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Bon Tea House in Centreville (via Google Maps)

One Centreville cafe is offering something sweeter than just desserts: community.

Bôn Tea House (5718 Pickwick Road) launched a new three-part, pop-up Summer Market series this past June in hopes of bringing together the local community.

On the last Sunday of June, July and August, the small tea shop transforms into a bustling community hub, where customers can purchase an array of handcrafted items from local vendors in a monthly market-style event. Offerings include, but are not limited to, apparel, jewelry, soaps and baked goods.

“Summer market is a place where people can come and meet and support local vendors,” co-owner Danny Bae said. “We do our best to only invite or accept vendors that are in the NOVA area and who are not these major businesses, so a lot of people who don’t have a platform, a store or anything like that…they need a place to be able to advertise and sell and get their name out there.”

Danny, who started Bôn Tea House with his wife Diana and brother in 2021, says the market has grown significantly from their initial launch on June 25 to their most recent market on Sunday, July 30, despite how new and limited-edition the series is.

“After the June market, a lot of vendors reached out to us saying, ‘Can we be a part of it? How do I be a part of this?'” Danny said. “So, I think there was a lot of anticipation for the July one, so that July one was actually the biggest one in terms of traffic flow.”

Danny hinted that the upcoming market on Sunday, Aug. 27 may be the last one for the foreseeable future. Though grateful for the success of the series, he noted that the colder weather brings more complications, so their next event will likely be a one-day holiday market in the late fall or early winter, rather than a recurring series.

“We’ve had several vendors where it was their first time ever selling something like in person, and they were all very surprised at the turnout and how well it went,” Danny said. “…We were very grateful and thankful that a lot of vendors showed up, and they did their best to showcase their merchandise. It was just a really good experience for us as the host and all the vendors as well.”

According to the Baes, the vendors appreciated the opportunity to sell their wares and meet other business owners in their position.

“I think it’s great that they’re able to…see that people do enjoy what they have to offer and gain that support through the community,” Diana said.

Building community is Bôn Tea House’s founding mission, the Baes say. When closed on Mondays, they usually let locals rent the space for private events, and they are rolling out new bonding events this month, like the game nights that will be held on Tuesday (Aug. 14) and Monday, Aug. 28.

“We really wanted to create that community aspect and have people come, whether they just grab ice cream and go, or whether they’re in there for a conversation, that they could really feel like this is a place that they could relax and enjoy and come back to,” Diana said. “…So, we’re always looking for ways where we could use our space and use our platform to share our passion and what we think the community might need or want.”

Bôn Tea House began out of the Baes’ living room before they transitioned to a small window in D.C., where they became “the first ones” to serve specialty matcha desserts, Diana says.

As they began to receive outpourings of support from the local community, the Baes knew they had something special and eventually sought an official storefront. Coming from a Korean background, the Baes settled on Centreville for its strong Korean community.

Along with tea, Bôn Tea House specializes in ice cream, with matcha as its best-seller. The cafe prides itself on using fresh, in-house ingredients and taking the “time and effort to really try and bring out the flavors,” Danny says.

Now, the Baes are focused on forming a tight-knit community in Centreville, though many of their loyal D.C. followers still yearn for them to return to the nation’s capital, Diana says.

“We’re just trying to be this local mom-and-pop shop where people can come and gather and have a nice meeting with their friends and family and just enjoy their tea,” Danny said. “We wanted to showcase the Asian American culture, whether it’s our styling through our merch or through the flavors of our ice cream and teas.”

Photo via Google Maps

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Veloce Deli celebrated its soft opening in Reston on Monday (Photo courtesy Veloce Deli)

A new family-owned sandwich spot has officially opened in Reston.

Veloce Deli celebrated its soft opening at 1900 Campus Commons Drive in Suite 120 yesterday (Monday).

Currently, opening hours are from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 7 am to 7 p.m. Thursday through Friday, and 9 a.m. through 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Veloce Deli’s creative director, Neha Kapoor, co-owns the business with her parents, who have been in the deli business since the 1990s, she said.

“We chose this location as it was in a great area where we could connect with our local community,” Kapoor said. “We are a family run business and needed that connection factor. And we wanted to create a new hotspot in an up and coming area.”

The deli previously operated out of an office building at 205 Van Buren Street in Herndon before relocating to Reston.

Items on the menu include turkey club sandwiches, spicy Sicilican subs, coffee, and egg salad subs.

Veloce Deli is in the Campus Commons office park near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a plan in 2019 to redevelop the site with 1.3 million square feet of new residential and office space, though the two existing buildings will remain.

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Centreville shoppers may have experienced a bit of déjà vu stepping into the recently opened Cafe Bdan at 13814 Braddock Road.

That’s because the new Korean-Japanese fusion dessert shop is a rebranding of fan-favorite Iron Ice, which closed down for six weeks before reopening as Cafe Bdan on Saturday, July 15, according to shop owner Charlie Shin.

Cafe Bdan is still currently in its soft opening period, offering what Shin says is approximately 85% of the full menu.

In honor of the recent opening, the cafe is giving out 10% off coupons to use at Cafe Bdan or either of Shin’s other two businesses in the Old Centreville Crossing shopping center — Japanese restaurant Kazone and women’s clothing store The Style by Coco.

Cafe Bdan’s predecessor Iron Ice was best known for its Instagram-worthy dessert commonly dubbed “puffle ice cream,” consisting of scoops of ice cream nestled in a Hong Kong egg waffle.

Though customers can still order puffle ice cream at Cafe Bdan, Shin spent the temporary closure devising an expanded menu that caters to “all four seasons,” rather than serving only one specialty item.

Shin says customers have called the refreshed menu’s croffle — a mix of a croissant and a waffle — “the best in town.” He takes care to use higher-end French croissants to elevate patron’s experiences.

Croffles, a hybrid croissant-waffle dessert, sit in a glass display box at Cafe Bdan (staff photo by Vivian Hoang)

Cafe Bdan’s bingsu, or Korean snow ice, topped with a special whipped cream has similarly been a smash hit amongst customers, according to Shin.

Shin also highlighted the cafe’s new bubble tea, which he says is brewed at his home and then brought into the store, taking over three hours to make.

“It’s really good,” Shin said. “It’s more than premium — it’s triple premium.” Read More

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A former Subway in McLean will soon be filled with the tastes, scents and atmosphere of the Levant.

The owners of Dolce Vita Salon & Spa at 6829 Elm Street are expanding their presence in the office building by opening Cafe Levantine just next door, taking over a space vacated by Subway last year, according to the landlord, Marva Properties.

Located in Suite 150, the cafe will serve food from the eastern Mediterranean area, particularly Lebanon, the homeland of owners Fatima Farran and Jean-Paul Achour.

“My husband and I have a true passion for coffee,” Farran said. “It’s always been a dream of ours to open some sort of café or bed and breakfast, and we heard that the Subway next door might be leaving, so we were like, ‘Why not?'”

Though she obtained a college degree in electrical engineering, Farran told FFXnow that she loves cooking, baking and hosting. She will be running the kitchen herself, making sweets and other food from recipes passed down by her grandmother, aunts and their ancestors.

The cafe is her and Achour’s first food-related business venture, but they have accrued plenty of experience with in the retail and hospitality world with Dolce Vita, which has now been open for 20 years. The salon recently finished a renovation that added a second level, where the spa has been relocated.

“A guest is a guest. You want them to experience whatever service they’re having to the utmost capability,” Farran said.

As of the end of June, the couple had signed off on building permits for the cafe and were starting to work on construction bids, according to Farran.

With the design and furniture already prepared, the team hopes to be able to open Cafe Levantine by the end of this summer, though Farran acknowledged that construction “rarely” goes according to schedule.

The cafe will have seats inside for about 32 to 35 people, along with an outdoor patio that can seat another 20 to 25 people. It will share a wall with the salon, where patrons will be able to order food and drinks to eat while they get their hair styled.

A Great Falls resident and mother of four children, Farran hopes to create a place that feels like a true part of the McLean community, where adults and kids alike will feel comfortable spending time, whether they’re grabbing “a healthy bite to eat” while doing homework or gathering for a book club meeting.

“It’s almost an extension of our salon, because that’s what our salon is for a lot of people. That’s their home away from home,” she said. “…I love to see people. It brings me a lot of joy. It truly, truly does.”

Photo via Google Maps

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Robeks has officially opened in West Springfield (courtesy Robeks)

Robeks, a smoothie franchise, is officially open in West Springfield.

Located in Cardinal Forest Plaza (8324B Old Knee Mill Road), the location includes smoothies, juices, açaí bowls and toasts, according to the company.

It’s led by franchisees Josue Chavez and Alejandra Ponce, who also own a Robeks location in McLean.

“We are delighted to open our second Robeks location in West Springfield,” Chavez shared in a statement. “Our goal is to create a vibrant, yet welcoming environment where people can discover and enjoy the benefits of delicious and nutritious smoothies, juices and bowls. We are committed to serving our community and promoting a better-for-you lifestyle, and we look forward to becoming an integral part of the West Springfield neighborhood.”

Robeks President and CFO David Rawnsley said the opening of the Springfield location is a “testament” to the company’s “strong growth trajectory.”

“The dedication and success of franchisees like Josue Chavez and Alejandra Ponce reflect our shared vision of promoting well-being and serving as a beacon of health-conscious choices. We look forward to continuing our expansion and positively impacting more lives across the state,” Rawnsley said.

Items on the menu include açaí almond butter toast, smoothies, juices, açaí bowls, and wellness shots.

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Sharetea, a bubble tea spot, is opening soon in Herndon (via anonymous tip)

A new tea spot is opening soon in Herndon’s Worldgate Centre.

Sharetea, a franchise that specializes in tea drinks, is expected to open soon at 13043 Worldgate Drive, according to signage posted at the door.

The business kicked off in Taiwan in 1992. It currently has more than 300 locations across 13 countries.

Virginia has three locations in Fairfax, Falls Church and Chesapeake. The business didn’t immediately return a request for comment from FFXnow.

Items on the menu include a variety of milk teas, fruit tea, blended ice beverages, and tea mojitos.

It replaces 1,053-square-feet of space previously leased by Pivot Physical Therapy.

The shopping plaza — which is anchored by Worldgate Athletic Club & Spa and AMC Theaters — has one 921-square-foot vacancy, according to the property owner’s website.

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A combined drive-thru Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin Robbins is opening in Springfield (courtesy Dunkin’)

The powers of caffeine and sugar will unite this weekend for the grand opening of Springfield’s new Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin Robbins.

After a soft opening on April 3, the combined eateries are set for a more official launch at 9:30 a.m. this Saturday (May 6), promising free coffee or ice cream for a year to the first 100 customers to enter their shared doors at 6310 Backlick Road.

Winners of the giveaway will get four coupons per month for free scoops or medium-sized coffees, lasting 14 months, though they’ll only be accepted at the new location, according to a press release.

With a ribbon-cutting at 10 a.m., the opening will feature a Dunkin’ prize wheel, a balloon artist, face painting and the presence of Dunkin’s mascot “Cuppy.” A $3,000 grant from the Dunkin’ Joy in Childhood Foundation will also be presented to the Capital Area Food Bank.

“The Next Gen restaurant offers Springfield a first-hand look at Dunkin’s enhanced store experience, with a modern look that provides a fresh, friendly, vibrant, and engaging environment,” the coffee and doughnuts company said in the press release.

Dunkin’ and Baskin Robbins are both part of Dunkin’ Brands Group, which was acquired by Inspire Brands in December 2020. Inspire also owns Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings and several other fast food restaurants.

Replacing a KFC that was closed not long after getting set on fire in 2020, the paired Dunkin’ and Baskin Robbins occupy a 2,396-square-foot, drive-thru restaurant with 25 workers and seats for 18 customers.

The company describes the venue as a “next generation” experience, highlighting its modern design, energy efficiency, designated pick-up area for mobile orders and the use of “an innovative tap system” for pouring cold beverages, including a nitro-infused cold brew only available at “Next Gen” locations.

The restaurant’s operating hours are 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays.

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Shotted may be the only coffee shop in Fairfax County with a midnight rush.

Where most coffeehouses see business peak in the morning or late afternoon as patrons drop in before and after work, the Tysons Corner Center kiosk comes to life at night — particularly during Ramadan, which began this year on March 22 and will end with the holiday Eid al-Fitr on Thursday (April 20).

Shotted is always night-owl-friendly, typically operating until 11 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday and until midnight on Friday and Saturday. But it extends those hours to 1 a.m. during the Muslim holy month, accommodating community members looking to break their daytime fast with caffeine and desserts.

The move has paid off, drawing 200 to 300 people after 8 p.m. on weekdays and as many as 1,000 customers on weekends, according to Shotted founder and CEO Bandar Alhenaki.

On TikTok, videos showing late-night crowds assembled at the shop and lines stretching down the hall past Coastal Flats have gone viral.

“There’s not many ‘Islamic’ or Muslim coffee shops, and when this one came out…it went pretty viral,” one customer, Rabia Khalid, told FFXnow. “And if you come here around 10, it’s packed, like there’s a line to the back. It’s like Black Friday over here.”

Shotted at Tysons Corner Center draws a late-night crowd during Ramadan (via yasminehassan/TikTok)

Rabia and her sister, Remsha, say Shotted is usually a “midnight move” with friends since prayers during Ramadan can last until 11 p.m., but when they visited around 8:30 p.m. this past Tuesday (April 11), a consistent line was already forming.

Some patrons were first-timers, like one group who said they’d learned about Shotted on TikTok, while others are regulars — all of them drawn as much by the buzz of community as the coffee.

“It’s about getting the community together, like I get to see people I haven’t seen in years at Shotted,” Rabia said. “So, it’s become a little tradition.”

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the drinks are “high quality,” in the words of one patron.

“I don’t think it has to do with anything about being a religious thing,” another man said when asked about Shotted’s appeal. “I think they just offer good coffee, nice pastries. I feel like it’s comparable or even better than Starbucks.” Read More

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A grand opening for the cereal bar is slated for Saturday at noon (courtesy Day and Night Cereal Bar/Instagram)

(Updated at 10:50 a.m. on 3/18/2023) Breakfast lovers can experience a new kind of cereal bar at Springfield Town Center this weekend.

Day & Night Exotic Cereal Bar, a business that offers custom-made cereal products, will open a 600-square-foot restaurant on Saturday (March 18) at the town center. The grand opening event from noon to 4 p.m. will feature a DJ and giveaways.

The business sells products like a classic bowl of cereal, cereal waffles, and cereal shakes. A soft opening is planned for a selected audience tomorrow (Thursday).

“We have always wanted to invest in something radical, fun, cool, and innovative – it was as if Day and Night Exotic Cereal Bar was calling our name,” franchise co-owner Brandi Forte said. “We are thrilled about opening at Springfield Town Center, and we look forward to delivering quality food and a nostalgic experience with a personal touch to our new customers.”

The Springfield location is managed by Forte and Noel Warner, who are from the area.

According to a press release, Forte is a bestselling author and businessperson in the District. She is also the CEO of Amala Lives Institute, a vocational school for adults. Warner is the CEO of FiveStar Powerwashing and Cleaning Services. The duo have been business partners since 2016.

The cereal bar got its start in 2020 in Los Angeles during the peak of the pandemic. There are now 10 franchises nationwide.

The Springfield store is located at the lower level of the mall (6500 Franconia Parkway) near Target. The business hours are 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday through Saturday, and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. on Sunday.

The Springfield location is the second in the D.C. area, with the first being in Clarksville, Maryland.

Photo courtesy Day & Night Cereal Bar/Instagram

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Compass Coffee has a location in Fairfax City’s Point 50 shopping center (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

(Updated at 1:45 p.m. on 3/2/2023) Compass Coffee is planning to open a second drive-thru location, and it will be right in Fairfax County.

The growing regional coffee business will add a full-service, drive-thru cafe at 7393 Lee Highway, a standalone building that previously housed a BB&T bank in the Shops at West Falls Church, confirmed Joel Shetterly, the vice president of marketing.

“We have something for every coffee lover — from delicious seasonal drink flavors to year-round classics like our nitro cold brew,” Shetterly said by email. “We also serve a delicious range of house-made breakfast sandwiches and pastries for folks who want to pick up breakfast on the go.”

A commercial alterations permit application filed with Fairfax County in mid-February indicates that the shop won’t have any on-site food preparation work or cooking.

The space will be about 3,000 square feet “with ample seating,” Shetterly told FFXnow.

Based in D.C., Compass Coffee launched in 2014 and now operates 16 shops across the region, including one that opened in Fairfax City on March 21, 2022. The company’s first drive-thru location arrived on Langston Blvd in Arlington this past October.

Compass Coffee is “shooting” for a summer opening for its West Falls Church location, which furthers the company’s goal of expanding in the area after getting “fantastic feedback” on its cafe at 10400 Fairfax Blvd, Shetterly said.

“We are thrilled to continue growing in the region,” he said.

Managed by EDENS, the developer that’s also behind the Mosaic District in Merrifield, Shops at West Falls is anchored by a Safeway grocery store. Other food service tenants include Subway, Fava Pot, The Original Pancake House and Vocelli Pizza.

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