Alexandria, VA

Morning Notes

Beyer Introduces Pandemic Response Accountability Legislation — “Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) today introduced the Supply Chain Accountability Act, legislation that would require the Administration to explain its strategy for fixing key breakdowns in the pandemic response. Beyer serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means, which has partial jurisdiction over healthcare matters.” [Beyer.house.gov]

Coronavirus Cases at 2,995 in Alexandria — “Positive tests up 19 to 2,995 in the City 7-day Positivity Rate up to 5.7% 3 new hospitalizations Still safer at home, wash hands, wear masks and support our essential workers.” [Twitter]

Nelson Greene Advocates Renaming T.C. Williams High School for Retired Judge Dawkins — “Here is a model to be followed, and imitated. So let’s do the right thing and change the name to Judge Nolan Dawkins and really let him know what we think about him and his service, his life and have a model for all.” [Zebra]

New Italian Restaurant Opening in Old Town North on Thursday — “The restaurant, from chef and restaurateur Jamie Leeds, is the long-awaited replacement for Hank’s Pasta Bar, that closed last year for renovations.” [Alexandria Living]

Del Ray Cakery Becomes Del Ray Cookie Company — “Over the last year or so, my business has gone in a different direction. I have been doing so many cookies, so I decided it was time to move my business in a different direction.” [Facebook]

Today’s Weather — “Partly cloudy in the morning followed by scattered thunderstorms in the afternoon. High 91F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60%. Locally heavy rainfall possible.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Commercial Interior Designer — “Share a passion for transforming client work environments with amazingly innovative designs. Builds on and manages the client relationship to create an exceptional client experience. Provides design services to dealership customers, including programming, space planning, typical development, 3-D virtual experience, specifications and site-to-plan review.” [Indeed]

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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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Morning Notes

(Updated 8/7) Upcoming Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend Canceled — “The coronavirus has canceled one of Alexandria’s most beloved traditions this winter.” [Alexandria Living]

Beyer Blames Trump for Coronavirus Response Failures — “The White House is simultaneously blaming state governments for Trump’s failed pandemic response and blocking federal assistance to support state and local governments.” [Twitter]

Fire Department: Use Flashlight, Not Candle if Power Goes Out — “Tropical Storm #Isaias is expected to bring heavy rain and wind gusts that may cause power outages. If you experience an outage, use a flashlight for emergency lighting instead of candles to prevent a possible fire. Be prepared. Be informed. Be ready.” [Twitter]

City Suspends Trash and Recycling Today — “Due to expected impacts from Tropical Storm Isaias, the City of Alexandria has suspended its curbside trash and recycling collection for Tuesday, August 4.” [Zebra]

Ebbin Pledges to Fight for Marijuana Legalization in 2021 — “In 2020, six years of hard work paid off in major reform to our criminal justice system by decriminalizing possession of marijuana. In 2021, I’m ready to do the hard work to legalize cannabis in Virginia the right way.” [Facebook]

Silver Diner to Open August 12 — “The 6,500-square foot restaurant is part of West Alex, a new $185 million mixed-use community at the corner of King and North Beauregard streets, anchored by an in-the-works Harris Teeter grocery store and Array, a 278-unit apartment building.” [Alexandria Living]

New Farmers Market in Carlyle Starts Friday — “The Carlyle Vitality Initiative is hosting a new Farmer’s Market at John Carlyle Square Park, starting on August 7th! We can’t wait to see you this weekend!” [Facebook]

Today’s Weather — “Thunderstorms. Potential for heavy rainfall. Low 71F. Winds SE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 100%.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Activities and Volunteer Coordinator — “At Sunrise, our Activities & Volunteer Coordinator is responsible for leading the day to day activities and programs for a Sunrise Senior Living community.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Mayor Reports COVID-19 Cases Increase by 14 — “Positive tests up 14 to 2,749 in the City 7-day Positivity Rate up to 5.9% 0 new hospitalizations Still safer at home, wash hands, wear masks and support our essential workers.” [Twitter]

Beyer Asks U.S. Park Police Chief to Implement Body Cameras After Lafayette Square Incident — “Beyer seeks commitment to body cam program funded/authorized by Congress from acting Chief Monahan given USPP’s transparency failures in the killing of Bijan Ghaisar. Monahan: USPP not ‘in a position to successfully implement, manage, and sustain a body-worn camera program.'” [Twitter]

New Deli Opening in Old Town North — “The Chewish Deli announced they will be opening a location at 807 Pendleton St. in the next few weeks. According to the business’s website, founder Greg Linzey is known for his hand rolled, NY-style water bagels. In addition to bagels, The Chewish Deli offers coffee as well as breakfast and lunch sandwiches.” [Alexandria Living]

The Irish Walk is Closing Today — “The last day is tomorrow for this wonderful Irish Store in Old Town Alexandria. Stop in and visit and get the last of the remaining treasures. @AlexandriaNow #OldTownAlexandria #Irish – The Irish Walk has been such a treasure and it will be missed.” [Twitter]

Photos Show Flooding From Last Week’s Storm — “Photographer Alex Snyder shared photos of the Thursday flooding with Patch to demonstrate that the city has ‘stormwater runoff problems that is costing taxpayers thousands.’ The photos show ‘waist-high’ flooding at Ashby Street and Glebe Road in the Del Ray area.” [Patch]

City Advises on Hurricane Preparedness — “Today the city advised residents to prepare for hurricane season through November. And they know the  pandemic makes doing so a challenge. Officials though stress it is important to be ready. Their recommendations follow.” [Zebra]

Today’s Weather — It will be mostly sunny with a high temperature of 93 degrees. [Weather.com]

New Job: Scooter Collector — “As a Scooter Collector, you’ll be responsible for collecting scooters from the street and dropping them off at the Spin warehouse. This is a night-time role in which you will be using your personal vehicle to transport scooters.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Alexandria Businesses Get Millions in Federal Loans — “The vast majority of the loans in Alexandria were less than $150,000, helping small businesses keep their employees instead of laying them off. About 600 of the loans in Alexandria were worth more than $150,000, and about 100 of those were for more than $1 million. Top-dollar loans went to patent lawyers, information-technology professionals and commercial contractors. Only three of loans in Alexandria were in the coveted top bracket, which range from $5 million to $10 million.”  [Gazette]

Beyer Tweets Potential Unemployment Losses of Every State — “At least 200,000 workers in Virginia will lose nearly two thirds of their weekly income at the beginning of August unless Mitch McConnell allows the Senate to pass an unemployment extension in the next few days.”  [Twitter]

Fairlington United Methodist Church Blesses 1,000 Face Masks — “Over 1,000 face masks, most of them homemade, were blessed and donated by the FUMC community to Alive! Alexandria. Alive! will hand them out at their rapidly growing food distribution sites.” [Facebook]

Commonwealth’s Attorney Gives Opinion on New Laws — “At the beginning of this month, a litany of new laws went into effect. In this article, I’ll provide a synopsis of changes to the code that citizens should know about.” [AlexTimes]

New Italian Restaurant Opens in Del Ray — “Piece Out LLC, which operates Café Pizzaiolo, St. Elmo’s and Markt2Market, opened a from-scratch Italian restaurant at 2419 Mount Vernon Ave. Piece Out will initially focus on carry-out dining with plans to grow into a sit-down restaurant as the region starts to recover from the coronavirus crisis, according to owner Larry Ponzi.” [Alexandria Living]

Apothecary Museum’s Harry Potter Event Goes Virtual — “Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum’s Harry Potter birthday celebration, a favorite for visitors in Alexandria, will move online due to the pandemic.” [Patch]

New Job: Retail Cheesemonger — “Everyone’s favorite Cheese & Wine Shop is hiring retail sales associates (“cheesemongers”) for all locations. Part-Time and Full-Time available.” [Indeed]

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Cristian Velasco says he might be crazy, but even as other local businesses are closing, he’s still hoping to open a new gelato spot in Del Ray (2400 Mt. Vernon Avenue) by August.

“I got the permits going through last week,” Velasco said. “Some revisions are pending, I don’t know how long that will be, but I’m thinking maybe [we’ll open] by the end of August.”

It isn’t the first spot for Boccato Gelato, which had previously been located in Arlington.

Velasco said, like many local businesses, when he opens it will likely just be curbside pickup with a limited occupancy of between five or seven people allowed to stand inside.

“I feel like I need a psychiatrist,” Velasco said. “It’s definitely risky. But there are options to find spaces and availability. There are great locations available and the prices have gone down. It’s a risk.”

The equipment has already been moved into the new location, but Velasco said is concerned a second wave could shut down operations even as he prepares to gear up.

“I foresee possibly another shutdown so that’s going to be very challenging for established businesses and definitely for new businesses considering opening right now,” Velasco said. “It’s a huge challenge; kind of a personal dare.”

Still, Velasco said his comfort is that he doesn’t believe smaller locations like ice cream shops will be as heavily impacted as full restaurants. He’s also less worried about the prospect of opening in August, at the latter end of the warmer season.

“A lot of people need to go out for gelato in August,” Velasco said. “People do eat ice cream in the winter, and we’ll have to-go containers for pints and quarts.”

https://twitter.com/BoccatoGelatos/status/1282333384056942593

Photo via Boccato Gelato/Twitter

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In a rare bright spot of 2020, the highly-anticipated Mount Purrnon Cat Cafe and Wine Bar (109 S. Alfred Street) announced on social media that progress is continuing slowly but surely.

“Construction at Mount Purrnon is currently ongoing and it’s starting to look great,” owners Kristin and Adam said in a Facebook post. “The work crew is small (but very talented) and all available health precautions are being taken.”

The business received approval of a special use permit from the City Council in February, almost immediately before the pandemic hit. The pair said the business is still looking to open sometime mid-summer.

“We still don’t have a firm opening date yet…that will depend on when construction ends, when all the final inspections can be done, as well as what phase of re-opening Northern Virginia is in at that point,” the Cat Cafe said. “We are also working with our vendors and our partner shelter on the best way to move forward, as they were affected as well. We are still aiming for mid-summer.”

The pair also opened up about some of the challenges of trying to open a business in the middle of a pandemic.

“Opening a business usually takes longer than one expects and then some,” Kristin and Adam said. “Then 2020 dropped and really turned the dial up to 11. There are bound to be a few more hurdles along the way both for us and the world, (we haven’t even hit the locust phase yet), but we’re actually, finally approaching the finish line. We greatly thank you for your ongoing patience and support as well.”

They said that the business is still paying rent on the building even though they haven’t been able to open and therefore don’t qualify for any disaster relief programs. Even local programs, like the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership’s grant program, requires businesses to have been open for at least a year to qualify. Mount Purrnon is accepting donations to help cover those costs on the company website.

“As terrible and bizarre as this year has been so far, we hope Mount Purrnon will bring some joy to Alexandria and the greater DMV for the second half of the year and beyond,” Kristin and Adam said. “Stay safe, stay healthy, and we look forward to seeing you soon over a few meow-mosas.”

Photo via Mount Purrnon/Facebook

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Morning Notes

Inova Hospital System Needs Blood Donations — “Starting this week, over 1,400 blood donors will be needed each week to make lifesaving donations. One blood donation can save up to three lives! Schedule your lifesaving donation with Inova Blood Donor Services online at www.inovabloodsaves.org or call 1-866-BLOODSAVES.” [Facebook]

Video: Alexandria Firefighters Thank Health Care Workers — “Station 203 members made a quick stop at Envoy of Alexandria today to thank healthcare workers.” [Facebook]

VDOT Asks Drivers to Slow Down on Interstate — “While many #stayhome and #socialdistance, there are fewer cars on our roads. That doesn’t mean safety goes out the window, though. PLEASE comply with posted speed limits. Let’s help keep each other safe #NoNeedForSpeed #SlowDown” [Twitter]

Rep. Beyer Defends Dr. Fauci Amid COVID-19 Criticism — “People in positions of power and influence trying to capitalize commercially and politically on treating Dr. Fauci like some kind of national villain as he literally works to save their lives is not a proud moment for this country.” [Twitter]

City Continues Series on Teleworking ‘Innovation’ By Citing 911 Operators — “After a successful one-month pilot, Alexandria became the first city in the United States to enable some staff to answer 911 calls from home. Rather than relying on employees’ home phone or internet connections, this remote setup uses wireless hotspots connected to a dedicated national public safety network called FirstNet. Regardless of the location, staff comply with the same strict confidentiality and quality assurance standards, and have access to the same computer-aided dispatch system that helps route public safety resources.” [City of Alexandria]

New Sheriff’s Deputy Sworn In at Alexandria Courthouse — “Congratulations and welcome to Deputy Fidelis Asonglefac who was sworn in yesterday! Deputy Asonglefac received his badge and Clerk of Circuit Court Greg Parks administered the oath of office at the courthouse.” [Facebook]

New Italian Restaurant Planned for Del Ray This Summer — “Piece Out LLC, which operates Café Pizzaiolo, St. Elmo’s and Markt2Market, is working on opening a from-scratch Italian restaurant at 2419 Mount Vernon Ave. The restaurant will initially focus on carry-out dining with plans to grow into a sit-down restaurant as the region starts to recover from the coronavirus crisis, according to owner Larry Ponzi. The restaurant will include pizza, house-made pasta and more. The company is very early in the planning process, Ponzi said, but he hopes to open the new Italian restaurant by mid-summer.” [Alexandria Living]

Alexandria Animal Hospital Now Open For All Appointments — “Whoop! We are excited to announce that we are now able to accept all appointment types. We will continue our curbside service and safety protocols to ensure the safety of our staff and clients. We’ll greet you outside and keep you informed during your pet’s visit. With safety in mind, we will continue to limit hospital traffic to associates only.” [Facebook]

Mount Vernon Community School Teacher Launches Youtube Channel — “Did you know that Mount Vernon Community School has many amazing dual language teachers? One of their music teachers, Mrs. Quesada-Sayler. has started a YouTube channel to provide more music lessons in Spanish and English. Check these out. They are awesome!” [Facebook]

Lee Fendall House Celebrates Museum Week — “Much has been said about the historic times we are living through now. Are you doing something to document them in your own way? Perhaps you are keeping a journal, taking pictures, or saving certain mementoes of life in quarantine?” [Facebook]

Hazardous Waste Drop-Off Center To Reopen Saturdays — “The City of Alexandria will reopen the Household Hazardous Waste & Electronics Center for one day a week starting on Saturday, May 16. The limited opening is intended for residents who cannot store materials at home indefinitely for reasons such as moving. Others are encouraged to store materials until normal operations resume.” [Patch]

New Job: Administrative Specialist for Salvation Army National HQ — “Bachelors degree and at least two years’ of experience required. Knowledge of general office practices and procedures, effective and efficient record-keeping and bookkeeping practices, knowledge of proofreading symbols and basic mathematics. Ability to transcribe dictation and type information into a computer. Ability to scan documents and work with same. Ability to operate various office equipment including a telephone, Dictaphone, computer, scanner and adding machine.” [Indeed]

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A new deli is in the works for a building on S. Washington Street that was once Union officers’ quarters during the Civil War.

The site is planned to be turned into Delicious Deli Inc., a full-service, 1,600 square foot restaurant. The restaurant will be a neighbor to Ally & Indy Pet Boutique, which shares the ground floor of the double-house.

While the official title in the documents is Delicious Deli, it is also listed as Manna Chicken and Burger in the application. The owner could not be reached for comment.1

In an application for a Special Use Permit, the restaurant was described as a small, eight-seat restaurant. Menu options will include burgers, chicken and sandwiches.

Somewhat less appealing cuisine was likely served in the 1860s, when the then-recently built double-house was used as Union officer’s quarters, then contraband lodging, and later a medical dispensary, according to its listing on LoopNet.

The restaurant is also planning to apply for permits to serve beer and wine on the premises.

Top photo via Google Maps, plans via KMIN Design Consulting

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The Gables Old Town North/EDEN project (525 Montgomery Street) is bringing a new suite of retail, restaurants and services to North Old Town.

The new openings at the development are planned to be staggered across the next few months, however, so nearby residents will have to wait a little longer for some of the new spots listed as “coming soon.”

Two of the soonest scheduled to open are Hinata Sushi Bar and Grill and Cut and Shave Barbershop at 909 N. Saint Asaph Street and 907 N. Saint Asaph Street respectively. Chef Hyun Su Kim told ALXnow that Hinata plans to open sometime late this month. Staff at another Cut and Shave in Alexandria said the North Old Town location should be opening in roughly three weeks.

There is no word yet on when Sisters Thai, a Thai restaurant with locations in the City of Fairfax and the Mosaic District, will open but staff working at Gables Old Town North said it should be “very soon.”

Loyal Companion, an East Coast-based pet store chain, is scheduled to open at 530 First Street sometime this summer.

“We’re looking at opening sometime in June, during a summer timeframe,” said a regional manager for Loyal Companion. “It’s a new location so we have to get all our ducks in a row.”

Del Ray staple St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub, meanwhile, is scheduled to open at 529 Montgomery Street this August, owners Christine and Larry Ponzi told ALXnow.

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The owner of a new Vietnamese restaurant at 606 King Street says that he plans to open for business in May.

Quang Nguyen, the owner of the Gaithersburg-based Pho Nam restaurant, tells ALXnow that he’s excited to expand to Old Town after nearly a half year of construction.

“We visited the city a number of times, we saw that people seem to be very friendly and open,” Nguyen said. “So, I hope they welcome a new restaurant. If everything goes smoothly, we plan to open in early May. It’s been a while now and we couldn’t build it fast enough.”

Construction on the restaurant is about half finished, and it will seat 48 customers and employ up to four part-time employees. No alcohol will be served. The building was previously home to Breugger’s Bagels, which closed in 2018 after 12 years in business. Neighbors include Noodle Box Old Town, La Tasca and Chipotle Mexican Grill.

Nguyen emigrated to the U.S. in 1977 and opened Pho Nam in Gaithersburg 20 years ago. His nephew, Ryan Le, will be the general manager of the Old Town location.

“He’s been running things over here, helping me,” Nguyen said of his nephew. “He has enough experience to be on his own, and on top of that I will stop by often to help him out.”

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Move over Mount Purrnon Cat Cafe, there’s a new pet-themed restaurant in town.

Brewski’s Barkhaus — at 529 E. Howell Avenue, along Richmond Highway near Del Ray — is envisioned as a restaurant and dog park. It will be replacing the Flat Top Burger restaurant that closed last year.

Brewski’s describes itself as the D.C. area’s “first dog bar and restaurant combined with a dog park and daycare.”

“Our goal is to provide an alternative to the typical adoption procedure by combining food, drinks, and dogs in a social environment,” the restaurant says on its website.

The venue will offer a bar and hors d’oeuvres with access to a leash-less dog play area, with supervision by staff. The full restaurant follows a pop-up last August at the Old Town Beer, Wine and Dog Festival.

Brewski’s is applying for an Administrative Special Use Permit to change ownership of the restaurant, increase the number of indoor and outdoor seats, and allow for additional hours of operation.

Among the expected menu items: hot dogs, of course.

“Items to be sold and consumed on property may include handhelds (sandwiches, sliders, burgers, specialty sausages, hot dogs, tacos etc.), fried foods (french fries, chicken, vegetables etc.), cold salads, wings, and flatbreads,” according to the permit application.

Photo via Google Maps

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