Alexandria Restaurant Partners has filed a special use permit request to buy the old Charlie’s on the Avenue restaurant in Del Ray and turn it into a concept called “Joe’s Kitchen.”

The SUP was sent in to the city on Nov. 5, and the last day for public comments is Nov. 26.

Charlie’s (1501 Mount Vernon Avenue) closed in January after opening in the former home of Fireflies, which closed in 2017 after 15 years in business.

ARP owns  Mia’s Italian KitchenVola’s Dockside GrillRiverside Taco CompanyJoe Theismann’s RestaurantPalette 22 and The Majestic. It is also developing Ada’s On The River at Robinson Landing.

Image via Charlie’s on the Avenue Facebook

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Unlike many of his Latino neighbors in Arlandria, Realtor Brett Rice has had a solid year and is giving back in a big way. On Wednesday, Nov. 25, which is the day before Thanksgiving, Rice and Alexandria Restaurant Partners will give away 500 meals worth about $35,000 to the community.

“The pandemic hasn’t been bad for everyone, and people are buying second homes and vacationing, and I just want to do something that will help the community,” Rice told ALXnow.

Each meal will feed a family of four, and there’s no news yet as to what’s on the menu.

“This year has been very good for his business and he feels lead to give back to neighbors who have had a hard year,” said Casa Chirilagua Executive Director Adriana Gómez Schellhaas. “We are certainly on board.”

Alexandria Living Legend Pat Miller has set up a page for donations.

Rice, who lives in Del Ray, also owns Arlandria Floors, and said that his business was at rock bottom during the height of the pandemic, although his troubles pale in comparison with the city’s poorer residents. He came up with the idea two weeks ago while hanging out with his friend Murray Bonnit, who has joined in the effort.

“I haven’t had to struggle to pay bills, and I haven’t lost my family members, and I think people forget around here how affluent we live in Del Ray,” he said. “We can’t live in this bubble with a lot of talk and no action.”

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Morning Notes


Senators Kaine and Warner Urge GSA to Begin Transition Process
— “An orderly and peaceful transition process is critical as the country continues to grapple with the loss and far-reaching impacts brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.'” [Twitter]

Beyer Asks Residents to Stay Home — “Being tired of the pandemic won’t make it stop, we need to be as careful as possible right now.” [Twitter]

Virtual Restaurant Touchdown Wings & Burgers Opens — “Touchdown Wings & Burgers runs out of Joe Theismann’s Restaurant. In mid-October, ARP opened Touchdown Wings & Burgers, a new brand for the organization.” [Alexandria Living]

Alexandria Library Gets Grant for Climate Change Programming — “By receiving the grant, Alexandria Library has committed to becoming a Climate Resilience Hub.” [Zebra]

Casa Chirilagua 5K Extended to November 11 — “GREAT NEWS! Christ the King Church has extended the Casa Virtual 5K to November 11! You now have 2.5 more weeks to register and participate. This is one way you can support the Chirilagua families that face so much adversity with strength and courage. Can you help us reach our 1,000 km goal?” [Facebook]

Today’s Weather — “Rain early…then remaining cloudy with showers in the afternoon. Morning high of 65F with temps falling to near 55. Winds N at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 90%. Rainfall near a quarter of an inch. Cloudy skies. Low 48F. Winds N at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Dog Trainer/Instructor — “Olde Towne School for Dogs, the premiere dog training company located in Alexandria, VA serving the D.C. metropolitan area, is looking to hire new full-time trainers to our high energy team in a fast-paced and dog-filled environment!” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Beyer Says Trump is Suppressing Votes — “Donald Trump wants to illegally stop Americans – including members of our military serving overseas – from voting. The counter to this is simple: vote.” [Twitter]

Mayor Defends Kamala Harris’ Dancing After Criticism — “I am a ‘younger’ elected official and I frequently dance (and sing) to Mary J. songs (more ‘Just Fine’ than ‘Work That’) and I cannot wait until next year when we have a Vice President who does too.” [Twitter]

Alexandria Restaurant Partners Adds Air Purification Technology — “The Needlepoint Bipolar Ionization technology purifies the air by attacking and killing viruses, mold spores and bacteria, according to ARP. Created by Global Plasma Solutions, it is the first air purification solution to test effectively neutralize the coronavirus and achieves a 99.4 percent reduction within a half hour.” [Patch]

Alexandria Campaign on Adolescent Pregnancy Gala Tonight — “ACAP will host a virtual community event (today), Oct 29, 5:30 pm, featuring a celebration of its 20th anniversary and the release of annual teen pregnancy data by the Alexandria Health Department.” [Twitter]

Virtual Paint Night Tickets Available to Benefit Volunteer Alexandria “Join Alexandria Living Magazine and local acrylic artist Kellie Sansone for a virtual painting class, where participants will paint a pineapple — a symbol that means ‘welcome’ and is used quite often in Alexandria. The majority of proceeds will benefit Volunteer Alexandria, a local organization that matches volunteers of all ages with opportunities here in Alexandria. The cost of your ticket includes supplies in addition to the class!” [Alexandria Living]

Greenstreet Gardens Has an Influx of Pumpkins — “Still need carving #pumpkins ? We have lots to choose from!” [Twitter]

Today’s Weather — “Periods of rain. Potential for heavy rainfall (during the day). High 63F. Winds E at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 100%. 1 to 2 inches of rain expected. Considerable cloudiness with occasional rain showers (in the evening). Low 47F. Winds N at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 50%.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Sales and Marketing Manager — “Looking for marketing manager to develop and maintain social media platforms. To increase brand awareness. Responsible for posts, create email campagins. Working to create advertising, special offers, special events. Create photography and video posts. Copy, write and proofread all marketing materials. Need at least 2-3 years experience. [Indeed]

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Feeling hungry? This week, Alexandria Restaurant Partners launched its Unlock ARP membership program, and for $30 participants will receive a key fob that will unlock discounts and off-menu dishes at a number of their restaurants in the city.

The program is intended to boost business for ARP’s numerous restaurants in and around the city, including Mia’s Italian Kitchen, Vola’s Dockside Grill, Riverside Taco Company, Joe Theismann’s Restaurant, Palette 22 and The Majestic (which is scheduled to soon reopen).

As of Tuesday, there were 350 membership slots available out of the 500 that will be allowed to participate at this time.

It costs $30 to join, and this month members can get 99 cent draft beers at Theismann’s and a complimentary starter. Those who sign up will receive email discounts.

ARP was one of the first restaurant chains to announce that they were closing all of their locations because of the pandemic, and has also raised thousands for its employees and city nonprofits.

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Alexandria has put another summer work week to rest.

As the City Council enjoys a legislative break, the School Board conducted a virtual meeting to discuss the renaming process for T.C. Williams High School. Superintendent Gregory Hutchings, Jr., and the board advocate a public engagement process that could result in the board voting to change the name this December, followed by a vote on a specific name next spring. A group of community activists, however, believe that the name should be taken off immediately, since ACPS acknowledged Williams was an avowed racist and segregationist.

This week, readers also responded to stories about public safety, local businesses, entertainment, real estate listings and an update on absentee ballot requests.

Not included in this week’s list is Friday’s story about an increased police presence in Old Town after an uptick in violent crime.

What stories impacted you this week? Let us know in the comments.

Here are our top stories this week in Alexandria.

  1. Fire Department Says $1 Million in Damages and 21 People Displaced in West End Fire
  2. Lena’s in Del Ray Applies for Large Second-Floor Expansion and To-Go Alcohol Sales
  3. New Convenience Store ‘Old Town Mini Mart’ Coming to King Street
  4. Police Investigating ‘Shots Fired’ Report in West End
  5. Man Arrested for Forging Over $10,000 in Checks from Alexandria Dentist
  6. Del Ray Shell Station Robbed on Saturday
  7. ACPS Still Cutting Down 150-Year-Old Tree, Preparing for Parker-Gray Stadium Renovation
  8. Drive-In Movies Coming to Alexandria on August 29
  9. Truck Lit on Fire, Stripped of Identification at City Impound Lot
  10. Listing of the Day: 428 N Washington Street
  11. Alexandria Sees Record High Absentee Ballot Requests

Have a safe weekend!

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Scott Shaw says it will be two years before Alexandria Restaurant Partners gets to its pre-COVID financial situation.

“This year we’re down 50% in sales, and if the first half of next year has a slow recovery, then next year might be down 25%, and then we get back to normal in 2022,” Shaw, a partner with ARP told ALXnow. “Right now we’re worried about the winter and what happens when nobody wants to sit outside and we have to survive on to-go orders, which a lot of restaurants can’t do.”

ARP owns Mia’s Italian KitchenVola’s Dockside GrillTheismann’s Restaurant and BarLena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & TapPalette 22 in Shirlington and The Majestic, the latter of which is the only restaurant to not reopen. The company is also planning to open two large waterfront restaurants next year in Robinson Landing, and ALXnow will be covering that story in the days ahead.

After receiving emergency government loan funds, the company has hired back about 60% of its staff and Shaw says that takeout orders are making up between a third and a half of all business at its multiple locations.

“Takeout and delivery used to be a small percentage, maybe 5% of the business,” he said. “This crisis is just accelerating trends that already existed. So, if you didn’t have an e-commerce element to your business you got the wake-up call in a hurry.”

Shaw said that a few things helped save the summer, like the Virginia ABC approving the selling of to-go alcoholic beverages from restaurants and the sectioning off of lower King Street from car traffic.

Shaw also said that ARP is now exploring taking the place of the World Central Kitchen in its monthly food distributions across the city.

“We’ve cooked with World Central Kitchen probably 30 times in the last five months, and thousands of meals that are being distributed here in Alexandria, and now we want to be part of the solution to solve insecurity in this town,” Shaw said. “Our team’s excited about that. That’s something we want to figure out.”

Staff photo by James Cullum

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As Alexandria Restaurant Partners (ARP) starts expanding its restaurant capacity with the city’s phased reopening, the local restaurant group is planning to hire new staff.

ARP is scheduled to host a job fair on Thursday (June 18) from 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. at Vola’s Dockside Grill & Hi-Tide Lounge (101 N. Union Street).

ARP operates six locations in Alexandria — Mia’s Italian Kitchen, Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap, The Majestic, Vola’s Dockside Grill, Hi-Tide Lounge, and Theismann’s –along with Palette 22 in Shirlington and Café Tu Tu Tango in Florida.

ARP has reopened Mia’s Italian Kitchen, Vola’s Dockside Grill, and Palette 22 for patio dining with no reservations.

“Alexandria Restaurant Partners is preparing to relaunch and hiring for all hourly positions including servers, hosts, bussers and food runners for all ARP restaurant locations,” ARP said on a Facebook event page. “Enter via the Hi-Tide Lounge entrance and bring your resume along with a writing utensil. Please be prepared to interview on the spot!”

The job fair comes as Alexandria slowly recovers from high unemployment rates during the pandemic, even compared to its regional neighbors.

Staff photo by James Cullum

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Assisting pregnant mothers, raising money for unemployed workers and buying meals for hungry residents are just a few of the causes Alexandrians are tackling through a number of GoFundMe campaigns.

The coronavirus pandemic has created a lot of need throughout the city, and a number of individuals, businesses and nonprofits have raised tens of thousands of dollars with local fundraisers.

Here is a list of Alexandria-based GoFundMe campaigns and amounts raised:

Neighborhood Restaurant Group Family Fund — “Whether you are in for penny or a pound, just know that every bit counts, and that we would not be asking were the situation anything but dire. Our employees are the lifeblood of this company and form the backbone of this amazing industry; they are the core of our communities and the heart of our restaurant family.” (Raised $47,218 out of $150,000 goal)

Helping Alexandria’s Restaurants & Medical Workers — “We’ve set up a go-fund me page where people can donate any amount of money they feel comfortable with towards the cost of meals for front line hospital workers at Inova Alexandria Hospital.
Each week of the “stay at home” order, we will be delivering individually pre-packaged meals to Alexandria Hospital.” (Raised $21,225 of $25,000 goal)

Ramparts Tavern Employee Support Fund — “Every contribution counts – no matter how small – it will make a profound impact in the lives of our outstanding staff. Your continued support during this difficult time means more to us than you will ever know.” (Raised $18,554 out of $30,000 goal)

Support Studio Body Logic Pilates COVID-19 Relief — “We are asking your financial help to get us though this difficult and unprecedented time. It is the only way we will be able to return to normal operations once this virus has been contained.” (Raised $11,385 out of $15,000 goal)

ARP Fundraiser for Carpenter’s Shelter — “During this uncertain time, ARP will continue our partnership supporting Carpenter’s Shelter to deliver meals to those in need.” (Raised $10,900 of $10,000 goal)

Financial Assistance for HGR Employees — ” If you have the financial means to donate, every dollar helps! If you do not, another way you can help is to share this fundraiser on social media!” (Raised $10,733 of $50,000 goal)

Buying Car Seats For Mothers in Need — “Alexandria Department of Health typically provides FREE car seats to those moms who would otherwise struggle to afford them. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they have not been able to provide this service.” (Raised $7,771 out of $7,500 goal)

Murphy’s Patriots Help Murphy’s STAFF — “Murphy’s staff members are our friends and neighbors.  They have given us a home base for over two decades now, supporting us and our following through thick and thin. Now it is our turn to help them through this period of forced unemployment.” (Raised $6,000 of $2,500 goal)

Free Family Meals for Hospitality Workers — “Each day, we will provide different and delicious family meals FOR FREE to hospitality workers in our community who have been financially impacted by industry cut-backs. Our generous vendor partners are donating food and Cheesetique is providing facilities and staff to make this happen.” (Raised $5,970 of $2,000 goal)

M. E. Swings Coffee Barista Virtual Tip Jar — “This Virtual Tip Jar has been created as a way to support our staff who are not working and lost a significant portion of their income.  We appreciate your donation if you are able to do so, it will be split equally between our staff that who are not working due to our stores being closed.” (Raised $4,040 of $4,000 goal)

Hot Meals From SOME (So Others Might Eat) — “Every $8 you donate will purchase a Hot Nepalese meal for a single adult or a few meals for families in need who are on their own during this period of social distancing. Royal Nepal, a top rated Nepalese restaurant in Alexandria, VA has worked with us to create a wholesome and delicious meal including servings of chicken, lentils, vegetables, and rice.” (Raised $3,143 of $5,000 goal)

Please Support Bow Wow Meow’s Dog-Walkers! — “COVID-19 has shut down our small business almost completely! We have no income but lots of time to rest up from our normal 10,000+ step days. :)” (Raised $2,780 of $3,000 goal)

Photo via Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub/Facebook

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Alexandria Restaurant Partners (ARP) is switching things up this weekend, with a planned reopening in Shirlington and a Del Ray restaurant opening a new brunch menu.

“Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap (401 E Braddock Road) will launch a limited brunch menu starting this weekend,” ARP said in a press release. “Brunch will be available from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.”

Items available include:

  • Breakfast Pizza: mozzarella, eggs, bacon, roasted red peppers, alfredo sauce
  • Italian Sausage and Egg Panini: spicy Italian sausage, fried egg, provolone, garlic aioli
  • Egg Salad Panini: crisp pancetta, egg salad, mustard, tomato, arugala, scallions, focaccia bun
  • Wood-fired Frittata: mushrooms, roasted peppers, caramelized onions, mozzarella, mixed green salad

“Orders can be placed via LenasWoodFire.com for carry-out and delivery, or for delivery on UberEats, GrubHub and Postmates,” ARP said.

Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap was the only ARP restaurant not to close after Gov. Ralph Northam’s order limiting businesses to six patrons and was one of the early adopters of the cocktails-to-go directive.

Also opening is Palette 22 (4053 Campbell Avenue) in the Shirlington neighborhood of Arlington. The restaurant will reopen for take-out and delivery starting Memorial Day, Monday (May 25). The restaurant will offer a limited menu of local favorites, plus a selection of signature cocktails and sangria.

Photo via Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza/Facebook

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