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Freedom House at 1315 Duke Street (photo via City of Alexandria)

The City of Alexandria has announced that the long-awaited Freedom House Museum (1315 Duke Street) is scheduled to reopen near the end of this month.

The museum is scheduled to fully reopen on Friday, May 27, with a grand opening event scheduled for Monday, June 20, which is Juneteenth. The opening comes a little over a year after the museum was originally scheduled to reopening.

The new museum is an overhaul of an earlier exhibit at the building, which was once part of the Franklin and Armfield complex dedicated to trafficking Black men, women and children between 1828 and 1861, the city said in a release. Part of the museum’s overhaul is a greater focus on the lives of the victims of slavery rather than a focus on the lives and actions of the slavers.

“The museum will be open to the public Fridays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays and Mondays from 1 to 5 p.m.” the city said in a release. “Admission is $5 per adult, $3 per child ages 5-12, and free for City of Alexandria residents. Due to high demand and limited capacity, it is highly recommended that guests reserve tickets in advance online.”

The museum includes stories from Black Americans who were impacted by the slave trade operating in Alexandria.

The museum originally closed in March 2020 due to the pandemic and, at the end of the month, the City of Alexandria purchased the building from the Urban League of Northern Virginia.

“Throughout the pandemic, work continued to protect and interpret the building including the completion of the Historic Structures Report, research, and the creation of three new exhibits,” the release said. “The Freedom House Museum site is integral to the understanding of Black history in Alexandria and the United States, and is part of Alexandria’s large collection of historic sites, tours, markers and more that depict stories of the Colonial era, through the Civil War and Civil Rights eras, to today.”

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After nearly 20 years of catering to women in Old Town, Elizabeth Todd’s men’s boutique Yellow Jacket is finally where she wants it to be.

Yellow Jacket (301 Cameron Street) had a soft opening in November while it briefly shared space with Todd’s women’s boutique The Hive, which she opened in 2016. The Hive has since moved down the street to its new location at 315 Cameron Street. Todd also owns The Shoe Hive, which she opened in 2003.

“Since we opened The Hive for women’s clothing five years ago, we’ve had a steady stream of clients ask us to open a men’s store and with everyone ready to refresh their closets after the pandemic, we decided to take the plunge,” Todd said. “”Our philosophy is that you should look good, feel confident, and be comfortable and we’ve
chosen clothing and accessory lines that agree with that.”

The “elevated casual” shop will host a grand opening on Thursday (April 21) with Atlanta-based clothing designer Sid Mashburn, who will take measurements for custom-made shirts. The party will be held from 5 to 8 p.m, and Mashburn will also return to the shop from 9 a.m. to noon the next day to take appointments.

Most shirts and slacks cost upward of $100, and Yellow Jacket carries clothing from designers include Johnnie-O, Vince, Ball & Buck, Onward Reserve, Rag & Bone, James Pearse, Mizzen and Maine, and jeans by Paige and AG Denim.

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Another week down in Alexandria.

In terms of stories, this one was a little more optimistically defined by new openings. Wegmans announced its Carlyle location is opening in May, bringing an end to the area’s notorious food desert (the closest grocery stores are the Whole Foods and Giant on Duke Street). New smaller-scale shops are looking to move in as well, like a new wine and coffee shop coming to Old Town.

Top stories:

  1. Police investigating another eyeglass frame heist, this time in Old Town
  2. Alexandria and neighboring jurisdictions now experiencing ‘Low’ transmission rate, says CDC
  3. Proposed development to replace early 20th century King Street buildings
  4. New wine bar and coffee shop coming to Old Town
  5. Wegmans to open in Carlyle neighborhood on May 11
  6. AHDC gets help from Amazon to secure Arlandria apartment building for affordable housing
  7. Most expensive homes sold in February
  8. Juvenile apprehended for robbery with fake handgun in Braddock area
  9. Alexandria School Board drops mask requirement for students
  10. Beeliner Diner opens in Bradlee Shopping Center
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Photo via Bonchon Alexandria/Facebook

Korean fried chicken chain Bonchon is planning a grand opening celebration on Monday, Feb. 28, with a week of deals lined up for different menu items.

The restaurant opened last month in the Bradlee Shopping Center (3690 King Street), which is referred to somewhat bafflingly in a press release as “the heart of Old Town Alexandria.”

Deals on offer that week are:

  • Monday, Feb. 28: $1 drumsticks (up to five drumsticks)
  • Tuesday, March 1: $1 Mac and Kimcheese or Korean street corn
  • Wednesday, March 2: $1 wings or boneless wings (up to 10)
  • Thursday, March 3: $1 seasoned fries

The chain started in Busan, South Korea in 2002 and now has 385 locations worldwide and 115 in the United States.

“People in Virginia love Bonchon, and that can be proven through the immense amount of support the restaurants get across the state,” owner Joanne Xie said in the release. “I know we’ll quickly become a meal-time destination to anyone who comes by King Street to enjoy the centuries-old architecture, historic attractions and incredible community of businesses.”

The Bradlee Shopping Center is, again, a bit of a hike from Old Town, but the nearby Fort Ward Park might count as a historic attraction.

Photo via Bonchon Alexandria/Facebook

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IDA Potomac Yard, photo courtesy IDA

(Updated 1/12) The Institute for Defense Analysis (IDA) is officially opening its new Potomac Yard headquarters (730 East Glebe Road) later this month, marking one of the first new office arrivals brought by the promise of the nearby Metro station.

The IDA opening would have been around the same timeframe as the Potomac Yard Metro station’s originally scheduled opening just a block or two away, but that’s been pushed back to sometime this fall. The ribbon-cutting is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 25.

“IDA is excited to be part of Alexandria’s high-tech corridor in Potomac Yard,” a press release from the company said. We moved our headquarters and Systems and Analyses Center from the City’s Mark Center area to a newly-constructed, state-of-the-art facility into the vibrant Potomac Yard community that has the technology, space and amenities that will better serve the needs of our staff and sponsors.”

The IDA is non-profit corporation that administers national defense-focused federally funded research and development centers.

The new headquarters contains an auditorium that seats 300, breakout conference rooms and other meeting facilities.

“The move to Potomac Yard was a major investment in the future of IDA,” said IDA President Norty Schwartz in the press release. “The new facility provides modern infrastructure, including Metrorail accessibility, substantially more classified workspace and meeting space, and places us in an  accelerating Northern Virginia innovation ecosystem with Virginia Tech and Amazon, among  others.”

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Morning Notes

Man Fatally Struck on Alexandria Sidewalk — “A man died after he was hit by a truck when its driver jumped a sidewalk on Saturday night in Alexandria, Virginia. His family wants to know why the driver is not behind bars and said they think the driver’s actions after the crash may have killed their loved one.” [NBC4]

Alexandria named second-biggest art-buying city in US by Artfinder — “Yesterday the company released a list of the top art-buying cities in the U.S.  It appears that Alexandria residents love their art, because our city came in second place, behind Savannah, Georgia.” [Zebra]

Chopt opens its doors in Kingstowne — “Chopt Creative Salad Co. will open its doors Wednesday, Nov. 17 in the Kingstowne Towne Center, the company announced Tuesday.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]

Alexandria tutoring consortium awarded $16K grant from AT&T — “[Alexandria Tutoring Consortium] (ATC), which helps the youngest students enrolled in Alexandria’s public schools learn to read, is the recipient of a $16,000 grant from the AT&T Foundation.” [Zebra]

Alexandria police union pleads for more pay and resources — “The union has requested a 10% raise while the city council is considering a 1.5% raise.” [WUSA9]

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Mayweather Boxing crew training in Braddock before the studio opens (photo via Mayweather Boxing + Fitness Old Town West/Facebook)

A new boxing/fitness studio franchise run by champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. is coming to the Parker-Gray neighborhood, with doors opening scheduled for next week.

Mayweather Boxing + Fitness, a group boxing and fitness gym, is scheduled to have a grand opening at 528 N. Henry Street on Saturday, Oct. 16. the gym will be the first Mayweather franchise location in Virginia, according to a press release.

Boxing already has a strong legacy in Alexandria, with the Alexandria Boxing Club just a few blocks away and local boxer Troy Isley competing in the Olympics earlier this year.

The new studio, as the press release calls it, is a 3,500 square feet space with boxing and exercise equipment along with trained instructors.

“We are beyond thrilled to bring Floyd’s methods and this incredible brand to Old Town Alexandria,” said Jeff Pienta, one of the franchisees along with Allison Pienta. “It’s really something you have to see and experience to believe, and it’s for literally everyone regardless of the fitness starting point.”

The grand opening celebration is planned to include a ribbon-cutting, live DJ, and vendor giveaways.

Photo via Mayweather Boxing + Fitness Old Town West/Facebook

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(Updated 4:50 p.m.) The American Physical Therapy Association‘s (APTA) move to Potomac Yard is scheduled to be completed next week with a ribbon-cutting and grand opening.

The new headquarters at 3030 Potomac Avenue has been in the works since 2018 and was one of the early moves to relocate closer to the Potomac Yard Metro station. The ribbon cutting is scheduled — virtually — for Friday, Jan. 15 at 9:30-10:30 a.m and can be viewed on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

The APTA represents 100,0000 physical therapists, physical therapist assistants and students, according to their website. The planned APTA opening was one of the bright spots for local business leaders to look forward to amid a difficult year.

The move isn’t too far from their old headquarters in Old Town, at 1111 N. Fairfax Street, which developers are now planning to convert into a mixed-use development.

Photo via APTA/Facebook

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Herndon-based Wooboi Hot Chicken is hosting a small “soft opening” today at a new location opening in North Old Town (531 Montgomery Street).

The soft opening is scheduled to run from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. though those who want to try the chicken should lean towards the earlier side, as Wooboi Hot Chicken said there is a limited supply today.

“We have 100 chicken breasts and 400 tenders to sell!” the restaurant said.

Today and tomorrow, the location is cash-only. The restaurant said on Facebook that at the grand opening on Monday, they will accept cards, cash, and apple pay.

Sandwiches or a basket of chicken tenders are $8.99 ($10 with tax included, for purposes of planning how much cash to bring) and sides are $3.99 ($4.50 with tax).

Photo via Wooboi Hot Chicken/Facebook

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Restaurant chain Silver Diner is planning to open its West End location (4630 King Street) next Wednesday, but it could be a while later before the highly anticipated Harris Teeter in the same building opens.

Staff at Array Apartments in the same building said that an update they received said that the Harris Teeter would not be opening until sometime next year. An earlier press release cited early 2021, but the staff at Array said there’s no specific information yet on when.

Silver Diner will hold a ribbon-cutting on Wednesday, Aug. 12 at 11 a.m. After that, the restaurant will be open for full service;  COVID-19 protocols are in place and guests are asked to come wearing masks. The restaurant will feature indoor and outdoor seating, as well as a takeout option in lieu of dine-in. The restaurant’s capacity is limited so diners are asked to call ahead for a reservation.

The restaurant will be open daily for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night dining. The location will open at 7 a.m. and close at midnight Sunday through Thursday and 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

“In addition to Silver Diner’s famous farm-to-table, flexitarian menu with vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, low calorie and diner favorites, the West Alex location will also have a full bar and a built patio,” the company said in a press release.

A new fitness studio also recently moved to the building, and those worried about driving there should know the city has been resurfacing the infamously craggy stretch of King Street outside.

Photo via Silver Diner/Facebook

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