After some initial success, Visit Alexandria has announced the ongoing Restaurant Week deals will be extended for an additional week.
Currently, over 60 restaurants across the city are offering takeout, delivery, or curbside pickup meals-for-two at $49. A full list of participating restaurants is available online.
“The online menu book makes it easy to browse delicious selections from dozens of Alexandria eateries,” Visit Alexandria said in a press release. “No menu offering is the same — from appetizer, entrée and bottle of wine packages to three-course meals for two with mouth-watering desserts plus add-on options of cocktails to-go, there is undoubtedly a menu suited to everyone.”
Visit Alexandria said in the press release that the to-go model emphasized in this Restaurant Week is designed with a preference towards eating at home over dining in local restaurants while COVID-19 is still present in Alexandria.
The extension is also an effort to give some struggling local businesses a little boost.
“The success of Alexandria’s independent restaurant scene is critical to the city’s small business economy and essential to preserving a beloved experience of the city for residents and visitors alike as these local establishments weather the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Visit Alexandria said.
Tourism in Alexandria isn’t what it used to be. With local economies devastated by the pandemic, First Lady of Virginia Pamela Northam visited Alexandria on Wednesday (July 22) to promote safe tourism and congratulate the city on winning a $10,000 grant for its Great Walks program.
“In 2018, Virginia tourists spent more than $26 billion here, and this put 235,000 people to work and contributed $1.8 billion in local and state tax revenue,” Northam told a small audience in the Torpedo Factory Art Center. “This year, however, our tourism and hospitality industries have been among the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.”
Northam was joined by State Senator Adam Ebbin, City Councilman John Taylor Chapman, Councilwoman Del Pepper, Rita McClenny of the Virginia Tourism Corporation and Patricia Washington of Visit Alexandria. None of the speakers said they would be taking vacations this summer, but instead would be making small outings and being careful not to contract the virus.
“When you’re ordering out, think about local and how you can support our local stores and restaurants, because they may not be here if we don’t support them,” Northam said.
The officials also praised Visit Alexandria’s ALX Promise program, which they said was important for consumer confidence. More than 300 local businesses have participated in the accreditation system that ensures compliance with health regulations.
Chapman thanked city residents for stepping up to help local businesses and donating time and effort to the city’s nonprofits.
“They are generously donating time and money to our nonprofits, and they are looking out for each other by being smart about masks and social distancing,” Chapman said. “We have 271 years of meeting challenges and overcoming them, and COVID-19 is just the latest and we will overcome this, too.”
McClenny said that promoting safety and tourism is a delicate balancing act.
“We know a revived tourism economy can help spur new economic activity and critical funds back into our Virginia communities,” she said. “Here, we also know that we must proceed responsibly and encourage travel in a safe measured manner.”
Washington said that tourism is essential for the city’s economy.
“Visitors contribute $50 million in hotel, restaurant and retail taxes to our city to help fund for city services,” Washington said. “The tourism sector accounts for 7% of the workforce and it supports our large community of small businesses. Right now this sector is threatened by coronavirus, so I cannot emphasize enough our gratitude to our state and local leaders for recognizing that it is absolutely critical to stand by these businesses so that Virginia’s hospitality sector comes back strong.”
Staff photos by James Cullum
Beyer Warns of Looming Economic Catastrophe — “For months we’ve propped up the economy with strong government stimulus, especially unemployment benefits. Those benefits will expire in 25 days amid dire state and local government shortfalls. McConnell and Trump remain opposed to extending them. Economic catastrophe looms.” [Twitter]
ACPS Asks for Community Input With Reopening Survey — “We are aware that the situation we are facing is unprecedented, constantly changing, and requires a degree of flexibility from all of us. You will be asked to make a decision about your commitment to return to school in late July. By that time you will have a clear idea of our anticipated reopening plans for the fall to assist you in your decision.” [ACPS]
Visit Alexandria Shifts Strategy — “In a complete shift from prior marketing plans, Visit Alexandria emphasized the need to focus much closer to home. They plan to target the drive market, beginning with the local DC area and moving out to a 3-hour drive radius. This is in direct response to trends in consumer comfort levels which show that many people are afraid to fly or travel great distances.” [Alexandria Living]
How An Old Town Book Shop Adapted to COVID-19 — “Inside, the shop went from cozy bookstore to book-packing assembly line, and the team was grateful to be able to keep working.” [Alexandria Living]
There’s Outdoor Yoga in Del Ray Wednesday — “This class is for all levels but is designed to be an easy and cooling flow class. Bring your mat. All spots will be socially distanced and it will be first come first serve. Masks are not required for outdoor activity but are encouraged. Refreshments to follow. We look forward to seeing you there!” [Facebook]
New Job: Interview Supervisor — “The Interviewer Supervisor, a public health professional, is responsible for managing a team of approximately ten (10) Contact Interviewers and/or Case Interviewers.” [Workforce Development Center]
As part of a series spotlighting local businesses, city-sponsored organization Visit Alexandria has put together a guide for Alexandrians trying to show more support for black-owned businesses in the city.
Restaurants spotlighted on the list are:
- Cameron Café (4911 Brenman Park Drive) — a local coffee shop in Cameron Station that — just prior to the pandemic — reopened with a new wine and beer bar.
- Goodies Frozen Custard & Treats (200 Commerce Street) — a popular frozen treats truck scheduled to make a permanent home in an old ’30s era ice house later this year. The Truck is located outside the shop every Saturday in the meantime.
- Haute Dogs & Fries (610 Montgomery Street) — a hot dog and burger shop with a variety of unique options, including vegetarian variants.
- Hen Quarter (801 King Street) — a southern cuisine restaurant in Old Town
- The Rub (801 King Street) — a more casual fried chicken and beer eatery on the ground floor of Hen Quarter
The list also includes hair salons, retail, and a local tour company with a focus on the city’s black history.
The organization noted that black-owned companies wanting to be added to the list can contact [email protected] though the company must be focused around bringing in visitors and must be located in the City of Alexandria — sorry “Alexandria, Fairfax.”
Staff photo by James Cullum
As Alexandria moves toward the first phase of reopening its economy on May 29, the city’s health department is developing a new accreditation program to ensure compliance with enforced restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Alexandria Health Department initiative is currently labeled as the “ALX Promise,” and it’s a partnership with Visit Alexandria, the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce and business groups, according to AHD Environmental Health Manager Rachel Stradling.
The pandemic closed about half of the city’s 860 permitted food establishments, and many of them will not reopen, Stradling said.
Business owners who participate in a seminar and sign a pledge to adhere to the restrictions will get a decal to post in their front windows. They will have to commit to training their staffs on protocols, including wearing face masks, hand washing, disinfection and social distancing. Participating businesses will then be advertised on the Visit Alexandria website.
“You can have a decal in your window that says that you’ve gone above and beyond,” Stradling told ALXnow. “That’s hugely exciting news. It takes us a good six months to get an accreditation scheme in place and we’re basically doing this in a little over a week.”
Stradling added, “So there’ll be a training component, and then they’ll sign a pact at the end to say that they’ll maintain those standards in their business, that they will put their staff and their community first.”
In Alexandria, the first phase means that restaurants can have no indoor dining, but dining will be allowed at 50% capacity in outdoor areas.
Additionally, the department is now preparing for the second phase of reopening the economy. In the meantime, Stradling and her staff are continuing to do virtual inspections.
“Hopefully in phase two we’ll be able to get out there more in person,” she said.
Staff photo by James Cullum
With Visit Alexandria pivoting from external tourism to keeping locals engaged, the city-sponsored organization has written up a guide for celebrating Memorial Day (Monday, May 25) in Alexandria.
Northern Virginia, including Alexandria, is not scheduled to start lifting coronavirus restrictions until May 29. There are still more restaurants and retail locations starting to reopen as they adjust to social distancing rules. The Visit Alexandria site has a list of local eateries with Memorial Day specials. Jast as with Cinco De Mayo, some local restaurants are offering interesting or unusual items.
Fresh off their margarita donut, Elizabeth’s Counter (né Sugar Sheck) will have a bourbon donut available over Memorial Day weekend, from May 22-May 25.
Hummingbird Bar and Kitchen in the Hotel Indigo (220 S. Union Street) is offering a grill and chill bag serving four, including a shrimp cocktail, grilled artichokes, a fully loaded baked potato, four steaks with garlic butter, brownies and a bottle of wine for $200. The bags have to be reserved by Thursday, May 21, by calling 703-566-1355. The bags can be picked up on Saturday, May 23.
Meanwhile, other local retail spots are offering special items for Memorial Day, including:
- Yard games at AR Workshop (1212 King Street)
- Red, white and blue popcorn at Popped (2381 S. Dove Street)
- Patriotic chew toys and animal accessories at The Dog Park (705 King Street)
- Ice buckets at The Hour Shop (1015 King Street)
Photo via Elizabeth’s Counter
Governor Asked Northern Virginia Leaders for Letter on Stalling Reopening — “He asked for this formal communication to demonstrate unity across the diverse Northern Virginia region, which is critical to a continued successful mitigation strategy… He appreciates their willingness to work with him on this responsible, data-driven and health-based approach.” [Washington Post]
City Sets Up Frozen Meal Delivery System For Residents Aged 60+ — “Spouses of individuals over age 60 and disabled adults living with someone aged 60 and older also may be eligible. Meals are prepared by Jeffery’s Catering and delivered twice a week by Senior Services of Alexandria. A total of 14 meals are delivered each week. For more information call 703-746-5999.” [Facebook]
City Council to Discuss CARES Act Assistance at Tuesday Meeting — “Consideration of the Proposed Plans for use of Federal CARES Act Funding for Residential Rental Assistance, Food Security and Small Business Assistance and COVID-19 Related Expenses of the City Government.” [City of Alexandria]
ACPS Gives Out 30K Meals During Shutdown — “With volunteers who register through Volunteer Alexandria, the operation runs every Monday, Wednesday and Friday with significant safety measures in place for packing and distribution. Meals consist of breakfast, lunch and snack and often include fresh fruits and vegetables and sandwiches for multiple days.” [Alexandria Living]
Chamber of Commerce Announces 40 Under 40 Honorees — “The 40 under 40 program was established in 2016 by the Chamber to recognize top men and women, age 40 and under, engaged in a variety of fields including business, technology, nonprofit management, civic life, public service, education, and the arts, who are shaping Alexandria for the future.” [Facebook]
New Job: Remote Contact Tracer — “In this role you will call people diagnosed with COVID-19, establish all contacts of this person, and proceed to call and maintain ongoing communication with every contact. This includes virtual needs checks and referral to community resources as needed. This contact tracing initiative is in tandem with statewide-wide efforts to increase testing, improve communication and knowledge of effective strategies to reduce transmission, and implementation of isolation and quarantine.” [Adecco]
Mayor Adjusts Family Rules for Mother’s Day, Lets Wife Pick Takeout — “Mother’s Day means that the modified democracy we have developed for carry-out goes out the door and Mom gets to pick.” [Facebook]
Visit Alexandria Recommends Bookmarking a Trip — “In the #SpiritOfTravel, bookmark Alexandria’s waterfront parks and trails to visit later. This photo by Carol Jean Photography is a stunning example.” [Facebook]
Tenants & Workers United Rent Protest Today at 4:30 p.m. — “Join our Caravan or take Action from home this Friday at 4:30PM. The caravan will be from 5pm and will go though Arlandria-Chirilagua to send the message to FREEZE RENTS in VIRGINIA. Don’t have a car?? You can take action from your window/balcony by: Wearing Red or swinging any red cloth; Make a sign with a message to the property managers to cancel rent; Make noise with your pots & pans! Take pictures or videos and use #CANCELRENTVA on social media.” [Facebook]
Inova Nurse Recruitment Team Gives Thanks With Photo Collage — “Our Inova Careers Nursing Recruitment team wanted to show support to our frontline workers who are making an incredible sacrifice to keep us all safe!” [Facebook]
Homegrown Restaurant Group Raises More Than $10K For Staff — “We are thrilled and so appreciative of the outpour of love and support we have already received from the community. If you have the financial means to donate, every dollar helps! If you do not, another way you can help is to share this fundraiser on social media!” [GoFundMe]
Here’s Visit Alexandria’s List of Mother’s Day Deals — “While the holidays look much different this year, there are still plenty of ways to celebrate Mother’s Day from home. Purchase the perfect Mother’s Day gift from one of Alexandria’s independent boutiques. Treat the lady in your life to a special meal ordered from one of Alexandria’s restaurants. Keep reading to learn about special offers from local businesses.” [Visit Alexandria]
New Job: Digital Communications Manager — “Support the Vice President of Marketing, Communications and Membership in developing and implementing the digital side of an integrated strategic communications plan to advance NARFE’s [National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association] mission, and broaden awareness of its programs and services.” [Indeed]
Mason & Greens Grocer Opens Online-Only in Old Town — “Like many small businesses still operating while most of the country is staying home, the Marinos elected to keep customers out of the store and offer online ordering only. They moved up their website launch so that customers could order online at www.masonandgreens.com, then pick up their orders at the store.” [Alex Times]
Wholistic Hound Puppy Training Video Tutorial at 5 p.m. — “Wholistic Hound Academy’s Puppy Experts will be on Facebook Live to answer your questions, provide sound advice on everything from socializing your puppy to house training and nipping and biting. We can help to you successfully navigate life with your pandemic puppy.” [Wholistic Hound]
Trinity UMC Collecting Food Sunday — “Reminder if you go to the grocery store this week that Trinity United Methodist Church, located at the corner of Cameron Mills & Allison St., will be collecting non-perishable goods in our parking lot each Sunday afternoon from 2:00 to 4:00 and will continue doing so until the church building reopens. The food is delivered to Rising Hope United Methodist Church to support their food pantry for the homeless and low-income families.” [Trinity UMC]
Yates Dry Cleaning Offering Wash and Fold Service — “Between full-time jobs, homeschooling and keeping the house somewhat clean, we know you have a lot on your plate right now. If your laundry is piling up, let us take care of it with our Wash & Fold Service! Sign up for our Free Pickup & Delivery Service and you won’t even need to leave your home! We’ll pickup your bag of laundry and return it clean and folded.” [Facebook]
Del Ray Farmers’ Market Open Saturday by Per-Order Only — “Vendors will NOT be offering items for sale at the market – only pickup of preorders is permitted. The list below is changing as we speak and we will do our best to keep it current, so please check back often. Please also follow our Facebook page for updates. Thank you for your continued support of our vendors.” [Del Ray Farmers’ Market]
Kids Dress Up Like Super Heroes for School Chat — “It’s Super Hero Day and Ms. Hellmuth just had a great 1:1 writing conference with Spider-Man!” [Facebook]
Junction Bakery & Bistro Delivering to Area Hospitals — “On Saturday, May 2nd, we will be taking part, proudly, in this vital effort — delivering 150 hot meals to the hard-working & dedicated staffs at Prince George’s Hospital + Howard University Hospital. Please help support this dearly needed project.” [Facebook]
Most Alexandria Ice Cream Shops Open for Takeout — “Try to hit up every one of the frozen treat spots on the map. Pace yourself! There are 15 weeks between Memorial Day and Labor Day, so aim for an average of two per week, which will leave you some time to revisit your favorites at summer’s end.” [Alexandria Living]
“With the CDC’s recommendations for everyone to wear a cloth face covering while out in public if they can’t maintain six feet of physical distance from others, and the likelihood that this will be the new temporary norm, we’ve compiled a list of Alexandria boutiques and businesses making non-medical-grade face coverings,” the local tourism center said.
The list of locations to buy masks includes:
- Bellies & Babies (1913 Mount Vernon Avenue): the Del Ray consignment shop is selling homemade, washable facemasks for $20
- Del Ray Monograms (2005 Mount Vernon Avenue): the monogram shop is selling monogrammed face masks for $29.95, with a non-monogrammed variety for $20
- KH Giving: the shop is offering a variety of face masks for around $20 with 10% of the proceeds going to a pair of local food banks
- The Purple Goose (2005 Mount Vernon Avenue): the children’s boutique is selling both cloth masks and disposable masks
- Salon deZEN (118 N. Fayette Street): the salon is selling $10, homemade cloth masks
- The Dog Store (2301 Mount Vernon Avenue): the Del Ray pet shop is selling washable face masks for $12.99
- The Old Town Shop (105 South Union Street): the Old Town store is selling disposable masks at 2 for $5 for curbside pickup
- Tulusa (2 Ancell Street): this fabric and textiles shop is selling custom face masks with unique prints. Most masks are $14 but a set with golden cheetah print — with 15% of the proceeds going to the National Breast Cancer Foundation — is $26
Staff photo by Vernon Miles
Though restaurants across Alexandria are closed for traditional Easter and Passover meals due to the coronavirus pandemic, many are offering select take-out options available for pick-up or delivery.
Visit Alexandria, which has been running a series called ALX at Home to keep locals engaged during the quarantine, has put together a long list of local restaurants with special Passover and Easter options. Many of them do require pre-ordering the meals in advance.
Restaurants featured on the list include:
- A la Lucia (315 Madison Street) — An Easter Family Dinner Special which includes either a braised lamb in red wine sauce or pork chop in peppercorn sauce, as well as a salad, a choice of sides and bread. Total: $75, serves 3-4.
- Balducci’s Passover and Easter Catering (600 Franklin Street) — Passover and Easter catering is available for pickup, but orders must be placed 48 hours in advance.
- Bastille (606 N. Fayette Street) — A French cuisine Easter dinner including salmon filet or lamb with additional wine available for $25. Total: $49, serves two.
- Chart House (1 Cameron Street) — Easter family dinners include prime rib and roasted salmon. Total: $80, serves two-three.
- Clyde’s at Mark Center (1700 N. Beauregard Street) — Clyde’s is offering four Easter entrees, from roast lamb to ribeyes, along with a sauce, sides, and brownies. Orders can be placed tomorrow (Wednesday) before 5 p.m. by calling 703-820-8300 with pick-up on Saturday (April 11) or Sunday (April 12).
- Del Ray Cafe (205 E. Howell Avenue) — The local French cafe is offering an Easter brunch with a variety of vegetarian options. Pre-orders must be placed by Thursday (April 9) by calling 703-717-9151.
- Elizabeth’s Counter (804 N. Henry Street) — Elizabeth’s Counter, né Sugar Shack, is embracing the donut origin a pick-up box of six Easter donuts. The menu — donuts included — is entirely vegan.
- Hummingbird Bar + Kitchen (220 S. Union Street) — The restaurant in the Hotel Indigo on the waterfront is offering brunch, featuring ready-to-bake cinnamon rolls and salad. Total: $59, serves four.
- Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap (401 E. Braddock Road) — Lena’s is offering three-course Easter meals featuring spaghetti, chicken cacciatore and more. Orders can be placed on the phone at 703-683-5330. All menus will be available for pick-up via ChowNow, or for delivery via UberEats, Postmates and GrubHub. Total: $69, serves 4.
- Mia’s Italian Kitchen (100 King Street) — Mia’s is offering a three-course Easter menu, including a Sunday salad with a choice of either Braciole di Manzo or chicken cacciatore rollatini. Total: $69, serves 4.
- Oak Steakhouse (901 N. St Asaph Street) — The North Old Town steakhouse is offering an Easter at Home menu with steak, a burger, or portobello mushrooms. Orders can be placed by emailing [email protected] or calling 703-283-7645. Pick up will be Thursday (April 9) through Saturday (April 11) from 4-7 p.m.
- Sweet Fire Donna’s (510 John Carlyle Street) — The barbecue joint is offering Easter Brunch To-Go including smoked ham with roasted asparagus and two eggs. Preorders should be placed by 10 p.m. on Saturday (April 11). Total: $15.95.
- The Majestic Cafe (911 King Street) — the American comfort food eatery is offering pickup at Mia’s Italian Kitchen (100 King Street) for a three-course Easter meal. Options include prime striploin, leg of lamb, and others along with lemon icebox pie for dessert. Preorders should be placed at 703-997-5300. All menus will be available for pick-up via ChowNow, or for delivery via UberEats, Postmates and GrubHub. Total: $99, serves 4.
- Union Street Public House (121 S. Union Street) — the waterfront pub is offering catered Easter meals with options like grilled asparagus, potatoes au gratin, and deconstructed carrot cake. The meals also come with selected wine pairings available for purchase. Preorders should be placed by 4 p.m. on Thursday (April 9). Total: $35 per person.
Staff photo by James Cullum
Stuck at home this weekend social distancing but still want to connect with your fellow Alexandrians? A few online or quarantine-friendly activities
If the quarantine has you stressed out, there are several local online meditation classes. Mind the Mat Pilates and Yoga is live-streaming various yoga, pilates and other exercise classes. The Meditation Center of D.C. is also hosting live-streamed meditations every Saturday at 3:30 p.m. with a Buddist monk.
Other locations throughout Alexandria are offering online fitness or wellness classes.
According to the submission page:
The Athenaeum Gallery invites artists–or anyone of any age–to e-mail sketches, doodles and other graphics that make a visual statement about your experience with or thoughts about the current pandemic, social distancing and other ways your life has been touched by it. When something resonates with our jurors, we will post it to our website, Instagram and Facebook accounts as a sort of virtual gallery. We are looking for true, quick, gestural and doodle-like work, not fully conceived and finished works of art. The works can be in any medium. To submit sketches and doodles, email jpgs or pdfs to Athenaeum Gallery Director, Twig Murray, at [email protected]
If you don’t feel like cooking this weekend and want to support some local restaurants, Visit Alexandria has compiled a list of restaurants offering social distancing-safe take-out and delivery options.
Photo via Kyo Gallery/Facebook. James Cullum contributed to this story.
Police Shooter Bashir Takes Insanity Defense for Alleged Stalking/Arson — “[Kashif] Bashir is charged with felony counts of arson, attempted arson, and making a false statement on a consent form to purchase a firearm, as well as nine counts of misdemeanor stalking, unauthorized use of an electronic tracking device, and possession of a firearm by a person acquitted by reason of insanity.” [WTOP]
Residents Cope With Cabin Fever — “Next week puts a little more pressure on me, because when my kids don’t have structure, then they do a lot of fighting.” [Alex Times]
Del Ray Restaurant Status Update — Among the closed restaurants are Los Tios Grill, Nectar Coffee and Wine Bistro, The Garden, and Live Oak Restaurant. Here’s a list of local eateries that are open for carryout and delivery. [Facebook]
Visit Alexandria Provides Updated Citywide Eatery List — “In case you need a quick reference, here’s a list of Alexandria restaurants open for takeout, curbside pickup, or delivery. For details, go to ALXatHome.com.” [Twitter]
ICYMI: Torpedo Factory Art Center Closed Until Mid May — “Hoping everyone is staying safe and healthy during this time. The Torpedo Factory will be closed till mid May. Please visit our artists through their fb pages, Instagram and websites.” [Facebook]
Bag Tax Bills on Bubble as General Assembly Revisits Budget — “Legislators are currently concerned with the immediate threat of the Coronavirus, its impact on Virginians and on the state budget. The implementation of the bills could take a back seat, for now, to the more immediate healthcare and economic problems stemming from the crisis.” [Gazette]
SCAN of Northern Virginia Gets Grant to Combat Child Abuse — “Unfortunately, we anticipate that incidences of child abuse and neglect will skyrocket because of the COVID-19 epidemic… But we have an opportunity this month–during National Child Abuse Prevention Month–to make sure our community is aware of this threat and empowered to protect children and support parents when they need it most.” [Zebra]
Alexandria Times Raises $975 in FOIA Fund — “During the first quarter of 2020, eight people donated a total of $975 to the Alexandria Times FOIA Fund. The Times made three FOIA requests of the City of Alexandria in the first quarter of 2020.” [Alex Times]
Center for Alexandria’s Children Recognizes ‘National Go Blue Day’ — “Don’t forget to #WearBlue for Child Abuse Prevention Month — and please post your photos and tag The Center for Alexandria’s Children, Inc. Raise awareness for Child Abuse Prevention by showing your BLUE all over social media!” [Facebook]