Tysons’ first Restaurant Week, which ran from Oct. 12-18, was a “huge success,” according to restaurateurs.
When the Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce followed up with each of the 19 participating restaurants, they each reported soaring sales.
“We followed-up with each restaurant, and they all reported significant sales increases, some as high as 50% since reopening after Covid-19,” said Dane Scott, the managing partner of Seasons 52. “And my restaurant is in that category.”
Guests had the option to eat in or take home food from fixed-price lunch and dinner menus that were designed specifically for Restaurant Week and showcase classic dishes, seasonal options, and fan favorites. The Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce hosted the event.
Tony Bass, the general manager of Urban Plates, said his restaurant hit records.
“We actually had the busiest week of any week since we reopened, which was a huge win for us,” Bass said.
It was so successful that the overall company “is looking to replicate elsewhere what we did here,” he said.
The data is going to help Urban Plates keep up the momentum from Restaurant Week, Bass said.
The number-one feedback Bass said he received was, “Wow, I didn’t know you were open again.”
Although in-person guests were thrilled to be back, half of the total customers took advantage of take-out, he said.
Overall, “it was a much bigger event than personally I thought it was going to be,” Bass said.
Scott was nervous leading up to the weeklong event. Restaurant Week in D.C. was reportedly not as successful as in years past, and the Tysons Chamber had planned its restaurant week around not interfering with the week in D.C.
Although the Tysons chamber of commerce added a carry-out component — which is not offered during regular restaurant weeks — to give customers more than one way to participate, Scott still worried the event would be a flop.
“It was far from it,” he said. “Nineteen restaurants participated, and every restaurant said, ‘I had a great week — the best week since reopening. It really made me soar, I was so happy.”
Photo courtesy Andrew Clark
Falls Church Middle Eastern Restaurant Officers Discount for Guests Who Voted — “Sheesh Grill [in] Falls Church (8190 Strawberry Lane Ste 4) will offer diners who present their ‘I Voted’ sticker a discount off their meal from Oct. 26-Nov. 3.” [Sheesh]
Locals Help Science Teacher Clear Daniels Run Elementary Courtyard — “On #VolunteerFest weekend, students from Fairfax and Lake Braddock high schools help a science teacher clean up a courtyard at her school, Daniels Run Elementary.” [Twitter]
Tysons Chamber of Commerce Urges Greater Business Collaboration — “The chamber now is focusing on “business verticals” that encourage companies in complementary industries to purchase services from each other, said Andrew Clark, the chamber’s new board chairman.” [Inside Nova]
Staff photo by Jay Westcott
Tysons Corner’s first Restaurant Week kicks off next Monday and runs Oct. 12 through Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Guests can eat in or take home food from fixed-price lunch and dinner menus that were designed specifically for Restaurant Week and showcase classic dishes, seasonal options, and fan favorites. The Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce is hosting the event.
Restaurateurs say they hope the week will bring customers back to their establishments after they experience the coronavirus precautions that have been put in place. They also hope that patrons who work and eat lunch in town but do not live there return to Tysons as a destination for foodies.
The novel coronavirus pandemic has obliterated the food service industry, with 37,000 jobs lost in Fairfax County, according to a recent report. The findings are the first step in a recovery strategy commissioned by Fairfax County and the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority.
Even after restaurants reopened, customers remain uncomfortable dining out.
“We realized that we can’t just open our doors and hope people go through them,” Dane Scott, the managing partner of Seasons 52, said.
Restaurants are taking extreme safety measures, Chamber of Commerce Chair Andrew Clark says.
“The irony is that restaurants are probably the cleanest places in town, but it will take a while for people to assimilate,” he said.
Tony Bass, the general manager of Urban Plates, is ready to change how people view Tysons with Restaurant Week.
“What I’m excited to show is that Tysons is a destination for food,” he said.
People who are dining for the first time since the pandemic started will see that things in the restaurants look different.
At Urban Plates, customers can still observe chefs making their food in the open kitchen, but can no longer approach the chefs, Bass said.
P.F. Chang’s has poured money into presentation, said operating partner Eric Padilla. The plateware is new, and dishes are served with a new flair.
“You’re not able to go to the movies, so we want to put on a show in the dining room,” he said. “Dinner is the main show: Come in, relax, have a good time, and take your mind off what’s going on.”
Scott, who sits on the Chamber of Commerce, said it has stepped up to care for Tysons’ businesses.
When Clark took over as chair this summer, he implemented some new initiatives. The chamber filmed a documentary on food safety and later threw a whisky-tasting event outside American Prime, complete with temperature checks and mask monitors.
Clark credited Restaurant Week taking off to volunteer photographers, videographers, printers and graphic and designers.
“There’s no money to be made,” he said. “They just love the community.”
Image via Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce
Tysons Chamber Hosting Free Webinar for Nonprofits Facing Pandemic Issues — “Experts in risk mitigation, pandemic related grants, and remote employee morale will be discussing best practices and lessons learned.” [Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce]
TeamLogic IT Opens Tysons-Focused Office — “TeamLogic IT, a national provider of managed IT services and technology support for businesses, just opened offices in Northern Virginia focused on the Reston and Tysons Corner markets.” [Franchising.com]
McLean-based Mars Company Announces Big Reduction in Palm Oil Supply to Prevent Deforestation — “U.S. confectionary, food and pet care giant Mars claims to have eliminated deforestation from its palm oil supply chain after shrinking the number of mills it works with from 1,500 to a few hundred, it announced this week.” [GreenBiz.com]
Staff photo by Jay Westcott
After Reggie Holmes was laid off from his job, he decided to take control of his career path and begin his own business, Enthuse Creative.
Since its founding in Tysons around 2013, the company has branched out to offer customers a variety of branding, strategy and design services — helping clients develop a unique sense of identity, according to Holmes.
Enthuse Creative operates as a multi-functional branding agency to help companies distinguish their talents and focus their efforts. Though the final product will vary depending on a clients’ needs, Holmes said he wants to help people target their own sense of identity and market.
Regarding the creation of Enthuse Creative in 2013, Holmes said he “wanted to be in a position where I could create my own opportunities,” adding that the ability to be creative and think outside of the box in his professional career is important for him as an art degree graduate.
When Holmes was in the process of the career transition, he said he realized that creative positions were “tenuous,” especially if someone wasn’t a high-up and wanted to solidify their career.
Coming up with the name for his company, Holmes said that “‘to enthuse’ means to build joy or happiness, so at the end of the day I want to help businesses be enthusiastic about their brand.”
Since the beginning of 2020, Enthuse has worked with roughly 20 different clients, many of whom come from different backgrounds and need various degrees of assistance, Holmes said.
One of the most inspiring projects Holmes said he worked on was a campaign for Meridian International Group, which promotes global leadership and U.S. diplomacy efforts.
For the group, Holmes said he helped to create an annual report, as well as marketing materials and a logo for a specific program.
“It’s great to know work I’m doing is being seen outside the United States,” he said, adding that he found it humbling to help improve the quality of life for people he will likely never meet.
As a one-man-show, Holmes said he often hires freelancers and partners from around the area to help him keep up with the workload.
In the summer of 2019, Holmes became the co-chair of marketing for the Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce and is now on the chamber’s board. He said he volunteers with the group, working to align upcoming businesses with the chamber, promoting economic success and helping to organize events such as Tysons 2050.
Currently, the group is trying to rebrand their image, according to Holmes, who didn’t feel at liberty to expand.
“We recognize the need to go a little bit deeper and create a compelling case as to why a business should partner with us to keep growing,” he said.
Photo courtesy Reggie Holmes
A panel of local businesswomen will lead a discussion next week in Tysons on communication and leadership as a woman.
The “Taking the Lead with No Apologies” event is hosted by the Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce Women’s Leadership Committee. The event’s description says it will offer simple, easy-to-use tips to help women communicate effectively in the workplace.
The event will be held at Embassy Suites Tysons (8517 Leesburg Pike) on Wednesday (Feb. 27) from 5-7 p.m.
The panel is scheduled to be moderated by Virginia Case, a strategist for Falls Church-based marketing agency Strategic Tactical Marketing, LLC. The panelists will be:
- Nicole Geller, senior director of Springer Lawson & Associates
- Michelle Walker, founder of Trebla Consulting
- Danielle Turcola, president of Professionalism International, Inc.
Tickets are $35 for members, $45 for non-members, or $65 for a two-ticket pack.
Photo via Facebook
‘Historic’ Tysons Apple Store May Move — “When Apple opened its first two retail spaces just hours apart at Tysons Corner Center and Glendale Galleria on May 19, 2001, nobody predicted the cultural impact and broad success Apple stores would have across the world. Now, that same success may cause Apple to leave the space that sparked a revolution in retail.” [9to5Mac]
New Tysons Chamber Chair Focusing on Growth — “‘When I look around Tysons, I can’t help but notice that we have one of the biggest darned fishing poles in the state of Virginia,’ he said. ‘There’s a lot of opportunity out there. All you have to do is look out these windows and see the construction, traffic and development.'” [InsideNova]
County Grappling with Government Shutdown — “One couple that contacted [Rep. Jennifer] Wexton had to return Christmas presents. Since they work for the same federal agency and are now both furloughed, they are now worried that they will not be able to pay their mortgage or the cost of their son’s preschool.” [Fairfax Times]
Vienna Council Squabbles Over Proclamations — “The Vienna Town Council on Jan. 7 approved, if a tad irritably, approved a pair of proclamations regarding social issues beyond its usual scope of duties… Council member Carey Sienicki, while not disputing the Council’s good intentions in signing off on the proclamations, wondered if those actions weren’t a little far afield.” [InsideNova]
Hedge Fund Gunning for Gannett — Tysons-based newspaper giant Gannett is considering a takeover offer from “a hedge-fund-backed media group known for buying up struggling local papers and cutting costs.” [Wall Street Journal]
Tysons Agenda is a listing of interesting events for the week ahead in the Tysons area.
We’ve scoured the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield and McLean. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!
Tuesday, Jan. 8
Food 4 Thought: Likely Federal Policy and Budget Priorities for 2019
Temple Rodef Shalom (2100 Westmoreland St)
Time: 10-11:30 a.m.
Tim Shaw, senior policy analyst for the Bipartisan Policy Center, will host a discussion of congressional budget priorities. The event is free and open to the public.
Wednesday, Jan. 9
Inca Social Soft Opening
Inca Latin Kitchen (2670 Avenir PL)
Time: 4-9 p.m.
The new Inca Latin Kitchen in Merrifield will host a soft opening this week before a grand opening planned in early February.
Thursday, Jan. 10
Chairman’s VIP Breakfast
The Tower Club (1700 Towers Crescent Drive)
Time: 7:30-10 a.m.
The Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce will host a breakfast with community and business leaders featuring a discussion about the future of Tysons. Admission is $45 for chamber members or $65 for non-chamber members.
Meet Brad Meltzer
Tysons Corner Center Barnes & Noble (7851 Tysons Corner Ctr)
Time: 7-9 p.m.
Old World vs. New World Wines
Chain Bridge Cellars (1351 Chain Bridge Rd)
Time: 7-8:30 p.m.
The McLean wine store Chain Bridge Cellars will host an exploration of the difference between old and new world wines. Tickets are $30.
Friday, Jan. 11
Chesterbrook PTA Meeting
Chesterbrook PTA (1753 Kirby Rd)
Time: 9-10 a.m.
The Chesterbrook PTA will host its first meeting of 2019. The meetings are open to members of the Chesterbrook Elementary School community, including parents, guardians, teachers and staff.
Voyages Opening Reception
Torpedo Factory Artists at Mosaic (2905 District Ave)
The Torpedo Factory Artists’ Association will host an opening reception for Voyages, the latest exhibit in the group’s Mosaic District gallery. The gallery will run through Jan. 27.
(Updated at 5 p.m.) It’s fair to say that the Tysons of today might not look the same without Gerry Gordon.
To get some perspective on how much Fairfax has changed since Gordon took over the Fairfax County Economic Development Task Force (FCEDA), these black-and-white satellite pictures of Tysons were taken one year after he became President and CEO of the group in 1987. While there was development, the area was not the metropolis it has become today.
At the end of the year, Gordon will step down from that long-held position and accept a post as a fellow in the College of Charleston in South Carolina.
On Thursday, Nov. 1, the Greater McLean Chamber of Commerce will host a celebration of Gordon’s legacy in Fairfax with support from other select Fairfax Chambers of Commerce. Tickets to the event are $40 for chamber members or $50 for non-members, which includes admission, appetizers and one drink ticket. Event sponsorship tickets are also available for $75. The event will run from 5:30-7 p.m. in the Tower Club (8000 Towers Crescent Drive) in Tysons.
The event is hosted at the center of a region Gordon was instrumental in helping to transform. Some of the largest names plastered across the top of Tysons skyscrapers — Booz Allen, SAIC, Hilton, Capital One, etc — were in part brought to the area by the work of the FCEDA. Recently, Tysons was chosen over the District of Columbia as the expansion choice for KPMG LLC, an auditing firm that will occupy seven floors of The Boro.
The FCEDA, under Gordon’s leadership, works internationally to market Fairfax as a business destination. Since the early 1980s, Fairfax County has grown from 32 million square feet of office space to 117 million, the second largest suburban office market in the nation behind Orange County.
FCEDA is funded by the Fairfax County government. The group is headquartered in Tysons but has locations in Bangalore, London, Los Angeles, Berlin, Seoul and Tel Aviv.
Outside of the business expansions, Gordon has also helped the group build bridges with other regional groups. The FCEDA facilitated the creation of the Multicultural Chamber Alliance, a collaboration of the Virginia Hispanic Chamber and Asian American Chamber of Commerce in Tysons along with the Northern Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce in the Mount Vernon area. Earlier this year, Gordon led the groups in signing an even closer agreement of collaboration.
Photo via Facebook
What does the Tysons of 2050 look like?
Tysons 2050, an event hosted by the Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce yesterday at the Tysons Hilton (7920 Jones Branch Drive), brought technology experts across the region together to discuss how trends in cyber-security and AI will impact Tysons.
Rodney Lusk, director of National Marketing for Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, says the County expects 200,000 jobs in the Tysons area and 100,000 residents by 2050.
This growth will continue to spur development, which is well underway in various corners of Tysons. The View, a 3 million-square-foot mixed-use building planned for Tysons, is planned to be 600 feet tall, dwarfing the 470-foot Capital One Tower that currently claims the title of tallest in the region.
As Tysons moves forward, Lusk says there are certain elements beyond just office space and retail needed to make the area more than just a commuter hub. For instance, Lusk said, Tysons will need to have at least two performing arts centers in the area and a research university.
Paul McNeal, the co-founder of CryptoMarket360, said the future Tysons will look like something out of science-fiction.
“If you’ve seen Minority Report or Demolition Man,” said McNeal, “that’s where Tysons is headed in 2050.”
McNeal envisions technology driving Tysons towards a “frictionless society” with interactive ads based on user data and self-driving cars.
But as Tysons moves into the future, one of the main discussions centered on how new technology will also present challenges and opportunities for Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS).
“The student to teacher ratio is going to be 200 to one,” said George Strawn, former National Science Foundation CIO. “But that’s carbon-based teachers. Everyone will have their own silicon tutor.”
Not everyone who spoke saw the future so starkly different as today.
Tarun Upaday, founder of Gallop.ai, said that the artificial intelligence in classrooms will be used more to complement the teachers rather than replace them. Upaday pointed to the current status of chess championships, where the top teams are not brilliant chess players or supercomputers, but fusions of the two that beat solely computers or solely human teams every time.
Upaday also said the work of Pindar Van Arman, whose machine artists were recently on display at Tysons Corner Center, represented what man and machine can accomplish working in harmony.
Falls Church-based education specialist Tosin Adetoro said artificial intelligence can also be used to support student populations that often fall through the cracks of the education system. In particular, Adetoro said personalized AIs have been found to be very helpful for students on the autism spectrum.
Jay Garant, director of Business and Community Partnerships at FCPS, emphasized that as valuable an asset as AI will be, it can’t replace teachers. As students begin to spend more and more of their lives staring at their phone screens, Garant said schools will be critical in teaching empathy.
“When kids begin to fail, they are more likely to [positively interact] with a human than anything else,” said Garant. “That won’t go away.”