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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.

by Tim Regan — February 21, 2017 at 5:00 pm 0

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

by ARLnow.com — February 15, 2017 at 2:35 pm 0

Virginia Square restaurant Water & Wall (3811 Fairfax Drive) has closed its doors for good.

The restaurant, which opened in November 2013 and served “creative American cuisine,” announced the closing on Facebook today.

“After 3 1/2 years, we have decided to close Water & Wall,” said the Facebook post. “We hope you’ll visit us at Kyirisan and Chase the Submarine. We have loved being a part of your lives.”

Water & Wall served its last dinner customers last night, the Washington Post’s Tom Sietsema said on his “Ask Tom” chat today.

A year ago, during an ARLnow.com-organized panel discussion on the local restaurant industry, Water & Wall owner and acclaimed chef Tim Ma was asked about keeping customers coming back after the initial excitement of a restaurant’s opening.

“Everybody was coming through the door on day one, two years later, it’s all about retention,” Ma said. “Staying relevant is probably the hardest thing. There are so many new restaurants opening, so many different areas coming back to life, staying relevant is hard.”

The restaurant has previously launched limited-time, “pop-up” menus, offering new dishes for diners to try. It brought on a new chef in June.

by ARLnow.com — February 1, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Birds and a plane (Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman)

Changes for Former Department Store? — The future of the former Kann’s department store on Fairfax Drive, which later became a law school and then became part of George Mason University, is being discussed by GMU and county officials. An earlier plan to raze the aging building and construct a new one fell through. [InsideNova]

Mentors Honored at County Board — A pair of “Connect with Kids Champions” were honored for their mentorship work with Arlington youth at Tuesday’s County Board meeting. [Arlington County]

Va. Joining Immigration Lawsuit — Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring and Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced yesterday that Virginia plans to join a lawsuit against President Donald Trump’s controversial executive order on immigration. “You’ve made Virginia proud today,” said Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) in response to the announcement. [Virginian-Pilot, Twitter]

House Hunters Home for Sale — A townhouse in Nauck that was previously featured on the HGTV show “House Hunters” is back on the market. The home at 2553 Kenmore Court, in the Shirlington Crescent community, is listed at $824,900. The couple featured on the show, TV news producers Allison and David Gracey, bought the home in 2010 for $672,781, records show. [Zillow]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

by Tim Regan — January 24, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

A D.C. restaurant known for steak frites and “secret sauce” might open a new location in Virginia Square.

Last year, Medium Rare tweeted out a cryptic message that seemed to suggest a new location was in the works for Arlington. Where and when that new restaurant might open remained a mystery, though.

But a tipster may have solved the mystery while touring an apartment building. Medium Rare is looking to open its restaurant in a retail space at the Latitude apartment development at 3601 Fairfax Drive, across from the Virginia Square Metro station, the tipster says he was told during the tour.

Though a visit to the apartment complex yesterday revealed little evidence that a new Medium Rare was on the way, the company seemed to confirm the opening in a brief correspondence.

When asked when a Virginia Square location might open, a representative for the eatery responded “likely early 2018.” The representative didn’t respond to additional requests for comment, however.

Medium Rare currently has two locations on Barracks Row and in Cleveland Park in the District.

Hat tip to Craig Wasilewsky

by ARLnow.com — January 13, 2017 at 1:35 pm 0

Arlington County fire truckArlington County firefighters responded to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation offices in Virginia Square this afternoon for a report of smoke.

The call went out around 1:15 p.m., for smoke seen in or around the FDIC building at 1001 N. Monroe Street.

A full fire response was dispatched, but an investigation revealed only a minor smoke event, from a burned out fan motor.

by ARLnow.com — November 30, 2016 at 10:40 am 0

Shirlington site for land swapArlington County is considering a land swap that would provide more land for ART bus parking and would allow a developer to build a self-storage facility across from Washington-Lee High School.

Arcland Property Company, which owns a swath of industrial land near Shirlington, wants to swap those 3.5 acres for 2.3 acres of the 6.1 acre “Buck property” site across from W-L, which the county has an option to purchase for $30 million.

Arlington, which is already leasing a portion of the Shirlington property for parking, would get an even larger piece of property for its expanding ART bus fleet — it’s expected to grow from 65 to 90 vehicles by 2020 — and would save $4 million in lease payments.

Arcland would get the piece of the Buck property closest to N. Quincy Street, in the Virginia Square area, and would use it for a six-story, 150,000 square foot self-storage facility. (The company also developed the CubeSmart storage facility, which is located adjacent to I-395, next to the land it proposes to swap.)

Neighbors might object to the facility — they objected to a county proposal to use the Buck property for school bus parking — but the property is zoned for light industrial use and the facility could be built by right. The county says it will require tasteful building design as part of a deal.

“The land exchange agreement, if reached, would require high quality architecture from Arcland compatible with the surrounding neighborhood,” the county said in a press release. “The proposed facility must also comply with M-1 (light industrial) zoning regulations including set back and height restrictions, as would any use the County makes of the Shirlington site.”

N. Quincy Street site for land swap

Arcland only expects to use 1.2 acres of the Quincy Street property for the storage facility. The remaining 1.1 acres would be leased back to the county “at below market rate.”

“This is a rare opportunity for the County to secure land in Shirlington, zoned for light industrial use, that could accommodate our growing bus fleet,” County Manager Mark Schwartz said in a statement. “We have a critical need for support facilities, and must make smart, tough decisions about land to meet those needs. If the Board is interested in pursuing this proposal, I will work to shape an agreement with Arcland. I am confident that we can put facilities on these sites that will both serve our community’s needs and allow us to be a good neighbor.”

The deal will be discussed at next month’s Arlington County Board meeting. From the press release:

The proposed exchange, if approved, would take place after November 20, 2017, the date on which the County must exercise its option to purchase the N. Quincy Street site. The land exchange would involve no additional cost beyond the $30 million that the County has already agreed to pay for the N. Quincy Street site.

The Manager plans to seek the Board’s approval to pursue negotiations with Arcland at the Board’s December meeting. If the Board approves negotiations, any agreement that might be reached would come before the Board for consideration in 2017.

Update at 11 a.m. — Jim Todd, president of the Cherrydale Citizens Association, sent the following email to residents last night regarding the potential deal.

This is a complex issue and there are a lot of potential trade offs. On the plus side, the land swap would end the potential for the County to move the bus depot from Shirlington to the Buck property. But on the down side, it would also limit the County’s ability to use all of the Buck property for other, larger purposes (as the Buck property is also adjacent to Hayes Park, across the street from Washington-Lee High School, etc.).

This seems like its happening fast, but there is still plenty of time for us to better understand what’s going on, and to learn what other trade-offs and potential upsides and downsides there may be. I understand that the next step is for the County Board to talk about whether to further entertain this idea at its December 13 meeting. But I have been told that the Board will not be making a final decision at that meeting.

by ARLnow.com — November 17, 2016 at 10:40 am 0

Following a nearly $1.3 million improvement project, the new Quincy Park is ready for its big day.

A ribbon cutting ceremony for the park’s playground and volleyball court, located at 1021 N. Quincy Street near Arlington Central Library and Washington-Lee High School, is scheduled to take place Saturday from 1-2 p.m.

The revamped park features a “universal design” playground — Arlington’s first — with a play environment that’s accessible for users of all ages and physical abilities. Among the amenities are swings, picnic tables, a slide, a “climbing tree” and other play equipment.

The sand volleyball court, located adjacent to the playground, was created with adult after-work sports leagues in mind.

Though the ribbon cutting ceremony is planned for this weekend, the playground and the volleyball court are currently open to the public. Despite some earlier rain, at least a dozen kids and caretakers were taking advantage of the playground and its picnic shelter when ARLnow.com visited Wednesday afternoon.

by ARLnow.com — November 3, 2016 at 4:05 pm 0

Entrance of new Virginia Square DMV officeThe Virginia Dept. of Motor Vehicles is getting ready to open its new Metro-accessible DMV location in Virginia Square.

The office, which will supplement the existing Arlington DMV location on Four Mile Run Drive, is set to open on Monday, Nov. 7. (See update, below.)

Located on the ground floor of an office building at 3434 Washington Blvd, the office will offer all DMV services with the exception of road tests.

Update on 11/7/16 — The DMV is now not expected to open until Wednesday, Nov. 9. From the Virginia DMV’s Twitter account:

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