The nearly 4,000-square-foot restaurant — which serves bread, pastries, desserts and French-style sandwiches — will open at Arrowbrook Centre, a mixed-use development located at 2324 Silver Arrow Way.
The Herndon location features a new “3.0 design,” which includes a mural, a company spokesperson tells FFXnow. The mural will feature local landmarks. The store will also have a patio.
The international brand has locations in Tysons and Centreville. Items on the menu include sandwiches, packaged roll cakes, salads, breads, cakes and seasonal specials.
A popular taiyaki pop-up based out of Chantilly is settling down near the Dunn Loring Metro station for its first-ever permanent shop.
After working the D.C. area’s farmers market circuit since 2021, Rice Culture will start selling the fish-shaped, Instagram-ready Japanese treats out of a brick-and-mortar store in the Shops at Avenir Place — potentially as soon as this October.
The new location at 2672D Avenir Place will offer an expanded menu with taiyaki ice cream to take advantage of the space built out by Bruster’s Real Ice Cream, which closed in 2020, Rice Culture co-founder and baker MikkiJo Bayawa says.
“We’ll be serving Asian-inspired soft-serve flavors in the taiyaki, and the taiyaki will act as the cone,” Bayawa told FFXnow. “So, that’s something that’s going to be new and exciting, a menu item that we wouldn’t have been able to serve at farmers markets.”
Rice Culture began early in the COVID-19 pandemic out of a similar craving for comfort that spurred a national frenzy of bread-baking.
A native of New Jersey, Bayawa moved to Northern Virginia about five years ago to work on Amazon’s data centers. Upon arriving, however, she found no substitute for the taiyakis hawked at the Jersey-based Japanese grocery store Mitsuwa — a void that particularly stood out once the pandemic limited her and fiancé Kevin Tsai’s travel away from their Centreville apartment.
So, she decided to fill the gap herself, buying a machine that could make up to six taiyakis at a time. Though the waffles are traditionally filled with red bean paste or vanilla custard, Bayawa experimented with different flavors, from cream cheese and Nutella to ube jam — a nod to her mixed Japanese and Filipino identity.
Within a couple of hours of posting some of her creations on Instagram, a “complete stranger” reached out and asked if they were for sale, she says.
“I just got excited and I was like, yeah, sure, I’ll deliver them to you too,” Bayawa recalled, dating that first delivery to January 2021.
From there, the operation grew quickly. After five days, Bayawa and Tsai had to cut off orders, and within a week, baking and delivering the treats became an all-day affair, prompting a search for a professional kitchen and additional staff.
In March 2021, Rice Culture moved into Chantilly’s Frontier Kitchen, and since then, it has regularly appeared at farmers markets, festivals and shopping centers throughout the D.C. region, including the FreshFarm market at Merrifield’s Mosaic District and The Block food hall in Annandale.
Rice Culture can’t claim to have introduced taiyakis to the D.C. area. That honor appears to belong to the Lai family behind the now-shuttered Vietnamese restaurant Four Sisters, who offered taiyaki ice cream at their Boba & Bites shop that opened at the Mosaic District in 2018.
However, Rice Culture remains rare in the region for specializing in the desserts and serving a wide variety of flavors, with 10 or more on rotation every month.
“I think that’s really appealing to customers in this market who want to try something new,” Bayawa said. “They want to try something different, and they want to try also something that is Instagrammable, something they can share with their friends, and our product definitely meets that market need.”
With Rice Culture now successful enough that she could leave her Amazon job, Bayawa has big ambitions for where the business could go, looking at Loudoun County, Maryland, D.C. and even the New Jersey and New York area as potential areas for expansion.
But the temporary pop-ups will be paused once the Dunn Loring store opens, possibly returning in the winter or spring depending on how long it takes to “work out the kinks.”
“We’re trying to create a recipe and a process where anyone that we hire can make the taiyakis just as delicious as me and Kevin, so that me and him can look at growing and opening multiple Rice Culture stores,” Bayawa said. “So, if that means taking a step back from the farmers market, that’s something that we might have to do.”
(Updated at 12:15 p.m.) The Utah-based bakery chain Crumbl Cookies has added Kingstowne to its ever-growing roster of Fairfax County locations.
The business will have a grand opening for its new store in Suite 100 at 5810 Kingstowne Center at 8 a.m. on Friday (Aug. 18), the Mount Vernon Springfield Chamber of Commerce announced yesterday.
During the grand opening, the store will offer free mini cookie samples to customers while supplies last, according to franchise owners Joel and Deenie Frary, who also run an Ashburn location.
“We just knew Crumbl would be perfect for this area!” the couple told FFXnow by email. “Our family spent several years living just minutes from this specific shopping center so we knew that it would be a hit! As natives of NOVA, we love this area and are excited to bring Crumbl to the community.”
Crumbl opened its first store in Logan, Utah in 2017. Emphasizing high-quality ingredients and the experience customers get from watching their treats get made in real time, founders Jason McGowan and Sawyer Hemsley — now, respectively, the CEO and chief operating officer — started the company after developing what they believe to be the “perfect” chocolate chip cookie recipe.
The chain now has more than 800 locations across the U.S., including in Reston, Vienna, Chantilly and Fair Lakes.
Deenie Frary says she and Joel both grew up in Northern Virginia and have lived in the area for more than 25 years. They first came across Crumbl Cookies while living in Texas and decided to open their own franchise after returning to Virginia, the Loudoun-Times Mirror reported when the Ashburn store opened in 2021.
“To us, Crumbl means happiness and joy and sharing all wrapped up in an extra delicious treat!” Deenie Frary said. “We have been in the ‘cookie business’ for several years now and are so excited to share our love of Crumbl with the Alexandria community. We hope you will come and visit us again and again!”
In a press release, the Mount Vernon Springfield Chamber of Commerce called the bakery “the perfect addition” to Kingstowne Towne Center, a sprawling 45-acre shopping center anchored by Giant, Safeway and a Regal movie theater.
“Customers looking for options have the advantage of Crumbl’s rotating menu inspired by popular flavors, foods, desserts of all kinds,” the chamber said.
Expanding beyond the original chocolate chip cookie, Crumbl’s menu features different flavors that rotate weekly. It also serves pies, cakes and other desserts.
The Kingstowne location will operate from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Monday through Thursday and from 8 a.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.
The company is also expected to open a store at the Bradlee Shopping Center in Alexandria this summer.
This weekend will be Voilà Pastry & Café’s last in business — at least for the immediate future.
“We would like to thank you for the love, support, and your continued loyalty to Voilà Pastry & Café,” the business said in social media messages. “We have created a sense of family with many of you, and watched your children grow (our Voila babies as we like to call them). We would also like to thank you for allowing us to be part of your special occasions. It has been an absolute pleasure being able to serve you for the last 10 years.”
Owned by pastry Chef Mekdeswork “Mimi” Altaye, Voilà opened at 5908 N. Kings Highway near the Huntington Metro station a decade ago and has since grown into a neighborhood favorite for its pastries and coffee.
In response to the closing announcement, commenters on Facebook and Instagram lamented the news while praising the bakery’s sweets, including some fond recollections of its wedding cakes.
“Chef Mimi and team, we are so sad to see you go, but look forward to seeing and supporting what’s next for you,” one Instagram commenter said. “Your delectable sweets, treats, coffee and teas are too good to go away.”
The customers and neighborhood have been great, Altaye told FFXnow, but landlord A.J. Dwoskin has become “impossible to deal with.” She said she struggled to get in touch with the company, creating an “untenable” situation where she couldn’t get anything done.
A.J. Dwoskin didn’t return a request for comment by press time. Tom Regnell, chief operating officer for the real estate company, previously told FFXnow that it was “disappointed” to see Voilà leave, but “we were unable to come to terms on a new agreement.”
Fortunately for supporters, the experience hasn’t diminished Altaye’s passion for baking. She’s currently looking for a new potential location, but this time, Voilà hopes to buy a property instead of leasing, according to a spokesperson.
Though she lives in Stafford, Altaye hopes to keep the bakery in Northern Virginia, ideally Fairfax County, Arlington or Alexandria.
“It all depends on where we could find a property that is suitable,” the spokesperson said by email. “…We learned that location is not as important if you provide consistently good product people would come to you. Hopefully by then the economy will also be doing better & labor force will not be an issue (we hope). This is a hobby that turn[ed] into business and we are very passionate about it.”
Photo courtesy Voilà Pastry & Cafe/Instagram
(Updated at 11:55 a.m. on 6/28/2023) CHIBOO Bakery, a new local gourmet French macaron business, is opening its first brick-and-mortar location this weekend in Herndon.
Chiboo will open on Friday (June 30) from 4-8 p.m. at 274 Sunset Park Drive and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday’s grand opening will feature “celebration specials, a lucky draw and a free macaron for the first 50 RSVPs,” according to the event page.
Anyone who registers now for the opening weekend can get 15% off on all purchases, the bakery says.
Chiboo owner Chelsea Tan Hweii Chiee moved to the area in 2020 and began selling her macarons in several farmers markets, including the Reston Farmers Market at Lake Anne and another market in Bethesda on Sundays.
After having trouble finding a job in finance and technology due to the pandemic, Chiee said she decided to switch to a brick-and-mortar location. Her customers also asked for more.
“My customers wanted to have their sweet fix beyond waking up early for the market and whenever — so of course I had to work to get a space to do walk-ins ASAP!” Chiee said.
She says she sources her fruit and herbs from local farmers markets and also incorporates her homemade fruit spreads in the weekly rotating menu.
“I am originally from Malaysia, and my flavors are a fusion of my upbringing and travels, and favorite local deliciousness,” she said.
The name of Chiboo is a term of endearment for her parents, derived from her name Chiee. The bakery will sell a mix of French macarons, “dainty desserts,” and other options that for custom event and gift orders, she said.
Voilà Pastry & Café near the Huntington Metro is planning to close this summer.
The well-liked neighborhood, French-inspired bakery in Huntington Station Shopping Center on N. Kings Highway is shuttering in July, a cafe employee confirmed to FFXnow.
“We decided to not renew our lease after July due to an ongoing unworkable issue with the landlord,” a restaurant spokesperson told FFXnow via email.
The leasing company and landlord A.J. Dwoskin corroborated this as well.
“We are disappointed [Voilà] is leaving,” Chief Operating Officer Tom Regnell told FFXnow. “But we were unable to come to terms on a new agreement.”
There’s already a “for lease” sign hanging above the bakery’s door.
When asked whether Voilà might move elsewhere in Fairfax County, the spokesperson said the team has “not found a suitable location yet, but will notify our customers via social media about our future plans.”
“To this day, they are her greatest inspiration. Her grandmother went to a French school in the early 1900’s; she cooked, baked, crocheted, knitted, and more, and always presented the finished product with the word ‘C’est Voila,'” it reads.
Mekdes began her career in financial management before having children and rediscovering her passion for baking. She attended L’Academie de Cuisine in Maryland prior to opening this shop.
Of the 202 reviews on Yelp, nearly 70% give the small, local bakery five stars.
“Nestled in the center of a run of the mill strip mall, this little slice of heaven is a must visit,” one reviewer said last year. “Seriously, if you blink you will miss this place, which is a shame because its a true hidden gem.”
“A magical place that transforms you from Alexandria Virginia to Paris with just one bite,” reads another from 2021.
The area around the Huntington Metro station is in the midst of a major redevelopment. A much-discussed comprehensive plan was approved late last year. The Arden — a 126-unit affordable housing development — opened earlier this year, and a mixed-use apartment building adjacent to the station called the Aventon will start leasing this year as well.
The restaurant, which has locations across the world, including one in Centreville and at The Boro in Tysons, will take up roughly 3,859 square feet of space by the third quarter of this year, according to franchisee Farooq Siddiqui.
Siddiqui said he chose Arrowbrook — a mixed-use development that also counts Ornery Beer Company Public House and Hello2India among its upcoming tenants — because of the demographics of the area. He also likes the proximity of the location to the Innovation Center Metro Station and the opportunity to tap into the Herndon and Reston market.
“There really isn’t a place like this in the area,” Siddiqui said.
The Herndon location will include a roughly 1,000-square-foot patio. The interior also includes 12-foot-tall windows and 26-foot ceilings, and it will be modeled after the latest design of the restaurant.
Paris Baguette is already actively seeking a second location in the area.
Items on the menu include sandwiches, packaged roll cakes, salads, breads, cakes and seasonal specials.
Crumbl Cookies officially lands in Fair Lakes Shopping Center on Friday (Feb. 10).
The cookie chain will open at 8 a.m. at 13075 Fair Lakes Shopping Centers. Store owners Natalie and Dovy Paukstys, and Maureen Wolthuis are behind the latest location in Fairfax County.
“As local business owners, we are looking forward to sharing delicious cookies with our neighbors,” the company wrote in a statement.
The store, which offers a weekly rotating menu of freshly baked cookies, will be open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and 8-12 a.m. on Friday and Saturdays.
Only in-person purchases will be available for the first five business days after the grand opening. Curbside pickup, catering, delivery and nationwide shipping will be available beginning Wednesday, Feb. 15.
The cookie company stated in 2017 in Utah. Since then, it has expanded to more than 500 locations across the country. The business has been rapidly expanding in Fairfax County as well, with locations that recently opened in Reston, Leesburg, Falls Church and Chantilly.
Cinnamon roll lovers can soon get their fix, as a new gourmet shop opens in Herndon.
Cinnaholic plans to open at the Village Centre at Dulles (2451 Centreville Road) this summer or autumn, according to owner Jessica Papa.
Papa says the 600-square-foot location will serve cinnamon rolls, cookie cakes, and other dairy-free and egg-free options.
“I’m hoping Cinnaholic visitors find joy and excitement while mixing and matching amongst the dozens of different icings and toppings,” Papa said.
Cinnaholic has over 70 locations across the U.S. and Canada. The Herndon location is expected to be Virginia’s first. Another location is planned Stafford.
“I’m bringing compassionate dessert options to my hometown,” Papa said, adding that most items on the menu are free of common allergens.
County permits show that alterations to the tenant space are underway.
Another Crumbl Cookies location is coming soon to Fairfax County.
The chain, which serves up a rotating selection of fresh cookies, is set to open at 5810 Kingstowne Center sometime in the spring or summer, a company spokesperson tells FFXnow.
“The store you are referring to is still under construction with an opening date not yet solidified.” said Cassidy Salibury, a spokesperson for the company.
The timeline is contingent on construction and permitting.
In the last two years, the company has opened several locations in Virginia. There are already locations in Reston, Vienna, Chantilly and Ashburn.
It was founded by two cousins in 2017. Customers can place delivery, carry-out or in-store orders. Each week, the company selects six flavors. This week’s selections are milk chocolate chip, lemon cupcake, classic peanut butter, French silk pie, caramel cake, and classic pink sugar.