Alexandria, VA

What an intense week in Alexandria.

Our top story was on the massive power outages that affected tens of thousands of residents on Friday, October 23. Without providing specifics, Dominion Energy told City Council this week that outages in Alexandria and Arlington were “unique,” and caused by a piece of equipment that failed at its Glebe Road substation. City Councilors responded that there have been at least eight outages since May.

Monday started with news that an Alexandria Police officer was shot in Old Town and that the 27-year-old suspect was found shot to death near a construction site.

Police were called to the Holiday Inn & Suites in Old Town North after reports that shots were fired in the lobby of the hotel. Police chased two suspects on foot and a shootout ensued. The officer was shot in the lower body and was later released, and the other suspect later turned himself in to police.

On the coronavirus front, there are now 74 deaths in Alexandria and there are now or have been more than 4,200 cases since the pandemic began in March. Latino residents continue to lead the case count. This week the Alexandria Health Department reported that majority of recent coronavirus cases in Alexandria might be the result of contacts at home, indoor gatherings and eating out.

Restaurant-wise, we reported the soft opening of a new chicken joint in North Old Town.

Additionally, the Wrought, Knit, Labors, Legacies art installation at Waterfront Park will be taken down next month at Waterfront Park, and the installation will temporarily be moved outside of Old Town Pool (1609 Cameron Street).

We also reported that more than 50% of Alexandria voters have already cast their ballots.

Additionally, more than 240 people participated in our weekly poll. With Halloween on Saturday, this week we asked about trick-or-treating plans, and 38% of respondents are not celebrating Halloween this year, 31% are not trick-or-treating but have other plans, 17% plan to trick-or-treat with modifications, and 14% plan to trick-or-treat as usual.

Here are ALXnow’s top stories of the week in Alexandria:

  1. BREAKING: Massive Power Outage Reported in Alexandria
  2. BREAKING: Virginia State Police Seek Alexandria Man After Police Shootout
  3. School Board Shelves Plan to Reopen Schools in 2021, Students with Disabilities Transitioning Back Next Month
  4. Republican Jeff Jordan Running Uphill Battle Against Incumbent Rep. Don Beyer
  5. Here’s Where Alexandria Residents Might be Getting COVID-19
  6. BREAKING: Shooting Suspect In Custody, Police Announce
  7. Police: Man Killed in Car Crash on N. Van Dorn Street
  8. Identity Released of Old Town North Suspect Killed in Shootout
  9. Police: Shots Fired in Braddock Area on Monday Night
  10. The Chewish Deli Opens New Location in Old Town
  11. Police Assist Man With Psychotic Episode in West End

Happy Halloween!

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Herndon-based Wooboi Hot Chicken is hosting a small “soft opening” today at a new location opening in North Old Town (531 Montgomery Street).

The soft opening is scheduled to run from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. though those who want to try the chicken should lean towards the earlier side, as Wooboi Hot Chicken said there is a limited supply today.

“We have 100 chicken breasts and 400 tenders to sell!” the restaurant said.

Today and tomorrow, the location is cash-only. The restaurant said on Facebook that at the grand opening on Monday, they will accept cards, cash, and apple pay.

Sandwiches or a basket of chicken tenders are $8.99 ($10 with tax included, for purposes of planning how much cash to bring) and sides are $3.99 ($4.50 with tax).

Photo via Wooboi Hot Chicken/Facebook

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This was a big week for Alexandria.

Our top story this week was the Alexandria School Board’s decision to reopen schools for students with disabilities, while the future reopening of school for elementary, middle and high schoolers remains in doubt.

Superintendent Gregory Hutchings, Jr. said that the only feasible option for reopening schools — based on distancing and staffing constraints — would be for students to rotate to in-person schooling only one day per week. Hutchings also appeared on CNN and said that ACPS is not likely to fully reopen until there is a vaccine for the coronavirus.

We also reported that the Alexandria City Council approved plans for Virginia Tech’s Innovation Campus and the North Potomac Yard development plan, virtually paving the way for the college to open its doors to hundreds of students by 2024.

“This is a very significant set of decisions for the city, and is really going to shape, not just a portion of our city, but really the entirety of our city for a long period of time to come,” said Mayor Justin Wilson.

On the coronavirus front, there are now 75 deaths in Alexandria and there are now or have been more than 4,100 cases since the pandemic began in March. Latino residents continue to lead the case count.

Governor Ralph Northam and Virginia Transportation Secretary Shannon Valentine were in the city on Monday to unveil a team of new zero emission DASH electric buses.

We also reported that the City Council unanimously approved naming the 1000 block of Montgomery Street in Old Town “Earl F. Lloyd Way” in honor of the first Black man to ever play in the National Basketball Association.

Restaurant-wise, we spoke with one of the owners of a pizza and burger joint that is taking over the former location of Pizzeria Paradiso on lower King Street. The Chewish Deli is also now open in Old Town, and the owner of Del Ray Boccato says that his gelato shop will soon open.

Additionally, more than 175 people participated in our weekly poll. With the November 3 election around the corner, this week we asked about voting plans, and 65% of respondents voted by mail/absentee, 31% plan to vote on election day, and 4% are not voting.

Here are ALXnow’s top stories this week in Alexandria:

  1. School Board Shelves Plan to Reopen Schools in 2021, Students with Disabilities Transitioning Back Next Month
  2. City Releasing Torpedo Factory Draft Action Plan Today
  3. City Council Approves Virginia Tech Innovation Campus and North Potomac Yard Development Plan
  4. Alexandria Student Called N-Word in Online Forum, and Not By Another Student
  5. Republican Jeff Jordan Running Uphill Battle Against Incumbent Rep. Don Beyer
  6. The Chewish Deli Opens New Location in Old Town
  7. One Arrested After Attempted Armed Robbery in Alexandria’s West End
  8. Report: ACPS Superintendent Sends Child to Bishop Ireton High School
  9. Female Suspect Flees, Nothing Taken in Attempted Old Town Bank Robbery
  10. Alexandria and Arlington Want a New Future for the Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Center
  11. Alexandria Courthouse Deep Cleaned After Employee Tests Positive for COVID-19

Have a safe weekend!

Photo via ACPS/Facebook

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That was fast.

Pizzeria Paradiso officially closed its doors at 124 King Street on October 4, and three days later Emmy Squared Pizza submitted a special use permit (SUP) application to start business at the prime spot in Old Town.

The Detroit-style pizza and burger joint would join eight other locations around the country, including in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington, D.C.

Howard Greenstone, a partner with Emmy Squared, told ALXnow that he jumped at the chance to rent the property from landlord Asana.

“Old Town is a great market, ” Greenstone said. “It’s a fantastic place for us to be. It has a tremendous tourist population, but it has a very neighborhood feel, and we’re not an opulent concept. We’re just a really delicious sort of square pizza and burger concept that seems like it would fit there perfectly.”

Greenstone hopes that the new restaurant will open in the spring or summer.

Photo via Emmy Squared Pizza/Facebook

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Cristian Velasco has been ready to open Del Ray Boccato since August, and hopes to start business by the end of the month.

There’s only one final hurdle — getting his business license approved.

Velasco frequently posts on social media that the gelato shop at 2400 Mount Vernon Avenue will soon open.

Velasco, a native of Peru, received his degree from Le Cordon Bleu Ottawa and worked s a chef throughout the D.C. area before taking a trip to Venice, Italy. That’s where he says he fell in love with gelato.

“Venice was a romantic chapter of my life where I moved on from the kitchen to the beautiful frozen dessert,” Velasco said. “The ingredients are so important. I use organic ingredients and I’ve created some really great tropical flavors from the Caribbean and Latin America.”

He continued, “And I’m conscious of dietary restrictions. Like the dark chocolate gelato. It’s milk-free. It’s basically a sorbet, but it’s so intense with such a great body that it feels like it’s made with milk.”

After 10 years in business, Velasco closed Boccato Gelato in Clarendon in 2018. He also owned a location in Old Town for a year-and-a-half at 1012 King Street, which is now occupied by Killer E.S.P.

Almost !!

Posted by Del Ray Boccato on Monday, October 12, 2020

Photo via Del Ray Boccato/Facebook

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Morning Notes

Free COVID-19 Testing Today in West End — “FREE COVID-19 TESTING! Tomorrow (Thursday) from 3 PM until 6 PM @NeighborhoodHth will be hosting another COVID-19 testing pop-up in partnership with the City. The event will be held at Burke Library at 4701 Seminary Road.” [Twitter]

Beyer Says Trump Has Made Fortune While in Office — “Donald Trump has a secret Chinese bank account, new properties in Scotland opened while he was in office, half a billion dollars owed to creditors like Deutsche Bank, licensing deals in Turkey, India, and the Philippines, and the Saudi government spent millions at his hotels.” [Twitter]

‘Top Chef’ Alum to Debut PLNT Burger Friday at Whole Foods — “In Old Town, you’ll find ‘Top Chef’ alum Spike Mendelsohn opening PLNT Burger Friday at Whole Foods at Carlyle, 1700 Duke St. The vegan fast-casual eatery serves up a variety of Beyond Burgers, a chili bowl, sweet potato fries, “blooms” fried onions and more. This will be the seventh PLNT Burger in the Northeast”.[Alexandria Living]

Port City Brewing Company Wins Beer Award — “WOW! We are so excited and honored to have won a Bronze Medal at the 2020 Great American Beer Festival for our Oktoberfest!” [Facebook]

Alexandria Drive-In Showing ‘The Mummy’ and ‘Casper’ on Halloween — “Announcing our movie lineup for Halloween Weekend!” [Facebook]

Today’s Weather — “Areas of patchy fog early. Cloudy skies early, followed by partial clearing. High 78F. Winds light and variable. Partly cloudy early (in the evening) with increasing clouds overnight. Low near 60F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Anthropologie Seasonal Customer Associate — “We are looking for individuals whose primary role will be to connect and engage with our customers in a socially responsible manner. Seasonal employees will typically work between 8 and 20 hours a week, with an average shift being 4 hours long. Please be prepared to discuss your holiday season availability.” [Indeed]

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Gregg Linzey wants to set the standard for bagels in Northern Virginia, and last Thursday he and his small team opened The Chewish Deli at 807 Pendleton Street in Old Town.

What’s the secret to making a good bagel?

“It’s simple, but not necessarily easy,” Linzey told ALXnow. “There’s no place to get a good bagel, so this all started when I tried to make my own bagels at home.”

Linzey continued, “You have to get every part of the equation right for all of your ingredients, like making sure the dough has the proper hydration. You need the perfect percentage of water, salt, flour, and we use malt syrup as our sweetener. That’s the key to getting a good New York style bagel. No sugar, no brown sugar, no honey. Just malt syrup.”

In case you missed it, The Chewish Deli opened in March as a food truck selling bagels, hot pastrami and Reuben sandwiches around Alexandria. The new brick and mortar is open on Thursday, Friday and Sunday from 8:30 a.m. until noon.

Hey everyone! Just a reminder of our schedule for this week!

Posted by The Chewish Deli on Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Linzey, who left behind a successful career as a certified financial planner, is baking the bagels every morning at 4 a.m. He says that business really took off for the food truck until a car accident sent the truck to the shop for 10 weeks. During that time, Linzey searched for a pop-up to work from and came across the former Pendleton Carryout.

“I met with the owner of the building and five days later negotiated my lease,” Linzey said.

Linzey lives in the Mount Vernon area, and previously spent five years living in Old Town. He’s a native of Haverhill, Massachusetts, and fondly remembers trips to Brooklyn to visit his grandmother and eat bagels.

“One of the best parts about going there was walking around the corner to a little bakery to get fresh, hot bagels,” he said. “They really take you back. This one customer was a woman in her sixties and she told me that it reminded her of getting bagels in New York with her father when she was young.”

Linzey said he wants to sell his bagels in cafes and coffee shops all over town.

“Right now we sell to Misha’s Coffeehouse and Roaster, and I’d like to have our bagels in cafes and coffee shops all around Alexandria,” he said. “That’s one of my goals, that I want to be the authority and set the standard for bagels here in Northern Virginia.”

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Morning Notes

Beyer Condemns Trump for Coronavirus Statement on Blue States— “This is quite simply one of the most appalling and inhuman statements ever uttered by an American President.” [Twitter]

Chewish Deli Set to Open First Permanent Location — “When Linzey stumbled upon the Pendleton Carryout Co. space for sale this summer at 807 Pendleton St., he wasn’t exactly looking for a store location. But, Linzey knew that if a spot in Old Town ever opened up, he would want to take it.” [Alexandria Living]

Alexandria EMS Captain Appointed to State Board — “EMS Captain Lisa Simba was recently appointed to the State EMS Advisory Board by Gov. Ralph Northam. Capt. Simba has been with AFD for more than 30 years.” [Twitter]

Art League Offering Online Classes — “All skill levels are welcome. Select from more than 50 classes.and workshops. They range from basic painting and drawing instruction to computer-based digital illustration and GIF creation. Classes meet via Zoom. In between sessions, students can stay in touch through Google Classroom or by email. And because classes are virtual, students do not have to be in the Alexandria area to participate.” [Zebra]

Today’s Weather — During the day, cloudy with occasional showers. High 74F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 70%. At night, periods of rain. Low 63F. Winds ENE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 90%. Rainfall near a half an inch.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Foundation Relations Manager — “Supports the National Military Family Association Development department in the development and implementation of a comprehensive foundation grants development program.” [Indeed]

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Old Town hotel The Alexandrian (480 King Street) is planning to kick off a new restaurant concept in the building’s central courtyard.

The new restaurant, King & Rye, features a menu centered around southern cuisine and whiskey.

“Located in the heart of Old Town Alexandria near the waterfront on King Street, King & Rye offers seasonal Southern American cuisine made from scratch with the highest-quality regional ingredients,” the restaurant’s website said, “alongside the finest selection of whiskeys and bourbons.”

The menu features dishes like roast chicken with dumplings, gravy and squash, or trout with corn, peppers and an onion bisque. Main courses generally run around $20.

The alcohol selection includes a variety of beers, including several varieties of local favorite Port City, alongside the advertised whiskey.

King & Rye is scheduled to open on Wednesday, September 9.

Photos via J20/Facebook

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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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