Newsletter

Acclaimed D.C. Indian restaurant Karma Modern’s Alexandria spin-off could be opening sometime next month.

Karma Modern staff told ALXnow that the plan is to open Kismet (111 N. Pitt Street) in mid-late October.

Staff said the menu won’t be exactly the same as Karma Modern, but will be similar. Co-founder Sachin Mahajan told Northern Virginia Magazine the restaurant will be a little less fancy compared to the D.C. sister restaurant, but still won’t be casual.

Kismet will be filling the space in Old Town that was formerly BurgerFi.

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A 26-year-old Alexandria man arrested in July for robbing EagleBank in Old Town previously spent more than two years in jail for robbing another Alexandria bank.

On July 7, Dagmawee Dawit allegedly walked into EagleBank at 277 S. Washington Street in Old Town just after it opened at 8:30 a.m., implied he had a weapon and demanded cash from a teller.

The teller put money in a clear trash bag, along with a dye pack, which Dawit allegedly dropped in an alleyway after it exploded. He was arrested minutes later.

Dawit, who is being held without bond in the Alexandria jail, was arrested with an accomplice in 2017 for robbing the Wells Fargo Bank at 3624 King Street in the Bradlee Shopping Center. He pleaded guilty to bank robbery and grand larceny and spent two years in jail.

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Kristin Carpenter’s services are in demand.

This month, she and her team opened The Linder Academy at the corner of S. Washington and Gibbon Streets in Old Town, joining their smaller McLean location, which opened in January.

Right now, she’s got 24 students in McLean and 52 at the Alexandria campus, and when the latter is built out it will have 13 classrooms and be able to hold just over 100 students.

“I never thought I would want to run a private school,” Carpenter told ALXnow. “But as a research specialist and a teacher, it was nice that there was no bureaucracy and we could just teach the kids. We don’t have curriculum contracts, so we could just pick the best materials and the best methods and teach with super small class sizes and problem-based learning — things that just aren’t options at big schools, and we really had a great time with it.”

Still under construction, the Old Town school is located at 601, 607 and 609 S. Washington Street and 710 Gibbon Street. New murals of famous authors and civil rights icons with quotes have been painted on the exterior walls to show the essence of the school’s philosophy.

Carpenter launched Linder Educational Coaching in Arlington in 2008, and focused mainly on interventions outside of school with tutoring and after-school programs.

“But when COVID hit, we just realized there were a lot of parents that needed support,” she said. “My biggest concern was early childhood literacy. Even with the best teacher in the world, you’re just not going to learn on an iPad.”

The school, which costs more than $28,000 a year in tuition, specializes in working with students who struggle with learning disabilities and traditional school settings. Children spend the early part of the day with the most cognitively demanding classes, like math and English, and they day becomes less regulated in the afternoon for electives.

There are six-t0-nine students in each class, Carpenter said.

“I would say weaknesses in social skills is one of the biggest things that we are seeing,” she said. “Outside of that, I think overall that their writing skills are very weak, and that wasn’t helped by being able to type or do voice-to-text this past school year. You know, the actual act of being able to write is important.”

Carpenter said she had no plans to open additional schools in the future.

“God, no,” she said. “I can’t think about it right now. I’m very tired. I just want to sleep for years.”

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What an interesting week in Alexandria. Here’s the rundown.

World champion sprinter Noah Lyles brought home his bronze medal from the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday. In a frank, TED Talk-like speech at Alexandria City High School, Lyles talked about the importance of mental health as he struggled to perform at the games.

“A lot of people will look at the Olympics this year like something was different with the athletes,” said Lyles. “Well, it was a lot of difference because we had so much weight that we had to hold onto — about two years. I was no different.”

On the COVID-19 front, while the transmission level remains high in Alexandria, this week the city tied with Arlington for the lowest seven-day positivity rate in Virginia. Large outdoor public events are still happening, too, and on Monday, a vast majority of local elected officials and candidates converged for the Alexandria Democratic Committee’s annual Labor Day Picnic, which included an appearance by gubernatorial candidate, former Governor Terry McAuliffe.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. Man arrested for spending spree after finding wallet in Bradlee Shopping Center parking lot
  2. COVID-19 Update: Alexandria ties with Arlington for lowest seven-day positivity rate in Virginia
  3. BREAKING: Pedestrian critically injured in Old Town car crash
  4. Mark Center development plans head to Planning Commission this week
  5. Alexandria Police union calls out years of executive mismanagement
  6. JUST IN: Suspects arrested after allegedly firing shots at Alexandria Police
  7. BREAKING: Video shows brawl at Alexandria City High School cafeteria just two days after school starts
  8. Mayor outlines upcoming plastic bag tax plans
  9. Village Brauhaus aims for rooftop expansion
  10. No injuries or arrests after shots fired in Old Town Sunday night
  11. Most expensive homes sold in Alexandria in August

Have a safe weekend!

Via Elijah Walter Griffin, Sr.

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As Alexandria’s museums and historical localities start to reopen, some are looking for public help to handle new visitors.

The Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum (105 S Fairfax Street), part of the Office of Historic Alexandria, is looking for volunteers to help lead guided tours of the historic site, an 19th century pharmacy turned museum of medicinal herbs and apothecary accoutrements.

Training for the job starts on Saturday, Sept. 25, with an in-person workshop followed by virtual evening classes and a second in-person workshop on Nov. 6.

“Volunteers with both weekend and weekday availability are needed, particularly Sundays and Mondays,” the city said in a press release. “A minimum of one shift per month (approximately four hours) is required once training is complete. Current City COVID protocols require volunteers to submit proof of vaccination and wear a mask during on-site shifts.”

Those interested in becoming volunteer tour guides can apply online.

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Alexandria is experiencing mural mania, as three new murals have been painted in Old Town. It’s more than just a splash of color on the walls, too.

Pacers Running at 1301 King Street is celebrating their 30th anniversary on October 7 with the official unveiling of their mural. Designed by D.C. artist Katherine Campagna, the mural reads the Pacers logo, “FOR EVERY RUN” in italics, as if the letters are running down the street.

“For every run has been our motto across the board during the pandemic,” Pacers manager Victoria Sanchez told ALXnow. “It’s helped bring people together and make them happy outside. We wanted the mural to be big and to be seen.”

There are quotes from historical figures and bright figures painted by artist Joanna Kosmides Edwards outside The Linder Academy at 607 S. Washington Street. There are quotes from civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and poet Amanda Gorman.

The art is much more ethereal at ESP Tea & Coffee at 1012 King Street. The mural in back of the shop was painted by Zen Xaria of Baltimore, and is all about the sixth sense.

“The flower is our logo for ESP, which stands for extrasensory perception, and the eye represents the third eye,” barista Cordelia McGale told ALXnow. “The petals are open, implying that the third eye is open. If you look at the fox, two of it’s eyes are glazed over, but the third eye is in focus.”

McGale continued, “I think this place is an oasis in Old Town. Things seem to be very white collar, and this place is breaking out of the norm and feeding into the creative side of the human psyche.”

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Charlottesville-based Mudhouse Coffee Roasters has bought 1119 King Street in Old Town, and hopes to open as soon as possible.

The current tenant, J. Brown and Co., still has two years left on their lease and have indicated to the new building owners that they’re interested in getting bought out. If that happens, it will take about two months after the tenant moves out to gut the building and make it ready to open for business, according to Mudhouse partner Matthew Dragas.

“I hope we can open that that location as soon as possible,” Dragas told ALXnow. “The tenant made some comments about how he might want to get out early. But, you know, we haven’t yet approached him about buying up the lease. At the worst, it’ll be two years before we’re able open in Alexandria.”

In the meantime, the company is expanding to Richmond and Charleston, South Carolina. Dragas, whose family owns dozens of Taco Bell and Buffalo Wild Wings locations, merged with Mudhouse founders John and Lynelle Lawrence nearly two years ago. The company boasts excellent coffee from around the world, curated by roaster Eric Stone, who was ranked the third best roaster in the country in 2019.

Mudhouse has filed a special use permit to operate a coffee restaurant at the 1,500-square-foot space. It would be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day of the week and offer “open mic night, poetry readings, coffee tastings, and assorted other live entertainment,” according to the SUP.

“We’re very excited about the Old Town market,” Dragas said. “Walking up and down King Street is a blast.”

Via Mudhouse Coffee/Facebook

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Cameron and Buchanan Street, photo via Google Maps

(Updated 7:40 p.m.) A pedestrian has been transported to the hospital with life-threatening injuries after a car crash around 7 p.m. on Cameron Street in Old Town, according to Alexandria police.

The street is shut down at the intersection with Buchanan Street, near the popular Metro Linear Park that runs parallel to the Metro.

Police said the driver stayed on the scene and an investigation is ongoing. Police said the victim has been taken to Fairfax Hospital with serious injuries.

There have been multiple crashes involving pedestrians in Alexandria over the last month, including a man killed in the West End last week and a 13-year old struck walking home in Del Ray.

Photo via Google Maps

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There’s a lot in store this week in Alexandria. Here’s a few events to look forward to.

Wednesday, September 8

  • Blue Oyster Cult at The Birchmere (7:30 p.m.) — The 1960s-era band is known for such hits as ” The Reaper”, “Burnin’ for You”, and “Godzilla”. All guests must provide proof of vaccination if they want to attend the performance.
  • Outdoor story time for toddlers (11:30 a.m.) –This outdoor program is perfect for ages two-to-five, and will  be held outdoors and in-person at Burke Branch Library. Masks are required, and you might want to bring something to sit on.
  • Trivia night at The Light Horse (7 p.m.) — “Grab your mates & head down to 715 King Street for a great evening of Q&A in a fun and friendly atmosphere. Delicious food, cold craft beers and delish cocktails await”

Thursday, September 9

  • Julia Fordham at The Birchmere (7:30 p.m.) — The British singer-songwriter is performing after her shows were rescheduled from April and October 2020, and all tickets from those shows will be honored. Additional tickets for Thursday night are on sale.
  • Willa Cather book discussion (7 p.m.) — “In the upcoming year, a statue of novelist Willa Cather will be installed in statuary hall in the U.S. Capital Building. Let’s celebrate with a discussion about one of Cather’s intriguing novels, The Professor’s House.”

Friday, September 10

  • August Wilson’s “Fences” at the Little Theatre of Alexandria (7 p.m.) — “Join Manumission Tour Company on September 10th at 7pm to see a special performance of August Wilson’s famous play, FENCES. Proceeds raised from this special showing will go to the production of an upcoming MTC about black history in Old Town’s South East Quadrant.”

Saturday, September 11s

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There were no reported injuries after shots were fired in Old Town early on Sunday night (September 5).

The incident occurred in the 900 block of S. Alfred Street near Gibbon Street, which is a residential area full of town homes in the southern portion of Old Town.

Shell casings were recovered at the scene, and the incident is under investigation, according to police.

There was a rash of gunfire incidents in Alexandria last summer and fall, and the number of incidents has dwindled this year in comparison. Between October 2020 and June 2021, APD confiscated 39 firearms (handguns and rifles), arrested more than 35 people, and executed nearly 200 search warrants.

Most recently, five Alexandria men were arrested after a shots fired incident in Old Town North on July 21.

Via Google Maps

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