Post Content

Bloom Tea is coming to Old Town — provided it can make it through the city’s review process next month.

Owner Thao Uyen Than previously told ALXnow the new shop will focus on boba tea and Vietnamese coffee, but the opening date is dependent on the city review process.

The tea shop has filed permits to fix up the broken windows and add new signage to 425 S. Washington Street. Bloom Tea was originally going to go to the Board of Architectural Review (BAR) in July, but was deferred. It’s back on the docket for the meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 20.

One of the changes is painting the unpainted brick at the front of the building — always a possible point of contention at the BAR.

Image via Google Maps

2 Comment

A long vacant Arlandria convenience store just landed Dollar Tree as a new tenant.

The former CVS at 3811 Mount Vernon Avenue did not renew its lease more than a decade ago, and the 11,300-square-foot property has been vacant ever since. Over the last several weeks, contractors have erected the Dollar Tree sign on the building and installed store fixtures.

The Finmarc Management, Inc. property is located in the Del Ray North Shopping Center, which has struggled with occupancy for the last several years.

A contractor on the project told us he expects to finish the interior renovation within the next few weeks, although could not offer any information on when the store will open.

There are more than 15,000 Dollar Tree locations throughout the country. The Chesapeake-based company did not return calls for comment.


Feeling grimy? A new soap shop is holding its grand opening in Old Town on Saturday.

White Lily Shoppe, now at 101 S. Saint Asaph Street, first launched in 2019 as a “one-woman Etsy shop for brides,” founder Bianca Del Cid wrote on her website. The shop makes and sells small batches of vegan and cruelty free soaps, bath bombs, body scrubs and sea salts,

Del Cid left behind a career in social services and relaunched the business in 2021. She sold her products in farmers markets before opening a pop-up shop earlier this year on South Royal Street.

“Our mission is to provide sustainable and eco-friendly bath and body products, promoting well-being through natural ingredients and responsible consumption,” Del Cid said.

Customers on Saturday will get complimentary refreshments, discounts, special offers and giveaways.

According to White Lily Shoppe:

The stillness of the pandemic created the opportunity for our Founder to learn how to make soap using the traditional cold-process method, and about all the unnecessary ingredients found in our every day skincare products. Her love for nature became the inspiration behind White Lily Shoppe and she decided to re-launch the brand in 2021, with values in sustainability and using only ingredients found in nature.

White Lily Shoppe is open Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.


Pupatella Neapolitan Pizza will open in Old Town North before the end of the year, a managing partner for the local pizza chain told ALXnow.

Construction has begun on the building at 700 Slaters Lane, the former longtime home to Sam’s Custom Cleaners. The dry cleaner shut down a month after the death of owner Tony Tran in 2022.

Tran’s nephew Thien Ung is now the owner of the property and said that a neighborhood-centric pizzeria will be good for the space. For one thing, it’s hard to beat the location, as the building greets drivers along the George Washington Memorial Parkway into Old Town.

“I knew how important it was that whoever moved into the spot would have to contribute to the Old Town and Old Town North feel,” Ung said. “When Michael Berger, a managing partner with Pupatella, reached out to me, and after talking with his team and listening to their story and where they came from, it just felt right.”

Enzo Algarme, a native of Naples, Italy, founded Pupatella Neapolitan Pizza in a food truck in Ballston in 2007. Pupatella is his grandmother’s nickname and it means “little doll.”

The company now has eight locations: two in Arlington, at 5104 Wilson Blvd and 1621 S. Walter Reed Drive, Dupont Circle in D.C., Reston, the City of Fairfax, Springfield, Leesburg and Richmond. Locations are also being planned in Chantilly, Capitol Hill in D.C. and in Montgomery County, Maryland.

Berger says he wants to open at least five more restaurants in the area over the next several years.

“We’re really excited,” Berger said of the Alexandria location. “We’re really excited about it, and being a standalone building with visibility, parking — kind of a billboard-type location when you come in on the G.W. Parkway.”

Map via Google Maps, Pizza photo via Facebook


Crooked Beat Records officially opened today in the basement of 2417 Mount Vernon Avenue in Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood.

Owners Bill and Helen Daly hosted a ribbon cutting at the new record shop on Friday that was attended by dozens of customers. The 1,200-square foot basement is 300 square feet bigger than their old shop that closed at the end of April in Old Town North.

“It’s still a work in progress,” Bill Daly said. “We’re trying to keep the atmosphere the same as it was on N. Fairfax Street.”

A former DJ at North Carolina State University, Daly worked for a record shop chain for years before founding Crooked Beat Records in 1997 in Raleigh. He moved the business to Adams Morgan in D.C. in 2004 and then to 802 N. Fairfax Street in Old Town North in 2016. The shop was forced to close in April due to residential redevelopment,

Daly signed a five-year lease for the 1,200-square-foot basement — in the same building that houses Cheesetique, the Del Ray School Of Music and Piece Out Del Ray.

“It’s great to see a business like yours coming to Del Ray,” City Council Member Kirk McPike said at the ribbon cutting. “You fit the vibe and get the deal here in Del Ray. But more fully, you’re going to bring people here that are going to join the community and support some of our other businesses, and we wish you all the success possible here in Alexandria.”

Gayle Reuter of the Del Ray Business Association said that the record shop is a destination business that brings people to the area.

“We’re really excited to have you here,” Reuter told the owners. “This is a big day for Del Ray.”

Craig Dye, a retired music teacher, drove from Warrenton to attend the store opening.

“We don’t have record shops in Warrenton,” Dye said. “My record collection is ridiculous. My wife is very patient with me. She lets me have the entire basement for my record collection and she takes care of the rest of the house.”

via Benny Diforza’s Pizza/Facebook

Get ready to loosen your belts, because Benny Diforza’s Pizza is planning to open this year in Del Ray.

The restaurant will open at 1504-B Mount Vernon Avenue, the former home to Sicilian Pizza. Their claims to fame are 28-inch pies that go for $5 to $6.50 per slice.

“Cat’s out of the bag, a location is secured, and we’re ready to build another Benny’s!” the restaurant franchise announced on LinkedIn. “Benny Diforza’s will be opening in Del Ray later this year! More updates to come…get ready, Alexandria!”

Benny’s first opened its Blacksburg location in 2011, and now has dozens of locations throughout Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wyoming.

Benny’s is far from the first pizza spot in Del Ray — some might even say there’s too much pizza — but a plurality of ALXnow readers last fall said there’s still not enough good pizza in Alexandria.

Image via 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

Cuisine at Josephine (image via Josephine Old Town/Instagram)

New French restaurant Josephine is opening at 109 St Asaph Street in Old Town this week and folks are already losing their heads over it.

According to the website, the new restaurant has classic French cuisine like trout amandine and beef bourguignon along with some original creations from Matt Cockrell, described by Washingtonian as a staple of the DC French restaurant scene .

The menu also features an extensive bar with “an expertly curated cheese list devoted exclusively to French offerings.”

On the wine side, Josephine offers a collection of 350 French wines ranging from traditional vintages to more modern wines.

Josephine is scheduled to open on Wednesday, June 7, but a few locals had a preview of the menu at an event this weekend.

The restaurant will be open Sunday through Thursday from 5-10 p.m. with the bar open until 11 p.m., and open Friday and Saturday from 5-11 p.m. with the bar open until midnight.

Image via Josephine Old Town/Instagram

Throwing axe being readied (image via Bad Axe Throwing/Facebook)

This reporter’s already noted that Alexandria bears a passing resemblance to the province of Skyrim* and that Nordic connection is only getting stronger: the Landmark neighborhood is getting a new axe throwing bar.

Bad Axe Throwing is opening a new location in Van Dorn Station at 617 S Pickett Street.

The location was originally listed as opening this spring, but staff at Bad Axe Throwing said estimate is now at the more nebulous “soon.” The alcohol license for the location is still listed as pending.

“Our axe throwing coaches will teach you how to throw an axe while helping you improve your axe throwing technique and make you into an axe throwing pro in no time,” the website said. “We offer fun & unique axe throwing games as well as individual and team-based tournaments for an unforgettable experience.”

Bad Axe Throwing is an international chain with nearby locations in Washington D.C. and Fairfax.

Image via Bad Axe Throwing/Facebook
*Technically the only thrown weapons in Skyrim are Riekling spears


Potomac Yard’s microbrewery Hops Grill and Brewery didn’t live to see the new Potomac Yard Metro station open, but the Washington Business Journal reported the location at 3625 Richmond Highway could see new life as a bank.

The Business Journal reported that JPMorgan Chase & Co. has leased the microbrewery as part of a broader push throughout the region.

The bank won’t take up all of the 6,900-square-foot space, the Business Journal said, as about half of it will be subleased.

The new location is not far from the planned Virginia Tech campus and a stone’s throw from the new Potomac Yard Metro station that opened last month.

Image via Google Maps


Subscribe to our mailing list