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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.”

Detroit-style pepperoni pizza (image via Jet’s Pizza/Facebook)

Jet’s Pizza, a Detroit-style pizza chain, is opening its first location in the region at 6 E Glebe Road in the Lynhaven neighborhood, the Washington Business Journal first reported.

The new shop will be taking the place of the now-closed Auburn Cleaners. The Washington Business Journal said no opening date has been announced yet.

Detroit-style pizza is a deep-dish pie topped with a brick of cheese that caramelizes against the sides of a heavy rectangular pan — originally baked in steel trays designed for use as automotive drip pans.

While Alexandria already has a well known deluge of pizza locations, a plurality of ALXnow readers said there’s not enough good pizza in Alexandria.

Image via Jet’s Pizza/Facebook

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Z-Burger at 684 S. Pickett Street in the Pickett Street Plaza shopping Center (staff photo by James Cullum)

Z-Burger recently opened on the corner of Pickett Street Plaza, and its owner says the joint also corners the fast-casual burger market in Alexandria’s West End.

Peter Tabibian says Z-Burger is performing better than expected since opening at 684 S. Pickett Street on February 11. The restaurant is visible to drivers on S. Van Dorn Street and S. Pickett Street, but it’s more than just traffic

“We’re really killing it with DoorDash and Uber Eats,” Tabibian told ALXnow. “We can’t keep up with it, and sometimes we just shut it off. I love it. I think it is a very good location. It’s in a corner and based on my experience and all the restaurants I’ve opened, the corner locations always do very well.”

There are nine Z-Burgers scattered throughout D.C., Maryland and Virginia. This is the first location in Alexandria and another is planned to open within a month at 509 23rd Street in Arlington, Tabibian said.

The burger chain features hamburgers, hotdogs, Philly cheesesteak subs, chicken sandwiches and 75 hand-spun milkshakes and malts.

“The Crystal City (Arlington) location is going to cater to the hotels in the area, the nightlife and bars,” he said. “That location will be open late until 3 a.m. on weekends.”

Tabibian also owns Maman Joon Kitchen in McLean and a number of My Own Pizza locations, the newest of which opened two days ago in Tysons Corner Center.

“Because of covid, I think this is the best time to open a business,” Tabibian said. ” People can name prices for their rents. If you have a good concept and reputation in the marketplace, landlords will work with you.”

The S. Pickett Street Z-Burger is near McDonald’s (505 S. Van Dorn Street) and a Wendy’s (229 S. Van Dorn Street), but has no nearby competition in the fast-casual burger market, Tabibian said.

“There’s no Five Guys of Shake Shacks around that area,” he said. “I love locations like this because we’re dealing with a lot of blue collar workers, hungry people, folks going to Home Depot, and it’s easy access. Easy in, easy out.”

A native of Iran, Tabibian got his first job at Burger King when he was 14 years old, and worked for 12 years as a general manager of a Jerry’s Subs & Pizza in Capitol Heights, Maryland, before branching out on his own.

Tabibian also says there’s no official expansion plan for his restaurants.

“The plan is giving customers good food and providing  good service, doing one restaurant at a time and choosing good locations,” he said.

Z-Burger at 684 S. Pickett Street is open every day from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., except Saturday when it’s open until 11 p.m.


It’s a beautiful spring morning in Alexandria!

Today’s weather: Mostly sunny with a high of 72 degrees during the day, and cloudy with a low of 56 degrees tonight.

🚨 You need to know

Alexandria has been named one of the best places to visit, Patch first reported.

Money Magazine listed the city as a top destination, and called the city a “lux jumping-off point for D.C.-area visits.

According to Money Magazine:

Along the King Street Mile in Old Town, you’ll find charming cobblestone streets lined with lanterns, outdoor cafes, Instagram-worthy murals and trendy bars. There’s also a vibrant art community — explore the many galleries or peek in at artists at work at the Torpedo Factory Art Center.

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Tweets of note


(Updated 3/31) One year after a plan to open at 128 N. Pitt Street seemingly fell through, hyper-popular D.C. bagel shop Call Your Mother Deli says an Alexandria location in Old Town is back on the menu.

Currently, “somewhere” is the best the company can say for the exact location, but a store representative ruled out one location: 128 N. Pitt Street.

“Call Your Mother’s second VA location will be in Alexandria / the historic Old Town district, but it will not be at 128 N. Pitt Street,” said Carly Connor, a public relations manager with a firm representing Call Your Mother Deli, in an email.

Neighbors told ALXnow the new location is likely the new development at 1300 King Street.

Connor said the aim is to open sometime this summer.

“The lease is not yet final,” Connor said, “but it’s looking like mid-summer for the opening!”

The news came alongside an announcement that a new location will also be opening in McLean.

Photo via Call Your Mother/Facebook

Meal at Nando’s Peri-Peri (image courtesy Nando’s Peri-Peri)

Seven months after it was originally supposed to reopen, South African fast food chain Nando’s Peri-Peri could finally be opening next week in Alexandria’s Carlyle neighborhood.

In a press release, the restaurant announced the Hoffman Town Center location at 2462 Mandeville Lane will open on Monday, March 27. The 3,000-square-foot restaurant will have dining for 72 customers. Hours are 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday, and 10:30 a.m.-11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Nando’s Peri-Peri opened on King Street in 2010 but closed one year ago after the lease expired. The restaurant was scheduled to open last August but was delayed.

The new Carlyle location will also kick off a “Community Day” a month after it launches. On Saturday, April 22, all proceeds (sans tax and alcohol sales) will be donated to Alexandria City High School’s Parent Teacher Student Association.

According to the release:

Nando’s PERi-PERi, the beloved South African restaurant brand recognized around the world for its spicy flame-grilled chicken, hatches in Alexandria on Monday March 27th. The restaurant, in the Carlyle Crossing neighborhood near the Wegmans and the AMC movie theater, represents Nando’s long-awaited return to Alexandria.

Nando’s operated for years on King Street in Old Town. The new restaurant, at 2462 Mandeville Lane in The Foundry, features stunning industrial designs that mix exposed concrete and columns with contemporary African patterns, original African artwork, furniture, and light fixtures.

“We can’t wait to bring our mouth-watering chicken back to Alexandria,” said John Fisher, CEO of Nando’s PERi-PERi. “PERi-PERi – or African Bird’s Eye Chilli – is the heart and soul of the Nando’s experience. We marinate our chicken in PERi-PERi for at least 24-hours, so the flavor goes right through to the bone. Then we grill it over an open flame and baste it with PERi-PERi sauce to the customer’s preferred spice level. That’s what makes our chicken so addictive.”

The company’s journey from the tip of Africa to the edge of Alexandria–an adventure which began 35 years ago with a single location in Johannesburg–now spans 24 nations from Australia to Zimbabwe. Landing stateside in 2008 with its inaugural US restaurant in Washington, DC, the brand has since expanded to nearly 50 sites in DC, Virginia, Maryland, Chicago, and soon in Texas.

Nando’s new Alexandria location opens in a prime site in the Hoffman Town Center. The restaurant features original, contemporary South African art and furniture. The 3,000-square-foot Nando’s will offer dine-in seating for 72 customers, a spacious outdoor patio, and convenient take-out service and parking. Hours are 10:30am to 10pm from Sunday to Thursday, and 10:30am to 11pm on Friday and Saturday.

Rendering for proposed Cooper Mill development at 10 Duke Street (courtesy image)

One of Alexandria’s last waterfront warehouses is becoming a tavern.

According to a press release, the squat brick warehouse at 10 Duke Street is going to be converted into a market, tavern and event space called Cooper Mill, a throwback to the site’s history of making barrels for the Alexandria Flower Company.

The warehouse — once used as a mess hall and commissary by Union soldiers during the Civil War — is in the Robinson Landing development and was left intact while the rest of the buildings around it were rebuilt.

The release said the new tavern is being helmed by Noe Landini, who operates the eponymous Landini Brothers Restaurant (115 King Street) and Junction Bakery & Bistro (1508 Mount Vernon Avenue), and boutique builder Murray Bonitt.

“When [Bonitt] brought this opportunity to me and asked me to participate, it was a no-brainer,” Landini said in the release. “An incredible building as it stands, but Murray shared his vision, and I simply couldn’t resist. It wasn’t long before we were drawing out a concept on the back of a napkin and before you knew it, we were off.”

According to the release:

The current plans for the two-story 6,400 square-foot warehouse building will consist of a small upscale market at the rear of the building, with a casual tavern on the first floor, and a 3,200 private event space upstairs. The market will feature grab-n-go breakfast foods and coffee, sandwiches, soups, prepared foods, fresh breads, and baked goods from Landini’s various locations, as well as beer, wine, and other high-demand market items. The tavern will have a relaxed casual vibe consisting of repurposed materials from the building to create a warm rustic, yet urban feel. The special event space upstairs will be the crown jewel of the building, Bonitt says, with lots of light, exposed brick, balconies with views of the park and river, repurposed roof trusses and flooring, with the ability to host events up to 120 people.

The project is expected to open sometime in late spring 2024.

Milkshakes at The Crazy Mason (image via The Crazy Mason Milkshake Bar Old Town Alexandria/Facebook)

A new restaurant focused on milkshakes in mason jars is coming to Old Town.

The Crazy Mason, a self-described milkshake bar, is planning to open at 716 King Street sometime this summer.

“The Crazy Mason Milkshake Bar offers sweet treats of all kinds, specializing in unique milkshakes and sundaes served in keepsake custom-designed mason jars,” the restaurant said in a release.

The Crazy Mason features a variety of types of milkshakes along with other desserts, like cookies and cheesecake. There are also a couple vegan options with non-dairy milk, according to the website.

The new location is set to open this summer, The Crazy Mason said in a release, with a more specific date to be announced closer to opening.

The chain started out in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, in 2020. The Alexandria store will be the 10th location in the swiftly growing chain.

“We fell in love with the Crazy Mason brand while on a family vacation in Myrtle Beach in 2021 and we opened our first location in 2022 in Ellicott City, Maryland,” franchisees Erin and Robert Studer said in a release. “We wanted to bring our crazy treats to the DC metro area and Old Town Alexandria is one of our favorite places. With the waterfront, the cosmopolitan feel and the walkable nature of the town, we are so excited to announce our next location on King Street.”

The Crazy Mason enters a neighborhood with some stiff frozen dairy competition, with five ice cream shops along or just off King Street in Old Town.

Image via The Crazy Mason Milkshake Bar/Facebook


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