Carpool, a Ballston sports bar soon to be redeveloped into an apartment complex.
Indoor-outdoor dining is the new trend, according to Rosslyn BID President Mary-Claire Burick.
“The outdoor dining and mixed use is very popular,” said Burick, noting Kona Grill’s indoor-outdoor bar and Bistro 360, two restaurants that moved into the Rosslyn area in 2014 and set the trend.
At 1600 Wilson, Barley Mac is set to open soon. A year after the Italian American restaurant from the owners of A-Town Bar in Ballston and Don Tito in Clarendon was announced, Burick said the new upscale restaurant is expected to open shortly, though the exact date was indefinite. Like Kona Grill and Bistro 360, Barley Mac will feature an 80-100 indoor-outdoor dining space.
In mid-May, the Pancho Villa regional Mexican restaurant chain is expected to move into 1850 N. Fort Meyer Drive.
Additions to Rosslyn’s restaurant retail within the last year include Rolls By U, a sushi restaurant at 1713 Wilson Blvd that specializes in burrito-sized sushi rolls, a Potbelly Sandwich Shop at 1735 N. Lynn Street and the adjacent Wiseguy NY Pizza also at 1735 N. Lynn Street.
The big restaurant addition in 2015 was District Taco, a brick and mortar homecoming story for the chain that started in Rosslyn as a food truck in 2009. In 2015, both District Taco and Target moved into the 1500 Wilson Blvd block. Since its opening, Burick said that Target came into Rosslyn with one demographic in mind but found that their main clientele was an entirely different one.
“We’re starting to see a residential increase in Rosslyn, and that’s having an impact on the retail in the neighborhood,” said Burick. “What we’re hearing from Target is that residents use it between 6 and 8 p.m., making it their most busy time. Their thought was it would be used most during the day with the employee population, but their busiest time is in the evening when the residents show up. The interesting thing about the Target concept is being more flexible in products based on what is selling, and they’re finding that family products, like baby items, are doing quite well. When you start to see that transformation happens with bringing more residents in, it helps the retail. It’s circular.”
Cheesetique, the Northern Virginia wine and cheese chain, is opening its third location at 800 N. Glebe Road in Ballston within the next few months. Within the same building, a new Total Wine is also preparing to open around the same time, the first in Arlington.
9Round, a kickboxing gym, opened in November 2015 at 927 N. Quincy St, between the Ballston and Virginia Square metro stations. The national gym chain focuses around 30-minute high-intensity programs.
New development in the region is starting to slowly push out the sports bar nightlife. The Green Turtle at 900 N Glebe Road is now closed, with plans to be replaced by an Applebee’s by the start of summer. The regional sports bar chain struggled to fill its oversized venue, now leaving five remaining Green Turtles across D.C. and Northern Virginia. Ballston BID CEO Tina Leone said she recognized concerns about the generic national chain replacing the regional restaurant, but said it was a natural and expected piece of Ballston’s transformation.
“We heard a lot of people say it doesn’t fit in, but we also have a lot of families around us,” said Leone. “It’s quickly turning into a place for single family homes, and [Applebee’s] is really going to serve a greater portion of our demographics. National retailers and markets want to be here, and you can’t fault a landlord to say ‘I’m going to fill this space with a retailer I know is going to be successful.’ There’s a push and pull. As these places evolve, you’re going to have more national retailers that want to move in.”
Carpool, a nearby iconic local bar built out of an old garage at 4000 Fairfax Drive, is being pushed out of its current location to be replaced with a 22-story apartment building. Leone said the owners are still looking for other places to move to, but that closure of the current location could take place within the next few months.
However, Leone emphasized that Ballston will continue to have opportunities for smaller, independent businesses as the BID redevelops the Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor, an “urban village” redesign of the developments adjacent to the Metro stations currently in the planning stages.