Alexandria, VA – Fall is here! The equinox occurred on September 22, ushering in cooler days and nights, migrating birds, apple cider, leaf peeping, pumpkin spice, and more. Restaurants in Old Town have a reprieve and will be allowed to keep their streeteries and this is one of the best times to visit them!
The Bradlee Shopping Center has another new restaurant, Crumbl, opening soon between the nail and hair salons. Started by cousins Jason McGowan (CEO) and Sawyer Hemsley (COO), who found their ideal combination of flour, sugar, and chocolate chips. The chain started in Logan, Utah and now has over 300 locations. The shop features a weekly rotation of cookie flavors such as French Toast, Cake Batter, Dark Dream, Strawberry Milk, Frosted Oatmeal, and Peanut Butter Munch. Their famous Milk Chocolate Chip are always on the menu.
Long loved Bilbo Baggins closed almost two years ago and we have wondered what the space would become. Elaine’s Modern Mediterranean is taking over the location at 208 Queen St. No other information about the new restaurant is available but we do know that the building is being renovated in preparation for the new restaurant.
Crystal City/National Landing has several new restaurants on the horizon with the coming Amazon Metropolitan Park, the two-tower, 2.2 million-square-foot initial phase of HQ2. Good Company Doughnuts is opening at the corner of South Eads and 14th St. South. The all-day cafe specializing in hand-cut fresh baked doughnuts is a veteran and family-owned restaurant that opened in 2019 in Ballston. You’ll be able to grab a cup of Intelligentsia coffee and a seasonally flavored doughnut. Also opening is Peruvian Brothers on South Eads between 14th and 15th Sts. South. Giuseppe and Mario Lanzone founded Peruvian Brothers in a food truck 16 years after moving from La Punta, Peru. They want you to experience their heritage and the delicious Peruvian food they grew up with.
Lima bistro bar & restaurant, is now open in the former Savio’s site at 516 S. Van Dorn. The menu features traditional Peruvian food. “Lima bistro-bar and restaurant brings the flavor of Peru, with rich food and drinks with delights and flavors of Peru with typical food from Peru and more.” The shopping center, anchored by Giant and next to LA Mart is a virtual center of international food and drink. A quick glance around the store fronts shows options for Thai, Vietnamese, African, hookah, kabobs, Ethiopian, Mumbai, and Chinese food.
The end of times
The long-time pop-up (nine months!), Tiki Bar, 2312 Mt. Vernon closed on September 24. Mike Anderson and Bill Blackburn of Homegrown Restaurant Group are replacing it with Nightmare on the Avenue – a Halloween themed pop-up. “We loved the Tiki Bar and its throwback to Mango Mike’s but it’s time for a change.” said Bill. This fun new them will feature Halloween scary décor with lots of new food and drink specials.
We also bid fond farewell to Lena’s Oasis, 401 E Braddock Rd. According to Jason and Loren Yates, “We could never have imagined the success Lena’s Oasis has had over the last two years and we have you to thank for it! Although it has been a thrill to create and see others enjoy our tropical escape here in Alexandria, the city’s temporary outdoor business permits – put in place during Covid in November 2020 – will expire at the end of September and Lena’s Oasis will close at the end of the month.” We all enjoyed the safe harbor from Covid in the 5,200-square-foot tented space that provided spacious seating and included tables for up to 10 guests sectioned into “cabanas” using fabric partitions and tall trees to separate dining parties.
Until next time, eat well and enjoy! Do you have a Foodie Newz tip to share? Contact me at [email protected]
MGM Dining is Grand
Have you been to the MGM Grand lately? There are some truly delicious dining spots to feed your hunger. A walk around the District of the casino reveals a wide variety of food from Saigon Street with authentic Vietnamese dishes, Starbucks, Pekoe Tea Bar featuring milk and fruit teas, Diablo’s Cantina serving Mexican food and creative margaritas, Shake Shack, Noodle Bar by Ginger offering a variety of Asian noodle dishes, and lots more choices. I had the opportunity to attend the opening of the Fall Festival feature some of their feature restaurants. Looking around the Conservatory reveals exquisite fall decorations in autumnal colors. Falling leaves and wood sprites abound.
Five restaurants featured tastes of their menus. Ginger is features Asia cuisine with authentic Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Korean and Japanese dishes. They provided amazing crispy fried shrimp dumplings. The Taiwanese Karage chicken bites were as crispy as one would want this treat to be. Diablo’s offered up an amazing taco filled with braised and shredded brisket was a wonder. I had to admit that the brisket was better and tastier than any I had ever made! The fresh, fresh Crudo Hamachi belied its sports bar roots. It could compete with any crudo offered by a Spanish or Italian restaurant. Osteria Costa is an Italian restaurant offering the comfort of the Amalfi Coast. The menu features wood fired pizzas, hand-made pastas, fresh seafood, and a variety of Italian spirits. The chef provided a rich and creamy polenta, topped with roasted pork loin with a sweet and savory mostarda. It was the bite of bites. TAP Sports Bar, with more than 70 flat screen TVs and a roster of local and seasonal craft beers proves that a sports bar doesn’t have to be just nachos and wings. The Cajun seafood gumbo was the perfect balance of spice and seafood. Topped with rice, it was stupendous. And as if that wasn’t enough, the spiced sweet potato & apple pecan skillet cobbler topped with vanilla ice cream was an absolute wonder with warm fall spices! Voltaggio’s Steak House was well represented with an artichoke flatbread topped with artichokes, fonduta, roasted maitake mushrooms, Castelvetrano olives capers, and vin cotto. What a bite. And if you needed sweet, you could finish off grazing with their apple crisp topped with ice cream.
MGM Grand is just a quick trip over the Wilson Bridge, it’s another choice we have in our local Alexandria restaurants.