Reston, VA

Morning Notes

Virginia to Change Vaccine Scheduling Systems — Fairfax County residents will finally follow the same approach to obtaining COVID-19 vaccine appointments as the rest of the state, as the Virginia Department of Health says its statewide system will also be retired on Sunday (April 18) in favor of self-scheduling through Vaccine Finder. [Patch]

Lawsuit Filed over Virginia’s Unemployment Benefits — “Several legal groups filed a federal class-action suit on Thursday against the Virginia Employment Commission for its failure to reach residents with unemployment benefits, and abruptly cutting off payments to others without explanation.” [DCist]

Fish Released into Lake Thoreau — Reston Association stocked Lake Thoreau with 80 triploid grass carp this past Sunday (April 18). RA says that the fish are part of its plan to “help manage aquatic plants such as hydrilla” in the lake and must be released if caught while fishing. [RA/Twitter]

Reston Nonprofit to Give Free Food to Those in NeedCornerstones will hold a free food distribution event tomorrow (Saturday) in the parking lot of the Fairfax County Department of Family Services building at Lake Anne (11484 Washington Plaza West). The grocery bags will contain toiletries as well as fresh produce, and they will be distributed from 10 a.m. to noon, though spaces are limited. [Lake Anne Elementary School]

Hunter Mill District Bike Tour Sold Out — Tickets for the inaugural Tour de Hunter Mill sold out yesterday. Scheduled for May 15, the event will take cyclists on a scenic tour from Reston to Vienna and back, but attendance was capped at 150 riders to ensure social distancing. [Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling/Twitter]

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It is farmers market season, and Fairfax County has a plethora of options for anyone looking to pick up some fresh fruit and vegetables.

The county operates 10 markets under the Fairfax County Park Authority, but there are also many privately-owned markets, many of which are open year-round.

The county-run markets, however, are strictly seasonal. While they closed for a period of time last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, four of them eventually re-opened.

This weekend, the first of those markets will put out its produce for the 2021 season:

  • Burke: VRE parking lot (5671 Roberts Parkway), Saturdays 8 a.m. to noon, starting April 1
  • McCutcheon/Mount Vernon: Sherwood Regional Library (2501 Sherwood Hall Lane), Wednesdays 8 a.m. to noon, starting April 21
  • Old Town Herndon (700 Lynn St.): Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., starting April 22
  • Reston: Lake Anne Village Center (1609-A Washington Plaza), Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon, starting May 1
  • Oak Marr RECenter (3200 Jermantown Rd.): Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to noon, starting May 5
  • Wakefield Park (8100 Braddock Rd.): Wednesdays from 2-6 p.m., starting May 5
  • Annandale: Mason District Park (6621 Columbia Pike), Thursdays from 8 a.m. to noon, starting May 6
  • McLean: Lewinsville Park (1659 Chain Bridge Road), Fridays from 8 a.m. to noon, starting May 7
  • Kingstowne Towne Center (5870 Kingstowne Towne Center): Fridays from 3-7 p.m., starting May 7

The county-run markets all run through at least late October, with several continuing into December.

What makes these markets unique is that they’re strictly producer-only, meaning vendors can only sell what they’ve raised, grown, or made on their own farms. All farmers and producers also come from within a 125-mile radius of Fairfax County.

Because of the ongoing pandemic, the county has enacted strict safety protocols.

Visitors can browse markets in “pods” of up to four people, but only one customer can approach a stall at a time. Vendor sampling has been prohibited, and people are being asked not to “linger.” Online sales are strongly encouraged.

If 10 markets aren’t enough, there are plenty of privately-run farmers markets around the county.

FRESHFARM runs about 30 markets across D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, including five in Fairfax County:

  • Oakton: Unity of Fairfax Church (2854 Hunter Mill Rd.), year-round on Saturdays from 9 a.m to 1 p.m.
  • Mosaic: The Mosaic District (2910 District Ave.), Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., started April 4
  • Reston: St. John Neumann Catholic Church (11900 Lawyers Rd.), Wednesdays from 3-7 p.m., started April 7
  • Springfield: Springfield Town Center (6699 Spring Mall Dr.), Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., starting May 1
  • The Boro: 8301 Greensboro Dr., Thursdays from 3-7 p.m., starting May 6

The NOVA Central Farm market in Vienna is also on Sundays and open year-round, though hours shifted slightly on April 1.

The Reston Farm Garden Market is also open year-round and daily on Baron Cameron Avenue. Its two “neighborhood markets” will open this month:

  • Springfield: Cardinal Forest Plaza (8316 Old Keene Mill Rd.), open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., starting April 15
  • Herndon: Fox Mill Center (2551 John Milton Dr.), open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., starting April 20

If you want to cross county lines, there is also a number of farmers markets in Arlington.

Be it sweet strawberries, appetizing apples, lucious lettuce that you may desire, there are plenty of options in Fairfax County for community members to get their fill of fresh food and support local farmers.

Photo via Sven Scheuermeier/Unsplash

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A new Vietnamese and pho restaurant is opening later this month at Franklin Farm Village Center in Herndon.

The family-owned Pho VietFresh at 13340 Franklin Farm Rd. is projected to open in mid to late February, according to owner Tam Nguyen, although there’s no set date at the moment. Inspections and acquiring permits from the county is still being delayed due to the pandemic.

Nguyen says owning a restaurant has been a family dream ever since they immigrated to Herndon from Vietnam in 2008. His parents have worked at other area Vietnamese restaurants. After graduating from University of Virginia, Nguyen returned home and convinced his parents it was time to open a business of their own.

“Back in Vietnam, we’d have a lot of celebrations and my mom would always cook,” says Nguyen. “She’s going to be the main chef [at Pho VietFresh].”

The menu is relatively small compared to other Vietnamese restaurants, offering pho, raman, bánh mì, and a few other dishes. This was done on purpose, says Nguyen.

“We are very specialized,” he says. “We want to be more modernized… a little bit more Americanized, while also having the same authenticity.”

The restaurant takes the place of a former Starbucks (which moved across the street).

Take-out, limited indoor dining, and delivery through UberEats and DoorDash will be available upon opening. The hope down the road, Nguyen says, is for Pho VietFresh to offer their own delivery service, which will cut costs for both the customer and restaurant.

The original intent was to open last spring, but the pandemic delayed the family’s dream of opening their own restaurant… but only for a little a while longer.

“It’s a long time coming for us,” Nguyen says.

Photo courtesy of Pho VietFresh

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The COVID-19 pandemic is prompting a new international food hall to slowly phase out its offerings over the course of the next few months.

Spice Village, which will be located 2501 Centreville Road in the Village Center at Dulles, will kick off its soft opening on Friday, Dec. 4.

The food hall will kick off with its four-cuisine menu of Peri Peri Original first, followed by Chinese cuisine.

The Khyber Shinwari and Kallisto Steakhouse will be the last to due debut at Spice Village. The owner anticipates the full menu to kick off in six to ten weeks.

“We hope that this approach will help us weather this peak COVID-19 situation and assist us in mitigating all of our health and safety risk[s],” the team wrote in a social media statement.

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Thanksgiving is just a couple days away, and there are still a few area restaurants taking orders.

In Reston, Founding Farmers Reston Station (1904 Reston Metro Plaza Drive) is offering three pre-order options for a “Thanksgiving Prix Fixe,” which will also include a vegan option. The restaurant will provide contact-free curbside pickup on Thursday.

McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood & Steaks (11920 Democracy Dr.), also in Reston, is offering two options – one for adults and one for kids – for preorder.

Clyde’s (11905 Market Street) in Reston will be open for reservation or pickup. It is offering two Thanksgiving options – a traditional turkey dinner and a glazed spiral ham dinner – in addition to its regular menu items.

In Fairfax, 2941 (2941 Fairview Park Drive) extended the availability of its Thanksgiving menu, which includes a variety of options for dine-in or carryout.

Other restaurants in Reston and the surrounding area offering dine-in or takeout for Thanksgiving include:

Photo via Unsplash

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Some new food options are coming to Herndon as Spice Village is set to open this month at the Village Center at Dulles.

Spice Village will function as a food hall featuring four restaurants and their takes on halal. There will be halal options with influences from China, Portugal, the United States and the Shinwari, a Pashtun tribe in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“Some people, they have their different tastes; some have a preference for Chinese, some want to have steaks,” owner Zayan Abbasi said.

“So, if there are five, six or seven family members, if somebody is not happy with one thing, there will be another option under the same roof and they won’t have to go to another location.”

Abbasi says he is aiming for Spice Village to have a soft opening in the middle of November. He’s been planning to open this space for two years.

The first of the restaurants inside Spice Village to open will be Peri Peri Original, an international chain restaurant. Abbasi plans to have Mandarin Halal Express open two weeks following the opening of the food hall.

Kallisto Steakhouse and Khybar Shinwari, respectively, will open over the next couple of months.

While the food hall has yet to open, Abbasi says he’s already received plenty of interest from the community.

“We have had a very good response so far,” he said. “I receive a lot of calls every single day and receive emails. People are ready for that concept, and they’re very excited.”

Abbasi is planning for a grand opening in about two or three months. He says he is holding off due to COVID-19 safety reasons and a desire not to create “long queues” at this time.

Photo courtesy Zayan Abbasi

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One of the most popular food festivals in Northern Virginia is getting delayed by a few months to reduce the risk of spreading the novel coronavirus.

Instead of its original date in June, Taste of Reston will be held on Friday and Saturday (Sept. 25-26) at Reston Town Center, according to a press release.

“Planning for this year’s event includes the qualities that Taste of Reston is renowned for — plenty of food and beverage tastings, activities for all ages, and live music — while being thoughtful of physical distancing,” the press release said.

Still, guests can expect the same level of entertainment and quality from years past, the press release said.

“The 30th annual Taste of Reston will offer two days of numerous food vendors, local wineries, three beer zones with craft and seasonal brews, a sponsor showcase, and live entertainment on four stages.”

Admission and parking will be free, according to the press release, which added that guests can purchase food and drink tickets for $1 each or 24 for $20.

Photo via Chip McCrea on Taste of Reston/Facebook

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The Reston Community Center is seeking talent for the 21st Annual Reston Multicultural Festival this fall.

Event organizers want both individuals and groups in the performing arts to submit applications online for their chance to be featured in the celebration, which is scheduled to take place on Sept. 26 at Lake Anne Plaza, a press release said.

The deadline for applications is June 19, according to a press release, which added that people should be prepared to submit audio and video examples.

“To accommodate as many applicants as possible, selection will be made on the basis of the materials submitted rather than requiring auditions,” the press release said.

Judging criteria will include artistic merit, production values, evidence of authentic traditions and forms of specific cultures, according to the press release. Performances may be religious in nature but should not “overly” promote one father above another, according to RCC.

“The Reston Multicultural Festival is a family-oriented event and material performed shall be suitable for all ages and free of any content that would be inappropriate for a diverse, multicultural and multigenerational audience,” the press release said.

Event organizers are also looking for art vendors, community organizations and food vendors. These vendors may apply online as well.

Photo courtesy Reston Community Center

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As many families around Reston prepare to celebrate Mother’s Day on Sunday (May 10), local businesses are offering packages to help people treat their moms at home.

People who choose to social distance this year can still video call their mothers through services such as Zoom or recently released Google Meet, which are both free to use.

Packages and Gifts

Scrawl Books in Reston picked out a gift for Mother’s Day this year, according to its website: “You’re Mom: A Little Book for Mothers,” by Liz Climo is a book featuring comics about motherhood.

Weird Brothers Coffee in Herndon and Old Soul Flower Company in Great Falls were offering a joint flower, chocolate and coffee packages but are already sold out, according to the item page. Still, people can get their moms brews because Weird Brother Coffee is offering take out, curbside pickup and local delivery, the website said.

Flowers

Though Old Soul Flower Company’s said it is sold out of flowers for Mother’s Day weekend, the local business is running a special where it will deliver fresh flowers each week from June 1 until Sept. 30 for $400, which could be a long-term gift.

Mayflowers, a Reston-based florist, is open for business and offers dozens of floral arrangements specialized for Mother’s Day, ranging in price from $60 to $550, according to the website. The florist requires 24 hours to process orders, and people can order online.

Food

Amphora Bakery in Herndon offers a variety of floral and brightly colored cakes that are available for roughly $27. People can choose different sizes, frosting types and over a dozen flavors, according to the website. Though the deadline has passed for some specialized cakes by Mother’s Day, people may still be able to enjoy another cake. People can email the bakery to inquire further.

Cooper’s Hawk is offering an at-home prearranged menu to celebrate this year. For $150 a group of four can get starter of bread and a salad, a choice of five different entrees, sides and a dessert. Orders must be placed by 8 p.m. tonight (May 8) over the phone at 708-215-5674, the website said.

Ted’s Bulletin is offering brunch and dinner packages for Mother’s Day and pre-order is now available. The Reston location is offering a full array of plates, treats and cocktails for pickup or delivery.

Founding Farmers Reston is offering brunch, dinner and add-on cocktail options as well. People can choose from traditional comfort foods like fried chicken to sweeter dessert main entries for brunch or dinner, according to the website. Anyone interested can order online.

People can check out the menus for their favorite restaurants to see if they have specials for Mother’s Day.

Photo by Zoe Schaeffer/Unsplash

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As the Reston Farmers Market prepares to open for the season on Saturday (May 9), vendors are making adjustments for ease and coronavirus prevention.

People will now be able to preorder food and goods, which will then be available for express pickup at the market on Saturdays from 8 a.m. until noon, according to Fairfax County’s website.

To order, people can select from vendors on Fairfax County’s website, preview products offered by each vendor and proceed to make a reservation online on the individual vendor’s website.

When picking up items at the market, people should follow the one-way path to the vendor and give their name, according to the website.

Depending on the vendor, people can either prepay or pay when they collect the items in person.

Vendors will sell items including baked goods, fresh meat and produce, dairy products, ready-made food, pickled items and snacks, according to their websites.

Here’s a complete list of the vendors:

Photo via Reston Farmers Market/Facebook 

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Known for its elaborate cakes, Amphora Bakery is now offing grocery delivery through its sister catering service.

Amphora Catering in Herndon now delivers basic items to customers’ homes without a delivery fee for orders above $75 and within a 10-mile radius, the website said.

“In an effort to support our community, Amphora is offering contact-less delivery of essential ingredients that are increasingly more difficult to come by at the markets or without the potential risk,” the site said.

Offerings include freshly baked bread, milk, eggs, cheese, various meats, veggies, fruits, flour, sugar and bathroom essentials like toilet paper.

Anyone interested can fill out an online cart order and select a delivery day. Deliveries will arrive sometime between 10:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., the site said.

Photo via Sven Scheuermeier/Unsplash

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After deliberation from Fairfax County officials, the fate of farmers markets around Reston and Herndon is still undecided.

Many farmers markets were expected to open within the next few weeks but were indefinitely delayed because of safety concerns over COVID-19, according to Fairfax County’s website.

Though this decision will likely negatively affect local vendors who sell goods at these markets, it is unclear what the long-term economic impact might be.

People who still want to support vendors in this time of crisis can check out places like Sterling-based Baguette Republic, which allows customers to order freshly baked goods online. Customers can score six personal size ciabatta rolls for $6, according to the website.

Ashburn-based Roots to Rise is another local food producer that offers pickup at several locations. Customers can order fresh juices, breakfast and lunch, the website said.

Fairfax County Chairman Jeff McKay issued a statement today (April 14) during a Twitter Q&A saying that county staffers are trying to come up with a configuration that allows people to shop while still practicing the six-foot social distancing requirements.

Photo via Anne Preble/Unsplash

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Virginia announced an upcoming Takeout Week to support local restaurants trying to stay afloat despite the loss of business from the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the motto “Virginia is for Restaurant Lovers,” event organizers want people to order takeout at local businesses beginning today (March 30) until April 5, according to the event page on Fairfax County’s website.

People may be able to order directly from the eatery or use apps such as GrubHub and Uber Eats for curbside drop off.

Reston Now previously did a roundup of local eateries still open for delivery, which includes roughly two dozen various choices.

Already, some restaurants have chosen to shut down and let go of staffers. Temporary closures include Bombay VelvetNot Your Average Joe’s and Big Bowl.

People who participate are encouraged to use the hashtag #VirginiaEatsLocal to show solidarity and encourage their friends and family to order out, the website said.

Image via Fairfax County

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The Reston YMCA will begin offering produce distribution tomorrow (Wednesday) at 12196 Sunset Hill Roads.

Although the location and all others in the DMV region are closed, residents can drop by on Wednesday from 4-6 p.m. and on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon to pick up produce.

Produce is available to all, regardless of their affiliation with the YMCA.

Residents should bring their own bag. The effort is made possible with the support of Keany Produce and Child Care Resources Inc.

Image via Google Maps

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Spring is around the corner and farmers markets around the are preparing to open for the season — offering visitors an array of fresh vegetables, fruits, baked goods and other locally sourced commodities.

Reston Now rounded up a list of markets in the area so shoppers can plan ahead.

The Reston Farmers Market will open for visitors next month, on April 26, according to the Fairfax County website, which added the market will take place Saturdays from 8 a.m. until noon at 1609 Washington Plaza N.

For those who drive, the web page said parking will be available along North Shore Drive. A list of vendors from previous years can be found online.

Community Foodworks in Reston, which takes place at St. Johns Neuman Catholic Church (11900 Lawyers Road) is part of a larger network of markets around NoVA, which includes a location in Tysons. The Reston location set to open on April 17 and run through the end of November on Wednesdays from 3 to 7 p.m., the website said.

Shoppers can expect roughly 20 various local vendors to check out, each of which offers things ranging from dog treats to fresh pastries, according to the market’s website.

The Herndon Farmers Market will make its debut this year on April 23. It will be open every Thursday from 8 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. at 765 Lynn Street until Nov. 5, according to Fairfax County’s website.

The Reston Farm Market (10800 Baron Cameron Ave) isn’t a traditional farmers market– but is instead a seasonal family-owned and operated business that offers things similar to what someone would expect to find at a weekly farmers market.

The Weinstein family, who owns the market, announced on their website that it will open for the 2020 season this upcoming Monday (March 16).The daily hours of operation will be 9 a.m. until 8 p.m.

Photo via  Anne Preble/Unsplash

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