Boulevard Woodgrill and the Changing Face of Clarendon

So right out of college I lived in Clarendon.  I lived in a massive group house in this bizarre attic space, where I paid $500 bucks a month and was eternally waging war against THESE. Yes, it was a sh*thole.  At my lowest, I watched the same video for 2 weeks on my computer, no internet, sitting on a box, and ceded half my room to one of those things. Well it wasn’t my absolute lowest. That was either when I managed to get locked INSIDE my house (our locks deadbolted from the inside) and scared the living hell out of a poor delivery man, OR when I was suddenly evicted from said house in December. Awful. 

it puts the mushu in the doggy door

 Anyways, back then, my go-to “eating out” restaurant was the Boulevard Woodgrill. Since I am a slave to routine, it still is today. Boulevard Woodgrill is on the Clarendon main drag. The decor has a bit of a steakhouse feel to it with big windows and entrees run about $10-$15. The restaurant is named for its technique of cooking dishes on a wood grill, something that I failed to piece together until last week despite the 72502096 references to it on their menu. The fish and chips, mac n’ cheese, lamb salad, ribs, meatloaf and salmon are some menu standouts. DELICIOUS. And yes, notice all the best dishes are hearty and most have meat. It’s a carnivore’s place. Sorry PETA. 


Despite only opening in 2002, it is also among the old guard in a rapidly changing Clarendon. You see, Clarendon was always know for its village-like atmosphere. Small stores, low buildings, walkable shopping etc. However it seems that intimacy is eroding. The area is awash in copycat brick and tan high rise construction projects and chain restaurants, while the entire “village-y” strip of small shops on Wilson between Garfield and Highland has been torn down and replaced by another high rise space. It looks frankly, like Ballston. Sigh. And so many of us lived in Clarendon exactly because it wasn’t Ballston. 

Ballston. I mean, Clarendon

Hopefully Clarendon is able to retain it’s identity amidst this development push.  But who knows. Seeing that new building was the saddest I had been since the closing of Dr. Dremo’s in Courthouse. And that was a goddamn tragedy. Here’s to hope!

2 thoughts on “Boulevard Woodgrill and the Changing Face of Clarendon

  1. I am sick and tired of people lamenting the loss of Dr. Dreamo’s it was a run down shithole masquerading as a “funky-kitchy-bar.” If you are looking for that same vibe in a more commercially viable sized space, try Galaxy Hut, Iota or Eleventh Street Lounge. Maybe you can feel some of that intimacy you claim we sorely lack?

    As far as Clarendon being “awash” in chain restaurants? Where? Besides the Cheesecake factory and Bertucci’s I can’t think of another? Do you count’s local franchises as “chain restaurants?” Then I guess you could include Hard Times Cafe and Tandorri Nights. Or for a stretch you could add Le Pan Quotidian, a Belgium import.

    Do our recently constructed “copy cat brick and tan high rises” look any different then your recent developments at City Vista and NOMA. You want examples of terrible architecture? Try the peppering of Brutalist eyesores that litter DC.

    Your arrogance and self entitlement is repugnant! District residents looking down their collective thumb at Arlington as some sleepy culturally homogenous suburb couldn’t be anymore uninteresting and uninformed. Especially considering that until 8-10 years ago the cultural and culinary centers of this country (New York and San Francisco) held DC in the same disregard that you now hold towards Arlington.

    I’ll keep my congressional representation, well run, non-corrupt, local government and my walkable neighborhoods. Thanks you smug fuck!

  2. Thanks for the comments. However, I think you have really twisted my post. I have lived in Clarendon and Courthouse, and loved them both. I have been to Iota, Galaxy Hut and Eleventh Street Lounge many times. However, recently alot of shops in Clarendon have been torn down to make way for new construction. More chains have moved in as well. Yes, this trend has happened in NOMA and other DC areas, and I dislike it in those places too. I never claimed otherwise.

    I have no idea what will happen to Clarendon down the line. I just hope it keeps it’s signature village-y feel. Its why so many (like myself) moved there. So no, I am not “looking down on Arlington” I am actually breaking Arlington down into its neighborhoods and comparing them, anchoring the discussion in one I actually lived in.

    Please don’t project District snobbery that other people may have onto someone who has never had it. It’s not fair to me. I appreciate your feedback

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