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Basic Burger is opening a bagel pop-up in its Tysons West restaurant (courtesy Basic Burger)

Basic Burger is circling the Tysons area as one potential location for a new, standalone bagel “concept.”

For now, the Arlington-based company will open a New York bagel pop-up in its Tysons West restaurant at 1495 Cornerside Blvd this weekend, Operations Director Jamie Mansy told FFXnow.

The “Basic Bagel” pop-up will sell bagels by themselves and in orders of a dozen or half-dozen. The menu also has fried egg sandwiches with sausage or bacon and different schmears, including butter, jelly, cream cheese and peanut butter.

It will operate only on Saturdays and Sundays for the foreseeable future.

“This is not a New York ‘style’ bagel, but actual bagel BOILED and BAKED fresh in New York City and shipped down to us every Saturday and Sunday,” Mansy said by email. “We have limited supply and when we sell out, we sell out.”

Launched in 2016, Basic Burger offers burgers, chicken and fish sandwiches, hot dogs, a couple of salads and sides.

The bagel pop-up was first introduced at Basic Burger’s Pentagon Row location, where it has seen “tremendous success,” according to Mansy. Prior to that, the company had been developing it as a standalone concept but put that plan on the backburner when COVID-19 arrived in spring 2020.

Mansy says the restaurant is “excited” to bring the pop-up to Tysons as it searches for a site for a standalone store. The first location will be in either the Tysons and McLean area or Arlington County.

“We are shopping spaces to bring the concept full time to northern VA so no exact timing on when it will stop being a pop-up, but we do plan to launch it as a standalone concept from our restaurant group in the future,” Mansy wrote.

Also on the horizon for the Tysons West shopping center is a PetMedic Urgent Care clinic that’s expected to open next year. Plans for housing in the former Sheraton hotel, which is part of the larger development envisioned by JBG Smith, are currently being reviewed by Fairfax County.

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Tysons now has its first ChocoGelateria.

Venchi Fine Italian Chocolates officially opened its new chocolate and gelato shop at Tysons Corner Center around noon today (Wednesday), slightly behind the late summer opening anticipated when the store was first announced.

Located in the former Blue Nile showroom near Macy’s on the mall’s second floor, the store is open from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on all days except for Sundays, when it will operate from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

This is first U.S. location outside of the New York tri-state area for Venchi, an Italian chocolate manufacturer that has been in operation since 1878. The company has developed 350 chocolate recipies and 90 different flavors of gelato that it sells in 150 retail boutiques in 70 countries.

“Venchi is thrilled to be expanding beyond the New York Tri-State area to a community as dynamic and global as Fairfax County,” Venchi Chief Commercial Officer Mark Ellis said in a statement. “We are excited to be a part of the Tysons Corner community and share the flavors of the Italian Allegria (joy and happiness) with the world.”

Here’s what the Tysons store will offer, according to a press release:

Tysons Corner Center shoppers will be able to enjoy some of the world’s finest chocolate, Gelato, European coffee, hot chocolate, crepes, and more, designed to create everyday unforgettable moments of sharing and celebration. And just in time for the holidays, Venchi will also soon be selling its exciting Holiday Collection of chocolates — all manufactured in Italy — which is perfect for gift-giving.

The brand is noted for its incredible Gelato and its most popular flavors include (Cremino, Pistachio, Hazelnut, Chocoviar, and Mango). Tysons Corner Center shoppers can stop in to sample a few Gelato flavors before deciding to order their favorite — available in a cup or in Venchi’s own cone dipped in Suprema spread and Chocoviar granules. It is the ultimate treat!

Venchi’s ChocoGelateria at Tysons Corner will also be selling a variety of Pick and Mix individual chocolates, it’s new Italian Dessert Collection of chocolates, a variety of chocolate bars, Suprema Spread, hot chocolate, crepes made with the Suprema Spread, and more.

Venchi is the second European chocolate purveyor to make its way into Tysons Corner Center this year, coming on the heels of Läderach Chocolatier Suisse, which replaced Godiva in May.

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The South Lakes High School PTSA Food Pantry’s annual “Do It Your Way 0.5K” fundraiser returns this month (photo by Alexis Doty)

The South Lakes High School PTSA’s annual “Do It Your Way 0.5K” fundraiser for its food pantry is back for a fifth year — and yes, there will be doughnuts this time.

Advertised as “the most rewarding 650 steps you’ll take this year,” the yearly walk has become one of Reston’s most popular fall events, drawing over 300 participants in 2021, according to the PTSA.

SLHS PTSA Food Pantry co-founder Roberta Gosling says the group hopes to get over 500 attendees this year.

After going virtual in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the fundraiser returned in-person last year. The 2022 iteration allows walkers to participate either in person at Lake Anne Plaza from 2-4 p.m. on Oct. 16 or “online” by completing the 650 steps at any point during the weekend of Oct. 15-16.

Registration is now open, costing $10 for students, $25 for adults, $60 for families, and $25 per person for teams. A limited number of VIP entries are available for $100, which covers the cost of registration and offers “front row seats to all the action and additional goodies,” according to the webpage.

Race packets will be available at Lake Anne Brew House (11424 Washington Plaza West) from 10 a.m. to noon on Oct. 15 and on the day of the race, starting at noon. For the first 500 people who register, the packet will include a bib, finisher medal and other swag from the fundraiser’s sponsors.

The first 500 registrants will get a race packet filled with cool SWAG including a race bib, finisher medal, and other special goodies provided by event sponsors.

Other highlights include the race’s “famous” mid-point doughnut station, which will be back for the first time in three years. There will also be a live raffle for an $800 custom necklace with the food pantry’s logo donated by sponsor Aspen Jewelry Designs, the PTSA said in a press release.

All proceeds will go toward buying food, toiletries and other critical items for the South Lakes High School food pantry, which distributes those goods to more than 275 families in the South Lakes pyramid each week, according to the PTSA.

Launched in 2017 to address food insecurity among students, the food pantry initially focused on the high school before expanding to the full pyramid after a year. The PTSA says approximately 4,200 students in the pyramid qualify for free or reduced-price lunches, including about 830 high schoolers.

The pantry opens to South Lakes students every Thursday at the end of the school day. More than 140 students came to “shop” during the week of Sept. 23, Gosling said.

The PTSA also conducts curbside distributions to around 125 families in the pyramid, providing food, feminine hygiene products, and a “bonus item,” such as paper towels or laundry detergent. The pantry also mails grocery gift cards to families and delivers grocery bags to Langston Hughes Middle School.

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Halley Rise — a major mixed use development at the door of the Reston Town Center Metro station — will debut its inaugural Halley Rise Fall Festival on Oct. 22.

The event, which includes live music, food and activities, also kicks off the introduction of the Farm at Halley Rise, an urban farm by Up Top Acres that grows food and donates products to organizations that work to reduce food insecurity.

Just under half an acre in size, the farm includes more than 30 vegetable, herb and fruit crops, along with beehives, a native flower garden, a rain garden and a meadow. The farm is intended to provide Cornerstones Food pantry and other local food security organizations with produce.

“At Up Top Acres, our goal is to create productive farms and gardens that foster a sense of community,” Up Top Acres co-founder Kathleen O’Keefe said. “We’re excited to welcome the Farm at Halley Rise into our portfolio and partner with Brookfield to reduce food insecurity and work toward a more equitable food ecosystem.”

Brookfield Properties broke ground on the project in 2019 and has since focused on building The Edmund, a 353-unit apartment building that includes a pool, terrace, and fitness center. The apartment building, which will house Wegmans on the ground floor, is slated to open in spring 2023.

Robert Swennes, Brookfield’s head of the mid-Atlantic and southeast region, said that the festival is part of an ongoing effort to make the development a vibrant community and destination in Reston.

“We are excited to welcome friends and families from across Northern Virginia for a day full of autumnal festivities, live music, delicious food and more, plus the grand opening of our new urban farm — all together should make for a wonderful celebration at Halley Rise,” Swennes wrote in a statement.

The festival will include scavenger hunts, a pumpkin painting station, a bouquet making stand, farm tours, lawn games and performances by local bluegrass band High & Wides. Pepe by Jose Andres, a food truck, will also serve up Spanish flat sandwiches.

At full build-out, Halley Rise will bring 1,600 residential units, 1.9-million-square-feet of office space, 240,000 square feet of retail, five acres of open space and associated infrastructure to the area.

A spokesperson for Brookfield Properties told FFXnow that the company plans to find other ways to engage the local community.

“Following this year’s event, we will continue to explore ways to offer family-friendly programming for the community,” the spokesperson said.

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A new bakery has opened on Elden Street in the Town of Herndon (courtesy France Saunders)

Another dessert shop has officially opened at 332 Elden Street in Herndon.

Nothing Bundt Cakes is slated for a grand opening on Oct. 7 and 8 following a soft opening that happened in early September.

The first 75 guests on grand opening day will receive a free coupon for one mini bundt cake — known as a bundtlet — every month for a year, along with drawings for other prizes.

Store owner France Saunders also plans to have balloon art and face painting for children.

Our goal is to create a cake that not only reminds you of home, but also opens you to a new world,” Saunders said. “All of our cakes and frosting are made in each bakery. Each of our recipes uses the freshest of ingredients to include real eggs, butter and cream cheese.”

The bakery first opened in 1997 in Las Vegas and has since expanded to over 400 locations across the U.S. and Canada.

Saunders also owns the company’s Dulles franchise, which opened in 2017.

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McNair Elementary School students pick up lunch on their first day of school for the 2021-2022 academic year (via FCPS)

While free school lunches ended nationally earlier this summer, Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) will still offer free meals to students at a select number of schools.

Earlier this month, FCPS announced that it will participate in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), which distributes breakfast and lunch to students attending schools in low-income areas at no cost.

No application or individual eligibility requirements are needed from students to receive the free meals.

There will be 34 county schools in the program for the upcoming 2022-2023 school year. That includes two high schools (Annandale and Justice), three middle schools (Glasgow near Holmes Run, Key in Springfield, and Annandale’s Poe), and 29 elementary schools.

Every student who attends one of the participating schools should receive communication about CEP, FCPS’s website notes.

CEP was first implemented in 2010 as part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act and went nationwide starting in 2014. There are a host of eligibility requirements, but if a school meets those, then every student can get free breakfast and lunch.

July 1 marked the end of more than two years of the federal government allowing free school lunches to all students, including those at FCPS. The school system saw a surge in demand for cafeteria food last year, serving 28,000 more students per day than before the pandemic.

Students who do not attend one of the eligible schools but are still in need can apply for free or reduced-price meals.

“Children from households whose income is at or below the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines… may be eligible for either free or reduced-price meals,” the webpage says.

Children who already receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits may already be automatically eligible as well as those students that are homeless, in a foster home, and migrants.

As of October 31, 2021, about 31% of FCPS students qualified for free and reduced-price meals.

The cost of school meals will be the same as pre-pandemic times, FCPS said in an Aug. 12 newsletter, with breakfast priced at $1.75 for all students. Lunch is $3.25 for elementary students and $3.50 for middle, secondary, and high school students.

FFXnow asked FCPS about how many applications have been submitted for free and reduced lunches for the new school year — which begins Monday (Aug. 22) — and how that number compares to years past. FFXnow also inquired for further information on the CEP program.

Despite being given about a week to respond, FCPS declined to provide any answers or clarifications, saying they have a “new media process in place” that is delaying responses.

Here are all the county schools participating in CEP this upcoming school year: Read More

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Morning Notes

Sun shines through tree leaves in Vienna (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Man Dies After Fairfax City Crash — “A 32-year-old Maryland man died from injuries he received when the motorcycle he was riding Monday afternoon collided with an SUV on Chain Bridge Road in Fairfax City, according to a police release.” [Patch]

Suspect in Fatal Springfield Stabbing Extradited — “This evening, Jose Heber Hernandez Mejia was extradited back to Fairfax County from South Carolina. He’s charged with 2nd degree murder for the July 17 domestic-related stabbing in the 5200 block of Rolling Rd. Hernandez Mejia was held on no bond.” [FCPD/Twitter]

Arrests Made in Child Solicitation Sting — “Six men ranging in ages from 26 to 43 were arrested by Fairfax County Police as part of an online sting to identify and apprehend predators seeking to exploit children using the internet, according to a police brief.” [Patch]

Food Stolen From Mount Vernon Daycare — “Officers were called to the KinderCare at 4287 Buckman Road early Monday morning for a burglary that occurred over the weekend. When officers learned thousands of dollars worth of food was stolen from the center, they quickly jumped into action to ensure the kids wouldn’t go hungry by purchasing breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snacks.” [FCPD/Facebook]

Virginia Sees Bump in Pro-Choice License Plates — “Pro-life and pro-choice license plates aren’t new to Virginia: The commonwealth has issued ‘Choose Life’ plates since 2009 and ‘Trust Women. Respect Choice.’ since 2010…Since the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, though, more people are buying pro-choice plates.” [Washingtonian]

Fire Department Enlists Starbucks for Backpack Drive — “#FCFRD is partnering with select local @Starbucks stores to collect backpacks for underprivileged children. Backpacks will be given to local schools in #FairfaxCounty for distribution. Backpacks will be collected until August 12. Please donate a new backpack today!” [FCFRD/Twitter]

Metro Seeks to Add More Trains — Metro is seeking permission to operate more of the 7000-series trains that were sidelined late last year after a derailment in Arlington, according to the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission. The transit agency is currently permitted to run 64 cars, or eight trains, per day, as long as their wheels are inspected daily. [The Washington Post]

State Legislators Consider Changes to Recall Process — “Activists in Virginia are increasingly turning to the state’s court-driven recall process to try to take out their frustrations on local officials they feel have done something wrong…The fact that the recalls almost never work doesn’t seem to be stopping the trend, but it’s causing some lawmakers to rethink a system that empowers judges, not voters, to decide when politicians deserve to be kicked out of office early.” [Virginia Mercury/Inside NoVA]

“American Idol” Winner to Take Wolf Trap Stage — “Her victory on Season 3 of ‘American Idol’ made her a household name. Now, Fantasia Barrino is bringing her signature sound to Wolf Trap in Virginia on Aug. 19.” [WTOP]

It’s Wednesday — Rain starting in the afternoon. High of 88 and low of 77. Sunrise at 6:19 am and sunset at 8:11 pm. [Weather.gov]

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The Belgian company Neuhaus Chocolate will open a boutique at the Mosaic District (photo by Federica Carlet/Neuhaus Belgian Chocolate)

The Mosaic District has a new chocolate shop on the way to fill the hole left two years ago by Artisan Confections.

Neuhaus Belgian Chocolate will open its first Northern Virginia store in the Merrifield neighborhood this fall, confirmed Antony Verbaeys, the company’s U.S. managing director.

“Neuhaus Belgian Chocolate is indeed opening a boutique in Mosaic District,” Verbaeys said in an email. “The Washington metro area is an important market for us with stores in D.C. and Bethesda, MD. A presence in Northern Virginia is a logical next step to serve our loyal clientele.”

The store will move into 2905 District Avenue, Suite 170, which had been occupied by Artisan Confections for eight years before the Arlington-based chocolate shop opted to close that location in July 2020.

Though there were no signs indicating Neuhaus’ approach as of this past weekend, Fairfax County issued a permit for interior demolition of the space on July 26. Verbaeys says the store is currently scheduled to open in early October.

Originally opened in Brussels in 1857, Neuhaus was started by Swiss pharmacist Jean Neuhaus, who developed a method of dipping his patients’ medicine in a thin layer of chocolate. His grandson later replaced the medicine with nuts, cream, and other fillings to invent what’s now known as Belgian pralines, according to the company’s website.

Neuhaus now has eight stores in the U.S., opening its American flagship on New York City’s Madison Avenue in 2012. Its existing D.C. area locations are in Bethesda Row and Union Station.

The chocolate shop isn’t the only business expected soon at the Mosaic District, which recently welcomed the Indian restaurant Rasa. Junction Bar and Bistro has hopes for a late August arrival, and the gym BASH Boxing is on track to open in September.

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The marketplace concept is inspired by farmers markets (via Anne Preble/Unsplash)

This month, Fairfax County residents in need will have a couple of opportunities to stock up free fresh produce and other food.

The Cathy Hudgins Community Center at Southgate is taking part in the Capital Area Food Bank‘s Community Marketplace program, which provides fresh produce every second Saturday of the month. The next distribution is slated for Saturday (Aug. 13) from 8:30 to 11 a.m. at the center, which is located at 12125 Pinecrest Road in Reston. 

The partnership is the product of an alliance between the Fairfax County Department of Neighborhood and Community Services and the food bank, which aims to bring food distributions to communities in need. 

Lately, nonprofit partners have reported high levels of food insecurity in the state and the county. Food insecurity is a growing challenge for moderate-income families in what is becoming a high cost-of-living area.

According to the food bank, one out of 10 residents in the D.C. region is food insecure, nearly a third of them children. 

The Willson Multicultural Center in Seven Corners will also hold a food distribution this month through a partnership with Comunidad, a nonprofit in Falls Church that aims to engage and help locally rooted community leaders.

The event serves over 250 families each month, and volunteers take boxes of food to the homes of local Ukrainian families.

The community marketplace concept intends to bring farmers-market-style opportunities with high-quality, fresh produce for people who are food insecure. The events often include cooking demonstrations, utility assistance, health screenings and descriptions for recipes.

Photo via Anne Preble/Unsplash

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Morning Notes

A tiger swallowtail butterfly rests on a bergamot plant (photo by Marjorie Copson)

Funds Sought to Assist With Police Camera Footage — “Faced with a tsunami of digital evidence from body-worn and in-car video cameras, high-tech forensic tools and other devices, Fairfax County officials are seeking a $1 million grant to pay for staff to manage the data flow and ensure timely accessibility.” [Sun Gazette]

Reston Meal Delivery Service to Expand — “A Northern Virginia meal-delivery startup has raised $1.8 million in fresh capital and is using the funds to expand service into D.C. and beyond. Reston’s Frolick Inc…partners with local commercial kitchens to prepare full meals for under $15, with no fees or minimum orders.” [Washington Business Journal]

Inova Named Top Hospital in D.C. Area — “For patients in the D.C. region, the best medical center is once again Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Virginia, according to the 2022 ‘Best Hospitals’ rankings from U.S. News & World Report. It’s the fourth year in a row that the center has topped the regional ranking.” [WTOP]

New App Shows Original Apple Store in Tysons — After previously being revived via augmented reality, the grand opening of Tysons Corner Center’s Apple store, the tech company’s first retail site, can now be revisited through a new “Apple Store Time Machine.” The app shows four key stores “exactly how they were on their opening days with stunning historical accuracy.” [9to5Mac]

Vienna Police Officer Takes up Boxing for Fundraiser — “Slebonick on Oct. 13 will step into the ring at The Anthem in Washington, D.C., and box four two-minute rounds in Beltway Brawl III. The event’s sponsor, Haymakers for Hope, so far has raised more than $20 million for cancer research, awareness, care and survival.” [Sun Gazette]

Hunter Mill Bridge Work Continues — “[See] the progress of the Hunter Mill Rd over Colvin Run bridge project in Vienna! The new two-lane bridge with a median/splitter island, improved trail crossing south of the bridge and other work is scheduled for completion this fall.” [VDOT/Twitter]

Springfield Restaurant Gets Honorary Award — “The Honorary Milestone RAMMY Awards are given in addition to the judge-voted and public-voted awards. Mike’s American in Springfield was recognized for its 35th anniversary. Located at 6210 Backlick Road in Springfield, Mike’s American offers American fare and regional seafood.” [Patch]

It’s Wednesday — Rain in the morning. High of 84 and low of 73. Sunrise at 6:07 am and sunset at 8:26 pm. [Weather.gov]

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