Posts Tagged ‘Arlington’

Simple, easy, real food at SER, soft opening tomorrow

Posted by Editorial / Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Josu Zubikarai, Christiana Candon, and Javier Candon / Photo Courtesy of Rey Lopez

Josu Zubikarai, Christiana Candon and Javier Candon / Photo Courtesy by Rey Lopez

By Susannah Black

SER is the Spanish infinitive for the verb “to be,” but it also stands for SER’s dedication to serving simple, easy and real food.

SER was the winner of the scandal-plagued Ballston Business Improvement District’s 2014 Restaurant Challenge and will soft open tomorrow with a 20 percent discount on food; the grand opening is on March 12.

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Hungry for Linkage: Free Lunch Today at Nando’s Peri-Peri in Gainsville

Posted by Stefanie Gans, Dining Editor / Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Photo Courtesy Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken

Photo Courtesy Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken

Later this summer Clarendon will get a European-inspired tavern, Park Lane Tavern. [ARLnow]

Giveaway today at Nando’s Peri-Peri in Gainsville: one free 1/4 chicken, chicken sandwich, wrap or pita, per person, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m, dine-in only. [Nando’s]

Falls Church scores two new bakeries: Happy Tart focuses on gluten-free items and Astro Doughnuts serves doughnuts and fried chicken. [Eater, Eater]

The players behind Mt. Defiance, Loudoun‘s second distillery to open since Prohibition. [Loudoun Times Mirror]

Middleburg‘s Popcorn Monkey looks for employees for its new location in the Manassas Mall. [FB]

Hungry for Linkage: Vienna Inn Celebrates 55 Years

Posted by Editorial / Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

Mason Social / Ashleigh Hobson Photography

Mason Social / Ashleigh Hobson Photography

By Stefanie Gans

Vienna Inn celebrates its 55th anniversary this week with a half-priced kid’s menu plus other specials. [FB]

School lunches around the world interpreted by Sweetgreen salad chain. [Fast Company]

SER,the Ballston restaurant challenge winner, will open soon. [WCP]

Arlington’s Boccato Gelato and Espresso turns, partly, into the new CoworkCafe during the day. [WBJ]

Mason Social, with dishes of lamb and pork meatballs, celery root hummus, burgers infused with bone marrow and fried chicken thighs with dumplings, opens in Alexandria tomorrow for lunch at 11 a.m. [Mason Social]

Maybe grass-fed beef isn’t better. [WaPo]

Find Your Four Legged Match with Feline-ality

New Program helps pair Adopter with Right Cat for their lifestyle.

Meet Your Match Feline-ality Adoption Program

Robert_S/ (Gray Cat); Peter Wollinga/ (Orange Cat); Eric Isselee/ (Black Cat).

Adopting a pet is like moving in with someone—there’s the danger for personalities to clash, lifestyles to not match up and the regret that you just weren’t ready for such a big decision. But it can be rewarding and enjoyable. Much like how online dating has attempted to help make the process easier of finding that special someone, the Animal Welfare League of Arlington has implemented a special personality test that looks to match potential adopters with the perfect cat.

Created by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Meet Your Match Feline-ality Adoption Program seeks to pair up adopters with the right cat for their lifestyle and personal preferences. Using an assortment of tests to gauge the cat’s personality, the cat is assigned one of three colors indicating its traits. The adopter is then given a brief survey to see which color-coded scheme they best fit in to.

The three colors are green, orange pampered pets and purple. Green cats are savvy, unflappable and adventurous. Orange cats are side-kicks, great companions. Purple cats are quiet and stay out of trouble.

“It helps shed a light on your own expectations of the behavioral characteristics you’re looking for in a cat,” says Kevin Simpson, director of Behavior & Adoptions at AWLA. “An adopter comes in and they see a room full of adoptable cats and their all beautiful in their own way, sometimes you only have their appearance or that initial response while they’re in their apartments to go off of. This way I find an adopter has a lot more information and they can start to visualize how this cat may fit into their home and into their lifestyle.”

The Feline-ality program has been at AWLA since November in the hopes of “preventing euthanasia and increasing the number of adoptions,” says President and CEO of AWLA Neil Trent. For Joy Jacobson, working with AWLA and taking part in the Feline-ality program certainly made the adoption process easier.

“The best thing about taking the test was it made me think about these questions,” says Jacobson. “The questions help people realize there are things you absolutely need to think about before taking this on.”

Jacobson did end up adopting a cat that fit with her designated color-scheme, though the AWLA tells adopters it is only a recommendation, and the cat has proven to be a great fit.

Love at first sight is a great ideal, but when it comes to a monumental decision like adopting a pet, having a tool like Feline-Ality is a great resource for both adopters and the animals to make sure that the pairing will last.–Michael Balderston

(February 2015)

Let the Good Times Roll: Indoor Roller Skating in Northern Virginia

Indoor Roller Skating in Northern Virginia

Photo courtesy of cdrin/

By Micaela Williamson

It’s great exercise, nostalgic for parents and perfect for an indoor family outing. Roll your crew over to one of these fun local roller rinks. Legwarmers and neon laces are optional.


Bush Tabernacle Skating Rink
250 South Nursery Ave.

This skating rink has a full schedule of events including toddler time, $3 skate wacky Wednesdays, open skate times, birthday parties and family fun nights. In-line and quad skates are available for rent in a variety of sizes. They even rent adjustable over-the-shoe skates for little ones. Take a break from skating and enjoy other activities such as basketball, air hockey, table tennis, arcade games and more. Plus there is free Wi-Fi available for the parents, and food and drinks are served daily.


Cavalier Family Skating
1924 Jefferson Davis Highway

Cavalier Family Skating is a huge facility with roller skating rentals, lessons, birthday parties, open skate times, video games and a climbing play zone for children. On Wednesdays between 10 a.m. and noon, children under 5 can visit for Stroll & Roll, a special time for little ones to run, play, skate, or ride their favorite ride-on toy around the giant floor. Parents and caretakers get in for free, and admission is just $3 per child. Other regular events include a Saturday morning Disney skate featuring popular Disney music and family appreciation dayon Sunday afternoons when admission for a family of up to six members is just $15. Check out the website for details and the full calendar of happenings.


RollerWorks Family Skating Center
12099 Marsh Road

With decades of experience in the roller skating business, the owners of RollerWorks aim to bring guests the very best. Teens can have a blast at Friday night teen jams offered year-round, and toddlers can roll out their riding toys on the first Wednesday of the month for stroller skate. Weekends at RollerWorks are geared towards families with Saturday’s Rollin’ Fun Matinee, Saturday night open skate and Sunday afternoon Sunday Funday skate. Skate rentals are just $3 all the time. Birthday parties, fundraisers and group events are available.


Skate-N-Fun Zone
7878 Sudley Road

There are many themed events and special discounts for families at Skate-N-Fun Zone. The venue rents and sells in-line and quad skates, hosts birthday parties, scout groups and fundraisers and teaches skating lessons too. Smaller children still learning how to balance on skates can push around a special “skate-mate” wheeled cart. Besides skating, there is a laser tag arena, a large netted play zone, and a cafe.


Thomas Jefferson Center
3501 Second South St.

Every Saturday night from October to March, join the fun with a live DJ in for roller skating. The evenings start with family skating from 6:30-9 p.m. and close with teen nights from 9-10:45 p.m. Birthday parties, skate rentals and moon bounces are also available. Plus there is an on-site cafe serving food and drinks.


Vienna Community Center
120 Cherry St. SE

Family skate nights are held in the Vienna Community Center gymnasium on Friday nights from January through mid-April. Participants are required to bring their own roller skates and safety equipment, and parents must stay with their children. At just $1 per person, these family skate nights are easy on the wallet.

Courtesy of Tiffany Brown, Mamaratzy Photography

Micaela Williamson is a coauthor of local travel guide Kid Trips Northern Virginia, an extraordinary resource that provides descriptions, useful information and insider tips for hundreds of local destinations. Micaela is also an award-winning blogger who enjoys supporting area businesses and scouting out family-friendly venues with her two young sons.

Urban Pantry Closes in Arlington

Posted by Editorial / Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

Urban Pantry / Photo by Susannah Black

Urban Pantry / Photo by Susannah Black

By Susannah Black

Arlington’s Urban Pantry, previously Little City Gourmet, appears to have closed.  A call to owner Max Emma hasn’t been returned, though other signs reflect the closure: The store’s phone line is disconnected; the website no longer works; and emails have bounced. A response to a customer’s Facebook inquiry confirms the closure: “We are now officially closed. Maybe one day we’ll be back in a different location! Thank you for your support.”

Opened almost a year ago, the shop sold sandwiches—including a particularly excellent open-faced egg salad sandwich—plus baked goods, gelato, coffee and gourmet pantry staples like mustards, jams and oils.  The inside appears to be completely empty with a note taped to the front referring to closing Jan. 14. 

Bus Rides Become Art Exhibitions in Arlington

Jason Horowitz

Photo courtesy of Cynthia Connolly, Visual Arts Curator at Artisphere.

By Victoria Gaffney

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated to reflect new information.

This week, the humdrum Arlington Transit bus ride down Wilson Boulevard will start to look a little more interesting. Rather than the usual interior placards, commuters and passengers on the No. 41, 42, and 87 bus routes may find unique digital images instead.

Cynthia Connolly, Visual Arts Curator at Artisphere, is responsible for the change. On Tuesday, she and Arlington-based photographer Jason Horowitz got together and installed the next round of artwork for Connolly’s project “Art on the Art Bus.” 

Horowitz, who has ridden the Art on the Art Bus to see the exhibits of some of his friends, is excited to participate in the project. A longtime photographer, he says he focuses on looking at and reinterpreting the world through what he makes. Horowitz thought Connolly’s project was especially unique, saying “it didn’t conform to the way I usually work.” The small size of the bus placards added another layer of difficulty.

He decided to make something new for the project and traveled around shooting scenes primarily in Arlington with some in D.C. His images are not mere photos, however; they are abstract assemblages of shots taken over the course of an hour. His process begins by taking a series of photos of the same place. Then, returning to his studio, he assembles the shots in varying ways to create one image. The process allows him to “rebuild the scene, but in a more abstracted form,” he says.

Connolly first got the idea for Art on the Art Bus about a decade ago when she noticed the name for the Arlington Transit system was abbreviated “Art.” Initially she mistook this to mean there was actual art on the bus. When she saw one of the buses, however, she thought to herself, “I can get art on the bus.”

She wanted the work to be original, but people were concerned it would get destroyed. Connolly reassured them, “That’s the whole point; you just put the art on the bus and see what people do.” She started doing three artists a year in 2010, and the exhibits, which have featured various mediums including paintings, drawings and photos—have been quite popular. Not only does it improve the aesthetics of the bus, but the project as a whole also “changes your perspective of what art is and what it does for us,” says Connolly.  

For each artist, Connolly arranges a specific day for people to ride the art bus with her and the artist where she gives a little background on the project and the artist discusses his or her artwork. They ride a regular evening bus to a destination of the artist’s choice (perhaps a place to hang out or his or her studio). This year, Horowitz and Connolly will be riding the bus on April 8. Everyone will meet at 6:45 p.m. at the Court House Metro Route 41 bus stop to take the 7:04 bus down Wilson Boulevard to Horowitz’s studio. Attendees will have to pay the $1.50 bus fare. Horowitz’s art will be on the bus until June.

SOJA: From Arlington to the Grammys


Photo Courtesy of

By Michael Balderston

Though his teacher might not have thought very highly of it at the time, a young Bobby Lee’s penchant for getting into trouble in first grade was the start of something special. Jacob Hemphill, who was new to the area, and Lee quickly became friends. Fast forward to now, and these longtime friends from Arlington are now Grammy nominees.

Hemphill and Lee met Ryan Berty, Ken Brownell and Patrick O’Shea in middle school and became the founding members of SOJA, a reggae band with the hope of changing the world through their music; later on they would add Hellman Escorcia, Rafael Rodriguez and Trevor Young. Their fourth album, “Amid the Noise and Haste,” debuted in 2014 and is nominated for Best Reggae Album of the Year.

“I was never good at sports, but I wanted to be,” says Hemphill, the band’s singer/songwriter. “I was good at school, but I didn’t want to be. For me music was the first time I was good at something and also enjoyed doing it.”

Hemphill and the others had no formal music education when they started; they simply picked up some instruments and rehearsed every day after school. With the nation’s capital as their background, they gravitated toward reggae, a genre known for political and social messages.

“I was instantly drawn not only to the music but the message behind it,” says Hemphill. “My father raised me on folk singers and storytellers like Paul Simon, people who made songs that were bigger than music. Reggae was the ultimate example of that.”

SOJA has played in front of thousands of people all over the world, but being nominated for a Grammy was a humbling experience according to Hemphill.

“The cliche ‘I’m just honored to be nominated’ really is true,” says Hemphill. “Now, if we’re blessed enough to start receiving future nominations and attend several of these, then maybe I’ll start hoping for a win.”

SOJA recently performed at the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival and are hard at work on their next album. But no matter where these guys are or what they have going on, they always remember how everything started in Arlington.

“We travel the world, but this place will always be our home,” says Hemphill.

The Grammys are this Sunday, Feb. 8, at 8 p.m. on CBS. Listen to SOJA’s song “I Believe” from “Amid the Noise and Haste” below.

Hungry For Linkage: Crystal City Bar Highline RxR to Open this Weekend

Posted by Editorial / Friday, February 6th, 2015

A bag of joy: crawfish, corn, potatoes and sausage.

Crawfish, corn, potatoes and sausage from Chasin’ Tails / Photo by Kate Bohler

By Susannah Black

Chasin’ Tails announces a second location opening in Centreville. [FB]

After 50 years of business, International Wine and Beverage of Arlington will close. [ARLnow]

A limited-release brown ale, brewed with mango and habeneros, will be available at Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery this weekend. [FB]

As reported last month, owner Peter Bayne says Crystal City‘s Highline RxR will open this weekend. [ARLnow]

Paradise Springs Winery releases its 2014 Nana’s Rosé today. [Paradise Springs]

The opening of the Westover location of The Italian Store has been delayed due to complications with the building’s utilities. [ARLnow]

Willow Restaurant‘s last Buffalo night, starring the non-Lenten beef on weck, is tonight. [Willow]

Del Ray’s Dairy Godmother reopens for the season today at noon. [Twitter]

McAuliffe discusses year-round calendar for Virginia schools; UVA steps up students’ security

By Sophia Rutti 

‘Gigi’ starring Vanessa Hudgens opens at Kennedy Center before heading to Broadway
(NBC Washington

UVA steps up security for students after recent controversies

Gov. Terry McAuliffe discusses year-round school calendar for Virginia

Harry J. Parrish is the first Republican to join the race for retiring state. Sen Chuck Colgan’s seat
(The Washington Post

Woman arrested for allegedly running over two men at an Arlington auto dealership

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