A nonprofit that has been serving free meals made at Lewinsville Senior Center throughout the COVID-19 pandemic hopes to establish a permanent presence at the McLean facility.
Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services (NCS), which operates the senior center at 1613 Great Falls Street, applied in late 2022 for a special exception amendment that would let SevaTruck Foundation keep using the center’s kitchen to cook, store and package food.
NCS is now seeking public input on its partnership with SevaTruck. It will host four information sessions on the application, starting with a virtual meeting on Thursday, Nov. 16 at 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“SevaTruck serves a crucial role in addressing hunger and food insecurity and has a deep understanding of the communities it serves,” NCS said in a press release announcing the meetings.
SevaTruck provides “free, fresh, nutritious warm meals to children attending Title 1 Schools and…living in historically low-income, marginalized communities across Fairfax County and the Washington DC, metropolitan area,” according to a statement of justification for the application.
Areas served so far include McLean, Tysons, Reston, Herndon, Fairfax, Annandale, Falls Church and Alexandria. The nonprofit also has chapters in Richmond, Michigan and the San Francisco Bay Area.
The D.C. area chapter began operating out of Lewinsville Senior Center early in the pandemic after the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors declared a local emergency, which suspended zoning requirements that would “preclude a temporary modification to an activity, use, or structure where the Zoning Administrator determines the modification is needed to respond to the COVID-19 emergency and its impacts.”
However, the county’s official state of emergency for Covid ended on March 1, giving SevaTruck and other organizations or businesses operating under an emergency waiver 12 months to obtain the approvals and permits necessary to continue.
In the application, NCS regional manager Karen De Mijango says two SevaTruck employees work out of the senior center Monday through Friday, preparing 1,800 meals a week that are delivered to around 1,400 Fairfax County residents both on-site and off by an 18-foot-long food truck.
“Meals are either picked-up from the senior center by partners, delivered in either a personal car, or in the food-truck,” De Mijango wrote in the statement to the county’s zoning division. “Partners picking up from the center does not cause disruptions to the senior programs. SevaTruck uses the backdoor of the kitchen to load/unload with a cart-roller.”
She noted that SevaTruck is seeking to expand by boosting its base of volunteers to assist with off-site food distributions, but no increase in staff is planned.
The application is currently scheduled to go to the Fairfax County Planning Commission for a public hearing on Jan. 24, 2024. Two more virtual information sessions will be held on Dec. 12 and Jan. 11, and an in-person meeting is planned at the senior center on Jan. 9.
A hearing before the Board of Supervisors, which is responsible for approving the application, hasn’t been scheduled yet.
(Updated at 1:40 p.m.) A German food truck is officially opening its doors in Herndon.
What The Schnitzel — described as the first and only food truck in the Northern Virginia area that sells German fusion cuisine — is celebrating its soft opening on Saturday (July 29) at Arts Herndon. It will be on site from noon to 5 p.m. at the building (750 Center Street).
Melanie Glover founded the business after growing up in the restaurant industry in Germany.
Working as a personal chef under the business name Coburger Bistro, Glover says she wanted to apply her passion for cooking and sharing food after living the U.S. for 17 years. She runs the truck with her son Devin, who both live in Reston and share a passion for cooking.
They chose Arts Herndon for the launch of What the Schnitzel because of its prime location, according to Glover.
“Arts Herndon is great local spot that has lots to offer, and is also a great friend to us and a business partner as well,” she said.
Glover says she chose to launch a food truck over a brick and mortar location because of flexibility in operations and the ability to reach different customers.
Items on the menu include apple strudel and schnitzel sandwiches from around the world.
Devin came up with the name — WTS for short — in an effort to come up with something funny and catchy.
“The main idea is a schnitzel going around the world, so we felt What the Schnitzel was a perfect name to capture that vision and as well as being something people can easily remember,” Glover said.
(Correction: This story initially misspelled Melanie Glover’s name as “Grover.” We apologize for the error and thank commenter Steve Dyas for pointing it out.)
Representing the self-described “Jew-ish” deli’s first foray into Virginia, the mobile truck opened for business in parking lot of the Chesterbrook Shopping Center (6216 Old Dominion Drive) yesterday.
“We’re stoked to bring good carbs and good vibes to the people of North Virginia who have been asking us to expand into their neighborhood for awhile,” Call Your Mother founder and co-owner Andrew Dana said in a press release. “We built this ‘Lil Deli’ to be able to take the CYM experience to more places and are excited that McLean will be its first home.”
Started by Dana and his wife, chef Daniela Moreira, as a farmers market vendor, Call Your Mother opened its first brick-and-mortar location in D.C.’s Petsworth neighborhood in 2018. The business has expanded to 11 locations now, including the one in McLean, a trolley in Bethesda and farmers markets.
Designed to resemble a quaint mobile house, the truck features a walk-up window and patio seating. The deli’s full regular menu is available, including its popular bagels, sandwiches, drinks and desserts such as babka muffins and black-and-white cookies.
Also available will be seasonal items and new products created by the company, like the vegan peanut butter line One Trick Pony that it launched in December.
Lil Deli is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. While the truck can be moved, the location is currently being treated as permanent.
“The Lil Deli is on wheels, so we dig the flexibility, but don’t worry we’re here to stay!” Dana said. “The mobile spot immediately grabs your attention when you drive past; they’re fun, vibrant and match the energy we like to bring to the table.”
Now that it has entered Virginia, Call Your Mother has started looking beyond the D.C. area with another location under construction in Denver.
The business also has its fingers crossed for a deli in Old Town Alexandria. FFXnow’s sister site ALXnow was told in March that it could open this summer, but a lease hadn’t been finalized at that time. There are no new updates to share regarding that location, a Call Your Mother spokesperson told FFXnow yesterday.
Former food truck Crab Cab has found a permanent home along Richmond Highway.
The seafood restaurant and bar opened last week in a 1,500-square-foot space in Penn Daw at 6238 Richmond Highway, as first reported by On the Move. It’s next to also newly-opened Kung Fu Tea and across from Krispy Kreme. Menu highlights include crab cakes, salmon fries, and shrimp baskets.
This is Crab Cab’s and owner Ghazal Amir’s first brick-and-mortar location after nearly a decade serving out of a mostly-D.C.-centric food truck. Amir is a mother of three, from Alexandria, and went to high school just down the road at what’s now called Alexandria City High School. So, it made sense to bring her business back close to home.
“It’s a very busy location,” Amir told FFXnow about why she decided to open up here. “Along Richmond Highway, it’s a lot of fast food or older [restaurants]. So, we are bringing something a lot newer and modern to the neighborhood.”
Since she was a kid, Amir had always wanted to open her own restaurant. For years, she worked in nearly every aspect of the restaurant industry – from buser to cook to bartender to cocktail waitress, she said. In 2013, she decided to strike it out on her own and open a food truck that served crab cakes and other seafood dishes.
“I wanted to offer people something higher quality than just a burger,” she said.
Amir said for much of the time running the Crab Cab food truck was quite successful, living off recommendations and knowing what blocks were best for business. But when the pandemic hit, office workers and their appetites dried up.
She started taking the truck to apartment buildings and hospitals, while also donating food to nurses and workers at the height of the pandemic. The kind act didn’t go unnoticed.
“People said, ‘Hey, why don’t you come to our neighborhood? People would actually buy your food. It’s really good.’ So, we went to one neighborhood and after that, it just grew,” she said.
It was earlier this year when she started seeking out space for Crab Cab’s permanent home. But “a lot of doors were closed in our face,” she said because she would ask for a tenant improvement allowance that a lot of landlords didn’t want to provide. In the end, Amir found a landlord – JCR Companie – that “believed in me” and provided some funds to revamp the space.
A combination of her own funds and the landlord resulted in an updated, modernized space that Amir said is “really beautiful inside.” Crab Cab opened last Monday with help from her three kids, who all work at the restaurant.
“They have helped me a lot and stuck by me,” Amir said. “I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing if I didn’t have those people in my corner helping.”
There’ve been challenges, of course, in the first week of operation, including the need to hire more help and Amir learning how to run a full-service restaurant for the first time.
But the shell of success is there. While Amir spoke with FFXnow, twice she stopped to ask customers how their meal and service was.
“I just want to leave behind a legacy for my children,” she said.
The three food trucks that got airlifted to The Perch skypark in November will be occupied by Grandpa Hank’s Jamaican Kitchen, Los Dos Carlos Street Tacos, and Rhum Roost, Capital One Center revealed today (Friday).
The eateries are each housed in different 1950s-era vehicles, per the news release:
Grandpa Hank’s Jamaican Kitchen offers soulful Jamaican cuisine from a vintage British double decker bus, while Los Dos Carlos serves upscale street tacos from a sleek converted Greyhound bus. Rhum Roost, Northern Virginia’s only tiki bar, is colorful and spirited, offering an upscale menu that invites guests to indulge in an inventive cocktail or frozen drink, all being served through the window of a wrapped boxman bus.
The announcement comes ahead of this weekend’s Perchfest celebration, billed as a music festival that will also serve as a preview of the food trucks and the 18-hole Perch Putt mini golf course.
Tickets for Perchfest are free but limited in availability. The festivities will take place from noon to 11 p.m. tomorrow (Saturday) and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday (May 22).
Perch Putt will officially open to all next Thursday (May 26).
“We’re over the moon to bring the Perch Putt experience to Tysons East,” Perch Putt Manager Chris Deatherage said in a statement. “Perch Putt is the perfect addition to The Perch’s existing entertainment options because it provides a fun & lighthearted environment for families, friends or colleagues to connect and spend time together. We hope that we can be your go-to spot to make new and exciting memories.”
The mini golf and food truck complex constitutes the second phase of The Perch, which opened in August with Starr Hill Biergarten, lawn games, an amphitheater, and a dog park.
FCPS Condemns Recent Mass Shootings — “Fairfax County Public Schools remains steadfast in our commitment to speak up and speak out against such acts of hatred and domestic terrorism. This past weekend, the Buffalo, New York, and Laguna Woods, California communities experienced unthinkable acts of violence. We grieve with the families who lost loved ones and are suffering.” [FCPS]
Metro Veers Into Another Safety Issue — “Metrorail repeatedly powered the electric third rail while workers were still on the roadway in recent weeks, bypassing safety procedures and putting people at risk of injury and death, according to a new report issued by the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission.” [DCist]
County Bus Workers Win Statewide Competition — “Fairfax Connector Operators and Maintenance Professionals excelled at the Virginia State Bus Roadeo last month…The Fairfax Connector/ Transdev Maintenance Team placed first in the maintenance team category and will represent the Commonwealth of Virginia in the International Bus Roadeo next year.” [Fairfax Connector]
Local Vietnamese Community Recognized — A Virginia Historical Marker recognizing the significance of Vietnamese immigrants in Northern Virginia will be dedicated at Eden Center in Falls Church on next Tuesday (May 24). The community was nominated by Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School students last year as part of a statewide Asian American and Pacific Islander History Month contest. [City of Falls Church]
Descano Left Out of Virginia Violent Crime Task Force — “Commonwealth’s attorneys Buta Biberaj, of Loudoun County; Amy Ashworth, of Prince William County; and Steve Descano, of Fairfax County, told WTOP they were unaware a task force was being assembled until Youngkin’s news release Monday. All three prosecutors are progressive Democrats.” [WTOP]
Food Trucks Pop Up at Courthouse — “NEW! Starting TOMORROW, 5/18 food trucks will be visiting the Courthouse Grounds THIS week, from 11:30am-2:30pm to offer lunch options.” [Fairfax County Circuit Court/Twitter]
Lake Anne Parking Lot to Close Next Week — “The Lake Anne Park parking lot will be closed off next week due to required warranty work, starting on May 23 through the 25th (weather dependent). A contractor will be seal coating and restriping the entire lot. Any vehicles left overnight will be towed.” [Reston Association/Twitter]
Sale of Tysons Broadcasting Company Approved — Tegna stockholders voted yesterday to approve a sale of the Tysons-headquartered company to investment firm Standard General. Expected to close in the second half of this year, the $5.4 billion deal will turn the broadcaster, which owns 64 TV stations in 51 markets across the country, into a private company. [Deadline]
“Wheel of Fortune” Coming to Tysons — “‘Wheel of Fortune Live!,’ a new live stage show, is kicking off a tour in September that includes a stop at Capital One Hall…Guests can audition to go on stage and will have the chance to spin a replica of the iconic wheel and solve puzzles to win prizes, including $10,000 and trips to Paris and Hawaii. Audience members will also have the chance to be randomly selected to win cash and prizes.” [Inside NoVA]
It’s Wednesday — Rain overnight. High of 72 and low of 52. Sunrise at 5:55 am and sunset at 8:19 pm. [Weather.gov]
Perch Putt is on its way.
The public will get its first look at the 18-hole mini golf course and food trucks being set up at Capital One Center’s The Perch skypark (1805 Capital One Drive) in Tysons on May 21 and 22 as part of a weekend-long “Perchfest Spring Edition” celebration.
“Capital One Center is delighted to celebrate the next phase of The Perch, which has become an unparalleled rooftop experience and dynamic gathering place for our community and Capital One associates,” Capital One Center Marketing and Community Affairs Manager Meghan Trossen said in a statement.
Similar to last fall’s grand opening party for The Perch, this iteration of Perchfest will feature live music, lawn games, community vendors, and a new “Perchfest Session IPA” from Starr Hill Biergarten, according to a media release.
The festival will also once again benefit the nonprofit Best Buddies of Northern Virginia and D.C. Community members are encouraged to donate to the organization, which provides support services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Perchfest will take place from noon to 11 p.m. on May 21 and noon to 5 p.m. on May 22. It will include a “Kids Party” from noon to 3 p.m. on May 21 that will have face painting and a “puppy party” hosted by the Merrifield-based nonprofit Wolf Trap Animal Rescue.
The music lineup features six artists:
Saturday, May 21st
- Noon — Pebble to Pearl
- 2:30 p.m. — Nowhere Men
- 5 p.m. — Bobby Ryan Band
- 8 p.m. — KleptoRadio
Sunday, May 22
- Noon — Run for Cover
- 3 p.m. — Starting Early
Admission to all events will be free, but advance registration is required, due to limited space in the 2.5-acre park.
In addition, The Watermark Hotel, which opened adjacent to The Perch in September, is offering VIP packages for its guests that include a suite overlooking the park, welcome amenities from Starr Hill Biergarten and the restaurant Wren, and a future gift card for the food trucks.
Capital One Center hopes to make Perchfest a regular occurrence, stating that 10,000 people attended the inaugural edition in September 2021.
“Our intention with Perchfest is to create a signature spring and fall event our guests look forward to every year,” Trossen said. “We will build upon the success of our fall opening with a springtime festival full of surprises and unique experiences — and we are so proud to team up with Best Buddies and elevate their mission to support inclusive hiring and job training for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”
(Updated at 9:20 a.m. on 4/7/2022) Break out the spoons and waffle cones, Tysons.
An ice cream truck is pulling into the PARC at Tysons and doling out free scoops tomorrow (Thursday) and Friday (April 8).
The local caterer Tyson’s Creamery will be parked at 8508 Leesburg Pike from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on both days as part of The PARC’s “Spring Is Blossoming” celebration, which kicked off with some spring break pop-up activities on Monday (April 4).
The free ice cream will be available, rain or shine, as long as supplies last, according to Celebrate Fairfax, which operates the PARC. Tyson’s Creamery will also have a stall at the weekly Shop Local Saturday Market on April 9.
Join us for #free ice cream* at the PARC provided by @Tysonscreamery! Rain or shine, so mark your calendars and come on by! And if you can't make it during the week, you can shop their delicious #icecream this #Saturday, April 9th at our #Shop #Local Market!
*While supplies last pic.twitter.com/jrHAkZvKNp
— CelebrateFFX (@CelebrateFFX) April 6, 2022
Celebrate Fairfax Inc., the nonprofit best known for organizing the annual Celebrate Fairfax! Festival, launched the PARC as a community hub and event venue last fall, converting a 19,260-square-foot space on Route 7 previously occupied by the Container Store.
The organization recently announced that it will forgo the Celebrate Fairfax! Festival this summer in favor of smaller events throughout Fairfax County, similar to the Tysons Block Party and other activities it has hosted at the PARC.
Photo via Courtney Cook/Unsplash
The second phase of The Perch in Tysons remains on track for completion later this spring, Capital One Center says.
The 2.5-acre skypark opened on top of the new Capital One Hall performing arts center (1805 Capital One Center Drive) in August. It currently features Starr Hill Biergarten as well as a dog park, bocce ball pits and an outdoor amphitheater.
Phase two will add “Perch Putt,” an 18-hole miniature golf course, and an adjacent food truck area, whose denizens were spotted being lifted 11 stories into the air on Nov. 16.
Details about those amenities remain scarce, but a permit request submitted to Fairfax County in January indicates that, in addition to the three vehicles that got airlifted up in November, the food truck area will include a one-story shipping container outfitted for bar service.
A Capital One Center spokesperson confirmed that the container will serve as a bar, but said the development is not ready to share more details.
Capital One Center officially announced on Wednesday (March 23) that it has signed three new restaurant tenants:
- Stellina Pizzeria, which will take over the former Starbucks space in Capital One’s headquarters building. When it announced the lease in February, the restaurant said it hoped to open this fall, but Capital One Center now says it will arrive in 2023.
- A Tex-Mex restaurant with a “strong coastal influence and a large al fresco bar.” The concept comes from the team behind The Salt Line, a seafood eatery in Ballston, as reported earlier this month by the Washingtonian.
- An unspecified “new concept” from chef Pepe Moncayo, who runs a Japanese and Spanish fusion restaurant and lounge in D.C. called Cranes. The signing was first reported by the Washington Business Journal.
According to the press release, Moncayo’s restaurant will be located in the mixed-use retail and office tower still under construction across from the Capital One headquarters.
Capital One Center says in the release that it plans to deliver the “Block A” tower this year — earlier than the 2023 timeline previously anticipated.
“The latest additions at Capital One Center will enhance our growing collection of retail with acclaimed local restaurateurs and unique entertainment options for both our Capital One associates and our DMV community,” Capital One Center Managing Director Jonathan Griffith said.
When fully built out, Capital One Center will cover 25 acres in Tysons East with 6 million square feet of development. It currently consists of the Capital One headquarters, Capital One Hall, Wegmans, The Watermark Hotel, and the nail salon Nothing in Between Studio.
A familiar cartoon character will swing by Tysons Corner Center this weekend, with a slew of new merchandise in tow.
The Hello Kitty Cafe Truck will set up shop in the mall’s Plaza at 1961 Chain Bridge Road from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday (March 26), marking its first appearance in Fairfax County since March 2021.
More recently, the truck, which sells Hello Kitty-themed food and collectibles, popped up in Arlington County in July.
New items for this year’s tour include a Hello Kitty Cafe lunchbox, a lavender T-shirt, and a canvas tote bag. The truck will also carry a stainless rainbow thermos, hand-decorated cookie sets, and madeleine cookie sets.
The cookies and plush animals are among the stall’s best-selling items, according to a press release.
The truck only accepts credit and debit card payments.
Sanrio, the company behind Hello Kitty, launched the cafe truck in October 2014 as part of its first venture into the food world. Since then, the trucks have visited more than 100 cities in the U.S.
The upcoming Tysons stop is one of the truck’s five scheduled appearances in the D.C. area for its 2022 tour. There are also planned visits in April to Bethesda and Columbia in Maryland as well as the Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival in D.C. during the National Cherry Blossom Festival.
The Hello Kitty cartoon character is actually a young British girl, not a cat, but because of her appearance and name, is known to many as an adorable feline that adorns outerwear and accessories.