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Alexandria land use attorney Cathy Puskar was named the 2022 Business Leader of the Year by the Chamber ALX at its annual Best In Business awards on Thursday night (Oct. 27), and restaurant Chadwicks (203 Strand Street) was named Overall Business of the Year.

Puskar, a well-known attorney with Walsh, Colucci, Lubeley & Walsh, thanked a packed ballroom in the Westin Alexandria Old Town, and said that it means a lot since she’s a native Alexandrian.

“I don’t just ‘Remember the Titans,'” said Puskar, a 1985 graduate of T.C. Williams High School (now Alexandria City High School). “I am a Titan.”

Alexandria land use attorney Cathy Puskar was named business leader of the year by the Chamber ALX, October 27, 2022. (staff photo by James Cullum)

Puskar frequently represents landowners in major development projects, like Inova Alexandria Hospital’s massive redevelopment of Landmark Mall.

She added, “I love living in a vibrant progressive city where I’m surrounded every day and tonight by family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances and ‘YIMBYs’ who share a vision for moving our city forward, championing economic development, supporting our public schools, celebrating our diversity, helping others, and bringing the fun back to Alexandria.”

Chadwicks owner Trae Lamond accepted the Overall Business of the Year award.

“Anyone that’s told you that a business starts from the top down is wrong,” Lamond said after receiving the award. “We’ve got dishwashers, busboys, servers — they’ve been there for  25 years. They’re the reason Chadwicks is standing here now.”

The Awards

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World champion sprinters Noah and Josephus Lyles were born and raised in Alexandria, and now they’ve got the key to the city.

Last weekend, the brothers were inducted into the Alexandria City Public Schools Athletic Hall of Fame, and on Monday night (October 10) they got a little extra. At a ceremony at Market Square, the pair were presented with the key and a commendation by Mayor Justin Wilson.

Noah, who won the bronze medal in the Tokyo Olympics, has been hailed for frankly discussing battles with mental health.

“The reason we’re here is not just your athletic pursuits, but what you have done using your platform that you have as an athlete to speak out on mental illness and make sure you raise awareness of that,” Wilson said. “We know that that advocacy that advocacy is not not just important, that advocacy saves lives.”

The 25-year-old is a 2016 graduate of T.C. Williams High School (now Alexandria City High School), and 24-year-old Josephus graduated in 2017. Following the Olympics, Noah ran the third-fastest 200m in history at the World Championships in July, clocking in at 19.31 seconds. Josephus also broke a personal record by running the 200m in less than 20 seconds on the U.S. National team. The brothers now live and train in Clermont, Florida.

After receiving the awards, Noah said he was surprised that talking about mental health would have an impact. Since he was a child, he and his brother have gone to family therapy, and have been open about their mental health challenges.

Noah said that he sees two therapists “quite often.”

“I truthfully did not realize how much of the impact I had on everybody when it came to mental health,” Noah said. “Until I came back from the Olympics, and everybody was talking about it. Even at the world championships this year, I had the honor to talking to the Second Gentleman of the United States, and we talked about mental health, and I was shocked, because my first thought is like, ‘Me? Why do you want to talk to me?’ I mean, I know I’m fast, but fast only gets you so far.”

Lyles continued, “And he’s said, ‘Well, you’re the only male that talks about mental health openly in a international level.’ And I thought to myself, ‘What? No, there’s, um, well, there’s… I never thought of that before. I never thought of my moment of, you know, being vulnerable as being so heroic.”

The brothers, who have a sports foundation, were also praised for giving ACPS more than $100,000 in Adidas sports attire to local high school athletic teams, including Alexandria City High School.

“It’s always a wonderful feeling when Alexandria City public school students work hard and realize success in their endeavors,” said School Board Chair Meagan Alderton. “One of their biggest achievements has been how they’ve developed as young men outside of sports. They have the character that will stand the test of time. We need more of that in this world.”

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For the fifth straight year, Alexandria was named in the top five best small cities in the country in the 2022 Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards.

Alexandria took home the fourth spot this year after placing third the last two years in a row.

  1. Charleston, South Carolina
  2. Aspen, Colorado
  3. Santa Fe, New Mexico
  4. Alexandria, Virginia
  5. Savannah, Georgia
  6. Greenville, South Carolina
  7. Key West, Florida
  8. Santa Rosa Beach, Florida
  9. Palm Beach, Florida
  10. Wilmington, North Carolina

According to Condé Nast:

Washingtonians are all in on the secret, but it’s no surprise the rest of the world is catching up: Alexandria, Virginia, the charming, historic city just across the Potomac River from our nation’s capital, draws travelers and would-be residents alike.

Most folks start to imagine moving there immediately after setting foot in Old Town, once they’ve strolled the red-brick sidewalks, clocking street after street of perfectly preserved rowhouses from the 18th and 19th centuries. When you visit, scope out King Street, packed with boutiques, restaurants, and specialty shops; then land at the waterfront, where you can watch the boats bobbing on the water before touring the Torpedo Factory Art Center, a collective of galleries and artists’ studios. End the day at Gadsby’s Tavern, where some of our founding fathers used to drink — don’t mind the actors in colonial garb.

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(Left to right) Chef Patrick Tanyag with Bun Papa owners Doug Abedie, Markos Panas and Noelle Rickey with their Rammy Award. (Courtesy photo)

Bun Papa talks a big game, and now they have a RAMMY to back it up.

On Sunday (July 24), thousands were in attendance recognizing the region’s culinary excellence at the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington’s annual RAMMY awards at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Bun Papa won the outstanding pop-up concept in the publicly voted category.

The Bun Papa pop-up is located in the Beeliner Diner at the Bradlee Shopping Center and Bread & Water Company in Belle View. Owners Markos Panas, Noelle Rickey, Doug Abedje and Chef Patrick Tanyag took the stage to receive the award.

“At Bun Papa we make the world’s best buns and we put the best stuff in it,” Panas told the audience.

A fried chicken sandwich with ranch dressing at Bun Papa. (Via Facebook)

The team opened their first pop-up last year at Bread & Water in the Belle View Shopping Center, and their second at the Capitol One Arena, followed by Beeliner earlier this year. Panas also wants to bring back another pop-up at the Capitol One Arena for hockey season this fall.

“People want the best buns in the world to salivate over, and eat their burgers, dogs and chicken sandwiches,” Panas told ALXnow. “People want nostalgic, delicious, fun desserts and they want they want it from people who make them feel special, who care, who are there putting out the best possible product they can. Bun Papa is a celebration of us, the community, food, our opportunity to move forward through Covid. It’s just been a ton of fun for all of us.”

Sandwich photo via Facebook

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Morning Notes

Boats at the Old Town Waterfront (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Alexandria Man Killed in D.C. — “A 22-year-old man from Alexandria was shot and killed over the weekend in Washington DC, authorities said. Keonte Broadus-Gallman was found around 9 p.m. in the 1900 block of Anacostia Drive after authorities received a report of an unconscious person, the Metropolitan Police Department reported.” [Daily Voice]

Alexandria Recognized by State Planning Association — “The City of Alexandria is the winner of two prestigious awards. Today the Virginia Chapter of the American Planning Association’s (APA Virginia) recognized the Department of Planning and Zoning with the Commonwealth Plan of the Year Award for its Arlandria-Chirilagua Small Area Plan and the Red Clay Development of the Year Award for its Landmark Mall Redevelopment Plan.” [Zebra]

Carpenter’s Shelter Finalist for Award — “AHDC is honored to share that The Bloom and Carpenter’s Shelter has been selected as a Terwilliger Center finalist for Innovation in Attainable Housing:” [Twitter, ULI]

It’s Tuesday — Humid and mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 87 and low of 75. Sunrise at 6:00 am and sunset at 8:32 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Noah Lyles, the world champion sprinter and Olympic bronze medalist can add another trophy to his collection, as he and his speedster brother Josephus Lyles have been chosen for induction into the 2022 ACPS Athletic Hall of Fame.

“Noah Lyles is a world record holder, world champion, bronze medal winner and a great ambassador for our city,” Aly Khan Johnson, chair of the ACPS Athletic Hall of Fame Advisory Committee Meeting, told the School Board last Thursday night (May 19).

The impressive list of 26 inductees also includes Alexandria’s Shirley Marshall-Lee, the world’s first African American female scuba diver; educator Naomi L. Brooks, who played basketball at Parker-Gray High School and has a school named after her; and Fred Borchelt, a 1972 T.C. Williams High School grad who won the silver medal in the 1984 Olympics.

“We are blessed in this community to have wonderful athletes that come through our school system,” said Alexandria School Board Vice Chair Jacinta Greene. “So many of which that we have thousands of (ACPS Athletic Hall Of Fame) applications that come in each year.”

There are 26 inductees this year — more than usual due to a backlog of nominees. The Hall of Fame started in 2014, and previous winners include members of the 1971 T.C. Williams High School varsity football team, which gained worldwide recognition in the 2000 movie Remember The Titans.

The induction ceremony will be held in the Alexandria City High School auditorium at 2 p.m. on October 8.

The 2022 ACPS Athletic Hall of Fame

  • 1945 George Washington High School Boys Basketball Team — State champions
  • 1977 T.C. Williams High School Boys Basketballs Team — State champions
  • DeArcey “Dee” Campbell, George Washington High School Class of 1944, Crew Coach 1975-2005
  • Robert Garda, George Washington High School Class of 1957 — Football, Basketball, Track
  • Joe Hensley, George Washington High School Class of 1944 — Basketball
  • Bobby Jones, George Washington High School Class of 1949 — Track
  • Naomi Lewis-Brooks, Parker-Gray High School Class of 1951 — Basketball
  • Shirley Marshall-Lee, Parker-Gray High School Class of 1956 — Scuba Diving
  • Doug Yates, George Washington High School Class of 1955 — Basketball, Track
  • Fred Borchelt, T.C. Williams High School Class of 1972 — Crew
  • Yolanda Brown, T.C. Williams High School Class of 1994 — Track/Field
  • Lesa Diggs-Moore, T.C. Williams High School Class of 1981 — Track
  • Sherri Funn, T.C. Williams High School Class of 1978 — Track
  • John Johnson, T.C. Williams High School Class of 1973 — Track/ Field
  • Rodney Johnson, T.C. Williams High School Class of 1997 — Football, Track/Field, Track Coach
  • Missy Anne Kilkpatrick, T.C. Williams High School Class of 1991 — Track
  • Kathy James Lorton, T.C. Williams High School Class of 2000 — Cheerleading
  • Josephus Lyles, T.C. Williams High School Class of 2016 — Track/ Field
  • Noah Lyles, T.C. Williams High School Class of 2016 — Track/ Field
  • Marie McKeon Zack, T.C. Williams High School Class of 1983 — Soccer/Field Hockey
  • Barry Mountain, T.C. Williams High School Class of 1979 — Track/Field
  • Stephanie O’Toole Whalen, T.C. Williams High School Class of 1990 — Field Hockey, Basketball, Softball
  • Lydell Scott, T.C. Williams High School Class of 1987 — Football
  • Carl Turner, T.C. Williams High School Class of 1974 — Football, Basketball
  • Ezra Whorley, T.C. Williams High School Class of 1992 — Track/Field, Football
  • Eryk Williamson, T.C. Williams High School Class of 2015 — Soccer

Via Noah Lyles/Twitter

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Beeliner Diner at 3648 King Street. (Courtesy photo)

Two Alexandria restaurant groups have been nominated as the top performers in their industry as part of the 40th annual Rammy Awards.

The Bun Papa pop-up, which is located in the Beeliner Diner at the Bradlee Shopping Center, is nominated for outstanding pop-up concept. This is their second nomination in a row since being nominated as the region’s best pop-up spot.

It’s also the second year in a row that the Neighborhood Restaurant Group has been nominated, although this year the nomination goes to NRG’s Michael Babin for restaurateur of the year. The company, which owns 19 local eateries, was awarded a Rammy last year for the most impressive pandemic pivot to provisions or market.

Public voting for the eventual winners begins this month, and the awards will be presented in a gala at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on July 24.

Bun Papa owner Markos Panas is asking that his customers rally for his pop-up with their votes.

“It’s an honor already to be nominated as a business, and we want to bring this thing forward with the support of all Alexandria and take home the win for everybody,” Panas said.

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The Alexandria Beautification Commission announced its 2022 Alexandria Architecture Award winners Monday.

The commission asked for nominations and also toured the city looking for candidates that “speak to the character and future of the City, inspire others to enhance the beauty and architecture of their properties and help make Alexandria a creative, dynamic community.”

Properties were evaluated on criteria including aesthetic improvements through creative design, historical restoration or commitment to the art of architecture and sustainable design practices, according to a news release.

“Architecture says a lot about a neighborhood and City and the value residents and business place on the community in which they live and work,” Commission Chair Steve Cohen said. “Great architecture, like those recognized this year, encourage us to get out, enjoy our City, and meet our friends and neighbors. It also inspires each of us to do our part to make Alexandria an even more amazing place to live, work, and visit.”

Cohen said he was impressed with the diversity of this year’s recipients, which represented a range of architectural style and purposes.

The award winners were:

Robinson Landing, featuring 26 condominiums and 70 townhomes, was recognized for its innovative architectural design, that incorporates historical elements and lessons, and creates a beautiful public gathering place for all Alexandrians and visitors. Judges also took note of the great care and time your firm took in the archeological work during the excavation phase.

Eisenhower Square development by Toll Brothers, featuring a modern 67-home luxury development, was recognized for its innovative architecture that enhances the City with a walkable, visually stimulating neighborhood.

Beaconcrest Homes and the owners of 128 and 128A East Walnut Street were recognized for an innovative architectural design that expands our notion of a residential duplex, with modern, clean lines and a refreshing style.

The Adams’ residence at 1208 Trinity Drive was recognized for a design that incorporated modern, clean lines and style while incorporating historical elements that evoke the sense of tradition, history, and neighborliness Alexandria is known for.

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Alexandria’s Florence King, a 2021 City Council candidate who died in December, has been posthumously awarded Volunteer Alexandria’s top award.

Volunteer Alexandria’s 2021 Volunteers are the Heart of Alexandria awards gala has been canceled due to Covid, but top honors were still announced on Monday (Feb. 15).

King, a 2018 Living Legend of Alexandria, received the Marian Van Landingham Lifetime Achievement Award for consistently serving the community over her lifetime. That work included 25 years as a city election officer, and as chair of the city’s Commission on Employment, chair of Agenda: Alexandria and vice chair of the city’s Historical Resources Commission.

“The donation of time, talents and skills of our community’s volunteers makes Alexandria a better place for all of us,” said Mayor Justin Wilson. “Without volunteers, our hard-working non-profits would not be able to fulfill their missions and we couldn’t do what we do to serve our most vulnerable residents.”

Last year, more than 1,760 people donated 62,560 hours to Visit Alexandria. That’s a value of $1.8 million, said the nonprofit’s Executive Director Marion Brunken.

“It is amazing, how many people serve our community and families in need,” Brunken said.

Awardees

  • Joan White Grassroots Volunteer Service Award — Eldon Boes
  • Joan White Grassroots Volunteer Service Award — Linda Thoms
  • RSVP Volunteer Service Awardee — Barbara Sherlock
  • RSVP Volunteer Service Awardee — Tami Stuckey
  • ASCEND Alexandria Youth Service Volunteer Award — Fatima Eldawah and Ian McDonough
  • Emergency Preparedness Volunteer Service Award — The Alexandria Medical Reserve Corps and the Community Emergency Response Team

There are dozens of volunteer opportunities available in Alexandria, including donation sorting, puppetry instruction and reading to elementary school kids.

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Del Ray Business Association Board Members and past Heart of Del Ray award winners present the 2022 Heart of Del Ray to Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap. Joey Civali of the Yates family represented Lena’s in accepting the award. (Via Bill Blackburn)

The thoughtful dining experiences have paid off. Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap was awarded the Heart of Del Ray award on Friday (Feb. 11), beating out four other local businesses.

More than 1,000 voters cast ballots for the spot that captured the heart of the community. The Del Ray Business Association presented the restaurant with a large heart-shaped award on Friday morning — just in time for Valentine’s Day on Monday, Feb. 14.

“It’s a great anchor for Del Ray and reinforces what we’re all about — the small, locally owned family business,” said DRBA board member Gayle Reuter. “They know their customers, and we know them. It’s what we look for in a community — a place where we all know and care about each other.”

Lena’s has been widely recognized for transforming the restaurant into creative and Covid-conscious dining spaces with Haiku fans to kill airborne pathogens. The second floor was converted into The Loft at Lena’s, a seasonal pop-up with new concepts and menus, and the top of their parking deck was made into the tropical retreat Lena’s Oasis.

“Lena’s didn’t just put up a tent with tables outside,” wrote one nominator. “They recognized people needed an escape during COVID, so they created an elevated dining experience — and it changes with the seasons!”

Lena’s is owned and operated by Alexandria Living Legends Jason and Loran Yates. It opened in 2015 at “Yates Corner” at Braddock Road and Mount Vernon Avenue, and is next door to Yates Dry Cleaning and across the street from the Yates Automotive Service Center.

The award was presented to Dolce & Bean last year, and Preeti Patel’s 7-Eleven on Mount Vernon Avenue in 2020.

“The past year has been hard on all of us,” Lena’s said on its website. “We created Lena’s Oasis to say ‘thank you’ and to give back to this wonderful community that has supported us through thick and thin for more than 57 years. An oasis is something calm in the midst of chaos. So, come to our safe space and relax for a while. You deserve it. We will get through this together.”

The other nominees:

Courtesy photo

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