For the rest of February, Vienna Inn customers can thank local first responders by adding a gift card to their next hot dog order.
The restaurant announced on Monday (Feb. 7) that it hopes to give away 62 gift cards worth $10 each to first responders as part of a month-long celebration of its 62-year anniversary.
Aside from the introduction of an outdoor tent in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Vienna Inn remains much the same as when it opened its doors at 120 Maple Avenue East in February 1960.
The establishment is known for its chili dogs, rustic sports-bar atmosphere, and “honor system” approach to payment, where patrons get their own drinks and tell cashiers what they ordered instead of getting a bill from a server.
“After spending the past 2 years operating and making it through a pandemic, we are looking forward to celebrating,” Vienna Inn owner Marty Volk said in a press release. “It’s great to see the families and teams back in again.”
In addition to the gift cards for first responders, the 62nd anniversary celebration will include meal deals with special gifts for children 12 and under, weekly social media contests, National Chili Day giveaways, and a food drive to support the nonprofit Food for Others, where all participants will be able to get $2 hot dogs.
If you meet a dancer who grew up in Vienna within the past half-century, chances are good that they trained at Cuppett Performing Arts Center.
Commonly known as Cuppett’s, the family-owned dance studio is in the midst of its 60th season, and despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, its leaders hope to celebrate the milestone with the same enthusiasm and sense of community that has made it a beloved town institution.
“You might think this is silly, but several people over the years have told me that Cuppett’s has its own soul,” owner and co-artistic director Amy Cuppett told Tysons Reporter. “…It’s like the studio is a foundation right there, but what happens within those walls, it’s almost magical, and…a lot of our students, they’re friends for life.”
Cuppett’s has come a long way since Amy’s mother, founder Alzine Cuppett, started the studio in the basement of her Vienna home in 1962.
A professional dancer during the 1940s, Alzine trained under multi-hyphenate icon Gene Kelly through the school that his family ran in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. She performed at the Roxy Theatre in New York City, in the Broadway musical “Marinka,” and as a Radio City Rockette.
After World War II, she moved to the D.C. area with her new husband and was raising five children when the principal of Our Lady of Good Counsel asked her to teach dance to the Vienna Catholic school’s kindergarten students.
The classes proved so popular that Alzine’s husband built a dance studio into their house, and Cuppett Performing Arts Center was born, eventually outgrowing the basement and moving to its current location at 135 Park Street in 1980.
Born 10 years after her five siblings, Amy Cuppett recalls literally sleeping under a record player while growing up.
“She was a single mom at this point. If I wanted to be with her, I’d go downstairs and kind of curl up and listen to her teach,” she said.
Though she took ballet, jazz, tap, and other dance classes, Amy initially veered away from the arts as an adult, pursuing a college degree in finance and a career in real estate and mortgage banking. The stress of those industries wore her down, though.
She returned to Cuppett’s in 1996 with a child of her own and an unexpected desire to teach, despite her mother’s reservations about the high-reward, low-pay profession.
“Teachers don’t get paid what they should, in my opinion,” Amy said. “But it’s definitely something that you have to love, and at the time, that’s what I was feeling: this huge passion and very ambitious about my ideas that I had.” Read More
Early Voting Starts Today — Voters can now cast their ballots for the Nov. 2 general election by mail or by visiting the Fairfax County, North County, and Mount Vernon government centers. Virginia has three statewide offices and all 100 House of Delegates seats up for election, and Fairfax County voters also face a school bond question. [Fairfax County Government]
Parents of Sexual Abuse Victim Object to Plea Deal — The family of a girl who was sexually abused by a relative wants a Fairfax County Circuit Court judge to reject a plea deal today (Friday), arguing that the 17-year maximum prison sentence is insufficient. They feel Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano has prioritized defendants over victims, a criticism increasingly leveled against progressive prosecutors across the U.S. elected on promises of reducing mass incarceration and addressing historical inequities in the justice system. [The Washington Post]
Virginia Adds QR Codes to COVID-19 Vaccine Records — “As requests for proof of COVID-19 vaccination by businesses and employers increases, the Virginia Department of Health has announced that QR (quick response) codes are now available. Virginia is now the fifth U.S. state to adopt the SMART Health format for QR codes.” [Fairfax County Health Department]
Vienna Unveils Annual Holiday Ornament — “The town of Vienna later this year will begin selling a 2021 holiday ornament, which depicts the ‘Taking Flight’ bronze statue situated in front of the Vienna Community Center. Vienna Town Council members on Sept. 13 unanimously approved the sale of the ornaments, which will be available at the community center, Town Hall and at the upcoming Oktoberfest celebration.” [Sun Gazette]
Tysons 5K Run Raises Money to Feed Community — “Tysons Partnership is proud to have sponsored the @foodforothers Tysons 5K and Fun Run. Sunday’s Fun Run raised over $91,000 for community members facing food insecurity. Thank you to everyone for your support and participation in this year’s race!” [Tysons Partnership/Twitter]
Merrifield Church to Celebrate 151st Anniversary — “The First Baptist Church of Merrifield will kick off their 151st Homecoming Anniversary Weekend on Saturday, September 18 and Homecoming Sunday Service on Sunday, September 19. Immediately following the worship service we will have a soft opening Ribbon Cutting ceremony followed by Lunch on the Grounds.” [Greater Merrifield Business Association]
Local Woman Gets First Haircut in 17 Years — “There is the slightest chance that as the scissors close in on Zahab Kamal Khan’s hair Thursday morning at the McLean Community Center, she will break from the crowd and the TV news crews and make a run for it. After all, Zahab’s hair — all 6 feet, 3 inches of it — is one of her most prized possessions. She’s been growing it for 17 years, since she was 13.” [The Washington Post]
Vienna Church Celebrates 150th Anniversary — “Vienna Presbyterian Church began in 1871 with nine people — seven female members and two male elders — and in the decades since has ministered to people both in the local area and around the world. The church celebrated its 150th anniversary Aug. 22 with sermons, testimonials, song and fellowship.” [Sun Gazette]
Enjoy Tysons Boulevard Lane Closure — “Looking for a family friendly activity this weekend? Come be #activeintysons because we are hosting a Back-to-School Meetup this Saturday from 10AM-12PM, in Tysons #openstreet along Tysons Blvd. We hope to see you rain or shine for story time with Tysons School Board Representive, Karl Frisch, light refreshments, fun and games!” [Tysons Partnership/Twitter]
Construction Closes I-66 West Overnight — Starting last night (Wednesday), all lanes of I-66 West approaching I-495 in the Dunn Loring area will be closed from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. every night through Saturday (June 19). The closures are necessary for overhead bridge work on the interchange as part of the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project. [VDOT]
Rally in Support of Public Schools Tonight — The Fairfax County Democratic Committee is organizing a rally in support of Fairfax County Public Schools ahead of the school board’s meeting at Luther Jackson Middle School. The school board has faced criticism from some for making political statements and closing schools last year due to COVID-19, including a recall campaign led by a parents’ group that identifies as bipartisan but has received substantial funding from Republican donors. [Fairfax Democrats/Twitter]
Rick Springfield Fans Once Shut Down Tysons Corner — “June 17 is the 40th anniversary of the day Rick Springfield shut down Tysons Corner. Larry Houck was there. ‘Talk about having a front-row seat,’ said Houck, who worked at the Variety Records in Tysons Corner Center, where Springfield was scheduled to meet fans.” [The Washington Post]
McLean Startup Raises $60 Million — The McLean-based kidney care startup Somatus Inc. has secured $60.12 million in new funding, bringing the company’s total funding to $165 million over its five years of existence. The funds come from an equity offering that had its first sale on June 1 and will be used to support the company’s continued expansion as it now serves more than 150,000 patients in the U.S. [Washington Business Journal]
Maryland Beltway Project in Jeopardy — The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ Transportation Planning Board voted yesterday to remove Maryland’s Capital Beltway toll lanes plan from a list of long-term transportation projects, jeopardizing its ability to secure federally required environmental approval. The project will also replace and expand the American Legion Bridge and is considered a necessary supplement to Virginia’s 495 NEXT project in McLean. [The Washington Post]
Blend 111 has evolved since it first arrived on Church Street in Vienna two years ago.
With the Latin fusion restaurant approaching its second anniversary on Saturday (May 8), owner Michael Biddick reflected on the work that went into establishing Blend 111 and refining its menu and style to make it what it is today.
A 20-year resident of Vienna, Biddick started the restaurant in 2019 after selling a successful cybersecurity company that he founded.
He had long been interested in wine but began to seriously learn about it while going through the Court of Masters Sommeliers training. Along the way, he also developed an interest in coffee.
“Through a lot of the traveling I did I had the opportunity to eat at a lot of different restaurants around the world,” Biddick said. “So, I thought it would be great to bring a different type of restaurant to Northern Virginia that focused a lot on international cuisine and [felt like] more of an urban and international city-like restaurant.”
Biddick is now the head sommelier at Blend 111 and a certified French Wine Scholar. He published the book “43 Wine Regions” in 2018 and has contributed to Somm Journal, Food and Travel, and Go World Travel magazines.
To commemorate its two-year anniversary, Biddick says the restaurant is bringing back a few of its more popular drinks, including a very popular spicy margarita, and Executive Chef Andrés-Julian Zuluaga will prepare some surprise dishes that will pop up on the menu come Saturday.
There will also be a special three-course all-day brunch menu for Mother’s Day on Sunday (May 9).
Blend 111 was built in an old furniture and card shop, right down the road from the Town of Vienna’s Town Hall. The name comes from their mission to seamlessly blend food, wine, and coffee from different Latin cultures, along with their address, 111 Church Street.
Although there is currently only one location, Biddick says they are actively looking for other locations to expand in the DMV area.
When designing Blend 111, Biddick made a conscious effort to buy as much local produce as possible and avoid the waste issues that typically plague restaurants.
“One of the things I wanted to do was to have a really minimal waste impact and as little environmental waste as possible,” Biddick said.
Blend 111 has developed relationships with local farms and now specifies what crops need to be grown for main courses, salads, and sides. In addition to supporting local providers, Biddick says cultivating these relationships helps the restaurant develop new flavors.
Blend 111 has a goal to produce only one bag of trash per day. Other leftover items are either recycled or composted through an organization called Compost Crew.
They also are conscious about using organic wine and coffee, and they try to offset anything brought in from outside the D.C. area by investing in renewable energy sources.
“You never reach a finish line with sustainability,” Biddick said. “It’s just something you always have to continually work at and try to improve upon.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit 10 months after it opened, Blend 111 briefly shut down before working to adapt to the new environment.
Putting his information technology background to use, Biddick designed a platform to facilitate carryout and delivery services without having to go through a third party. This helped keep the existing core staff employed and engaged and opened the door for more people to come on board, even as many other restaurants were letting people go.
“I really looked at it as an investment opportunity,” Biddick said. “We found that we were able to make it through the last year, and then, I think once things started to reopen slowly, we then saw business come back significantly.”
Blend 111 brought on a new culinary team in May 2020 that consisted of a new executive chef, a sous chef, and a pastry chef. Biddick says the new team “was able to take the menu up several notches above what we had at opening.”
Blend 111 also benefitted from relaxed zoning rules that enabled the restaurant to convert its parking lot into an outdoor patio space.
“Dealing with a pandemic is really challenging,” Biddick said. “A lot of it comes down to…the individual circumstances that you’re in, but I just try to look at how you can make the best of it and I think we just leveraged everything we could to pull out of that period.”
Caffe Amouri is holding an outdoor birthday party today with ice cream, e-bikes, books and, of course, coffee.
The coffee shop opened in the Town of Vienna 10 years ago.
“On the morning of July 14, 2010, I was standing inside an entirely new business… A coffeehouse opening in the midst of the worst economic downturn in a generation and within three blocks of two Starbucks,” a Facebook post said.
Owner Michael Amouri told Tysons Reporter that all of the proceeds from today’s event at 107 Church Street NE will go to Neighborhood Health, which provides primary care in Alexandria and Arlington and Fairfax counties.
Bards Alley is offering a pop-up bookstore, Bikes@Vienna has a “sustainable transportation” demo with e-bikes and Caffe Amouri is doing hand-pour demos and providing coffee samplings, Amouri said. Caffe Amouri is also serving affogato — espresso over Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.
— Catherine D Moran (@c_douglasmoran) July 14, 2020
Photo via Caffe Amouri/Facebook
The Town of Vienna celebrated its 100th birthday in 1990 with the ringing of bells and a giant birthday cake — and now its 130th birthday this year, residents are challenged to participate in a virtual race.
Titled “Distance Matters,” the race is inviting all Vienna citizens to walk, run, bike or hike a 130K throughout the month of July. People who complete the 80.8 miles will receive a medal at the end of the month.
People who are interested in participating will receive a log to track their miles over the course of the month. Miles can be achieved by running on a treadmill, cycling around the town or walking down the trail — participants’ choice. Whatever mode of exercise residents choose, the race is an easy way to maintain a feeling of community despite social distancing restrictions.
The town was originally planning a large community event called “Bluez and Brewz” on Saturday, June 20, to commemorate Vienna’s 130th birthday. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the idea was changed to something that people could safely participate in — at a distance.
The celebration had included live blues bands, barbecue trucks and more, according to Natalie Duncan, the town’s teen center program coordinator.
“Upon the realization that we had to cancel Bluez and Brewz, we came up with the idea for the 130K,” said Duncan.
The organizers noticed other jurisdictions holding virtual races and decided it would be a fun way to keep the community participating. “The month of July is Parks and Recreation Month… the 130K is a way of keeping residents engaged and involved.”
Local sports and bike merchants, as well as coffee shops, are promoting the event. While running and biking have always been a staple of Vienna with the Washington and Old Dominion Trail running through town, the pandemic has fueled resident interest in the outdoors, according to Duncan.
“Now with the coronavirus, people are more open to using the trail and running around their neighborhoods,” she said.
In the past, Vienna has drawn major crowds for town events including birthday celebrations, Civil War reenactments and celebrating the new millenium, according to the Vienna Recreation Program Manager Amy-Jo Hendrix.
“Vienna is such a close-knit town,” said Hendrix. “Everyone comes together and enjoys whatever activities we have going. It’s a lot of fun to put these on and see the success that we have and how it brings all the neighbors together.”
Register by June 29 at https://t.co/4fyEAuMvFd for $10. Receive s log to track your progress and a medal at completion.
— Town of Vienna, VA (@TownofViennaVA) June 3, 2020
To celebrate its 60th birthday, the Vienna Inn plans to host a range of community events, a spokesperson said.
Festivities began with a Kids’ Night on Monday (Feb. 3) at 120 E. Maple Ave, which featured a special menu, giveaways, activities, prizes and a photo booth, according to the event Facebook page.
There will be another Kids’ Night event on Monday (Feb. 10), the spokesperson said, adding the event will run from 5:30-7 p.m.
“A lot of our customers are like me and have been coming here since they were kids just like their parents,” Marty Volk, the owner of the Vienna Inn, said in a press release. “There are often three generations at a table on any given day.”
The spokesperson told Tysons Reporter that the location will add a few new menu items including barbecue ribs, healthy breakfast items, chicken sandwiches and breadsticks.
Every Tuesday, the location will host rib nights, where people can find deals on ribs and drinks.
Next Friday (Feb. 14), the eatery is hosting a Valentine’s Day party for families, according to a Facebook event. Perks include a gift for mothers, deals on wings after 5 p.m. and a treat for kids too.
The location also has “something big planned” for National Chili Day on Feb. 27, according to a press release, which added that the eatery usually serves more than 10,000 chili dogs a month.
Between first dates and bonding time with family members, the spokesperson said the community has strong ties to the eatery and owners will be hosting a Memorabilia Night, where people can bring in items of nostalgic value.
Though dates and more information hasn’t been released yet, the spokesperson said people can keep tabs on the Facebook page for dates.
Photo via the Vienna Inn/Facebook
Tysons may not have the liveliest nightlife at the moment, but that could soon change as more late-night restaurants and places to hang out open. “Tysons After Dark” will highlight a different spot every week.
Rango’s Tex-Mex and Grill has party plans this weekend with its first anniversary on Saturday, followed by happy hour specials on Super Bowl Sunday.
The father and son-operated restaurant opened last year at 1934 Old Gallows Road to fill a taco and margarita void in Tysons, the owner told Tysons Reporter.
The restaurant serves up a variety of quesadillas, enchiladas, chimichangas and fajitas, along with margaritas, wine and daiquiris.
For Rango’s birthday celebration on Saturday (Feb. 1), diners can order 27 oz. margaritas for $12 and Mexican bottle beers — Corona, Negra Modelo, Modelo Especial and Pacifico — for $3. The restaurant will also have its regular happy hour specials from 3-7 p.m. at the bar.
For the Super Bowl on Sunday, the restaurant plans to offer several discounts during the game. For food, diners can get discounted chicken wings, BBQ ribs and carnitas. For drinks, the restaurant will have specials on its margaritas, sangria, mojitos, beers, wine and mixed drinks.
The restaurant is open 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Saturday and until 10 p.m. on Sundays, according to the restaurant’s Facebook page. Happy hour is from 3-7 p.m. at the bar every day.
Photo via Rango’s Tex-Mex and Grill/Facebook