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That Cursed Place on Lee Highway

  • m

You know the place, in Arlington, not far from the East Falls Church Metro. It was lastly was Tap & Vine, Charley Horse Grill before that, many other things before that (I think it was a Pizza Hut). Drove by today and there was a Grand Opening sign for ....... Asian Kitchen.

Will someone please start the timer?

Tap & Vine
5731 Lee Hwy, Arlington, VA

Asian Kitchen
5731 Lee Highway, Arlington, VI 22207

Pizza Hut Restaurant
540 W South St, Frederick, MD 21701

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  1. Someone else dares to challenge the "Location of Death"? Don't they know you don't spit into the wind?

    Oh well, as long as there are saps willing to sign a lease for this place, there's no need for the owner to knock the building down and put up a bank.

    1. Yep, there's a thread on this under Tap and Vine directly. You can watch the death develop.

      1. I think the sign said Japanese and Chinese cuisine, that's a red flag right there. What amazes me is the speed in which they get the place occupied after the previous tenant goes down. I never made it to Tap and Vine; the last time I was there, it was Indian, which I believe was the predecessor to Charley Horse.

        1. So sad, I loved Tap and Vine. Y'all seem to be forgetting about the random Italian joint that ran there for a few months—Restaurant Milano or something or the other. Sorry to sound like a jerk, but I doubt this Asian Kitchen's got a shot...if Tap & Vine couldn't make it I don't think anybody can...

          Tap & Vine
          5731 Lee Hwy, Arlington, VA

          Asian Kitchen
          5731 Lee Highway, Arlington, VI 22207

          3 Replies
          1. re: littlew1ng

            Of course no one can. I've tried to explain but these saps, I mean restaurateurs, don't want to listen. This piece of property has intrinsic flaws that make it virtually impossible for a restaurant to succeed there:

            1. The building is oriented away from Lee Hwy (this seems to be a recurring problem with Pizza Hut buildings (another Pizza Hut set up like this at the Greenbriar Town Center out in Chantilly/Fairfax also failed, could not be re-leased, and there's now a bank there -- right next door to another bank!).
            2. Parking is poor.
            3. The concrete strip between the lanes on Lee Hwy virtually guarantees that no one heading east who is not already looking for the place will make the effort to drop in.

            In short, you would need something on the order of a destination restaurant to succeed in this location, and that ain't gonna happen.

            I'd love to see the terms of the leases for this idiotic building.

            1. re: Bob W

              You know, it seems to me that someone could do an extensive web site featuring re-purposed Pizza Huts (PizzaWhat?.com). They are everywhere! No matter how much is invested in the conversion, the basic Pizza Hut-ness can't be concealed. Same with the IHOPs and Little Taverns

            2. re: littlew1ng

              There have been too many different occupants in that building to remember. I think I ate at the Indian version once, never the Italian (not even Pizza Hut???) and not Charley Horse or Tap & Vine. I asked about Charley Horse after it had been open for a while with no mention here, and got a few "eh, don't bother" responses. Then maybe a year later, someone posted a positive review, with some positive follow-ups, and I was intending to try it for lunch, but it closed soon after.

              Another place that seems to have a high rate of turnover is the place near Bailey's Crossroads that started out as a Lord Hardwick Pub, and was Joe's Pasta and Pizza for a long time. Since Joe's left, I think it's been three or four different places. The current Nataly's has been there for probably over a year now, longer than most.

            3. There's a similar place on Fairmont Ave. in Bethesda, that's been Fairmont Bar & Dining, a Mexican restaurant, Bistro Asiatique, Yin Yankee, and, for the last year, Relic. Each restaurant had an expensive remodel, and a short lifespan. Relic seems to be succeeding.

              1. Maybe if they actually put a good place in there it would succeed. I think the location and parking, while not incredible, are good enough to support a good restaurant. Tap and Vine was a good concept but the food was pretty average. Besides the truffle fries and good beer selection, there was no reason for me to go back.

                1. The location, to be sure, is cursed.

                  A couple years ago it was "Charley Horse Cafe", which was also pretty good.

                  The new Asian Kitchen restaurant is actually not bad at all. I had a teriyaki and sushi lunch there last week and was impressed with the sushi quality.

                  The main problem NOW is that you've got a chinese/sushi restaurant down the street from established chinese and sushi restaurants in Lee Harrison Center...the writing's on the wall.

                  1. Try the salt pepper calamari, they are out of this world, also known as crab rangoon. I love every dish I've had there, everything is super fresh, the wait staff is polite and the food is just amazing! me and my family when there ervery weekend. And " cursed place" ... I don't think so. that's great restaurant. they will break the cursed.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: mayflower76

                      Thanks for your enthusiastic first post. I'm a bit confused, though, because "crab rangoon" are not even closely related to salt and pepper calamari. Crab rangoon are an Americanized dish made with cream cheese, crab (or imitation crab these days), and wonton wrappers. For me, they're usually indicative of watered down cuisine.

                      1. re: PollyG

                        True what you say about Crab Rangoon being "American", and I'm a huge authentic-food fan, but ... I could still eat a barrel of 'em.

                        1. re: PollyG

                          For me, they're indicative of Trader Vic's circa 1978, an intregal accompaniment to the giant ceramic bowls of rum and fruit juice. The drinks were too big to lift, so they gave you a three-foot drinking straw. I've never seen them anywhere else. Mostly, I think they were invented for drunk people.

                      2. in the photos in the link, it looks like the seats are embroidered or printed satin -- covered by plastic.
                        geez, you wanna give these guys a break, but....plastic seat covers? really?

                        polly g -- funny: "thanks for your enthusiastic first post."

                        the enthusiasm carried through on the "reviews" in the chow-link to the restaurant. hmmmm.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: alkapal

                          We have to get you together with my mom, Alkapal--she goes into hysterics when she sees someone still using those plastic seat covers. I always think of them as relics of the 50's and can remember encountering them as a kid in the early 70's, but only in the homes of grandparents.

                          But best of luck to Asian Kitchen. It's a rough location and a tough economy.

                          1. re: PollyG

                            it's a good thing summer is over. i'd hate to stick to the seat in my shorts, and would be quite embarassed as the "peeling away" sound echoed through the empty space....

                          2. re: alkapal

                            There is indeed shiny plastic on the seats. It makes a crunchy sound. Ick.
                            Went there last weekend. The standard Chinese fare I tried was average. Will have the sushi next time because it actually looked very good. Lots of orders kept two sushi chefs pretty busy. There were more customers here than I expected. (And more than there ever, ever are at Oriental Gourmet just up the street.) Service was very slow. My dumplings came out too cold, and they immediately comped them -- good for them.

                            Oriental Gourmet
                            19635 Fisher Ave, Poolesville, MD 20837