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Beeliner Diner at 3648 King Street. (Courtesy photo)

Two Alexandria restaurant groups have been nominated as the top performers in their industry as part of the 40th annual Rammy Awards.

The Bun Papa pop-up, which is located in the Beeliner Diner at the Bradlee Shopping Center, is nominated for outstanding pop-up concept. This is their second nomination in a row since being nominated as the region’s best pop-up spot.

It’s also the second year in a row that the Neighborhood Restaurant Group has been nominated, although this year the nomination goes to NRG’s Michael Babin for restaurateur of the year. The company, which owns 19 local eateries, was awarded a Rammy last year for the most impressive pandemic pivot to provisions or market.

Public voting for the eventual winners begins this month, and the awards will be presented in a gala at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on July 24.

Bun Papa owner Markos Panas is asking that his customers rally for his pop-up with their votes.

“It’s an honor already to be nominated as a business, and we want to bring this thing forward with the support of all Alexandria and take home the win for everybody,” Panas said.

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Image courtesy Taco Bamba

After missing a fall 2021 target for opening, regional taco chain Taco Bamba is planning to open later this month in the Landmark neighborhood.

The Taco Bamba is planned to open on Wednesday, April 20, at 6259 Little River Turnpike, on the west side of I-395 in the Lincolnia neighborhood — inside Alexandria’s boundaries by a hair’s breadth.

“Later this month, Taco Bamba Landmark will open its doors to the public in Alexandria, Va. on April 20,” the restaurant said in a press release. “Landmark will be the sixth Northern Virginia location.”

The release said Taco Bamba Landmark will be a 2,000-square-foot space with 42 interior seats and a covered patio.

In addition to the chain’s tacos and tostadas, Taco Bamba said the Landmark location will have an exclusive empanada on its menu and specific tacos celebrating nearby local restaurants. The restaurant will also feature a bar with agave cocktails.

“In addition to classic Mexican cocktails like the Margarita, Michelada, and Paloma, Taco Bamba beverage director Amin Seddiq has dreamed up a menu of original, agave-forward mixed drinks that can only be found at the Landmark location,” the release said. “Highlights include the Ho Chi Meen, a twist on the Last Word, which trades gin for mezcal and brightens it with a touch of lemongrass syrup for a light and refreshing tipple.”

The restaurant is still being referred to as Taco Bamba Landmark, despite the namesake Landmark Mall development getting a bizarre new rebranding.

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A Bad Ass Coffee Of Hawaii franchise will be opening in later summer in Carlyle, but an exact date has not yet been set.

The company website lists the location at 2466 Mandeville Lane as being in development.

“We are still in the early stages of construction for this location, but are hoping to open late summer 2022,” Badass Coffee told ALXnow in an email.

It costs between $304,500 and $620,000 to open a Badass Coffee franchise, according to the company website.

The company was founded in 1989 in Hawaii “with a goal of sharing American-grown, premium Hawaiian coffee from Kauai, Waialua (Oahu), Maui, and 100% Kona coffee with coffee lovers everywhere.” It was sold in 1995 and there are now two dozen franchises around the world, the nearest to Alexandria being in Virginia Beach.

Via Facebook and Google Maps

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Connecticut-based pizza chain Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana is expanding to Alexandria.

The 97-year-old company plans on opening in early July at 3231 Duke Street in the Alexandria Commons Shopping Center, according to an email to ALXnow.

Frank Pepe’s, which is widely lauded as a classic old school pizza parlour, is also opening its first location in the region on March 28 in Bethesda, Maryland. The chain offers delivery, and is well known for pizza with a chewy, slightly charred crust.

“It may have taken nearly a century for America’s best pizza to arrive in the DMV, but we are thrilled to finally be here,” said Jennifer Kelly, granddaughter of founder Frank Pepe. “These are our family’s original recipes… We even replicated our signature coal-fired, hand-built brick oven using iron castings from the original restaurant.”

Photos via Google Maps and Facebook

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Ready for all-day brunch in Del Ray? Matt & Tony’s opened today (March 16) at the former Charlie’s On The Avenue.

Alexandria Restaurant Partners bought the 3,000 square-foot space at 1501 Mount Vernon Avenue last fall with the intention of turning it into a concept called Joe’s Kitchen, but those plans were scrapped when ARP managing partner Matt Sloan announced he was leaving to open his own restaurant. ARP offered the space to Sloan, who moved to D.C. a year-and-a-half ago from Michigan to be the general manager of ARP’s Ada’s On The River and The Majestic.

“Thank you to EVERYONE who helped get us to this moment!” Matt & Tony’s wrote on Facebook.

The menu is based around an all-day brunch concept, and the restaurant is named Sloan and his great-grandfather Anton (Tony) Schabas, a pastry chef who emigrated to the U.S. from Austria at the turn of the 20th century.

Charlie’s closed in January 2020, after being in business for less than three years. Before that it was home to Fireflies for 15 years.

Matt & Tony’s is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and is closed Monday.

Via Matt & Tony’s/Instagram

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Alexandria restaurant owners Larry and Kristine Ponzi plan on opening their newest St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub in Fairlington in mid-May. The couple, who own Cafe Pizzaiolo (1623 Fern Street) and two other St. Elmo’s shops, also just bought a family restaurant in Nags Head, North Carolina.

The Ponzis shuttered their Cafe Pizzaiolo location in Shirlington in May 2020, and then entered 2022 strong with the opening of a second St. Elmo’s in Old Town North in January. The newest St. Elmo’s will open at 1536 Kenwood Avenue in mid-May — across the street from Cafe Pizzaiono, Ponzi said.

“Let’s just say this will keep us busy this year,” said Larry Ponzi. “We have an addiction. You know, we’re trying to control our growth, but it’s hard to not grow. There’s that old saying — if you’re not growing, you’re dying. We’re making sure that we keep growing.”

In February, the couple bought the Red Drum Grill & Taphouse in Nags Head, North Carolina, and now plan to reopen it by the beginning of April.

“We’re not we’re not planning on retiring,” Ponzi said. “This is our way to have a place to go to in the latter part of our lives. We get keep keep our businesses in Alexandria, and then go to the beach the rest of the week.”

Ponzi said that the Red Barn will mostly be the same, with subtle tweaks to the menu, and some painting and remodeling.

“This business has been a very successful business for more than two decades, and we want to keep that momentum going and put our own touch on it as we go,” Ponzi said.

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Bethesda-based Fresh Baguette is opening in Old Town on Tuesday (March 1). The first 20 customers in the door will also get free croissants for a year.

The bakery at 1101 King Street joins the companies locations in Maryland and Georgetown — all part of an expansion plan that will see a number of the bakeries popping up around the region.

“We need to pass inspections, but we’re confident that we will open at the end of January or beginning of February, Fresh Baguette’s Retail Manager Jérémy Touchard told ALXnow. “We want to open more locations. In 2022, we will open in Alexandria and we are looking for another location to open in Northern Virginia. We also plan to open a few more locations in 2023.”

All proceeds from the opening will go to Carpenter’s Shelter.

“Come by and get a Free Baguette and purchase a Fresh Baguette Sampler for $3 and all proceeds go to Carpenter’s Shelter,” Fresh Baguette said on social media. ” We are very excited to bring our modern French Bakery to Old Town.”

The first 20 customers in the door will get free croissants for a year (one a week for 52 weeks), and eligible customers will need to be 18. There can only be one winner per household.

Via Fresh Baguette/Facebook

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Photo via Bob and Edith’s Diner/Facebook

Bob and Edith’s Diner, a hyper-local chain of five diners spread across Arlington and Fairfax, is planning to its sixth location in Old Town Alexandria early next week.

The new location at 1743 King Street — formerly Ernie’s Original Crab House — is planned to open on Monday, February 28 at 7 a.m.

“We are a family owned business that has been serving the locals for over 50 years,” said Alexander Bolton, director of marketing for Bob and Edith’s Diner, in an email. “We are opening up a new location in Old Town on Monday February 28th at 7 a.m.”

Bob and Edith’s offers the archetypal diner fare, like eggs and french toast for breakfast with burgers, soups and pies for lunch, with nearly everything on the menu at around $10 or less.

Photo via Bob and Edith’s Diner/Facebook

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Bonchon Chicken is coming to 3690 King Street in the Bradlee Shopping Center. (staff photo by James Cullum)

Getting hungry? A number of new restaurants are slated to open this year in Alexandria, according to the city’s tourism bureau.

Visit Alexandria highlighted many of these new businesses in their annual “What’s New in Alexandria” update, which was held Thursday morning (Dec. 27).

Below is a list with expected opening dates.

Old Town

West End

Del Ray

Carlyle

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Nando’s in Old Town, photo via Google Maps

After 10 years in Old Town, Nando’s Peri-Peri is letting its lease expire and will close in mid-March.

Nando’s Peri-Peri opened at 702 King Street in 2010. With its leaser expiring, staff told ALXnow that it’s challenging to do business in the old building that is 186 years old.

The move also means that the 700 block of King Street will have another vacant storefront, as Nice Cream at 726 King Street closed in the fall.

Not to worry. The company’s South African chicken will be available when they reopen in August at their new location in Carlyle Crossing development at the Hoffman Town Center. There are also more than a dozen Nando’s throughout the region.

A number of other new businesses are moving in, too.

A Bad Ass Coffee Of Hawaii franchise will also be opening at Carlyle Crossing — one of three of the coffee shops that new owner L2 Ohana Café, LLC, is opening in Northern Virginia. KinderCare Learning Centers is also reportedly moving into the space.

Residents at The Foundry Apartments within the Hoffman Town Center were told about a number of the new businesses in a recent note from management.

“As you may have already observed, construction has begun on The Foundry retail,” Amanda Jones, a community manager for The Foundry wrote to residents. “The construction can be unsightly and will impact noise.”

Via Google Maps

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