Ballston is popping these days with some of my favorite restaurants. Since the new Sweetgreen location started dishing up salads, and Buzz promises to open thier doors soon, what I once considered a foodie dead spot (minus Willow) is now on my radar. Especially with the news that the Ballston location of Rustico has launched Sunday brunch, which they began serving on Jan. 2. Continue reading
Great news for those who love a good beer: a second Rustico is opening in the area soon, and this one will be Metro-accessible! DC Metrocentric reports that the restaurant is slated to open at the end of August in Ballston at 4075 Wilson Blvd near Ballston Common Mall. ARLnow reports that this Rustico will feature 400 bottled beers, 40 beers on tap, and two cask-conditioned ales, along with the great pizzas and hearty food that Rustico is known for. Now here’s hoping Rustico’s excellent Oktoberfest and Festivus celebrations will take advantage of this convenient new location.
Welcome to another edition of Where We Live. This week we’re focusing on Ballston, the western end of Arlington’s fabulous Rosslyn-Ballston corridor. Ballston offers a great balance between access to Northern Virginia (like Tysons/Fairfax/Farlington) and access to DC, and it’s actually a pretty cool place to live and hang out.
History: Ballston was a major crossroads during the eighteenth century, and it was named after the Ball family (whose family cemetery is in the neighborhood). In 1896, the Washington, Arlington, and Falls Church Electric Railroad (a streetcar) was constructed along what is now Fairfax Drive, and the area developed as a streetcar suburb. In 1951 the Parkington Shopping Center opened where the current Ballston Common Mall is, and the area became known as Parkington. The area declined in the 60s and 70s as it was really just a retail-dominated suburb, but Metro came along in 1979 and changed that. Since the opening of the Metro station, the area has continued to redevelop, replacing the suburban sprawl of the 50s and 60s with more compact urban development. Today Ballston is a thriving retail, office, and residential center.
The work of mid-century American architect Anthony Musolino was at its finest in the Ballston dealership of Bob Peck. Built in 1964, very possibly at the height of Chevrolet as a company, the modern angles and shapes of the dealer were iconic. It was demolished in 2003 as part of the revitalization at the confluence of Wilson and Glebe in the heart of Arlington. While I never came to love those angles like some did, I certainly understand how iconic they were.
Interestingly enough, those same diamond patterns of the showroom’s roof will now be part of the Cooper Carey designed building at the same site. The towering glass office building will carry the same diamond pattern at the entrance. Beautiful appropriation of an iconic design.
If you read my post from a couple of days ago about the Ballston Super Pollo suddenly shutting its door, you may still be rather distraught and unsure of how your life will ever return to normal. Call me the bearer of GOOD news (if you will) because today we have a slight glimmer of super hope. My friends know how much Super Pollo means to me and they are always looking out for me (thanks friends). That’s why my friend Ravi was so excited to inform me last night that he saw a sign on Quincy St in Ballston with those four amazing and comforting words: “Coming Soon Super Pollo”.
Friends and readers, it is with a very heavy heart that I sit down to write this post. I could spend all day poetically waxing about the feelings that have overcome me on this surprisingly sunny yet very dark, dark day. But instead I will just go ahead and put it out there. The Super Pollo in Ballston has closed. Gonezo. Done. No mas. Somehow, someway, we will find a way to go on. But right now, I cannot see that way for I am horrified over this closure.
The Metro board is expected to approve the sale of the Ballston bus garage property for $25 million at their 9/24 meeting. At just over 4 acres, it will become part of the property that will be home to the new DARPA building. Check out the past WLDC article about the building here. Talk about a way to make some quick cash! Does this mean no fare increases for a few years? Hah. Right.
I have been known to insult Ballston from time to time. I have a deep fond love of Arlington, but Ballston seems to me to be all high rises, chain restaurants and it’s kinda got a mall. But places like Willow make me take it all back. Tucked in the bottom level of an office building, Willow is a gem of a restaurant with fresh, local, sophisticated food and perfect service.
I’ve become a regular at Willow. I’ve taken my friends, my parents, I’ve gone there for drinks, for restaurant week dinners. I basically love it for it’s calm refined atmosphere and unblemished menu. The crowd errs on the slightly old to very old side, I see some grey hair every time I go. But then again I’m never there for a scene, so this has never bothered me – if I wanted a scene in Arlington I’d go to Eventide or Liberty Tavern. I come to Willow to take a deep breath. Continue reading
My lovely wife and I did this review video when we went to the new Noodles and Company at Ballston Mall recently.