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Healthy restaurant with grocery to take root in McLean’s former LoKL Gourmet spot

LoKL Gourmet has been permanently closed for less than a month, but a new restaurant promising a similar Whole Foods-style market with a local focus is already preparing to fill the void that the McLean shop left behind.

Roots Provisions & Grocery will take over Suite E at 8100 Old Dominion Drive, according to the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority’s database. With an effective date of March 10, the restaurant’s application for a liquor license is currently pending.

Anne Alfano, the chef and business manager for Roots, says it will be an “elevated” fast-casual restaurant with an emphasis on healthy ingredients. Like Lokl Gourmet, its menu will consist of sandwiches, soups, salad and vegan bowls, and assorted breakfast options.

The venue will also contain a bar that serves beer, wine, and cocktails as well as a grocery section with everything from freshly farmed milk and eggs to pasta, charcuterie, and baked goods, such as cake pops and croissants.

“My goal is to take the former concept of Lokl Gourmet, but make it cleaner, make it healthier, and a little bit more pleasing to the eye,” Alfano told Tysons Reporter.

A notice on the LoKL Gourmet website indicates that the eatery struggled financially throughout 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic but managed to persevere until the end of February, thanks to support from its landlord, vendors, and community.

“Our team of food enthusiasts hope to have an opportunity to serve you in the future,” the message to patrons says. “But for now, our restaurant and bar are now closed and we will not be reopening at this location for the foreseeable future.”

The LoKL Gourmet team encourages customers to continue supporting local businesses and locally-sourced foods and products, which were at the heart of the gourmet market’s appeal since it opened in 2015.

In addition to offering a similar menu, Roots will retain some of Lokl Gourmet’s employees and its goal of fostering a neighborhood-friendly environment. The new restaurant’s name reflects the owners’ close ties to McLean, according to Alfano.

“It’s owned by people who live in McLean…who grew up in McLean and live in McLean,” she said. “They’re trying to keep it in the neighborhood, trying to keep the neighborhood vibrant, trying to contribute and give back.”

While the permitting process makes it hard to pin down an exact date, the Roots team hopes to open in April, when the weather will be warmer and COVID-19 vaccinations are expected to accelerate both locally and nationally.

Alfano says they will comply with all health protocols, including mask requirements, and there will be robust curbside pick-up and delivery options, along with an outdoor patio with limited seating.

“We’re in the midst of a major vaccination campaign, and people are eager to go out into the warm weather,” Alfano said. “…I think it’s a great time to open a restaurant right now.”

Image via Google Maps

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