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The Red Bird is now serving up six tiers of hot chicken in Reston.

The halal hot chicken chain has joined the roster of restaurants in South Lakes Village Center (11120 South Lakes Drive) after opening its first Northern Virginia franchise location in Vienna five months ago.

The Red Bird did not respond to a request for comment by press time. The company has previously said it also has plans to open in Arlington, Falls Church and Ashburn.

The Reston location is currently open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., while the Vienna spot (282 Cedar Lane) is open until 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday (and until 9 p.m. on Sunday).

The chicken sandwiches and tenders range from mild to extra hot and comes with a three-inch potato roll.

The chain aims to serve a range of diners, from a college student to a “big-time baller,” per its website. Its sandwich is priced at $4.99, and a single tender goes for $3.29.

Hot chicken, which was first popular in Black communities in Nashville, has seen increased prevalence in recent years.

South Lakes Village Center also features Mediterranean bistro Cafesano, Lakeside Asia Cafe, Red’s Table and a Chipotle. The Red Bird was expected to open in February, per the shopping center’s Facebook page.

South Lakes Village Center is also in the midst of a spring concert series. This Saturday (April 20), acoustic duo Duck Chuck Goose will perform from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.

Photo via VARedBird/Instagram

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Vienna restaurants Bazin’s on Church and Bazin’s Next Door (111 Church Street) will close later this month after the restaurant space was sold to new owners.

After 18 years, owner Julie Bazin said she and her husband were looking forward to traveling and spending time with family and friends, while new ownership takes over the location.

“Patrick and I have sold Bazin’s and Bazin’s Next Door and our last day will be Saturday, April 27th,” Julie Bazin said told FFXnow. “We will be forever grateful to this wonderful community and our team for an amazing 18 years!”

Julie Bazin said she’s excited for the new owners to come in and she’ll continue to support whatever restaurant comes next. No new restaurant concept has been officially announced.

The restaurant was known, in part, for its extensive gluten-free menu after Chef Patrick Bazin was diagnosed with Celiac disease, Patch wrote.

Julie Bazin said new ownership will take over on May 1.

Photo via Bazins on Church/Facebook

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A redevelopment of the Herndon Taco Bell is proposed (via Google Maps)

A Taco Bell in Herndon is moving towards final approval for a rebuild.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission voted unanimously on April 3 in favor of the plan to redevelop the existing fast-food restaurant at 2710 Centreville Road with a larger building and a second drive-thru lane.

The new restaurant will have the company’s modern look and more space. The building area would expand from 2,380 square feet to 2,710 square feet to make space for a larger freezer.

The restaurant’s hours will also expand from 6 a.m. to midnight to 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. every day — a move that was piqued by demand, according to county planner Andrew Stone.

The two drive-through lanes would wrap around the northwestern side of the building and stack 11 vehicles. Matt Roberts, a Hirschler attorney who represented the applicant, said the current drive-thru lane holds about eight cars.

Braddock District Planning Commissioner Mary Cortina noted that the proposed landscaping along Parcher Avenue, particularly the trees, appeared somewhat inadequate.

“It just looks a little sparse,” she said.

Because the site is leased and not owned, the applicant — the Summerwood Corporation, a fast-food restaurant franchise operator — was limited in its ability to update the site, Roberts said.

The company does plan to increase the imprevious surface area from 88 to 53%.

The application for a special exception to the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan still needs to get approved by the Board of Supervisors, but a hearing date doesn’t appear to have been set yet.

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Red Kimono in Herndon appears to have closed (staff photo by Fatimah Waseem)

Red Kimono in Herndon appears to have closed.

The Asian restaurant at 790 Station Street, which served up sushi, ramen and barbecue, did not return multiple requests for comment from FFXnow. Based on reports from customers and a look at the facade of the business, the restaurant appears to be closed.

The website of the restaurant was also taken down, and third-party companies like GrubHub are no longer accepting orders from the restaurant.

It’s unclear what will take over the restaurant. Readers tell FFXnow that requests from the business have been unresponsive for several weeks.

Red Kimono was typically closed for most of the day and opened between 3 and 10 p.m.

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Esposito’s Fairfax closed on March 10 after 40 years in Fairfax City (staff photo by James Jarvis)

After years of enjoying the homey Italian cuisine served at Esposito’s Fairfax, Colleen Lester and her family decided the time had come to give back to the woman behind the restaurant.

So, when they learned that Esposito’s would close for good on March 10, ending a 42-year run in Fairfax City, Lester created an online fundraiser to support owner Maria Esposito. The campaign has now raised $4,100 out of a $20,000 goal, as of press time.

Esposito previously told FFXnow that she was given just two weeks to vacate the building at 9917 Fairfax Blvd where the business had operated since 1982. The property had been sold and is being considered for a Tommy’s Express Car Wash.

According to Lester, the abrupt notice left Esposito with a significant financial burden.

“Since she didn’t have much notice, she didn’t really have time to prepare financially for the cost of moving out of the space,” Lester said by email. “She also wanted to provide some sort of severance for her employees, who all lost their jobs without much warning.”

She will also still need to pay business taxes and any debts resulting from food and equipment orders that were placed weeks to months in advance but then had to be canceled, added Lester’s mother, Brenda Halbrook, who remains in close contact with Esposito.

The GoFundMe campaign is intended to help ease the burden of those expenses. Boosted by multiple triple-digit donations, it will remain open until early July, according to Halbrook.

A native of Fairfax County, Lester says her family was “heartbroken” when they heard that their long-standing favorite dining spot was going to shutter.

“My parents have lived here for the past 40+ years. We have been going to Esposito’s together for decades and are long time customers/friends of Maria’s,” she wrote. “…Our family has been eating at Esposito’s since I was a child and now my kids love going there with my parents (their grandparents) so we are 3 generations of loyal customers.”

Esposito’s was “packed” during its final week of business, and based on their conversations with Esposito, Lester and Halbrook say the restaurant owner appreciated the outpouring of support.

Since the closure, Esposito has been working at the Italian Oven, which is owned by her cousin. The McLean restaurant reopened at 6852 Old Dominion Drive in June 2022 after a 20-year hiatus.

The possibility of a comeback for Esposito’s Fairfax in a new location isn’t out of the question, according to Halbrook.

“The sudden notice to close shocked Maria to her core, but the outpouring of support from her many fairhful customers has been incredibly helpful to her,” Halbrook said. “Maria is a ‘people person,’ who genuinely loves her ‘family’ of customers. Maria would like to open her own restaurant again, if she can get the needed support.”

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Jersey Mike’s Subs at Old Keene Mill Shopping Center in West Springfield (via Google Maps)

U.S. Department of Labor investigations at four Northern Virginia Jersey Mike’s franchise locations have found the operator allowed more than a dozen employees under the age of 16 to perform dangerous tasks and work longer than permitted hours.

The department’s Wage and Hour Division determined that JM Burke LLC — the Charleston, South Carolina-based operator — violated the Fair Labor Standards Act at locations in Ashburn, South Riding, Springfield and Sterling, according to an agency news release.

The Springfield location under investigation was the Jersey Mike’s in Old Keene Mill Shopping Center (8432 Old Keene Mill Road), a Department of Labor spokesperson says. The chain can also be found at Brookfield Plaza and Ravensworth Shopping Center. (added by FFXnow)

The operator is accused of allowing 14 minor-aged children to operate power-driven meat slicers, a hazardous occupation under federal law, the release said.

The division also found JM Burke employed minors to either work more than eight hours on a non-school day, more than 18 hours during a school week, more than three hours on a school day after 7 p.m. between the day after Labor Day and May 31, or after 9 p.m. between June 1 and Labor Day, all child labor violations.

JM Burke paid $108,161 in civil money penalties to resolve its child labor infractions, the release said.

Investigators also identified overtime violations at the Ashburn location, where the employer failed to include bonuses in three employees’ regular rates of pay when calculating overtime wages owed, the Department of Labor said.

The employer also failed to maintain accurate records of workers’ regular pay rates. JM Burke paid $856 in overtime back wages to these affected workers.

“Employers who hire minors are legally and ethically obligated to comply with child labor standards that protect young people from harm,” Wage and Hour Division District Director Nicholas Fiorello said in the release. “In addition to keeping them safe, employers must schedule young workers for times that allow for their education to remain the priority.”

JM Burke LLC has agreed to future enhanced compliance that includes staff training, increased corporate site visits, the creation of a website for reporting violations and investments in technology to monitor internal store cameras to help ensure children are not working in hazardous occupations.

For more information about young workers’ rights and other employee rights enforced by the division, contact the toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243).

Image via Google Maps. This article was written by FFXnow’s news partner InsideNoVa.com and republished with permission. The headline has been changed. Sign up for InsideNoVa.com’s free email subscription today.

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The inaugural Taste of NoVA event was held in Leesburg in 2023 (courtesy Amie Otto/Northern Virginia Magazine)

Dozens of restaurants and breweries from across Northern Virginia will descend on the Fort Belvoir area this spring.

The National Museum of the U.S. Army (1775 Liberty Drive) will host this year’s Taste of NoVA, a relatively new food festival produced by Northern Virginia Magazine as a celebration of its annual 50 Best Restaurants list.

The inaugural festival was held in May 2023 at Segra Field in Leesburg.

Tickets for the 2024 tasting event on May 19 are currently available for early bird prices of $145 for general admission tickets or $170 for VIP tickets, which include early admission and access to a VIP lounge with specialty cocktails by Tiki Thai.

“We have only a limited number of tickets available for Early Birds, so you’ll want to get in on this deal,” Northern Virginia Magazine Director of Events James McFadden said in a press release. “The best of the best will be at this event, and you’ll be able to talk with the region’s most celebrated chefs.”

According to McFadden, there’s a limited quantity of early bird tickets but no set date for when the promotion will end. At full price, general admission tickets cost $165, and VIP tickets are $190.

All ticket-holders will get complimentary samples and sips from the participating restaurants, wineries and breweries, along with a one-year subscription to Northern Virginia Magazine. The event will also feature live entertainment, giveaways, recreational activities and access to the Army Museum.

Supported by Northern Virginia Food Rescue, a nonprofit created during the pandemic that “rescues” food waste and distributes it to those in need, the 2024 Taste of NoVA will run from 1-4 p.m. with VIP ticket-holders getting a head start at noon.

More than 40 restaurants and 25 wineries, breweries, and spirits vendors have lined up for the event, including the winner of Northern Virginia Magazine’s “Best Restaurant” designation for 2023: West Falls Church’s 2941 Restaurant.

A full list of the participants is below. Read More

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Lake Anne resident Alec Berry was excited when he learned a new pizza restaurant planned to move in underneath his condominium in Reston.

But that excitement and goodwill dissipated once construction started, and Berry discovered that Fairfax County planning staff had mistakenly approved plans for an exterior ventilation shaft to be installed along the side of the building — right outside his window.

“They put the shaft in and bolted it to the sidewall,” he told FFXnow. “I was given no notification of this and at roughly 7:30 in the morning, they have an impact drill into the side of my bedroom wall… So, that has soured my opinion of this whole thing.”

According to the county’s Department of Planning and Development, the application for a new Deli Italiano at 1631 Washington Plaza was processed through the county’s old planning and land use system, FIDO.

However, the system bypassed what should’ve been a required review by the Architectural Review Board (ARB) for exterior modifications because it was labeled as a “new tenant layout,” which typically implies no external changes.

“Fairfax County takes the preservation of its historic districts very seriously, requiring that any exterior modifications to buildings within these areas receive approval from the Architectural Review Board,” a county spokesperson said in a statement. “Unfortunately, in this case that did not occur due to an oversight in the approval process that did not flag the exterior changes.”

The county’s new system, PLUS, which launched with some hiccups in 2022, uses GIS technology to flag all applications in Historic Overlay Districts for review.

Nevertheless, the ARB can’t retroactively rescind its approval of Deli Italiano’s application, according to the spokesperson.

“We are dedicated to enhancing our processes and leveraging technology to uphold the integrity of our historic districts and ensure that such oversights do not occur in the future,” they said.

The central question now is whether Deli Italiano owner Yasser Baslios can continue construction after Berry appealed to the Lake Anne of Reston Condominiums Unit Owners Association (LARCA) and the Reston Association Design Review Board (DRB) — separate entities from the ARB — to stop the project.

Both the DRB and LARCA approved Baslios’s initial application for exterior modifications, including a mechanical duct with a rooftop exhaust fan, records show. But the DRB voted last month to defer a vote on Berry’s appeal to give staff more time to review the case.

Cara O’Donnell, RA’s director of communications and community engagement, told FFXnow there is no firm date yet for a decision on the appeal, but she anticipates it will come within the next few months.

“The DRB will determine if the project is permitted to remain as submitted and move forward with completion,” she said in an email.

In the meantime, Baslios is moving forward with construction as planned.

“We will follow the rules and regulations set by Fairfax County,” he told FFXnow.

Baslios disputes Berry’s recounting of events, including his description of constant construction noise in the early morning and on the weekends. He also noted the ventilation shaft is “not even close to being done.”

“We’re gonna come in as good neighbors,” he said. “We love the community very much and that’s why I keep…trying to do my best just to be in this community. I do appreciate this community, and then hope they understand that I’m doing all this just because I wanted to be at this community to make a big difference.”

Deli Italiano originally hoped to open at Lake Anne Plaza by early December 2021. The pizza chain has since opened a location in Herndon, and it can also be found in Great Falls.

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The Esposito’s Fairfax in Fairfax City will permanently close after this weekend.

Owner Maria Esposito told FFXnow that the property owner notified her last Thursday, Feb. 28, that she had two weeks to vacate the premises because the property has been sold.

Located at 9917 Fairfax Blvd, the Italian restaurant first opened over four decades ago in 1982 and will welcome its final customers on Sunday, March 10.

It’s unclear who bought the property, but the Fairfax City Council is currently mulling a special-use permit to repurpose the 1.15-acre site for a Tommy’s Express Car Wash.

D.C.-based private equity firm Olympus Pines, which submitted a pre-application in November 2021, is behind the car wash proposal. The Board of Architectural Review Board and City Council members reviewed the application at two separate work sessions held last December and this past January.

A public hearing date, required before any vote, has not been set.

Last month, Esposito assured FFXnow she had no plans to close the restaurant, but the decision was ultimately out of her hands.

“It breaks my heart, this is like a family to me,” she said. “You become family after so many years. I’ve known all the customers since before 1982 in the ’70s. We share good news. We share sad news. We have shared tears. You know, we have a history over here… It’s been very sad, but it’s not in my control.”

Esposito says she plans to work temporarily in McLean, stating that she needs “a job, but right now we don’t know what the future holds.”

When reached for comment, Fairfax City Economic Development (FCED) said it has been working with the restaurant owner to make sure they’re aware of the resources it offers to local businesses.

“Esposito’s is a long-standing Fairfax City business and we have been working with the ownership to ensure that they have access to our resources and programs designed to help businesses remain and stay in Fairfax City, regardless of the location,” FCED President and CEO Christopher Bruno said.

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Lezzet Restaurant’s Vienna location has closed permanently (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Lezzet has closed its Vienna restaurant after less than two years in the town.

The location closed for good “last week unfortunately,” a spokesperson for the Mediterranean restaurant confirmed to FFXnow by email on Friday (March 1), though they didn’t elaborate on what led to that decision.

A notice taped to the restaurant’s front door was similarly opaque, saying only that it was permanently closed.

An expansion of a popular restaurant that started in Centreville in 2020, Lezzet opened in the Cedar Park Shopping Center (262-G Cedar Lane) on April 10, 2022. It was accompanied by El Sabor Grill, a Mexican restaurant and bar also operated by general manager Burcin Can.

El Sabor opened in March 2022 and closed after less than a year of business.

Lezzet was founded by chef Serkan Gozubuyuk, who had more than three decades of experience cooking Turkish cuisine. An immigrant from Turkey, his previous work included stints as an executive chef at Ankara in Dupont Circle and a sous chef for Agora Tysons.

The Centreville location (13850 Braddock Road, Suite E) remains open. It has the same menu as the Vienna location, serving kabobs, flatbreads, wraps and other Turkish and Mediterranean dishes.

Lezzet joins a growing list of restaurant closures in the Town of Vienna, following in the more established footsteps of Noodles and Company and preceding last week’s shuttering of Akai Tori Ramen & Yakitori. The family-owned store Princess Jewelers is also set to close after 38 years on March 16.

Anchored by CVS Pharmacy and Simply Social Coffee, Cedar Park Shopping Center’s remaining dining options include Sushi Koji, America’s Best Wings, Hunan Delight, Pizza Boli’s and The Red Bird, a hot chicken eatery that opened in December.

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