It’s been a scorching week in Alexandria, punctuated by two major crime events.
Someone was shot multiple times in an alley several blocks east of the Braddock Metro station last Saturday, followed on Monday afternoon by the city’s fifth homicide this year — the fatal shooting of a 29-year-old man on W. Glebe Road in Arlandria.
It is not believed that the incidents are connected.
The Alexandria Police Department is now looking for a silver Nissan Rogue allegedly linked to Monday’s shooting.
No arrests have been announced from either incident, and this week Mayor Justin Wilson, City Manager Jim Parajon and Police Chief Don Hayes asked for the community’s help in identifying the suspects.
Top stories this week:
- Alexandria ditching ‘pay and display’ parking meters citywide (32618 views)
- Notes: Many federal employees who report to work Alexandria are still mostly remote (7448 views)
- Del Ray Gateway project construction to start before end of year, city says (6510 views)
- Construction suspended for Holiday Inn Express at former Towne Motel site in Old Town North (5346 views)
- ACPS ignores Gov. Youngkin’s recommended policies on treatment of transgender students (4829 views)
- DEVELOPING: Man transported to hospital in critical condition after shooting in Arlandria (4747 views)
- Pupatella Neapolitan Pizza opening before end of year in Old Town North, owner says (3857 views)
- Duke Street affordable apartment complex ‘Witter Place’ could be ready by late 2025, developer says (3598 views)
- Arlington man busted for allegedly selling stolen car to Alexandria man on Facebook Marketplace (2509 views)
Have a safe weekend!
Pupatella Neapolitan Pizza will open in Old Town North before the end of the year, a managing partner for the local pizza chain told ALXnow.
Construction has begun on the building at 700 Slaters Lane, the former longtime home to Sam’s Custom Cleaners. The dry cleaner shut down a month after the death of owner Tony Tran in 2022.
Tran’s nephew Thien Ung is now the owner of the property and said that a neighborhood-centric pizzeria will be good for the space. For one thing, it’s hard to beat the location, as the building greets drivers along the George Washington Memorial Parkway into Old Town.
“I knew how important it was that whoever moved into the spot would have to contribute to the Old Town and Old Town North feel,” Ung said. “When Michael Berger, a managing partner with Pupatella, reached out to me, and after talking with his team and listening to their story and where they came from, it just felt right.”
Enzo Algarme, a native of Naples, Italy, founded Pupatella Neapolitan Pizza in a food truck in Ballston in 2007. Pupatella is his grandmother’s nickname and it means “little doll.”
The company now has eight locations: two in Arlington, at 5104 Wilson Blvd and 1621 S. Walter Reed Drive, Dupont Circle in D.C., Reston, the City of Fairfax, Springfield, Leesburg and Richmond. Locations are also being planned in Chantilly, Capitol Hill in D.C. and in Montgomery County, Maryland.
Berger says he wants to open at least five more restaurants in the area over the next several years.
“We’re really excited,” Berger said of the Alexandria location. “We’re really excited about it, and being a standalone building with visibility, parking — kind of a billboard-type location when you come in on the G.W. Parkway.”
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.
Image via Facebook
Del Ray pizza hangout Piece Out will be closed for most of the summer.
“Sorry,” reads a note posted on the front door. “Closed for renovation. Be back in a few months.”
Owners Larry and Christine Ponzi recently closed up the restaurant at 2419 Mount Vernon Avenue and papered up the windows.
“We have a plan starting next month to give our staff a better home, our customers a better experience and bring Piece Out into the next chapter.”
The Ponzi’s PCG Restaurant Group owns St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub in Del Ray and Old Town North, Cafe Pizzaiolo (1623 Fern Street), Market 2 Market (116 E. Del Ray Avenue) and Red Drum Grill and Tap House in Nags Head, North Carolina.
In the meantime, Del Ray is home to a number of other pizza restaurants, including:
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.
— Drew Hansen (@Drubaru) April 26, 2023
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.
Stop this! We have enough pizza!!! pic.twitter.com/Lsi0B1EAzP
— Becky Hammer (@beckyhammer) October 13, 2022
Image via Jet’s Pizza/Facebook
A number of Alexandria businesses are donating a percentage of proceeds to local charities and nonprofits for this Wednesday’s Spring2ACTion fundraiser.
ACT for Alexandria’s goal this year is to raise $2.5 million from 10,000 donors for 185 participating nonprofits and charities.
“Come out for a fun night of BINGO and beer from Two Roads Brewing,” Piece Out Del Ray posted. “$5 drafts, food specials, beer swag and fun prizes. We will play 8 rounds of Bingo, so you have plenty of chances to win… Doors open at 5, and the first ball drops at 7.”
“We do this once a year and it’s become a big hit since people always want to buy our shop samples and they aren’t usually for sale,” owner Danielle Romanetti told ALXnow.
Homegrown Restaurant Group has participated in the fundraiser since it began 13 years ago. Its six Alexandria restaurants will donate 10% of all sales to a number of charities and nonprofits.
“The HomeGrown Restaurant Group has been supporting ACT for Alexandria since the first year when John Porter strong-armed us into participating,” HRG co-owner “Mango” Mike Anderson told ALXnow. “Which has been the right move for us in supporting Alexandria. We encourage all Alexandrians to get on board this year and let’s make it a record year for ACT for Alexandria.”
HRG will donate 10% to from these locations to the following organizations:
- Pork Barrel BBQ: Donating to The Men’s Home
- Holy Cow: Donating to Alexandria Little League
- Bartanical pop-up: Donating to Del Ray Farmers’ Market
- Tequila & Taco: Donating to Friends of the Alexandria Mental Health Center
- Whisky & Oyster: Donating to the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria (AWLA)
- Sweet Fire Donna’s: Donating to Casa Chirilagua
Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap (401 E. Braddock Road) is also donating 15% of its proceeds Wednesday to AWLA.
Last year, ACT for Alexandria raised $2.65 million from 7,700 donors for 172 nonprofits. The top recipients last year were RunningBrooke, which took in $157,000 from 197 donors, Casa Chirilagua with $114,000 from 313 donors and Friends of Guest House with $112,000 from 180 donors.
Spring2ACTion officially starts at midnight on Wednesday (April 26).
Come out for a fun night of BINGO and beer from @TwoRoadsBrewingCompany at @PieceOutDelRay. Enjoy $5 drafts, food specials, beer swag, and fun prizes. $10/person and all ticket proceeds benefit #VolunteerALX for #Spring2ACTion https://t.co/8wXOPa7l9s pic.twitter.com/WhUmXLmzI8
— Volunteer Alexandria (@Volalex) April 23, 2023
ICYMI: Listen to Heather Peeler, ACT’s president and CEO, encourage everyone to #Spring2ACTion for Alexandria’s nonprofits. Thank you for the interview, @TobyChilliShow and @washfm! https://t.co/ZCcIi4YgLv
— ACT for Alexandria (@ACTforAlex) April 24, 2023
Join @lenaswoodfire for a special Wine (and Woof) Down Wednesday on April 26 (11 a.m. to 10 p.m.) for Spring2ACTion benefitting the AWLA. Lena's is donating 15% of the day's sales to the AWLA. MENTION YOU'RE DINING FOR THE AWLA! #alexanimals #delrayva #alexandriava pic.twitter.com/gIdS49Q1SJ
— AWLA Alexandria (@AlexAnimals) April 24, 2023
On April 26th, we are celebrating 13 years of Spring2ACTion! Carlyle’s own Tequila & Taco, Whiskey & Oyster, and Sweet Fire Donna's will all donate 10% of every order on April 26th to charitable donations. Please visit https://t.co/d3L59ZVkoF for additional details. pic.twitter.com/YIOH9st7Vc
— Carlyle Council (@carlylecouncil) April 24, 2023
Updated at 10:45 a.m. Toppers Pizza officially closed its doors at 3827 Mount Vernon Avenue last month and there is now only one of the Wisconsin-style pizza locations left in Virginia.
Toppers opened in 2017 to great fanfare in Arlandria, and was supposed to be the flagship location of a 22-store deal with locations popping up throughout Northern Virginia. In 2018, the second store opened at 6676 Richmond Highway in the Groveton area of Fairfax County, and it remains the only location in the state.
The pizza shop was located in the Del Ray North Shopping Center, which has a number of vacant units and is managed by Finmarc Management, Inc.. In August, ALXnow reported that a plan to redevelop the shopping center was scrapped due to “worsening economic conditions,” and that Finmarc would instead continue leasing on the property.
A Toppers representative said that the company does not have future development plans for the area.
The phone number for the Groveton location is out of order, but the shop at 6676 Richmond Highway is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to midnight.
After years without a by-the-slice pizza shop in Alexandria, two opened in Old Town on the same day this week.
Three months after a cryptic announcement, Andy’s Pizza has launched in Old Town at 107 N Fayette Street — while Handover by the Slice opened at 728 King Street. The latter has been referred to as Old Town’s first by-the-slice pizza joint. True to the by-the-slice pizza fashion, though, it may have to share the prize.
The Alexandria opening of Andy’s Pizza is the latest in a series of expansions for the neighborhood pizza shop, which started in D.C. and has since expanded to Tysons. Brown also recently announced a Bethesda location for Andy’s Pizza.
Andy’s Pizza made headlines last year for winning the top prize for best New York-style pizza at an international competition.
“Andy’s is a New York style slice shop with classic pies and a simple menu of salads, wings, fries, and a locally driven bar program,” Andy Brown, the restaurant’s eponymous owner, said in an email. “Old Town will be no different, pouring local draft beer and craft cocktails to guests looking for a comfortable and casual night out.”
Brown said the restaurant’s bar isn’t open yet, but it will be in around a week or two. The restaurant is only open for evenings currently but will soon be open for lunch as well.
The restaurant will be offering a free slice with any purchase on Wednesday, Oct. 19, to celebrate the grand opening.
The big news in Alexandria this week was a double homicide in the West End and the news later that the suspect had been released from jail in Arlington earlier this year.
Former Mayor Kerry Donley also died of a heart attack last week with funeral services scheduled for this Sunday, July 24.
On the brighter side: a special use permit filed with the city earlier this week revealed that Andy’s Pizza is planning on making its way into Old Town at the former Meggrolls spot (107 North Fayette Street).
- BREAKING: Botched burglary leads to double murder in West End
- Alexandria man charged for allegedly selling fentanyl from hotel rooms
- Alexandria double murder suspect was released from jail in Arlington earlier this year
- West End murder suspect charged with burglary, both shooting victims innocent bystanders
- Funeral arrangements for former Mayor Kerry Donley announced
- Acclaimed local pizza chain Andy’s Pizza coming to Old Town
- All-affordable housing development in Fairlington to open this fall
- Bonaventure breaks ground on senior apartment complex near Braddock Metro
- City of Alexandria awarded $10M for two transportation projects
- Sidewalk sale returning to Old Town next month
A new special use permit shows that regional pizza chain Andy’s Pizza could be coming to the former Meggrolls space (107 North Fayette Street) in Old Town.
“Andy’s Pizza is rumored to be coming soon to Old Town Alexandria,” eponymous owner Andy Brown said in an email. “Best known for winning the World Pizza Championship in the traditional category, Andy’s serves classic and crispy 18″ Ny Style pizza by the slice.”
The Alexandria pizzeria will be the sixth Andy’s Pizza location, with others throughout the area including one in Tysons Galleria.
Beyond just pizza, Andy’s Pizza has also built a local brew-enthusiast following for a specialized beer menu.
“Andy’s features a casual and lively bar scene with a focus on craft beer and cocktails to pair with pizza on a paper plate,” Brown said.