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Cirque du Soleil is almost ready to shine its lights on Tysons once again.

After a three-year absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canada-based circus and entertainment company raised its big top tent at Lerner Town Square (8025 Galleria Drive) on July 21 in anticipation of premiering its “Kurios: Cabinet of Curiosities” show tomorrow (Friday).

It took about 115 people and six days to erect the tent, which seats 2,600 people per show, according to Kurios publicist Becky Williams. The production travels in about 65 trucks carrying thousands of props, costumes and other equipment as well as 110 people from 27 different countries, including 46 cast members.

“Everything that you see on-site, we travel with ourselves,” Williams said. “When we arrive, there is nothing here, so we build everything from the ground up.”

Scheduled to stay in Tysons through Sept. 25, Kurios is one of 20 shows that Cirque du Soleil currently has in active rotation. It previously passed through Tysons in 2016, but Williams says it’s “really special for us to be back” since this is the show’s first U.S. stop since restarting in January.

When COVID-19 prompted a suspension of all Cirque du Soleil shows in March 2020, acrobat Mathieu Hubener was with Kurios in Australia. Throughout the show’s two-year hiatus, he continued training, but he also pursued some personal activities and goals and performed for a TV show with some friends.

A 12-year veteran of Cirque du Soleil who has been part of Kurios since it launched in 2014, Hubener had to readjust to the show’s rhythm after such a long break, but he’s glad to be back with the touring group, which he describes as “a big family.”

“It’s nice to be back in the States,” he said. “The audience is always great in the United States…I just hope they’re going to like it, like they liked it last time, because it was a pretty great audience last time we came here.”

Following a Victorian-era inventor who travels into a hidden world that brings his curios to life, the 120-minute Kurios features contortionists, balancing acts, live music and plenty of acrobatics, including the signature “acro-net” that Hubener helped create — essentially a giant trampoline that sends performers up to 40 feet in the air.

“We need the help of everyone to make it work, and if you see the show, you would see it’s…like seven grown-up adults having fun like kids on the net,” Hubener said.

Because of its fantastical story, Kurios blurs the line between costumes and props. Its nine-person wardrobe team includes shoe, costume, and hair and makeup specialists as well as two people hired locally in each city to assist with laundry, ironing, and other preparations each morning.

Mar Gonzalez was fresh out of college when Cirque du Soleil hired her seven years ago as one of those local “morning people.” She says she “fell in love with the lifestyle” and being able to work closely with the artists.

Now, she serves as head of wardrobe for Kurios and oversees alterations, repairs and maintenance of every wig and piece of clothing worn by the performers, all of them custom made at the circus’ main office in Montreal.

After working on a different show for Cirque du Soleil last year, Gonzalez says she “was very excited” to join Kurios when it kicked off its current tour in Toronto in April.

“Everybody was so excited to have a job back, to be back on tour, back on the road, to see everybody again, so it’s been really, really positive energy and a learning curve as well,” Gonzalez said. “This is the first time our team works together, so it’s a constant learning curve, but it’s a lot of fun.”

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Beyond/Hello is opening a new medical cannabis dispensary along Richmond Highway (staff photo by Matt Blitz)

Fairfax County’s first medical cannabis dispensary is opening today (Wednesday) in Huntington.

Beyond/Hello will begin serving patients at 10 a.m. at 5902 Richmond Highway. The company obtained needed approvals from the Virginia Board of Pharmacy and is opening within its expected time frame.

There will be an official ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by local lawmakers on Aug. 4, a company spokesperson told FFXnow.

It will be the first medical cannabis dispensary in the county, though Beyond/Hello already has two Northern Virginia locations in Manassas and Sterling.

The company will also open a store in Fairfax City at 10521 Fairfax Blvd, likely in September. Another one in Arlington is due later this year, and there are plans for a Woodbridge dispensary in 2023.

Beyond/Hello is owned by Flordia-based Jushi and is one of four companies currently permitted to sell cannabis in Virginia. The company is legally allowed to operate six dispensaries in Northern Virginia.

The Huntington dispensary moved into the former home of Great American Steak & Buffet Company, which appears to have closed in 2020. The store is 9,600 square feet and has more than 50 parking spots.

It’s also just south of Alexandria, as Jushi CEO Jim Cacioppo highlighted in a press release:

We’re thrilled to open up our new dispensary in Alexandria — a town famous for its nationally recognized landmarks, rich history, vibrant arts, pristine waterfront and charming restaurants and boutiques. Beyond Hello Alexandria captures the best of our thinking and combines our digital and physical retail experiences with the flexibility and convenience of our express checkout services. In addition, Beyond Hello Alexandria is strategically positioned near the ‘Beltway’ with easy highway access, and is conveniently located within a 15-minute drive to approximately 400,000 people.

While retail sales of cannabis remain illegal in Virginia, the medical cannabis industry is expected to explode in the coming months after a new state law went into effect July 1, removing the need for patients to register with the Commonwealth. Now, patients just need a certification from a licensed medical practitioner to make a purchase.

Already, Beyond/Hello officials say they are seeing a significant increase in patient sign-ups in July compared to last month.

“Since the patient registration process requirement has been removed, the Company has seen a 2.3x increase in patient sign-ups in the first three weeks of July as compared to the entire month of June,” the press release said.

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The fast-casual Indian eatery Rasa will open its Mosaic District location on July 30 (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

A new fast-casual Indian restaurant has arrived at the Mosaic District, filling a gap left in the Merrifield neighborhood’s dining options by Choolaah’s departure.

Rasa, a small but growing chain started in D.C. by two friends, will fully open its first Fairfax County location to customers this Saturday (July 30). Details about the grand opening will be forthcoming, the business said in an Instagram post on Friday (July 22).

“This will be our first suburban location, and we are so excited to be able to share our cuisine and culture with folks in Fairfax,” Rasa co-founder Sahil Rahman said. “Whether it’s your first time trying Indian food or you grew up in a South Asian household, we hope to be a place where guests can either experience a new culture or celebrate their own, while enjoying delicious food and drinks at an accessible price point in a welcoming and cozy environment.”

Located right next to Target at 2905 District Avenue, Suite 160, Rasa is 1,800 square feet in size with 27 seats, along with four outdoor tables that can accommodate eight people.

The restauranta will serve rice and salad bowls with both chef-prepared and do-it-yourself options. Drinks include juice and mango lassi as well as beer, wine, and cocktails.

The Mosaic location will also be the company’s first to feature a kids’ menu, a move that reflects the area’s “family-centric” environment and is intended “to encourage cultural and culinary exploration across all ages,” according to a Rasa spokesperson.

Rahman says Rasa “crafted a menu that is for everyone.” All of the meat is Halal, vegan options are plentiful, and since chef K.N. Vinod is from Kerala, flavors from southern India are represented as well as north Indian dishes like chicken tikka that are more common in the D.C. area.

Founded by Rahman and his childhood best friend, Rahul Vinod, Rasa opened its first location in 2017 near D.C.’s Navy Yard, just a block away from Nationals Park. The business expanded to Mount Vernon Triangle in 2020 and Arlington’s Crystal City last summer.

Rahman says he and Vinod “have always had a fondness” for the Fairfax area, ever since Bombay Bistro — the restaurant started by their fathers, K.N. Vinod and Surfy Rahman, in Rockville, Maryland — expanded to Fairfax City in 1995.

“It’s very exciting to be able to get back out this way,” Rahman said. “At Mosaic, EDENS has developed a unique, vibrant, and thriving community, and we’re looking forward to joining such a diverse and lively place.”

Rasa hasn’t shared any specific expansion plans, but Rahman says the team hopes “to continue growing in the region and beyond.” The company has been “actively seeking” new locations in the hopes of doubling its existing footprint, Bisnow reported in March.

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Here’s a look at some of the open houses taking place in Fairfax County this weekend:

  • 6831 Churchill Road, McLean
    6 BR/6.5 BA Single-family home
    Noteworthy: Screened porch, butler’s pantry, deck
    Listed: $3,100,000
    Open: Sunday, 2-4 p.m. (Mansoora Dar – Keller Williams Realty)
  • 1351 Blairstone Drive, Vienna
    8 BR/7.5 BA Single-family home
    Noteworthy: Four car garage, two-sided fireplace, finished lower level
    Listed: $2,699,000
    Open: Sunday, 1-3 p.m. (Fouad Talout – Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc)
  • 6504 Roosevelt Street, Falls Church
    6 BR/6 BA Single-family home
    Noteworthy: Finished walk-out lower level, home theater, hardwood floors
    Listed: $2,288,000
    Open: Sunday, 2-4 p.m. (Tony Yeh – United Realty, Inc)
  • 11856 Boscobel Court, Herndon
    5 BR/4.5 BA Single-family home
    Noteworthy: Outdoor kitchen, wine fridge, stone patio
    Listed: $1,950,000
    Open: Saturday, 12-2 p.m. (Corey Cahill – EXP Realty, LLC)
  • 15616 Jillians Forest Way, Centreville
    5 BR/5.5 BA Single-family home
    Noteworthy: All brick, deck, stone fireplace
    Listed: $1,799,990
    Open: Saturday, 12-3 p.m. (Bill Davis – Century 21 New Millennium)
  • 11311 Bright Pond Lane, Reston
    5 BR/4.5 BA Single-family home
    Noteworthy: Brick and wood exterior, rear deck, wine cellar
    Listed: $1,499,000
    Open: Sunday, 1-4 p.m. (John McNamara – TTR Sotheby’s International Realty)

See all Fairfax County open house listings here.

Want your open house to appear here? You can now submit sponsored listings.

11856 Boscobel Court

* Denotes sponsored listing

11856 Boscobel Court image via Google Maps

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(Updated at 4:30 p.m.) Insomnia Cookies has set up shop in Fairfax County.

Tomorrow (Saturday), the late-night bakery chain will open the doors of its new location at University Mall (10669 Braddock Road, Suite D-7) with a 13-hour grand opening event — and yes, there will be free cookies.

Throughout the grand opening, which will last from noon until 1 a.m., customers will be granted one free “classic” cookie with no purchase required. Additional free cookies and other giveaways will also be available to those who participate in a “Sink a Shot” milk pong challenge, according to a press release.

As previously reported, this is Insomnia Cookies’ first bakery in the Fairfax area, though it has six locations elsewhere in Virginia.

“We’re so excited to be joining the Fairfax community,” Insomnia Cookies Chief Marketing Officer Tom Carusona said. “This new location near George Mason will allow us to deliver warm cookies to both students on campus nearby as well as reach new Insomniacs throughout Northern Virginia.”

Headquartered in Philadelphia and New York, the business was founded in 2003 by Seth Berkowitz, who was a University of Pennsylvania student at the time and came up with the concept in his dorm room. It now has more than 220 locations across the country.

Menus vary across locations. The Fairfax bakery’s cookie line-up features “classic” flavors, including gluten-free chocolate chip, vegan birthday cake, and snickerdoodle, as well as “deluxe” flavors, such as s’mores and chocolate peanut butter cup.

The store also sells brownies, ice cream, ice cream sandwiches and cakes.

After the grand opening, operating hours will be:

  • Monday to Wednesday: 11 a.m.-midnight
  • Thursday and Friday: 11 a.m.-1 a.m.
  • Saturday: noon-1 a.m.
  • Sunday: noon-midnight

In addition to its brick-and-mortar stores, Insomnia Cookies ships cookies nationwide and offers deliveries, including late at night.

Per the press release, the Fairfax bakery will deliver to George Mason University, Fairfax City and other nearby parts of the county, including Centreville, Chantilly, Springfield, Lake Ridge, and Vienna. Delivery hours go until midnight or 1 a.m., depending on the day, according to the website.

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A fast-casual Indian restaurant is now dishing out briyani, dosa wraps and more at Tysons Corner Center.

Chopathi India Kitchen quietly opened next to Chipotle on the Nordstrom side of the mall earlier this month after a build-out that took over a year, according to county permits.

The restaurant will get an official grand opening on Monday (July 25), but the soft opening has been a useful transition period, as Chopathi finishes hiring and training employees, says Robert Salzedo, one of the business’ partners.

“Customers give feedback, I ask questions, anything we can improve. I ask how was the food,” Salzedo told FFXnow. “If something’s wrong, we fix it, so the execution’s properly done when we say we’re open to the public.”

This is the sixth location for Chopathi, which launched in 2013 with a stall in the Dulles Town Center food court that has since closed. Loudoun County still has a standalone restaurant in Ashburn, and the business has expanded to Maryland, opening sites in Hanover and Gaithersburg.

Chopathi made its first foray into Fairfax County in 2019 via Chantilly’s Sully Plaza before setting its sights on Tysons. As the D.C. area’s biggest mall, Tysons Corner Center is the “crème of the crème” for restaurants, drawing visitors from across the region and even the world, Salzedo says.

The mall announced that it had added Chopathi as a tenant in June 2021.

In addition to mix-and-match rice bowls and wraps, the menu features briyani bowls, curries, and dosa wraps, a kind of crepe that can be filled with chicken, lamb, fish or paneer and dipped in sauce. There are also desserts and a variety of meat and vegetarian appetizers.

Salzedo says many of the ingredients are imported in bulk from India. The food is stored and cooked at Chopathi’s central kitchen in Chantilly.

“[The owner] is very passionate about the food,” Salzedo said. “…The sauces are sauces you can’t get anywhere. The sauces are what make the flavor, as you can tell, and that sets it apart…the specific spices that he imports that I don’t even know.”

Chopathi has no immediate plans to add other locations, since the business team’s focus for now is on ensuring the Tysons restaurant is successful. Calling word-of-mouth buzz “the best advertising,” Salzedo says it usually takes about a year to tell whether a new location will stick.

“The plan is to be successful,” he said. “We have to execute the perfect meal.”

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Tysons has a new hangout option for those looking to spend a summer day chatting over a cup of coffee.

Last week, East West Restaurant opened its second cafe at 1992 Chain Bridge Road, the former home of the Italian Da Domenico, which closed in November 2020 after 39 years of business.

Despite its easily missed location on a service road next to the westbound Route 123 ramp onto Route 7, the Turkish cafe had a good first week in Tysons, manager Osman Agba told FFXnow. Many patrons were Muslims celebrating Eid al-Adha, the annual festival that fell between July 9 and 13 this year.

“This weekend is very busy,” Agba said on Saturday (July 15). “It’s the first time coming for some, and it’s very busy now. I like it.”

Agba is working on East West with his brother, owner Mehmet Coskun, who opened the other existing location in Clarendon in December 2019. The business originally launched as Central Coffee Bar in Rosslyn in 2017, though that location has closed.

Plans for a Tysons venue have been in the works since 2019, but no specific location had been identified at that time.

Agba says East West was drawn to Tysons for the area’s sizable Arabic community.

In addition to serving coffee and tea, the cafe specializes in Turkish breakfast, including an omelette with soujuk — a type of spicy, fermented sausage — and kavurmali yumurta, a dish of braised beef and eggs. It also offers sandwiches and burgers, wraps, pastries, salads, and dinner entrees like lamb chops and köfte, or Turkish meatballs.

On top of that, East West will venture into new territory this fall with the addition of a hookah bar in the building’s basement. That is expected to open in September or October, Agba says.

The business hopes to expand to more sites in the future, but the search for new locations won’t start immediately.

“Maybe next year, we’re going to look somewhere, Alexandria, Georgetown,” Agba said. “We will see.”

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The family-run dessert shop Messy Treatz opened at Fair Oaks Mall over the weekend (via Brittany Lacy)

A dessert shop that promises to serve up messy, gooey and sticky treats has officially opened in Fair Oaks Mall.

Messy Treatz opened over the weekend, bringing an assortment of “Messy jars,” “Messy cupcakes” and drinks to the space formerly occupied by Godiva Chocolatier at 11847U Fair Oaks Mall.

But unlike the huge conglomerate that called the space home a few months ago, Messy Treatz is a woman-owned, family-run business run by Brittany Lacy and her two daughters.

“We are hoping to bring the ooey, gooey, sticky, chewy experience to the area. We make all our cupcakes from scratch and with a lot of love. With unique flavors and some of the moistest cupcakes around,” Lacy told FFXnow by email.

The venture started off as a fun way for lacy to spend time with her young daughters by cultivating a love of baking and eating desserts.

Messy Treats was founded in 2017 and opened at the mall on Saturday, July 9.

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Here’s a look at some of the open houses taking place in Fairfax County this weekend:

  • 6638 Langdon Court, McLean
    6 BR/6.5 BA Single-family home
    Noteworthy: Double sided fireplace, walk-up basement, deck
    Listed: $3,150,000
    Open: Sunday, 2-4 p.m. (Mansoora Dar – Keller Williams Realty)
  • 11491 Stuart Mill Road, Oakton
    4 BR/4.5 BA Single-family home
    Noteworthy: Home theatre, marble kitchen island, pizza oven
    Listed: $2,395,000
    Open: Saturday, 1-4 p.m. (Karl Lotspeich – Keller Williams Realty)
  • 3141 Trenholm Drive, Oakton
    5 BR/5.5 BA Single-family home
    Noteworthy: Outdoor bar, hot tub, finished basement
    Listed: $2,039,000
    Open: Sunday, 2-4 p.m. (Jeannine Garcia – KW Metro Center)
  • 421 Cynthia Lane NE, Vienna
    6 BR/4.5 BA Single-family home
    Noteworthy: Custom built rock wall, electric car charging station, stone patio
    Listed: $1,899,900
    Open: Sunday, 2-4 p.m. (Mary Copeland – Compass)
  • 1480 Waterfront Road, Reston
    5 BR/4.5 BA Single-family home
    Noteworthy: Waterfront views, gas fireplace, slate patio
    Listed: $1,650,000
    Open: Sunday,12-3 p.m. (Alexis Norton – Coldwell Banker Realty)
  • 3209 Upper Wynnewood Place, Herndon
    4 BR/4.5 BA Single-family home
    Noteworthy: In-ground pool, renovated kitchen, wet bar
    Listed: $1,399,000
    Open: Sunday, 1-3 p.m. (Casey Samson – Samson Properties)

See all Fairfax County open house listings here.

Want your open house to appear here? You can now submit sponsored listings.

421 Cynthia Lane NE

* Denotes sponsored listing

421 Cynthia Lane NE image via Google Maps

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Tysons Biergarten, left, and RollBar, right, operate out of shipping containers inside a tent at Shipgarten in Scotts Run (courtesy of Shipgarten/Instagram)

(Updated at 8:55 a.m. on 7/15/2022) After spending weeks perfecting various food and drink offerings, Shipgarten is ready to formally introduce its dining-in-shipping-containers concept to Tysons.

Launched on May 26 with its Tysons Biergarten revival, the Scotts Run pop-up will celebrate the completed rollout of its four restaurants and five bars with a three-day grand opening, starting at 3 p.m. tomorrow (Friday).

“We’ve been doing a soft opening for the past few weeks, making sure everything is perfect, especially the food, and things are looking very, very bright,” said Matt Rofougaran, managing partner for Creative Bar Concepts, which also developed Hops N Shine in Alexandria.

The festivities at 7581 Colshire Drive will include live music and local DJs, a moon bounce, face painting, various games and contests, a UFC Fight Night viewing, a ceremonial keg tapping, and at 3 p.m. on Saturday (July 16), a ribbon-cutting led by Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay.

“I am thrilled to be attending the ribbon-cutting for the ShipGarten pop-up,” McKay said in a statement to FFXnow. “This is exactly the kind of innovative use of urban open space that not only creates jobs but is fun, unique, and responsive to what the community wants. I am looking forward to joining the founding team for a beer and perhaps a curry wurst or taco!”

Concluding with an adults-only stein hoisting competition at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, the full schedule of events can be found on the grand opening weekend’s Eventbrite page.

Since late May, Shipgarten has unveiled a different shipping container each week. The biergarten, which features German beer and cuisine, was followed by the Asian fusion restaurant RollBär in early June and the fast-casual Persian eatery, Salamati Grille.

The final concept, Waffles and Tacos, opened about 10 days ago. As suggested by its name, the restaurant features customizable Belgian waffles and street tacos, along with American craft beer, a whiskey bar, and a distiller bar.

Boasting three 2,500-square-foot tents and what it says is the largest outdoor patio in the D.C. area, Shipgarten used the prolonged soft opening to ensure the staff was fully trained and refine the food and drink menus, Rofougaran says.

In all, Shipgarten has more than 100 beer options and over 60 types of bourbon, whiskey and tequila, according to a press release. Supplementing the bars and restaurants are a dog park, a kids’ playground, TVs and a 24-foot-wide projector screen, and outdoor games, including a giant Jenga and water pong.

“It’s just a big theme park in the heart of Tysons,” Rofougaran said.

After the grand opening weekend, Shipgarten will begin its regular operating hours of 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., seven days a week.

Photo courtesy of Shipgarten/Instagram

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