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A&J Restaurant in Annandale (file photo)

Seven restaurants in Fairfax County are part of this year’s Washingtonian’s 100 Very Best Restaurants list.

The restaurants that earned a coveted spot include:

The highly anticipated list was published by the regional magazine for the first time since 2020. That year, nine local restaurants made the list, including several that reappeared this year: A&J, Elephant Jumps, Mama Chang, and Marib.

A&J Restaurant at 4316 Markham Street is no stranger to these types of accolades. The two-decade-old Annandale dim sum eatery was on the 2020 and 2019 lists as well, and last summer, it won a RAMMY for its brunch.

“We are excited to be included in the 100 Best again. Since we opened in the mid-90s, the Best Bargains issue featured us every year. 2019 marked the first time we were included in the 100 Best,” a restaurant spokesperson told FFXnow via email. “There are many outstanding restaurants in Fairfax County. It is great to see The Washingtonian highlight some hidden gems in the suburbs.”

Korean barbeque restaurant Honest Grill opened in 2021 in the Centreville Square Shopping Center and immediately got the attention of the magazine’s critics.

Restaurant manager Kevin Yoo told FFXnow that Honest Grill’s inclusion is “a testament to the hard work and dedication of the staff, and a reflection of the restaurant’s popularity among Washington DC foodies.”

Yoo also noted that the county has a “thriving food scene” that’s attracting a “growing local community of culinary innovators,” as evidenced by the restaurants that made this year’s list.

Aracosia, which opened about three years ago in McLean, serves Afghan cuisine and is owned by a Kabul native. Elephant Jumps on Arlington Blvd near Merrifield is regarded as one of the best Thai restaurants in the region.

The famed French establishment L’Auberge Chez Francois has been in Great Falls for close to 50 years. Springfield’s Marib is perhaps the centerpiece of a booming Yemeni food scene in Northern Virginia, while Mama Chang is one of several very popular area restaurants by former Chinese embassy chef Peter Chang.

Elsewhere, Arlington County placed four restaurants on the 2023 list. Plus, the magazine included a number of restaurants in Alexandria and Falls Church City included as well.

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A Fairfax Connector bus stopped at the Tysons Metro station (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

A bus route carrying passengers between western Fairfax County and Tysons on the new I-66 Express Lanes will take effect early next month.

Fairfax Connector will start operating its new Route 660 on Monday, Feb. 6, providing weekday, rush-hour service from the Stone Road Park & Ride in Centreville to the Tysons Metro station, the Fairfax County Department of Transportation announced Friday (Jan. 20).

The route will include stops at the Fairfax County Government Center, the Vienna Metro station and the intersection of Tysons Blvd and Westbranch Drive.

With the addition, the transit agency will eliminate Route 644, which currently connects Centreville and the Sully Government Center to the Vienna Metro on weekdays.

A couple of tweaks to service in the Reston and Herndon area will also go into effect on Saturday, Feb. 4:

  • Route 937: Coppermine-Elden-Herndon Metrorail Station — Southbound service on Route 937 will be realigned to serve Coppermine Rd, with a left turn to Frying Pan Rd. Northbound Route 937 remains unchanged.
  • Route 951: Wiehle-Reston East Metrorail Station to Innovation Center Metrorail Station — Eastbound service realigned to serve Coppermine Rd, with left turn to Frying Pan Rd. Westbound remains unchanged.

The service changes were approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in September. They’re being implemented slightly later than previously anticipated.

In a report, county staff said the changes are intended “to improve the customer experience and increase ridership through improved connectivity, on-time performance, service reliability, and effectiveness.”

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Fairfax County Police Department Capt. Rachel Levy at an October press conference on Troy Reynolds’ arrest following a school bus crash (via ABC7)

A bus driver was indicted by a grand jury yesterday (Tuesday) for allegedly driving drunk while transporting D.C. kindergarten students home from a trip to Cox Farms in Centreville.

Troy Reynolds, 48, faces nine felony charges of child endangerment and three misdemeanor charges, including a second offense of driving while intoxicated, driving with a disqualified commercial license, and driving a bus without a commercial driver’s license, Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano announced today.

“My office takes crimes that endanger children very seriously,” Descano said in the press release. “We’re grateful to our partners at the Fairfax County Police Department for their collaboration on this case.”

Reynolds was arrested on Oct. 27 after he reportedly drove a school bus carrying 44 students and four adults from Murch Elementary School off the road, hitting a rock and flattening a tire. Nine kids were injured, according to Descano’s office.

At the insistence of staff on board, the bus stopped in the 1500 block of Conference Center Drive in Chantilly, and the kids were transferred to the Fairfax Criminal Justice Academy, where two buses provided by Fairfax County Public Schools took them to D.C.

The FCPD said at the time that a test revealed that Reynolds had a blood alcohol content of .20. Officers also found that his commercial driver’s license had been revoked in Virginia due to a prior DWI and suspended in Maryland.

The case will go to trial tomorrow (Thursday), according to the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.

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Police blocked off southbound Route 29 at Centrewood Drive last night after a fatal pedestrian crash (via VDOT Northern Virginia/Twitter)

(Updated at 10:25 a.m. on 12/5/2022) A pedestrian died last night after a vehicle hit them on Route 29 (Lee Highway) in Centreville.

The crash occurred at 9:03 p.m. in the Trinity Parkway/Centrewood Drive intersection, which is outside the Centrewood Plaza and Centreville Square shopping centers.

Officers arrived at the scene before 10 p.m., shutting down southbound Lee Highway until around 1:20 a.m., according to Fairfax County Police Department tweets.

The pedestrian, 29-year-old Jacinto Chavez Ramos from Centreville, was using a crosswalk from Trinity Parkway when the driver of a 2021 Toyota Corolla going south on Lee Highway struck him, police say.

“The driver of the Toyota remained at the scene. Rescue personnel responded and pronounced Chavez Ramos deceased,” the FCPD said this afternoon. “Preliminarily, speed and alcohol do not appear to be factors for the driver in the crash. The investigation remains active.”

At Trinity Parkway, Route 29 has three travel lanes in each direction, plus right and left turn lanes. The intersection has a traffic signal, but there is only a narrow median, and the crosswalks aren’t striped.

Virginia crash data indicates there have been at least three crashes involving pedestrians at that intersection since 2010: one in 2019 and two in 2020, all resulting in injuries but none fatal. The database doesn’t include a crash on Sept. 8, 2016 where a woman suffered critical injuries, according to an NBC4 report at the time.

Nearby, a 25-year-old man died in December 2018 after being hit by a sedan while crossing Centrewood Drive near Centrewood Plaza.

After last night’s crash, Fairfax County’s pedestrian death toll for 2022 has risen to 24 people — the highest it has been in over a decade. That includes 19 deaths on county roads, almost doubling the 11 fatalities recorded by FCPD at this point in 2021.

Photo via VDOT Northern Virginia/Twitter

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A Fairfax County police car (file photo)

A man from Centreville is facing firearm and animal cruelty charges after allegedly shooting his neighbor’s dog multiple times, resulting in the animal’s death.

According to Fairfax County police, 33-year-old Roman Vyacheslavov Gorelov shot a 2-year-old yellow Labrador and beagle mix after an argument with the dog’s owner at the Stonegate Faircrest Condominiums Friday morning (Nov. 11):

Detectives from our Major Crimes Bureau preliminarily determined Gorelov exchanged words with the owner of the Labrador mix in the breezeway of the apartments. Gorelov then displayed a firearm and shot the dog. The owner picked up the dog and ran away from the breezeway. Gorelov followed the man then shot the dog several more times.

Officers responded to the scene in the 5100 block of Brittney Elyse Circle at 9:47 a.m. and found the dog’s owner next to the animal near a playground, police said.

They were told that Gorelov “returned to his nearby apartment” after the shooting, according to police.

“Officers contacted Gorelov by phone, and he surrendered to police. The dog was taken to a nearby veterinarian hospital and pronounced deceased,” the Fairfax County Police Department said.

Gorelov has been charged with animal cruelty and reckless discharge of a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school — both felonies. The Stonegate Faircrest Condos are just south of I-66 near Arrowhead Park and Colin Powell Elementary School.

Detectives located a firearm while conducting a search of Gorelov’s apartment, according to police.

Gorelov is currently in being held without bond at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center.

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A D.C. Public Schools bus driver was arrested for driving while intoxicated and child endangerment after going off-road with a bus full of 44 children and four adults.

The incident occurred as the children were returning from a trip to Cox Farms in Centreville. In a press conference last night, streamed by ABC7, Fairfax County Police Department (FCPD) Captain Rachel Levy said the driver drove off the road, hit a rock, and flattened the rear tire.

“It’s obviously a very concerning situation,” Levy said. “We expect our children to go to school and come home safe every day, to include if they’re on a field trip. So this is very concerning and I believe this is something that Dc public schools will be taking very seriously.”

Levy said staff members were eventually able to get the driver to stop in a parking lot in the 1500 block of Conference Center Drive in Chantilly.

The children were transferred to the Fairfax Criminal Justice Academy in Chantilly.

Levy said officers who responded quickly realized Reynolds was intoxicated and he later tested with a blood alcohol content of .20. The legal limit is .08.

He noted the other bus on the field trip was placed out of service for safety violations and the driver was also cited for not having a valid commercial driver’s license. A replacement bus that showed up also had a similar safety violation and the bus driver did not have a valid commercial driver’s license.

Fairfax County Public Schools eventually provided two buses that transported the students back into D.C.

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The Revolution Darts & Billiards in Centreville (via Google Maps)

(Updated at 1:50 p.m.) An adult man was severely beaten by a group of men in the parking lot of  in Centreville, police say.

Officers were dispatched to 14114 Lee Highway around 12:03 a.m. on Sunday (Oct. 16) for the reported assault.

Allegedly a patron of The Revolution Darts & Billiards, a sports bar and pool hall in the shopping center, the man suffered severe blunt force trauma from getting kicked in the head, according to scanner traffic.

“The victim was taken to the hospital and treated for injuries that were considered life-threatening,” the Fairfax County Police Department told FFXnow. “The victim’s injuries have since improved and no longer considered life-threatening.”

FCPD detectives preliminarily believe the assault was “an isolated incident,” but an investigation is still underway. No arrests have been made yet, the department said.

Alan Henney contributed to this report. Photo via Google Maps

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The I-66 Express Lanes connecting Route 29 in Gainsville to Route 28 in Centreville are set to open this weekend, ahead of schedule.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) made the announcement Friday (Sept. 2), touting that the opening of the western part of its highway widening project will help congestion on I-66 “sooner than originally planned.”

“We are pleased to join our 66 Express Lanes project partners in opening the first segment of one of Virginia’s largest megaprojects ahead of schedule,” VDOT Commissioner Stephen Brich said in the press release. “By opening the western segment of the new 66 Express Lanes early, we are able to start delivering congestion relief to I-66 travelers sooner than originally planned.”

The 9-mile stretch of road opening this weekend connects the Route 28 interchange in Centreville to Prince William County. Officials said opening that section now will help motorists get used to the new traffic patterns before the rest of the lanes open later this year.

Extending to the Capital Beltway interchange in Dunn Loring, the remaining 13 miles of express lanes are scheduled to open by December.

“This is an important step in opening the new 66 Express Lanes, allowing customers to begin to experience the benefits that the new managed lanes and project enhancements will provide, and helping to ensure a great customer experience when the full corridor opens at the end of the year,” Javier Guiterrez, CEO for the private contractor I-66 Express Mobility Partners, said.

Overall, the nearly-complete $3.7 billion project mostly centered in Fairfax County will bring widened roads with toll lanes and potentially make room for mass transit projects, while also rebuilding a number of bridges spanning the highway.

There will also be 11 miles of shared-use trails between Fairfax and Prince William counties.

Work began in late 2017 and is expected to finish in mid-2023, though the remaining express lanes will open to traffic a few months prior to that.

I-66 will still have three general traffic, toll-free lanes in the eastbound and westbound directions. The project is adding two high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes in each direction.

Buses, carpoolers, and motorcyclists will be able to use those lanes for free, while all other motorists will pay a toll based on real-time traffic conditions. The lanes expand the 10 miles of toll lanes between the Beltway and D.C. that opened in 2017.

The project also includes the construction of dedicated on- and off-ramps at Route 234/Sudley Road, Route 28, and Braddock and Walney Roads. Drivers will be able to access the Express Lanes from several general-purpose lanes, including near Route 28.

The I-66 Express Lanes construction is a result of a public-private partnership between VDOT and I-66 Express Mobility Partners, which will maintain and operate the HOT lanes under the 50-year agreement.

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Morning Notes

Why did the geese cross the park trail? (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Person Hospitalized After Vienna Shooting — “Officers are in the 8400 blk of Wesleyan St in Vienna for a shooting. Prelim info, a man shot a roommate inside the home. Victim taken to hospital w/non-life-threatening inj. Suspect is in custody.” [FCPD/Twitter]

Report: Police Declare Personnel Emergency — “Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis and senior staff declared a personnel emergency Thursday, according to a police source, which means mandatory overtime for police officers as FCPD grapples with an ongoing police officer shortage.” [ABC7]

Affordable Housing Projects Get State Funds — Virginia has awarded more than $27 million in state loans for affordable and special needs housing projects, including two in Fairfax County, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s office announced last week. The county’s recipients were the Autumn Willow project near Centreville and the One University project by George Mason University’s Fairfax campus. [Patch]

Argument Leads to Stabbing in Centreville — A 32-year-old woman from Falls Church stabbed another woman in the 5700 block of Ottawa Road last Tuesday (July 26) after they got into a dispute, Fairfax County police say. The woman was arrested and charged with malicious wounding. The victim received treatment for injuries not considered life threatening. [FCPD]

Herndon Education Company Plans Reston Move — “Stride Inc. will start the school year in drastically smaller space in a new building. The Herndon educational-technology company is slashing its local office space by more than 80% — moving out of approximately 129,000 feet of office space in Herndon and into 22,000 square feet in a new office it will officially open this fall in Reston’s Plaza America.” [Washington Business Journal]

Instagram Account Shows Maintenance Issues at McLean HS — “The bio for the account @mclean.rot on Instagram reads, ‘The best single word to define this school is ‘gross.” With 71 posts, the anonymous student owner of @mclean.rot has been posting an unvarnished look at McLean High School since February, detailing for all a need for serious maintenance.” [Fairfax County Times]

Chantilly Park Gets Grant to Monitor Water — “Fairfax Water recently awarded Ellanor C. Lawrence Park Friends a Water Supply and Protection Grant in the amount of $1,437 in support of ECLP’s water quality monitoring program…This grant will provide funding for on-site water quality monitoring to address potential pollution threats from nearby construction projects.” [FCPA]

Kings Park Neighborhood Gets Spotlight — “Aside from the people and neighborhood celebrations, the amenities and surrounding businesses have also compelled residents to stay in the area. Charlotte Hannagan, a resident since 2014 and Kings Park Civic Association vice president of social outreach, noted that there’s so much within walking distance of the neighborhood.” [The Washington Post]

It’s Monday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 84 and low of 71. Sunrise at 6:11 am and sunset at 8:22 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

Insomnia Cookies has a line for its grand opening at University Mall in Fairfax (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Judge Orders Records Release in Reston Homicide Case — Fairfax County Circuit Judge Brett A. Kassabian denied a motion to seal records related to a double homicide that occurred in Reston in 2017. In a case that may not see trial until mid-2023, Nicholas Giampa has been indicted on murder charges in the shooting and killing of his girlfriend’s mother and stepfather. [The Washington Post]

Driver Charged in Route 1 Hit-and-Run — “Detectives from our Crash Reconstruction Unit have charged the driver of the 2007 Toyota Camry from the July 6 fatal pedestrian crash. The driver, Diego Juarez Gomez, 19, of Maryland was traveling south on Richmond Highway, struck McPhail in the roadway and did not stop at the scene.” [FCPD]

Former West Potomac HS Soccer Coach Cleared of Hazing Allegation — A Fairfax County Child Protective Services investigation recently cleared Ahmad Sasso of wrongdoing during his 8-year tenure as head coach of West Potomac High School’s soccer team. A parent accused him in April of “hazing a player to the point of injury,” prompting his resignation. [ABC7]

Tree Falls Through Oakton House — “A house in Fairfax County is damaged after a massive tree fell on it Saturday night. Officials say that the house impacted is on the 11600 block of Ayreshire Rd. in Oakton, Virginia and that damages are extensive. No one was at the home when the tree hit the colonial-style house because officials say that the owners were out of town for vacation.” [WUSA9]

Man Threatens Sports Bar in Centreville — A 31-year-old man faces multiple charges after allegedly threatening to burn down The Revolution (14114 Lee Highway) on July 16. The man was trespassed and then arrested when he returned later, displaying a handgun. No injuries were reported in connection to the incident. [FCPD]

Sidewalk Replacement Today in Vienna — “A sidewalk replacement project is scheduled to take place this upcoming Monday, July 25 (weather permitting) along Courthouse Road between 423 Courthouse Road and 429 Courthouse Road. Traffic patterns may be affected along this route. Please use caution.” [Town of Vienna/Twitter]

CIA Marks 75th Anniversary Tomorrow — “The Central Intelligence Agency in Langley is turning 75-years-young on Tuesday, July 26…Not everyone was happy McLean was chosen as the location for the headquarters. Northern Virginians pushed back at the powers that be to the point that they considered building it where the Kennedy Center is now.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]

Retired Nationals Star Buys McLean Mansion — “Following his retirement from the Washington Nationals, Ryan Zimmerman is making real estate moves. Property records show that the former slugger paid $11 million for a brand-new build in McLean, VA. The purchase comes after the All-Star listed his longtime home in Great Falls, VA, in April for $8.5 million.” [Realtor]

It’s Monday — Rain in the afternoon and evening. High of 87 and low of 76. Sunrise at 6:05 am and sunset at 8:28 pm. [Weather.gov]

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