Some of the D.C. region’s hottest new restaurants can be found right in Fairfax County, according to the Washington Post’s recently released spring dining guide.
Restaurants in the county claimed four spots on longtime food critic Tom Sietsema’s round-up of his favorite newcomers to the regional dining scene — more than any locality other than the District itself.
Leading the pack is Kirby Club, the eastern Mediterranean restaurant that launched in the Mosaic District late last year. The new concept from the restauranteurs behind D.C.’s Compass Rose and Maydān ranked no. 3 on Sietsema’s list, which highlights 25 eateries where he would “be happy to go on my own dollar.”
ICYMI: @tomsietsema has named Kirby Club as Number 3 in the @washingtonpost Spring Dining Guide! 🥂
Read what sets Kirby Club apart: https://t.co/pWuE9RQtlh
Tag a friend who needs to try their signature kebabs and dips this summer. 👇
📸 : @mariahmirandaphoto pic.twitter.com/5qzBC5UDiy
— Mosaic (@mosaicdistrict) May 19, 2023
Opened on Dec. 20, 2022, Kirby Club drew praise for its “always sunny” atmosphere and menu of kebabs and dips, which Sietsema says remain “luscious” even though original chef Omar Hegazi has returned to his home base in New York.
He also highlighted the restaurant’s offerings of both share-able platters and plates fit for one:
Non-sharers will rejoice over the plates for one, featuring a variety of kebabs — chicken, lamb, oyster (mushroom) — that feel like a feast given the fluffy yellow rice, sumac-spiked onions and bright salad that accompany them. “Picnic platters” are a throwback to Previte’s childhood memories of Labor Day spreads with the Kirby Club, a Lebanese social group her maternal grandparents helped found in 1933 in Akron, Ohio. My ongoing fascination is the whole roast chicken, massaged with garlic, turmeric and oil and presented on a raft of flatbread with the aforementioned rice and salad, but also crinkle-cut fries sprinkled with za’atar and a rainbow of sauces.
After initially opening with evening hours only, Kirby Club has expanded its operations to include lunch and to-go options. A second location is in the works in Clarendon.
“We love being a part of the vibrant Fairfax County community and welcoming in so many local friends and family to Kirby Club in the Mosaic District every day,” Kirby Club owner Rose Previte said. “It’s wonderful to have the Washington Post celebrating so many restaurants we know and love.”
Unranked after the top five, the guide also gives some love to Ingle Korean Steakhouse and Jiwa Singapura, signaling that Tysons may at last be breaking free of its reputation as purely an American-steak-and-business kind of town.
Ingle Korean Steakhouse at Pike 7 Plaza instantly won the Post’s food critic over with elegant decor, attentive servers, “distinctive cocktails” and “delicious dips” for its array of grilled meats and seafood.
For Jiwa Singapura, which opened on Feb. 15 in Tysons Galleria, Sietsema emphasizes the luxuriousness of the food and the setting, which he says suggests “a fine-dining lair.” He points to the salted egg shrimp, chicken rice and chili crab as menu highlights, though the “beef rendang isn’t worth the 30-minute wait.”
Moving outside the Tysons area — and price range — Sari Filipino Kusina rounds out the Fairfax County entries in the guide. Sietsema says the fast-casual Filipino restaurant in Annandale stands out for the “haunting” flavors of dishes like kare kare stew and smoked chicken wings glazed with adobo, which draw on co-owner and chef Paolo Dungca’s childhood in Manila.
Arson was behind an April 27 house fire in Annandale that cost two people and a dog their home, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department says.
Clinton James Hall, 27, was arrested yesterday (Wednesday) and charged with one count of burning or destroying a building after investigators determined that the fire in the 4900 block of Bristow Drive was “incendiary in nature.”
According to the FCFRD report, Hall started the fire on the porch of a three-story, single-family home in the Annandale Terrace neighborhood late that evening. Both residents and the dog were inside at the time.
“The dog alerted the occupants and all self-evacuated from the residence prior to fire department arrival,” the department said. “There were working smoke alarms that activated after the fire was discovered.”
Fire investigators have determined that the April 27 house fire on Bristow Dr in Annandale was incendiary in nature. The fire started on the porch. Damages as a result of the fire were approximately $461,480. https://t.co/jnJoRDo7im
— Fairfax County Fire/Rescue (@ffxfirerescue) May 3, 2023
Firefighter units were dispatched to the scene at 11:57 p.m. and arrived to find a blaze that was visible from three sides of the building. Crews “worked quickly” to extinguish the fire, and no injuries were reported.
However, the occupants and their pet were displaced, and the fire caused an estimated $461,480 in property damages.
Virginia classifies arson as a Class 3 felony if someone is inside the building when it’s burned. If convicted, Hall would face beween five and 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
The news of Hall’s arrest came the same day that a house fire farther north in Annandale took the lives of two dogs and a cat.
Multiple pets were killed in a house fire in the Broyhill Crest neighborhood of Annandale this morning.
Fairfax County firefighters were dispatched to the single-family house in the 3500 block of Marvin Street at 11:19 a.m., according to scanner traffic.
Upon arriving, firefighters found smoke issuing from a fire apparently concentrated in the house’s basement, which was difficult to access due to “hoarding conditions.”
All human occupants were able to evacuate and are safe, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department spokesperson Ashley Hildebrandt says. The exact number of people who were in the house hasn’t been confirmed yet.
However, two dogs and a cat were trapped by the fire. Annandale Today first reported that one of the dogs, a Doberman, had died, and the FCFRD later confirmed that all three pets were killed.
Units are on scene of a reported house fire in the 3500 blk of Marvin Street in the Annandale area. Units arrived on scene to find smoke showing. The fire is under control. No civilian or firefighter injuries. Sadly, two dogs and a cat did not survive. pic.twitter.com/X5kFuwO1Zh
— Fairfax County Fire/Rescue (@ffxfirerescue) May 3, 2023
Happening now. A fire on Marvin Street in Broyhill Crest in Annandale has claimed the life of the resident's Doberman. Another dog and cat are still inside. Units from the Annandale, Bailey's Crossroads, and Edsall Road fire stations are on the scene. pic.twitter.com/UFMKcbjZRD
— Annandale Today (@AnnandaleToday) May 3, 2023
Hat tip to Xavier “X” on Twitter
Updated at 11:25 a.m. — All lanes on John Marr Drive and Little River Turnpike have now reopened to traffic, police say.
Earlier: A crash on John Marr Drive in Annandale took down power lines and sent three people to the hospital this morning (Tuesday).
John Marr and Little River Turnpike are closed in both directions at the intersection for an indefinite period of time, as Dominion Energy addresses the downed wires in the street, the Fairfax County Police Department says.
Scanner traffic on Open MHz from around 8:30 a.m. indicates that a vehicle crashed into a pole. A responder from the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department observed one victim on the street median.
“We do have one of the transmission lines from the power pole that’s down, that’s hanging. Two poles in both directions will be compromised,” the responder said.
Three people have been transported to a hospital with injuries not considered life-threatening, according to the police.
“Expect delays and avoid the area if possible,” the FCPD said.
As of 9:40 a.m., no power outages in the area had been reported to Dominion Energy.
TRAFFIC ALERT: John Marr Drive at Little River Turnpike is shut down due to a crash. Wires are in the roadway and Virginia Power is responding. Three people were taken to the hospital for injuries not considered life-threatening. Expect delays and avoid the area if possible. pic.twitter.com/Zvpv6SCPqw
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) April 25, 2023
Image via Google Maps
Annandale will close out April by resurrecting its annual celebration of food, diversity and local businesses after four dormant years.
The Taste of Annandale will return next week for the first time since COVID-19 emerged, taking over Tom Davis Drive on Saturday, April 29, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The festival was last held in the fall of 2019, when it drew over 5,000 attendees, according to Annandale Today editor Ellie Ashford, a volunteer member of the Taste of Annandale Planning Committee.
“This will be the first Taste of Annandale since fall 2019,” Ashford said. “After a break due to the pandemic, it’s great to be able to be back with a big event celebrating a diverse, vibrant community.”
First held in 2015, the festival was created by the volunteer nonprofit Annandale-Mason Roundtable, which emerged out of a series of community forums on diversity organized in 2010 and 2011 by Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services with support from the police department.
After getting canceled in 2020 and 2021, Taste of Annandale was set to make its comeback last fall until organizers announced in June that they had decided to postpone the event to this spring because work conflicts limited the participation of key planning committee members.
Organizers are confident that next week’s festivities will be worth the extra wait.
“This year’s event promises to be even bigger and better,” Ashford said.
According to the website, about 14 restaurants and food trucks have signed up for the 2023 Taste of Annandale, though the deadline for vendors and sponsors was today (Thursday). Caboose Brewing Company, which has locations in Vienna and Merrifield, will host a beer garden.
The festival will also feature live music and other entertainment, activities for kids, a best-dressed pet contest, the Taste of Annandale 5K, and a chili cook-off between the Mason Police Department and the Annandale Volunteer Fire Department.
Registration for the 5K is still open. The race will begin at 9:30 a.m. at 4251 John Marr Drive.
Other highlights include raffles with a basket of locally sold items, a restored 1966 Mustang, and a shirt signed by D.C. United manager and former English soccer star Wayne Rooney as prizes. Proceeds from the Rooney shirt raffle, sponsored by the gym RAMP (7232 Columbia Pike), will go to the Annandale Volunteer Fire Department.
The overall festival will benefit local youth art programs, including a George Mason University initiative that encourages high school students to “use art and poetry to promote community engagement,” per the Taste of Annandale website.
(Updated at 3:45 p.m.) Fairfax County firefighters have descended on a forested residential neighborhood in Annandale in an effort to extinguish a two-alarm brush fire.
About a dozen units were dispatched to the 6900 block of Alpine Drive at 2:47 p.m. for a house fire, according to scanner traffic on OpenMHz.
“First units on scene reported a large volume of fire behind a house,” the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department said on Twitter. “Crews working to extinguish the fire.”
Scanner traffic indicates that the fire has been spreading outdoors without reaching any of the homes in the neighborhood, which has the Evergreen House apartments as well as single-family houses.
“Nothing’s spreading to the homes. It’s all in the yard and trees,” a responder said on the radio.
A few trees were burning 30 to 40 feet up in the air, the incident commander said, who advised firefighters to check for dead trees.
The fire department said at 3:38 p.m. that responders had most of the fire under control. No buildings were affected, and no injuries were reported, but the fire covered approximately 2 acres of land.
UPDATE: Second Alarm requested. Fire is close to homes/buildings. #FCFRD https://t.co/eBqT8A9sNF
— Fairfax County Fire/Rescue (@ffxfirerescue) April 13, 2023
UPDATE- brush fire in the 6900 block of Alpine Drive in Annandale. Bulk of fire is under control. Approximately two acres are involved. No structures impacted at this time. No reported injuries. #FCFRD pic.twitter.com/inV9PY4YBK
— Fairfax County Fire/Rescue (@ffxfirerescue) April 13, 2023
Several county-run farmers markets are returning for the spring season this month with the remainder opening soon after.
The Fairfax County Park Authority operates 10 farmers markets across the county where residents can pick up fresh veggies, fruit, meat, and other locally produced goodies.
“Our markets are strictly producer-only, meaning that all of our farmers and producers may only sell what they raise on their farms or make from scratch,” reads the county’s website.
Three farmers markets are coming back later in April.
- April 19: McCutcheon/Mount Vernon on Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to noon
- April 22: Burke on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon
- April 29: Reston on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon
The seven remaining farmers markets will open in May.
- May 3: Oak Marr on Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to noon, Wakefield on Wednesdays from 2-6 p.m.
- May 4: Annandale on Thursdays from 8 a.m. to noon, Herndon on Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
- May 5: McLean on Fridays from 8 a.m. to noon, Kingstowne on Fridays from 3-7 p.m.
- May 7: Lorton on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Each market’s webpage has a list of vendors that are set to be selling. Besides food for sale, many markets will also offer family-friendly activities, live music, and civic-engagement opportunities.
Besides the county-run farmers markets, the nonprofit FreshFarm also has a number of local markets, including three that operate year-round.
- Oakton on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Mosaic District on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Reston on Wednesdays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Two other FreshFarm markets — Springfield and Mosaic on Thursdays — were open last year, but it is not immediately clear if those will be open starting next month. FreshFarm is the area’s largest farmers market operator, and in February, its employees voted to unionize.
Work has begun on a new urban, three-quarter-acre park in downtown Annandale that’s expected to be completed later this year.
The long-planned Annandale Civic Space project is converting an underused parking lot at the former Annandale Elementary School into a “unique hybrid park.”
The site at 7200 Columbia Pike will include a civic plaza with seating, an educational garden, a playground, a lawn, and an open space that can be used as a flexible “pop-up” space for performances, community activities, and special events.
There will also be fully ADA-accessible paths that connect the park to Daniels Avenue and Columbia Pike.
“The project will transform an underutilized portion of the open space at the former Annandale Elementary School into a versatile, Americans with Disabilities Act accessible civic space for the Annandale community,” the Fairfax County Park Authority said in a press release last month. “The revitalized open space will serve as a community hub and will contribute toward the long-term vision for the Annandale Community Business Center (CBC). “
Site preparation work began last week, FCPA spokesperson Ben Boxer told FFXnow, with the removal of invasive plants and several existing, “unhealthy” trees along Daniels Avenue to accommodate grading considerations. The plants will be replaced by native trees and plantings.
Most of the construction and work will occur throughout the late spring and into the summer. That will include paving, landscaping, and utility work.
The park is expected to be completed in the fall and open late this year, per Boxer.
The project is estimated to cost about $700,000 with funding coming from a mix of sources, including grants and county funds. Construction is being overseen by the park authority.
The nonprofit Annandale Christian Community for Action (ACCA) Child Development Center located inside the old school building will remain open. The paved open space will be used as a parking lot during weekdays for the center.
The park plan was first introduced to the public five years ago, in June 2018, when a test concept at the nearby Annandale Volunteer Fire Department showed how parking lots can be transformed into public spaces. In July 2022, design plans were locked in for the county-owned site.
A number of current features are being replaced, including an old, deteriorating basketball court that’s being turned into the 1,800-square-foot lawn space.
The park will fill an important gap in the Mason District, since it’s coming to an “underserved area with very little space available to facilitate outdoor community gatherings, programs and activities,” Boxer said.
Del. Kaye Kory, who represents Annandale and Lake Barcroft, will not run for reelection this year.
The six-term lawmaker in the Virginia House of Delegates made the announcement on social media this morning (Monday). She said it was a “difficult decision” and that her husband’s health challenges played a major role in deciding not to run again.
“My husband, Ross, who’s been the best partner and my biggest fan, is facing some health challenges to which I want to devote my full attention,” Kory wrote. “I am grateful to him and to my children for making our home a team environment that empowered me to pursue public office…Now it’s my turn — I want to be there for my family.”
My husband, Ross, who’s been the best partner and my biggest fan, is facing some health challenges to which I want to devote my full attention. I am grateful to him and to my children for making our home a team environment that empowered me to pursue public office.
— Del. Kaye Kory (@KayeKory) April 3, 2023
Another possible contributing factor is redistricting pairing Kory with colleague Del. Marcus Simon in House District 13, meaning the two long-time incumbents would have had to face each other in the June Democratic primary.
Simon announced his intent to run for election in the district back in December, while Kory previously told FFXnow she hadn’t made a decision yet.
The 75-year-old Kory has served in the House of Delegates since 2010, representing the 38th District. Prior to that, she was a Fairfax County School Board member representing the Mason District for about a decade.
Kory’s decision continues the loss of experienced legislators from the Virginia General Assembly. Five Fairfax County lawmakers have now said in recent months that they will not be running for office again this year.
That includes Del. Ken Plum, Sen. Dick Saslaw, Sen. Janet Howell, and former House speaker Eileen Filler-Corn. While this does allow new candidates to emerge, the trend has concerned some, since it means that a deep sense of institutional knowledge will be departing along with the long-time officials.
The departures may also signal a shift in power for the Democratic Party away from Northern Virginia, where much of its senior leadership has been located in recent years.
While age certainly has played a part, 2021’s redistricting also been a significant factor in these announcements, pairing a number of lawmakers with colleagues in re-drawn districts.
In her Twitter thread, Kory said her proudest accomplishments include helping to rescue beagles from the Envigo research facility, passing legislation that stops cosmetic testing on dogs in Virginia, and introducing a bill that provided incarcerated women free access to menstrual supplies.
She also mentioned hosting an art show highlighting the work of artists with developmental disabilities, organizing food drives for non-profit Feed Mores, and founding the Women’s Health Care Caucus a decade ago.
As it stands now, Del. Marcus Simon is the only Democratic candidate on the ballot to represent House District 13. However, as Kory noted, a portion of her constituents are now part of District 14, which is currently represented by Del. Vivian Watts. She has announced her intent to run again this year.
“Delegate Watts is the hardest-working legislator in the House of Delegates, and I am fortunate that the vast majority of my current district’s constituents will soon be represented by Delegate Watts in District 14,” Kory wrote.
The lawmaker did not mention Del. Simon in her announcement.
Photo via Kaye Kory/Facebook
Police are still looking for a driver who fired multiple gunshots at other vehicles on the Capital Beltway (I-495) in the Annandale area on Sunday (March 19).
The shooting was preceded by “aggressive driving behaviors” by occupants of a Mercedes and a silver Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck that were traveling north on I-495 shortly after 5 p.m. that day, according to the Virginia State Police.
“Words and gestures were exchanged between the two vehicles,” the VSP said in a news release today (Friday). “As the two vehicles passed under the Route 236 overpass on I-495, the front seat passenger in the Mercedes fired multiple rounds at the Silverado. The Mercedes then continued north on I-495.”
While the Silverado wasn’t hit, a bullet struck a vehicle headed south in the I-495 Express Lanes. Police confirmed that there were no injuries.
The VSP Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Fairfax Field Office shared a photo that it believes shows the Mercedes driven by the shooter. The photo was taken from a video captured by a driver who isn’t involved in the shooting incident.
“The suspect vehicle has been identified as a matte-finish charcoal gray Mercedes E-Class AMG sedan with a sunroof and tinted windows,” police said.
The VSP hopes to “generate additional leads on the suspect vehicle,” advising anyone who potentially witnessed the shooting and “road rage behaviors,” or who might know the people involved to call 703-803-0026 or email email@example.com.
“Anonymous tips are welcome,” police said.
Virginia State Police joined with the Fairfax County Police Department last week for a “Road Shark” campaign intended to step up enforcement and educational efforts to combat aggressive driving.
The initial phase of the campaign lasted one week, from March 13-19, but it’s expected to resume three more times this year.
Image via VDOT/Twitter