Press Club

The third annual Ballston Quarterfest Crawl is back this weekend with a full line-up of music, art, entertainment, and drinks.

The free event is set to happen this Saturday (May 21) from noon to 8 p.m. It’s set to follow a similar format as last year, with the crawl aspect allowing attendees to spread out across the neighborhood. A number of the local restaurants are also hosting live music and specials all day.

Many of the performances, though, are set to take place at the main event hub outside of Ballston Quarter at 4238 Wilson Blvd.

The lineup for the main event hub:

  • 12-7 p.m. DJ Ricky
  • 12:30-1 p.m. Official Event Kickoff
  • 1-4 p.m. Encanto Sisters
  • 3-5 p.m. Intern John and the HOT 99.5 Street Team
  • 6-8 p.m. Bobby McKeys Dueling Piano Show

There will also be performances at various neighborhood businesses :

  • 1-2:30 p.m. Uncle Jesse at World of Beer
  • 2:30-4 p.m. Kara and Matty D. at Ballston Local
  • 4-5:30 p.m. The Crista Trio at SER
  • 5:30-7 p.m. Ache Harvest at Salt Line

The event is organized by the Ballston Business Improvement District and is the signature event of the organization’s charitable subsidiary BallstonGives.

“We are thrilled to celebrate our neighborhood and some of our finest restaurants with live music, great food and the community we know and love here in Ballston,” Ballston BID CEO Tina Leone said in a press release. “This event is the unofficial kickoff to summer and a lively celebration for our community and our neighbors.”

There won’t be any Ballston Quarterfest related road closures, organizers and the Arlington County Police Department confirmed to ARLnow.

“The crawl is organized in an easily-walkable path from Ballston Quarter to our pop-up concerts and back,” an event spokesperson says.

That path follows Wilson Blvd and, then, up N. Glebe Road, according to the provided map.

2022 Ballston Quarterfest Crawl map (image courtesy of Ballston BID)

In 2019, “Quarterfest” replaced the popular “Taste of Arlington” as Ballston’s annual springtime event. However, it was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic and was reworked as a “crawl” in 2021.

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Hawkers, the Asian street food restaurant chain, is now aiming for a mid-August opening in Ballston.

The eatery was initially supposed to open back in spring 2021 and, then, June of this year, but supply chain issues have delayed it now twice, the company says.

“Because so much of our equipment is incredibly specialized to fit our concept — for instance, our wok stations are all completely customized to our menu, and our electrical panels are customized to handle our neon signage installations — the supply chain constraints delayed our construction timeline,” writes a company spokesperson. “Our manufacturers and suppliers worked as quickly as they could, but they could only build as specific parts and electrical components became available.”

The growing chain first announced it was opening a location at 4201 Wilson Blvd, on the ground floor of the Ballston Exchange office complex, nearly two years ago in July 2020.

Orlando-based Hawkers was founded in 2011 when “four best friends joined forces (like the Avengers, but better) to bring the streets of Asia to the streets of Orlando, Fla.” The restaurant has about a dozen open locations in several different states. That includes a Bethesda outpost — the first in the D.C. area — which opened in late 2020.

The menu highlights street food from across the Asian continent, including dim sum, baos, chicken wings, pad Thai, noodle dishes, and fried rice.

When the new Ballston location opens in a few months, it will be the first Hawkers in Virginia and the first to have a take-out window.

“The Ballston community is vibrant, full of energy, and incredibly social — all of which are qualities that align perfectly with the Hawkers brand,” the spokesperson said, when asked why the company chose the neighborhood. “We cannot wait to open our doors and get to know the Ballston community on a deeper level.”

The restaurant is currently hiring servers, bartenders, line cooks, hosts and dishwashers.

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A woman was seriously injured over the weekend after police say she was apparently pushed out of a moving vehicle.

It happened early Sunday morning along Wilson Blvd at the intersection with N. Vermont Street, just west of Glebe Road.

“At approximately 3:06 a.m. on May 15, police were dispatched to the report of trouble unknown,” said an Arlington County Police Department crime report. “Upon arrival, medics were on scene treating the female victim before transporting her to an area hospital with serious injuries.”

“The reporting party stated she was driving in the area when she observed the passenger door of the vehicle in front of her open and the female victim being pushed out onto the roadway,” the report continued. “The suspect vehicle is described as a black SUV. There is no description for the driver. This investigation is ongoing.”

Additional details were not immediately available, though a police spokeswoman did confirm to ARLnow that the victim was an adult female.

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(Updated at 3:50 p.m.) B Live, a live music venue and restaurant, is officially opening to the public this week in the former Whitlow’s on Wilson space.

“The space, which was formerly a portion of beloved classic Whitlow’s on Wilson, will allow guests to engage with the local music scene and enjoy food and drink with a nostalgic, retro diner feel,” said a press release. “B Live will feature live performances 5 nights a week, with a rotating line-up of acoustic solo performances, live bands, and djs.”

The venue at 2854 Wilson Blvd is set to open on Thursday (May 12) with limited bar snacks menu. A full menu and brunch will start serving later in this month on May 25. The first three live musical acts are set with Bryen O’Boyle performing Thursday, My Hero Zero on Friday, and 8 Track Jones on Saturday.

B Live is the latest venture from Michael Bramson, owner of The Lot beer garden and Clarendon Pop-Up Bar in the Clarendon Ballroom space, both of which are located less than a half a mile away from his newest nightlife hangout.

B Live is occupying about 4,100 square feet of what was once Whitlow’s, the beloved Clarendon nightlife spot that closed last June. Capacity will be under 300, including a planned outdoor dining area with seating for 48.

Another Bramson concept, dubbed Coco B’s, is set to open on the rooftop later in the summer.

The interior of B Live “pay[s] homage to live music history” with vinyl record covers and musicians collages lining the walls, and “music hall lighting” adding to the ambiance.

The highlight is a mural entitled “Legends Live Forever” featuring caricatures of musicians such as “Bob Marley, Prince, and Janis Joplin crossing the famed Penny Lane in Beatle-esque fashion.” It was created by local artists Michael Pacheco and Rodrigo Pradel.

“There will be plenty of photo ops throughout the space: find your favorite album on the wall, stand by one of Legends that Live Forever, or snag a photo in front of a neon sign saying ‘bad decisions make good stories,'” notes the release.

The menu, though not yet finalized, is set to be curated by Chef Juan “Nacho” Olivera, formerly of Virginia Square’s Detour Coffee Co. and other local restaurants. There will be an all-day brunch menu, “Clarendon’s only DIY Bloody Mary Bar,” and “cereal milk shooters.”

“Cereal milk from childhood favorites like Lucky Charms, Fruity Pebbles, and Cocoa Puffs will be infused with vodka and liqueur and served in 4 oz mini cereal bowls,” the release says.

ARLnow reported that B Live was coming to the former Whitlow’s space in December, after Five Guys pulled out of a deal to come to the location.

In March, neighbors brought up concerns about noise at the new venue.

“We are all in support of music, we are all in support of living in an urban dwelling, we understand the considerations that come with living in these neighborhoods,” one neighbor told the County Board after it approved use permits for the space. “But it’s now at a point on Wilson Blvd, in Clarendon, that it’s having a tremendous impact on individuals.”

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Late night chalupas and booze appears to be coming soon to Courthouse, with Taco Bell preparing to open its newest Cantina location.

A permit was filed earlier this week for a new Taco Bell at 2039 Wilson Blvd, county records show. The location is likely to be the fast food chain’s restaurant-bar combo, Taco Bell Cantina, as reported by the Washington Business Journal.

The permit notes that work is being limited to the first floor and will include a new HVAC system, electrical, plumbing, furniture, and kitchen equipment. A single-use restroom will also be part of the construction.

The space at 2039 Wilson Blvd was formerly after-work staple Guarapo Lounge, which closed nearly six years ago after being open for a decade and a half. Next door is a post office.

It appears that Taco Bell will be just filling the space’s 2,166-square-foot first floor, leaving the second floor open for another tenant.

The restaurant’s dining room will have an occupancy of 48 and the queuing area of a dozen, per the Washington Business Journal.

It’s unclear when the new eatery might open.

“We don’t have any details to share currently,” a Taco Bell spokesperson told ARLnow.

If this new Courthouse location does end up being a Taco Bell Cantina, it will be the third regional location of the fast food spin-off. This includes eateries in Old Town Alexandria and in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of D.C.

The main difference between a regular Taco Bell and a Cantina is that the latter sells alcohol, including beer, wine, sangria, and “Twisted Freezes.”

This would notably be a return to the neighborhood for the chain. More than a decade ago, there was a Taco Bell on the hill between Rosslyn and Courthouse — alongside the late, lamented bar Dr. Dremo’s — before the old buildings were demolished and a new mixed-use development at 2001 Clarendon Blvd went up.

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With construction nearly complete, Bar Ivy in Clarendon is aiming to open later this month.

Tables and chairs are already out at the large outdoor cafe at 3033 Wilson Blvd, located a block from the Clarendon Metro station. Workers appeared to be putting the finishing touches on the coffee kiosk as much of the signage has also gone up.

The hope is to open Bar Ivy sometime in the second half of May, a spokesperson tells ARLnow.

The mostly outdoor bar and restaurant was first proposed to the County Board in October 2020. Construction began last summer.

Bar Ivy is aiming for a “cool, relaxed vibe of the West Coast with a Mid-Atlantic approach to ingredients,” said an April press release. It’s set to have a large 125-seat patio that will be shaded by mature crepe myrtles. There will also be a 20-seat interior bar plus several booths.

“Guests can expect an elegant but laid-back atmosphere with subtle influences from the opposite coast, with attractive garden dining, an open, airy bungalow-style interior,” the release says.

Bar Ivy is from D.C.-based Blagden Hospitality Group, which owns several popular bars and restaurants in the District as well as Hei Hei Tiger in Tysons. This is the restaurant group’s first foray into Arlington, though Bar Ivy chef/owner Nathan Beauchamp and Executive Chef Jonathan Till previously worked at Restaurant Eve and Evening Star Cafe, respectively, in Alexandria.

The name, according to Arlington Magazine, is a nod to the ivy at D.C.’s Calico and the famed Los Angeles restaurant often frequented by celebrities.

Bar Ivy will initially be open for dinner with a small kiosk serving coffee and pastries all day. The plan is to eventually serve lunch and brunch as well.

The menu will be “heavily influenced by seafood and vegetable-forward dishes,” according to the press release.

The beverage program will be “seasonal herb and produce-forward” along with house-made fortified wines, vermouth, and amari utilizing “self-foraged ingredients.” There will also be a separate menu dedicated to low/no-alcohol drinks.

The menu and exact hours are expected to be announced in the coming weeks. The restaurant group is already planning to open a second Bar Ivy in Bethesda.

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Clarendon Popup Bar, located inside the former Clarendon Ballroom (Staff Photo by Jay Westcott)

Michael Darby — local reality star, developer and former owner of Oz in Clarendon — may be planning a new restaurant in the former Clarendon Ballroom.

County records show that Darby applied for a building permit earlier this month for the construction of a restaurant at 3185 Wilson Blvd, the one-time home of the expansive, long-time local nightlife and event venue.

In December 2020, Darby’s company Monument Realty purchased the building where Clarendon Ballroom was located for close to $7 million, the Washington Business Journal reported. The company then signed a 21-month lease with the owners of the Lot, the outdoor beer garden down the street, to operate a series of themed pop-up bars out of the space as longer term plans were figured out.

But that lease expires later this year and now it appears Darby could be moving into the Wilson Blvd location himself.

When reached for comment about the possibility of a new Darby-owned restaurant, a Monument Realty representative told ARLnow that they would be “in touch when we have additional information to share.”

Darby and wife Ashley star on the Bravo reality show “The Real Housewives of Potomac.” Ashley Darby recently confirmed that she will be returning to the show’s seventh season. Production on the new season is expected to start soon and Ashley said that locals can expect to “see some cameras around the summer.”

The couple opened Oz, featuring cuisine from Michael’s native Australia, in 2015. Its trials and tribulations ended up being a storyline on season two of the show, before the eatery closed in 2019. It’s unclear whether the new restaurant will feature into RHOP’s upcoming season.

The Oz space on Clarendon Blvd — a four minute walk from from the Ballroom space — has sat dormant ever since, but will soon become the first D.C. area location for Asian restaurant chain Wagamama.

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(Updated at 3:40 p.m.) A large fire department response is on scene at the Ballston Quarter mall for a fire on the third floor of the building.

Initial reports suggest that the fire was in a sauna inside the men’s locker room of the Onelife Fitness gym. Light smoke could be seen coming from the roof of the gym near the Ballston pedestrian bridge.

A larger response was dispatched to the mall after the first firefighters on scene confirmed a “working fire” inside the sauna. The flames have since been brought under control, according to scanner traffic.

So far no injuries have been reported. Wilson Blvd is currently blocked in front of the mall.

The gym was evacuated due to the fire. Patrons in their exercise gear could be seen standing around in other parts of the mall.

Firefighters are now starting to set up fans to remove the thick smoke that has filled the gym.

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The Ballston pedestrian bridge is shining blue and yellow tonight in support of Ukraine.

The two-year-old pedestrian bridge that stretches over Wilson Blvd, connecting with Ballston Quarter mall, will be running “blue and yellow lights 24/7 for the time being,” a county spokesperson tells ARLnow. It is a show of solidarity with the country that remains under attack by Russia.

Officials worked quickly with Arlington public arts staff to make this happen, after ARLnow was previously told that something of this nature was not in the works.

This comes as other neighboring localities, like D.C. and Alexandria, have enacted similar symbolic gestures in recent days.

On Monday night, the County Board issued a resolution condemning Russia’s “unprovoked attack” on Arlington’s sister city Ivano-Frankivsk in southwestern Ukraine.

“The Arlington County Board… stands in support and solidarity with the people of Ivano-Frankivsk and all of Ukraine in their defense of sovereignty and democracy,” said the resolution.

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Spicy chicken sandwich purveyor Hot Lola’s is opening a second Arlington location, this time in Rosslyn.

The restaurant is opening at 1501 Wilson Blvd, sandwiched between Taco Rock and Miracles Salon. A Virginia ABC permit notice on the door announces the eatery’s intention to serve beer, wine, and mixed beverages.

Hot Lola’s first location at Ballston Quarter, which opened in May 2019, does not sell alcohol, though it’s available for purchase by another vendor inside the Quarter Market food hall.

DCist was first with the restaurant’s intent to open in Rosslyn.

Hot Lola’s is replacing Mediterranean fast casual eatery Roti, which appears to have closed a few months ago, after 10 years in business at that location.

ARLnow has reached out to Hot Lola’s about when the Rosslyn location may open, but has yet to hear back as of publication. The restaurant’s windows are papered over, making it difficult to see the construction progress inside.

The eatery from noted D.C. area chef Kevin Tien is known for its spicy “Nashville x Sichuan hot fried chicken sandwiches.” Other popular options include seasoned waffle fries and chicken tenders.

Hot Lola’s made some news when it instituted a 4% “Fair Wage + Wellness” charge to every check, to help pay for employee health insurance, including dental and vision.

Tien has had other ties to Arlington as well, having previously operated his Wild Tiger BBQ collaboration as a pop-up at Bun’d Up in Pentagon City.

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(Updated, 1/27/22) Get a facial and your teeth cleaned all in one day at two new cosmetic-centered businesses opening in Ballston Exchange, the office complex on Wilson Blvd across from the mall.`

The wellness center NM Aesthetics opened in October on the second floor of 4201 Wilson Blvd. The business offers “non-surgical cosmetic work led by an all-female team,” including fillers, hydrafacials and microdermabrasion.

The 3,000-square-foot space features a large lobby, “fun neon signs” and plant walls.

The business started in 2018 as a concierge service for which owner Megan Francis traveled around the area offering the cosmetic work, a company spokesperson tells ARLnow.

Right before the pandemic, Francis moved into Sola Salon Studio on N. Glebe Road, a business that hosts other solo entrepreneurs. Then, this past fall, Francis opened her own space down the street.

Meanwhile, the trendy dentistry practice Tend is opening by the end of the month after a several month delay. It’s also located in Ballston Exchange, on the ground floor.

The plan is to open on Wednesday, Jan. 26, a company spokesperson tells ARLnow, with customers already able to book appointments. It didn’t open in the fall due to “the proliferation of the Delta variant this summer that put some bumps in our schedule,” the spokesperson notes.

Tend advertises itself as a dentist that feels like going to the spa. Appointments are booked through an app, offices are Instagramable, and patients can watch The Witcher on Netflix (or The Babysitters Club, whatever the preference) with noise-canceling headphones during dental work.

There are 20 other Tend locations across the country, including five in D.C., but this is the first in Virginia.

Ballston Exchange has had plenty of comings and goings in recent months, including D.C.-based taqueria El Rey and a group of nonprofits supported by billionaire Charles Koch, which will be moving from offices in Courthouse.

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