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It takes less than five minutes to make most orders at Don Taco. The restaurant and tequila bar at 808 King Street also claims to make the best margaritas in Old Town, and that combination of making quick to-go orders with alcoholic drinks to wash it all down has been their secret to success during the pandemic.

“There’s not much of a profit margin on food costs,” Don Taco’s General Manager Tracey Deiderich told ALXnow. “As far as alcohol is concerned, that’s where restaurants make most of their money. Allowing restaurants to do this just weeks after we had to shut down was a huge success.”

Chef Mike Cordero has owned the building for decades, rebooting it several times with new concepts. He launched Don Taco in 2016, after spending years with it as Flat Iron Steak & Saloon and Cafe Salsa.

The restaurant is one of Cordero’s many taquerias in the region. It has a menu with dozens of $3.95 tacos, and was featured on the Cooking Channel’s Cheap Eats with Ali Khan with a number of other Alexandria restaurants.

“In my kitchen, they are beasts when it comes to getting food out quickly,” Deiderich said. “You might even get your tacos in about 60 seconds after you order.”

Best sellers include the Sriracha chicken taco, the pomegranate-glazed skirt steak taco and the fried avocado taco.

Deiderich says most dates can cost an average of $50 at Don Taco.

“You could come in and have a blast for 50 bucks,” he said. “I mean, at $3.95 a taco, and grab yourself a pumpkin spice Margarita or one of our specialty drinks.”

As for the margaritas, Deiderich says they’re made with fresh ingredients.

“I mean, we have the best margaritas in Old Town,” he said. “We don’t use any fillers, it’s all fresh ingredients. Just tequila, fresh lime juice and fresh Agave nectar. There’s no sour mixes or anything like that in there. It’s all fresh and ready and raring to go anytime you need to drink.”

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A 25-year-old Alexandria woman was arrested for driving while intoxicated and leaving the scene of an accident in Old Town earlier this month.

The incident occurred in the 800 block of Duke Street at around 2 a.m. on September 13. A man called 911 and reported that a woman driving a white Honda hit a parked car on the side of the road, swerved and almost hit him and then hit another parked vehicle, according to police.

The man told police that he last saw the woman get out of her car and leave the area on foot.

Police searched the area and found the suspect asleep in the passenger seat of a truck in a parking lot off Alfred Street, according to a search warrant.

The witness then identified the woman in the truck as the suspect, and she was arrested. She goes to court for both offenses on October 21.

Via Google Maps

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Even though it’s still boarded up, Total Wine & More is hiring at its Potomac Yard location.

The 18,000 square foot property at 3901 Richmond Highway is the former home of Pier 1 Imports, which closed in March 2020.

The Bethesda-based company reportedly plans to open at the location this year, and is now hiring a a wine and service specialist, sales associates, cashiers and merchandisers.

The Potomac Yard location is directly next door to the vacant former Shoppers Food Warehouse, which is planned to be replaced by an Amazon Fresh grocery store. Both are also within a short distance of the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus development.

Total Wine has hundreds of locations around the country, including in the Landmark area. That location is also hiring.

Courtesy photo

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Morning Notes

Alexandria celebrating PARK(ing) Day — “On Sep 17, the City will celebrate PARK(ing) Day, a worldwide event promoting public green space in urban areas by temporarily reclaiming several on-street parking spaces, transforming them into imaginative park spaces, or ‘parklets.’” [Twitter]

Old Town Cocktail Week starts September 10 — “Old Town Cocktail Week is September 10-19! Sip creative cocktails and join themed events, seminars and celebrations.” [Twitter]

Volunteer Alexandria needs face masks for kids — “Back to school masks needed for little scholars! Child-size store-bought or handmade will help keep our precious students safe. Please drop off at the #VolunteerAlex office (123 N. Alfred St., Alexandria, VA 22314) Monday — Thursday, 9-4 p.m. You can also mail them anytime!” [Twitter]

Today’s weather — “Cloudy skies. Slight chance of a rain shower. High 76F. Winds NNW at 5 to 10 mph… Some clouds early will give way to generally clear conditions overnight. Low 59F. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New job: School lunch delivery driver — “We are growing and looking for reliable drivers to help us get our lunches from our restaurant partners to our schools. This role provides consistent and part-time hours. The position is ideal for students, recent grads, stay-at-home parents, or retirees looking for supplemental income.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Local school systems face bus driver shortages, but say they’re ready to roll — “ACPS recognizes there is a national shortage of school bus drivers, making it challenging to recruit and fill bus driver positions. ACPS has about 90% of our drivers available and 100% of bus monitor positions filled…” [Alexandria Living]

Alexandria recommends cooling centers during heatwave — “The next few days are going to be hot and humid. The City offers several locations as options to those without cooling in their homes, including rec centers and libraries, as well as assistance for adults 60+ and some low-income households. Learn more at alexandriava.gov/122602.” [Twitter]

Mayor conducting town hall meeting on the run — “This Thursday night I am bringing back my ‘Running Town Hall!’ Lace up your running shoes and meet us at Pacers Running at 1301 King Street at 7 PM. We’ll run and discuss the issues facing our City. See you there!” [Facebook]

Virginia liquor store sales hit record — “The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority reported revenue of $1.4 billion during the 2021 fiscal year that ended June 30, an increase of $163 million from the previous year, the Virginia ABC announced Tuesday.” [Patch]

Anticipating fall, Visit Alexandria releases deets for events thru November — “Visit Alexandria, the city’s tourism bureau, has released details for local events into November. Take a look. There are plenty of things to do.” [Zebra]

Today’s weather — “Sunny, along with a few afternoon clouds. Hot and humid. High around 95F. Winds SE at 5 to 10 mph… Partly cloudy. Low 74F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New job: Server at Chadwicks — “Chadwicks Restaurant is currently looking to fill FULL- and PART-TIME server positions. Must be honest, hardworking, and capable of working well with others. Experience not a priority. We currently have more business than we can handle! Following a brief training regimen, you may pick up as many hours as you can handle. Start making very competitive server pay ASAP!” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

First ALX Fit Fair set for this Saturday — “ALX Fit Fair, a day of wellness and fitness in the Carlyle neighborhood, is set for this Saturday, Aug. 28, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. There will be opportunities from more than a dozen local gyms and fitness studios to participate in 30-minute workouts every hour during the event, with workouts ranging from yoga, pilates, dance, and gymnastics to more intense workouts like boxing and CrossFit.” [Alexandria Living]

Old Town Cocktail Week serves up creative libations next month — “A week-long celebration of all things involving cocktails will return for a second year to Old Town Alexandria. The Old Town Cocktail Week will be held Sept. 10 to 19…” [Patch]

Animal Welfare League of Alexandria looking for youth volunteers — “Know a teenager who loves animals? The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria has a new Junior Volunteer program. They are seeking participants who are 16 and 17.” [Zebra]

Today’s weather — “A mainly sunny sky (during the day). Hot and humid. High around 95F. Winds light and variable… A mostly clear sky (in the evening). Low 73F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New job: Operations manager at bakery — “This busy location requires an experienced operator who has barista experience, training experience, performance management, and can handle the complexities of a bakery with various revenue streams. The ideal candidate has experience opening/closing the shop, developing processes and training tools as well as actively working the various positions (barista, expo, cashier, addressing service issues) through out the day. In addition to actively managing the day to day service and operations piece, the manager will be expected to work closely with the corporate chef and ownership on a regular basis to continue improving and streamlining the operation.” [Indeed]

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A 31-year-old Prince George’s County man was arrested for driving while intoxicated after a crash that seriously injured his female companion in the West End.

The suspect was arrested and released on Saturday, July 3. The crash occurred at around 1:20 a.m. that morning in the area of N. Quaker Lane. His four-door white 2017 BMW 540i traveled at a high rate of speed and rear-ended a vehicle waiting for a light to change, police reported in a search warrant.

The airbags in the BMW deployed, and the victim(s) in the other car were not injured.

“An occupant in (the suspect’s) vehicle was taken to Fairfax INOVA hospital with significant injuries,” police said. “The occupant was initially diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury and a broken spine.”

Police later went back to the hospital to check on the passenger, and it was found that she did not have a traumatic brain injury. Her spine had to be fused, however, and she will need physical therapy.

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Morning Notes

Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial dedicated — “On July 24, at 8am, a ceremony was held at 1001 S. Washington Street, officially dedicating the Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial as the newest site listed by the National Park Service in the African American Civil Rights Network.” [Zebra]

National Landing to be first U.S. 5G Smart City at scale — “5G, with local area compute edges, could make National Landing a prototype for smart cities of the future and create a unified consumer experience across asset types. The area could also enhance offerings in mobility and self-driving vehicles, immersive retail and entertainment, and building automation and environmental sustainability… A combination of mmWave and sub6 5G spectrum will be enabled by an interconnected series of building side-mounts, street furniture, and underground network infrastructure.” [Alexandria Living]

Driver killed In 3-vehicle Beltway crash — “The crash happened around 5:35 p.m. Monday on Interstate 495 west of Telegraph Road. Witnesses told state police a Honda driver swerved onto the right shoulder to pass traffic. The vehicle struck another vehicle in the right lane and crashed into a flatbed wrecker stopped on the shoulder. The driver was taken to Inova Fairfax Hospital, where he died of his injuries. He has not been publicly identified by police.” [Patch]

Today’s weather — “Sunny, along with a few afternoon clouds. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. High 93F. Winds NNE at 5 to 10 mph… A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible early (in the evening). A few clouds from time to time. Low 72F. Winds ESE at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New job: Beer brand ambassador — “ExperTaste Marketing is a full-service marketing company specializing in consumer product sampling and promotions. We are seeking a professional and reliable beer enthusiast for a Beer Brand Ambassador position to execute beer sampling events.” [Indeed]

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Alexandria Police are investigating a claim that a woman’s drink was drugged at Vola’s Dockside Grill and Hi-Tide Lounge on the waterfront.

The woman filed a police report after the incident, which allegedly occurred on the evening of July 9 — the same night as the fireworks for the city’s birthday celebration. The woman reported the incident on NextDoor, and said she was sitting in the walkthrough area next to the Torpedo Factory Art Center when it occurred.

“I enjoyed a couple of Orange Crushes, scrolled on my phone and watched the crowd,” the woman reported. “I can’t tell you much of what happened after that, besides knowing now (Google maps tracker) that I miraculously walked the couple of blocks back to my apartment. My fiance returned home from work to find me a step inside of my apartment on the floor. I was unable to talk, stand, or remain conscious. I have complete amnesia of any of the events from receiving my last drink forward.”

The woman, who says she is a registered nurse, wrote that her condition persisted for 10 hours or so, that she did not go to the hospital and instead contacted her primary care physician.

“I am usually pretty aware of my surroundings,” she wrote. “I cannot tell you what happened, why, or anything like that, though I wish that I could. It is very highly unlikely that I had left my drink alone outside to go inside to the bathroom, etc. But it seems the only explanation is that something was slipped into my drink.”

The owner of Vola’s told ALXnow that they are working with police. He said no one has alleged any employees did anything wrong and that what occurred is still unclear.

Morning Notes

Virginia extends ‘cocktails-to-go’ laws for another year — “During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when many restaurants were shuttered, the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC) created a safe and secure way for restaurants to offer cocktails to go with a meal. The General Assembly has now continued this practice in statute for one year.” [Zebra]

Republican mayoral candidate Catchings announces she won’t get education endorsement — “I will not be receiving the endorsement from APACE – Alexandria Political Action Committee for Education. What matters most is that I receive the support from Alexandria parents and citizens for School Choice !!” [Twitter]

Alexandria Restaurant Week returning Aug. 20-29 — “For 10 days (including two weekends), diners can enjoy specials from 60+ restaurants throughout Alexandria including Old Town, Del Ray, Carlyle, Eisenhower and the West End. Participating restaurants will be offering special $49 in-person and/or to-go dinner for two and select restaurants will also be offering a $25 in-person and/or to-go dinner for one.” [Alexandria Living]

‘Queens On King Street’ is back — “After a hiatus of more than a year due to the pandemic and COVID-19 restrictions, Alexandria’s Queens on King Street group will reconvene on Tuesday, July 13th at The Light Horse from 6:00-8:00 p.m. The occasion will also serve as the group’s five-year anniversary. In 2015, co-founders Timothy McCue, Nathan Sell, and Alex Rodriguez-Rozic created Queens on King Street to provide a space for LGBTQ+ individuals that live, work, or just love to visit Old Town Alexandria.” [Visit Alexandria]

VDOT seeking feedback on Little River Turnpike improvement plan — “Give input on a study assessing potential Rt 236 (Little River Tpk) improvements from I-495 in Annandale to I-395 in Alexandria! View a presentation and take our online survey (also available in Spanish and Korean) through 7/28.” [Twitter]

Today’s weather — “Sunny skies (during the day). Hot. High near 95F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph… Clear skies (in the evening). Low around 75F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New job: Manager — “Dolci Gelati is a small, customer-focused cafe and gelato shop in the heart of Old Town, Alexandria. We strive to serve the very best in innovative coffee drinks, gelatis, and various other pastries and desserts.” [Indeed]

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