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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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Junction Bistro & Bar’s upcoming Mosaic District location features a mural nodding to the area’s past as a movie theater hot spot (courtesy Junction Bistro & Bar)

A Junction Bistro and Bar is on its way to Merrifield, ready to pay homage to the area’s cinematic past.

Drawing its name from the railroad ties of Alexandria’s Del Ray, where the original Junction Bakery and Bistro opened in 2016, the regional business adapts each of its locations to the neighborhoods they serve, Managing Director Noe Landini says.

When the opportunity emerged for a bistro in the Mosaic District, the property’s history with movie theaters — starting with the D.C. area’s largest drive-in and continued with the Angelika Film Center — was a logical source of inspiration.

“We thought, ‘Man, it would be really cool to design this Junction after a drive-in,’ so we have a lot of cool design features at this one that are much different from the rest,” Landini told FFXnow by phone.

The Junction team hopes to unveil those design features, including a hand-painted wall mural with iconic film characters and images, to customers in late August.

Located between Urbano and District Dumplings in the former Cheesetique space (2985 District Avenue, Suite 115), the Mosaic Junction materalized with a partnership between Landini’s REX Management group and Common Plate Hospitality, which owns Urbano.

According to Landini, Common Plate invited him to look at the adjacent, vacated space, since they thought his brand “would be a good fit.” He had also collaborated with Mosaic District developer and property manager EDENS “on some minor things” in the past.

“I knew them, and I met with them, and it did seem like a really good fit, so we said, ‘Let’s give it a shot,'” Landini said.

The Mosaic Junction will serve a lunch and dinner menu of sandwiches, salads, and various entrees, from shrimp and grits to Thai street noodles. Brunch will be available on weekends, and there will be baked goods made by the bakery in Alexandria.

It will be the third Junction with a bar, joining venues in Capitol Hill and Chevy Chase. Landini says it will have the capacity to serve about 140 people with indoor, outdoor, and bar seating.

The restaurant has been under construction for more than half a year now, with Fairfax County issuing an interior commercial alteration permit back on Jan. 27.

The COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on supply chains has “one hundred percent” affected the restaurant’s build-out, Landini says. A refrigerator or oven that once might’ve arrived in a couple of days or a week now takes anywhere from four to 20 weeks.

“Whether it’s equipment for the kitchen or light fixtures or flooring, you name it, the supply chain is seriously broken in this country,” he said. “We’re not the only ones that are experiencing this. It’s everybody.”

With hiring for the new bistro underway, finding staff has also been a challenge — not in terms of finding people looking for work, but in finding people with experience, Landini told FFXnow.

Despite those obstacles, Landini says he’s eager to introduce Junction to the Mosaic District and find a foothold in the neighborhood.

“I know people that live there. I know people that work nearby. They’re very excited about us coming,” Landini said. “I’m very excited to come and be a part of that community.”

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Bad Axe Throwing has vacated its Mosaic District space (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

The former Bad Axe Throwing spot at the Mosaic District in Merrifield is being wiped clean.

Work to demolish Suite 190 at 2985 District Avenue has been underway for the past month, based on Fairfax County permits, as property owner EDENS prepares the space for a potential new tenant.

For those just itching to toss a hatchet or two, though, Bad Axe Throwing urges patience. The business is “actively pursuing a new location to open in the Fairfax area,” says Skylar Mills, the operations manager for the shuttered Mosaic District site.

“Fairfax is an amazing area and we are fully committed to finding a new, awesome location but it can take some time,” Mills said in an email to FFXnow. “Being an event based business, and axe throwing on top of that, narrows our options so we generally need to remain patient until the right space becomes available.”

Mills said she couldn’t comment further on a possible new location or reopening date but confirmed the company is “looking at any and all options in the broader area,” not just the Mosaic District.

Bad Axe Throwing started in 2014 amid a trend of axe-throwing bars that first took off in Canada before migrating to the U.S. in the late 2010s. After opening its first center in Ontario, it now has eight locations in Canada, dozens in the U.S., and two in the U.K.

The Mosaic District bar opened in September 2019 and reported success with over 600 visitors in its first weekend. However, it closed in the spring of 2020 when then-Gov. Ralph Northam ordered a shutdown of most businesses in Virginia in an effort to limit the coronavirus’ spread.

Bad Axe Throwing founder and CEO Mario Zelaya told FFXnow’s sister site, Tysons Reporter, that May that the company intended to reopen the Mosaic location when possible, though even then, a “long and difficult road to recovery” was expected.

The Mosaic District has added a few, mostly food-related tenants in recent months, including Shake Shack, the pizza eatery Pupatella and Pressed juice bar. The fast-casual Indian restaurant Rasa will open in the mixed-use neighborhood tomorrow (Saturday).

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Morning Notes

A flock of birds flies over Route 123 in Tysons (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Real Estate Taxes Due Today — For Fairfax County property owners, it’s the final day to send in the first installment of your annual real estate taxes, which saw significant increases this year even with a 3-cent reduction in the county’s rate. Payments can be made to the Department of Tax Administration by phone, mail, drop box, mobile app and online. [DTA]

Springfield Man Convicted in 2020 Murder — A jury convicted Carlington Fitz Auther Campbell yesterday (Wednesday) for shooting and killing Anthony Sullivan outside a West Springfield apartment in November 2020, Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano announced. Campbell was found guilty of second-degree murder and a weapons charge, which carry possible prison sentences of five to 40 years and three years, respectively. [WUSA9]

Decision on Mosaic District Skating Rink Postponed — “Because of some public pushback, unresolved questions and a legal-advertising snafu, the Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) on July 13 deferred until September its decision on whether to allow temporary ice- and roller-skating rinks in Merrifield’s Mosaic District.” [Sun Gazette]

Fairfax City Veterinarian Helps Ukraine Animal Shelters — “Dr. Courtney Katsur chokes up when she describes what she saw while volunteering for two weeks in Ukraine. The veterinarian with Town & Country Animal Hospital in Fairfax tried for months to find a way to get to the war zone to help animals she was seeing in the news.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]

Clinics Available for Required Student Vaccinations — “Before students return to school in late August, families can check to ensure their students are up to date on immunizations required at Fairfax County Public Schools. The Fairfax County Health Department is offering appointments at upcoming immunization clinics.” [Patch]

Inova to Rebrand Urgent Care Centers With Partnership — Inova Health System will soon let patients make appointments, check wait times and more through the on-demand health care platform GoHealth Urgent Care. Announced yesterday (Wednesday), the joint venture will convert seven existing Inova Urgent Care locations in Northern Virginia into Inova-GoHealth Urgent Care centers later this year, with additional locations planned. [Inova]

Penn Daw Firefighters Help Mow Lawn — “Recently, Station 11, Penn Daw, B-Shift responded to a routine EMS incident for an elderly gentleman experiencing distress while mowing his lawn on one of the hottest days of the year. The #FCFRD crew assisted the gentlemen, and then completed mowing his lawn prior to leaving.” [FCFRD/Twitter]

Park Authority Fall Registration Begins Next Week — “Fairfax County Park Authority registration for fall classes and programs opens Aug. 2, 2022. Fall classes will be in full swing with programs at Rec Centers, nature centers, historic sites, lakefront parks, golf courses and schools. Virtual classes are available for those who prefer or cannot attend in person.” [FCPA]

McLean Lidl Hosts Kids’ Drawing Contest — “Lidl is holding a drawing competition for children at its new McLean store as part of a benefit for the SHARE of McLean food bank. Starting Wednesday, children can participate in the drawing competition, with a chance to win a $100 Lidl gift card…Once the competition closes on Wednesday, Aug. 3, Lidl will narrow down the entries and ask McLean community members to vote for their favorite piece of art.” [Patch]

It’s Thursday — Humid and mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 86 and low of 75. Sunrise at 6:08 am and sunset at 8:25 pm. [Weather.gov]

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The fast-casual Indian eatery Rasa will open its Mosaic District location on July 30 (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

A new fast-casual Indian restaurant has arrived at the Mosaic District, filling a gap left in the Merrifield neighborhood’s dining options by Choolaah’s departure.

Rasa, a small but growing chain started in D.C. by two friends, will fully open its first Fairfax County location to customers this Saturday (July 30). Details about the grand opening will be forthcoming, the business said in an Instagram post on Friday (July 22).

“This will be our first suburban location, and we are so excited to be able to share our cuisine and culture with folks in Fairfax,” Rasa co-founder Sahil Rahman said. “Whether it’s your first time trying Indian food or you grew up in a South Asian household, we hope to be a place where guests can either experience a new culture or celebrate their own, while enjoying delicious food and drinks at an accessible price point in a welcoming and cozy environment.”

Located right next to Target at 2905 District Avenue, Suite 160, Rasa is 1,800 square feet in size with 27 seats, along with four outdoor tables that can accommodate eight people.

The restauranta will serve rice and salad bowls with both chef-prepared and do-it-yourself options. Drinks include juice and mango lassi as well as beer, wine, and cocktails.

The Mosaic location will also be the company’s first to feature a kids’ menu, a move that reflects the area’s “family-centric” environment and is intended “to encourage cultural and culinary exploration across all ages,” according to a Rasa spokesperson.

Rahman says Rasa “crafted a menu that is for everyone.” All of the meat is Halal, vegan options are plentiful, and since chef K.N. Vinod is from Kerala, flavors from southern India are represented as well as north Indian dishes like chicken tikka that are more common in the D.C. area.

Founded by Rahman and his childhood best friend, Rahul Vinod, Rasa opened its first location in 2017 near D.C.’s Navy Yard, just a block away from Nationals Park. The business expanded to Mount Vernon Triangle in 2020 and Arlington’s Crystal City last summer.

Rahman says he and Vinod “have always had a fondness” for the Fairfax area, ever since Bombay Bistro — the restaurant started by their fathers, K.N. Vinod and Surfy Rahman, in Rockville, Maryland — expanded to Fairfax City in 1995.

“It’s very exciting to be able to get back out this way,” Rahman said. “At Mosaic, EDENS has developed a unique, vibrant, and thriving community, and we’re looking forward to joining such a diverse and lively place.”

Rasa hasn’t shared any specific expansion plans, but Rahman says the team hopes “to continue growing in the region and beyond.” The company has been “actively seeking” new locations in the hopes of doubling its existing footprint, Bisnow reported in March.

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Bash Boxing anticipates opening a gym at the Mosaic District this September (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

A boutique gym is bringing its boxing-inspired workouts to Fairfax County.

Introduced to Rosslyn in 2018, BASH Boxing will soon extend its reach beyond Arlington County for the first time with a new studio at the Mosaic District in Merrifield.

The location is expected to open in September, a BASH employee told FFXnow last week, but the company is already getting acquainted with the community, popping up at the weekly farmers’ market and partnering with other businesses on free workout sessions.

The gym will be located in 2905 District Ave, Suite 195, on the same corner as EagleBank and Sweetgreen. The room was previously occupied by Zengo Cycle, which declared bankruptcy and shut down all of its fitness studios last year.

BASH Boxing announces that it’s opening a studio in the Mosaic District (via Bash Boxing/Facebook)

With two established sites in Rosslyn and Ballston, BASH announced plans to start franchising in early 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic forced it to pivot to live-streamed classes that spring, founder and co-owner Alexandra Trakas told FFXnow’s sister site ARLnow in January 2021.

As its studios reopened for limited in-person classes in the summer of 2020, the business also revived its franchising plans.

“Trakas and her investment team, which includes Washington Capitals player Tom Wilson, plan to help open hundreds of locations ‘in the coming years,’ locally and nationally,” ARLnow reported.

The past couple of months have been busy at the Mosaic District, with a Pressed juice bar and Pupatella Neapolitan Pizza opening in May and June, respectively. In addition, the Mosaic Skateland roller rink has returned for a second year, and Jinya Ramen Bar recently completed a move to a larger location at 2911 District Avenue, Suite 170.

The Middle Eastern restaurant Tawle is expected to open in Jinya’s newly vacated suite later this year.

Screenshot via BASH Boxing/Facebook

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(Updated at 12:10 p.m. on 6/16/2022) Pupatella Neapolitan Pizza and a juice bar from Pressed are fully open for business at the Mosaic District in Merrifield.

After roughly 10 months of construction and other preparations, Pupatella announced on Monday (June 13) that its newest location is now operating seven days a week, from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday and until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Located at the back of the shopping center at 2980 District Avenue, Suite 140, the 3,220-square-foot restaurant eased its way into the neighborhood with more limited hours in the week leading up to the official launch.

Pupatella Chief Operating Officer and partner Michael Berger says the soft opening gave the restaurant’s staff time to settle into the space and pace of operations, ensuring that the new site will be able to meet the business’ food and service standards.

The pizzeria has seats indoors for 90 people, including an area for private events and gatherings, along with outdoor patio seating for 60 people.

“Different than some of our other stand-alone pizzerias, we are extremely excited to be at Mosaic where we are a part of a thriving regional town center which is a shopping and dining destination for so many in the area,” Berger said. “We anticipate welcoming many of our current fans from other DMV neighborhoods on their visits to Mosaic and making new fans along the way.”

The Mosaic District location is Pupatella’s second in Fairfax County, following an opening in Reston in 2020. Started as a food truck in 2007, the Arlington-based business now has six brick-and-mortar stores overall, with expansions to Springfield, Leesburg, and northeast D.C. on the way.

A deal for a potential Chantilly site is in the works, a spokesperson told FFXnow last week.

The Mosaic District also recently welcomed Pressed, a California company that sells plant-based juices, smoothies and snacks. The store opened on May 25 in the former Puree Juice Bar space at 2905 District Avenue, Suite 140, the company confirmed.

Pressed donated 100% of the proceeds from the opening day to the local nonprofit Martha’s Table, it said in an Instagram announcement.

Pressed announces the opening of its Mosaic District store (via Pressed Juicery/Instagram)

The Merrifield location is open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. It offers same-day pickups and delivers within an 8-mile radius, according to the Pressed website.

Pupatella and Pressed join Shake Shack as the latest food offerings at the Mosaic District, which will add the Middle Eastern restaurant Tawle and the fast-casual Indian restaurant RASA in the coming months.

The mixed-use development is also preparing for its first-ever Pride Celebration, which will take place on June 25 in conjunction with the re-launch of the Mosaic Skateland roller rink.

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Morning Notes

The front entrance to Capital One’s headquarters in Tysons (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

What to Know About Covid Vaccines for Young Kids — If recommended by the CDC and Virginia Department of Health, COVID-19 vaccines will be available from the Fairfax County Health Department with no appointments needed. Parents should contact their medical provider to see if they will carry the vaccines, which may be harder to find at pharmacies due to a state law that prohibits pharmacists from giving vaccinations to kids younger than 3. [FCHD]

Friends Stunned by Fair Lakes Shooting Deaths — “Now those who knew them are left to reconcile the image of three bodies with memories of an outwardly cheerful trio…who seemed to be always up for a boisterous evening out, for the karaoke nights they enjoyed at Fairfax bars, at Fat Tuesday’s and the Auld Shebeen.” [The Washington Post]

Mosaic District Restaurant Helps Worker After Crash — The Greek restaurant Our Mom Eugenia is helping share a fundraiser for an employee after her daughter was critically injured in last week’s fatal crash in Oakton. The business operator says Katya is “doing well” after being hit by a car while walking home from Oakton High School with her cousin and friend. [NBC4]

Annandale House Fire Started by Lights — Fairfax County fire investigators have determined that a house fire in the 3900 block of Terrace Drive on Saturday (June 11) was started accidentally “by an electrical event involving outdoor string lights” on the backyard deck. The fire displaced seven people and caused approximately $125,000 in damages. [FCFRD]

Victim Says County Prosecutors “Pressured” Her Into Plea Deal — “Julie, not her real name, said she’s been traumatized. First, by a manipulating online predator. Then, by the Fairfax County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office.” [ABC7]

Prepare for Change at Springfield Town Center — “PREIT CEO Joe Coradino said his eye is on reshaping the property into something that more closely resembles its title as a town center, with a greater mix of uses. The introduction of additional components, including the planned Lego Discovery Center and seven-story hotel will help further that aim, he said.” [Washington Business Journal]

Historic Reston Distillery Gets Spotlight — “Thank you Virginia Department of Heritage Resources for promoting #Reston landmark A. Smith Bowman Distillery on #NationalBourbonDay! Read about the only legal whiskey distillery in Virginia in its day, which operated until the 1950s” [Supervisor Walter Alcorn/Twitter]

Restaurant Crawl Coming to Fairfax City on Saturday — The Old Town Fairfax City Summer Crawl is a timed, self-guided tour through participating restaurants, which will offer exclusive small plates and drinks from their menus. The free event will unfold from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m., letting patrons “support local restaurants…while enjoying a variety of bites and beverages.” [Fairfax City EDA]

It’s Wednesday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 85 and low of 69. Sunrise at 5:44 am and sunset at 8:37 pm. [Weather.gov]

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The Mosaic Skateland rink from summer 2021 (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Lace up the skates and practice popping those wheelies, because the Mosaic District’s popular outdoor roller skating rink is returning later this month.

Mosaic Skateland is set to open on June 25 on Merrifield Center Town Drive, between the Barnes & Noble and Mexican restaurant Urbano and across from Bloomie’s. It will run through the entire summer, until September 25.

The “80’s retro style roller rink” will be open seven days a week and at least 11 hours a day. On Friday and Saturday nights, the rink will be open for more than 12 hours, from 11 a.m. to 11:15 p.m. Purchasing tickets in advance is recommended, and attendees can bring their own skates, though pairs will be available for rent.

Opening night will also be accompanied by a “Pride Celebration” with musical performances.

Additionally, all roller rink ticket sales during the Pride Celebration will be donated to the advocacy group FCPS Pride to help “ensure that all students, including trans and gender-expansive students are welcome, safe and respected in schools,” according to the event page.

A spokesperson from EDENS, the owner and developer of the Mosaic District, told FFXnow by email that it sees the partnership with FCPS Pride as “a terrific way” to support LGBT youth and “educate our community.”

“The Gay-Straight Alliance student groups have moved more to a Gender and Sexuality Alliance as being more inclusive of the whole community of LGBTQI+ and allies,” the spokesperson wrote. “Skateland brings the community together as one to celebrate Pride month representing the importance of total inclusion.”

EDENS is partnering with operator Rink Management Services Corporation (RMS), which claims it is the largest operator of ice skating facilities in the country.

RMS applied for a special permit to construct the rink on an annual basis back in April, as FFXnow reported. The zoning hearing isn’t scheduled until July, but it appears the rink will be allowed to operate earlier than that.

The Board of Supervisors agreed in March to grant RMS a 75% reduction in zoning fees as part of last summer’s emergency measure that lowered or waived some fees to help the hospitality industry during the pandemic. RMS paid a $4,093.75 fee paid back in March, rather than the $16,375 fee that the permit typically would’ve carried.

EDENS is asking that the permit be approved “for future years as well,” turning the roller skating rink — as well as an ice skating rink in the winter months — into a permanent fixture at the Mosaic District.

If approved, the roller rink will run for about three months each year, starting in the spring as opposed to summer, according to an April statement from RMS. The operator also hopes to run an ice rink during the winter, starting in early November and closing in late February.

The Mosaic District has seen plenty of activity in recent weeks, with the opening of Shake Shack and last week’s launch of its summer movie series “Films in the Park,” which has screenings every Thursday through the end of August.

Still to come this summer is the Middle Eastern restaurant Tawle, which will move into the former Jinya space as the ramen bar relocates to a bigger suite.

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The pizza chain Pupatella is planning another location in Fairfax County (via Pupatella)

(Updated on 8/17/2022) Pupatella Neopolitan Pizza is preparing to bring its signature Neopolitan pizza to Springfield.

The Arlington-based business plans to open up shop at Old Keene Mill Shopping Center, at 8434 Old Keene Mill Road, according to county permits.

The Springfield location is one of several that Pupatella has in the works. A Mosaic District site is gearing up for a grand opening in the coming days, and two other locations are also planned in the region, with one deal close to being sealed in Chantilly, a company spokesperson tells FFXnow.

Reston welcomed a new Pupatella in 2020, replacing an iconic Pizza Hut in the area.

So far, the Mosaic location at 2980 District Avenue has temporary hours of noon to 3 p.m. and 5-9 p.m. every day. Cleaning is conducted between 3:30 and 4 p.m., according to the company’s website.

The pizza eatery has other locations in Richmond, one in Dupont Circle, and two in Arlington. A location in D.C. is planned at 301 Massachusetts Avenue and in Leesburg at 50 East Market Street.

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