for the sale of our building, we decided the time was ripe to again switch gears, by closing our store and focusing our future business through the internet and beyond.

But first we commence the biggest sale in our 61-year history. Our END OF AN ERA SALE features our entire stock of clothing, outerwear, footwear, camping gear, travel accessories and sporting gear, with storewide reductions up to 50% off.

We’ll be closed all day Monday and Tuesday to reduce prices and prepare. Sale starts Wednesday, April 5th at 9:00am.

So whatever your outdoor needs, whether hiking, camping, adventure travel, or otherwise, we’ve got it all and it’s all on sale. Shop early before the word is out to the general public and buy “the good stuff” at liquidation prices.

It’s been our great joy to have served our local communities for so many years: but times change and for everyone the time comes to move forward. Along with our wonderfully talented and loyal staff, we thank you for your friendship and support and look forward to helping you find the perfect outfit and gear in this final sale.

Sincerely,

Eric Stern, on behalf of the Stern family

Photo via Facebook

by ARLnow.com March 6, 2017 at 4:30 pm 0

A restaurant that can only rarely be seen serving customers is again closed for reported maintenance issues.

Pio Pio, located at 3300 Wilson Blvd between Clarendon and Virginia Square, has been closed “for at least a week,” according to a tipster. That’s despite a “help wanted” sign in the window.

A sign reading “today afternoon closed for maintenance” is posted on the door, as it was this past December when we first reported that Pio Pio was closed for an issue with the roof. It’s unclear if Pio Pio reopened at any point between then and now.

Reached at the restaurant’s phone number, a man who did not give his name said “I don’t know” when asked when Pio Pio would be reopening. “Someone will call you back,” the man said before hanging up.

Tipsters who’ve contacted ARLnow.com have expressed fascination with the “mysterious” business which, like the former Sam’s Corner before it, does not seem to keep regular hours.

Said one tipster:

The Pio Pio restaurant at the corner or Wilson and Jackson has been closed for at least a week. Interestingly, there’s a “help wanted”
sign in the window of the shuttered restaurant. The place rarely has had any customers, and often has a Hummer parked outside. And then there’s that man in a crazy chicken costume who used to stand outside scaring passers-by. Strange…

From another tipster:

… have you guys ever done any investigation as to the real story at Pio Pio? It would be funny if it weren’t so mysterious. There’s literally no one ever in there. They are closed during peak hours including Saturday afternoon and evening. Has to be some story there but I have never seen it told.

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