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The cafe opened its Fairfax location on Jan. 18 (courtesy Milk & Honey Cafe)

A regional restaurant brand is opening another location in Virginia.

Milk & Honey Cafe, a Maryland-based company that was founded in 2016, opened on Jan. 18 at 9518 Main Street in Fairfax City.

The brunch-style restaurant has a total of 38 seats, a spokesperson for the company told FFXnow in a statement.

The cafe describes itself as a “New Orleans themed” Southern brunch restaurant. It’s part of Thompson Hospitality, a restaurant group whose other brands include Big Buns Damn Good Burgers, Matchbox Pizza and Makers Union in Reston.

Items on the menu include shrimp grits, deep-fried salmon hash, a crab cake sandwich, Belgian waffles, strawberry shortcake biscuits, and bread pudding.

The Fairfax location is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The business has other locations in Ashburn, Belle Haven, Maryland and D.C.

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Paul French Bakery & Cafe at Tysons Galleria (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

In the future, Vienna residents will no longer have to brave Chain Bridge Road traffic to get a taste of Paul Bakery’s bread and macarons.

The 133-year-old French bakery and cafe is planning to expand right into the heart of the town in Jades Shopping Center, replacing Al Nakheel Lebanese Cafe & Market, which closed last year.

The business confirmed that it’s working to add the location to FFXnow, but the timeline for construction and a potential opening is “unknown at this point.”

An application for an interior renovation permit to turn the existing retail space at 340 Maple Avenue West into a bakery was accepted by Fairfax County on Oct. 13 and remains under review by staff.

This will be Paul’s first expansion in the D.C. area since its popular Tysons Galleria cafe opened on Jan. 14, 2013. The business also has three sites in downtown D.C. and one in Bethesda.

According to its website, Paul originated in 1889 as a small bakery run by a family of agricultural workers in Croix, France. It acquired its name in the 1950s after the owner took over a bakery-pâtisserie from the Paul family.

Known for fresh, traditionally made bread, the company now has over 620 restaurants in 34 countries. The D.C. area locations are owned and managed by Cole Hospitality, a hospitality service consultant based in Fairfax.

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Holiday shoppers have flocked over the past week to a new coffee shop in Tysons Galleria from an unexpected source.

Ralph Lauren, the fashion company known for its polo shirts, opened Ralph’s Coffee on Dec. 19, just in time to take advantage of the final Christmas shopping rush.

“I think that’s what really brought the foot traffic in the mall because of the holiday time,” store manager Danica Little told FFXnow. “Everyone’s looking, they’re seeing something new, and they want to try it, so we’re excited. It was perfect timing for us.”

Replacing a shuttered Starbucks, the shop is located next to Ralph Lauren’s store, which recently moved from Tysons Galleria’s third floor to the first floor near Neiman Marcus. An internal doorway allows visitors to walk back and forth between the two businesses.

This is the first Ralph’s Coffee in the D.C. area, Little confirmed. The concept began as a pop-up truck in New York City, where Ralph Lauren has its headquarters, before a brick-and-mortar location overlooking Fifth Avenue opened in 2014.

Since then, Ralph’s Coffee has expanded to four locations in New York, one in Miami and one in Chicago, along with two shops in Europe and several in Asia. Ralph Lauren is also dabbling in the food service industry with restaurants in New York City, Chicago, Italy, France and China.

According to its website, Ralph’s sells special roast, decaf and espresso blends that use coffee beans grown in Central America, South America and Asia. The beans are roasted and packaged by La Colombe, a Philadelphia-based roaster that says it uses sustainable, equitable trade practices.

In addition to coffee, the menu includes hot and cold teas, hot chocolate and a variety of baked goods and pastries. The brownie got an approving shoutout from at least one TikTok foodie who visited the shop on its opening day.

While not aware of any specific plans for other locations, Little says Ralph Lauren intends to expand its coffee services. The company has other stores in the D.C. area, including in downtown D.C., Silver Spring, and Woodbridge, but Tysons Galleria is the only Fairfax County location.

Ralph’s Coffee follows the mall’s operating hours, which are typically 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sundays. Tysons Galleria’s hours are slightly different for the winter holidays until Feb. 1.

“We’ve been open for just a few days…It’s been very successful, and we’ve been really happy with all the turnout,” Little said.

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Smoothie King is now open in Vienna (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Vienna’s newest stop for smoothies celebrated its coronation yesterday.

Smoothie King is now open to customers at 258 Maple Ave East, where it replaced the furniture store Savvy Rest Natural Bedroom in the same block as Sweet Leaf Cafe.

For Shazia Zaidi, who owns the franchise with her husband, Ali Thada, Smoothie King’s opening has been a dream two decades in the making. She started working at the company as her first job after immigrating to the U.S. from Pakistan.

“I work for Smoothie King for 20 years, so this is our own franchise that I was always dreaming for,” Zaidi said. “…I really loved smoothies, and this is something you eat for purpose. It’s not like any junk food, which is not good for you. That’s why I love it.”

Started in New Orleans in 1973 and now based in Texas, Smoothie King sells coffee shakes, high-protein blends and other drinks designed to promote health and fitness.

Zaidi says the smoothies have continually evolved during her career, becoming healthier and expanding with more flavors. They use whole fruits and organic vegetables, while avoiding artifical ingredients and added sugar.

“They have vegan [smoothies], keto, a lot of different options which go with your lifestyle,” she said.

Zaidi told FFXnow that she’s excited to be able run her own business after working for “somebody else all these years.”

When the opportunity came to open their own franchise, Vienna was a natural choice to set up shop for the couple, who live about 10 minutes away in McLean.

“The town of Vienna is a diverse residential community known for its small-town fun, botanical gardens and nature, music, local dining, and rich history,” Syed Mehdi, another member of the franchise team, said by email. “Smoothie King is the perfect addition as a convenient, healthy meal option on the go for Vienna’s active residents.”

Smoothie King is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday.

The store allows contactless pickups and deliveries with online ordering available through its website and Smoothie King’s Healthy Rewards app.

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The restaurant Cafe Ile will open soon in Tysons (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

With its mix of coffee, French toast, and sushi, Cafe île (8270 Greensboro Drive) wants to be a little bit of everything rolled into one.

The eclectic menu ranges from tartine and croissants in the morning to a more Omakase-focus at night — a style of serving sushi that leaves the specifics of what’s served up to the chef.

“Normally, it’s a sushi restaurant, but we want [more of a] fusion and hybrid,” said Jin Kim, partner and media director for the restaurant.

Kim said along with open-faced sandwiches and other breakfast cuisines, the cafe will serve specialty coffee. At lunch, the vibe of the restaurant is more casual, with a focus on “regular sushi” aimed at office workers or nearby residents, but things take another turn when dinner comes along with a several-course meal.

“The first step is a simple soup, then finger food, then sushi, then five or six different levels” said Kim. “It’s a little bit high-end. It’s high-quality sushi.”

The new restaurant is set to replace the Subway at 8270 Greensboro Drive next month. Kim said the restaurant will likely have a soft opening in the middle of November with a full opening toward the end of the month.

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Like any cliff worth ascending, bringing the first indoor rock climbing gym to Tysons required perseverance, patience and a little faith in the process.

Once expected to launch in December, Vertical Rock Climbing and Fitness Center had a soft opening this weekend. After 10 months of supply chain and permitting delays, it welcomed founding members only on Saturday and Sunday (Oct. 8-9) before expanding to all patrons yesterday (Monday).

“It’s definitely exciting that we’ve been able to do this,” Ethan Ford, Vertical Rock’s operations director, told FFXnow. “It’s come a long way from the furniture store that used to be here, and we’re hoping it does bring something great to this area.”

A smaller, bouldering-focused expansion of the company’s flagship center in Manassas, Vertical Rock Tysons occupies two floors in the back of a shopping strip at 8461 Leesburg Pike anchored by Best Buy and The Container Store.

Consolidated on the top floor, the gym contains 9,000 square feet of bouldering walls with 14-inch-high safety padding on the floor as well as weights and exercise equipment. A Kilter Board with holds that light up based on a route that users can choose with an app is available for training.

The bottom floor is devoted to Basecamp Coffee Roasters, a 2,000-square-foot cafe open to both gym members and the general public. Unique to the Tysons location, the coffee shop reflects the area’s more urban environment and is intended to foster a sense of community, Vertical Rock co-owner and CEO Ian Colton previously told FFXnow’s sister site Tysons Reporter.

“Hopefully, we’ll be able to make one in Manassas,” Ford said. “Right now, this is the first one, so we are kind of hoping to bring that same community feeling we have at Manassas over here.”

After following truncated hours for its soft opening, Vertical Rock will operate from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays. A grand opening date will likely be set this week, Ford said.

The gym offers individual, family, student and military/police memberships, along with camps and youth teams.

Started in 2012, Vertical Rock is part of a wave of indoor rock climbing gyms that has already taken hold of nearby Arlington County and Alexandria City. However, this is first such facility in Fairfax County, which has been exploring ways to boost sports tourism in recent years.

“There’s gyms popping up everywhere, so being able to bring the first gym to this area is something really special,” Ford said. “I think that it’s going to make a great fit for this area.”

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The former Savvy Rest store on Maple Avenue is being renovated for Smoothie King (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Another health-focused juice bar is laying claim to territory in the Town of Vienna, joining the likes of South Block and Greenheart Juice Bar and Cafe.

The Texas-based chain Smoothie King will take over the space at 258 Maple Ave East that Savvy Rest Natural Bedroom vacated last summer after 10 years in the town.

A public relations representative for Smoothie King said the company wasn’t ready to comment on the upcoming store yet, but they confirmed that a fall coronation could be in store.

“We are working with a local operator to target a fall opening,” the spokesperson told FFXnow by email.

Started in 1973 as a home experiment by founder Steve Kuhnau, Smoothie King opened its first franchise in New Orleans. It emphasizes the nutrition of its smoothies and its use of organic vegetables and whole fruits with no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.

Though the business says it has more than 1,300 franchises worldwide, the Vienna store will only be its fourth in the Fairfax County area, joining locations in Fairfax, Fort Belvoir and Tysons.

Though no external changes have been made to the building yet, Smoothie King has obtained permits from Fairfax County to renovate the interior. It also got signs approved by the Vienna Board of Architectural Review on July 21.

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Kung Fu Tea is coming soon to Groveton (Staff photo by Matt Blitz)

A dry cleaner on the edge of Groveton is no more, leaving an empty shell for Kung Fu Tea to take over.

The bubble tea and drinks store plans to open soon at 6328 Richmond Highway, according to signage posted at the front of the door. It replaces Clean Smart, a dry cleaner.

The company did not return multiple requests for comment from FFXnow about an opening date over the last few weeks. The website simply states that it’s coming soon.

It will be located next to Wingstop, a chicken wings restaurant. 

Kung Fu Tea has more than 350 locations throughout the country, including several in Northern Virginia.  The company started in New York in 2010.

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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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Tysons’ newest eatery won’t be found in the usual malls and mixed-use developments. Instead, it has set up base in a cluster of corporate office buildings where Jones Branch Drive curves parallel to the Dulles Toll Road.

Welcomed with a ribbon cutting and prayer, the latter courtesy of Fort Foote Baptist Church Pastor Rev. Joseph Lyles, Mrs. Jo’s Petite Eats celebrated its grand opening Tuesday (June 7) on the ground floor of PenFed Credit Union’s headquarters at 7940 Jones Branch Drive.

Owned and run by U.S. Army veteran Erinn Roth, the roughly 2,800-square-foot cafe will serve as a cafeteria for the building, which also houses the consulting firm LMI, but it’s open to the general public, including other workers and residents in Tysons.

While the cafe is tucked away, integrating retail, restaurants, and other amenities with offices will help turn Tysons into a place where people can “live, work, play, and now, eat,” says David Kelley, director of national business investment for the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority.

“Tysons is becoming a place where people are actually living,” Kelley said. “So, if they can go some place and get something really good that’s walkable or close by, that helps the county out. That helps with the infrastructure of the county and for people wanting to be here.”

A native of Enterprise, Mississippi, Roth served in the Army for 24 years, including stints in Korea, Germany, and Afghanistan. She has been an avid baker for much of her life, but it wasn’t until after her mother died in 2015 that she committed to baking professionally.

Roth says she had been contemplating retiring from the military — which she eventually did in 2017 — and floated the idea of baking desserts as a way to stay busy.

“My mother was like, ‘Well, sweetie, whatever you decide to do, you’d be successful,’ and then, she passed, and…it just turned my world,” Roth told FFXnow.

Naming the business after her mother, Jo Bradford Hardaway, Roth launched Ms. Jo’s Petite Sweets out of Lorton’s Frontier Kitchen in 2016, offering cakes, cookies, and other desserts with Southern and French influences. Read More

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