(Updated at 10:25 a.m.) When the Washington Football Team opens its season against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sept. 12, Northern Virginia fans who catch the game at FedEx Field might notice a familiar name among the stadium’s food options.

The Herndon-based, family-owned taqueria Casa De Ávila Tacos is one of eight local vendors included in the ‘Flavor of the DMV Showcase’ that D.C.’s NFL franchise will introduce to FedEx Field for the 2021 season.

“A year ago we never saw ourselves on a huge platform, where we find ourselves today,” Abraham Avila, a founder of the taqueria, said. “I consider it lifechanging.”

Abraham and his wife Stephanie Avila launched the taqueria on Sept. 5, 2020 with his mother Luz Avila and sister Jessica Avila.

Stephanie, whose background is in nursing, came up with the idea for the taqueria because she wanted to do something different. After the couple discussed the idea, Luz and Jessica offered to assist with the venture.

“In the beginning, we knew our food was good. Growing up, my friends would always come over and they would always look forward to my mom’s cooking,” Abraham said.

With influences from Guadalajara, Mexico, the taqueria’s recipes are often homemade, coming from either his mother’s family or his wife’s side of the family.

“When we started, the reception was great,” Abraham recalled. “We didn’t expect the numbers we had, and so that very first day we looked at each other and we were like, ‘we’re onto something.’ And so we started building a following.”

That community support inspired the Casa de Ávila team to apply for the Washington Football Team’s first-ever Flavors of the DMV Showcase, which was brought to their attention by a customer.

Abraham says, when he and his wife discussed the possibility of applying, they initially felt daunted by the competition, but they realized that “the worst they’re going to say is ‘no.'”

“So, we submitted the application and we told them why we think our food would be a good idea as they’re reinventing their image,” he said. “And a couple weeks later we got the invitation as one of the finalists to compete. We were over the moon.”

The family taqueria pitted its birria quesatacos against restaurants, food trucks, food stands, and more from the D.C. area. They were evaluated by a tasting panel consisting of Washington Football Team Vice President of Guest Experience Joey Colby-Begovich, Super Bowl XXII MVP Doug Williams, and representatives from Levy Restaurants.

After getting feedback, the family waited a couple of weeks before being notified that they had been selected as one of the official vendors for the season. After initial speculation that Abraham may be pranking the group, the reality of the moment set in, and there were “a lot of tears, screams, a lot of ‘oh my goodness,'” Abraham says.

“That just sent chills through everybody,” he said. “It gave everybody here a new sense of energy. It kind of told us we’re on the right path of what we’re doing.”

During the application process, Abraham made the case that Casa De Ávila could help the football team connect with the local Hispanic community, letting that segment of its fanbase know  that “we see you, we hear you, and here’s a piece of home in our stadium for you guys.”

Colby-Bagovich says the D.C. area’s increasingly diverse population was considered when selecting vendors for the showcase, along with the food’s taste, quality, and appropriateness for a stadium setting — that is, food that could be served in bulk and eaten without a table.

“One of our tent pole goals is to bring the community in as a part of our gameday experience,” Colby-Begovich said. “The DMV community is vast and diverse, and what better represents the richness of the DMV than food? We are thrilled to have local vendors representing their cultures, traditions, and culinary delights.”

The NFL extension of Casa De Ávila Tacos is located in Section B 134, near one of the end zones. It features three meats, with quesatacos (cheese) and carnitas (pulled pork) as permanent offerings, while a third will rotate between chicken, al pastor (sliced pork), and carne asada (beef) tacos.

While the NFL showcase will give the taqueria a whole new audience, for its owners, it will always remain a family affair.

“For us, family is number one. So our business name is our family name,” Abraham said.

When Abraham’s grandfather died earlier this year, the family had an opportunity to visit Mexico and bring his grandmother back to the U.S. visit her children. The sight of the taqueria’s name “brought tears” to her eyes, because she saw it as a way to keep her husband’s last name alive, he recalls.

“Being at the stadium, we want [people] to know that they’re also going receive the same high-quality food they can find at our restaurant or anywhere,” Abraham said. “We want to change the game up for concession food. And we’re doing it as a family.”

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Fairfax County Public Schools children will continue to get free meals amid uncertainty with the pandemic.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture extended schools’ abilities to provide the food — traditionally for low-income families through free and reduced meal programs — by giving them special exemptions last year when schools were shut down due to COVID-19.

For FCPS, it means all students, regardless of their families’ incomes, can get free breakfast and lunch through June 2022.

“Pivot was the key word of success to the FCPS response to the pandemic and meals,” FCPS Food and Nutrition Services Director Maria Perrone said in a statement. “On March 13, 2020 — the day that schools closed — our FNS team opened 5 meal distribution sites” and continue to open more.

She says that by the close of this past school year, FCPS had 75 locations and over 400 bus stops distributing meals to students.

“By March of 2021 — one year after the start of the pandemic — the FNS team had served over 15 million meals,” Perrone noted.

The extension is funded by federal relief money from the Families First Coronavirus Response Act that Congress first passed in March 2020 and extended in September, according to the USDA. The USDA has provided waivers to school districts to allow them to operate programs outside their normal parameters.

Buses with food drove through neighborhoods across Fairfax County yesterday (Wednesday) as part of a meal kit distribution effort, where children 18 and younger can get a week’s worth of food for free. FCPS will also provide meal kits at several schools through Aug. 16 as part of the USDA Summer Food Service Program.

A mother who teaches in FCPS picked up food for her kids and remarked how she wished more people would have been there.

FCPS Superintendent Scott Brabrand said the continued outreach comes as officials recognize the uncertainty that the pandemic has created for families.

After remote learning filled much of 2020, FCPS gradually shifted students back into classrooms throughout the school year, finally moving to four days a week in April. The district will return to five days a week for almost all students when it starts the school year on Aug. 23.

FCPS announced on July 28 that masks will be required in school buildings when students are present, regardless of an individual’s vaccination status.

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Morning Notes

Unattended Candle Causes Herndon Fire — An unattended candle that was left burning caused a house fire in the 400 block of Pickett Lane in the Town of Herndon on Tuesday (Aug. 3), displacing seven people and producing approximately $50,000 in damages. No humans were injured, but a dead dog was found on the second floor during search and rescue operations. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]

Herndon Police ID Vehicle Involved in Shooting — A vehicle involved in a shooting incident in the 900 block of Alabama Drive on Monday (Aug. 2) has been identified, along with its occupants, the Herndon Police Department said. No injuries were reported, but anyone with additional information can contact police at 703-435-6846. [Patch]

Nearby: Local Football Team Bans Racist Costumes — “As the Washington Football Team continues to move away from its former identity, the franchise announced on Wednesday that Native American-inspired headdresses and face paint will be banned from FedEx Field. The rule is included in the team’s 2021 season protocols for the stadium in Loudoun County, which will reopen at full capacity for the upcoming season.” [DCist]

Frying Pan Farm to Offer Free Ice Cream — “The Friends of Frying Pan Farm Park invites the community to enjoy free ice cream while supplies last on Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, starting at 7 p.m. at Frying Pan Farm Park, located at 2709 West Ox Road in Herndon. Ice cream will be available to visitors attending the U.S. Army Band’s ‘Swamp Romp’ concert.” [Fairfax County Park Authority]

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Fruit (via Melissa Belanger/Unsplash)

Two Fairfax County organizations have been awarded grants from a national nonprofit aimed at increasing access for food service programs for children and their families.

The Falls Church-McLean Children’s Center and Cornerstones in Reston both received grants from No Kid Hungry, a campaign from the national nonprofit Save Our Strength, whose mission is to end hunger and poverty.

No Kid Hungry announced on July 26 that it has distributed $1.16 million in grants to more than 30 Virginia school districts and organizations to combat food insecurity and provide more access to food to children and families.

The Falls Church-McLean Children’s Center received $25,000, and Cornerstones was granted $30,000.

Cornerstones provides assistance with food, shelter, child care, and other basic needs. Based at 11150 Sunset Hills Road, the nonprofit operates community centers in the Cedar Ridge, Crescent, Stonegate Village, and Southgate neighborhoods as well as the Herndon Neighborhood Resource Center.

According to CEO Kerrie Wilson, Cornerstones has distributed more than 21,000 bags of food, produce, diapers, and household supplies to families in fiscal year 2021 so far.

“While this region has navigated major economic and health crises before, never has something like this pandemic had such an immediate and destabilizing impact — particularly on families already struggling with food insecurity, homelessness, and poverty,” she wrote in a statement.

Cornerstones will use its grant to rent an outdoor storage unit to expand its pantry program, pay off-site storage facility costs, and purchase a new cargo van to deliver fresh food to households in need, Wilson says.

Food insecurity remains a huge challenge in the D.C. region. About 1% of residents in several pockets of Reston, Vienna, Tysons, and Herndon were food-insecure in 2020, according to Capital Area Food Bank research.

One in eight children under 18 in Virginia live in a household where they may not be getting enough to eat, according to No Kid Hungry.

“If it weren’t for the free meals being offered by schools and community organizations, that number would be much higher,” No Kid Hungry Virginia Associate Director Sarah Steely said.

Food insecurity disportionately impacts communities of color and immigrants. Cornerstones says about 70% of the people it serves are people of color and 40% are children, half of whom identify as a member of a minority or immigrant community.

The nonprofit surveyed some of the residents it works with and found that food stability remains a huge, immediate concern.

“Food stability is a continued top priority and source of stress for themselves and their families,” Wilson said. “The concerns about access to healthy and adequate food and nutrition was significantly higher in respondents who identified as people of color and immigrants.”

Falls Church-McLean Children’s Center Executive Director Lucy Pelletier says existing food access challenges have been exacerbated by the pandemic due in large part to employment uncertainty.

“We are seeing that our families are in widely varied states of employment recovery,” Pelletier said in a statement. “Our parents who are restaurant servers are exhausted from all their overtime hours because restaurants can’t hire enough employees. Parents in other direct service jobs such as house cleaning are either working less than pre-pandemic levels due to clients’ fears of covid, or they are traveling further to fill their schedule with families willing to accept cleaners into their homes.”

Rising food prices also means that paychecks are not going as far as they used too, she added.

Falls Church-McLean Children’s Center Development Director Renee Boyle says the early childhood education program will share its grant money with the Seven Corners Children’s Center, a preschool in Falls Church.

$15,000 will go towards providing low-income families at both centers with grocery cards that can be used at their discretion. That way, children and their families, including parents and older siblings, can have easier access to food even outside of the schools’ walls, Boyle says.

“Oftentimes, it can be difficult getting to school to get food, or [the kids] don’t attend pre-school,” she said. “This allows [families] to purchase fruits, veggies, and meats of their choice and reflects their ethnic preferences.”

The other $10,000 will go towards contracting Good Food Company out of Arlington to provide high-quality lunches at the center. They provide meals full of fresh vegetables, proteins, and wholesome dishes, Boyle says.

“The menu varies everyday and they’re higher quality meals than county public schools,” she said.

Community organizations like Cornerstones and the Falls Church-McLean Children’s Center are critical to ensuring children have enough healthy food to eat, because they can provide access outside of schools, especially during summer and winter breaks.

“These meal programs work together with nutrition programs like Pandemic EBT and SNAP to ensure kids have enough to eat,” Steely said by email. “We know that summer can be the hungriest time of the year for children and families across the Commonwealth and beyond.”

via Melissa Belanger/Unsplash

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Dragonfly at Lake Newport (Photo by Ruth Sievers)

Monday, July 26

  • Pleibol & Food (6:45 p.m.) — Baseball and food go hand-in-hand. Join the National Museum of American History for an event centered around their new exhibit, highlighting how the Latin diaspora has shaped ballpark snacks.

Tuesday, July 27

  • The Night Sky (8 p.m.) — Spend the night at Roll Top Observatory at Turner Farm Park in Great Falls taking a tour of the planets, constellations, stars, nebulas, and galaxies that make up our night sky.

Wednesday, July 28

  • The Roadducks (7-8:30 p.m.) — A four-decade staple of the southern rock music scene, the Northern Virginia-based Roadducks are hitting the stage at Burke Lake Park to rock in the summer air.

Thursday, July 29

  • Citizen Science (7-8:30 p.m.) — Help biologists count the local dragonfly population by taking this class that will help you identify and do a proper, scientific count. The class is virtual and sponsored by the Reston Association.
  • Rosslyn Live (6:30 p.m.) — It’s the last performance of Rosslyn Live, so take a seat, grab a drink, and enjoy a fun-filled night of drag performances.

Friday, July 30

  • Block Party Tysons (4-7 p.m.) — Mark the 40th anniversary of the Celebrate Fairfax! Festival with a block party on Leesburg Pike in Tysons. There’ll be food, games, and music from local musician Shane Gamble.
  • Summer on the Green (6:30 p.m.) — Throughout the summer, the Town of Vienna is hosting summer concerts every Friday. Bring the family to the Town Green on Maple Avenue for a night of music, dancing, and good times. This week, local dance and rock band Fat Chance will be playing.

Saturday, July 31

  • Around the World Cultural Food Festival (11:30 a.m.-7 p.m.) — After a year off, the global food festival is back and now at Oronoco Bay Park in Old Town Alexandria. Enjoy foods, music, and learning about cultures from across the world.

Sunday, August 1

  • Natural Dye Workshop (12:30-2:30 p.m.) — Learn how to dye with natural products like a professional in this three-session class from Smithsonian Associates. This workshop is virtual and will take place over three weekends.
  • Brick Fair (10 a.m.-4 p.m.) — This mega Lego fair comes to the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly. There will be building, exploring, and learning from the experts. Masks are required for those who are not vaccinated.
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(Updated at 2:10 p.m. on 5/27/2021) Beanstalk, an indoor vertical farming start-up, is putting down roots in Herndon with plans to invest more than $2 million to open a facility and farm this fall.

The Virginia-based company is expanding and opening a “scaled-up version” of their existing farm in the Lorton/Springfield area right off of Herndon Parkway and near the impending Herndon Metro station, Beanstalk co-founder Michael Ross writes Reston Now in an email.

The Herndon location will have research, growing, and package operations.

“This new facility will produce the equivalent of over 50 acres of traditional farmland and allow us to expand into more local grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and restaurants,” said Ross, who founded Beanstalk with his brother Jack.

The company grows pesticide-free leafy greens and herbs year-round using robotics and hydroponic — or soil-less — growing technology. It says it saves space by growing in layers and vertically as opposed to horizontally.

Beanstalk sells its salad mixes and herbs at grocery stores, local farmers markets, and online.

Jack Ross was selected by Virginia for a STEAM catalyst award back in 2018 for his development of an automated indoor growing production system. The technology allows Beanstalk to “produce food four times as efficiently as traditional hydroponic farming,” according to a press release from Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam.

The brothers opened their 3,000 square-foot Springfield/Lorton facility in 2018, and the company expects to have annual sales of over $5 million in the next three years.

“We have created a new technology that produces better tasting and more nutritious vegetables, herbs, and fruits than what are available today,” Ross said. “Our farms are also sustainable as they consume 95% less water, have zero chemical run-off, and are over 100 times more productive use of land.”

The company’s co-founders are in their 20s and both were raised in Alexandria, went to high school in D.C., and played youth sports across the region.

“I particularly spent a lot of time in Herndon and Reston in high school, which is how I originally got to know the area through events like the Herndon Festival,” said Ross, who studied aerospace engineering in college.

He tells Reston Now that they evaluated “dozens of cities” in the D.C. area for their expansion but decided on Herndon because of the town’s “incredible community” and prioritzation of sustainability.

“Herndon is a very unique place within Northern Virginia in that it feels like a small, close-knit town with all the benefits of a larger city,” he said.

Beanstalk is expected to create 29 jobs in Herndon, some of which are already open for hiring.

Positions currently open in Herndon include a director of research and a senior electrical engineer. Ross notes that other jobs will be available soon in engineering, research, and operations, and the company will be looking for farmers later this year.

“We look for people from all backgrounds who want to bring locally grown food to their community and are curious, ambitious, and skilled,” Ross said.

Beanstalk is receiving financial support from both the state and Fairfax County in the form of grants that total $200,000.

As expected, local leaders say they are thrilled that Beanstalk decided Herndon is the place for them to grow.

“We are always looking for innovative investments to move our economy forward in Fairfax County,” Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeffrey McKay said in the governor’s press release. “Beanstalk’s new facility will not only bring new jobs to the community, but it also is a creative solution to using advancements in technology to increase access to fresh food options.”

Herndon Mayor Sheila Olem also welcomed the Ross brothers and Beanstalk to town.

“Theirs is exactly the kind of innovative, jobs-producing business we are looking to attract to our town’s commercial sector, and we applaud their application of technology toward provision of healthy, locally-grown produce,” she said.

Beanstalk’s mission is not only to grow fresh produce using new, more-efficient, sustainable technology, but to provide food at its freshest, Ross says.

“By growing in a farm within the community, we deliver food at peak freshness, which ensures all the taste and nutrition of the food is there when you take your first bite,” he said.

Photo courtesy Michael Ross

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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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