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Inventory at a West End consignment shop (image via Evolution Home/Facebook)

A vintage market is celebrating its reopening this weekend in the Landmark neighborhood (861 S. Pickett Street) with a week of door prizes and refreshments.

Evolution Home is a consignment shop that moved into the Landmark neighborhood earlier this year but has been at various locations around Alexandria since 1999.

“Evolution Home’s Grand Reopening at 861 S. Pickett St. in Alexandria’s West End is the next step upward for the small business,” the shop said in a release. “Part vintage market, part antique mall, and part home goods consigner, Evolution Home is proud to build on 23 years of bringing Northern Virginia customers one-of-a-kind furniture, décor, and gifts.”

The grand reopening event will run from Saturday, June 18, to Friday, June 24, and will feature refreshments, door prizes and a prize wheel while supplies last.

“As our customers and sales have grown, so has our need for space,” owner Susan Driscoll said in the release. “This is our fourth move in 23 years, each move to a larger and better space.”

Image via Evolution Home/Facebook

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There’s a new reason to go to the Hyatt Centric Old Town.

Indo-Chinese restaurant Indochen is now open at the hotel (1625 King Street) serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. This is the second Indochen in Alexandria, after its location at 4906 Brenman Park Drive in Cameron Station.

The menu has been curated by Chef Ram Thapa, who is bringing his hometown food of Nepal to the restaurant’s tables. Diners can enjoy a traditional American breakfast, as well as lunch and dinner menus that include items like chop suey, chow mein, and Indian dishes like butter chicken, samosas and palak paneer.

“Along with the excitement of leading one of Alexandria’s newest hotels, I am thrilled to work alongside Chef Ram Thapa and bring a new energy to the lobby to create a refreshing experience for every guest,” says General Manager Sam Selvi. “With easy access to breakfast, lunch and dinner options, Indonchen enables visitors to discover cuisine that encompasses the best of Indian and Chinese culture.”

The space was previously home to French & Southern.

The new restaurant is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The Indochen team at the Hyatt Centric Old Town. (Via Facebook)

Via Facebook

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Alexandria Restaurant Partners is expanding their operations to D.C.’s Union Market. The company has bought the property at 400 Morse Street and plans to open its second Palette 22 location in late 2023.

ARP opened its first Palette 22 location in Shirlington in 2017, and the new restaurant at 400 Morse Street NE will be a reimagining of the concept. It will still serve small plates and global street food.

“We want to create an interactive experience for our guests,” said ARP Partner Dave Nicholas. “Our vision is ‘Palette 2.0’ – with the design, layout of the two-story space, and menu – the customer experience will be taken to the next level. We will be featuring interactive elements like a variety of cooking stations where patrons can see and watch the culinary ‘exhibition’. Here, we’re interested in redefining what an open kitchen can be.”

Alexandria Restaurant Partners also owns Mia’s Italian KitchenVola’s Dockside GrillRiverside Taco CompanyJoe Theismann’s Restaurant, The MajesticAda’s on the River and Barca Pier and Wine Bar. The company also owns a Mia’s Italian Kitchen and Café Tu Tu Tango in Orlando, Florida.

“We’ve been watching Union Market develop, and we love the energy and sense of community,” said ARP Partner Scott Shaw. “We are deeply involved in the other communities we currently operate in and look forward to doing the same here. In terms of the concept, we think the Palette 22 – small plates, global street food, and local artists onsite – fit perfectly into the neighborhood and complements the nearby Union Market food hall. We also think Palette 22 fills a gap in the market, offering a high energy, approachable concept for a younger audience.”

Via Facebook

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Leatherworking at Best Foot Forward (image via Best Foot Forward/Facebook)

After twenty years in Pentagon Row, family-owned leatherworking shop Best Foot Forward is moving to the Bradlee Shopping Center in Alexandria early next month.

Victoria Lopez, operations manager at Best Foot Forward and daughter of the shop’s founder Wilfred Lopez, said they are planning on moving to the new Bradlee location sometime in early July.

“We’ve been at Pentagon Row for about twenty years now, ever since the shopping center opened,” Victoria said. “My dad started it as a one-man business. Now we’re looking to expand and Bradlee would be twice as big. That will give us more of a chance to find more services and present more retail stuff.”

Shoe repair businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic, but Victoria said Best Foot Forward has held out by pivoting to more generalized leather repair.

“Through COVID saw about 70% of all shoe repair shops die down,” Victoria said. “We had people come in and bring office shoes, but now they’re bringing different types of jobs.”

What was once mainly office shoes has grown to include more repairs to things like repairing sneakers or leather bags. The change wasn’t without precedent at the story, and Victoria said over the last twenty years the shop has worked on a wide array of unusual items.

“Throughout twenty years we’ve restored a lot of weird stuff,” Victoria said. “We had an elephant shoe for the National Zoo. We’ve done a knight’s helmet — the leather part inside.”

Victoria said Best Foot Forward will be moving in near the Fresh Market.

Image via Best Foot Forward/Facebook

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Made in ALX pop-up display (photo via Made in ALX/Facebook)

Local handcrafted shop Made in ALX has been a staple of local pop-up markets but it will soon be getting a permanent home in Old Town North.

The local artist collective announced in a release that a retail store and workshop will open at 533 Montgomery Street next month. The grand opening is scheduled for Saturday, June 11, with preview shopping days on Saturday and Sunday, June 4 and 5, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Free underground parking for the shop is available at the 530 First Street garage.

“Made in ALX, a collective of more than 40 Alexandria-based makers, creators and artists, is opening a retail store and workshop space in the quickly growing Old Town North neighborhood,” Made in ALX said in a release. “Items in the shop will include candles, pet items, clothing, accessories, books, jewelry, household items, art and other items created by independent makers who live and work in Alexandria.”

The first workshop at the new location will be a candle-making class on June 4. Registration is available through the MadeinALX website.

Made in ALX also noted that the location will support Alexandria-based nonprofits Pawfectly Delicious, which provides jobs to residents with physical or mental challenges, and Rosie Riviters, a stem-focused educational organization.

“In addition to in-store shopping, Made in ALX offers online ordering with curbside pickup, local delivery or nationwide shipping,” the release said. “The website features more than 600 items from a diverse group of Alexandrians.”

Photo via Made in ALX/Facebook

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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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A Bad Ass Coffee Of Hawaii franchise will be opening in later summer in Carlyle, but an exact date has not yet been set.

The company website lists the location at 2466 Mandeville Lane as being in development.

“We are still in the early stages of construction for this location, but are hoping to open late summer 2022,” Badass Coffee told ALXnow in an email.

It costs between $304,500 and $620,000 to open a Badass Coffee franchise, according to the company website.

The company was founded in 1989 in Hawaii “with a goal of sharing American-grown, premium Hawaiian coffee from Kauai, Waialua (Oahu), Maui, and 100% Kona coffee with coffee lovers everywhere.” It was sold in 1995 and there are now two dozen franchises around the world, the nearest to Alexandria being in Virginia Beach.

Via Facebook and Google Maps

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Del Ray Cigars & More will open at 2104 Mount Vernon Avenue on Friday, April 8, 2022. (staff photo by James Cullum)

A new smoke shop is opening on April 8 (Friday) on Mount Vernon Avenue in the heart of Del Ray, according to its manager.

Del Ray Cigars & More will open at 2104 Mount Vernon Avenue, and will offer cigars and cigarettes, vaping devices and liquids, and cannabidiol (CBD) products.

Owner Ahmed Zamani is out of the country and could not be reached for comment. Zamani also owns Main St. Cigars & Vapes in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

The building, which was built in 1902, was most recently home to the Counseling & Empowerment Center, which is now treating clients in an online-only format. It has been under redevelopment since last summer.

When open, its hours will be 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. throughout the week, except on Fridays when it will be open until 8 p.m.

The shop will join a number of nearby vape shops, including Avail Vapor at Potomac Yard and the Tobacco King & Vape King Cigar and Hookah.

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Along the waterfront near Jones Point (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

The week was filled with trees blooming across the city during the peak for cherry blossoms.

Aside from picturesque scenes throughout Alexandria, there were some local stories that interested you all — from new pizza places to court updates in crime cases. And at the City Council’s meeting, Dominion Energy said it will invest millions of dollars in Alexandria to prevent future outages like the one at Art on the Avenue last year.

For anyone looking for something to do this evening or who wants to find a way to help Ukraine, locals organized a fundraiser to help refugees. The event is tonight (Friday) from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the rooftop of 277 South Washington Street.

And, here are the top stories from the week:

  1. Three men indicted after bystander shot in neck at West End 7-Eleven parking lot
  2. Two juveniles arrested after shots fired in Arlandria
  3. Alexandria man indicted on first-degree murder charge in BJ’s killing
  4. Inova campus concept plans at former Landmark site filed with city
  5. Frank Pepe’s Pizzeria Napoletana coming to Alexandria Commons Shopping Center
  6. Alexandria officials push back against ACPS ‘cover up’ story
  7. Suspect breaks into Lyles-Crouch Traditional Academy through roof
  8. Alexandria police officer arrested, charged with domestic assault and battery
  9. West End murder suspect’s case to go before grand jury next month
  10. Alexandria hotel tailors stay to dogs as industry leans into pet-friendly accommodations

Have a great weekend Alexandria!

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Adrian Nicotra says you can pickle anything, but the problem is it’s harder to find new clientele since repeat customers buy out his pickled products because they have long shelf lives.

Last October, the 32-year-old bartender at Tiki Bar Del Ray launched his business Pickles And Cures, and is now working to get his products in area restaurants and farmers markets.

“You can pickle anything, literally anything,” Nicotra told ALXnow. “Pickling infuses flavor, and my products are perfect for foodies. They can go to town with it. You can take a cucumber along with the brine, and mix anything with it and it’ll just grab those flavors and infuse them.”

Nicotra has spent the last 15 years working at restaurants around the area. His products — cured meats and pickled vegetables and fruits — are put in clear, plastic containers.

“You can still see the beautiful brine and fresh dill and the garlic in the container,” Nicotra said. “If someone buys a couple $9 containers of product, they can sit on them and let let them just chill on the brine for months. My first customer in October still has her products in the fridge.”

Nicotra now plans on getting his products into the Old Town North and Del Ray farmers markets this summer.

Photos via Instagram

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