Foodie Newz: Grocers to Gourmet Toasters


Red Rocks Pizza

There’s a lot going on around Alexandria since my last column. Here are a few of them.

By Debby Critchley

ALEXANDRIA, VA – Many of us are enjoying the latest entry of Aldi into Alexandria’s grocery market. Now, another German company, Lidl, has opened a convenience market called Lidl Express, 3500 S. Clark St. in close-by Arlington near their U.S. headquarters. The store is about 1,000 square feet and provides convenience store staples and fresh foods. Items include coffee, fresh-baked croissants and other breakfast pastries, and some prepared foods. You can also purchase beer and wine, fresh produce such as heads of lettuce and hothouse-grown tomatoes. Speaking of grocery stores, Shoppers Food is closing all of its in-store pharmacies. Customers will be notified of the CVS or Walgreens that will receive their information regarding their prescriptions.

Sweetgreen, 823 King St., is accepting cash again in stores banning it two years ago. Seems that According to Bloomberg, Sweetgreen co-founder and co-CEO Nicholas Jammet acknowledged the shortcomings of a no-cash policy: “Ultimately, we have realized that while being cashless has advantages, today it is not the right solution to fulfill our mission. To accomplish our mission, everyone in the community needs to have access to real food. As a business, we are in a very different place than we were three years ago, and that requires evolution.”

Clyde’s Restaurant Group

According to the Washington Business Journal, talks are in progress between Graham Holdings Inc. and Clyde’s Restaurant Group. With the death of Graham Holdings Inc. CEO, John Laytham, in January, Clyde’s Restaurant Group has been looking for a buyer. The group includes 13 restaurants including Clyde’s at Mark Center, 1700 N Beauregard St. After a long and anticipated wait, Whiskey and Oyster, 301 John Carlyle St., is planning to open on May 15. This will be the sixth restaurant that is part of the Homegrown Restaurant Group. The restaurant will have seating for 100 inside and 50 outside for lunch and dinner. Free parking is available in the building’s garage after 5 p.m. and all-day Saturday and Sunday. Say hello to General Manager Stephen Greksouk who will look familiar because of his time at the Kimpton (Morrison House) and Evening Star Café. The menu will include menu raw seafood towers and various oyster preparations including Oyster Ramekins Rockefeller. Menu entrees include a Bourbon Maple Shrimp and Grits, Broiled Virginia Trout, and a Lobster Roll.

Have you been to London Curry House, 4906 Brenman Park Dr. It’s a little gem of an Indian restaurant in West End. Kumar KC delivers Indian food as it was assimilated by the British palate and preferences. The Brits brought cream, butter, raisins, and other flavors to traditional cooking resulting in many familiar dishes such as Chicken Tikka Masala, Butter Chicken, all with a balance of spices. They have a beautiful private dining room that you can request for just the right event. Join them for a bounteous buffet weekdays and taste a variety of their dishes.

Urbano 116 new brunch features Chef Alam’s favorite, Caldo De Gallina made with gallina (chicken), peppermint, cilantro, chayote, potatoes, carrots, green beans.

Urbano 116, 116 King St., now serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. Originally from Mexico City, Alam Méndez-Florián was not familiar with the American love affair with brunch. Now, Méndez-Florián is joining in, serving up his takes on breakfast and lunch hybrids. He’s serving up one of his favorite dishes, Caldo de gallina, or hen soup with peppermint, cilantro, chayote, potatoes, carrots, and green beans. “It’s the perfect cure for any ailments,” says Méndez-Florián. Other brunch entrees include an omelette with squash, corn, epazote, ricotta, cilantro, and spinach and the 116 Burrito, stuffed with poblano pepper, corn, bacon, epazote, cheese, scrambled eggs, and black beans.

Toasts can be topped with mozzarella, tomato, and pesto drizzled with balsamic vinegar. (Photo by Debby Critchley)

Toastique Gourmet Toast & Juice Bar is now open at 1605 King St. and provides gourmet toast and juices with a delicious assortment of choices that suit early on-the-go breakfast to corporate lunch to post exercise refueling. Their menu offers fresh, seasonal, and responsibly sourced products. These toasts are not your average, everyday idea of toast. Served open-faced, they are loaded with fresh toppings including smashed avocado and pastrami smoked salmon. Gluten-free eaters can rejoice. Red Rocks Pizza, 904 King St, started providing gluten-free pizza as of May 1. The menu features Neapolitan style pizzas, pastas, salads, and an assortment of small plates. Keep your eyes peeled and your taste buds ready, Bagel Uprising, is almost here in the former Happy Tart location, 2307A Mt Vernon Ave. Just making a few more tweaks to go!

The City Council is considering and/or approving several restaurant special use permits for Alexandria. The SUP for Del Ray Gardens, a beer garden and restaurant at the former GreenStreet Gardens at 1503-1505 Mount Vernon Ave. was approved unanimously. Council approved 100 outdoor seated or standing patrons for the 971-square-foot restaurant, with the ability for 20 more outdoor seats in the future. Del Ray Gardens will include space for lawn games, outdoor televisions, and speakers. Del Ray Gardens is owned by Jeremy Barber and Justus Frank, the owners of Charlie’s on the Avenue next door to the property and Live Oak Restaurant on Commonwealth Ave.

Jeni’s mail order ice creams will now be available by scoop or pint in Old Town Alexandria with dozens of amazing flavors! (Photo: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams)

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams has filed a SUP to take over the space at 102 S. Patrick Street when coffee shop, Misha’s heads around the corner to 917 King Street. This will be the 11th scoop shop, an artisan ice cream company headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, with national distribution in over 1,500 high-end groceries and markets nationwide, and through mail order. According to the plans given to the City, there will be no changes made to the property, other than adding ice cream freezers. Sisters Thai has filed an application with the City for a full-service restaurant to be located at 530 First Street in North Old Town in the former Giant location. They plan to serve food seven days a week 11 am to 11 pm with dine in and carryout available, seating inside and outside, a full bar, and parking for up to 250 patrons in the new garage.

And, special congratulations to Meghan Baroody on the second anniversary of Meggrolls at 107 N. Fayette in Old Town Alexandria. Stop on by for dinner or a snack.

Meghan Baroody of Meggrolls

Until next time, eat well and enjoy!

Heard anything about what is going on in the Alexandria food scene? Let me know at [email protected]

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