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(Updated at 2:10 p.m. on 11/13/2022 to correct zip code) It’s going to be a busy Saturday for Settle Down Easy Brewing. In addition to marking its fourth anniversary, the Merrifield area brewery will throw a grand opening party for its new Oakton restaurant and bar from noon to 8 p.m.

Replacing the shuttered Austins Big and Tall store in Hunter Mill Plaza at 2952E Chain Bridge Road, The Oakton Tasting Room is envisioned as not just a place to grab dinner and drinks, but as the kind of hangout spot that Settle Down Easy owner Frank Kuhns says is missing from Oakton — despite nearly 37,o00 people calling it home.

“In Oakton, there’s one zip code — 22124 — and we are going to promote that and the level of how proud you are to be a resident of Oakton,” Kuhns told FFXnow. “We’re going to create this family-friendly, energetic, exciting space for the residents of Oakton, but everyone is welcome of course. We want Oakton to have its own special place to call its own.”

A resident of Oakton himself, Kuhns started looking to expand Settle Down Easy at his wife’s suggestion. As COVID-19 pandemic restrictions eased, the couple was looking to go out for wine and appetizers but noticed a dearth of happy hour options in the area compared to nearby Vienna and Fairfax.

They hope The Oakton Tasting Room will fill that void, with a still-casual yet more refined ambiance than the industrial feel of Settle Down’s existing brewery at 2822 Fallfax Drive.

Opened in 2018, the Merrifield location serves food from a taco stand run by El Tio Tex-Mex Grill, but it primarily focuses on brewing, manufacturing five barrels of craft beer at a time to serve at a 40-seat bar.

The Oakton Tasting Room will be as much a restaurant as a brewery. Along with beer, it will offer wine, cider, and food for both lunch and dinner in a collaboration with local farmer’s market staple, The Fermented Pig, whose handcrafted meats and charcuterie boards made an impression at earlier events with Settle Down Easy.

An official menu isn’t available online yet, since it will likely evolve as the restaurant figures out what works and what doesn’t. However, all ingredients will be sourced from farms within a 100-mile radius, according to Kuhns.

“We want to be hypersensitive to our carbon footprint, we want to respectful to the environment, and we want to provide something to support other local businesses within 75 to 100 miles of our Oakton Tasting Room,” he said.

At nearly 4,000 square feet in size, the tasting room has the capacity for 150 customers. While there’s no outdoor seating at the moment, Kuhns says they hope to work with their landlord to add that next summer.

Nods to Oakton will range from black-and-white photos in the bathrooms showing the area’s history to a beer exclusively available at the tasting room called 123, after Route 123. Settle Down already serves a 2 Cloud 9 beer in Merrifield, reflecting its location near Route 29.

Expected to draw a sizable crowd, The Oakton Tasting Room’s grand opening will include a ribbon-cutting, cake at 3 p.m., and surveys of food and drink offerings. Merrifield patrons can get in on the excitement too: the first 50 customers who get a beer at both locations that day will receive a free gift and a commemorative coaster.

After inflation, supply chain issues and increased personnel expenses doubled the cost of the Oakton buildout from what was planned, Settle Down has no immediate plans to expand further, but the team is considering ways to help its Merrifield location stand out.

“I think probably in early 2024, we will look for the next venture for Settle Down Easy,” Kuhns said. “…That could be us doing a manufacturing warehouse. That could be a collaborative partnership with The Fermented Pig. We don’t know yet, but I know we want to continue to grow, so our plan in the next two years is to have more growth for our business in Virginia.”

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Healthy Vibez is opening in Rose Hill (staff photo by Matt Blitz)

A new CBD retail store is set to open in Alexandria’s Rose Hill Shopping Center this week.

Healthy Vibez CBD, a health and wellness store for CBD products, will hold its grand opening on Friday (Oct. 28). The store will sell CBD beauty products, crafted drinks, health bars, vapes, and more.

Chairman Riz Nasar tells FFXnow that the store will also serve as an education and resource center for CBD products. He says it’s for anyone who wants to try CBD and needs to know where to start.

“A lot of people think that it makes you high–it doesn’t. It actually does totally the opposite. It makes you even calmer, it makes you relaxed, it makes you sleep better, it helps with PTSD, it helps with anxiety,” Nasar explained.

He says he was in a car accident when he was a child and CBD was the only thing that helped him with lingering pain.

“It’s really helped, it really works–and we want to share our experience and my personal experience,” Nasar says.

Another reason he wants to educate people on CBD is because of the confusion he faced with landlords and other officials when trying to launch the business. He says some people were hesitant after confusing CBD with marijuana.

“Finally, I found a like-minded agent who said, let me let me work with you, and so he took our business plan, and he was able to get us this place in Rose Hill Shopping Center.”

Nasar added that the store works with a local lab “to ensure every single product is being manufactured under the watchful eyes of experienced scientists and chemists.”

He says the products are made in small batches to ensure quality and freshness.

For its grand opening, the store will ask visitors to cut a ribbon to enter the store. The store’s hours are Monday-Saturday 11 am-7 pm, and Sunday, 12-5 pm.

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Coco’s Sodas + Sweets is ready at last to give Vienna its first taste of “dirty sodas” — flavor-spiked soft drinks that originated as a coffee substitute in Mormon-heavy Utah.

The soda shop officially opened today (Friday) in The Village Green shopping center at 513 Maple Avenue West, Suite 110. Details about a grand opening on Oct. 28 will be shared on the business’ Instagram and Facebook pages, co-owner Ben Cichelli told FFXnow.

The opening has been a long time coming for Coco’s, which initially expected to launch around Memorial Day weekend.

Cichelli and his wife and co-owner Heather Cichelli attributed the delay to a variety of factors, from staff shortages plaguing both Fairfax County and contractors to the arduous task of outfitting a space that formerly housed a tailor shop with infrastructure for food service.

“We were able to navigate through there, and we think it’s a beautiful space,” Ben said. “We’re really excited to have the community come and see this, and I think it’ll be a great addition to all the other great shops and businesses that are here in Vienna.”

As previously reported, the Cichellis decided to bring dirty sodas to their new home of Vienna after encountering the drinks in Utah, where they were staying during the first year of the pandemic.

Inspired by chains like Swig, which sparked a TikTok trend earlier this year thanks to a visit by singer Olivia Rodrigo, Coco’s offers three base beverages: soda, energy drinks like Red Bull or Monster, and still or sparkling water for those seeking a less sugary option.

The base drinks are then mixed with syrups, fruit purées, and cream and sometimes topped with fresh fruit, such as a lime. Toppings for the kids’ drinks include gummies, sprinkles and marshmallow Peeps.

Also selling treats like lollipops, flavored popcorn and cake bites, the shop uses a grab-and-go model, with just a couple of outdoor patio seats for when the weather is warmer. It will also have a mobile bar that can cater events and parties, though the menu will be condensed.

Hours of operation run from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday through Thursday, and from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The store is closed on Sundays.

Though open to expanding to other locations in Northern Virginia, if the opportunity arises, Ben and Heather are focused for now on bringing some pop to Vienna’s dessert scene, which already includes establishments specializing in pies, cupcakes, cookies, ice cream, Italian ice and even lokma.

“This is a great location, great space, being right at Nutley and Maple Ave,” he said. “I think this is a really good, busy, high-traffic, high-visibility area. We’re walking distance to Madison High School, so we hope to get a lot of the student traffic from there. Yeah, we’re just really excited to finally open.”

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Duck Donuts is opening in Springfield (photo courtesy of Duck Donuts)

Duck Donuts’ Springfield location will open this weekend with offerings of free donuts.

The fast-growing, North Carolina-based doughnut chain has set Saturday (Oct. 22) as the opening date for its Old Keene Mill Shopping Center shop at 8424 Old Keene Mill Road. It is in a 970-square-foot space that was previously the home of Exquisite Jewelers and next to Mezeh Mediterranean Grill.

There will be “limited” outdoor seating with decor that matches the “iconic beach theme” at the chain’s other locations, according to a press release.

This will be the doughnut franchise’s 16th Virginia location and third in the county, joining Herndon and Fairfax.

There will be free donuts at the opening. With every order placed between 7 and 9 a.m. Saturday, an extra free cinnamon sugar donut will be thrown in.

The Springfield location is owned and operated by Tesfaye Dres, who also heads the Alexandria shop that opened in 2017.

“My family and I are very excited to bring the Duck Donuts concept to Springfield, expanding our presence in the DMV area,” Dres said in the press release. “We look forward to offering our unique made-to-order experience and superior products and becoming an active part of the Springfield community.”

In June, a Duck Donuts spokesperson told FFXnow that the space in Old Keene Mill Shopping Center “met the requirements Duck Donuts looks for such as densely populated area, visibility from surrounding roads, easily accessible and strong co-tenants.”

The shopping center was recently renovated. It has a Whole Foods, the family-owned bicycle shop Bike Lane, and Pupatella Neapolitan Pizza, which opened in August.

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An Italian steakhouse is set to open next month (via Valerie Rose/Facebook)

Reston will officially welcome a new steakhouse next month. 

Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse is set to open at Reston Station on Nov. 1, the company announced yesterday (Thursday). A grand opening party is slated for that day from 5:30-8 p.m.

The 11,000-square-foot steakhouse will be located at 1902 Reston Metro Plaza.

Items on the menu include appetizers, homemade pasta, prime steaks, seafood and desserts. 

Proceeds from the grand opening party will be donated to Cornerstones, a Reston-based nonprofit organization. 

The steakhouse takes up ground floor space in a building that is the headquarters of international consulting firm ICF. The restaurant has 10 locations across the country.

Photo via Valerie Rose/Facebook

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A grand opening for the dentistry is set for Thursday (via Rosemary Ahanor)

A new dental studio has opened Sunset Hills Road in Reston.

Aglow Dental Studio is planning to host an official grand opening today (Thursday) from 4-6 p.m. in suite 303 at 11150 Sunset Hills Road.

The business is led by Rosemary Ahanor, who graduated from St. Elizabeth Hospitals in D.C.

“Aglow Dental opened its doors in August 2020 during a time when it was difficult to host social gatherings,” the company said in a press release. “Therefore, we are so excited to celebrate with the Reston and neighboring community on this special day.”

Services include oral cancer screening, dental exams, cosmetic dentistry, whitening, implants, root canal treatment, veneers and crowns.

To celebrate its grand opening, the dentistry is taking appointments for free cleaning and extractions, according to a statement from the business.

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(Updated at 11:45 a.m. on 10/14/2022) The Richmond Highway corridor’s first parklet and southern food restaurant Della J’s are both getting grand openings at Mount Vernon Plaza next week.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony is set for 11 a.m. on next Wednesday (Oct. 19) to unveil a new 3,200-square-foot parklet in the shopping center at 7694 Richmond Highway, adjacent to Moe’s Southwest Grill.

Mount Vernon Plaza is owned by Federal Realty, which also owns a number of other developments in Northern Virginia and across the country.

The new parklet is being touted as the first such amenity in the Richmond Highway corridor and will feature a trellis, porch swing benches, cafe seating, landscaping, and green space. Construction on the space began in May and finished about five months later.

The parklet was developed in partnership with the nonprofit Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation (SFDC), whose mission is to develop and support projects that help economic growth along Richmond Highway.

“We were excited to work with Federal Realty for the first parklet project on the Richmond Highway Corridor,” SFDC Executive Director Evan Kaufman said in the press release. “The team at Federal Realty immediately realized the value of this project, not only to their businesses at the Mount Vernon Plaza but to the general community in the area. We look forward to working with more visionary property owners to help develop parklets and community spaces up and down the Corridor.”

Kaufman told FFXnow that space like this is hard to find in the corridor and the addition of this parklet helps with the “liveability” of the community. There have already been talks of movie nights, public art, and other events in the space, he said.

“These types of projects…brings identity, character, and livability to the corridor that’s sometimes been lacking,” Kaufman explained.

The collaboration with Federal Realty could be a model for public-private partnerships at other developments along the corridor, he said. In fact, SFDC is already in talks with other Richmond Highway shopping centers about creating their own parklets.

Franconia District Supervisor Rodney Lusk, who is expected to be at the ribbon-cutting, also believes the parklet is a crucial amenity.

“The parklet will be a valuable amenity that will stimulate local growth, and attract visitors from across our region,” Lusk said in the press release. “Federal Realty’s investment is a clear commitment to making the Richmond Highway Area a destination defined by mixed-use and transit-oriented development.”

Della J’s is cooking again

Also officially opening its doors at Mount Vernon Plaza on Oct. 19 is Della J’s Delectables, the popular family-owned southern comfort food restaurant that started in Springfield before deciding to relocate to a larger space.

Now located right off Richmond Highway in a former Ruby Tuesday’s, the restaurant actually had its soft opening about a month ago, employees told FFXnow, but the full grand opening is next week.

Della J’s is owned by Alexandria natives Jerry and Lydia Young and serves up southern cuisine, like chicken biscuits, sweet potato pie, grits, fried fish, and barbeque meats. The new location is envisioned as a bit more “upscale,” with plans to eventually host live jazz music a couple of times a week.

Jerry Young grew up right behind what was then called T.C. Williams High School, and his dad was a member of the nearby historic Bethlehem Baptist Church in Gum Springs. Its current pastor, Reverend Dr. Darrell Keith White, is a regular at Della J’s.

Named after Jerry’s mom, the restaurant serves a number of the recipies that he helped her cook when he was a kid. Though she died at 68, cooking and booking remind Jerry of her.

“Cooking is a huge stress reliever for me,” he told FFXnow in June. “I have this ability to just open the cookbook up, look at a recipe, and pretty much nail it the first or second time.”

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A pet care business that brings grooming, dog walking, pet sitting and other services directly to owners has expanded into McLean.

Launched earlier this month, Woofie’s of McLean introduced itself to the community on Saturday (Sept. 17) at the kick-off for Shipgarten’s seven-week Oktoberfest celebration in Tysons. The “Dogtoberfest” event on Oct. 22 will serve as a grand opening.

Dogtoberfest festivities will include baths, nail trims and a raffle for a free grooming. Woofie’s will also offer a $5 discount on a first walk or 10% off a first grooming appointment, the company said.

Franchise owner and operator Ana Hul, a McLean resident, credits her 10-year-old Yorkie with inspiring her to become an owner after patronizing Woofie’s for years.

“I have been personally impacted by the way Woofie’s has taken care of my dog Pepper, and I wanted to provide that same level of care to pets in my own city of McLean,” Hul said in a press release.

Based initially out of Hul’s home, Woofie’s offers home visits for dog walking and pet-sitting services, including overnight care, as well as pet spas out of a mobile van that can stop at customers’ houses and community events.

The franchise’s service area includes McLean, most of Tysons east of Route 7, and northern Arlington. Its operating hours are from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

Founded in Ashburn in 2004, Woofie’s began franchising in 2018 and now has five locations, all in Northern Virginia. A Reston-Herndon franchise launched in April 2019.

The company was acquired by the franchisor Authority Brands in January.

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The Japanese store opens today in Fair Lakes Shopping Center (via Uniqlo)

UNIQLO opened its first location in an open-air mall at Fair Lakes Shopping Center today (Friday).

The Japanese brand will open a 9,000-square-foot store at 13041 Fair Lakes Shopping Center. The company has other locations at Tysons Corner Center, Union Station in D.C., and Pike & Rose in Bethesda, Maryland.

“Fair Lakes is a great location to help extend this mission to new customers, while building on the success we’ve seen in the region, with three other existing stores in the D.C. metro area,” said Nakasuji Masahiko, Uniqlo’s North American marketing director.

Masahiko said the Fair Lakes location offers conveniences similar to Uniqlo’s original location in Japan, where it was built as a roadside store.

“Fair Lakes Center offers a similar convenience, as well as a real sense of community where people can live, work, and gather,” Masahiko said. “As our first store opening following the pandemic, we’re proud to be bringing people back together again at a location that resonates so well with the brand.”

The Fair Lakes location is the company’s 44th store. In celebration of its grand opening, the store will offer special offers and giveaways through Sept. 29.

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Wawa’s new Fairfax City store will open on Sept. 1 (courtesy Wawa)

Wawa will do its best Oprah impression tomorrow (Thursday) — only instead of giving away cars, it will serve up free coffee to all customers in Virginia.

The occasion prompting this caffeine-fueled largesse is the grand opening of Wawa’s first store in the City of Fairfax, the company’s 100th in the state.

Replacing the old Rodeway Inn, the new convenience store and gas station at 9700 Fairfax Blvd. will welcome its initial customers at 8 a.m. by handing out commemorative T-shirts to the first 100 people to walk through the door.

To mark the milestone opening, Wawa says all 100 of its stores in Virginia will provide free coffee of any size that day. At the Fairfax store, the coffee giveaway will continue through Sept. 11.

Here is more on what to expect from the grand opening from a press release:

Friends and neighbors are invited to count down the exciting moment to when the doors open for the very first time at 8:00 a.m., followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9:00 a.m., with Wawa mascot Wally Goose, oversized scissors, red ribbon, confetti and fanfare.

As part of the grand opening festivities, Wawa will present at $30,000 grant from The Wawa Foundation to Special Olympics Virginia to support the Law Enforcement Torch Run, which unites officers from law enforcement agencies and corrections departments across the state to raise more than $1 million annually for Special Olympics Virginia. Each summer, law enforcement officers carry the Flame of Hope across Virginia, culminating with the Torch Run Final Leg and the lighting of the Olympics cauldron to officially open the Summer Games.

The day will also bring a hoagie-building competition between the Fairfax City Police Department, City of Fairfax Fire Department, and George Mason University Police Department, with $1,000 checks going to charities chosen by each department.

In addition, Wawa says it will recognize a member of the local community who has had a positive impact with a ceremony and gift basket. The gesture is part of the company’s “2022 Day Brighteners” initiative, which celebrates standout employees and community members.

“At Wawa, our core purpose is fulfilling lives every day and since our first store opened, we’ve believed that we all have a role in making this world a better place,” Wawa President and CEO Chris Gheysens said in a statement. “Our store teams and Associates deliver experiences and emotional connections with customers that go beyond what traditionally happens in a retail environment. Simply put, they help make their communities happier and more connected.”

Joining locations in Vienna and Chantilly, the 6,049-square-foot Fairfax store has 12 gas pumps and will offer hot food from its kitchen, including the chain’s signature hoagies and customizable burgers. There are also drinks and ready-to-go items.

Services include mobile ordering, curbside pickup, delivery options and catering.

The store has about 50 full-time and part-time employees. All of the positions are newly created, per the press release.

Started as a dairy processing plant in Pennsylvania in 1902, Wawa evolved into a grocery business with the opening of its first market in 1964. In recent years, the chain has been rapidly expanding beyond its core Pennsylvania and New Jersey service area, with a total of 52 new stores expected to open in 2022.

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