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A new steak and seafood spot opened its doors this month in Old Town Fairfax.

Draper’s Steak & Seafood opened at 3936 Old Lee Highway last Wednesday (May 11).

The Fairfax City Economic Development Authority lauded the business when they officially opened after a soft opening a week earlier.

“Go see the magic yourself! Cheers to Draper’s future success and lasting partnership,” the authority wrote in a social media post.

The restaurant offers items like traditional steaks with a variety of cuts, lobster, salmon, rockfish, and puttanesca.

The business is open Tuesday through Thursday from 4-10 p.m. and Friday through Saturday from 4-11 p.m. The restaurant is closed Sunday and Monday.

Draper’s Steak & Seafood did not immediately return a request for comment from FFXnow. It’s established by the Parry Restaurant Group, which is behind other restaurants like Duke’s Diner and 23rd & Main.

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The bakery Shilla recently opened a new shop on Metrotech Drive (via Shilla/Facebook)

One of Chantilly’s core shopping centers is getting a jolt of life with the arrival of a few new businesses, including a recently added bakery.

Notably, Shilla Bakery & Cafe opened a third location in the Sully Place Shopping Center late last month. The traditional Korean bakery first opened in 1999 and has since expanded to three locations, including a spot in Tysons. The bakery opened at 13938 Metrotech Drive on April 25.

EggHolic, a fast-casual restaurant that sells Indian street food, also plans to open sometime this year in the Lotte-anchored shopping center (13951 Metrotech Drive), which occupies 500,000 square feet at the Route 50 and Centreville Road intersection.

As its name suggests, most of its menu items involve eggs in one form or the other.

The business is rapidly expanding to other locations across the country, including Ontario, New Jersey and Maryland. It already has locations in Illinois, Kentucky and Texas.

The vegan restaurant serves items like cheese katori — two boiled eggs filled with spices and cheese — and specials like lack — shredded green bell pepper cooked with cheese and eggs. The complete menu is available online.

Cousins Bhagyesh and Lay Patel launched the business three years ago in Chicago. The business did not immediately return requests for comment on exactly when it is expected to open.

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As Memorial Day nears, grills will be heating up across America, including at the new Big Buns Damn Good Burgers in Vienna.

The rapidly expanding Northern Virginia burger chain will open its location in the town to customers next Tuesday (May 17) after months of pandemic-related delays. Founder Craig Carey had previously expressed hope for a fall 2021 launch.

“The pandemic, with everything that’s going on in the world with supply chains and everything else, has impeded and slowed down our opening timelines,” Big Buns Director of Operations Kebba Gaye told FFXnow yesterday (Monday). “From getting equipment, from even getting employees, it’s been harder.”

Replacing Elevation Burger at 142 Branch Road SE in Danor Plaza, Big Buns serves up made-to-order burgers, burger bowls, chicken sandwiches, fries, and drinks, including milkshakes, beer, and cocktails.

Started in Arlington in 2007, the company didn’t add a second location until 2018 but has now grown to six restaurants. It arrived in Fairfax County via Reston Station in March 2021 and added a Herndon site on Franklin Farm Road just last month.

Additional franchises are in the works for McLean, where it will be paired with Matchbox Pizza at the upcoming Lidl, and downtown Herndon on Elden Street. The company is also planning to expand into Loudoun County, taking over an Elevation Burger in Ashburn.

Customer demand brought Big Buns to Vienna, according to Gaye, who says the Ballston, Shirlington, and Reston locations have gotten a lot of customers from the town who had “been telling us for a while, ‘You should come to Vienna.'”

The restaurant will operate from 11 a.m. to 9:05 p.m. on Sundays through Thursdays, and from 11 a.m. to 10:05 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

“We’re happy to be here,” Gaye said. “I know the neighbors [have] been waiting for us for a long time, and we’re ready to offer them nice burgers.”

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Pan Am Shopping Center (file photo)

(Updated at 3:30 p.m.) A new chicken spot is opening soon for Merrifield’s Pan Am Shopping Center.

Chicka Loca plans to open at the shopping center in mid-May at 3089 Nutley Street.

Owner Pedram Kanzi says his restaurant will offer 25 percent off all menu items for the first two weeks of opening.

“I’m thrilled to share a piece of my culture with the Fairfax community,” Kanzi said. “It feels surreal to be opening my very first restaurant — a dream that has been years in the making.”

A precise opening date hasn’t been set yet.

With a ramen and Korean barbecue restaurant also slated to open in the coming months, Pan Am Shopping Center continues to add new tenants, even as Federal Realty Investment Trust eyes it for redevelopment, though that could take several years to come to fruition.

“Federal Realty Investment Trust has taken the first steps toward seeking approval for a mix of uses at Pan Am,” said Deirdre Johnson, senior vice resident of asset management. “It should be noted that this project could take several years to bring to fruition. Our relationships with our merchants are extremely important to us, including Michael’s and Micro Center, and we plan to incorporate them into the property for many years to come.”

She says the company plans to work with all stakeholders to create “something that is successful, vibrant and something that can positively define the community.”

The proposal submitted to Fairfax County in March would transform the strip mall into a mixed-use development with three residential buildings, townhouse, and a public plaza.

In addition to the Micro Center and Michaels block, structures slated for demolition include the now-vacant, standalone McDonald’s building, and the Wells Fargo bank in the center’s northwest corner, which will be replaced by a 5,000-square-foot retail building.

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Shack Shack is now open at the Mosaic District, but with limited hours (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Fairfax County’s second Shake Shack is now open and serving customers.

Known for its burgers and milkshakes, the chain quietly opened the doors of its new Mosaic District restaurant on April 18, store manager Tasha told FFXnow.

However, the site is currently operating only from 5 to 9 p.m., according to the Mosaic District website.

“Just some store issues,” Tasha said when asked about the limited hours. “We’ve got to get some things figured out still.”

The restaurant doesn’t yet have a clear timeline for when hours will expand, she added.

Shake Shack is located in the 4,000-square-foot space at 2911 District Avenue that previously belonged to the fast-casual Indian joint Choolah. It has several tables and chairs on a 668-square-foot outdoor patio.

Originating as a hot dog cart in New York City, Shake Shack now has over 200 locations nationwide, but the Merrifield site represents its first expansion in Fairfax County since opening at Tysons Corner Center in 2014.

“It’s been good so far since we opened,” Tasha said. “We wanted to be part of a good community. We wanted to be part of a family-oriented community, and that’s what we did.”

While no other plans in the county have been officially confirmed, the company will reportedly be the tenant for an upcoming drive-thru facility at Pike 7 Plaza in Tysons.

Elsewhere in the Mosaic District, Sunglass Hut has opened next to the MacMillan Whisky Room, and a Pressed juice shop is expected to arrive this month. Work is underway on a new, bigger space for Jinya Ramen Bar, which will relocate to make way for the Middle Eastern restaurant Tawle this summer.

For those who miss Choolah, the Indian eatery RASA will open its first location in the county adjacent to Mosaic’s Target. The restaurant applied for beer/wine and mixed beverage licenses on April 21, according to Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority records.

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Yu Noodles has opened a new restaurant in Herndon (via Yu Noodles/Facebook)

A new noodles shop has officially opened in the Town of Herndon.

Yu Noodles opened at 368 Elden Street late last week, bringing a mix of snacks, dumplings, noodles and rice options to the area.

A soft opening happened on Friday. The restaurant specializes in hand-pulled noodles that are served in what the business says is its “special sauce.”

Online ordering is also available. The business has other locations in Rockville and Fairfax.

A Tysons location is listed as “coming soon” on the restaurant’s website.

Photo via Yu Noodles/Facebook

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Big Buns Damn Good Burgers will open a location in Herndon (via Thompson Hospitality)

Big Buns Damn Good Burgers has big plans in store for the Town of Herndon.

The burger joint plans to open up a roughly 1,200-square-foot location at 1142 Elden Street in the third quarter of this year, according to a company representative for Thompson Hospitality, a food service management company.

Craig Carey, the company’s senior vice president of technology, said Elden Street is the perfect complement to the company’s Reston location. It takes the place of the former Robeks smoothie shop.

“We have a bunch of awesome guests who drive to Wiehle [Avenue] from Herndon because they are right out of our delivery zone. Now they can visit us, or easily order carryout or delivery online,” he said.

News of the location was first reported by The Burn.

Carey also noted that the redevelopment of downtown Herndon and the opening of phase two of the Silver Line are significant draws for the company. Thompson Hospitality also believes Big Buns will complement the town’s Aslin Beer Company taproom.

“We love how Aslin is bringing so many people in the community together (right down the street from us) and we want to do the same when people are thinking about where to eat,” Carey said by email.

The restaurant, which sells gourmet burgers, chicken sandwiches, fries and shakes, first opened in Arlington in 2017 and has since expanded to several other locations in Northern Virginia, including one that arrived at Reston Station last spring.

It’s still unclear when the redevelopment of downtown Herndon will begin. Comstock has anticipated a spring groundbreaking. There’s no word yet on when Metro is expected to open the second phase of the Silver Line either.

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The new restaurant Rateba Grill and Ramen is coming to the Pan Am Shopping Center (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Historically, Korea and Japan have had an uneasy relationship, to put it mildly, but that doesn’t mean their food can’t coexist.

Kibum Kim isn’t trying to heal century-old wounds with his upcoming restaurant Rateba Grill & Ramen at the Pan Am Shopping Center in Merrifield. He’s simply looking to give people what they want.

“Everybody loves ramen, and everybody loves Korean barbecue, so how about we make it as one place, combine it?” Kim told FFXnow.

Taking the place of Lo’s Chinese Restaurant, which closed late last year, Rateba will be Kim’s third venture in Fairfax County. He already owns and operates Matsui Sushi & Ramen and Puzukan, which are both located in Newington’s Landsdowne Centre.

Kim envisions the new restaurant as a fusion of those concepts, with ramen noodle soups and Korean-style grilled meat, but much of the menu will be new. He says to expect a lot of bao — steamed buns typically filled with pork.

Kim says his team has long been interested in opening a restaurant in the Vienna or Falls Church area, and he regularly visits the Pan Am Shopping Center for Micro Center and other stores.

“We saw all these people in this area, a lot of cars, a lot of people come and go, and there’s…a lot of people in the residential area, so we thought it was a good opportunity here,” he said.

Rateba will have 60 to 70 seats in a 2,000-square-foot space, joining a strip that remains a hot spot for Asian eateries, with the long-standing Vietnamese restaurant Pho Thang Long, Bangkok Street Thai, and California Shabu Shabu.

Property owner Federal Realty plans to redevelop the shopping center with multifamily housing, but the main, Safeway-anchored building is expected to remain intact, and the company says it intends to retain some tenants.

Kim is targeting a late May or early June opening for Rateba, but the supply-chain issues still affecting the food service industry nationally make it difficult to predict when the restaurant will be ready. For instance, a refrigerator that would typically get delivered in two or three weeks now takes four months to arrive.

Still, Kim is confident that the team will pull off the launch, whenever it happens, and looks forward to “making good food and good memories,”

“We’re trying to make really good food here,” Kim said. “I hope people like it and come to the restaurant a lot.”

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Lezzet’s first week in Vienna went down as smoothly as a bite of buttery rice pilaf.

The Centreville-based Mediterranean restaurant has gotten a warm welcome at the Cedar Park Shopping Center (262 Cedar Lane), where its second location opened on April 10, General Manager Burcin Can says.

“[The opening] was overdue, so they were excited that we are in this community, especially in Vienna and especially inside this shopping center,” Can said. “…Right now, we are getting very good feedback from the community and Vienna residents. It’s going well so far.”

Taking its name from the Turkish word for “delicious,” Lezzet occupies 3,310 square feet of space in Suites F and G with two dining rooms and a cocktail bar. It’s two doors down from the recently opened Mexican restaurant El Sabor Grill, which is also managed by Can.

Where El Sabor is more of an experiment for the restaurants’ Turkish owners, Lezzet arrives with a confidence forged by experience.

The flagship restaurant launched in the Old Centreville Crossing shopping plaza (13850 Braddock Road) in May 2020. It was founded by chef Serkan Gozubuyuk, whose resume includes stints as executive chef at Ankara in Dupont Circle and sous chef for Agora Tysons.

Gozubuyuk’s family has been involved in the restaurant industry for more than 25 years now, stretching back to a restaurant they owned in Turkey before immigrating to the U.S.

Can says that familiarity with the cuisine and culture permeates everything at Lezzet, from the menu to the decor and the style of dishes, which include mezze small plates as well as family-sized platters.

“Lezzet has a lot of experience in authentic Mediterranean cuisine. That’s what makes it special,” Can said, pointing to the mucver, or zucchini pancake, as one of the restaurant’s most popular dishes.

Even though it opened during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, when service was still limited to takeout and deliveries, Lezzet proved so successful that its owners quickly started exploring options for an expansion.

According to Can, the owners were drawn to Vienna by the Tysons area’s growing population and residents’ embrace of international cuisine. They started renting the space at Cedar Park about a year ago, building out the interior from scratch.

Because of the pandemic and related health precautions, though, construction lagged, as did the permitting and certification process. Construction was completed in January, and a health certificate was finally issued in late March — about three-and-a-half months after the restaurant applied.

The Vienna Lezzet opens at 11 a.m. It operates until 9:30 p.m. on Sundays through Thursdays, and until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

The menu, which Can says is the same as the Centreville restaurant, features grilled meat, flatbreads, salads, lunch wraps, seafood, yogurt entrees, and more.

While juggling two restaurants presents some challenges, Can says he’s committed to providing an atmosphere and level of service that will make both Lezzet and El Sabor successful.

“I’m trying to greet all my clients, all my customers over here, trying to meet with these wonderful Vienna residents, and meet and exceed their expectations when it comes to authentic Mexican food and authentic Mediterranean food,” Can said.

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Crust Pizzeria has added a Herndon location, its second (Photo courtesy Crust Pizzeria)

Crust Pizzeria Napoletana has opened in the Town of Herndon at 360 Elden Street, bringing its pizzas — made in a traditional wood-burning oven shipped from Naples — to life.

This is the second location for the business. The first opened in Tysons nearly eight years ago.

Owner Kevyan Ejtemai, who was inspired to launch the pizza business after a honeymoon on the Amalfi Coast, says the tight-knit nature of the town attracted him to open a location in the Town of Herndon.

“I find Herndon to be a very quaint town,” Ejtemai told FFXnow. “It is very diverse. We saw a lot of our patrons were coming from this area to our Tyson’s location and request we put a crust in Herndon.”

It’s been a little over a month since the business opened in Herndon. The pizzeria sells a variety of pizzas, which can be cooked in under 90 second in an oven that can reach 1,000 degrees. The oven is certified by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana.

Other items on the menu include sandwiches, salad, pasta and cannoli.

The pizzeria replaced Italian District, an Italian restaurant, in the Herndon Centre.

Photo courtesy Crust Pizzeria Herndon/Facebook

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