New Places to Dine Coming in 2016

Last week we talked about some local businesses that closed in Alexandria in 2015.  Well, in with new!  We have news about three new places opening in 2016.



Junction Bakery & Bistro

Late Spring will bring Junction Bakery & Bistro to 1508 Mt. Vernon Avenue.  You know this location as Mancini’s.  They will serve American cuisine with a twist, three meals a day.  They will also offer a wholesale bakery courtesy of Nathan Hatfield (former baker at Restaurant Eve, Society Fair and Le Diplomate).  Noe Landini (behind Landini Brothers, Fish Market and Pop’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream) is Hatfield’s partner, which excites us!  Not much is known yet of the menu, but expect it to follow the French Bistro concept.

The new restaurant’s name is homage to the Potomac Yard railway system and its hard workers who lived in Del Ray at that time.  Can’t wait to try this one!




Portner Brewhouse

Alexandria has long been a city of craft brews.  And in summer 2016, we will see Portner Brewhouse (5770 Dow Avenue) revived by sisters Catherine and Margaret Portner, great-great granddaughters of Robert Portner.  From 1869 until 1916, the Robert Portner Brewing Co. was the South’s largest pre-Prohibition brewery and Alexandria’s largest employer.

The new location will offer craft brews and German-American, family recipes.  Sounds like a fun meeting place to look forward to!




Hank’s Pasta Bar

You have probably tried Hank’s Oyster Bar and you probably like pasta so what’s not to love about Hank’s Pasta Bar (600 Montgomery Street)?

Hank’s Pasta Bar’s ribbon cutting is slated for February 4, 2016 and we can’t wait!  The restaurant is highly anticipated and will offer fresh Italian fare.  If you don’t believe us, Zagat named Hank’s Pasta Bar one of the Most Anticipated DC Openings of 2016.  We’ll be there!

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Saying Goodbye to Some of Alexandria’s Favorite Businesses

Alexandria loves to shop in local, small businesses.  Last year we lost a few of our old favorites.  And, sadly, this year, we will lose a couple more.


why not


Why Not?

Everyone who as ever had a baby shower or a kid’s birthday party to attend has been to Why Not? on King Street.  The two-level shop was a joy to peruse.  The items were thoughtful and special and fun!  After over 50 years the doors will be closing!  As of January 15, 2016, the sale on all of their merchandise had been dropped down to 40% off, excluding a couple little sections of display and other special items.  This calls for one more visit to an old favorite shop!




Hannelore’s of Olde Town

The end of February will mean the end of Hannelore’s of Olde Town, the bridal boutique that has been offering designer wedding gowns since 1984.  And the sales are ridiculous!  According to their website all designer sample gowns are reduced up to 75%, and all accessories (including jewelry and veils) are all 50% off.  And bridesmaid gowns are $50 each!  Call or email the store to arrange an appointment!





Located in Del Ray, Monroe’s was staple for Alexandria residents looking for a family-friendly, locally-owned Italian restaurant.  Christmas Eve marked the end of the era!  The owners decided to retire from the restaurant business.  A new restaurant will open in its space after a few months of renovations.  We are sad to see it go!


As we say goodbye, we keep an open mind to the new businesses that will begin fresh this year!



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Traffic Control Box Art Project Call For Artists

Have you seen the traffic control boxes along Duke Street?  Rather than looking like this:


(Courtesy Photo)


Some of them look like this:




We love it!  And now, the city of Alexandria invites artists and artist teams to submit their artwork for this year’s Traffic Control Box Vinyl Wrap Public Art Project.


Up to three (adult) artists will be selected to design vinyl wraps for twelve traffic control boxes located in the West End of Alexandria.  The wraps are designed to cover all four sides and the top of the box.  Artists are allowed, and encouraged, to use a variety of media to produce their designs.  These include, but are not limited to, photography, painting, collage, and digital imagery, etc.


The unveiling of this public art project will coincide with National Public Works Week beginning on Sunday, May 15.  The application deadline is coming up so don’t delay.  It is Sunday, January 31, 2016.


For more information on how to enter click here.  Good luck!

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Whim Pop



Looking for a place for a cold, tasty treat (despite the falling temperatures)?  Look no further than Whim Pop (1309 King Street).  Whim Pop has the most amazing variety frozen fruit pops!  All their products are made with real fruit, no color or artificial flavors are added.



Whim Pop started its journey in the Spring of 2012, selling frozen fruit pops at Oakton, VA Smart Markets.  The idea was created by Maria Romano, a woman looking for a way to integrate her Mexican culture with the local community.  She decided to create frozen fruit pops, which are popular in the Mexican culture, while integrating flavors from the world.  The result is a unique selection of products for folks who like to try new things and for immigrants who miss the taste of their home countries.  Year round flavors include

Apple cinnamon




Cucumber & chile

Hibiscus pomegranate


Mango Yogurt

Strawberry basil

Strawberry yogurt swirls




Cocktail flavors include Bloody Mary with seasonal flavors like Blueberry Lemon and Plum Basil for sale.  They also have deliveries and catering available.


And if you don’t find the flavor that you want you can contact them to see if they can create it for you.


For more information on Whim Pop click here.




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First Night Alexandria’s Fun Hunt

Downtown historic Alexandria. Virginia Tourism Corporation,

Alexandria’s annual New Year’s Eve First Night takes place Thursday, December 31, 2015 with more than 175 performances at 29 indoor venues,  live music, dancing, and children’s events.  And the fireworks finale returns with an amazing display over the Potomac River at midnight.  But what we are looking forward to is the Seventh Annual Fun Hunt.

The Fun Hunt begins at 2:00PM.  Get a group together for an afternoon of fun.  Although teams can be of any size, you will probably have more fun if you keep your team to six people or less.  As long as one of your team members has purchased a First Night admission badge, your team can pick up a clue sheet and map at the Torpedo Factory (105 N. Union Street).   The Fun Hunt takes place from 2:00PM – 5:30PM.  Although it is not a timed event, it should take you approximately one hour to complete the hunt if you don’t stop for side excursions.




Bring all completed Fun Hunt forms to the Durant Arts Center, 1605 Cameron Street, between 5:30PM and 5:45PM, .

Starting at 6:00PM, a drawing of completed Fun Hunt forms for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place adults, and 1st, 2nd and 3rd place children (12 and under) prizes will take place at the Durant Arts Center during the kickoff at 6:00PM.   Just decide whether you want to enter the adult or children competition (you can not enter both).  Winners must be present to claim their prizes.  They are handing out some serious cash to the winners!

Good luck and happy hunting!

Click here for more information on the night and how to purchase tickets.



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Last Minute Holiday Gifts

It is coming down to the wire!  If you are searching for last minute gifts, we have ideas for you, right here in Alexandria.

  • One idea is a Society Fair gift card.  Society Fair is a food-lovers boutique located in the heart of Old Town at 277 South Washington Street.  They offer baked goods, meats, as well as food-related gifts galore.  The recipient could use their gift card at the wine bar, the demo kitchen or the market!  Maybe they will ask you to join them for some delicious fun!




  • A reversible puffer vest from Top It Off, located in Del Ray on Mount Vernon Avenue.  This 100% Nylon vest is fleece-lined inside.  It is a very reasonable $38.00.  The woman in your life will love it on the not-so-chilly days of Winter.  Available in additional colors.




  •  A piece of jewelry from Kiskadee at 2205 Mount Vernon Avenue.  You will find unique pieces for that special someone in your life.  A ring or necklace will be statement piece that she will treasure forever.



  •  You could also stop by Let’s Meat on the Avenue  at 2403 Mount Vernon Avenue for a selection of their four most popular seasonings boxed together as the Dizzy Pig.  These spices can be used on filet mignon along with some specialty olive oil from their organic olive oil bar.  The guy in your life will love to use these on the grill!




Happy Holidays to you and yours from Alexandria Living!

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Factory Society Holiday Wine Tasting


If you are in the under-40 crowd and looking for something different to do this Friday, you may want to check out the Factory Society’s after-hours holiday wine tasting evening.  The Factory Society is the official young-professionals group of the Torpedo Factory Art Center (105 North Union Street).  At this event, you will have the opportunity to meet local artists in their studios and discuss their artwork.  Along the tour of the studios you will be served wines and light desserts.

The evening is intended to give attendees a chance to learn more about the art they are enjoying directly from the artists themselves.  You may even pick up a one-of-a-kind gift for someone special in your life.

Participating artists include:  Stephanie Booth, Matthew Harwood, Rachel Kerwin, Greg Knott, Alison Sigethy, Whitney Staiger, and Jennifer Brewer Stone.

The Torpedo Factory Artists’ Association will also be giving an exclusive first look at original works of art in the holiday pop-up art shop.  Another chance to purchase a thoughtful, original holiday gift.



Tickets are $30 and are available here.  You must 21+ to attend.  Happy Holidays!


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Historic Alexandria Candlelight Tour


If you are looking for fine food, seasonal decorations, and music in historic Old Town, this is the event for you.  Four of Old Town’s finest historic sites will welcome guests for a candlelight tour.  At each stop, you will find period-appropriate holiday decorations as well as drink and food items.  And adult, seasonal libations can be purchased along the tour!

This year’s tour includes:

Gadsby’s Tavern Museum at 134 North Royal Street

Carlyle House Historic Park at 121 North Fairfax Street

The Lloyd House at 220 North Washington Street

Lee-Fendall House at 614 Oronoco Street.

Tour any time from 6:00PM – 9:00PM on Saturday night or 3:00PM – 6:00PM on Sunday afternoon.  You should allow about 1.5 – 2 hours if you want to visit all four sites.

You can visit the locations in any order that you choose.  Guides will be stationed at each site.  To make things a little easier, a free shuttle will be provided and running in a continuous loop between all four sites.

Ticket prices are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors (ages 65 and older) and active military members, and $5 for children (ages 6-17).   Tickets for this event can be purchased here.

A great way to kick off the holiday season!

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The Annual Del Ray Holiday on the Avenue


Join the fun this Saturday, December 5th at 6pm for the annual Del Ray Holiday on the Avenue.  The night will begin with the lighting of thousands of luminaries!  It is a sight to see!  You can enjoy hot cider outside Pork Barrel BBQ.  There will also be hot cocoa and cookies available.

Carols will be sung – led by the Rainbow Lady, Kate Moran.  The TC Williams Choir will also perform that night.  The Front Porch, by the Evening Star Café, will be showing favorite holiday classics with seating and heaters available.


The big man himself, Santa Claus, will make an appearance and will be available for photos.  But the guy is busy this time of year so he has to leave at 7:30pm, so get there early if you want to see him.

You can take a walk down Mt. Vernon Ave. and take a look at the decorated trees.  Vote for your favorite on-line!

In the spirit of giving, the Del Ray Business Association will be collecting canned goods, disposable diapers, deodorant, razors and new twin sheets and towels for Carpenter’s Shelter.

The fun takes place at the corner of Mt. Vernon Avenue and Oxford Street.  See you there!

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Black Friday Shopping

If shopping on Black Friday is in your plans, we recommend that you make it memorable and enjoyable by hitting the small shops in Old Town.  We just learned that over 80% of the shops in Old Town and Del Ray are independently-owned.  And we all know that a small shop is the place to find a one-of-a-kind gift for your friends and loved ones.


Downtown historic Alexandria. Virginia Tourism Corporation,


The city has made it easier for us all by providing free parking at parking meters and city-owned garages.  And over 50 independently-owned shops will open early with deals on everything from dog sweaters to home décor.  If you can get out of bed early, it may be worth your while.  Here are some of the deals you will find from participating shops:

6:00AM – 8:00AM: 30% discounts

8:00AM – 10:00AM: 20% discounts

10:00AM – closing: 10% discounts




If your legs get tired, you can hop on the King Street Trolley for free, starting at 6:00AM.  And if you are still up for it, the Annual Tree Lighting will take place at Market Square at 6:00PM.  There are too many participating stores to name but a full list can be found at this link:  Black Friday.  Happy Shopping!






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