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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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Arnon Chapel Road and Arnon Lake Drive in Great Falls (via Google Maps)

A Great Falls man was killed in a single-vehicle crash on Friday (Nov. 11), Fairfax County police say.

Brian Christian Bernhart, 49, died after his Toyota Camry went off the roadway as he was driving near the intersection of Arnon Chapel Road and Arnon Lake Drive.

According to police, Bernhart “overcorrected” when he crossed a double yellow line and hit a tree.

He was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.

“Detectives continue to investigate to determine whether speed and alcohol were factors in the crash,” the Fairfax County Police Department said in a news release published Saturday (Nov. 12).

Here’s how to provide information about the crash:

Anyone with information about this crash is asked to contact our Crash Reconstruction Unit at 703-280-0543. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through Crime Solvers by phone – 1-866-411-TIPS (866-411-8477), and by web – Click HERE. Download the ‘P3 Tips’ App “Fairfax Co Crime Solvers”. Anonymous tipsters are eligible for cash rewards of $100 to $1,000 dollars. Please leave contact information if you wish for a detective to follow up with you.

That same day, a 37-year-old Maryland resident was killed in a three-vehicle crash on Fairfax County Parkway near Whitlers Creek Drive in West Springfield.

The man, Noe Solis Espinoza, was traveling northbound on the parkway when he lost control of his car and hit two other cars on the southbound side of the median. The driver of one of the other cars was treated for injuries that are not life-threatening, according to the FCPD.

Bernhart is the 18th non-pedestrian to die in a crash on county roads this year, surpassing the 16 fatalities recorded at this point in 2021.

Photo via Google Maps

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Construction has officially begun on equestrian parking at Turner Farm Park (via Fairfax County Park Authority)

Construction has officially begun on equestrian parking at Turner Farm Park (927 Springvale Road).

Contractors began working in the area Monday (Oct. 17) to install stormwater and drainage elements, a new driveway entrance, and a gravel parking lot.

The project is expected to wrap up by the end of December. Work will be limited between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on weekdays. The contractor might work on Saturdays to avoid project delays.

Construction access to the site is primarily through Springvale Road.

Turner Farm Park spans 40 acres, and the ground are open to the public. The park was a former dairy farm that is open for general riding.

The facility includes a playground for small children and a picnic pavilion and shelter.

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A new fitness center is coming soon to Great Falls’ Seneca Square.

Orangetheory Fitness, a national fitness boutique that focused on training endurance and strength building, has signed a lease for 4,726 square feet of space at 1025 Seneca Road in the commercial plaza.

According to the company’s website, the location is expected to open soon. A company representative did not immediately return a request for comment.

The company has locations throughout the country, including several in the area. Local locations include Ashburn, Reston and Potomac Falls.

Photo via Google Maps

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Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust and others cut a ribbon to celebrate The Residence at Colvin Run’s opening (photo courtesy of The Residence at Colvin Run)

A much-discussed senior living community is now open in Great Falls.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held last month to open the Residence at Colvin Run at 1131 Walker Road. In attendance were a few local officials, including Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust.

The 53,000-square-foot facility is being run by IntegraCare, which also operates a senior living facility in Hunters Woods on Colt Neck Road.

The one on Walker Road is on nearly three acres of land near the Colvin Run Mill historic site. It has 62 units in a mix of assisted living apartments and memory care residents for adults 65 and older.

Amenities include a fitness center, an art studio, a theater with an audio system that pairs with hearing aids, an aviary with finches, a rustic-inspired pub, and a trail connecting to neighborhood businesses. It will also bring more than 50 jobs to the community.

The facility fills a need for senior housing in Great Falls, where more than a third of the population is over 55 years old. Residents 65 and older make up about 14% of Fairfax County’s total population.

“In our experiences, we’ve found that seniors want to continue to live in the communities that they raised their families in,” IntegraCare CEO Larry Rouvelas said at the groundbreaking in April 2021. “The need to build senior housing communities in the specific neighborhoods that people grew up in is an important part of their quality of life.”

The project was first proposed more than four years ago and got the county’s approval in early 2019.

Foust has been a supporter of the project since the beginning. He told Reston Now last year that the current demand for senior living communities “far exceeds any supply that we’ve been able to create.”

Having grown up in Great Falls, Rouvelas said in the press release that the Residence at Colvin Run is a community that “will make the parents of my friends proud.”

“The parents of my friends here carpooled me and fed me at their dinner tables,” he said. “Decades later, when the opportunity arose to run a senior housing community in Great Falls, I jumped at the chance. We will run a community that will make the parents of my friends proud.”

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The county is considering ways to preserve dark skies around the observatory (via Fairfax County Government)

An effort is underway to preserve the dark skies around the Turner Farm Park Observatory in Great Falls.

To reduce light pollution in the area, Fairfax County is considering amending zoning standards for outdoor lighting within one-half mile of the observatory, which is located at the intersection of Georgetown Pike and Springvale Road.

The observatory has several telescopes and a former National Defense Mapping Agency observation tower. Since the spring of 2018, the facility has served more than 3,700 people with educational programming.

Changes would largely impact residential development — roughly 500 properties — surrounding the observatory.

So far, county staff indicate that residents appear split about possible changes to the zoning rule. An official proposal expected in the winter of this year.

“Comments received in support of additional regulations expressed that the amendment would be an important and valuable step in protecting dark skies and the use of the observatory,” staff said in a memo. “Comments in opposition indicated that additional regulations are not needed, and concerns were expressed about several issues, including safety and security, and whether additional regulations within ½ mile of the observatory would be meaningful, given the overall light pollution of the area.”

The county held a public meeting on the issue on Monday (Sept. 19). Residents and community organizations offered feedback on the existing conditions near the observatory and possible changes that could affect properties within a one-half-mile radius of the observatory.

Representatives for the Fairfax County Police Department noted that proper lighting is a deterrent for criminal activity, but overnighting and uplighting are not required to facilitate a safe environment.

The Great Falls Citizen Association held the first official public meeting on the issue on March 24. The association has historically supported efforts to preserve the area’s dark skies.

“Because this proposed amendment involves a unique set of circumstances, GFCA is in the process of evaluating the County’s preliminary concepts on the amendment and considering its impact on the community, following two Town Hall sessions GFCA hosted,” Peter Falcone, a spokesperson for the association, wrote in a statement.

The observatory is also working toward becoming an official urban night sky place from the International Dark Sky Association.

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About 279 people in Great Falls have lost power after a storm on Aug. 30, 2022 (via Dominion Energy)

More than 200 people in Great Falls have lost power, and a key road may be closed for hours after a rain storm this afternoon (Tuesday).

According to Fairfax Alerts, Beach Mill Road will be closed to traffic in both directions for at least six hours at the Springvale Road intersection due to downed power lines.

Dominion Energy has 279 customers in the area without power, according to its outage map.

The outage has been attributed to a broken pole, and crews are currently on the scene assessing the damage, though as of 6:30 p.m., there is no estimated time of restoration yet.

The storm otherwise appears to have had minimal impact in Fairfax County. Dulles International Airport reported 56 mph wind gusts, but less than a half-inch of rain was recorded in most areas, the Capital Weather Gang reported.

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Morning Notes

Lewinsville Park basketball courts in McLean (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

McLean Police Shooting Not Justified, Family Says — The parents of Jasper Aaron Lynch, who was fatally shot four times by a Fairfax County police officer during a mental health crisis call on July 7, said in a statement that the police “could have, and should have, handled this far differently.” Their comments came after the county police department released footage of the encounter. [WTOP]

Bailey’s Crossroads Car Dealership to Expand — “The Radley Acura dealership on Columbia Pike near Route 7 in Bailey’s Crossroads will undergo a major expansion. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a rezoning application Aug. 2 by Radley Management LLC to build a three-level parking garage with 307 spaces and an enclosed customer service drop-off addition.” [Annandale Today]

New Metro Safety Issues Raised — “Metro needs to inspect, clean, and protect Metrorail station rooms that house equipment that detects when trains are on tracks and helps the system avoid crashes, the agency’s safety oversight body said in a report released Thursday. The report further said that Metro had failed to follow through on inspections after the issue was raised in March.” [DCist]

County Pension Fund Doubles Down on Crypto — “Fairfax County, Va.’s $6.8 billion pension fund, the Fairfax County Retirement Systems, has received approval to invest $70 million across two crypto yield farming funds…The $1.8 billion Fairfax County Police Officers Retirement System has made a series of crypto investments in the past alongside the Fairfax County Retirement Systems” [CoinDesk]

Funds for Water to Historic Hall Approved — “The Fairfax County Park Authority Board approved a Mastenbrook Grant request from the Great Falls Grange Foundation (GFGF) in the amount of $20,000 to help install a municipal-connected water line to service the Great Falls Grange…The overall vision for this site is to serve the community as a self-supporting gathering place, a location for classes and a place to hold special events.” [FCPA]

Decision on Maryland’s Beltway Toll Lanes Coming — “With the U.S. Department of Transportation poised to issue its decision on an ambitious Capital Beltway and I-270 toll lanes plan, Montgomery County’s top planner accused state highway officials of running roughshod over Maryland law,” echoing similar complaints leveled by McLean residents over Virginia’s 495 NEXT project. [Maryland Matters]

Poll: What Does “Alexandria” Mean to You? — “One of the very first stories on ALXnow discussed…the distinction between the City of Alexandria and the areas of Fairfax south of Cameron Run sometimes referred to as Alexandria. This past week, two businesses opening this month — a cannabis dispensary and a metal supermarket — identified themselves as ‘Alexandria’ branches of their respective chains despite the fact that both are opening in Fairfax.” [ALXnow]

It’s Friday — Rain in the evening and overnight. High of 91 and low of 76. Sunrise at 6:15 am and sunset at 8:17 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

A popsicle melts at Capital One Center’s The Perch in Tysons (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Dog Dies in Newington Townhouse Fire — Unattended cooking started a fire at a townhouse in the 6700 block of Red Bird Woods Court last Friday (July 15) that displaced one resident and caused approximately $93,750 in damages. County firefighters found a dog while searching the property that was given medical care but didn’t survive. [FCFRD]

Fairfax Nonprofit Helps Rescued Beagles — The Fairfax-based animal rescue group Homeward Trails is one of several shelters across the country helping the Humane Society find homes for beagles rescued from a Cumberland breeding facility. The nonprofit will place 1,500 of the dogs and has already received almost 1,000 adoption applications. [Washingtonian]

New Mental Health Crisis Hotline Available — “A new 9-8-8 crisis and support hotline is now active across the United States, including here in Fairfax County…Dialing either 9-8-8 or the existing [National Suicide Prevention Lifeline] number, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), will connect you to behavioral health care and support 24 hours a day.” [Fairfax County Government]

GW Parkway Rehab Could Bring Traffic Cameras — “WTOP has learned that an upcoming major rehabilitation of the George Washington Parkway’s northern section will lay the groundwork — literally — for live traffic cameras along a 7-mile stretch of the roadway running from the Capital Beltway to Spout Run. Ground was broken for the project on Monday.” [WTOP]

McLean Baseball Player Drafted by New York Mets — “Add one more significant achievement, and likely the best of all, in a season full of big accomplishments and recognitions for Nick Morabito. The McLean resident and 2022 graduate of Gonzaga College High School recently was chosen in the second round (75th pick overall) of the Major League Baseball draft by the New York Mets.” [Sun Gazette]

Great Falls Bank to Expand — “Three-year-old Trustar Bank in Great Falls has raised $18 million in fresh capital and intends to use the proceeds to help fund its expansion across the D.C. region. The private placement…could be a prelude to an eventual initial public offering for the $560 million-asset Trustar.” [Washington Business Journal]

Annandale Park Field Named After Advocate — “In action at their regular meeting on July 13, 2022, the Fairfax County Park Authority Board voted to name rectangular field 6 at Pine Ridge Park in honor of Wanda Rixon at the request of the Fairfax Women’s Soccer Association (FWSA)…FWSA and Rixon played an instrumental role in the effort to retain Pine Ridge Park as permanent park land.” [FCPA]

DMV Stops by Tysons Library Tomorrow — “Looking to renew your license, get the real ID and more? The DMV is visiting the Tysons-Pimmit Library. Registration is required and an appointment can be made here. Please note the DMV takes a lunch break from 12:30pm-1:30pm.” [FCPL]

It’s Thursday — Humid and partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 89 and low of 78. Sunrise at 6:02 am and sunset at 8:31 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

A summer sunset over the I-66 West exit ramp in Centreville (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

I-66 West Traffic Changes in Oakton Today — “I-66 West between Nutley Street and Vaden Drive will be shifted to a new, long-term configuration beginning during the early morning hours on or about Wednesday, July 6. When this traffic change is implemented, the two right travel lanes will be separated from the two left travel lanes by barrier…This temporary traffic pattern will remain in place for approximately two months, and is part of the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway Project.” [VDOT]

Search for Suspect in Hybla Valley Homicide Continues — “A year ago today, Tafari ‘Trey’ Nadhim was fatally shot in the 7900 blk of Janna Lee Ave. Detectives continue to seek answers for Trey’s family & friends. If you have any info about his death, please call 703-246-7800 or submit tips through Crime Solvers.” [FCPD/Twitter]

Springfield Man Allegedly Hits Pedestrian After Stealing BMW — “A Springfield man was charged with grand larceny after he stole a car from a gas station on Braddock Road on June 25 and then ran into a pedestrian after Fairfax County Police attempted to stop him.” [Patch]

County Sees Uptick in Unemployment — “With 609,431 county residents in the civilian workforce and 16,122 looking for jobs, Fairfax’s unemployment rate stood at 2.6 percent for the month, according to figures reported June 29 by the Virginia Employment Commission. That’s up from 2.2 percent a month before, although it remained well below the rate of 3.7 percent a year ago.” [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]

Photos: New Citizens Welcomed on July 4 at Mount Vernon — “On Monday, July 4, George Washington’s Mount Vernon was the site of a naturalization ceremony for 52 new US citizens, some of whom serve in the US armed forces. Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen spoke, as did George Washington himself — well, the latest GW reenactor.” [Washingtonian]

Married FCPS Educators Help Ukranian Refugees — W.T. Woodson High School government teacher Lee Hedrick and Annandale High School ESOL Chair Meredith Hedrick recently traveled 18 hours to Poland to serve as volunteers for World Central Kitchen. They helped the nonprofit prepare and distribute meals to refugees at the border with Ukraine. [FCPS]

Great Falls Mansion Sold for $10M — “Innsbruck Holdings LLC on June 7 closed the sale of 576 Innsbruck Ave. in Great Falls, a 21,500-square-foot mansion, for $10.5 million…The Innsbruck mansion, also known as Alderley, has been through several owners since it was constructed in 2007, among them former AOL executive Richard Hanlon and James Carlson, the former CEO of AmeriGroup.” [Washington Business Journal]

It’s Wednesday — Rain starting in the afternoon. High of 85 and low of 78. Sunrise at 5:51 am and sunset at 8:39 pm. [Weather.gov]

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