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The South Korean cheese company Armored Fresh at CES 2023 in Las Vegas (via Armored Fresh Inc.)

A South Korean company that makes cheese out of almond milk hopes to ramp up its U.S. presence, starting with an expansion of its American headquarters in Tysons.

Armored Fresh has committed $125,000 to expanding its offices at 1765 Greensboro Station Place with 27 new marketing and sales employees, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced today.

The expansion will enable the company to increase its footprint in the U.S. through both online sales and brick-and-mortar stores, according to the news release.

“It is gratifying to support the growth of an international company like Armored Fresh, whose success further strengthens Virginia’s standing as a prime global business destination,” Youngkin said. “The company is advancing food technology with its vegan cheese products, and we are proud that this industry innovation is happening right here in the Commonwealth.”

According to Youngkin, Virginia beat out California, Maryland, D.C. and New York to retain Armored Fresh.

Established in 2021, the company claims to be the first in the world to commercialize almond milk-based cheeses. Its cheese is sold in cubed, sliced, shredded and spreadable forms. All products are free of cholestrol, dairy, gluten and genetically modified organisms, according to its website.

The company made its U.S. debut in September, introducing its products to 100 grocery stores in New York City. An official global launch event was held on Oct. 24, and online sales are set to begin this month.

Per Youngkin’s office, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority to keep Armored Fresh’s headquarters. The Virginia Jobs Investment Program will provide consulting services and funding to support the planned new jobs.

In a statement, Armored Fresh CEO Andrew Yu noted that Fairfax County has “a rich history” in the dairy industry. The county was once home to more dairy farms than anywhere else in Virginia, a legacy kept alive at historic sites like Frying Pan Farm Park and Historic Blenheim.

“Armored Fresh is very excited to bring great-tasting, zero-dairy cheese that everyone can enjoy,” Yu said. “…Northern Virginia and Fairfax County has a rich history in dairy and is advancing in tech innovation. We’re glad to make Fairfax County our home and be part of the vibrant business and innovation community.”

State and local officials alike praised the news: Read More

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The office building at 1676 International Drive in Tysons (courtesy Brandywine Realty Trust)

A Richmond-based commercial law firm that dates back to the post-World War II era is inching closer to Tysons Galleria.

Citing a need for more space to accommodate its growth, Hirschler officially moved its Tysons office into a 12,200-square-foot suite at 1676 International Drive just before Thanksgiving, the company announced late last month.

The new space is about 3,000 square feet larger than the firm’s previous office at 8270 Greensboro Drive, according to a spokesperson.

“We have been looking forward to this move since we began exploring this amazing space on International Drive,” said Justine Fitzgerald, managing partner of Hirschler’s Tysons office. “The enthusiasm across our Tysons team from finally inhabiting our new office is already palpable. As we continue to make ourselves at home in the upcoming weeks, we are excited about the impact that the upgraded amenities, technology and collaborative space will have for our clients.”

Hirschler said the move was needed to allow “additional space for sustained growth” of its Northern Virginia and D.C. area operations.

Founded as Hirschler and Fleischer in 1946, the company established its Tysons office in 2016 as part of a merger with the local firm Leach Travell. The office handles business, bankruptcy, real estate, and litigation cases and has now grown to 17 attorneys, the press release said.

The expansion comes as many companies opt to downsize their offices in response to the rise of remote work during the pandemic. In the third quarter of 2022, 80% of Northern Virginia’s leasing activity involved spaces smaller than 10,000 square feet, and vacancies in the region rose to 19.1%, according to an office market report by Avison Young.

In Tysons, demand remains high for “high-end” trophy office space, developers said at a “Future of Tysons” panel earlier this month. The area has added 360,000 of Class-A office space this year, behind only Crystal City in Northern Virginia, Bisnow reported.

An economic study released in March 2021 predicted that Tysons will need at least 1.9 million square feet of new office space over the next 10 years, but it also found that the pipeline for office construction exceeded projected job growth.

Given the uncertainties of the office market and Fairfax County prioritizing affordable housing, developers in the Tysons area and beyond have increasingly focused on converting or replacing commercial properties with residential or mixed-use projects.

The county is also exploring the possibility of allowing vacant commercial spaces to be used as emergency shelter for people experiencing homelessness.

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Pangiam Chairman and CEO Kevin McAleenan with Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Caren Merrick (courtesy Pangiam)

(Updated at 3:55 p.m. on 9/23/2022) A consultant that provides facial recognition technology and other identity verification services to the travel and security industries has selected Tysons as the site of its new global headquarters.

Drawn by Fairfax County’s “dynamic” workforce, Pangiam will establish a base at Valo Park (7950 Jones Branch Drive) with a $3.1 million investment, Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced this morning (Thursday).

The move will expand the business with 20,000 additional square feet of office space and 201 new jobs in the county over the next three years, according to press releases from the governor’s office and the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA).

“We chose Virginia as our headquarters for a variety of reasons,” Pangiam Chief Investment Officer Tom Plofchan said. “First, it’s home. Our leadership team is either from Virginia or built their careers and families here, so it was only right to build and try to contribute to the local community when we started Pangiam.”

Plofchan also cited Northern Virginia’s proximity to the federal government and “world-class” talent pool as factors in Pangiam’s decision.

“Our collaboration with Virginia’s universities has helped our team, just a handful of people with a vision less than three years ago, compete with some of the largest companies in the world for talent,” he said.

Founded by customs and security professionals in 2019 and acquired by a private equity firm in 2020, Pangiam develops tools that use data analytics, biometrics and artificial intelligence to boost security and detect potential threats, with airports as a top focus.

The company’s clients include the Department of Homeland Security, the Air Force, Delta and United airlines and Washington National Airport, per the FCEDA.

Pangiam has been occupying “temporary space” in Virginia during the buildout of its new headquarters, a spokesperson said.

“With the support of our partners at Stream Realty, the attention to detail and execution provided by our GC team at DWatts, and the flexibility and innovative design vision Collective Architecture brought to the equation, the new facility gives us space to grow and the work environment to attract top local and national talent back to the office,” Pangiam told FFXnow by email.

Secured through a collaboration between the county and state economic development teams, the selection of Tysons cements Fairfax County’s “strong position as a place of choice for tech industry leaders,” FCEDA President and CEO Victor Hoskins said in a statement.

“With safety always at the forefront of everyone’s minds, Fairfax County is pleased to have Pangiam’s headquarters in Fairfax County, the heart of America’s national security infrastructure,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said. “As Pangiam works to secure our ports of entry using next-generation technology, we welcome their expansion to Tysons and the hundreds of new jobs they are bringing.”

The announcement comes just a day after Youngkin shared that another tech startup, Enabled Intelligence Inc., will expand its headquarters in West Falls Church.

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The startup plans to add 117 jobs to the county (via Google Maps)

An artificial intelligence startup is expanding its headquarters in West Falls Church by investing $1.4 million and creating 117 new jobs.

Enabled Intelligence, Inc., a company that provides secure data labeling services to enable artificial intelligence operations, will add more than 10,000 square feet of space to its current offices at 6400 Arlington Blvd, just outside Seven Corners, Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced today (Wednesday).

Unclassified space is also planned.

“We are excited to expand our operations here in Virginia,” Enabled Intelligence Inc. CEO Peter Kant said. “Our Fairfax County home is close to our federal customers, and we are able to draw on the highly qualified Virginia workforce of high-tech neurodiverse professionals and military veterans.”

The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority worked with the state’s economic development partnership to secure the project for Virginia.

Here’s more from what state and county leaders had to say about the expansion:

“I am pleased to once again see a major technology innovator expanding its operations in Fairfax County,” said Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeffrey C. McKay. “This growth in AI applications from a company that also capitalizes on the tremendous workforce diversity of our County is a perfect example of how next-generation companies headquartered here are leading the way.”

“We are honored to have Enabled Intelligence expand their presence here in Fairfax County,”¬†said Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA). “The opportunities they offer to our diverse populations is extraordinary, and their efforts shine as a bright example of the true spirit of inclusion, upon which we continue to build our thriving business community.”

“Accelerating the transition of start-ups is one of my administration’s goals, and the expansion of businesses such as Enabled Intelligence in Fairfax County is key to our economic development strategy,” said¬†Governor Glenn Youngkin. “We are proud to support this homegrown Virginia business and remain committed to fostering a business climate and training a workforce that supports our corporate partners of all sizes.”

Photo via Google Maps

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Hilton is planning a major expansion of its headquarters in Tysons that will bring its workforce at the office to over 1,000 employees.

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced this morning (Thursday) that the hospitality company will make “significant upgrades” to the¬†office it has operated at 7930 Jones Branch Drive since 2009.

“Hilton will re-imagine its space to create an even more vibrant place to convene and collaborate, fully integrating technology into the office experience to meet the needs of today’s workforce,” the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA) said in a news release and announcement video.

Extending its lease for another 15 years, Hilton says it will continue to approximately 220,000 square feet at Park Place II, one of two adjacent office complexes owned by BF Saul Company by the intersection of Jones Branch Drive and Scotts Crossing Road.

While the amount of space is “roughly the same” as its current footprint, the company plans to enhance its office space and common areas, according to a Hilton spokesperson.

“We will be working closely with our Team Members over the coming months to determine what modifications we will make to create an even more vibrant place to convene and collaborate and to fully integrate technology into our office experience that accommodates today’s workforce,” the spokesperson said by email.

Over the next five years, Hilton plans to add 350 net new jobs at its headquarters, where approximately 800 workers are currently employed.

The extension of Hilton’s stay in Tysons was booked through a partnership between the FCEDA and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, according to the press release. It was also assisted by Youngkin’s approval of a $5 million Virginia Economic Development Incentive Grant and a $1 million grant from the state Development Opportunity Fund.

Hilton will be eligible to receive a $1,000 income tax credit for each new, full-time job it creates with the expansion, and the Virginia Jobs Investment Program will provide funding and services to support employee training activities.

“Northern Virginia has been Hilton’s home for more than a decade, and the region has played an instrumental role in helping us create the best, most inclusive home for our Team Members while also managing the demands of a global business,” Hilton President and CEO Chris Nassetta said in a statement. “We appreciate the continued support of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Fairfax County and the Tysons Partnership in ensuring we continue to attract strong, diverse talent to our vibrant, growing region.”

The Park Place offices will see additional change in the coming years with an overhaul of the Tysons Park Place building at 7926 Jones Branch Drive that got the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors’ approval on June 28.

State and local officials expressed excitement at the Hilton news in prepared statements: Read More

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Morning Notes

A speed limit sign for Route 123 by the Tysons Corner Metro station (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Look Out for Spotted Lanternfly — “While there are still no sightings of the spotted lanternfly in Fairfax County, it is getting closer, and experts are on the lookout for it. This summer the invasive pest was found in nearby Loudoun County…The insect feasts on more than 70 plant species, though its preferred host is the tree-of-heaven.” [DPWES]

FCPD Detective Destroyed Evidence of Rape — Fairfax County police are reviewing dozens of unsolved sexual assault cases after the victim of a rape in 1995 learned that a detective had destroyed all physical evidence in her case, including the rape kit. Police now say they believe the woman’s account and that her case was handled inappropriately, but she says the department needs “to somehow be held accountable.” [The Washington Post]

Longtime Fairfax Symphony Leader Dies — “William Hudson, a pianist and conductor who led the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra for 36 years, establishing it as a leading regional orchestra in the capital area, died July 12 at his home in Vienna, Va. He was 89. The cause was atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, said his former wife, Denise Battistone.” [The Washington Post]

Tysons Corner Center Owner Reports Retail Resurgence — “Macerich…noted that distress in the retail industry has slowed dramatically after a pandemic-spurred wave of closures in 2020…Macerich said its leasing activity in the second quarter reflected retailer demand at levels not seen since 2015.” [CNBC]

Vienna Police Share Results of Increased Traffic Enforcement¬†— “After a noticeable increase in stop sign violations, the Town of Vienna Police Department had a directed enforcement initiative during the month of June…During the Stop Sign Enforcement Campaign, officers worked a total of 469 events utilizing stationary observation of stop signs, which generated 219 stop sign violations and 74 other violations.” [Vienna Police]

Local Meal Service Company Gets New HQ — MightyMeals, an overnight meal delivery company that grew out of a Franconia restaurant in 2015, has leased a 16,000-square-foot commercial unit at 7669 Limestone Drive in Gainesville for its new corporate headquarters. The space is seven times larger than its current 2,400-square-foot cooking prep warehouse in Burke. [Washington Business Journal]

Signs for Renamed Vienna Street in Place — “Vienna officials have replaced street signs on the former Wade Hampton Drive with new ones reading ‘Liberty Lane.’ The switch was done in early July ‘with little fanfare’ (as requested by residents), town officials said in the government’s monthly newsletter.” [Sun Gazette]

Bus Planned to Upcoming Innovation Center Metro — “OmniRide is hoping to take advantage of the forthcoming 66 Outside the Beltway toll lanes, and for the first time, its passengers could be getting one-seat trips to the Dulles area by the end of the year. The transit provider is hoping to start a commuter route that would take riders from Balls Ford Road to the Innovation Center Silver Line Metro stop in December” [Inside NoVA/WTOP]

It’s Wednesday — Humid throughout the day. High of 90 and low of 71. Sunrise at 6:13 am and sunset at 8:19 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

A plane at Dulles International Airport, visible from Chantilly (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Man Arrested for Fairfax Church Thefts¬†— “On June 28, our officers responded to the Saint Mary’s of Sorrows Catholic Church in Fairfax for a man who stole a purse from a car in the parking lot. The man used stolen credit cards from the purse at several stores nearby. On July 4, the same suspect returned to the church and stole from two donation boxes. At least one stolen check was cashed from donation box.” [FCPD]

Covid Cases Close Reston Pools — “RA is currently experiencing a lifeguard shortage due an uptick in Aquatics staff testing positive for Covid-19. As a result, the Ridge Heights and Upland pools will be closed for the next five days (Friday through Tuesday).” [Reston Association/Twitter]

Silver Line Delays Not Justified, McKay Says — Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay says any further delays of Metro’s Silver Line Phase 2 project “will be met with a lot of discontent.” He’s hopeful the rail extension will open this fall but wants to be certain that a $250 million budget increase approved earlier this week will be the last needed payment. [WTOP]

Vienna Lodge Seeks Funds for Repairs — “Vienna Moose Lodge, a fraternal organization that does community service work, launched a Save the Lodge fundraising campaign this week to help remain open and continue its mission…One of the major repairs needed is a new HVAC system in the banquet hall that will cost $35,000.” [Patch]

Ribbon Cut on Reston Affordable Senior Housing — “It was warm this morning but still a great turnout for the ribbon cutting for Hunters Woods Fellowship House! Much needed $26 million renovations provide modern & safer home for many older residents.” [Walter Alcorn/Twitter]

Herndon Company Expands HQ¬†— The defense and intelligence contractor Expedition Technology has signed a lease amendment for its corporate headquarters offices “that will support its current and anticipated growth.” Lasting through June 2033, the new agreement doubles its office space from approximately 32,000 to more than 64,000 square feet and can accommodate up to 170 workers. [CityBiz]

GMU Joins Gun Violence Research Effort — “Fifteen members of a consortium of local schools will pool their resources, researchers and faculty experts in areas including maternal and child health, public policy, mental health, criminology and technology, officials said. The goal is to provide lawmakers and the public with steps they can take to drive down gun violence.” [The Washington Post]

Good Pups Visit McLean Nursing Home — “Fairfax County senior residents are getting some furry visitors at their nursing homes thanks to a group of volunteers at Pets on Wheels…The non-profit is run by volunteers that say pets can be therapeutic for senior citizens.” [ABC7]

Cool Off With Dolley Madison Library — “#Fairfax teens can beat the heat Saturday at our Dolley Madison branch. We will meet at the library before heading to McLean Central Park for a sponge war! Sponges provided. Wear clothes that can get wet (minimum shorts & shirts required).” [Fairfax County Public Library/Twitter]

Cirque du Soleil Makes Tysons Return Next Week — “Cirque du Soleil has become the gold standard of 21st century circus productions…The global brand brings ‘KURIOS: Cabinet of Curiosities’ to the Under the Big Top tent at Lerner Town Square in Tysons, Virginia from July 29 to Aug. 27.” [WTOP]

It’s Friday — Clear throughout the day. High of 90 and low of 75. Sunrise at 6:03 am and sunset at 8:30 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

A popsicle melts at Capital One Center’s The Perch in Tysons (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Dog Dies in Newington Townhouse Fire — Unattended cooking started a fire at a townhouse in the 6700 block of Red Bird Woods Court last Friday (July 15) that displaced one resident and caused approximately $93,750 in damages. County firefighters found a dog while searching the property that was given medical care but didn’t survive. [FCFRD]

Fairfax Nonprofit Helps Rescued Beagles — The Fairfax-based animal rescue group Homeward Trails is one of several shelters across the country helping the Humane Society find homes for beagles rescued from a Cumberland breeding facility. The nonprofit will place 1,500 of the dogs and has already received almost 1,000 adoption applications. [Washingtonian]

New Mental Health Crisis Hotline Available — “A new 9-8-8 crisis and support hotline is now active across the United States, including here in Fairfax County…Dialing either 9-8-8 or the existing [National Suicide Prevention Lifeline] number, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), will connect you to behavioral health care and support 24 hours a day.” [Fairfax County Government]

GW Parkway Rehab Could Bring Traffic Cameras — “WTOP has learned that an upcoming major rehabilitation of the George Washington Parkway’s northern section will lay the groundwork — literally — for live traffic cameras along a 7-mile stretch of the roadway running from the Capital Beltway to Spout Run. Ground was broken for the project on Monday.” [WTOP]

McLean Baseball Player Drafted by New York Mets — “Add one more significant achievement, and likely the best of all, in a season full of big accomplishments and recognitions for Nick Morabito. The McLean resident and 2022 graduate of Gonzaga College High School recently was chosen in the second round (75th pick overall) of the Major League Baseball draft by the New York Mets.” [Sun Gazette]

Great Falls Bank to Expand — “Three-year-old Trustar Bank in Great Falls has raised $18 million in fresh capital and intends to use the proceeds to help fund its expansion across the D.C. region. The private placement…could be a prelude to an eventual initial public offering for the $560 million-asset Trustar.” [Washington Business Journal]

Annandale Park Field Named After Advocate — “In action at their regular meeting on July 13, 2022, the Fairfax County Park Authority Board voted to name rectangular field 6 at Pine Ridge Park in honor of Wanda Rixon at the request of the Fairfax Women’s Soccer Association (FWSA)…FWSA and Rixon played an instrumental role in the effort to retain Pine Ridge Park as permanent park land.” [FCPA]

DMV Stops by Tysons Library Tomorrow — “Looking to renew your license, get the real ID and more? The DMV is visiting the Tysons-Pimmit Library. Registration is required and an appointment can be made here. Please note the DMV takes a lunch break from 12:30pm-1:30pm.” [FCPL]

It’s Thursday — Humid and partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 89 and low of 78. Sunrise at 6:02 am and sunset at 8:31 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

Relaxing in the sun at Reston Town Center (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Annandale Subway Vandalized — “A rowdy group of youths vandalized the Subway on Heritage Drive in Annandale at about 10:15 a.m. this morning [Thursday]…It will cost $2,000 or $3,000 to fix the window, [owner Emil] Ranakusuma says. He plans to file an insurance claim.” [Annandale Today]

General Assembly Dumps Football Stadium Bill — “The state legislator who has led the charge to lure the Washington Commanders to Virginia gave up the fight Thursday…State Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax) said comments that Commanders defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio made this week about the Jan. 6 insurrection were the last straw for the stadium bill.” [The Washington Post]

Tysons Financial Company to Expand HQ¬†— “Nodal Exchange, a Fairfax County-based derivatives exchange providing price, credit, and liquidity risk management solutions to participants in the North American commodities markets, will increase capacity at its headquarters located at 1921 Gallows Road in Tysons. The expansion will create 37 new jobs.” [Fairfax County EDA]

I-66 West Ramp to Close — “The ramp from I-66 West to Vienna/Fairfax/GMU Metrorail Station (Country Creek Road and Virginia Center Boulevard) is scheduled to close for about three weeks beginning on or about Monday, June 13, for continued construction of the new westbound I-66 express and general-purpose lanes…Drivers will be detoured around the closure via Route 123 (Chain Bridge Road) and I-66 East.” [VDOT]

Flooring Store Opens in Tysons — “Floor & D√©cor, an Atlanta-based retailer of hard-surface flooring, has…signed a 10-year, 11,327-square-foot lease at the Tysons Corner Retail Plaza, a three-building, 22,000-square-foot retail center, and has already opened for business.” [Commercial Observer]

Vienna Approves Covid Relief Funds for Police Cameras — “The Vienna Town Council on June 6 unanimously approved the spending of $128,600 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to replace and upgrade in-car video systems for Vienna Police Department patrol vehicles.” [Sun Gazette]

Friends of Reston Library Officially Makes Donation — “We love our library branches in Fairfax County, but Reston is especially dedicated to the Reston Regional Library! I was honored to join in the celebration last night (6/9) of the Friends of Reston Regional Library donating $200,000 to the library for its book collection.” [Supervisor Walter Alcorn/Facebook]

FCPS Appoints New Ombudsman — Fairfax County Public Schools has named Dawn Clements as its next ombudsman, effective July 1. Currently the assistant ombudsman for special education, Clements will lead the office responsible for addressing student, family, and community questions and complaints. [FCPS]

It’s Friday — Possible drizzle overnight. High of 77 and low of 60. Sunrise at 5:45 am and sunset at 8:35 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Grill Kabob is expanding its Tysons footprint beyond the mall food court.

With 17 years at Tysons Corner Center under its belt, the Afghan kabob chain is working on its first standalone location in the area at Pike 7 Plaza (8385 Leesburg Pike). An exact launch date hasn’t been set, but the restaurant will “definitely” be ready in June, co-owner Wais Shoja says.

“You have a wonderful location there,” Shoja said of Pike 7 Plaza. “You have the Metro close by, it’s a busy shopping center, you have a lot of residential, a lot of office space, so you’re pretty much getting…every kind of angle, every kind of avenue of people coming in.”

Started at Springfield Town Center — then called Springfield Mall — in 1998 by Shoja’s father and uncles, Grill Kabob has grown to 11 locations across the D.C. area, including the Tysons Corner Center stand that has been in the third-floor food court since it opened in 2005.

The Pike 7 site will be the chain’s 12th. Additional locations in Ballston and Ashburn as well as F Street in northwest D.C. will bring the total to 15 by the end of this year.

Shoja says the business has never juggled construction on this many new locations at the same time before, attributing the convergence to pandemic-related delays on the Ballston and F Street restaurants.

“That’s something new and different, but as an expanding family-owned business, there’s things you learn as the business continues to grow,” he said.

Starting with the new Tysons location, Grill Kabob is taking advantage of the major expansion to update its decor and overall aesthetic approach. Visitors can expect more mosaic tiles and “pops” of color in the furniture for a more modern design, according to Shoja.

The menu, though, will feature the same, reliable lineup of kabobs, wraps, rice bowls, and salads that the chain has been serving up for more than two decades now.

A worker in the family business since he was 13, Shoja says his whole family is proud to see how far Grill Kabob has come since that first restaurant in Springfield. While the focus continuees to be on the D.C. area, an expansion to other parts of the country isn’t out of the question.

“We’re always open to looking for new locations,” Shoja said. “If the location is right, if there’s a good opportunity, of course we would love to…We’re continually looking to grow.

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