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Inside of Union Sandwich Co. (image via Andrew Wolfe/Facebook)

Union Sandwich Company (101 N Union Street), a new sandwich shop, is now open in the Torpedo Factory building at the end of King Street.

The shop, from the same team behind Slaters Market, officially opened on Aug. 18 a little under a year after permits were filed. Union Sandwich Company features fresh salads, sandwiches, eclectic wine, beer and more.

The little grab-and-go shop is open daily from 10 a.m.-8 p.m.

Photo via Andrew Wolfe/Facebook

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Cocktail at Dreampt (image via Del Ray Pizzeria)

An “experimental” new bar called Dreampt is opening today above Del Ray Pizzeria (2216 Mount Vernon Avenue), Alexandria Living Magazine reported.

The new bar is a “magical new themed experience” with a focus on unique new cocktails. According to the website:

Here, we believe in pushing the boundaries, and our cocktail creations are a testament to that philosophy. Our team has crafted an exceptional menu that showcases experimental cocktails, where unexpected ingredients find their way to dance harmoniously together. Immerse yourself in our twists on classic elixirs, or venture into uncharted territories of taste with one of our unconventional libations.

The Del Ray Pizzeria says the cocktail bar is open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sunday from 5-11 p.m.

The menu includes a series of exotic cocktails and mocktails, along with wine and some food choices like purple sweet potato fries and fried avocado.

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A new spot with coffee and boba tea is coming to Old Town.

Bloom Tea has filed an application with the Board of Architectural Review to fix up 425 S. Washington Street — repairing some windows in the back and adding new signage — to open Bloom Tea.

Owner Thao Uyen Than told ALXnow that the new location will specialize in Vietnamese coffee and boba tea.

Bloom Tea joins a small cadre of boba tea locations around Alexandria, including the nearby Pho Nam at 606 King Street.

The application is heading to the Board of Architectural Review on Wednesday, July 19. Than said there’s no firm idea yet of when the shop will open.

Image via Google Maps

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Flaky yet sturdy, Alex Rosenberg and Michael Vidal say they’ve created the perfect biscuit.

The owners of District Biscuit Company opened in December at 3401 Mount Vernon Avenue, offering a menu dedicated to Vidal’s creation.

“The perfect biscuit needs that little bit of sourness from from the buttermilk, and that extra buttery flavor,” Vidal told ALXnow. “And structurally we’ve created a biscuit that can hold up as a sandwich, because most biscuits are very crumbly, and kind of fall apart.”

It’s tough news for Del Ray’s June Turner, who says she’s addicted to the biscuits and is trying to lose weight.

“I have to stop myself from coming here every morning,” Turner said. “These are the best biscuits outside of Georgia. It’s really hard to find a good biscuit around here, especially if you’re from the South.”

Vidal, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, presented a biscuit for Rosenberg to sample back in 2020. The owners are longtime friends who previously worked together selling cars at a local dealership. It’s the first time either have run a business.

“Our biscuits are handmade and we use a lamination process that creates layers and flakes within the biscuits,” Rosenberg said. “So many biscuits that I’ve tried in my life fall apart and lose their structural integrity. These can hold up to biscuits and gravy and they hold up to a biscuit sandwich.”

What’s in the biscuits? Nothing special, Vidal said.

“Buttermilk, flour, butter, you know, just what you’d expect to be in a biscuit,” he said. “What’s different is in the amount of the ingredients and the love we put into it.”

District Biscuit Company is open Tuesday to Sunday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Their full menu is below the jump.

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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

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

Gostov Boulangerie & Brasserie will soon open at 2213 Mount Vernon Avenue in Del Ray (Via Facebook)

After several months of delay, French bistro Gostov Boulangerie & Brasserie (2213 Mount Vernon Avenue) is set to open next Tuesday in Del Ray.

The notification that the bistro is opening was made by the Del Ray Business Association (Visit Del Ray) on Facebook and Instagram.

“We are so excited — @gustaveboulangerie (finally!) opens on Tuesday, May 30 at 10am,” Visit Del Ray posted.

Owner Abderrahim Moussaif bought the 14,300 square-foot Del Ray property at the corner of Mount Vernon and E. Del Ray Avenues for $3 million in 2019. The bistro is the former home of Bean Creative, which also closed in 2019. Moussaif also runs four Madison Day School child care centers in Alexandria.

The restaurant will serve macarons and feature an espresso bar, although the rest of the menu is under wraps. The company’s website promises an “authentic and traditional French experience.”

Moussaif could not be reached for comment. He previously wanted to open the restaurant earlier this year, and said that the  bistro will be able to serve 47 customers at a time, and that there will be outdoor seating.

The restaurant will be open 7 a.m.-10 p.m. every day, except Sunday when it will open at 8 a.m.

Image via Facebook


The brothers behind the new Dos Hermanos Tex Mex restaurant in Del Ray want to open by this summer.

On April 1, Wilmer and Elmer Cruz Villatoro signed a 10-year lease for the 4,000-square-foot space at 1603 Commonwealth Avenue. The interior renovations are nearly finished, with bright red and yellow walls adorned by colorful sombreros and prints of Mexican paintings.

Dos Hermanos is under City review for a special use permit and the public comment period for their application ends on May 11.

“It’s a family restaurant,” Wilmer said. “We are going to do real Tex-Mex. That means fajitas, enchiladas, a solid steak, burritos, chimichangas, and great salads.”

The space is the former longtime home to Monroe’s, which closed in Dec. 2015, after which it became Live Oak and Elo’s Italian, the latter two owned by The Garden‘s Justus Frank and Jeremy Barber.

“I buy very good quality meat,” Elmer said. “You won’t hear any complaints about our chicken fajitas. I pay four times more for chicken breasts than anyone else around here.”

Wilmer moved to Alexandria from El Salvador when he was 18 years old in 1999, getting his first restaurant job at the former Chicken Out in Old Town. He learned more about the industry working at California Pizza Kitchen in Arlington and then as a cook at Hops Bar & Grill in Potomac Yard. In 2004, Elmer followed his big brother to Alexandria, and got a job as a dishwasher at Hops. Two years later, Elmer transferred to a Hops in West Palm Beach, Florida, and then worked for seven years at Mexican/Spanish restaurant La Bamba in North Palm Beach.

Wilmer later started working at Dos Amigos when it opened 535 E. Braddock Road near the Braddock Road Metro station in 2013. In 2019, he partnered with the company’s owners and they opened a Dos Amigos at 7375 Boston Boulevard in Springfield. He even convinced Elmer to return to Alexandria to help run the family business. Then the pandemic hit in 2020, putting the breaks on positive growth.

“It was hard to make a living,” Elmer said. “But things got busy again. We had a lot of business until we had to close.”

The Springfield Dos Amigos closed on March 31, after the partners were bought out of their lease due to Costco wanting to install a gas station on the property. The buyout had Elmer consider moving back to Florida, and he even tried talking Wilmer into tagging along.

“I have a 14-year-old son and I need to be here for him,” Wilmer said. “I told him I’d love to go, but I cannot move right now. Then we found this place and I convinced him (Elmer) to stay.”

The brothers plan on employing about 15 people to work in the restaurant, and to be open from 11 a.m. to 1o p.m. Sunday to Thursday and until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. They also plan on having daily happy hour specials from 3 to 7 p.m. daily and then bar menu includes a dozen margaritas, Central and South American wine and signature drinks like a mojito with mezcal, piña coladas, flavored daiquiris and sangrias.

The restaurant will also feature a $11 kids menu with enchiladas, tacos and quesadillas.

“The menus are all ready,” Elmer said. “We have until May 11 to see if the city has to say something about our application. Once they approve, we’ll open soon after. We’re hoping for June.”


Do you take your yoga with coffee or tea?

By this summer, the Harold family of Alexandria want to add a third business in Old Town — Connect & Sip Cafe at 1320 Prince Street. The proposed cafe would be located next door to their PIES Fitness & Yoga Studio at 1322 Prince Street. If all goes well with the permitting process, they’d like to open up by mid-summer.

“The building is completely gutted right now,” owner Marsha D. Banks-Harold told ALXnow. “Our yoga studio is very unique and that we’re a community, so people come here, they sit before class and each other, check in on how everyone’s family is doing. We’re really about connecting and that’s where the wellness piece comes in. Especially post pandemic where people have been so isolated, it’s really an opportunity for people to come together sit down sip on a cup of tea, or a cup of coffee and really get to know their neighbors.”

The property is located on the corner of Prince Street and N. West Street, directly across the street from popular knitting shop fibre space (1319 Prince Street).

The cafe would sell coffee, tea, small plates of food, pastries and CBD products. The 2,100-square-foot property is envisioned to seat 50 people inside and 12 outside on a 600-square-foot area in the rear of the property. Their proposed operating hours during the week would be from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Wednesday, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday and Friday, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Public comments on their special use permit application expire on May 4.

Last October, Banks-Harold, her husband Jefferey and son Gabriel reopened PIES Fitness & Yoga in Old Town. The move came after the family lost the least to their studio at 33 S. Pickett Street, which first opened in 2008. Also last year, the family launched a CBD business, Daydreamers Oasis, and started selling those products in the studio.

The problem with the new Old Town space, Marsha said, is that it lacked a waiting area for people to hang out before and after workouts, crushing the vibe fostered in the previous West End location.

“With the cafe, they’ll have a place to continue those conversations,” she said. “It gets a little crowded in the studio.”

Incidentally, Marsha and Jefferey are both full-time patent supervisors at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. They got married in 1992 in Shiloh Baptist Church, which is about a block away from the building they now own in Old Town.

“This whole part of town has gone through gentrification,” Jefferey said. “Just for us to be able to get back into town and have a place here is special.”


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