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Mindy’s Catering (image via Mindy’s Catering/Instagram)

Mindy’s Catering, a catering company based out of the Berkley neighborhood in D.C., is moving to an industrial park just across the street from the Victory Center.

A special use permit filed with the City of Alexandria said the company aims to move into 4942-C Eisenhower Avenue. The permit says the Eisenhower location will serve as an off-premise catering prep kitchen for the company.

The catering company covers Northern Virginia, Maryland and D.C. and offers services for corporate and social events, weddings and more.

“Since 2000, our family-owned and operated full-service social and corporate catering business has delighted customers in the Metro Washington area with personal service and attention that amazes,” the company’s website said. “We have the resources of an industrial-size caterer, but pride ourselves on not getting ‘too big for our britches.'”

The catering company joins an eclectic mix of businesses along Eisenhower Avenue, from indoor climbing gyms to co-warehousing spots. One of the most defining aspects of the area though, the long-vacant Victory Center, could be coming down after the owner submitted plans for demolition and redevelopment in August.

Photo via Mindy’s Catering/Instagram

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Not enough packing space for your basement office? There’s an open house today (Thursday, October 27) for a new co-warehousing space in Alexandria for digital commerce platforms.

Saltbox, Inc. opened at the end of the summer at 4700 Eisenhower Avenue, making it the sixth location nationwide for the Atlanta, Georgia-based company. Starting at $630 a month, the company offers office and warehouse spaces, flex storage, equipment rental and packing stations.

The open house is from 4 to 7 p.m., and on-hand will be the company’s co-founder Tyler Scriven, as well as the location’s operations manager and staff.

“Simply put we are a co-warehousing and co-working facility where we offer logistics and fulfillment support for growing and scaling businesses especially in the e-commerce space,” Saltbox, Inc. said in a release. “A lot of people say you’ve gotta see us to really ‘get’ us, so you’re invited to our place to check us out!”

The company was founded in 2019, and its other locations are Los Angeles, Denver, Dallas, Atlanta and Seattle.

The 44,500 square-foot property is located in a heavily industrial area of Eisenhower Avenue, next door to Restaurant Depot, CubeSmart Self Storage and a FedEx Ship Center.

“The new location includes conference rooms, flexible office space, access to loading docks, a top-of-the-line photo studio and other amenities for entrepreneurs to help grow their business,” the company said.

Courtesy photos

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There’s a new cheap lunch spot in Old Town. On Halloween — Monday, October 31 — franchise Falafel Inc will formally open at 726 King Street.

Foodies may remember that the location is the former home to Nicecream, the shop that made ice cream with liquid nitrogen, which closed a year ago.

Lunch at Falafel Inc. costs $10 or less, with entrees ranging between $5 and $7, and sides (Baklava, hummus, pita bread)  ranging in price from $1 to $4.

The menu is simple:

  • Falafel sandwich, $5 — Falafel, letuce, red cabbage, pali salad, tatbili, tahini and red sauce on a fresh-baked pita.
  • Falafel bowl, $6 — Falafel, red cabbage, tabouli, tomato, cucumber, pickles, and greens, with chips
  • Shawarma sandwich, $6 — Vegan meat, red ummi cabbage, lettuce, pickles and special sauce
  • Rice shawarma bowl $7 — Vegan shawarma meat, red umani cabbage, pali salad, pickles and special sauce, on a bed of rice

The company was founded in D.C. in 2015 by entrepreneur Ahmad Ashkar, and there are three locations in Washington, D.C., as well as locations in Tysons Corner and Los Angeles.

The restaurat will be open from 12 to 9 p.m. seven days a week.

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Sandwiches from Jersey Mike’s (photo via Jersey Mike’s/Facebook)

Popular sandwich franchise Jersey Mike’s Subs is opening a new location in Alexandria tomorrow.

The shop is opening at 3219 Duke Street — formerly Sweet Frog — on Wednesday, Oct. 19.

In addition to in-store dining, guests can order through the website or app and delivery is available. The restaurant is open from 10 a.m.-9 p.m., seven days a week.

The grand opening will coincide with a fundraiser — kind of. The fundraiser is running from Wednesday to Sunday, Oct. 23, supporting the One Love Foundation, but donations are only valid for customers who received a coupon through a “grassroots effort” prior to opening and it is not available on online, app, or third-party orders.

“Customers who receive a special fundraising coupon distributed through a grassroots effort prior to the opening can make a minimum $3 contribution in-store to One Love Foundation in exchange for a regular sub,” the restaurant said in a release. “Customers must have a coupon to be eligible. Coupons are not available for online, app, or third-party orders.

Photo via Jersey Mike’s/Facebook

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Halloween pop-up bar ‘Nightmare On The Avenue’ is back in Del Ray.

The pop-up bar at 2312 Mount Vernon Avenue is decorated for the occasion, and offers spooky cocktails and snacks in the space previously home to the Tiki Bar Del Ray pop-up.

Customers can snack on light fare, like nightmare nachos, while drinking Harry Potter-themed butter beer, a Vampire’s Kiss (Tito’s vodka, pumpkin pie syrup, pumpkin puree, heavy cream and sugar) and the Insane Clown Painkiller (Pusser’s Rum, Coco Lopez, pineapple juice, orange juice and nutmeg).

Owner Bill Blackburn of the Homegrown Restaurant Group told ALXnow that customers are in for a spirited time.

“It’s a great spot to get into the Halloween spirit,” Blackburn said. “We wanted to create a fun place with a Halloween theme, and I think we succeeded with that.”

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.”

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Coffee and pastries at Tatte Bakery (image via Tatte Bakery/Instagram)

An Old Town office building slated for an overhaul could be getting a bakery as part of that revitalization, Washington Business Journal first reported.

Tatte Bakery & Cafe has leased space at 515 King Street, the office building in Old Town with the giant clock on the side of the building. Tatte Bakery & Cafe is a small chain based out of Massachusetts with several locations in D.C. The Alexandria location will be the second Northern Virginia location after one in neighboring Arlington.

The restaurant is all-day breakfast and brunch-focused with a variety of gluten-friendly options.

The bakery is moving into a building in the middle of a refit following a purchase by Douglas Development earlier this year. The developer previously stated it hopes to make changes to make the ground floor more visibly appealing with storefronts along King Street and the sides of the building.

Image via Tatte Bakery/Instagram

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Veo’s launch announcement in Alexandria (image via Veo/Facebook)

Rental e-bike company Veo announced that it’s started to deploy 300 e-bikes across the city following a launch in September in Arlington.

The new fleet of new electric bikes all come equipped with throttle assist, meaning the toggle for the level of assistance is available on the handlebar rather than being build into the bike as part of the pedal mechanism.

“Veo offers the shared micromobility industry’s only class 2 throttle-assist e-bike,” the company said in a release, “which features a throttle and pedals to make it easier for riders of varying body types and physical abilities to ride long distances comfortably while maintaining balance and control.”

In an email, a spokesperson for the company said Veo is offering a $5 credit that can be redeemed in the app using the code HIVA5. The credit is available through Saturday, Oct. 29.

Riders must be 18 years old or older to ride — a restriction that has admittedly rarely stopped anyone under 18 from using electric scooters and other devices — and like scooters the riders scan a QR code to unlock the vehicle.

Rides are $1 to unlock and cost $0.39 per minute.

However, residents who receive federal, state or local assistance and students who are FAFSA-eligible can sign up for a discounted $5 monthly fee that waives the unlock fee and provides a free 30-minute ride every day, with additional rides coming in at a discounted $.20 per minute rate.

To end the trip, the bikes must be parked in an approved parking area with an “end-of-ride” photo of a properly parked bike. Recommended parking areas, along with no ride and no parking zones, are highlighted in the Veo app.

“Arlington and Alexandria have long been at the forefront of urban mobility as adopters of the region’s bikeshare system over a decade ago,” said Candice Xie, CEO of Veo. “We’re working closely with local leaders to increase the use of shared mobility in the region and bring new riders into the fold with our class 2 e-bike.”

Photo via Veo/Facebook

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Hotel Aka with new black color scheme, photo via EAGH Alexandria

The Electra America Hospitality Group (EAHG) has filed an application to open a new cafe with outdoor seating at Hotel AKA — an Old Town North Holiday Inn replacement at 625 First Street with a dark exterior.

The amendment to allow a cafe is bundled in with an official change of ownership special use permit headed through the city review process.

The hotel is currently under construction and is scheduled to open sometime this winter. One of the most notable parts of the application process was the proposal to paint the exterior of the building fully black, though concept renderings on the Hotel AKA website show the exterior as a lighter grey.

“The Applicant is requesting a minor amendment to the existing SUP to add 40 outdoor dining seats,” the application said. “The Applicant is in the process of completing interior and exterior renovations to the existing hotel and plans to re-open as the Hotel AKA Alexandria.”

The new hotel will have 180 guest rooms with various amenities, including the new cafe if the permit is granted.

“The cafe will offer coffee, pastries, and similar beverages and light fare typically offered in coffee shops,” the application said. “The cafe will include a total of 40 outdoor dining seats in an outdoor seating area on First Street.”

The hotel will also include a lounge area and bar on the ground floor near the lobby. There are 148 parking spaces on-site, and the application said that’s expected to remain the same.

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District Dogs (image via District Dogs/Facebook)

Dog care facility District Dogs is seeking a permit to open in Alexandria.

District Dogs is filing for an amendment to the development special use permit to add an animal care facility to 2424 Mill Road in the Carlyle neighborhood.

The new location would include grooming, training and daycare services for local dogs.

“The Animal Care Facility is a neighborhood serving business that will provide indoor only grooming, training and daycare services to its clients,” the application said. “The facility will consist of approximately 4000 square [feet] of ground floor space.”

The new District Dogs location would be part of the Hoffman Town Center project, which includes the Wegmans that opened earlier this year.

The DSUP request is scheduled for review at the Tuesday, Nov. 1, Planning Commission meeting.

Photo via District Dogs/Facebook

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Hungry? The fine dining experience continues at 1799 Prime Steak & Seafood, which opened last month in the old Restaurant Eve location at 110 S. Pitt Street in Old Town.

Founders Jahmond Quander and Chef Sonny Tena say that their menu is straightforward — fine American steakhouse fare with some French and Asian fusions. Lunch costs about $50 for two, and dinner can cost upward of $100 without drinks.

“Eighty percent of the customers who come in order the steak,” Tena said. “The menu is straightforward and the quality is top-of-the-line.”

Quander bought the building, which is also home to the Alexandria Times newspaper, for $4.4 million in February. A native of the Alexandria portion of Fairfax County, He’s worked his way up in the restaurant industry for more than 30 years, working his way up from his first job as a dishwasher at a restaurant in Springfield Mall.

Quander can trace his family roots back 350 years, and to where his ancestors were once slaves at George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate. The year 1799 is the year that Washington died and freed his slaves in his will. Quander was also the former director of food and beverage operations at George Washington’s Mount Vernon from 2013 to 2016.

“The proximity of 1799 to George Washington’s Mount Vernon, the ports of Alexandria, where my ancestors arrived as slaves right here, it was only fitting that the flagship location, the first location that we open up is here in Old Town, and that the name be 1799,” Quander said. “We don’t consider ourselves fine dining. I say we’re polished casual, because we’re not pretentious. We value people, and we value the business that comes in here. This is a incredible community that has embraced us from day one when we opened up. We are incredibly appreciative of that.”

After an interior renovation, the restaurant opened in August, and now features the muted landscape paintings of Del Ray artist Jim Halloran in the Peacock Lounge, the George Washington room, the Charles room (named after Quander’s grandfather) and the Elizabeth room (named after his wife and daughter).

Before buying the building, Quander was the general manager at Blackwall Hitch on the waterfront. That’s where he met Tena, who was the executive chef at the restaurant for five years.

The pair say that their brand can go places, and that their 85 staffers have been trained intensely to perform consistently.

“This brand has legs,” Quander said. “We plan to grow the concept. We want to go into the right market, and want to make sure that the opportunity is right. One of the markets we’re looking at right now is the University of Maryland’s Prince George’s Hospital Center. We’re also considering Richmond, possibly Loudoun County, and at some point possibly Charlotte, North Carolina or even Florida. I told chef we’re gonna be retiring in Florida.”

Tena, a native of the Philippines, has been in the industry for the 25 years. He started work on cruise lines and then moved to the U.S. after the 9/11 attacks and anthrax attacks crushed the cruise industry.

Quander says he wants to get better signage to attract customers on King Street, and to make inroads with nearby hoteliers.

“It’s all about relationship building,” he said. “And making sure you know that when these lovely folks with checking in, the hotels are saying, ‘There’s a great restaurant right on our backyard. Check it out.'”

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