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!

Jack’s on 17th Street replaced by Turkish restaurant Agora

Happy Monday reader(s)! Big day today, because today I am finally FINALLY back from the Far East. Ahh. Such a nice feeling. Back to my bed and my food and my routine. So, in celebration of coming home, I decided to open this week about something I observed walking to Dunkin Donuts this morning (yes, Dunkin Donuts, maple frosted, and it was delicious thank you). Namely, Jack’s Bar and Restaurant on 17th Street has officially closed and is being replaced by AGORA.

Jacks from Yelp

First reaction? Suspicion. I know, I know I should be happy about a new restaurant coming into town. But look, I really did like Jack’s. Jack’s was what 17th Street was known for: nice outdoor seating, food and happy hour specials. And unlike other happy hour places that just offer half-priced burgers or wings, Jack’s offered half-priced PASTA. Like angel hair pasta with goat cheese and pine nuts for like 5 bucks that you could order with happy hour priced wine and just bitch about your work day. So for what it was, Jack’s was perfect really.

It also ALWAYS had people in it, so when it closed for apparent construction my friend and I were perplexed. Was it a face lift? Were they doing construction because 17th street was being torn up anyways by the city, so why not renovate? There was no way Jack’s just went under, right??

Well, turns out we were partially right. After doing some research on Agora, I discovered it was started by Jack’s owners. The owners are Turkish and actually disliked Jack’s growing reputation as a bar rather than a restaurant, so decided to just shut it down and open up a pure Mediterranean restaurant. According to the Washington Post, Agora will specialize in seafood and innovative takes on Turkish classics (so no simple hummus and baba ganoush). The owner even brought his father in from Turkey to help shape the menu and their olive oil will come from their family farm in Turkey.

Curious non? I will definitely give it a try. Though it better be good, because $5 goat cheese pasta is NOT easy to find. Just saying.

Oh, Agora is supposed to open this month, will keep you posted