Alexandria, VA

Morning Notes

Beyer Calls Trump ‘Super Spreader in Chief’ — “The Super-Spreader-In-Chief strikes again. From coast to coast he visits American communities spreading dangerous aversion to science and public health precautions. He brings large groups of people together under unsafe conditions in state after state, and this is what results.” [Twitter]

Halloween Weekend Events in Alexandria — “While Alexandria police are not planning to close down Lee Street for the annual Halloween party, there are lots of activities Halloween weekend.” [Alexandria Living]

ACT for Alexandria’s #ArtsALX Fundraiser Extended to Nov. 6 — “We are still fundraising to save the arts! 100% of donations will directly support artists in Alexandria. Donation portals open thru Friday, Nov. 6.” [Twitter]

Two Alexandria Restaurants Make Washingtonian’s List for Cozy Escapes — “The Yates family went above and beyond when reimagining the outdoor space at Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap during the pandemic. The 5,200 square-foot set-up has cabanas–hung with Moroccan lanterns–for parties of ten or less; pergolas glowing with string lights; and a new beer garden ringed around a fire pit… Pick (at Del Ray’s Evening Star Cafe) between two homey outdoor areas at this Alexandria mainstay: the Front Porch, where you can sip a bourbon slush by a fire-pit table, and the new, roomy Back Yard.” [Washingtonian]

ALIVE! Hosting Food Distribution Event on Halloween — “The event will be held at two drive-through sites: the parking lots of John Adams Elementary (5651 Rayburn Ave.) and Cora Kelly Elementary (3600 Commonwealth Ave.). Residents can pick up food at either location from 8:30-10:30 a.m. or until supplies last.” [Zebra]

Animal Welfare League of Alexandria Gets Pets Displaced by Zeta — “We are so glad we were able to welcome a group of dogs and cats from @LASPCA last night. In preparation for the landfall of Hurricane Zeta, The Louisiana SCPA needed to make extra room in their shelter so they could help animals displaced by the storm.” [Twitter]

Today’s Weather — “Cloudy skies (during the day) . High 53F. Winds NNW at 10 to 20 mph. A few clouds from time to time (in the evening). Low 37F. Winds N at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Deputy Clerk — “The Deputy Clerk (Grade 7) is assigned operational responsibilities and ensures court’s instructions are executed and legal papers are prepared with accuracy and in accordance with appropriate policies and procedures.” [Indeed]

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In the market to buy a business? Sometimes it can be easier than starting from scratch.

We took a look through Alexandria listings of the website BizBuySell and found a number of businesses for sale. Many are restaurants, which have been heavily impacted the last several months due to the pandemic.

The website aggregates numerous business sale listings. The names of the businesses and their locations are generally left out of the listing.

Reasons for selling, when provided, typically do not mention economic hardship, but more often involve the owner retiring or not having time to actively manage the business.

Here are some that are currently listed in Alexandria:

  1. Absentee-Owner Gourmet Pizza & Italian With Loyal Following — “This high-visibility restaurant has long been a destination and neighborhood favorite with locals – it continues to enjoy a following as a gourmet take-out option for pizza and all Italian cuisine favorites. Purchased in 2019 as a decades-old chef-owned establishment, the new owner invested in a complete turn around, nearly doubling sales and converting the business model to absentee ownership. Owner has refrained from applying for PPP or other SBA loans so that new owner might be able to take advantage of those opportunities.”
  2. Beautiful Hair & Nail Spa for Sale/ Price Reduced — “Great opportunity!!! Serious Inquiries only. Beautiful and well established Hair & Nail Spa for Sale in a very busy shopping center. Seller is retiring after many successful years in the business. Beautiful & Very efficiently designed. 6 years old Spa. Established, loyal customers. Reasonable rent & excellent location. 10 Hair stations, 5 Dryers, 3 Shampoo stations, 8 Manicure Tables, 8 Pedicure chairs, 3 Waxing rooms, 2 Facial Rooms, 1 Body scrub. There is plenty of room to expand. Room to grow by improving social media and other marketing and adding massage service.”
  3. Sandwich Shop/Deli — “I have a client who is ready to retire and has a sandwich shop/deli ready to sell. NO BROKERS. Substantial net positive cash flow after 31 years in business. Excellent old town location. Extended Lease. Business currently operates 6 days per week for breakfast and lunch until 6 so opportunity to extend hours and days under current SUP. No alcohol but license possible. Delivery and growing catering business add to profits.”
  4. Coffee Cafe — “Coffee cafe in heavy traffic shopping center of Alexandria VA. This coffee shop was established in 2019 and has tons of potential. All the furniture, fixtures and equipment are in perfect condition. Can be converted to fit most menus. The current owner has decided to get out of the food/drink industry and go back to his full time profession. We are now looking for a new owner to take this turn key establishment to the next level. Priced for quick sale.”
  5. Profitable Sandwich Shop & Deli — “Established in 1955, this well known deli located in a prime location of Alexandria VA is for sale to any qualified buyer. Surrounded by retail and residential on a main road with heavy walking traffic. This restaurant has a very strong following and highly rated on google reviews. The restaurant was completely renovated in 2016 with all brand new furniture, fixtures & high end equipment. The current owner averages a $50,000 cash flow while working limited hours. Do to family circumstances, the owner needs to sell. We are now looking for a new owner/operator to bring this business to the next level.”
  6. Restaurant & Bar Approved for Hookah — “With a capacity of 370, this 2 level establishment is perfect for private events, birthdays or work outings. The first floor is separated into two rooms with a dining area, bar and dance floor with stage/DJ booth while the 2nd room has a large bar, DJ booth and dance floor. The top floor is used for the current owners office, as well as storage, bathrooms and employee lounge.”
  7. 5 Days Open Deli in Office Complex — “Italian gourmet deli sandwich shop running 5 days (7AM ~9PM). Nestled in a well known office and residential complex.”
  8. Established & Well-Known Hair Salon in Old Town Alexandria — “Great opportunity to own a well-known hair salon that has been established for over 30 years in Old Town Alexandria. The business is ideally located on a prominent thoroughfare with excellent street visibility. The salon owners have done an excellent job building a successful salon with reliable revenue and cash flow over the years. There is a stable client base, but there is also plenty of room to grow and expand the business.”
  9. Asian Restaurant and Sushi Bar for Sale — “Established Business for Sale. Owner is looking to retire from business. All equipment is owned and in good condition, except the dishwasher is leased. Asking price is negotiable, send your offers!”
  10. Specialty Gift & Souvenir Boutique in the Heart of Old Town Alexandria — “Unique opportunity to own a specialty gift and souvenir shop in the heart of the Old Town Alexandria. The boutique is located in a high traffic part of Old Town and has been a destination shopping destination to both locals and tourists for decades.”

See more Alexandria listings here.

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That was fast.

Pizzeria Paradiso officially closed its doors at 124 King Street on October 4, and three days later Emmy Squared Pizza submitted a special use permit (SUP) application to start business at the prime spot in Old Town.

The Detroit-style pizza and burger joint would join eight other locations around the country, including in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington, D.C.

Howard Greenstone, a partner with Emmy Squared, told ALXnow that he jumped at the chance to rent the property from landlord Asana.

“Old Town is a great market, ” Greenstone said. “It’s a fantastic place for us to be. It has a tremendous tourist population, but it has a very neighborhood feel, and we’re not an opulent concept. We’re just a really delicious sort of square pizza and burger concept that seems like it would fit there perfectly.”

Greenstone hopes that the new restaurant will open in the spring or summer.

Photo via Emmy Squared Pizza/Facebook

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Cristian Velasco has been ready to open Del Ray Boccato since August, and hopes to start business by the end of the month.

There’s only one final hurdle — getting his business license approved.

Velasco frequently posts on social media that the gelato shop at 2400 Mount Vernon Avenue will soon open.

Velasco, a native of Peru, received his degree from Le Cordon Bleu Ottawa and worked s a chef throughout the D.C. area before taking a trip to Venice, Italy. That’s where he says he fell in love with gelato.

“Venice was a romantic chapter of my life where I moved on from the kitchen to the beautiful frozen dessert,” Velasco said. “The ingredients are so important. I use organic ingredients and I’ve created some really great tropical flavors from the Caribbean and Latin America.”

He continued, “And I’m conscious of dietary restrictions. Like the dark chocolate gelato. It’s milk-free. It’s basically a sorbet, but it’s so intense with such a great body that it feels like it’s made with milk.”

After 10 years in business, Velasco closed Boccato Gelato in Clarendon in 2018. He also owned a location in Old Town for a year-and-a-half at 1012 King Street, which is now occupied by Killer E.S.P.

Almost !!

Posted by Del Ray Boccato on Monday, October 12, 2020

Photo via Del Ray Boccato/Facebook

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Morning Notes

Free COVID-19 Testing Today in West End — “FREE COVID-19 TESTING! Tomorrow (Thursday) from 3 PM until 6 PM @NeighborhoodHth will be hosting another COVID-19 testing pop-up in partnership with the City. The event will be held at Burke Library at 4701 Seminary Road.” [Twitter]

Beyer Says Trump Has Made Fortune While in Office — “Donald Trump has a secret Chinese bank account, new properties in Scotland opened while he was in office, half a billion dollars owed to creditors like Deutsche Bank, licensing deals in Turkey, India, and the Philippines, and the Saudi government spent millions at his hotels.” [Twitter]

‘Top Chef’ Alum to Debut PLNT Burger Friday at Whole Foods — “In Old Town, you’ll find ‘Top Chef’ alum Spike Mendelsohn opening PLNT Burger Friday at Whole Foods at Carlyle, 1700 Duke St. The vegan fast-casual eatery serves up a variety of Beyond Burgers, a chili bowl, sweet potato fries, “blooms” fried onions and more. This will be the seventh PLNT Burger in the Northeast”.[Alexandria Living]

Port City Brewing Company Wins Beer Award — “WOW! We are so excited and honored to have won a Bronze Medal at the 2020 Great American Beer Festival for our Oktoberfest!” [Facebook]

Alexandria Drive-In Showing ‘The Mummy’ and ‘Casper’ on Halloween — “Announcing our movie lineup for Halloween Weekend!” [Facebook]

Today’s Weather — “Areas of patchy fog early. Cloudy skies early, followed by partial clearing. High 78F. Winds light and variable. Partly cloudy early (in the evening) with increasing clouds overnight. Low near 60F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Anthropologie Seasonal Customer Associate — “We are looking for individuals whose primary role will be to connect and engage with our customers in a socially responsible manner. Seasonal employees will typically work between 8 and 20 hours a week, with an average shift being 4 hours long. Please be prepared to discuss your holiday season availability.” [Indeed]

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Gregg Linzey wants to set the standard for bagels in Northern Virginia, and last Thursday he and his small team opened The Chewish Deli at 807 Pendleton Street in Old Town.

What’s the secret to making a good bagel?

“It’s simple, but not necessarily easy,” Linzey told ALXnow. “There’s no place to get a good bagel, so this all started when I tried to make my own bagels at home.”

Linzey continued, “You have to get every part of the equation right for all of your ingredients, like making sure the dough has the proper hydration. You need the perfect percentage of water, salt, flour, and we use malt syrup as our sweetener. That’s the key to getting a good New York style bagel. No sugar, no brown sugar, no honey. Just malt syrup.”

In case you missed it, The Chewish Deli opened in March as a food truck selling bagels, hot pastrami and Reuben sandwiches around Alexandria. The new brick and mortar is open on Thursday, Friday and Sunday from 8:30 a.m. until noon.

Hey everyone! Just a reminder of our schedule for this week!

Posted by The Chewish Deli on Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Linzey, who left behind a successful career as a certified financial planner, is baking the bagels every morning at 4 a.m. He says that business really took off for the food truck until a car accident sent the truck to the shop for 10 weeks. During that time, Linzey searched for a pop-up to work from and came across the former Pendleton Carryout.

“I met with the owner of the building and five days later negotiated my lease,” Linzey said.

Linzey lives in the Mount Vernon area, and previously spent five years living in Old Town. He’s a native of Haverhill, Massachusetts, and fondly remembers trips to Brooklyn to visit his grandmother and eat bagels.

“One of the best parts about going there was walking around the corner to a little bakery to get fresh, hot bagels,” he said. “They really take you back. This one customer was a woman in her sixties and she told me that it reminded her of getting bagels in New York with her father when she was young.”

Linzey said he wants to sell his bagels in cafes and coffee shops all over town.

“Right now we sell to Misha’s Coffeehouse and Roaster, and I’d like to have our bagels in cafes and coffee shops all around Alexandria,” he said. “That’s one of my goals, that I want to be the authority and set the standard for bagels here in Northern Virginia.”

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ALIVE! is hosting three free food distributions this week in Alexandria, and the nonprofit is offering shelf stable groceries, produce and eggs for hungry families.

“In response to food insecurity caused by impacts of COVID-19, 1.6 million meals have been distributed throughout Alexandria since Mid-March,” the city said in a release. “To maintain contactless food distribution, residents are encouraged to drive through and remain in their cars. Walk-up customers should maintain six feet of physical distance, wear a face mask, and bring carts or reusable bags to carry food home.”

The distributions will be held on Saturday, October 17 at:

The nonprofit is also currently in need of volunteers.

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Alexandria residents feeling the financial impact of the pandemic could be eligible to get $100 to $400 in grocery store gift cards as part of a new program with the city and ACT for Alexandria.

Residents who have not received financial help from the government will be prioritized for the ALX Cares Grocery Gift Card Program, which runs through December or until the funds run out.

“The City has continued to address ongoing food insecurity caused by impacts of COVID-19 by designating an additional $1.53 million in funding from the Coronavirus Aid Relief for Economic Security (CARES) Act to expand and extend food assistance programs,” according to ACT for Alexandria. “An allocation of $950,000 is designated for the ALX Cares Grocery Gift Card Program and $580,000 for ALIVE! to continue large-scale food distributions and pantry support.”

To be eligible, residents must provide documentation of their loss of income, receive 50% area median income ($63,000 for a family of four and $44,100 for an individual) and live in the 22206, 22301, 22302, 22304, 22305, 22311, 22312 or 22314 ZIP codes.

Up to 1,500 gift cards are planned to be given away per month.

ACT for Alexandria’s ACT Now COVID-19 Response Fund has also raised more than $1 million, and $914,000 has been given in grant funding to other city nonprofits.

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Morning Notes

Kamala Harris’ Husband Douglas Emhoff Ecourages Voters in Alexandria — “Excited to welcome @DouglasEmhoff to Alexandria as he works to encourage voters to turn out and make his wife our next Vice President!34K+ ballots have been mailed.Nearly 8K in-person early voters….and we are just getting started!” [Twitter]

Councilman Chapman Takes Tour of Potomac Yard Metro Station Construction –“Some pictures from my tour this morning of the construction site of the Potomac Yard Metro!” [Facebook]

Art on the Avenue Goes Virtual This Weekend — “Happy October! While this year’s festival is different, we’re still working overtime to support local artists and maintain the creativity and spirit of this community festival that we all love. Our 25th anniversary festival kicks off online Saturday at artontheavenue.org!” [Facebook]

Casa Chirilagua Chosen for Pandemic Street Design Grant — “Very grateful for Casa Chirilagua to have been selected!” [Facebook]

Carlyle Council Showing ‘Jumanji’ Saturday Night — “Join us this weekend for our Saturday Cinema Series showing of Jumanji: The Next Level! Grab a movie bag special from Sweet Fire Donna’s, bring a chair or a blanket and enjoy the film!” [Facebook]

Michael’s Little Italy Calls For Unity Through Italian Food — “Maybe we’re all from different families, countries, political parties. But that doesn’t matter at Sunday dinner. As we approach this weekend, I have an idea: come together folks. We have pizza, pasta, wine, and each other. That is really all we need.” [Facebook]

Sheriff Reads Kids’ Story Online — “Sheriff Dana Lawhorne shares a new book with a very important message — Speak Up! When something really matters, one voice can indeed make a difference.” [Facebook]

Today’s Weather — “Some clouds in the morning will give way to mainly sunny skies for the afternoon. High 68F. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph. Clear (in the evening). Low 47F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Fitness Operations Manager — “The Operations Managers are dedicated to making the fitness experience at our clubs an exceptional one. They create a clean, fun and friendly environment by training and motivating their staff. They also generate revenue, keep a clean and well maintained club, all while providing great customer service.” [Indeed]

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Alexandria’s tourism bureau is participating in a COVID Relief Food Drive starting today and ending on October 15.

Visit Alexandria says that the food will benefit individuals in the hospitality industry who have been impacted by COVID-19.

Drop-off donations can be made at the Alexandria Visitor Center from October 1-11, and drive-by donations can be made at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Alexandria Old Town (1900 Diagonal Road) from October 12-13.

The following food is acceptable:

  • Canned meat
  • Canned soups
  • Shelf stable and powdered milk
  • Cereal, granola bars and grains
  • Pasta and pasta sauce
  • Canned vegetables
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Cooking oils
  • Peanut butter
  • Pet food
  • Rice

The food drive is being organized by the Washington Area Convention Bureau Satellite Offices (CVBReps), a membership-based destination marketing organization with 60 members around the country.

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Chris Edwards, executive chef at Old Town Italian restaurant Hank & Mitzi’s, won on the Food Network’s reality show Chopped on Tuesday night (Sept. 29).

Edwards beat three other chefs for $10,000 and bragging rights, although the episode was taped in June 2019 and he had to keep his mouth shut about what happened for more than a year.

“It’s nice,” Edwards told ALXnow. “My kids think I’m pretty cool right now. My kids know that I’m not chopped.”

Edwards said that the pressure to perform on deadline was intense, but that he trusted his instincts.

“When you have 20 minutes to cook, you have to make a decision and go with your gut,” he said. “It is tough, but as a chef in the restaurant I can tweak things in the moment, but in that pressure cooker you can’t change direction. You have to go with the flow and I’m proud of what I did.”

The 43-year-old Edwards is a graduate of Johnson and Wales University, and cooked around the world before joining JL Restaurant Group, which owns Hank & Mitzi’s, in 2017. He lives in Woodbridge with his wife and two children.

Edwards said that appearing on a reality cooking show was always one of his aspirations.

“I always told myself that it was something I aspired to do,” he said. “I would really love to do it again, and even be back on Chopped.”

In recognition of the win, Hank & Mitzi’s (600 Montgomery Street in Old Town) is trying to capitalize off the publicity and is now open for lunch.

“We are expanding our hours,” Edwards said. “We’ve got great fresh food. I have a great team in here. We’re working hard.”

The show will air again tonight at 9 p.m.

So how does our Executive Chef Chris Edwards celebrate his big win on Food Network Chopped? By starting LUNCH SERVICE!…

Posted by Hank & Mitzi's Italian Kitchen on Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Is this the face of a #chopped Winner? YOU BETCHA!!!!Congratulations to Chef Chris Edwards on his stellar win this evening…we are so happy for you and your well deserved win!!

Posted by Hank & Mitzi's Italian Kitchen on Tuesday, September 29, 2020

https://twitter.com/AlexandriaVA/status/1311296067246288900

Photo via Hank & Mitzi’s/Facebook

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Morning Notes

Beyer says Trump ‘Unleashed’ the Coronavirus — “Vice Chair @RepDonBeyer during today’s hearing: ‘Donald Trump holds the vast power of the U.S. Presidency–but he has refused to use it. He has not contained the coronavirus, but has unleashed it. As a result, many more lives will be lost.'” [Twitter]

Police to Conduct Traffic Enforcement Campaign for Drivers at Crosswalks — “APD is committed to protecting vulnerable road users by raising awareness about pedestrian and bike safety. The Traffic Safety is preparing to conduct multiple traffic enforcement operations which intend to address unsafe pedestrian and driving behavior in, and around, City of Alexandria crosswalks.” [Facebook]

Mystery of WWII Uniform Solved in 24 Hours on Nextdoor — “On Sept. 13, 2020, Colonel Royal Gervais’s uniform — after residing in an attic through 14 years of tenants and 22 years of my mom’s ownership, then in our closet for 34 years — was returned in person to members of his family as they shared photos and memories of the Colonel with us.” [Alexandria Living]

Sur La Table To Close At End Of September in Old Town — “Sur La Table, a high-end kitchenware store that also hosts cooking classes, will close its Alexandria location at the end of September.” [Patch]

7 On Your Side Uncovers Trash Issues with Alexandria Recycling Drop-off Center — “The video was taken by Advocates for Clean and Clear Waterways. The fence belongs to the Virginia Department of Transpiration and is torn apart and rolled back.   At the bottom of the fence, there’s a homeless camp. 7 On Your Side cameras found the same issues.” [WJLA]

Tickets Available for Senior Services of Alexandria Virtual Oktoberfest Celebration — “Oktoberfest is coming Oct. 15 and for the first time it will be virtual! Join SSA for a fun evening featuring Port City beers, delicious German food and a virtual beer tasting and tour of the brewery. This annual event supports Meals on Wheels, Groceries to Go, and the Friendly Visitor Program!” [Facebook]

Outdoor ‘Black Panther’ Outdoor Viewing Party in Carlyle this Weekend — “Join us this Saturday for a night to remember Chadwick Boseman – Wear your tribute costume, bring your tribute figurine and enjoy our showing of Black Panther.” [Facebook]

ALIVE! Distributing Food This Weekend — “ALIVE! will distribute food at two drive-through sites on Saturday, September 26, 8:30-10:30 a.m., in the parking lots of Cora Kelly (3600 Commonwealth Ave.) and John Adams (5651 Rayburn Ave.) Elementary Schools. These distributions include bags of shelf stable groceries, chicken and eggs, while supplies last. To observe no-contact food distribution, residents are encouraged to drive through and remain in their cars. Walks-ups are permitted but should maintain 6 feet of physical distance, wear a face mask, and bring carts or reusable bags to carry food home.” [Facebook]

Today’s Weather — “Sunny skies (during the day). High 81F. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph.Partly cloudy during the evening followed by cloudy skies overnight. Low around 60F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Food Program Coordinator at ALIVE! — “ALIVE! is searching for a full-time, temporary Food Program Coordinator through at least December 31, 2020. Hours are non-traditional and require evenings and weekends. Health care and leave benefits available for full-time staff. Two part-time hires may job share this position.” [Facebook]

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