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The Point 50 shopping center location has closed (via Google Maps)

Slice of Matchbox, an offshoot concept of the Matchbox restaurant chain, has officially closed its doors at Fairfax City’s Point 50 Shopping Center (10408 Fairfax Blvd).

The business’s last day was March 20, a company representative told FFXnow. It closed after less than a year of operation.

Jamie Weber, a spokesperson for the company, told FFXnow that the offshoot — which offers a slimmed down version of Matchbox’s full menu — was created during the pandemic when customers sought quick alternatives to full-service restaurants.

“Post-COVID, the concept didn’t resonate with guests the same way our traditional Matchbox’s do,” Weber wrote in a statement. “We made the difficult decision to close Slice of Matchbox which has allowed us to focus on our sister restaurant in the Point 50 complex, Big Buns, which continues to thrive.”

Matchbox has other locations in Merrifield and McLean, along with several across the country.

Photo via Google Maps

Java Loco is opening a location at Graham Park Plaza in West Falls Church (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Alexandria-based cafe Java Loco is coming to West Falls Church.

The cafe owners have filed for a permit to modify the interior of a 1,368-square-foot suite in Graham Park Plaza (7263J Arlington Blvd).

Java Loco launched in 2013 and has since expanded to a handful of locations around Northern Virginia. The cafe offers a wide variety of coffees — including Italian espresso and Vietnamese coffee — along with smoothies, bubble tea and sandwiches.

Java Loco anticipates opening the Graham Park Plaza location this spring, but no exact date has been determined yet, according to Federal Realty, which owns part of the shopping center.

“The menu concept will be the same as the Mount Vernon location,” Federal Realty said.

Staff at another Java Loco said the West Falls Church location is likely to open sometime around the end of April.

Wine and a dish at Alta Strada Mosaic (photo via Alta Strada Mosaic/Facebook)

Several Fairfax County restaurants are joining in Spring Wine Fling — a nearly two-week stretch of wine and dinner specials on offer around the region.

The special is set to run from Monday, March 20 through Friday, March 31.

Across Maryland, D.C. and Northern Virginia, restaurants will offer a $55 dinner with an appetizer, entree and two one pairings. Each restaurant has their own selection of wine pairings with certain entrees.

In Fairfax County, participating locations include:

The event is being organized by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW), the trade organization that also puts on the region’s biannual Restaurant Week.

A full list of participating locations can be found on the Spring Wine Fling website.

Photo via Alta Strada Mosaic/Facebook

Mike’s American Grill in Springfield was hit by a fire on Valentine’s Day (staff photo by Vernon Miles)

Mike’s American Grill is back in business.

The beloved Springfield restaurant reopened to diners yesterday (Wednesday), just over a week after a three-alarm fire broke out in its kitchen on Valentine’s Day.

Despite the level of emergency response required to extinguish it, the fire ended up being limited in its reach, enabling the restaurant to make repairs and reopen quickly, says its parent company, Great American Restaurants.

“We were fortunate that the fire was contained to the kitchen ductwork, allowing us to open our doors to guests again swiftly,” Great American Restaurants said in a statement. “We would like to thank our dedicated team for their hard work, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue teams for their swift action, Fairfax County and our loyal guests for always supporting us.”

The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department was called to Mike’s American at 6210 Backlick Road around 8:55 p.m. on Feb. 14 for the kitchen fire, which required the evacuation of about 150 patrons and 85 employees.

No injuries were reported, but the department estimated the blaze resulted in about $200,000 in property damages. An investigation into the cause of the fire is still ongoing, an FCFRD spokesperson said.

Posted to Facebook at 2:18 p.m. yesterday, the reopening announcement elicited cheers from commenters, some of whom expressed pleasant surprise at the speed of the restaurant’s recovery.

“We dined with you to celebrate Valentines Day and must have cleared the building just minutes before the fire started,” one commenter said. “Feared it would take you much longer to return. Welcome back and thanks for being one of Nova’s very best restaurants. See you again soon!”

Great American Restaurants confirmed that the restaurant is following its standard operating hours, which start at 11 a.m. daily and end at 11 p.m. on weeknights, midnight on Friday and Saturday, and 10:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Vienna Restaurant Week returns next month (courtesy Town of Vienna (TOV) Economic Development Division)

The Town of Vienna’s first-ever restaurant week must’ve been a success, because the celebration of the local dining scene is coming back even bigger than before.

Vienna Restaurant Week will return for 10 days from March 3 through March 10 with about 50 restaurants, cafes and other eateries participating — over twice as many as in 2022, according to Vienna Economic Development Director Natalie Monkou.

“This year, Vienna Restaurant Week will bring more participation and excitement directly from our business community — where thoughtful menu design and a welcoming atmosphere to our visitors and residents is already palpable,” Monkou said in a statement.

Similar to the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington’s ever-popular, bi-annual restaurant week, which showcases the D.C. region’s dining scene, participants in Vienna’s campaign will offer set, three-course menus for brunch, lunch and dinner.

The brunch and lunch menus will cost $25, while dinner will be $35 to $40 per person. Discounted a la carte dishes will also be available, along with dine-in, takeout and delivery options.

The event is being sponsored by Vienna’s economic development division, which says it’s intended to “expose” local residents and visitors to the town, boost patronage for each participant, and “increase brand recognition” for both the restaurants and the town.

“The economic pressures that we have seen and experienced since the pandemic and continuing into this year remind us how important it is to support our local businesses and shine a spotlight on the Town’s food and beverage industry,” Monkou said.

The town encourages diners to keep up with the campaign by following the economic development division at @ExploreViennaVA on Instagram and Facebook. The hashtag #ViennaRestaurantWeek will be used to promote the event.

Participants range from long-standing staples of the town’s culinary scene, like The Virginian and Caffe Amouri, to newcomers like Akai Tori Ramen and Yakitori, which opened just last month. There are also a few restaurants from outside the town’s limits, including Settle Down Easy’s Oakton tasting room and Kusshi Ko in Tysons.

A full list can be found on the Vienna Restaurant Week website.


(Updated at 3:10 p.m.) Mike’s American Grill faced a three-alarm fire last night (Tuesday) that forced staff and Valentine’s Day diners to evacuate.

Smoke could be seen issuing from the popular Springfield restaurant when Fairfax County Fire and Rescue units arrived at 6210 Backlick Road, the department said at 8:52 p.m, indicating that the fire appeared to have started in the kitchen.

“Crews are actively working to contain the fire,” the department said in a 9:19 p.m. update. “A third alarm has been requested. The building has been evacuated.”

The City of Alexandria Fire Department and Fort Belvoir Fire & Emergency Services joined the emergency response. Firefighters were able to get the blaze under control by 9:50 p.m., though it wasn’t extinguished until around 11 p.m.

Approximately 150 customers and 85 employees were at the restaurant during a busy Valentine’s Day dinner and needed to be evacuated, the FCFRD reported, but there were no injuries.

Messages lamenting the fire and expressing hope that everyone is okay popped up on social media, including the restaurant’s Facebook page.

Mike’s American Grill has temporarily closed after last night’s fire (via Mike’s American Grill/Facebook)

Mike’s American shared this morning (Wednesday) that it is temporarily closed so interior and exterior damage from the fire can be repaired.

“We apologize for the inconvenience and look forward to welcoming you back soon,” the restaurant said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but the FCFRD confirmed today that it started in a first-floor kitchen and caused $200,000 in damages.

The Fair Lakes Taco Bell is slated for redevelopment (via Google Maps)

The Taco Bell in the Fair Lakes area could be slated for demolition.

The owner of the restaurant at 12811 Federal Systems Park Drive is seeking Fairfax County’s permission to rebuild the restaurant and drive-thru with a larger and more modern facility, in line with the company’s efforts to modernize franchises across the country.

The application requests permission to add another drive-thru lane as part of the redevelopment effort.

“This redevelopment will bring a modern Taco Bell restaurant to the site, where the application will continue to serve its neighbors and the residents of Fair Lakes,” the Jan. 30 application says.

The building would stand in roughly the same orientation as the current restaurant, but with a slightly larger footprint of 2,710 square feet. Thirty-three parking spaces are also planned as part of the project.

Taco Bell’s modern branding includes gray scale fiber cement siding and metal panels with colored accents. The company also plans to scale back interior seating.

“Due to decreased customer usage of interior seating, the applicant only intends to include 52 interior seats for customers,” the application says.

The application is in the preliminary phases of the county’s planning and approvals process.

Taco Bell has another Fairfax location on Lee Jackson Memorial Highway.

The Reston location appears to have closed (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Flippin’ Pizza, a pizza chain that serves New York-style pizza, appears to have closed its Reston location.

The business was located at 1110 South Lakes Drive in Suite 11130-F. It was closed when FFXnow passed by last Thursday afternoon (Jan. 26), despite posted operating hours of 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursdays.

The company did not return requests for comment. A listed phone number and email were not functional. 

Flippin’ Pizza has many other locations throughout the country, including locations in Fairfax and Falls Church. Items on the menu include pies, pizza, and calzones.

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.

Dish at Agora (courtesy Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington)

Winter Restaurant Week is scheduled to kick off next week, and over 20 eateries across Fairfax County are signed up to offer special offerings as part of the event.

During Restaurant Week — a bi-annual event sponsored by Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) — participating restaurants in the D.C. region offer special menus to encourage locals to try new locations around the area.

“Participating restaurants will offer multi-course brunch and lunch menus for $25 per person, and multi-course dinner menus for $40 or $55 per person for on-premises dining,” RAMW said in a release. “Many restaurants will also offer RW-To-Go dinner meals and cocktail pairings, giving more variety for diners wanting to partake in the program. RW-To-Go dinner packages will be available at two price points: $70 or $100 for two people and $140 or $200 for four people.”

The following restaurants around Fairfax have signed up for Restaurant Week this year:

  • 2941 Restaurant (2941 Fairview Park Drive) — French cuisine in Falls Church
  • Agora Tysons (7911 Westpark Drive) — Greek/Mediterranean/Turkish in Tysons
  • Alta Strada Mosaic (2911 District Avenue) — Italian food in the Mosaic District
  • American Prime (1420 Spring Hill Road) — Steakhouse in McLean
  • B Side (8298 Glass Alley) — American food in the Mosaic District
  • Bellissimo Restaurant (10403 Main Street) — Italian food in Fairfax City
  • Big Buns (Herndon, Reston, Vienna, Fairfax City locations) — American food chain with locations across Fairfax
  • Circa at The Boro (1675 Silver Hill Drive) — American food in Tysons
  • Founding Farmers (Tysons and Reston locations) — locally sourced food and bar
  • Hamrock’s Restaurant (3950 Chain Bridge Road) — Southern cuisine in Fairfax City
  • Makers Union (1811 Library Street) — Gastropub in Reston
  • Matchbox (Mosaic District and Reston locations) — American bistro
  • Morton’s (11956 Market Street) — Steakhouse in Reston
  • North Italia (Reston and Tysons locations) — Italian cuisine
  • PassionFish (11960 Democracy Drive) — Seafood restaurant in Reston
  • The Capital Grille (Fair Lakes and Tysons locations) — A steakhouse and seafood restaurant
  • TRIO Grill (8100 Lee Hwy) — American food in Falls Church
  • Wildfire (2001 International Drive) — Steak and seafood in Tysons Galleria
  • Wren (1825 Capital One Drive South) — Japanese restaurant in Tysons
  • Zenola (132 Branch Road) — Lebanese restaurant in Vienna

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