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The Bank of America was robbed on April 3, 2023 (staff photo by James Cullum)

A 27-year-old Maryland man has been charged with robbing two separate Alexandria banks in March and April.

Jaquan Royal, of Prince George’s County, was arrested on May 24 in connection to the robbery at the Wells Fargo Bank in Arlandria (3506 Mount Vernon Avenue) on March 23, and at the Bank of America in Carlyle (415 John Carlyle Street) on April 3.

In both cases, the suspect allegedly handed the teller a note demanding cash and fled with an undisclosed amount. No one was injured in either robbery.

Royal is being held in another jurisdiction and goes to court on June 12.

The Alexandria Police Department is continuing to investigate the incident and asks anyone with information to contact Detective John Brattelli at 703-746-6699, at [email protected], or by calling the APD non-emergency number at 703-746-4444. Callers can remain anonymous.

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The Bank of America was robbed on April 3, 2023 (staff photo by James Cullum)

No one was injured after the Bank of America at 415 John Carlyle Street was robbed late Monday morning.

Alexandria Police were dispatched to the bank at around 11:15 after a man wearing a black puffy jacket and a blue surgical face mask reportedly handed the teller a note demanding cash. The suspect fled the scene with an undisclosed amount of cash.

No suspect description was provided, and police said to expect activity in the area. No one was reportedly injured in the incident.

Anyone with information on this incident can call the Alexandria Police Department non-emergency number at 703-746-4444. Callers can remain anonymous.

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Meal at Nando’s Peri-Peri (image courtesy Nando’s Peri-Peri)

Seven months after it was originally supposed to reopen, South African fast food chain Nando’s Peri-Peri could finally be opening next week in Alexandria’s Carlyle neighborhood.

In a press release, the restaurant announced the Hoffman Town Center location at 2462 Mandeville Lane will open on Monday, March 27. The 3,000-square-foot restaurant will have dining for 72 customers. Hours are 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday, and 10:30 a.m.-11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Nando’s Peri-Peri opened on King Street in 2010 but closed one year ago after the lease expired. The restaurant was scheduled to open last August but was delayed.

The new Carlyle location will also kick off a “Community Day” a month after it launches. On Saturday, April 22, all proceeds (sans tax and alcohol sales) will be donated to Alexandria City High School’s Parent Teacher Student Association.

According to the release:

Nando’s PERi-PERi, the beloved South African restaurant brand recognized around the world for its spicy flame-grilled chicken, hatches in Alexandria on Monday March 27th. The restaurant, in the Carlyle Crossing neighborhood near the Wegmans and the AMC movie theater, represents Nando’s long-awaited return to Alexandria.

Nando’s operated for years on King Street in Old Town. The new restaurant, at 2462 Mandeville Lane in The Foundry, features stunning industrial designs that mix exposed concrete and columns with contemporary African patterns, original African artwork, furniture, and light fixtures.

“We can’t wait to bring our mouth-watering chicken back to Alexandria,” said John Fisher, CEO of Nando’s PERi-PERi. “PERi-PERi – or African Bird’s Eye Chilli – is the heart and soul of the Nando’s experience. We marinate our chicken in PERi-PERi for at least 24-hours, so the flavor goes right through to the bone. Then we grill it over an open flame and baste it with PERi-PERi sauce to the customer’s preferred spice level. That’s what makes our chicken so addictive.”

The company’s journey from the tip of Africa to the edge of Alexandria–an adventure which began 35 years ago with a single location in Johannesburg–now spans 24 nations from Australia to Zimbabwe. Landing stateside in 2008 with its inaugural US restaurant in Washington, DC, the brand has since expanded to nearly 50 sites in DC, Virginia, Maryland, Chicago, and soon in Texas.

Nando’s new Alexandria location opens in a prime site in the Hoffman Town Center. The restaurant features original, contemporary South African art and furniture. The 3,000-square-foot Nando’s will offer dine-in seating for 72 customers, a spacious outdoor patio, and convenient take-out service and parking. Hours are 10:30am to 10pm from Sunday to Thursday, and 10:30am to 11pm on Friday and Saturday.

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Bad Ass Coffee of Hawaii is coming to Carlyle in March 2023 (via Facebook)

Bad Ass Coffee of Hawaii will open this month at 2466 Mandeville Lane in Carlyle.

The location in the Hoffman Town Center is the first of three that owners Michelle and Richard Lee plan to open across Northern Virginia over the next three years.

“Bad Ass Coffee of Hawaii was a great fit for us for multiple reasons,” Michelle Lee said in a press release. “We were initially attracted to the company culture, community giveback efforts, and meaningful story behind the name. We spent three months doing research to ensure this was the right business decision for us. After trying the product, we flew out to meet the CEO and other team members. That trip was so encouraging and solidified that this was absolutely the right move for us.”

The location was originally scheduled to open in the summer of 2022. The company doesn’t say exactly what day in March the shop will open and its phone number is disconnected. Still, when it does open guests will get their first taste of coffee for free by joining a rewards program.

The company was founded in 1989 in Hawaii “with a goal of sharing American-grown, premium Hawaiian coffee from Kauai, Waialua (Oahu), Maui, and 100% Kona coffee with coffee lovers everywhere,” according to its website. It was sold in 1995 and there are now two dozen franchises around the world, with the nearest to Alexandria being in Virginia Beach.

“We’ve heard for years, from our fans visiting our longstanding Virginia Beach location while on vacation, that they’d love a Bad Ass Coffee to enjoy every day in northern Virginia, and at long last, we’re thrilled to say Aloha to Alexandria,” said Bad Ass Coffee of Hawaii CEO Scott Snyder.

What’s with the name? According to Bad Ass Coffee of Hawaii:

In addition to premium coffee from the famous Kona region of the Big Island, Bad Ass Coffee also sources from Kauai and Maui. Its name pays tribute to a very important animal in Hawaiian coffee history: The Donkey. Legend has it that for generations, donkeys could be heard bellowing as they carried precious loads of coffee beans down the steep mountains of the Big Island. The people of Kona named these hard-working donkeys the “Bad Ass Ones” because of their reliably strong, but stubborn nature in carrying their precious cargo.

Photo via Facebook

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Bad Ass Coffee of Hawaii is coming to Carlyle this summer (courtesy photo)

Carlyle could be getting a new coffee spot early next year.

Hawaiian coffee chain Bad Ass Coffee Of Hawaii previously announced plans to open at 2466 Mandeville Lane in the Carlyle neighborhood sometime this past summer, but Ashburn-based news site The Burn reported the chain could now be eyeing a Jan. 31 opening.

The Jan. 31 date shows up on Google for the Alexandria location.

The original Bad Ass Coffee of Hawaii opened in 1989 and focused on offering coffee grown in the Hawaiian islands. It came to the mainland in 1995 and spread from there. The name comes from the donkeys of Kona, Hawaii, who carried coffee down the mountains.

Photo via Facebook

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Children sit in a circle at a Celebree School location (via Facebook)

A new day care center to accommodate 190 children is planning to open in the new Carlyle Crossing development in January.

There are 750 luxury apartments in Carlyle Crossing, and the Celebree School of Alexandria will be located within the 1 million-square-foot luxury residential development, on the ground floor of the brand new 13,648-square foot space at 2450 Mill Road.

The daycare franchise will be located in the same building as the Wegmans (150 Stovall Street), which opened in May. Its hours will be 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and it will be able to hold up to 190 children and 30 staffers working on-site at any given time, according to a special use permit filed with the city.

Founded in 1994, the school provides early education and childcare service-based programs for children aged six weeks to 12-years old.

The company has 26 corporate locations (24 in Maryland and two in Delaware), as well as 10 other franchises, and is “aggressively” expanding to open 150 new locations and franchises within the next three years.

“After developing successful schools in our home state of Maryland, Virginia was a natural next step as a target growth area for our continued franchise expansion,” said Richard Huffman, founder and CEO of Celebree School. “With a 25-plus-year history, we’ve built an incredible infrastructure for growth. By partnering with like-minded franchisees who believe in our brand and our mission, we’re poised for long-term success.”

There are four other Celebree Schools in Virginia — in RestonHenricoAshburn, and Tysons-Jones. Sixteen new locations are also planned to open next year, including the Celebree School of National Landing, at Metropolitan Park in Arlington, in Herndon and Dulles.

Via Facebook

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A 23-year-old Loudoun County man is being held without bond after allegedly eluding police, crashing into a semi-truck on Interstate 95 and ditching a stolen gun, weed and a safe into a nearby ravine.

The incident occurred on the rainy evening of Thursday, October 6, after police received an emergency call from an apartment in the 2400 block of Mandeville Lane in the city’s Carlyle neighborhood, according to a search warrant affidavit.

Police responded to a domestic incident inside the apartment. The victim said they were afraid for their safety during an altercation, and that the suspect had a gun. As the suspect walked out of the apartment, the argument went into the hallway and the victim was seen tugging on the suspect’s shorts and a black handgun was observed falling from the suspect’s waist and onto the floor, police said in the search warrant affidavit.

The suspect was also allegedly carrying a two-foot-square black safe, and was seen by police fleeing the area in a gray Honda Accord. Police followed him, and said that he drove erratically, and that he fled after they tried to initiate a traffic stop.

“The above-described vehicle ended up crashing into another vehicle on I-95 South at Exit Ramp 174,” police said in the search warrant affidavit.

After the crash, the suspect got out of the Accord, and was seen throwing the safe into a ravine near the exit ramp. Police searched the area and found the closed safe, an ounce of marijuana in a plastic bag, a handgun and bullets — not yet sunken in the mud and within throwing distance. What was found inside the safe has not yet been made public.

The suspect was arrested shortly thereafter, and was found carrying $5,700 in cash. Police found that the gun was reported stolen by the Fairfax County Police Department, and that the suspect has been charged numerous times with felony possession with intent to distribute marijuana since 2017.

The suspect was charged with weapon possession by a convicted felon, domestic assault and battery, receipt of a stolen firearm, reckless driving, eluding police, and failing to use his headlights with his windshield wipers.

The suspect goes to court on Wednesday, Nov. 9.

Via Google Maps

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District Dogs (image via District Dogs/Facebook)

Alexandria has its fair share of grooming salons and overnight hotels, but the Carlyle neighborhood could be getting a new one for the city’s canine companions.

Dog care facility District Dogs is headed to the City Council at a meeting on Saturday, Nov. 12. The item is docketed for the consent calendar, meaning it’s likely to be approved with little or no discussion.

The new location at 2424 Mill Road would include grooming, training and daycare services for dogs.

An animal care facility is already authorized in the building’s zoning, but a staff report said because District Dogs includes overnight accommodations it requires a special use permit.

The staff report recommended approval of the special use permit, saying the new business could be a boon to the growing neighborhood:

The proposed location for District Dogs is well-suited for this use. Dog-related businesses have grown in popularity and, with the number of new residential units in this area, the demand for dog boarding will likely increase. The addition of overnight accommodations to the permitted animal care facility use will increase the options dog-owners have in this neighborhood.

Photo via District Dogs/Facebook

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District Dogs (image via District Dogs/Facebook)

Dog care facility District Dogs is seeking a permit to open in Alexandria.

District Dogs is filing for an amendment to the development special use permit to add an animal care facility to 2424 Mill Road in the Carlyle neighborhood.

The new location would include grooming, training and daycare services for local dogs.

“The Animal Care Facility is a neighborhood serving business that will provide indoor only grooming, training and daycare services to its clients,” the application said. “The facility will consist of approximately 4000 square [feet] of ground floor space.”

The new District Dogs location would be part of the Hoffman Town Center project, which includes the Wegmans that opened earlier this year.

The DSUP request is scheduled for review at the Tuesday, Nov. 1, Planning Commission meeting.

Photo via District Dogs/Facebook

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The Remsen building of the Patent and Trademark Office (image via Google Maps)

The Remsen building of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in Alexandria will be closed for the rest of the week after what the USPTO has called an “Alexandria Campus Incident”.

Alexandria Police spokesman Marcel Bassett said police received a call at approximately 10:45 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 14, for a person having a mental health crisis.

“APD reported to the scene and with the help of the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Protective Services we were able to make contact with the subject and connect them with services,” Bassett said.

Despite rumors circulating among staffers left in the dark about what was happening, Bassett said no one was killed during the incident.

A memo to employees at the USPTO from Fred Steckler, Chief Administrative Office for the USPTO, said police were on campus to “protect an individual in distress.” The letter provided few other details about what happened other than it was under control, but urged workers in the building to be discrete about what took place at the building.

“While I truly understand the natural human instinct to want to know more, I’d like to encourage empathy and privacy for those most directly impacted,” Steckler wrote. “We will always do our best to communicate relevant information about safety and security to you, while exercising discretion and protecting individual privacy.”

While Steckler’s memo indicated that the office would be closed Tuesday and Wednesday, a USPTO spokesperson confirmed that the office would be closed until Saturday, though they would not comment on why.

Some in the patent examiner subreddit noted intensely stressful working conditions in the building and cited previous incidents of violence in the building: notably a malicious wounding in 2016 after a former examiner returned to the office after being fired and stabbed a DJ at a work event.

Letter from Fred Steckler, Chief Administrative Officer of the PTO, to staff (image via USPTO)

Photo via Google Maps

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