As we ready ourselves to say goodbye to 2020, Arlington Magazine has its eyes set on 2021. The Magazine released its "Best of Arlington 2021" list this week and highlighted Lee Highway restaurants and shops. Make sure to check out these spots in the new year, you won't be disappointed.
Arlington Magazine's Best of Arlington 2021:
Del Ray - but versions infused with jalapeño or habañero also give the original a run for its money. The latter obviously turns up the heat. “Habañero will burn you down!” Michel says with a laugh. Bring it." –Rina Rapuano
Read more from Arlington Magazine here
giving home cooks the opportunity to get in on bespoke crops ranging from artisanal lettuces and sunchokes to rare kinds of basil. Because the farm (being indoors) operates year-round, so does the CSA, which delivers to addresses throughout Northern Virginia and the District. Pierce also offers a la carte orders with curbside pickup and is currently in talks with his landlord about expanding his space. 'Sometimes the biggest opportunities come out of the biggest struggles,' he says. 'We hope this drives education around a more localized food system.'” –Jenny Sullivan
Read more from Arlington Magazine here
Takeout: The Italian Store
*Wine Shop Runner Up
"Best of Arlington 2021" Runner Ups
With Hanukkah coming to a close and Christmas and Kwanzaa quickly approaching, now is the best time to pick up some last minute gifts while supporting Lee Highway businesses! Make sure to check out LHA's Holiday Gift Guide before heading out to do some holiday shopping.
What's new on the gift guide this week?
After 4 months of thoughtful discussion, public engagement, and communication with Lee Highway businesses, the Working Group On Renaming Lee Highway has selected its top choice and four alternatives for Lee Highway’s new name.
The Working Group’s preferred name is Mildred & Richard Loving Avenue, honoring the couple who fought for marriage equality for interracial couples.
legalized same sex marriage. For me, the name Loving has both Virginia and national significance and it encompasses justice.”
The name “Mildred & Richard Loving Avenue” not only tells the story of triumph over injustice but offers the opportunity to connect the Lee Highway corridor with other regional jurisdictions in the state of Virginia. The Lovings not only lived in the state, but the name relates to the Virginia state slogan, “Virginia is for Lovers.” When travelers cross Key Bridge coming to Virginia from DC, they are met with the state slogan. It was the opinion of the Working Group that it made sense that the name “Loving” would be the first road traveled on in the state. The name also represents a desire of Arlington County for people to treat one another in a loving way.
public and student polls, “Loving” was the clear front runner, garnering 1,146 votes of the 3,646 votes cast. All four Advisory Groups supported the name as well, suggesting it would provide the corridor with a sense of place, would support future branding endeavors, is an easy name to pronounce and spell, and tells a great story.
In addition to Mildred and Richard Loving Avenue, the Working Group supported four alternate name choices: John M. Langston Boulevard, Ella Baker Boulevard, Dr. Edward T. Morton Avenue, and Main Street.
John M. Langston was an American abolitionist, attorney, educator, activist, diplomat, and politician who was the first Black person elected to Congress from Virginia. His ties to Arlington date back to 1867 when he was the Inspector General of the Freedman's Bureau, the managing agency over Freedman's Village which was the contraband camp for formerly enslaved people in Arlington. Lee Highway also runs right past the old segregated John M Langston Elementary School.
the story of the dark [racial] history of Arlington County as well as the County’s brightest time - when the four students who went to Langston Elementary were the first four students to integrate the state of Virginia. The name tells the whole story of how Arlington has evolved and grown over the years.”
Ella Josephine Baker, also known as the Mother of the Modern Civil Rights Movement, was a native daughter of Virginia, born in Norfolk on December 13, 1903. She was a civil rights pioneer who championed the ordinary citizen. Her expert organizational skills were instrumental in the fight for racial equity and she mentored many emerging civil rights leaders, such as John Lewis.
Dr. Edward Morton, the first Black physician in North Arlington, was a powerful early voice for racial equality in the County, and specifically on Lee Highway. His home and medical practice were located at 4842 Lee Highway, the site that currently is the McDonald’s Restaurant. Dr. Morton was a leader in the Hall's Hill neighborhood, was a candidate for County Board in the 1930s, and promoted Black Empowerment.
The Lee Highway Alliance and Plan Lee Highway have been working to bring communities together through community-based grassroots planning, support of local businesses, and recognizing local history and identity through heritage-based education. The name “Main Street” represents the diversity that makes the 4.6 mile corridor unique.
The LHA board approved of the name choices on December 10 and will present the Working Group’s recommendations to the Arlington County Board next week. The County Board will then submit the recommendation to either the Commonwealth Transportation Board or the Virginia General Assemblyfor approval and implementation.
Thank you to the 25 dedicated members of the Working Group for their time and commitment to this process, to the Arlington County Board, and to the Arlington community for welcoming and participating in the renaming effort.
This holiday season may look different from other years, but it won't stop us from supporting our local economy and Lee Highway businesses by shopping local! Make sure to check out LHA's Holiday Gift Guide before heading out to do some holiday shopping.
What's new on the gift guide this week?
After four spirited and thoughtful public meetings held between September and December, LHA’s Working Group On Renaming Lee Highway is closing in on its top choice for a new name.
At its December 2nd meeting, the Working Group identified 10 names still in the running: Dogwood, Ella Baker, Edward Morton, Green Way, James E. Browne, John Glenn, John M. Langston, Justice, Main Street, and Mildred & Richard Loving.
The Working Group will make its final choice at its December 9th meeting. The meeting will be held via Zoom from 6:30-8:30pm and will be open to the public. The first choice and four alternatives will then move to the Arlington County Board, which will decide which name to send to the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) or the Virginia General Assembly for implementation.
When discussing the top 10 names, Wilma Jones, president of the John M. Langston Citizens Association and a Working Group member, explained, “having three names in the top 10 [Langston, Browne, and Morton] that are important to the community I live in [Hall’s Hill] makes me proud.”
Lynn Coates, a member of the Working Group, noted the significance of these names to the community, saying “I feel resonance with them.” She mentioned Ella Baker and “the importance of the vote, and the work she did.” Baker was a Black civil rights and human rights activist who promoted grassroots organizing.
In explaining his preference for the name Mildred and Richard Loving,Benjamin Keeney, the vice president of the North Highlands Citizens Association and a Working Group member, explained that he and his wife “could not be legally married (in Virginia) if not for the Lovings." The Lovings were an interracial couple in Virginia whose 1967 Supreme Court case changed the law to allow interracial marriage.
Working Group member Sandi Chesrown noted that the name Main Street was strongly supported in the community polling and it “aligns with Plan Lee Highway and the recommendations of the Branding and Business Advisory Groups. It is timeless, easy to spell and remember, and provides a sense of place and prosperity.”
Ginger Brown, LHA’s Executive Director, supported the name John M. Langston and noted, “It ticks all the boxes” of a name with strong local connection and national contribution, is easy to remember and communicate, and can help brand the corridor. Langston served as Inspector General of Freedman’s Village and was the first Black person elected to Congress from Virginia.
“Enduring” names were mentioned by some. Mike Hogan, a resident along the corridor, said he “grew up near Democracy Boulevard [in Montgomery County. MD], and sees the same enduring quality in the name ‘Justice.’”
Branding was an important consideration for the group as well. “The new name for Lee Highway will be the new name not just for a major road, but for a major road that is home to many businesses” said Working Group member Maia Potok-Holmes. “We must consider marketing and branding when making our final decision - for the survival of our businesses and for how we want our community to be perceived.”
The Working Group’s efforts to engage with the Arlington community elicited 186 name suggestions over the past four months. That list was narrowed based on:
Arlington County Board member Katie Cristol praised the Working Group for “the extensive outreach [they] have done.” About 65 volunteers helped LHA implement the project.
The Working Group made a special effort to reach out to Lee Highway businesses to hear their perspectives. Annie Moyer, co-owner of Sun & Moon Yoga Studio and a member of the Working Group, noted, “As a small-business owner on Lee Highway, I see [this renaming work] as a great testament to operating with clarity, compassion and kindness.”
The push to improve Lee Highway began in 2013, when several neighborhoods along the corridor agreed to partner with Arlington County on revisioning and replanning. LHA began discussing changing the entire name—both Lee and Highway—in 2017 to be in accord with their guiding principles. “Neither ‘Lee’ nor ‘Highway’ reflects what we see as the future for this corridor,” said Brown.
LHA, in collaboration with the Alliance for Housing Solutions, is happy to announce that we have won a grant from Virginia Housing Development Authority to help develop a better understanding of missing middle housing, and how it could increase housing options under Plan Lee Highway.
Missing middle housing can include smaller units that are less costly and less maintenance for seniors, while also providing smaller and less costly units for families and workers, who work in Arlington but can not currently afford to live here.
The grant runs from September 2020 to September 2021. The grant is a collaboration with the Alliance for Housing Solutions to conduct outreach that will engage and educate the community.
The project will run collaboratively but separately from the County's Missing Middle study.
been a more important time to support and shop local.
It’s hard to believe, but the holiday season is right around the corner! We will soon be searching for the perfect gifts and planning our holiday meals. But, as we all know, this holiday season will be unlike any we have ever had before. December will bring us into month 9 of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent shutdown. While ensuring the health and well-being of all people is the top priority, local businesses have suffered this year. There has never been a more important time to support and shop local.
Holiday Gift Guide: Cherrydale Shopping Center
The Cherrydale Shopping Center is made up of countless businesses with their own unique and local flavor. For the art lovers in your life, consider prints or paintings from Studio 10 artists. Those looking for some relaxation might jump at the opportunity to practice virtually with Sun and Moon Yoga Studio. Snag stocking stuffers from Company Flowers or decorate your home with holiday decor from Cherrydale Hardware. Pick up some specially made holiday cards to tell those you can’t celebrate with this year that you’re still thinking of them. And so much more. To see our full gift guide, click here.
After nearly a year of preparation and work, Cafe Colline opened its doors this June, in the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Amidst any and all challenges, this French Bistro has remained steadfast on its goal to bring French cuisine and elevated dining to the Lee Highway corridor.
LHA's Communications Manager spoke recently with prominent restauranteur Ian Hilton, one of Cafe Colline's owners, about all things French cuisine, COVID-19, opening a new business, and how the Lee Highway community can (safely) check out this new spot.
IH: Colline means "hilltop" in French. The location of the spot in Lee Heights made the choice of the name pretty easy. The layout of the space is (and was when the plan was Cassat's) typical of a bistro. Our strength is in French food concepts, so a French bistro was an easy choice.
MPH: What led you to open on Lee Highway?
IH: I live less than 1/2 mile away in the neighboring Donaldson Run neighborhood and had always wanted to open a restaurant that would cater to my friends and neighbors.
MPH: In that same vein, how do you home to impact the Lee Highway corridor with the opening of the restaurant?
IH: I want to give people an elevated dining experience in Arlington that doesn't require a trip to Clarendon - where parking can be tricky and you're sharing space with more of a party scene.
to offer on premise dinner dining to customers Wednesday through Sunday beginning at 5pm and brunch starting at 12pm Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. We spent a great deal of time refinishing the beautiful bar and reimagining the space, and we're thrilled that the community can now experience that first hand.
MPH: Moving beyond COVID-19, what is your vision for the future of Cafe Colline?
IH: As restrictions are lifted and the public becomes more comfortable with dining on premise, we see Cafe Colline becoming a go to spot for the surrounding area. Having such a long ramp to a return to "normalcy" is helping us fine tune the product and our approach to causal, yet elevated service.
MPH: What is the best way that the community can support the business?
French pesto called pistol. The Loup del Mer is a sea bass presented with a delicious fennel puree and a rich caper-laced butter noisette. It's easily our top seller. Top it off with Chef Brendan's decadent Pot de Creme and you'll be a happy camper. You can also never go wrong with our rotating Plat du Jour.
MPH: That all sounds delicious - I'll have to check it out for myself! Thanks so much for chatting Ian, and wishing you all the best.
IH: Thanks so much Maia, and it was a pleasure.
more about the work the local farm does, what customers can expect when signing up for CSA, and why growing and consuming fresh and nutritious crops is important.
Maia Potok-Holmes: Ryan, thank you so much for chatting with me today!
Ryan Pierce: Sure, of course!
MPH: So, I’ll just jump right in. Fresh Impact Farms is such a unique and interesting business. Can you speak a bit about the impetus of the business and how you got started?
RP: Before starting the business, I had come across what’s called indoor controlled environment agriculture. There are many benefits of this type of agriculture, including reduced travel time (from farms to consumers) and significantly reduced water usage. I loved the idea that this not only lowers the carbon footprint, but allows farmers to control how crops grow and play around with flavors – which creates the most optimal product. I also recognized that Arlington has become one of the fastest growing restaurant markets in the country over the last ten years. There was a clear opportunity to grow crops that chefs in the area were having flown in overnight. So, we started out with a small pilot system to try and gage interest, and that moved relatively quickly. It came to the point where the pilot system couldn’t provide what we needed so we had to build out a much larger space to be able to better serve these restaurants – some of the best restaurants in the city.
MPH: And you use what’s called hydroponic technology, correct? What exactly is that and what are the benefits?
the soil and into the water table in the ground, and it doesn’t evaporate off of the surface of the soil. Our farm uses less water per year than the average US household to grow hundreds and hundreds of pounds of crops.
MPH: That's awesome. And, I know Fresh Impact Farms is housed indoors. In addition to hydroponic technology, how do you grow the crops, especially without sunlight? Is there a difference in how crops grow and taste indoors vs outdoors?
RP: A plant is a plant. It need to go through photosynthesis to produce vegetative flowering and growth, so that process doesn’t really change. What we do change is how the plant gets the light. We have specially tuned LED lights that give the plants the proper spectrum that they need to be the best version of themselves. We also use the exact type and quantity of nutrients that the crops need which brings out more flavor. That’s what we really strive for: bringing out the most flavor in a plant while ensuring that it still has high levels of nutrition. And, of course, that it looks fantastic as well.
MPH: Pivoting a bit… when the pandemic hit and restaurants closed, your business was clearly impacted, but you switched things up and started selling directly to the community. Can you speak about what that was like and how you’ve had to adjust your business?
RP: We had had our best month ever in February and were on our way to another really good month in March as the pandemic started to hit. We started to see word that restaurants might shut down and over the course of the weekend of March 13, 100% of our customers had closed their doors. So, we lost 100% of our revenue source over the course of two days. That was obviously a huge punch to the gut especially when the business was hitting its stride and doing so well. We had to decide whether we should push pause on everything and hope for the best or see if we can try to sell directly to consumers and the community and we made a decision as a team to do the latter. We had never marketed to consumers though, and most of them didn’t even know we existed, because our whole business was geared towards chefs and restaurants. We had to figure out how to target a market that didn’t really have a need for our current crops - they’re rare crops that most home cooks don’t use. We realized it
started to have a lot of requests for salad greens, so we started growing more of that. We’ve been at it now for 5 months and we’re growing. While CSA is not at the point where it’s paying all our bills, it’s allowed us to stay afloat, for which we’re grateful. If we had not pivoted in this direction there’s no way we would’ve survived. But we still have quite a way to go. We’re still only at about 50% of our previous revenue. We’re just trying every day to find new ways to appeal to the consumer base and make sure they’re happy with what they’re getting.
MPH: How does CSA work? You have an upcoming deadline, right?
choose which crops they want because we grow to order. Once we know how many CSA customers we have of each level, everything is planned out based on that information. We seed based on what has to go out the door which helps us to reduce food waste and ensures we have the right quantity. Additionally, we’ve recently partnered with some other local producers. That helps us to support other local producers and allows our customers a more seamless way to get products that would be far more difficult (or impossible) to source on their own.
MPH: Now moving forward, post COVID, what does Fresh Impact Farms envision for the future? Are you planning to continue with CSA in addition to working with chefs and restaurants?
RP: Because we’ve received this support from the community, we don’t want to turn our backs on them once the restaurants reopen. We fully anticipate continuing with CSA and finding more ways to supply the consumer market. The eventual goal is to have the capacity to supply our restaurants and the community, so we’re currently trying to expand into the upstairs of where we are right now.
We love working with chefs, but we also love working with the community. Being their local farmers gives us an immense amount of fulfillment and pride in what we do.
MPH: What would you say is the best way for the Lee Highway and Arlington community to support Fresh Impact Farms?
MPH: What’s one of your favorite things you sell?
MPH: Sounds Delicious! So, as a local business owner paving the way during COVID-19, what do you view as the value of shopping local?
RP: #1 thing I’d say is the ability to support local jobs. The local economy and the vibrance of that economy really depends on the support of the local businesses. That’s probably what I view as the most important thing.
MPH:One final question. What is your favorite part of working a Fresh Impact Farms?
kind of tells you that you’re doing the right thing and that you’re doing it for the right reasons.
MPH: Well, that’s it for me Ryan. Thank you so much for chatting with me, and best of luck to you!
RP: Thanks so much Maia. It was a pleasure to speak with you.
“If I come to your shop, will there be anyone closer than six feet? Is everyone required to wear a mask?”
In recent months, that has become the first question asked of Company Flowers, rather than the usual “do you have any more of those lush pink roses with red tips that I love?”
Company Flowers’ unique floral designs are well known throughout the greater Washington market. “When COVID-19 struck, we lost more than a third of our business” explained manager John Nicholson. “No weekend home parties, no servicing caterers, no lobby flowers for smaller offices, none of the usual weddings, and several customers who enjoyed weekly flowers decided to move far out of town.” Fortunately, the business has been able to continue with a reduced staff, benefiting by its location relatively close to the DC bridges, and is looking forward to resuming growth of new business activity in the County.
The shop’s biggest drawback these days is the continued fear generated among customers about catching COVID-19. “Each day, at least two or three customers say they’ll come to our door but never venture inside” notes Nicholson. So long as that fear remains at high levels, he says, there’s no point to try to “drum up” corporate accounts from Arlington commerce because other businesses are confronting the same public fear.
of hand sanitizer upon entering. The Lee Highway business has lots to offer customers these days, from beautiful floral arrangements and greeting cards to classy reading glasses and quirky gifts for the special people in your life.
Company Flowers has been one of the stalwarts of the emerging Cherrydale commercial area. As other Arlington retail operations throughout the county have been shuttered by the COVID-19 crisis, the Cherrydale shops are growing from a local neighborhood shopping center into a broader Northern Virginia commercial enterprise. “Most everyone in Arlington and Falls Church knows about stores like Cherrydale Hardware,” Nicholson says; “Other Cherrydale shops are now becoming better known too!"