Newsletter

Alexandria is experiencing mural mania, as three new murals have been painted in Old Town. It’s more than just a splash of color on the walls, too.

Pacers Running at 1301 King Street is celebrating their 30th anniversary on October 7 with the official unveiling of their mural. Designed by D.C. artist Katherine Campagna, the mural reads the Pacers logo, “FOR EVERY RUN” in italics, as if the letters are running down the street.

“For every run has been our motto across the board during the pandemic,” Pacers manager Victoria Sanchez told ALXnow. “It’s helped bring people together and make them happy outside. We wanted the mural to be big and to be seen.”

There are quotes from historical figures and bright figures painted by artist Joanna Kosmides Edwards outside The Linder Academy at 607 S. Washington Street. There are quotes from civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and poet Amanda Gorman.

The art is much more ethereal at ESP Tea & Coffee at 1012 King Street. The mural in back of the shop was painted by Zen Xaria of Baltimore, and is all about the sixth sense.

“The flower is our logo for ESP, which stands for extrasensory perception, and the eye represents the third eye,” barista Cordelia McGale told ALXnow. “The petals are open, implying that the third eye is open. If you look at the fox, two of it’s eyes are glazed over, but the third eye is in focus.”

McGale continued, “I think this place is an oasis in Old Town. Things seem to be very white collar, and this place is breaking out of the norm and feeding into the creative side of the human psyche.”

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Charlottesville-based Mudhouse Coffee Roasters has bought 1119 King Street in Old Town, and hopes to open as soon as possible.

The current tenant, J. Brown and Co., still has two years left on their lease and have indicated to the new building owners that they’re interested in getting bought out. If that happens, it will take about two months after the tenant moves out to gut the building and make it ready to open for business, according to Mudhouse partner Matthew Dragas.

“I hope we can open that that location as soon as possible,” Dragas told ALXnow. “The tenant made some comments about how he might want to get out early. But, you know, we haven’t yet approached him about buying up the lease. At the worst, it’ll be two years before we’re able open in Alexandria.”

In the meantime, the company is expanding to Richmond and Charleston, South Carolina. Dragas, whose family owns dozens of Taco Bell and Buffalo Wild Wings locations, merged with Mudhouse founders John and Lynelle Lawrence nearly two years ago. The company boasts excellent coffee from around the world, curated by roaster Eric Stone, who was ranked the third best roaster in the country in 2019.

Mudhouse has filed a special use permit to operate a coffee restaurant at the 1,500-square-foot space. It would be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day of the week and offer “open mic night, poetry readings, coffee tastings, and assorted other live entertainment,” according to the SUP.

“We’re very excited about the Old Town market,” Dragas said. “Walking up and down King Street is a blast.”

Via Mudhouse Coffee/Facebook

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While outdoor dining along King Street has been a blessing for many local restaurants, Village Brauhaus (710 King Street) wasn’t so lucky. But now the restaurant — and former castle — is hoping to take that same principle to the roof.

In an application to the Planning Commission, Village Brauhaus owners Chelsea and William Gross are asking for permission to expand the restaurant dining to the roof.

“With the challenges of COVID and to maximize the safety of outdoor dining we kindly request the addition of 49 occupants to our rooftop,” the owners said in the application. “Seating would be spread out enough to allow for safe dining.”

The application said the rooftop would include a service area and bar.

The owners said that the traffic pattern in front of the restaurant along King Street made outdoor dining there unfeasible.

“Allowing us to utilize unused space that is not directly visible from King Street would allow us not only to compete,” the application said, “but will provide a unique rooftop experience for all guests and tourists to Old Town, Alexandria.”

Village Brauhaus is not the first King Street locale to hope to expand to the rooftop. The owners of 101 N. Union Street filed an application early this year to convert the roof into an outdoor restaurant space. A very early list of potential new Waterfront Museum locations also included the roof of the Torpedo Factory.

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Alexandria was spared from significant flooding this week after remnants of Hurricane Ida swept through the East Coast. The only flooding found was on lower King Street in Old Town, where businesses laid sandbags at windows and doorways.

“We’re open inside, but if you want to eat you’re probably going to have to come barefoot,” a hostess at Mai Thai told ALXnow on Wednesday.

Our top story this week was, for the second week in a row, on the recent brawl inside Alexandria City High School.

It’s a three-day weekend, and on Sunday the annual Old Town Festival of Speed & Style will bring crowds to marvel at classic and beautiful rides along King Street. Monday is Labor Day, and the city will operate on a holiday schedule.

In this week’s poll we asked how satisfied readers are with Alexandria City Public Schools since reopening on August 24. A majority (31%) reported being extremely unsatisfied with the school system, while 29% said ACPS has done a good job, 25% are extremely satisfied and 14% are unhappy overall.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. BREAKING: Video shows brawl at Alexandria City High School cafeteria just two days after school starts
  2. 13-year-old hit by car while walking home from school in Del Ray
  3. Fox put George Washington Middle School into a lock-in today
  4. Man arrested for spending spree after finding wallet in Bradlee Shopping Center parking lot
  5. No injuries or arrests after shots fired on Duke Street
  6. ACPS Superintendent Hutchings asks community to hit the brakes on email campaigns
  7. Alexandria man arrested for beating up ex-girlfriend in Old Town North
  8. Alexandria sees cases rise in August and warns of COVID-19 in schools
  9. Alexandria man convicted for possessing child porn and violating parole
  10. Historic Black cemetery under threat of being washed away in Old Town
  11. Man swallows two bags of drugs and runs from police in Old Town

Have a safe weekend!

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There are still available tickets for the eighth annual Capes and Cocktails event benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Alexandria writer Jeannette Wages has hosted the event for eight years, and has helped raise more than $120,000 toward cancer research in honor of four-year-old Lewkas Rhone, who died in 2013.

This year’s event is at the Fish Market Restaurant. Tickets cost $50 and it will be held on Friday, September 17 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $50.

Rhone was the son of a friend of Wages, and she only saw him twice — when he was three years old and at his funeral.

“It’s so hard to talk about these things,” Wages said. “I got to meet him. He was super sweet, had just so much energy and zest for life for somebody who pretty much spent his entire life in hospitals.”

Wages and her Team Super Lukas have also participated in the St. Jude’s Walk/Run since 2011. This year’s walk/run is being held virtually on September 25.

“Lewkas never made it to five-years-old,” Wages said. “And as long as we keep saying his name, then he’s still with us and making a difference.”

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Morning Notes

Murphy’s reserves table for Marines lost in Afghanistan — “Last night, Friday, August 27, Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub on King Street reserved a table and set 13 places in honor of the 13 soldiers lost in Afghanistan earlier this week.” [Zebra]

4.1 million meals given to ACPS students during pandemic — “In March 2020, Alexandria City Public Schools called on Volunteer Alexandria to help distribute meals to students who were suddenly learning from home due to the pandemic… By the middle of August, Volunteer Alexandria and ACPS had delivered 4,106,889 grab-and-go meals and snacks to Alexandria students and their families.” [Alexandria Living]

Everyone can ride for free on DASH buses starting soon — “Starting Sept. 5, Alexandria City High School (ACHS) students will no longer need to use an app or ID card to board DASH buses for free. All passengers, including adults, will be able to board for free at all times.” [Zebra]

Firefighters to collect ‘fill the boot’ donations starting Tuesday — “The campaign will be managed by the Alexandria Fire Fighters Local 2141 firefighters union.” [Patch]

Today’s weather — “Some clouds and possibly an isolated thunderstorm in the afternoon. High 92F. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 30%… Partly cloudy early with increasing clouds overnight. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. Low 73F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New job: Traffic control flagger — “AWP is North America’s leading traffic control specialist. Our Protectors work outside every day to make sure customer crews, drivers and our own teams get home safely.” [Indeed]

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A former credit union (1630 King Street) roughly two blocks from the King Street Metro station could soon get turned into new barber shop.

An application scheduled for review at the Oct. 5 Planning Commission meeting describes the new business as:

Full service barbershop that will have 4 barber chairs and 2 washing stations. Services will include haircuts and shaves. Appointments can be booked. Walk-ins welcome.

The barber shop, owned by Gregorio Colon, will operate Monday to Saturday from 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

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King Street underpass, via Google Maps

A block of Alexandria that’s seen sudden repairs in recent years is undergoing something a little more-planned over the next week.

Maintenance on the rail bridge traveling over King Street near the eponymous Metro station will close the underpass tonight from 10 p.m.-5 a.m. tomorrow. It will also be closed the same times from Tuesday, Aug. 17, to Wednesday, Aug. 25. The underpass will be closed for both vehicle and pedestrian/cyclist traffic.

If you’ve seen it before, the nightly bridge work has been going on since last Friday (Aug. 6).

Via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Residents divided over plan to rename Lee Street — “For some residents, the news came as a welcome surprise and a step toward removing Confederate namesakes from the city’s streets and honoring figures or ideas they deem more worthy. For others, the petition represented an attempt to erase the city’s connection to commander of the Confederate Army Robert E. Lee, who grew up in Alexandria and has long been a focal point of the city’s history tourism.” [Alex Times]

Basic income pilot starts this fall in Alexandria — “Bolstered by nearly $60 million in federal pandemic relief money, the independent jurisdiction in Northern Virginia plans to begin sending $500 debit cards to 150 families each month for two years, starting sometime this fall… Alexandria is funding its new basic income initiative with $3 million in American Rescue Plan money.” (dcist)

Grocery delivery store Foxtrot under construction in Old Town — “According to a report by Supermarket News, Foxtrot’s expansion to Virginia is part of a larger effort to open 50 new stores within the next two years. Foxtrot’s new Alexandria location will be situated prominently at the intersection of King Street and Washington Street.” [Alexandria Living]

‘Holy Cow’ names burger after Noah Lyles — “Congrats to Alexandrian Noah Lyles for bringing home the Bronze!!! Holy Cow Del Ray is celebrating with a BOTM in his honor. #visitdelray #titanpride #olympics2020″ [Facebook]

Today’s weather — “Mostly sunny skies. High 91F. Winds S at 10 to 15 mph… Mostly cloudy. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. Low 68F. Winds S at 10 to 15 mph.” [Weather.com]

New job: Alexandria police latent print examiner — “WE’RE HIRING! Come join our team here at the Alexandria Police Department. We have a job opening for a Latent Print Examiner. Click the link for details about the job and how to apply: bit.ly/3lwxXty” [Twitter]

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Morning Notes

Capitol officer who committed suicide was from Alexandria — “Very sad news: @MikevWUSA @wusa9 reports MPD Officer Kyle DeFreytag died by suicide in July after defending the US Capitol on January 6. His obituary says he was a hiker, drummer, motorcyclist, and resident of Alexandria, who served with MPD for five years” [WUSA9]

Alexandria, neighboring health directors recommend wearing face masks indoors — “Today, all five Northern Virginia Health Directors issued a joint letter of interim recommendations for mask wearing in Northern Virginia. The letter was issued by Health Directors from the City of Alexandria, as well as Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties to Northern Virginia Mayors, Chairs and Chief Administrative Officers with the recommendation that individuals wear masks while indoors in government and other public settings, regardless of vaccination status.” [City of Alexandria]

Olympics update — Noah Lyles races today in the 200 meter final at 8:55 a.m., and Tynita Butts-Townsend competes in a high jump qualifier at 8 p.m. [ALXnow]

City makes September feedback deadline for making outdoor business programs permanent — “Programs include the closure of the 100 block of King Street to vehicles, the use of on-street parking spaces for dining, retail and fitness use and the curbside loading zones for customer pick-up of food and merchandise. City Council approved the initiatives in 2020 to provide safe opportunities to patronize and support City businesses during the challenging economic times associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The temporary programs are in effect until January 1, 2022.” [City of Alexandria]

Traffic and Parking Board to vote on expanding Capital Bikeshare — “The existing bikeshare stations are located mostly in the eastern and northern regions of Alexandria, with plans to not only add more stations in Old Town but to also add several stations in the West End. In regard to the final seven bikeshare locations that have yet to be determined, Casey Kane, a member of the board, encouraged staff to prioritize locations around Holmes Run.” [AlexTimes]

Cat cafe sees 180 felines adopted in first year — “Mount Purrnon, Alexandria’s only cat café, has found fur-ever homes for 180 cats in its first year in business… The cafe area, separated from the cats (for obvious reasons), serves a variety of food, coffee and drinks. There is also free Wi-Fi and day/monthly passes for those who wish to telework from there. Regular special events include Jeopurrdy, meditation, and wine tastings.” [Alexandria Living]

Today’s weather — “Cloudy skies early, then partly cloudy in the afternoon. Slight chance of a rain shower. High 81F. Winds NE at 10 to 15 mph… Mostly clear (in the evening). Low 62F. Winds NNE at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New job: Entry level computer programmer — “As the fastest growing employer of emerging tech talent across the U.S, Revature looks to hire over 300 innovative Entry Level Computer Programmers in the next 4 weeks.” [Indeed]

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