With this week giving Alexandrians their first taste of warmer weather, locals are turning their attention to the upcoming cherry blossom season.
This cherry blossom season, generally running through March and April, is a regional celebration of the Japanese tree marred for the second year by the specter of COVID-19.
Local tourism group Visit Alexandria has compiled a list of activities that help locals celebrate the holiday while respecting COVID precautions — though some activities are higher risk than others.
In terms of viewing the cherry blossoms, Visit Alexandria said one of the best ways is via Potomac Riverboat Water Taxi. Water Taxi admission is $13 for one-way trips or $21 for round-trip tickets. The boats depart the Alexandria Marina (1 Cameron Street) and have limited capacity to allow for social distancing.
“Cruise from Old Town Alexandria to Washington, D.C., to enjoy the famous cherry blossoms from the water,” Visit Alexandria said in the events rundown. “Potomac Riverboat by Hornblower offers a 25-minute direct water taxi from Old Town to The Wharf development in D.C. From the dock at The Wharf, it is a 10-minute walk to the cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin… Water taxis are operating at half capacity; masks and physical distancing are required.”
Another options is electrical bike tours along the Mount Vernon Trail starting at 210 N. Lee Street.
A few local restaurants are planning on offering specials to celebrate the festival. Captain Gregory’s at 804 N. Henry Street is planning to host a Cherry Blossom Celebration on March 26 from 5-10 p.m.
“Captain Gregory’s will host an outdoor patio celebration of the cherry blossoms in partnership with Beam Suntory,” Visit Alexandria said. “Enjoy a mobile highball cart, themed décor and more. Savor Captain Gregory’s ‘Winter in Tokyo’ menu in-person or celebrate the Japanese blossoms at home with takeout. The menu includes a selection of Japanese spirits such as Suntory whiskey, Roku gin, Haku vodka, sake, yuzu and other Japanese staples like sochu, alongside savory dishes such as edamame and crab hushpuppies. Cocktails to-go are available from sister shop Elizabeth’s Counter’s grocery section.”
Other restaurants offering cherry blossom specials include:
- Bugsy’s Pizza Restaurant and Sports Bar (111 King Street)
- Café 44 (44 Canal Center Plaza)
- Lost Boy Cider (317 Hooffs Run Drive)
- Ada’s on the River (3 Pioneer Mill Way)
- The Majestic (911 King Street)
- Mia’s Italian Kitchen (100 King Street)
- Theismann’s Restaurant and Bar (1800A Diagonal Road)
- Vola’s Dockside Grill (101 N. Union Street)
- Dolci Gelati (107 N. Fairfax Street)
A free cherry blossom exhibition will also be on display at the Torpedo Factory Art Center (105 N. Union Street) from March 31 to May 2. All three floors will feature displays of floral-themed art. Admissions is free and the gallery is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Photo courtesy L. Barnes/Visit Alexandria
Independent Investigation Clears ALX Chamber CEO of Wrongdoing — “The Chamber will be immediately scheduling workplace professionalism training for all staff and Chamber leadership and the Chamber’s Code of Conduct will be updated and clearly communicated to staff and members.” [Alexandria Living]
Beyer Votes ‘YES’ as House Passes Equality Act — “The House just passed the Equality Act, which would protect LGBTQ Americans from discrimination in the workplace, in housing, in receiving health care, and more. I voted YES; this is the final vote:” [Twitter]
Council Approves Stormwater Fee Increase — “City council unanimously passed an ordinance doubling the stormwater utility fee from $140 to $280 during Saturday’s public hearing. The increased fee will add $155 million into the city’s coffers over the next 10 years and will help fund an ambitious new flood mitigation action plan, according to city staff. The plan includes various capacity and spot improvement projects meant to overhaul Alexandria’s crumbling stormwater infrastructure.” [Alex Times]
Single Complaint, Lengthy Permitting Process Jettison Classical Concert Series — “There is a noise ordinance in the city – I totally respect it – but our musicians are softer than the birds that chirp along with us, way softer than the airplanes that fly overhead, way softer than the cars and the motorcycles and all the traffic that moves around us.” [Alex Times]
Councilman John Chapman’s Campaign Kickoff Event is March 7 — “Excited to announce my official re-election campaign kickoff event on Sunday, March 7, at 3pm. Check out my website or FB page for more details. chapman4council.com” [Twitter]
Community Invited to Give Feedback on Colasanto Pool Redesign — “The City of Alexandria has hired LSG Landscape Architecture for the project, which will build on recommendations from a 2016 community survey and the city-sponsored 2012 Aquatic Facilities Study. Funding for the project is made possible by Alexandria’s Capital Investment Program as well as a Community Matching Fund through a partnership with the Del Ray Gateway Project.” [Zebra]
Today’s Weather — “A mix of clouds and sun in the morning followed by cloudy skies during the afternoon. High 51F. Winds E at 5 to 10 mph…. Cloudy with periods of rain. Low around 40F. Winds SE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 90%. Rainfall near a quarter of an inch.” [Weather.com]
New Job: Staff Member –“We are seeking dedicated professionals who are reliable, hardworking, and passionate to join our wait staff here at Il Porto Ristorante. Should have at least one year of experience working in high volume dine in restaurant. Compensation is $800-$1200 a week. We will be accepting application’s daily Starting March 1, 2021 between 2-4 p.m.” [Indeed]
Old Town waterfront restaurant Virtue Feed and Grain could make a recent its outdoor dining expansion permanent if the closure of a nearby alleyway by the waterfront goes through.
At the Planning Commission meeting on Tuesday, March 2, the city is putting forward a proposal to close Wales Alley between S. Union and Strand streets to vehicle traffic.
According to the staff report, the closure would allow Virtue Feed and Grain at 106 S. Union Street to expand an outdoor dining accommodation granted last spring.
According to the report
In Spring 2020, the Virtue Feed and Grain submitted a request to use more of the alley for outdoor dining. Indoor dining was limited, and additional space was needed to meet social distancing requirements. To accommodate this request, the City temporarily closed the alley to vehicular traffic to allow the restaurant to expand further north into the alley, while maintaining pedestrian access along the north side. This expansion was approved through the City’s temporary outdoor dining program that was created to allow for additional dining space in the public right of way. The concept of closing this portion of Wales Alley had also been discussed prior to the pandemic as a way to provide additional pedestrian space and more connections to the Waterfront.
The report notes that the city would continue to own the alleyway, but would operate licensing agreements for its use with nearby business owners. Staff also said that, in addition to helping a local restaurant, the closing would help further advance plans to increase pedestrian access and circulation around the waterfront.
“This portion of the alley does not provide any significant benefit to traffic circulation,” the report said. “By eliminating vehicles from this area, more space is provided for pedestrians and reduces conflicts.”
Staff recommended approval of the closure in the report.
Photo via Virtue Feed and Grain/Facebook
Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson wants Governor Ralph Northam to include retail, personal care and restaurant workers in phase 1B of coronavirus vaccine distribution.
“Not only are these workers vital to the economic health and vitality of our communities, but the are, more often than not, those in our community who are bearing the burden of COVID-19 more acutely than others,” Wilson wrote in a letter to Northam.
Last month, Alexandria entered into 1B, which allows anyone 65 and older to get prioritized for the vaccine. Also included are essential workers, such as police, fire and EMS officials, Alexandria City Public Schools staff and people ages 16 and older with underlying medical conditions.
Wilson said women make up a majority of retail jobs and minority populations are at higher risk because of health disparities in the community.
“Those who serve in these jobs do not have the luxury of working from home and must interact with the public, often at distances less than six feet, in order to perform their work,” Wilson wrote. “Currently, retail, personal care and restaurant workers are in line for vaccines behind many workers in our community who are not required to interact with the public on a daily basis in order to do their jobs.”
It may take until late summer before the vaccine is widely available in Alexandria, Wilson said
More than 45,000 city residents are on the waiting list to get the vaccine, and about 2,000 doses are being distributed weekly.
“COVID-19 vaccine supply currently remains extremely limited,” the city reported Thursday. “While local demand for COVID-19 vaccination exceeds the supply, Alexandria Health Department (AHD) must prioritize certain groups for vaccination.”
Residents can pre-register for the COVID-19 vaccine in Alexandria here.
We need more vaccine doses. Period.
But as we await supply, our public health and equity goals would be well served by including vaccinations of retail, personal care and restaurant workers in the current phase.
— Justin Wilson (@justindotnet) February 18, 2021
Photo by Eli Wilson
The owner of a hookah lounge has filed a special use permit to operate a hookah lounge and restaurant in the West End.
Diko Bar and Lounge would take over at the former home of the all-vegan Chez Hareg Cafe at 5245 Duke Street. The 1,200-square-foot location is next door to Shooter McGee’s, across the street from the Canterbury Square Condominiums and near the Alexandria Fire Station 208.
The location can accommodate 47 people inside, 18 people outside and has a 145-space parking lot. The SUP was requested for a new use at the space, which is the former home to Sangeet Alexandria Halal Meat and Grocery and Chez Hareg Cafe.
Owner Diko Woldehawariate could not be reached for comment, and details are scarce. The business has no website or social media. Woldehawariate wants to run it from noon to 2 a.m. seven days a week, according to the application. The menu includes beef and chicken shwarma, kabobs, Ethiopian dishes and desserts.
Public comments on the application are open until March 4, 2021, after which the application goes before the Planning Commission and then City Council for final approval.
GoFundMe Raises $29K for Family of Bishop Ireton Student — “It is with a heavy heart that the BI community mourns the death of our fellow classmate Andrew Benson, who was taken from us much too soon. He was one of the nicest people we knew and was a member of the BI varsity soccer team. He played fullback and was an avid soccer player and was one of the hardest workers on the team. He always had a smile on his face and he never failed to make you smile with a joke or make a stressful or hard day a little better. Please donate if you can or remember him in your thoughts and prayers. All proceeds go to the family and to help with funeral arrangements.” [GoFundMe]
Holy Cow Honors Sue Kovalsky with ‘Burger of the Moment’ — “Sue, we appreciate you! This #BOTM is for you.” [Facebook]
Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter Announces Reelection Bid — “I hope that you will join us online for our campaign kick-off on Wednesday, March 3rd at 7:00 p.m. This will be a great opportunity to learn more about how you can be involved in this campaign and our vision of criminal justice reform.” [Facebook]
Virtual Open House on FEMA Flood Map Update Process — “The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is updating its flood maps of Alexandria and has requested that the City of Alexandria provide community outreach assistance. The City will host a virtual open house on March 1, from 7 to 8 p.m. Residents and businesses are encouraged to participate to learn more about the update to the floodplain maps.” [City of Alexandria]
Bennett-Parker Gets More Endorsements in Race for 45th District Seat — “I’m honored to announce I have been endorsed by Arlington County Board, Vice-Chair @kcristol and Board Member @libbygarvey! Both have an impressive record of public service and I look forward to continuing to work with them on the issues that are important to our region.” [Twitter]
ALIVE! Free Food Distribution Set for Saturday — “On Sat, Feb 20, 8:30-10:30am, @ALIVE4AlexVA will distribute food in Cora Kelly Elem School parking lot and parking lot B-1 of NOVA-Alexandria Campus (map at alive-inc.org, if college closes due to weather, distribution cancelled).” [Twitter]
Today’s Weather — “Intervals of clouds and sunshine (during the day). High 36F. Winds NNW at 5 to 10 mph… Cloudy (in the evening). Snow showers developing after midnight. Low 28F. Winds NE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of snow 80%. Snow accumulating 1 to 3 inches.” [Weather.com]
New Job: Real Estate Photographer — “Nova Virtual Tours, Inc. provides photography, videography, aerials, and interactive 3D Virtual Tours to all industries. We work closely with realtors in the Northern Virginia area to provide them with marketing tools and media to sell their listings, and we also work with commercial clients in many different industries within NoVa and beyond.” [Indeed]
Well it’s the Superbowl, I guess.
In a national championship game sapped of all build up and anticipation by a year of pandemic and political upheaval, some local restaurants are still using the upcoming event to promote specials.
Zebra noted that some locations like Northside 10 in Del Ray and Sweet Fire Donna’s in Carlyle have Super Bowl specials. In Old Town, Irish bars O’Connell’s and Murphy’s will also have Super Bowl specials, Zebra reported.
A little outside of Alexandria, Black Rose Lounge at 5815 Seminary Road is planning to host a Super Bowl viewing party, though with Alexandria at now over 100 dead from the coronavirus pandemic: gathering in person is still discouraged.
For those hoping to order food, though, the football event occurs amid Alexandria’s extended Restaurant Week. Many of the specials compiled by Visit Alexandria are still applicable.
Every slice at Lost Dog Cafe Alexandria is a touchdown. Order pizza from us this weekend to enjoy with the big game! Which team will you be rooting for? 🏈🍕 #food #pizza #pizzatime #pasta #salad #sandwich #bacon #foodstagram #lostdog #alexandriava pic.twitter.com/MCwmYImnMe
— Lost Dog Alexandria (@LostDogCafeAlex) February 3, 2021
Photo via Tim L. Productions/Unsplash
Alexandria Police Participate in Honoring Fallen Capitol Police Officer — “APD participated in the memorial service for fallen U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick. Our officers rendered honors for Ofc. Sicknick, and joined the escort from the U.S. Capitol to Arlington National Cemetery. Our prayers are with his family and friends.” [Twitter]
Free COVID-19 Self-Testing Kiosks Available Around City— “Visit a Curative COVID-19 self-testing kiosk in Alexandria for a free test. Tests do not require government ID; service available in English and Spanish. Make an appointment at Curative.com. Walk up testing also available. For more info: alexandriava.gov/114730.” [Twitter]
Beyer Challenges House Republicans Over Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene — “Instead Greene uses her official position to double down on dehumanizing rhetoric. She claims she is a victim, and is raising money off the outrage over her calls for violence. Republicans can reject her violent ideology or accept it. That is the choice they have to make now.” [Twitter]
DASH Says All Riders Must Wear Face Masks Starting Feb. 8 — “Effective Monday, February 8, passengers without a mask will not be permitted on any DASH bus. In accordance with federal law, all passengers are required to wear a face mask that covers both the nose and mouth while awaiting, boarding, traveling on or disembarking any DASH bus to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Passengers who refuse to wear a mask will not be permitted to board any DASH bus. If a passenger removes their mask after boarding, they will not be allowed to continue their trip and must disembark the bus as soon as safely possible. DASH maintains a supply of masks on every bus for passengers without masks who cannot delay their trip to obtain one. If a passenger does not have a mask, they are encouraged to ask the operator for one when boarding the bus.”
Mayor Tours Shuttered Power Plant Before Community Meeting — “Next week (the 11th), the new owner of the former power-plant site on Alexandria’s northern waterfront will be holding a community meeting to discuss redevelopment plans. I had an opportunity to walk the site and discuss the future of this important location.” [Twitter]
City Says Essential Workers Should Pre-Register for Vaccine Waitlist — “Individuals in the Phase 1b frontline essential worker categories should pre-register for the COVID-19 vaccine waitlist by filling out this form. Those who have already completed the form should not fill it out again. Duplicates require additional staff time to clean and sort, and will not result in faster vaccination. AHD is simultaneously vaccinating those who are ages 65 and older and Phase 1b frontline essential workers.” [City of Alexandria]
Fish Market Gets Help from Barstool Fund — “The Fish Market, a family-owned business restaurant and raw bar in a centuries-old building, has been in business on lower King Street for 45 years. After submitting a video to apply for the Barstool Fund, the restaurant was chosen as one of the small businesses to receive money to help keep it open.” [Patch]
City Wins Award for Carpenter’s Shelter Development — “The City has received the 2020 Audrey Nelson Community Development Achievement Award for supporting the construction of The Bloom/Carpenter’s Shelter, an innovative project that co-locates 97 affordable housing units with a homeless shelter.” [Twitter]
Today’s Weather — “Sunny, along with a few afternoon clouds. High 48F. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph… Cloudy with occasional rain after midnight. Low 37F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 70%.” [Weather.com]
New Job: Professional Dog Walkers — “As a Dog Walker with Fur-Get Me Not you can expect flexible scheduling, paid training, 24/7 support from both our office staff as well as our on-call managers– and more. Most dog walks are between the hours of 10:00am and 4:00pm, typically on a recurring schedule Monday-Friday. We compensate at $8.75 per 25-minute visit, and offer two walks per hour to maximize your earning ability — and all of our walks are one-on-one so you can develop great relationships with the dogs on your route!” [Indeed]
Del Ray Business Association Launches ‘I Love Del Ray’ Campaign — “Now through April, you’re going to see a lot of marketing and promotion out there about all of our wonderful small businesses — both in-home and brick-and-mortar — and how we can support them through these tough upcoming winter months.” [Zebra]
How Alexandria is Celebrating Black History Month — “Join the City in celebrating #BlackHistoryMonth with special virtual events and activities throughout February, honoring the history, culture, achievements and contributions of African Americans.” [Twitter]
City Announces CDC Order Requiring Masks on Public Transportation — “Public transportation employees must use best efforts to ensure that everyone waiting, embarking and disembarking is wearing a mask over their nose and mouth at all times, with limited exceptions. Efforts for compliance may include only boarding people wearing masks; instructing passengers of the federal law and requesting compliance; and disembarking any individual who refuses to comply. This order applies to all modes of public transportation within, to and from the United States, including airplanes, ships, ferries, subways, buses, and ride-shares.” [City of Alexandria]
City Warming Centers Open — “City warming centers are open daily 8am-5pm through February 5 to provide relief from the cold for community members who may not have access warm shelter during the day.” [Twitter]
City Says Playing Around Relieves Stress — “Play is good for you! Studies show that laughter can help adults relieve pain and even increase immunity. So do your body good and make room for joy!” [Twitter]
Today’s Weather — “Snow showers (during the day). Temps nearly steady in the mid 30s. Winds NW at 15 to 25 mph. Chance of snow 50%. Snow accumulations less than one inch. Higher wind gusts possible… Cloudy (in the evening). Low 29F. Winds NW at 15 to 25 mph. Higher wind gusts possible.” [Weather.com]
New Job: Team Member — “Toastique is a rapidly growing company looking for passionate new talent to help create smoothies, gourmet toast & juice while giving the customers an incredible experience the minute they walk through the door.” [Indeed]
Buying an existing business can often be easier than starting from scratch.
The latest listings on BizBuySell show businesses for sale in and around Alexandria. Many are restaurants, which have been heavily impacted by the pandemic.
The website aggregates numerous business sale listings. The names and locations are generally left out, but there are exceptions.
Reasons for selling, when provided, typically do not mention economic hardship, but more often involve the owner retiring or not having time to actively run the business.
Here are some that are currently listed:
- Alexandria Auto Body Garage For Sale — “Auto body shop in the Cameron Park section of Alexandria, one block off Duke Street. Unique opportunity to take over an existing business, or start a similar industrial use.”
- Beautiful Modern Laundromat for Sale — “Beautiful modern laundromat in a great location! 21st century laundromat with card system, customized folding tables, modern design, with high-powered energy efficient machines. Location is about 4000 SF located near many current and upcoming apartment complexes. Long-term 10 tear lease with 5 year option. This place is fully card operated and can be easily managed from home with one visit a week.”
- 30-Year-Old Deli — “Clean and well run Deli in office park with schools and healthcare facilities as neighbors. The business has been operated absentee for several years and has produced a profit of $45,000+ for the owners. A owner operator can expect to earn $90,000+. Running absentee requires excess help to ensure the Deli is no short handed. Online rating are all above 4 stars. Well known for delicious sandwiches and subs.”
- Alexandria’s Premier Salon and Spa — “Hair salon and spa, established in 2011, with huge clientele and fantastic reviews. State of the art equipment. Bright, inviting atmosphere, with contemporary decor. Surrounded by highly-frequented restaurants and shops in a well populated residential neighborhood. High-street visibility, easy access, high pedestrian and vehicle traffic, with ample parking.”
- Absentee-Owner Gourmet Pizza & Italian With Loyal Following — “This high-visibility restaurant has long been a destination and neighborhood favorite with locals – it continues to enjoy a following as a gourmet take-out option for pizza and all Italian cuisine favorites. Purchased in 2019 as a decades-old chef-owned establishment, the new owner invested in a complete turn around, nearly doubling sales and converting the business model to absentee ownership. Owner has refrained from applying for PPP or other SBA loans so that new owner might be able to take advantage of those opportunities.”
- Beautiful Hair & Nail Spa for Sale/ Price Reduced — “Great opportunity!!! Serious Inquiries only. Beautiful and well established Hair & Nail Spa for Sale in a very busy shopping center. Seller is retiring after many successful years in the business. Beautiful & Very efficiently designed. 6 years old Spa. Established, loyal customers. Reasonable rent & excellent location. 10 Hair stations, 5 Dryers, 3 Shampoo stations, 8 Manicure Tables, 8 Pedicure chairs, 3 Waxing rooms, 2 Facial Rooms, 1 Body scrub. There is plenty of room to expand. Room to grow by improving social media and other marketing and adding massage service.”
- Established Asian Fusion Restaurant in Old Town — “Super Busy main street at Old Town Alexandria. Has been in operation for 18 years, established royal customers. Has huge potential to increase the volume if adding catering business. Business gross sales didn’t get impact by Covid.”
- NOVA Kitchen/Bath Remodel Contractor — “RVA Business Brokers is pleased to offer this Northern Virginia Kitchen & Bathroom Remodel Super Store to the Market.”
- Coin Laundry/Laundromats — “No Exception, Non-Disclosure must be signed in person meeting, No emailing signing. We can meet at anywhere in Fairfax county to sign NDA with appointment.”
- Pet Grooming Business — “Well-established pet grooming business for sale!”
- Well Known Deli in Alexandria Part of Fairfax County — “This money making Deli been there 23 years and very well known in town. most busy deli shop around Fairfax Country, Alexandria VA Great location deli and sandwich shop. after 23 years, seller wants to retire. Don’t miss out on this Deli shop.”
- Mexican Restaurant & Bar Can Convert MRB VA 876 — “This Profitable Mexican Restaurant for Sale has been open and operating profitably for eight years. The location is on a high traffic road and surrounded by residential. This is a turnkey situation on a restaurant that has been grossing in excess of $840,000 annually with profits to an absentee owner of $80,000 annually. Nice full service bar. Outdoor Seating!! Great opportunity for a new on hand owner/operator to take this business to the next level. MUST SEE.”
- Taco Place For Sale — “Great location in Alexandria, very favorite Mexican restaurant, nice location, open kitchen with low rent 4800 nnn, 6 days operation.”
- 5 Days Deli in Alexandria Asking $175,000 — “WELL ESTABLISHED 5 DAY DELI SANDWICH SHOP FOR SALE IN ALEXANDRIA VA. RENT $4,500 ( INCLUDE UTILITY, TAX ). FULLY EQUIPPED KITCHEN. GREATER CASH FLOW BUSINESS; ADD YOUR OWN CONCEPT. ADD DELIVERY, ONLINE ORDERING.”
- Restaurant Bar — “Exceptional opportunity to purchase this turn key restaurant in popular Mt Vernon area of Alexandria. Continue to operate as is or easily change to any concept. 80 seats in plus 25 out. Absentee owner looking for offers; long term lease – 19 years. $11,000 monthly. $1,100,000 yearly sales – asking $225,000.”
- Asian Restaurant and Sushi Bar for Sale — “Established Business for Sale. Owner is looking to retire from business. All equipment is owned and in good condition, except the dishwasher is leased. Asking price is negotiable, send your offers!”
Specialty Gift & Souvenir Boutique in the Heart of Old Town Alexandria — “Unique opportunity to own a specialty gift and souvenir shop in the heart of the Old Town Alexandria. The boutique is located in a high traffic part of Old Town and has been a destination shopping destination to both locals and tourists for decades.”
Optometry Practices — “Two established Optical/Optometry stores for sale. Both locations have street frontage visibility, are located in upscale parts of town, and have high sales and cash flow.”
- Longstanding Italian Restaurant for Sale — “Purchase this Long-Standing Italian Restaurant for Sale in Alexandria and be ready to go from day one! Tons of loyal customers already in place at this turn-key opportunity. Lending available and you can be approved in just two business days on this his beautifully built-out location with sales of $404,000 and Beer/Wine license in place.”
See more Alexandria listings here.