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The Nightmare On The Avenue pop-up bar at 2312 Mount Vernon Avenue is open. (staff photo by James Cullum)

Get your costume ready, because the Halloween pop-up bar ‘Nightmare On The Avenue’ is opening early next week in Del Ray.

The pop-up bar at 2312 Mount Vernon Avenue is currently being decorated, and staff are concocting a spooky craft cocktail and food menu for the space that was home to the 80’s themed Miami Vibes popup bar during the summer.

Expect the bar to open on Monday or Tuesday of next week, Owner Bill Blackburn of the Homegrown Restaurant Group told ALXnow.

“As the name suggests, ‘Nightmare on the Avenue’ is going to get you in the holiday spirit,” Blackburn said.

The pop-up is located between HRG’s other Del Ray restaurants Pork Barrel BBQ and Holy Cow Del Ray on Mount Vernon Avenue.

After Halloween, the bar will be transformed into the Christmas-themed “Joy On The Avenue.”

Marion Brunken, executive director of Volunteer Alexandria (on left), and Jenn Ayers, executive director of ALIVE!, celebrate reaching the goal of collecting more than 33,500 pounds of canned goods and cooking oil during the month of July (courtesy photo)

ALIVE! and Volunteer Alexandria exceeded their goal and collected more than 33,500 in last month’s first-ever citywide food drive.

The nonprofits collected 33,511 pounds of food from 38 locations across Alexandria last month.

“Thank you, Volunteer Alexandria, for hosting this food drive for us and the community,” said Jenn Ayers, ALIVE! executive director, “Donations like the ones we’ve received go a long way to keeping our costs down and provide a healthy variety of food to people who need help.”

The food collected will feed thousands of Alexandria families needing assistance. The effort was so successful that Volunteer Alexandria Executive Director Marion Brunken said that there will be another food drive next summer.

“We are thrilled to have exceeded our goal by over 3,000 pounds for our first community food drive and thank everyone who was able to help in some way,” Brunken said.

While the food drive was successful, ALIVE! always needs more donations. Food can be dropped at the ALIVE! Food Warehouse (801 South Payne Street) on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; on Thursday from 9 a.m. to 7 pm. and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon.

The food drive was sponsored by Ting InternetFitness Together and the Rotary Club of Alexandria.

Volunteer Alexandria and ALIVE! wanted to thank the following organizations:


An international food festival is making its return to Alexandria next month.

The Around The World Cultural Food Festival, which brings together food from fifty countries around the world, is returning to Alexandria’s Oronoco Bay Park (100 Madison Street) on Saturday, Aug. 26, from 11 a.m.-7 p.m.

This is the third year of the event. The event is free to attend with food and beverages available for purchase.

According to a release:

This year, we are taking our patrons on a one day trip around the world right in their back yard and present the cuisine, culture and traditions of almost fifty (50) countries participating in the event. With only one (1) ethnic food vendor per country, patrons will have the opportunity to explore over one hundred (100) traditional food items from sixteen (16) countries, enjoy folk dances and performances from twelve (12) countries, as well as an array of over one hundred and ten (110) ethnic artisans and crafters, independent consultants, small businesses and non-profit organizations. We invite everyone to come and enjoy as many dishes as they can; our food vendors take their time to prepare and present their top traditional food.

In 2023 we are presenting ethnic cuisine from Cambodia, China, Colombia, Greece, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Korea, Laos, Lebanon, Nepal, Peru, Thailand, Turkey, Vietnam and United States of America, traditional dance performances from Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, Germany, Iran, Ireland, Japan, Panama, Scotland, Turkey and United Kingdom, as well as artisanal items from Angola, Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Colombia, El Salvador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Peru, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Turkey, United States of America and much more.

Image via Around The World Cultural Food Festival/Facebook


Good Thursday morning, Alexandria!

☀️ Today’s weather: Expect mostly sunny and hot weather today, with a high of 99°F and heat index values reaching 106°F. Showers and thunderstorms are likely after 5pm, accompanied by 10-14mph southwest winds and gusts up to 24mph. The chance of precipitation stands at 60% with rainfall amounts varying. For Thursday night, anticipate showers and thunderstorms before 2am, followed by a slight chance of showers, mostly cloudy skies, and a low around 76°F. The 60% chance of precipitation continues, with potential rainfall amounts between a quarter and half an inch.

🚨 You need to know

It’s going to be a busy Saturday with the “Beats, Bites and Brews” event at John Carlyle Square Park (300 John Carlyle Street).

General admission is free and the event is from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., with the following performances:

Chic Events D.C. listed the following food vendors for the event:

Beats, Bites and Brews this weekend in Carlyle (via Facebook)

📈 Wednesday’s most read

The following are the most-read ALXnow articles for Jul 26, 2023.

  1. Duke Street affordable apartment complex ‘Witter Place’ could be ready by late 2025, developer says (1690 views)
  2. Construction suspended for Holiday Inn Express at former Towne Motel site in Old Town North (499 views)
  3. Alexandria prepares for back-to-school with backpack and supplies giveaways | ALXnow (400 views)
  4. Alexandria woman walking to Richmond for Women’s Equality Day (202 views)

📅 Upcoming events

Here is what’s going on today in Alexandria, from our event calendar.

Volunteers sort food at ALIVE! (Photo via ALIVE!/Facebook)

As the number of Alexandrians needing food assistance keeps rising, Volunteer Alexandria is asking residents to donate toward the first ever city-wide food drive.

Volunteer Alexandria has a goal to collect 30,000 pounds of canned food items by July 28 for ALIVE!‘s food bank.

“Hunger does not take a summer break and we thank everyone for donating cans and for volunteering to support this month-long food drive,” said Volunteer Alexandria Executive Director Marion Brunken. “Our goal is that this initiative becomes an annual event in the summer.”

Donations to local food banks usually dry up in the summer months, said ALIVE! Executive Director Jenn Ayers.

“Right now our service numbers are very high,” Ayers said. “We’re serving nearly 5,000 households per month through all our food programs (distributions, pop-ups, pantries and ALIVE! food hubs). At the peak of the pandemic we served about 6,000 households.  Last year this time we were down to about 3,000 households, so the need for food is still very high.”

Pre-pandemic, ALIVE! served about 400 households per month, Ayers said.

Ayers also said that financial donations are welcome, as last fiscal year the nonprofit spent about $550,000 in $1,000 payments to more than 500 families. Now with funds all used up, she says that the need is growing.

“We think people are really having trouble just making ends meet, what with inflation, the rising cost of living, increased rent, and all of that having an impact on food security,” she said. “We’re also seeing a higher number of people calling for support with rent or trying to prevent eviction, as well as seeking food. So so it’s all compounded together.”

ALIVE! needs:

  • Canned meat and fish
  • Canned vegetables and fruits
  • Canned beans
  • Cooking oil in plastic bottles

There are 16 food donation collection points:

The food drive is sponsored by Ting Internet, Fitness Together, and the Rotary Club of Alexandria.

The next ALIVE! food distributions will be held Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. at William Ramsay Recreation Center (5700 Sanger Avenue), and on Friday from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the Old Town Community Church (212 S. Washington Street).

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Miami Vibes Pop-up at 2312 Mount Vernon Avenue in Del Ray (staff photo by James Cullum)

Time to roll up your jacket sleeves, because it’s going to be an 80s summer in Del Ray.

Tonight is the soft opening for Miami Vibes, a Miami Vice-themed pop-up bar at 2312 Mount Vernon Avenue in Del Ray. The party starts at 6 p.m., and the drink menu is full of summer drinks like frozen daiquiris, mojitos and even an Old Fashioned with watermelon rum.

Miami Vibes is the sixth pop-up at the space by owners Bill Blackburn and “Mango” Mike Anderson of the Homegrown Restaurant Group since closing their Sushi Bar restaurant at the end of 2021.

Final touches were still being added to the restaurant interior on Thursday night, like a back-lit mural of Miami’s South Beach, neon lighting and painting. Anderson says that the pop-up will be ready to go by Friday. He also says that a date at Miami Vibes should run you about $60 to $100.

“We just wanted to have an 80s place with 80s music and with a Miami Vice vibe to it,” Anderson said.

Bar manager Mari Luffey wasn’t born in the 1980s and had to research the decade.

“Working under Mango Mike I’ve learned some things and I did a lot of research watching Miami Vice,” she said.

The drinks are named after the show, like the “Crockett and Tubbs” and the “St. Vitus Dance,” and the menu is full of small appetizers like coconut shrimp and spinach and crab dip.

Miami Vibes will be open until October, when it will once again be transformed into their Halloween-themed restaurant Nightmare On The Avenue. In December, it will be turned into their Christmas-themed pop-up bar Joy On The Avenue.

Win prizes if you can spot Waldo at 25 Alexandria businesses (staff photo by James Cullum)

Where’s Waldo? Kids and parents with eagle eyes can spot him this month in 25 Alexandria businesses.

After you find Waldo at 10 businesses, spotters can collect prizes at Hooray for Books (1555 King Street) in Old Town. Collectors with at least 20 stamps on a passport (found at any participating business) can claim a Waldo temporary tattoo and store coupon.

The annual promotion will end with a grand celebration and prize drawing for a set of Waldo books at the store on July 31 at 4 p.m.

Find Waldo at these businesses:

  1. Alexandria Visitor Center (221 King Street)
  2. AR Workshop Alexandria (1212 King Street)
  3. Beeliner Diner (3648 King Street)
  4. The BEST Gift Shop (112 S. Patrick Street)
  5. Conte’s Bike Shop (1100 King Street)
  6. The Company of Books (2200 Mount Vernon Avenue)
  7. The Dog Park (705 King Street)
  8. fibre space (1319 King Street)
  9. Fresh Baguette (1101 King Street)
  10. Gold Works (1400 King Street)
  11. Happy Place (105 S. Union Street)
  12. Hooray for Books (1555 King Street)
  13. King Street Souvenirs (217 King Street)
  14. Lavender Moon Cupcakery (116 S. Royal Street)
  15. Pacers Running (1301 King Street)
  16. Penny Post (1201 King Street)
  17. Red Barn Mercantile (1117 King Street)
  18. Rocket Fizz (1701 Centre Plaza)
  19. Stitch Sew Shop (1219 King Street)
  20. Ten Thousand Villages (915 King Street)
  21. Today’s Cargo (1102 King Street)
  22. Turkish Coffee Lady (1201 King Street)
  23. The UPS Store (107 West Street)
  24. Uptowner Cafe (1609 King Street)
  25. Whistle Stop Hobbies (1719 Centre Plaza)
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Flaky yet sturdy, Alex Rosenberg and Michael Vidal say they’ve created the perfect biscuit.

The owners of District Biscuit Company opened in December at 3401 Mount Vernon Avenue, offering a menu dedicated to Vidal’s creation.

“The perfect biscuit needs that little bit of sourness from from the buttermilk, and that extra buttery flavor,” Vidal told ALXnow. “And structurally we’ve created a biscuit that can hold up as a sandwich, because most biscuits are very crumbly, and kind of fall apart.”

It’s tough news for Del Ray’s June Turner, who says she’s addicted to the biscuits and is trying to lose weight.

“I have to stop myself from coming here every morning,” Turner said. “These are the best biscuits outside of Georgia. It’s really hard to find a good biscuit around here, especially if you’re from the South.”

Vidal, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, presented a biscuit for Rosenberg to sample back in 2020. The owners are longtime friends who previously worked together selling cars at a local dealership. It’s the first time either have run a business.

“Our biscuits are handmade and we use a lamination process that creates layers and flakes within the biscuits,” Rosenberg said. “So many biscuits that I’ve tried in my life fall apart and lose their structural integrity. These can hold up to biscuits and gravy and they hold up to a biscuit sandwich.”

What’s in the biscuits? Nothing special, Vidal said.

“Buttermilk, flour, butter, you know, just what you’d expect to be in a biscuit,” he said. “What’s different is in the amount of the ingredients and the love we put into it.”

District Biscuit Company is open Tuesday to Sunday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Their full menu is below the jump.

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Alexandria vegans rejoice: food truck The Vegan Factory is headed to Lost Boy Cider (317 Hooffs Run Drive).

The food truck hops around the D.C. region but it’s headed to the cidery in the Carlyle neighborhood today from 3-8 p.m.

“Join us and don’t miss our amazing offerings,” the truck’s website said. “Come from 3 p.m.-8 p.m. to try our chili hot dog, Tvf burger, nachos asada, asada fries, and asada tacos, tasty vegan food.”

The food truck has an eclectic range of vegan options, from egg rolls to burgers and nachos.

Image via The Vegan Factory/Facebook


Tropical Smoothie Cafe could soon be coming to Alexandria’s West End.

Owner Oubab Khalil filed a special use permit (SUP) on June 12 to run the restaurant at the space at 424 S. Pickett Street. The final day for public comments is July 6 before it goes to the Planning Commission and then City Council.

The 1,300 square-foot property is located on the ground level of the Cameron Square apartment complex. Submitted plans call for a 20-seat restaurant with smoothie and food prep areas, a kitchen and a single bathroom.

Khalil isn’t new to the business and opened his first Tropical Smoothie Cafe in D.C. in 2016.

If approved, the hours of operation would be 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Friday and from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

There are two other Tropical Smoothie Cafes in Alexandria, at 3610-G King Street in the Bradlee Shopping Center and at 1556 Potomac Greens Drive.

Image via Facebook, map via Google Maps


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