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A table near the fountain at Lake Anne Plaza in Reston (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

A thorny set of issues continues to complicate Deli Italiano’s arrival in Reston’s Lake Anne Plaza.

The Reston Association Design Review Board (DRB) voted Tuesday (Feb. 20) to defer a decision on the application after attorney John Cowherd, who was representing an appealing Lake Anne condominium owner, flagged some concerns about the proposal.

Alec Berry, a member of the Lake Anne of Reston Condominiums Unit Owners Association (LARCA), has appealed conditional approvals by the DRB and LARCA — entities that considered the project separately — of the architectural plans for the restaurant.

Berry, who lives behind the restaurant’s planned unit at 1631 Washington Plaza, said he was concerned metal equipment, an exhaust shaft, an exhaust pipe, gas line and louvres would be installed on LARCA common space, not in the commercial unit, which is owned by Baslios Family Real Estate.

Berry asserts that he has an exclusive easement to an area where the restaurant plans to install a shaft, equipment and gas lines. The front facade of his house faces the back of the property, and the front of the restaurant faces Washington Plaza.

According to Cowherd, he was also concerned about a contractor that cut a large hole through LARCA’s common elements that separates the floor of Berry’s unit and the restaurant. The slab provides strucural support and is essential to protecting the home from a grease fire in the restaurant.

“I just don’t think this shaft project is really moving Reston or LARCA forward. I think it’s going to kind of hold things back with respect to this particular building,” Cowherd said.

Cowherd said Berry is awaiting a books and record request to LARCA in order to get more information about the drawings, architectural approvals, and documents referenced in Deli Italiano’s application and decision-making process.

The board deferred the appeal to allow staff to look into those issues following a discussion held in executive session.

Deli Italiano has been working on plans for the Reston location for several years. A spokesperson said the company was not ready to comment by press time.

Deli Italiano opened a restaurant at 700 Lynn Street in Herndon in December 2022. It serves pizza, pasta, subs and more.


Ever since he got into the restaurant business, Usman Saleem wanted to open a place in Fairfax City.

After mostly working in Tysons and D.C., the restauranteur finally achieved that dream earlier this year, when The Commons Fooderie officially opened at 3955 Chain Bridge Road, Suite 107, in Old Town Fairfax on Jan. 22.

Set to celebrate its opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11 a.m. on Thursday (Feb. 22), the fast-casual restaurant and coffee bar brings Saleem back to his college days, which he spent studying just down the road at George Mason University.

“The area felt like home, and so, we wanted to bring our concept to the City of Fairfax because we felt like it was a venue that was kind of missing, a place where the community can meet, [with] good food at reasonable prices in a fast-casual format,” Saleem told FFXnow.

Natives of Springfield, Saleem and his wife and fellow restauranteur, Hanna, have spent more than a decade now serving up coffee and bistro-style food around the D.C. area, often in office buildings and cafeterias. Their established eateries include Bistro 1775 in Tysons and Carvings and Uptowner Cafe in D.C.

The Commons Fooderie represents a culmination of those ventures, combining their top-selling items into one menu. In addition to drinks provided by Grace Street Coffee, the restaurant offers omelets and other breakfast items, sandwiches, burgers, quesadillas, wraps, salads, rice bowls and more.

Saleem says the team is “extremely obsessed” with using fresh ingredients, including for the coffee, which is roasted within 24 hours whenever they order a batch.

“We don’t make anything in advance,” he said. “So, when you order your food, it’s made fresh to order, and I think that really resonates when people eat the food, because the response that we’ve gotten is, ‘Oh my god, the food tastes so fresh,’ and we’re like, that’s because it was literally made after you ordered it.”

During its first month of business, the restaurant has also gotten a positive community response for its “pretty and cozy” environment, according to Saleem.

Designed by Hanna Saleem, the approximately 3,000-square-foot space can accommodate 85 patrons at a time and features a variety of seating areas that Saleem hopes to complement with an outdoor patio in the spring. At that time, they might also consider introducing live music, something that patrons have suggested.

“We created a space not only for people in the community, but also for people who are working in the area and also the George Mason students who are studying in the area,” Usman Saleem said, noting that the restaurant does accept “Mason Money,” the university’s prepaid debit system for students.

The Commons Fooderie is currently open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., though the Saleems intend to extend the hours to midnight once they become more established in the community.

The concept appears to be successful enough so far that the couple is rebranding other locations, including cafes in the office buildings at 1750 and 1600 Tysons Blvd, as The Commons Fooderie. Another office-based location at 12011 Sunset Hills Road in Reston will also have that name when it opens.

Saleem says they hope to open the Reston restaurant “this month,” but the date remains to be decided. The menu will be slightly smaller than the one in Fairfax City due to a lack of fryers.

“That one serves more of the corporate environment,” Saleem said. “It’s right outside of Reston Town Center. So, there’s a lot of office buildings, a little less residential, so I think that’s different in that manner, where Fairfax City has a good mix of commercial, residential and students.”


Shake Shack has staked out an opening date in Tysons.

The fast-food restaurant’s new location at Pike 7 Plaza (8350 Leesburg Pike) will welcome its first customers at 11 a.m. tomorrow (Wednesday). Free merchandise, including custom mugs, phone Pop-sockets and stickers, will be available for roughly 100 patrons.

In addition, Shake Shack says it will donate $1 for every sandwich sold on its opening day to Northern Virginia Family Service, a nonprofit that provides financial and housing assistance, physical and mental health services, early childhood education programs and other community resources for those in need.

This is Shake Shack’s fifth location in Northern Virginia and its second in Tysons, where it can be found just east on Leesburg Pike (Route 7) inside Tysons Corner Center. The company also has restaurants at the Mosaic District in Merrifield, inside the Smithsonian’s Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly and in Arlington.

The Pike 7 Plaza location, however, utilizes a relatively unique concept.

Newly constructed in the shopping center’s parking lot, the 3,200-square-foot building features outdoor patio seating and a “drive-up” window exclusively for drivers picking up online orders. The drive aisle for the window can fit 11 to 12 vehicles, according to the plan that Fairfax County’s board approved in 2022.

A Shake Shack representative says the company has “a few” other drive-up locations, but this is the first one in Northern Virginia.

“We’re delighted to bring a new Shake Shack location to our loyal fans in Northern Virginia at Pike 7 Plaza,” a Shake Shack spokesperson said. “This easily accessible spot, complete with a drive-up window for added convenience, allows us to connect with our guests more effectively and meet them where they’re at. Our team is excited to become part of the community, offering our signature warm hospitality, top-quality ingredients, and a menu filled with exciting options.”

Started in 2001 as a hot dog cart in New York City, Shake Shack opened its first restaurant in 2004 and now has over 500 of them around the world. Recently, it has focused on expanding digital sales and adding drive-thru locations, which were introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to the milkshakes suggested by its name, the business sells burgers, chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, crinkle-cut fries and frozen custard. It’s also currently serving a limited-time “Korean style” menu featuring a fried chicken sandwich, barbecue burger and spicy Korean barbecue fries.

The Pike 7 Plaza restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday, and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Online orders can be placed through Shake Shack’s website and mobile app.

Compass Coffee will limit the travel aisle near Route 29 to one direction of traffic to accommodate its planned drive-thru cafe in West Falls Church (staff photo by Vernon Miles)

Compass Coffee is still weeks, if not months, away from opening its first Fairfax County cafe, but it’s already being warmly welcomed — at least by local planning commissioners.

After a public hearing on Wednesday (Feb. 7), the Fairfax County Planning Commission voted in support of the D.C.-based coffee company’s application to convert a vacated BB&T bank at 7393 Lee Highway (Route 29) in West Falls Church into its second drive-thru restaurant.

Before the unanimous vote, a couple of commissioners admitted that they’re inclined to view Compass Coffee favorably based on their experiences with its existing locations.

The Rosslyn shop is a regular morning stop for Franconia District Commissioner Dan Lagana, who joked that the business may “sort of have an unfair advantage.” After visiting on Tuesday (Feb. 6), Braddock District Commissioner Mary Cortina praised the Fairfax City location for its ambiance and the coupon for a free cup of coffee for first-time patrons.

“It’s a very nice, comfortable place, and people looked like they were settling in for the day,” she observed.

For its new location, Compass Coffee intends to repurpose the 2,552-square-foot bank building in the Shops at West Falls Church as a full-service cafe with two drive-thru aisles — one for in-person orders and one for online and mobile orders. One of the three existing aisles will be closed to traffic so baristas can bring items to vehicles in the online and mobile pick-up lane, according to a staff report.

The drive-thru lanes will accommodate a total of 14 stacked vehicles at a time, more than what’s currently possible on the site. To fit those vehicles on the 0.55-acre property, the coffee shop has proposed limiting the travel aisle closest to Route 29 to westbound traffic.

“The applicant has proposed to install landscape islands, bollards and signage to ensure eastbound travelers recognize this driveway is ‘do not enter’ for eastbound traffic,” county planner Curtis Rowlette told the commission.

The business has also committed to refreshing the trees and shrubs around the building with native, non-invasive plants after “site visits revealed that landscaping was either missing or in poor condition,” according to Rowlette.

At-Large Commissioner Phil Niedzielski-Eichner questioned whether the one-way drive aisle will affected parking. The change will require the replacement of 14 perpendicular parking spaces with four parallel ones, but the restaurant will have 27 spots overall, which Rowlette said meets the county’s standards.

Cortina said she doesn’t anticipate parking will be an issue, since the cafe will be in a strip shopping center that currently has 200 total spaces.

As of late December, Compass Coffee was targeting a spring opening for its West Falls Church shop, Vice President of Marketing Joel Shetterly told FFXnow. With the Board of Supervisors not scheduled to vote on the special exception amendment application until March 19, it’s unclear if that timeline will hold.

Still, Shetterly said at the planning commission hearing that the company is “very excited” to expand into Fairfax County.

“I just wanted to thank everyone for their hard work and all their help on our application over the last year, so we’ve learned a lot,” he told the commission and county staff. “We’re very excited about what lies ahead for us in Fairfax.”

Kook Dogg is slated to open this April in Reston (courtesy Kook Dogg Cafe)

A new cafe is on its way to RTC West in Reston.

Kook Dogg Cafe, a new concept, will sell delicatessen sandwiches, toasted hot subs, salads and fresh pizzas, along with a selection of craft beers. It’s slated to take over space at 12100 Sunset Hills Road that was vacated last year by Little Beast Cafe and Bistro.

The incoming tenant was first reported by The Burn, which noted that a “coming soon” banner has been draped on the storefront.

The restaurant was established in 2021 by chef Paul Huckler, a Northern Virginia native, for the “sole purpose” of opening and operating a “neighborhood” specialty sandwich and pizza restaurant, according to company business materials.

After exploring restaurant sites, Kuchler settled on the Reston Town Center area for a flagship restaurant. 

The business has four partners: Kuchler and his wife Noel, along with Walter Hodges and his wife Karen.

We are currently renovating the space and plan to open in early April of 2024,” Hodges told FFXnow.

Hodges said the decision to sign a lease at RTC West was an easy one. 

The location has high visibility, easy access, free parking and pleasant surroundings.  The location is well sited to serve the Reston residential community as well as a thriving business community which we hope to feed regularly either through our catering business or for a relaxing after-work beer or cocktail,” he said.

Little Beast Cafe and Bistro and Red Velvet Cupcakery closed their RTC West locations at the end of 2023. They can still be found in D.C.’s Chevy Chase neighborhood at 5600 Connecticut Avenue NW.

Spice Village will house the restaurant brand Nash & Smash (via Google Maps)

Nash & Smash is bringing its brand of fried chicken, smash burgers, and Nashville-style sandwiches to the Herndon area.

Spice Village, a food hall in Village Center at Dulles (2501 Centreville Road), is now selling items from Nash & Smash. The hall also has food from restaurants like Peri Peri Original and Kallisto Steakhouse, according to company representative Zayan Abbasi.

The Ashburn location of Peri Peri Original — a partner restaurant of Nash & Smash — will also sell items from the company.

As first reported by The Burn, more rapid expansion is on the horizon for Nash & Smash.

“We are opening around eight to 10 locations this year,” Abbasi said.

The company’s flagship stores will be located in Manassas, Silver Spring, Baltimore City and Richmond. Those locations are expected to open sometime this year, he said.

Customers can order from Nash & Smash online through the Herndon location.

Image via Google Maps

The Korean barbecue restaurant Meat Project is now open in Halstead Square (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

A new Korean barbecue eatery is now cooking at Halstead Square near the Dunn Loring Metro station.

Meat Project opened the doors to its new location on the ground floor of The Lofts apartment building at 2727-G Merrilee Drive in mid-January, marking its first expansion beyond its original site in Centreville.

For the soft opening, which was announced on Instagram on Jan. 12, the restaurant is operating from 5-11 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday and from 5 p.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. Its website suggests the start time will eventually move up to 2:30 p.m.

Meat Project was started at 5825 Trinity Parkway in July 2020 by owner Sam Kim and his mother, Grace, who also own Rainbow Food Catering and Manoa Bakery Cafe in Annandale.

Both locations offer all-you-can-eat meats and seafood for $30 per person, or $20 for kids who are under 4 feet tall. Kids under 3 feet tall can eat for free, per Meat Project’s website. There is also a bar that serves beer, wine, sake and soju.

Kim previously told FFXnow that the Merrifield restaurant would have some additional menu and bar items, including cocktails.

Meat Project joins a rush of recent restaurant openings around the Dunn Loring Metro station. In the past few months, nearby Avenir Place has added The Casual Pint, the taiyaki shop Rice Culture and the American-style barbecue joint Myron Mixon Pitmaster BBQ.


A Japan-based ramen chain is gearing up to open a new location in Lincolnia this summer.

Founded in Nagoya, Japan, in 2010, Kajiken is expanding its footprint with an outlet in Pinecrest Plaza at 6550K Little River Turnpike. The restaurant is scheduled to open within the next six months, according to the franchise owner, Maryland-based IVEA Restaurant Group.

The 3,100-square-foot space was filled for the past two decades by Foxfire Grill, a popular establishment that closed its doors on Oct. 31, 2023. Owner Terri Fox told Annandale Today that Edens, which owns Pinecrest Plaza, doubled the rent.

Foxfire Grill’s suite has been cleared out, but Kajiken doesn’t appear to have started its buildout yet. As of last week, no signs had been posted to announce its impending arrival.

Known for its abura soba, a “soupless ramen” dish featuring buckwheat noodles served with oil instead of traditional broth, Kajiken has locations all over the world, including 37 in Japan, 20 in China, five in Singapore, five in New Zealand, and now three in the U.S.

IVEA CEO Edward Yo told FFXnow the company launched its first U.S. franchise in Baltimore, Maryland, before moving into markets in Chicago, Illinois, and San Mateo, California.

Per its website, the company is planning to expand to five additional locations in Rockville, Maryland; Manhattan and Flushing, New York; Bellevue, Washington; and Richfield, Minnesota.

While this will be the first Kajiken location in Virginia, IVEA is no stranger to the region.

In addition to Kajiken, the restaurant group operates dozens of other Asian-inspired eateries throughout the D.C. area, including Genki Izakaya, Urban Hot Pot and Southeast Impression.

Wiseguy has officially opened in Herndon (courtesy Wiseguy Pizza)

A new pizza restaurant has opened its doors in Herndon.

Wiseguy Pizza, a concept by Reston-based Thompson Hospitality, announced yesterday (Thursday) that it is now open at 1142 Elden Street, taking over the company’s former Big Buns Damn Good Burgers location, which closed less than a year after opening.

Thompson Hospitality decided to swap the concepts “for several reasons,” Chief Operating Officer Alex Berentzen said in a statement.

“Our proximity to another Big Buns within just 5 miles led us to consider the opportunity to embrace the Herndon community even more fervently,” Berentzen said. “This strategic move aligns with our commitment to expanding our dynamic portfolio throughout the DMV region. We look forward to sharing Wiseguy’s incredible offerings with the Herndon area.”

This is Wiseguy Pizza’s first location in the Fairfax County area. Started in 2012 by a Turkish immigrant, the business can currently be found in D.C., Arlington and Wheaton, Maryland. An expansion to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is in the works, according to the company’s website.

The space on Elden Street is designed to serve mostly carry-out customers. Its operating hours are:

  • Monday through Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Thursday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight
  • Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The pizza features sauce from California, cheese from Wisconsin, olive oil and Parmiagiano-Reggiano from Italy. The menu offers rotating specials, like Korean chicken and paneer tikka, as well as a cauliflower, gluten-free 10-inch pizza crust. Vegan and vegetarian options include mushroom truffle, buffalo and backyard pie.

Big Buns closed its Elden Street location on Sept. 4, 2023 after opening in late 2022. The burger joint can still be found at Reston Station.

Miyu Beauty and Wellbeing, a nail salon that also offers yoga and pilates classes, is opening at Idylwood Plaza (courtesy Federal Realty)

(Updated at 8:30 p.m. on 2/6/2024) Idylwood Plaza is shaking up its retail mix to start 2024.

The shopping center on Leesburg Pike in Idylwood will usher in its newest tenant, MIYU Beauty & Wellbeing, with a grand opening celebration at 4:30 p.m. tomorrow (Friday). Falls Church City Vice Mayor Letty Hardi and Councilmember Marybeth Connelly are expected to attend.

Miyu occupies a 2,545 square-foot space next to Whole Foods Market at 7505-P Leesburg Pike, where Honest Soul Yoga used to be. The salon offers non-toxic, vegan-friendly and cruelty-free manicures and pedicures, along with yoga and pilates classes.

The business comes from neighbors Zeina Chouman El Eid and Karen Abouzeid, who both have experience in the beauty industry and decided to combine their skills to “help individuals tap into their inner essence, promote well-being, and bring beauty into everyday chaos,” according to Miyu’s website.

“We offer a tranquil haven and safe space to empower everyone,” Abouzeid, now a managing partner at Miyu, said. “MIYU’s skilled and experienced staff will guide our clients towards self-realization and unmatched confidence, while connecting them with like-minded individuals who share a passion for holistic living.”

Later this year, Miyu will be joined at Idylwood Plaza by First Watch, the daytime cafe, and Fairfax County’s first Chicken Salad Chick.

First Watch aims for summer opening

First Watch confirmed to FFXnow in November that it was looking for a new site in the Falls Church area, but the lease hadn’t been finalized at that time. The 4,000-square-foot restaurant at 7501 Leesburg Pike was officially announced last week.

Known for its seasonally rotating breakfast, brunch and lunch menus, which include items like avocado toast and lemon ricotta pancakes, First Watch is expected to open its Idylwood location in late summer 2024, according to public relations manager Hunter Carpenter.

The cafe will be open seven days a week from 7 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. for pickup, delivery and dine-in service. It will employ approximately 30 people.

First Watch can currently be found in Fairfax City, Chantilly and Bailey’s Crossroads, where it opened in 2021. Additional locations are slated to open this spring in Franconia’s Festival at Manchester Lakes and this summer in the former TGI Friday’s in Fair Lakes.

After finding success in Bailey’s Crossroads (5880 Crossroads Center Way), First Watch decided “it was about time to bring our experience closer to home for our neighbors further north,” Carpenter said.

“Though we may be relative newcomers to Fall Church, that doesn’t mean we’re strangers to Fairfax County,” Carpenter told FFXnow by email. “As we quickly approach two decades in the region, we look forward to expanding our presence not only in Falls Church but also in Fair Lakes and Franconia and inspiring a new morning routine for our customers with each new opening.”

Chicken Salad Chick makes way to D.C. area

Started in 2008 by Stacy Brown, a stay-at-home mother in Auburn, Alabama, Chicken Salad Chick announced last May that it had signed a development agreement with Devon Chamberlin and her family, who will open eight franchises in Fairfax and Arlington counties over the next five years.

The first franchise is slated to open at Idylwood Plaza this spring, according to Chicken Salad Chick Chief Marketing Officer Tom Carr.

An Arlington location is also planned. FFXnow’s sister site ARLnow previously reported that that site would open this spring, but Chick Salad Chick now says the Idylwood Plaza restaurant will be the first to open.

The 2,717-square-foot restaurant will be located at 7505 Leesburg Pike, Suite 120A, replacing Loyal Companion after the pet wellness chain shuttered all of its local shops last year, according to Federal Realty, the property manager for Idylwood Plaza.

Chicken Salad Chick sells Southern-style chicken salads made from scratch, sandwiches and pimento cheese. The company has 258 locations right now, including six in central and southern Virginia, but it has wanted to expand into new regions of the U.S., according to Carr.

“The demographics of Northern Virginia, generally, and Falls Church and adjacent areas specifically, make it well-suited for Chicken Salad Chick and its healthy menu options,” Carr said.


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