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Outdoor barbeque spot Hi/Fi Tex-Mex BBQ in Del Ray could be getting a significant expansion — provided it can get the permits next month.

A special use permit heading to the Planning Commission on Tuesday, Oct. 3, details plans for expanded seating, live entertainment and more, though only some of those have staff’s recommendation for approval.

The applicant, Majestic Grill, Inc., is proposing to allow 74 additional outdoor dining seats for a total of 124 seats. The applicant is also hoping to extend hours of operation, permit outdoor live entertainment, and to request approval of a temporary trailer.

The outdoor live entertainment would include live musical performances Wednesday through Saturday from 6-10 p.m.

The staff report recommends approval to the increase in outdoor dining seats, expanded hours of operation, amplified outdoor entertainment, and the temporary trailer — but does not recommend approval for live performances.

The application also includes letters from the public. While some had concerns about a smoker on the site being a nuisance for neighbors, the vast majority of letters were in support of the business, including one from the Del Ray Business Association.

Image via Hi/Fi Tex-Mex BBQ/Facebook

A man was reportedly robbed of his clothes and other items outside the Popeyes at 3402 Mount Vernon Avenue on July 18, 2023 (via Google Maps)

A 34-year-old Arlington man is being held without bond after allegedly robbing his girlfriend’s ex of his clothes and other items at gunpoint.

The suspect was arrested for armed robbery on Sept. 14, nearly two months after the July 18 incident.

The victim reported to police that, on July 17, he had a phone argument with his child’s mother and her boyfriend. The following day, while sitting outside in front of the Popeyes at 3402 Mount Vernon Avenue, the victim observed the suspect and an unknown driver pull up in a white Kia Optima, according to a recently released search warrant affidavit.

The victim told police that he approached the suspect on foot after the suspect got out of the vehicle and approached him.

The victim said that the suspect then stepped back, took a handgun from his waistband and pointed it at him. The victim reported that the suspect stole his clothes and other items, and that the suspect then posted a video on Instagram of the victim sitting on a crate, according to the search warrant affidavit.

Police took the suspect’s iPhone into possession and described the video in the affidavit.

The suspect goes to court on Oct. 5.

The city’s Sexual Assault Center and Domestic Violence Program is open, and hotlines are available 24/7 at 703-684-7273 [Sexual Assault Hotline] or 703-746-4911 [Domestic Violence Hotline]. Online support is also available with The National Sexual Assault Online Hotline.


Attention Del Ray dog owners: The Eugene Simpson Park will reopen to the public in the beginning of next year at the end of more than a year of redevelopment.

The formerly dusty, not-grassy park at 521 E. Monroe Avenue will be closed for the last three months of the year to allow for a “sod establishment period,” according to the city.

“Construction at the dog park continues with grading and site preparation for tree installation and sod installation this month as the start of the fall planting season approaches,” the city told ALXnow in an email.

In other Del Ray dog-related news, more work is being completed this fall on the dog run at Mount Jefferson Park (300 block of Hume Avenue). Work began on Mount Jefferson Park in Jan. 2022.

“The developer has been working with staff on a few options to address the drainage issues within the dog run and will be submitting a revised site plan,” city parks planner Judy Lo told ALXnow. “We anticipate the northern section of the dog run will be re-graded with possibly additional inlets and/or bioretention and plantings. This type of work is best done in the fall when the temperatures start to cool.”

Photos via Facebook and City of Alexandria

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin at Pork Barrel BBQ in Del Ray with restaurant employee Karl Gallant, Sept. 8, 2023 (courtesy photo)

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin put politics aside today and ate lunch at Pork Barrel BBQ in Del Ray.

Youngkin, who was accompanied by his entourage of bodyguards and staff, ordered iced tea and a pulled pork sandwich with macaroni and cheese.

“Nobody even noticed him (Youngkin),” said restaurant owner Bill Blackburn. “He was hungry for lunch and has been here two or three times before.”

Youngkin, a Republican, was in Alexandria in February 2022, and spoke about cost of living reductions at the Safeway grocery store in the Bradlee Shopping Center. That visit prompted the Alexandria Democratic Committee to ask Youngkin to “get out of Alexandria.”

A Star Wars-themed neighborhood party is coming to Del Ray for First Thursday, Sept. 7, featuring the 501st Garrison Tyranus Legion (via Visit Del Ray/Facebook)

Get fresh batteries for your lightsaber, because a Star Wars party is coming to an Alexandria neighborhood not so far, far away.

Del Ray’s First Thursday (Sept. 7) will feature a costume contest, music from The B-Sides, a selfie station and photo opportunities with special guests Darth Vader, his ne’er-do-well grandson Kylo Ren and members of the 501st Garrison Tyranus Legion.

The costume contest starts at 7 p.m.

The free Del Ray Business Association event is sponsored by Click, LLC and runs from 6 p.m. to dusk at Pat Miller Neighborhood Square (2311 Mount Vernon Avenue).

For rebel revelers who want to keep the party going, Evening Star Cafe (2000 Mount Vernon Avenue) is also hosting a Star Wars movie in their backyard at 8 p.m.

Image via Visit Del Ray/Facebook

GoFundMe for Mya Hall, third from left (image via GoFundMe)

Mya Hall, a manager at Matt & Tony’s All Day Kitchen + Bar in Del Ray (1501 Mt Vernon Avenue) was killed Saturday morning in a single-vehicle crash on I-70 in Baltimore.

Hall, 28, leaves behind one son. Matt Sloan, owner of Matt & Tony’s, launched a GoFundMe to support Hall’s family. Sloan described Hall as a beloved friend who brightened everyone’s day with her smile and humor:

We are heartbroken after losing a beloved friend, Mya Hall. A talented manager at Matt and Tony’s in Alexandria, she brightened everyone’s day with her smile and her sense of humor.

We are asking for support to help her family, including her son, through this difficult time. We will miss you, Mya!

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The scene of a shooting on the 800 block of W. Glebe Road (staff photo by James Cullum)

It’s been a scorching week in Alexandria, punctuated by two major crime events.

Someone was shot multiple times in an alley several blocks east of the Braddock Metro station last Saturday, followed on Monday afternoon by the city’s fifth homicide this year — the fatal shooting of a 29-year-old man on W. Glebe Road in Arlandria.

It is not believed that the incidents are connected.

The Alexandria Police Department is now looking for a silver Nissan Rogue allegedly linked to Monday’s shooting.

No arrests have been announced from either incident, and this week Mayor Justin Wilson, City Manager Jim Parajon and Police Chief Don Hayes asked for the community’s help in identifying the suspects.

Top stories this week:

  1. Alexandria ditching ‘pay and display’ parking meters citywide (32618 views)
  2. Notes: Many federal employees who report to work Alexandria are still mostly remote (7448 views)
  3. Del Ray Gateway project construction to start before end of year, city says (6510 views)
  4. Construction suspended for Holiday Inn Express at former Towne Motel site in Old Town North (5346 views)
  5. ACPS ignores Gov. Youngkin’s recommended policies on treatment of transgender students (4829 views)
  6. DEVELOPING: Man transported to hospital in critical condition after shooting in Arlandria (4747 views)
  7. Pupatella Neapolitan Pizza opening before end of year in Old Town North, owner says (3857 views)
  8. Duke Street affordable apartment complex ‘Witter Place’ could be ready by late 2025, developer says (3598 views)
  9. Arlington man busted for allegedly selling stolen car to Alexandria man on Facebook Marketplace (2509 views)

Have a safe weekend!


Alexandria hopes to award construction contracts before the end of the year for the long-awaited Del Ray Gateway project.

The finished product, which includes an interactive spray park and new public art, is expected to begin this year and wrap in 2024. Still, there is currently no specified date for when construction will begin, according to the city.

“The Del Ray Gateway project is currently in the procurement process and the bid schedule has not been finalized,” Alexandria Marketing Manager Katie Bishop told ALXnow. “The Park Planning team is working to finalize this schedule in order to begin construction and implement the design developed with the community.”

The project is located at the Nicholas Colasanto Outdoor Pool (2700 Mount Vernon Avenue), at the northern edge of the Mount Vernon Recreation Center field at the convergence of Mount Vernon and Commonwealth Avenues.

The pool, named after the former city manager and City Council member, opened in 1969 and has been closed since 2010. In 2012, the city recommended the pool area be transformed into a spray park and public plaza.

According to the city:

The site was identified in the City of Alexandria’s 2012 Aquatic Facilities Study that recommended a decorative interactive fountain feature and two shade umbrellas for the site with the existing pool space adjacent to the art center turned into a plaza for public festivals, art display, and an interactive fountain – “enhancing the Del Ray entry point while providing water play fun for neighborhood users and visitors during the summer months.”

Last year, artist Béatrice Coron, who is known for creating intricate paper cut-out silhouettes, was selected after a national search and commissioned to create the public art for the project.

Image via City of Alexandria

Cocktail at Dreampt (image via Del Ray Pizzeria)

An “experimental” new bar called Dreampt is opening today above Del Ray Pizzeria (2216 Mount Vernon Avenue), Alexandria Living Magazine reported.

The new bar is a “magical new themed experience” with a focus on unique new cocktails. According to the website:

Here, we believe in pushing the boundaries, and our cocktail creations are a testament to that philosophy. Our team has crafted an exceptional menu that showcases experimental cocktails, where unexpected ingredients find their way to dance harmoniously together. Immerse yourself in our twists on classic elixirs, or venture into uncharted territories of taste with one of our unconventional libations.

The Del Ray Pizzeria says the cocktail bar is open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sunday from 5-11 p.m.

The menu includes a series of exotic cocktails and mocktails, along with wine and some food choices like purple sweet potato fries and fried avocado.

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Jen Hamilton (on left) and Eneida Thomas, the two finalist candidates for the Mount Vernon Community School principal position, speak at a community meet-and-greet on July 10, 2023 (Via ACPS)

A longtime Alexandria City Public Schools educator and an assistant principal from Fairfax County Public Schools are the finalists for the principal position at Mount Vernon Community School (MVCS) in Del Ray.

Jen Hamilton, the ACPS dual language coordinator, and Eneida Thomas, the assistant principal at Braddock Elementary School, answered questions Monday night in a Zoom meet-and-greet moderated by former Alexandria City High School principal John Porter.

With more than 800 students, MVCS is the largest elementary school in Alexandria and is known for its dual language program. The job opened up after former MVCS Principal Liza Burrell-Aldana, the Washington Post’s 2023 Principal of the Year, resigned last month.

Porter said that the resignation prompted the school system to quickly hire a replacement, and candidates will interview with Superintendent Melanie Kay-Wyatt on Thursday, July 13. The new principal is expected to be hired by the School Board in a special meeting on Thursday, July 20, according to ACPS.

An ACPS community survey on the MVCS principal position is also open until tomorrow and comments will be sent to Key-Wyatt in a memo.

The new principal is expected to start work before the beginning of the next school year in August. The salary for the job is between $118,000 and $181,000.

Hamilton was an assistant principal at MVCS from 2018 to 2022, and was hired by the school system in 2014 as an English learner specialist. She started her career as an English as a Second Language teacher in Prince William County Public Schools in 2006. She has a Master’s Degree in teaching English as a second language from Georgetown University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish and linguistics from Georgetown. She said that she would continue building MVCS to be a model dual language school.

“I’m not a candidate who is seeking a principalship somewhere,” Hamilton said. “I’m a candidate who is seeking a principalship here specifically at Mount Vernon, which is a school that I’ve served at for the last five years and where I feel a commitment to and a passion for the students, staff, community and program.”

Eneida Thomas is one of three assistant principals at Braddock Elementary School in Annandale. Her career in education began 25 years ago as a kindergarten teacher at a charter school in D.C., followed by more a decade as a special education teacher, and an eight-year stint as an assistant principal at Metz Middle School in Manassas. Born and raised in Panama, she moved to the U.S. when she was 19 years old and received a Bachelor’s Degree in psychology from George Mason University, a Master’s Degree from GMU in educational leadership and a Master’s in special education from Regent University.

“I’ll be a champion for students and staff ensuring that your needs are met in a safe orderly learning environment,” Thomas said. “I will also have high expectations for students, staff and families, yet providing them with the support resources and tools that are needed to be successful. Read More


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