Ballston’s newest coffee shop is looking to start pouring next month.
The D.C.-based Slipstream is looking to open on the ground floor of the Ballston Point building, at 4300 Wilson Blvd, within the first two weeks of March, co-owner Ryan Fleming told ARLnow. It will be near the intersection with N. Glebe Road, next to World of Beer, and across the street from the new Silver Diner.
When ARLnow stopped by there earlier this week, construction on the cafe appeared to be closer to being finished, with “now hiring” signs in the window.
The coffee shop is known for its single-origin coffee, breakfast sandwiches, and loose-leaf teas.
While Slipstream currently has three D.C. locations, the Ballston cafe will be its first outside of the District.
In August, when ARLnow first reported Slipstream was coming to Ballston, Fleming said it would be similar to other locations but “adapted slightly to fit the unique neighborhood.”
He also said the company choose the neighborhood because Ballston is growing and has a healthy mix of business and residential buildings.
Slipstream will have to compete with a number of existing coffee shops in Ballston. Those include Starbucks (with an under-construction location at 4000 Wilson Blvd), Compass Coffee and Good Company, but not Philz — which closed back in December.
There’s another new urgent care clinic opening, this time in Rosslyn.
Allcare is opening a new urgent care clinic on Wilson Blvd, the company confirmed to ARLnow.
It will be located at the corner of N. Pierce Street and across the road from Fire Station 10. It’s filling a long-vacant space once occupied by Piola Pizzeria, which closed four years ago.
This will be the company’s third urgent care clinic in Arlington, with others in Ballston and Courthouse. The latter is only half a mile from the new one in Rosslyn.
A company spokesperson was not able to provide information about when the clinic might open or why the choice was made to have two clinics so close together.
The spokesperson did confirm, though, that the hours will be the same as the other Arlington clinics: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekends.
The location is not yet listed on Allcare’s website.
At least two more clinics are preparing to open in Arlington in the coming months, for both humans and animals.
NOVA Patient Care is opening a second Arlington location, in a former restaurant space at Pentagon Row. Meanwhile, an urgent care clinic for pets is fetching an early spring opening in Buckingham.
It appears as if Courthouse’s newest date night spot won’t be open for Valentine’s Day.
The opening for the hotly anticipated Taco Bell Cantina at 2039 Wilson Blvd has been pushed back again. A company spokesperson told ARLnow that “we are hoping to be open within the next three to four weeks.”
Meaning, if that timeline is accurate, chalupas won’t likely be served until late February or early March.
As was the case in December when ARLnow last reported that the fast food eatery was delayed, it seems the electric system is to be blamed, with crews set to stop by this week to hopefully fix the issues.
And locals are getting hungry.
In an ARLnow poll conducted last month, Courthouse’s Taco Bell Cantina garnered the second-most votes for the new restaurant that readers are most looking forward to.
The biggest difference between a regular Taco Bell and a Taco Bell Cantina is the latter serves alcoholic beverages. The Courthouse location will also have a walk-up window, allowing for faster service.
The walk-up window and location in Courthouse — next to the post office and several doors down from the Ireland’s Four Courts where restoration work is underway — appears to be an effort to serve a late-night crowd coming from bars and nearby apartment buildings.
The space at 2039 Wilson Blvd was previously home to Guarapo Lounge, a popular Peruvian bar and after-work staple. It closed in 2016 and there has not been a tenant in that space since.
The Courthouse restaurant isn’t the only new Taco Bell Cantina opening in the region soon. Last week, it was announced that another Cantina location was opening in D.C.’s Chinatown neighborhood.
If a few weeks is too long to wait for a Gordita, there are also Taco Bell Cantinas on King Street in Old Town Alexandria and in Columbia Heights in D.C., as well as a regular standard-issue Taco Bell on Langston Blvd.
Arlington County is preparing to make street improvements at the busy intersection of Wilson Blvd and 10th Street N.
The project will widen public sidewalks on both sides of Wilson Blvd and 10th Street N., between the Clarendon and Virginia Square Metro stations, and put existing utilities underground so that the sidewalks can be more accessible for people with disabilities.
“The newly constructed, wider public sidewalks will enhance the outdoor ambiance for pedestrians and establishments within the Project alignment,” according to a county report. “The Project limits will also serve to connect previously enhanced sections of Wilson Boulevard.”
The project spans Wilson Blvd from N. Kenmore Street to 10th Street N. and 10th Street N. between N. Jackson Street and N. Ivy Street.
To construct new sidewalks, the county needs an easement from Joe’s Kwik Mart, a convenience store attached to the Exxon gas station at 3299 Wilson Blvd. On Saturday, the Arlington County Board approved the easements.
The county says affected property owners “are supportive of the project’s scope and goals.”
According to the report, the convenience store will receive $11,300 in exchange for the easements, though the owner was fine with granting them without compensation.
“The agreed-to monetary compensation of $11,300.00 for [the] acquisition of the perpetual easement is based upon the appraisal of the fair market value of the property interest by an independent fee appraiser,” per the report. “The owner agreed to convey the aforementioned temporary easement areas to the County without any monetary payment or valuable consideration.”
This project is the last phase of a series of street treatments along Wilson Blvd that began in 2009. Between then and 2019, the county completed work between N. Monroe and N. Kenmore streets.
As part of the project, the county added new curbs, gutters and streetlights, made traffic signal and storm sewer improvements, planted street trees and repaved and repainted the street.
The Wilson Blvd CVS with a large blank, brick wall facing the street is set to open next month.
A new CVS, on the former site of the Highlander Motor Inn at 3336 Wilson Blvd near Virginia Square and Clarendon (and next to Mario’s Pizza), is aiming to open in a few weeks, we’re told.
“Barring any unexpected delays, we plan open in mid- to late-February,” a company spokesperson told ARLnow.
What makes this CVS notable to many passersby is the nearly 20-foot-tall windowless, brick rear wall of the building facing Wilson Blvd, one of Arlington’s main commercial corridors.
When it first went up in August, ARLnow received emails from locals calling the wall an “eyesore, “unfit for the area,” and “The Great Wall of Clarendon.”
This was just the latest dust up about this particular site.
In 2016, the county sued long-time property owner and local businessman Billy Bayne about what exactly could be built on the site after he signed a lease with CVS.
That was the beginning of a multi-year legal battle that eventually led to the Virginia Supreme Court declining to consider an appeal from the county, effectively allowing Bayne to move forward with his plans to bring a CVS to the site and handcuffing the county in terms of regulation.
The court fight didn’t sit well with Bayne, who said he lost nearly $2 million while the project stalled.
“It’s not okay to do this to somebody,” Bayne told ARLnow in 2018. “There will be ramifications for this.”
(When Bayne’s Highlander Motor Inn became a Covid quarantine location in 2020, however, there appeared to be a warning of relations. County officials praised Bayne for “stepping up” in a time of need while Bayne said the deal helped him pay bills with the county being “very good” to him.)
The motel finally closed in early 2021 and was demolished later that year, but not before one final party. Then, the CVS began to be built and neighbors saw a huge wall go up. The store also has a sizable surface parking lot between the building and Wilson Blvd.
CVS spokesperson told ARLnow at the time that the wall was “included in the overall construction and design plan approved by Arlington development officials.”
But that didn’t soothe some unhappy locals or put to bed the unsubstantiated rumors that this was the long-awaited revenge against the county.
“After the long court battle with the owner of the Highlander, CVS is throwing its ‘f you very much’ by placing a blank wall along Wilson Boulevard,” one resident told ARLnow back in August. “Can’t wait for the future graffiti — I mean, community arts project!”
Billy Bayne told ARLnow that he had no say in the construction project or the wall, but he also had a few other things to say about upset neighbors, the county, and other matters.
“CVS can do whatever they want. This is not the People’s Republic of China. Who do [locals] think they are telling local businesses what to build?” he said. “If people think they can tell CVS what to do, I must be missing something. Does CVS tell them what they can put on their front lawns?”
He continued, blasting the county for not being “business-friendly” and reiterated that he still felt personally attacked by the county for its multi-year legal fight with him.
“This isn’t revenge, but I do think what [the county did to me] was personal,” he said. “I blame [the wall] on Arlington not working with CVS. I call them the ‘socialist government of Arlington.’ And CVS is just trying to do good for the neighborhood.”
Arlington’s first medical cannabis dispensary is set to open tomorrow in Clarendon.
Beyond/Hello is set to open the county’s inaugural cannabis dispensary on Wednesday, Jan. 18 at 2701 Wilson Blvd. The 6,820 square-foot shop with 37 parking spots is located across the street from Whole Foods and next to neighborhood staple Galaxy Hut.
There will be an official ribbon-cutting ceremony this Friday, a company spokesperson told ARLnow.
Beyond/Hello is owned by Florida-based Jushi, which owns nearly 40 dispensaries across a number of different states. This will be Beyond/Hello’s fifth Northern Virginia dispensary, including two Fairfax County locations. The shops on Richmond Highway and near George Mason University both opened last year.
ARLnow first reported a cannabis dispensary was coming to Clarendon back in July. It was initially supposed to open by the end of the year, but that got pushed back by a few weeks due to waiting on county inspections.
It’s moving into a building that Jushi bought for $7 million in late 2021, which formerly housed a Comcast service center. Arlington Independent Media (AIM), which operates radio station WERA 96.7 FM, occupies the other part of the building. Jushi has promised to allow AIM to remain in the building even as expands to a second location in Green Valley.
Metro access, a central location, and a “bustling” neighborhood are among the reasons that Beyond/Hello chose this location for its next Northern Virginia dispensary.
“Just a five-minute walk from the Clarendon Metro Station, Beyond Hello Arlington is located in a bustling part of the city, where patients can easily check out historical sites, hit the town to grab a bite, catch some live music or check out a theatrical performance,” Jushi CEO Jim Cacioppo said in a press release. “This new retail location has ample comfortable seating throughout the store along with standardized tested products for patients. We look forward to continuing to be a good business and community partner in the Commonwealth as well as delivering a retail experience exceeding expectations.”
The presence of parking was also a factor. A company official told ARLnow last summer that most of the other buildings that ownership looked at in Arlington had “zero dedicated parking spots,” while this one had about 40.
The Clarendon location is a big part of Beyond/Hello’s Northern Virginia expansion. The company is one of only four allowed to sell medical cannabis in Virginia and, by law, can only open six stores in the Commonwealth.
Beyond/Hello currently has five dispensaries in the area, with a sixth opening in Woodbridge later this year.
Last summer, a state law went into effect that removed the requirement for medical cannabis patients to register with the Commonwealth in order to purchase cannabis. Now, all patients need is a written certification for a licensed practitioner.
It’s believed that this relaxing of requirements will lead to an increase in medical cannabis sales.
While it’s legal for those over 21 to grow and possess small amounts of cannabis, non-medicinal retail sales remain illegal following last year’s failed legislative efforts. The Virginia General Assembly is likely to consider bills at its upcoming session that could set the stage for legal retail sales of cannabis by this time next year.
Rosslyn’s Barley Mac has changed ownership and diners can expect some changes.
An ownership group that included local dining and nightlife entrepreneurs Scott Parker and Mike Cordero has sold the Rosslyn restaurant to restaurateur Fitzgerald Lewis and his partners, both groups confirmed to ARLnow.
Lewis currently owns about 20 restaurants in the region, including Meridian Pint in Dominion Hills, Crafthouse Arlington in Ballston, and a number of Denny’s.
Parker’s restaurants include Don Tito’s in Clarendon and Nighthawk Pizza in Pentagon City, as well as Bearded Goat barbershop and doggy daycare Playful Pack. Additionally, he’s working on converting the old Forest Inn into a new taco eatery in Westover.
Parker told ARLnow via email the reason the decision was made to sell the six-year-old restaurant was so that the “partners could focus on other projects.”
Lewis took over Barley Mac last month and has already completed minor alterations, including painting, cleaning, and adding more televisions to the bar area.
The plan is to do a larger renovation within the next three months, said Lewis, focused on making the restaurant more “lively,” including updating and adding televisions to the exterior patio. Lewis hopes to attract a sports-watching crowd, showing NFL games every Sunday and mixed martial arts matches.
There will also be more craft beers, pub-style food, and maybe even a wine club.
“That’s where the need is,” Lewis said.
One thing that won’t change is that Mike Cordero is sticking around, per Lewis. He will still be the head chef creator of the restaurant’s recipes. Cordero also runs nearby Taco Rock and is working on opening an “old school” Italian restaurant in Virginia Square later this year.
Barley Mac first opened in 2016 along Wilson Blvd as a bourbon bar serving “American tavern cuisine with an Italian twist.” In 2018, the restaurant received some regional attention when a server saved a diner from choking on cauliflower.
There may not be chalupas for Christmas, but Courthouse’s new Taco Bell Cantina is set to open in just a few weeks.
The fast-food restaurant that’s coming to 2039 Wilson Blvd in Courthouse was originally expected to open this month, but that might no longer be the case.
A company spokesperson said in an email to ARLnow that the eatery is “waiting for an electric service upgrade” which could push the opening past the new year. The Taco Bell should be “open within the next 30 days,” the spokesperson said.
This morning, crews were putting up the familiar purple and white logo and signage above the entrance.
The restaurant is currently hiring, per the website and flyers on the door. In September, flyers advertising job openings could be seen affixed to trees in the Courthouse neighborhood.
ARLnow reported that Taco Bell was opening one of its Cantina concept restaurants in Courthouse back in May. The location appears to be an effort to appeal to the late-night crowd leaving nearby bars as well as serving those who live in the numerous nearby apartment and condo communities.
The main difference between a regular Taco Bell and a Taco Bell Cantina is that the latter sells alcoholic beverages.
The Courthouse location will also have a walk-up window to allow hungry customers to get their Gorditas just a bit faster.
The commercial building at 2039 Wilson Blvd was previously home to Guarapo Lounge, a popular Peruvian bar and after-work staple. It closed six years ago and the space next to the post office has not had a tenant since.
If you can’t wait the several weeks for a chalupa in Courthouse, there are Taco Bell Cantinas on King Street in Old Town Alexandria and D.C.’s Columbia Heights. There’s also a standard-issue Taco Bell on Langston Blvd.
Items from Rāko Coffee in Courthouse were put up for public auction by Arlington County tax authorities.
ARLnow reported last month that Rāko Coffee at 2016 Wilson Blvd had closed, though a sign claimed the closure was “temporary” and blamed a broken espresso machine.
Several readers had reached out to ARLnow asking if the closure was, in fact, permanent due to how long the sign had been up. A couple of days later, green seizure tags were seen placed on equipment and furniture at the shop, suggesting the coffee shop owed the county money.
A sign outside of Courthouse coffee shop Rāko says the espresso machine is out of order, but a reader sent these photos suggesting that the business owes money to Arlington County https://t.co/jCIbBpmTMX pic.twitter.com/1OJrhNKFFw
— Arlington Now (@ARLnowDOTcom) November 19, 2022
Now those items are being sold. The Arlington County Treasurer’s Office announced yesterday a public online auction for equipment and supplies left at the cafe.
“By order of Arlington County Treasurer all equipment, furniture, and fixtures will be liquidated from this location,” reads the auction page. The sale will go towards paying the business’s tax bill to the county.
Items like an espresso machine, food dehydrator, commercial refrigerator, patio tables, and five-pound bags of coffee were on the block. The auction ended this morning, providing would-be commercial fridge owners less than 24 hours to get bids in.
The cafe’s La Marzocco espresso machine sold for $17,350, according to the auction page, which raises the question of whether it was ever actually broken.
Meanwhile, Rāko Coffee’s opening of a planned location at Amazon HQ2 is in doubt. Just over a year ago, Amazon trumpeted that Rāko Coffee and several other local businesses had signed leases to move into the retail space at its second headquarters in Pentagon City.
ARLnow has reached out to Rāko Coffee representatives via email and phone but has yet to hear back as of publication. Amazon also has not responded to several inquiries about what this could mean for Rāko’s planned location.
Rāko Coffee, which started as a Lorton-based coffee roaster, opened the Courthouse cafe — its first brick-and-mortar shop — in August 2021.
The company was founded by sisters Lisa and Melissa Gerben. Their LinkedIn profiles note that they ended their tenures at Rāko this past June and August, respectively.
A new medical cannabis dispensary coming to Clarendon is delaying its opening to early next year.
Beyond/Hello is hoping to open Arlington’s first medical cannabis dispensary — and its fifth in Northern Virginia — in the “first half of January,” though that depends on county inspections, a spokesperson told ARLnow.
The dispensary at 2701 Wilson Blvd was initially slated to open its doors prior to the end of the year, but that has been slightly delayed.
Florida-based Jushi, which owns Beyond/Hello, bought the building at 2701 Wilson Blvd, across the street from Whole Foods, for $7 million about a year ago. Jushi chose that location because of its central location and 45 dedicated parking spots, an executive told ARLnow over the summer.
The dispensary is moving a space that was formerly a Comcast service center. Another part of the building is occupied by Arlington Independent Media (AIM), which operates radio station WERA 96.7 FM.
The plan is to allow AIM to remain in the building, even as it expands to a satellite location in Green Valley.
Over the last two years, Beyond/Hello has opened locations in Fairfax, Alexandria, Manassas, and Sterling. Another location is coming to Woodbridge sometime next year.
Beyond/Hello is one of four companies allowed to sell medical cannabis in Virginia but is legally limited to opening six stores in the Commonwealth.
This past July, a new state law went into effect that removed the requirement that medical cannabis patients had to register with the Commonwealth in order to purchase cannabis. Now all patients need is a written certification from a licensed practitioner.
It’s legal for those over 21 in Virginia to possess and grow small amounts of cannabis. But recreational sales are still illegal due to the failure of a legislative effort this past year to create infrastructure for retail sales.
For now, retail sales of cannabis are expected to remain illegal in Virginia until 2024 at the earliest.
A stretching studio is opening in Courthouse later this month.
Los Angeles-based StretchLab is stretching itself to open by late December at 2200 Wilson Blvd, at the corner with N. Wayne Street. It will be in the same building in Courthouse as Sweet Leaf Cafe.
Founded in 2015 in Venice, California, StretchLab calls itself “the industry leader in offering one-on-one assisted stretching.”
There are nearly 300 locations nationwide, per a company spokesperson, but this would be the first StretchLab in the D.C. area. There are plans for additional expansion locally, we’re told.
“StretchLab has gathered a team of experts already certified in an array of related fields — physical therapy, chiropractic medicine, yoga, Pilates, and more — and brought in the world’s leading authority on stretching and flexibility to deliver on the promise of having the finest team of stretching professionals gathered anywhere,” reads a statement provided to ARLnow.
The studio offers memberships, one-on-one instruction, and group classes.
Construction is nearly finished on the space, a spokesperson said. Next week, on Monday, Dec. 12, the studio will be open for a preview and “free demonstration stretches.” The studio is set to fully open to the public later in December.