Starbucks will not reopen at the Capital One headquarters in Tysons.
The coffee shop at 1610 Capital One Drive North has been closed for much of the past year during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the exact timing of the decision to keep it closed isn’t entirely clear.
After the location reopened in the second half of 2020, an anonymous tipster alerted Tysons Reporter on June 20 that it had closed again.
“Due to limited office occupancy during the COVID pandemic, Starbucks has temporarily closed this location but plans to re-open this location in the near future,” a spokesperson for Capital One Center, the surrounding mixed-use development, told Tysons Reporter at that time.
However, in an emailed statement, the Starbucks media relations team now tells Tysons Reporter that the company’s last day at Capital One was back on March 23:
As part of Starbucks standard course of business, we continually evaluate our business to ensure a healthy store portfolio. After careful consideration, we determined it was best to close the store at 1610 Capital One Drive North in McLean, VA. Our last day at this location was March 23, 2021.
As difficult as this was, we must make the right business decisions for the sake of Starbucks long-term growth. All Starbucks partners (employees) working at that store had the opportunity to transfer to one of our nearby locations.
We look forward to continuing to serve the McLean community and encourage our customers to visit us at our other stores in the area.
Starbucks opened at the Capital One building in March 2019, quickly becoming a regular haunt for the financial corporation’s employees.
The location is still listed as open on Yelp, where reviewers compliment the staff for their friendliness and level of service.
Tysons East still has a Starbucks in the Safeway on Colshire Drive, and there are seven other locations in Tysons overall, though one of the two shops in Tysons Corner Center remains temporarily closed.
After more than a decade on Church Street, Caffè Amouri has some competition in the Town of Vienna’s independent coffeehouse scene.
As shared by Vienna Business Association Executive Director Peggy James on the Vienna VA Foodies Facebook page, newcomer 29th Parallel Coffee opened its doors just down the road in Windover Square (106 Lawyers Road), the shopping center occupied by Plaka Grill and Papa John’s Pizza, on Nov. 21.
While they share a similar neighborhood-centered mindset, 29th Parallel differs in focusing on pour-over or hand-drip coffee and bringing in a variety of roasters, while Caffè Amouri roasts its own beans.
Co-owner Amir Khalil describes the shop as “counterculture” to chains like Starbucks, catering more to coffee connoisseurs who might prize craft over convenience.
“Everything is to-go, very fast. We take our time [with an] artisan kind of coffee,” Khalil told Tysons Reporter last week. “You come in, you order, and it takes a couple of minutes, but if you don’t have that [time], we have a different way to please that client.”
29th Parallel also has a coffee shop in Fairfax Station Square on Ox Road that opened in 2017.
The name comes from the 29th parallel south circle of latitude, which passes through countries like Brazil, Australia, and South Africa with strong coffee cultures. It also coincidentally nods to the business’ original Fairfax location on Route 29, according to Northern Virginia Magazine.
Like the rest of the food service industry, 29th Parallel has grappled with its fair share of challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, surviving by pivoting to online ordering and reducing its operating hours to manage labor costs.
However, the team also saw an opportunity to expand. Drawn to Vienna’s small-town atmosphere, they landed a space previously filled by Oreck Vacuum.
“I think this is a great fit for the community here,” Khalil said.
Like its Fairfax Station counterpart, the Vienna 29th Parallel gets beans from a couple of primary roasters — in this case, Delaware-based Brandywine Coffee Roasters and Black & White Coffee Roasters from North Carolina, with Annapolis-based Ceremony Coffee Roasters as another mainstay.
Starting next year, the shop will also rotate through different guest roasters, including Corvus Coffee Roasters and, potentially, Norway’s Tim Wendelboe, who Khalil describes as “a rock star of coffee.”
In choosing its distributors and vendors, 29th Parallel emphasizes community-based, independent businesses as much as possible, even bringing in milk from Amish farmers in Pennsylvania.
“It’s just how the economy and money stays within the community,” Khalil said. “…Locals coming to support local coffee shops, and we support local distributors and all those things. It’s all connected.”
Currently in soft-opening mode, 29th Parallel operates from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
Khalil expects to have a grand opening sometime around Christmas or New Year’s Day, after which the shop will expand to regular 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. hours and offer a full menu of beverages and food, including sandwiches and pastries.
The gradual rollout stems in part from the global supply chain issues that have disrupted industries from grocery stores to automobile manufacturers. For 29th Parallel, those issues have affected product deliveries as well as the construction process. Replacing the building’s HVAC system, for instance, took two months, according to Khalil.
In the meantime, Khalil hopes community members in Vienna and the surrounding area will stop by to see what makes 29th Parallel different.
“People really loved it over there [in Fairfax], and I’m hoping that is the case here,” he said.
(Updated at 10:30 a.m.) Step aside, Starbucks: Tysons has a new option for residents looking for a cup of coffee to start their day.
Bluestone Lane officially opened the doors of its cafe at The Boro yesterday (Wednesday), marking the first foray into Virginia for the New York-based but Australia-inspired company.
Located at 1671 Silver Hill Drive, Bluestone Lane Tysons operates from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week, according to its website and Instagram announcement. In addition to coffee, the cafe serves tea, juice, and other beverages as well as lunch wraps, bowls, and burgers and all-day brunch — or “brekkie,” as it’s called on the menu.
“Bluestone Lane is a perfect fit for mixed use spaces, like The Boro’s local dining and entertainment district, because we provide business professionals, residents and visitors with delicious coffee and healthy meals in a vibrant, relaxed setting unlike anywhere else,” founder and CEO Nick Stone said by email. “We are expanding into Tysons Corner and other metropolitan suburbs to serve the droves of people moving into these lively, diverse communities.”
Bluestone Lane is the brainchild of Stone, a former American Football League player who moved to New York City from Melbourne, Australia, in 2010, and Andrew Cook, who worked as an occupational therapist in Perth before becoming Stone’s business partner, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
Fueled by a desire to introduce Americans to Australia’s coffee culture, Stone and Cook opened their first Bluestone cafe in the Big Apple in 2013.
They now have 51 coffee shops and cafes across the country, including the Tysons cafe and seven spots in downtown D.C., along with a site in the Cayman Islands.
According to Stone, the company is best known for introducing the U.S. to flat white coffee and avocado smash, two staples of Australian cuisine.
“Bluestone Lane is leading the charge to modernize US coffee culture with an emphasis on the quality of our coffee, fresh healthy food and a hyperfocus on creating an optimal customer experience where we have ‘locals’ not customers,” Stone said. “We have enjoyed rapid adoption from Gen Z and millennials looking for superior coffee, an elevated experience and healthier menu options.”
DC Eater first reported the company’s plans to move into The Boro, which was still under construction, back in December 2018. The cafe anticipated opening in late 2019 or early 2020, but a prolonged permitting process and, later, the COVID-19 pandemic appear to have upended that timeline.
According to Fairfax County’s inspections database, Bluestone filed for a commercial interior alteration permit to construct a standalone building at the heart of The Boro in January 2019, but the permit wasn’t finalized until Nov. 30, 2020.
Construction brought its share of challenges as well, as a backlog of projects built up during the initial months of the pandemic limited the availability of workers and supplies when everything restarted at the same time, a contractor told Tysons Reporter in August.
Bluestone Lane declined to comment on the development process and delays.
However, The Boro believes residents will find the extended wait worthwhile.
“We’re excited to welcome Bluestone Lane to The Boro,” a spokesperson for the mixed-use development said. “We have been working with the Bluestone team to bring their Australian-inspired coffees, juices, meals, and more to our neighborhood, and we are sure they’ll be a fast favorite of our residents, tenants and guests.”
The Boro still has Circa Bistro, the Mexican restaurant El Bebe, and Caliburger on deck for next year. Circa and El Bebe respectively, are currently scheduled to open on March 1, 2022, according to the development’s site plan.
Vienna has hosted many tenants at 175 Maple Avenue East over the years, from a gelato shop to a Persian rug store and America’s arch support experts, but the southwestern corner of Maple Avenue and Park Street hasn’t seen anything quite like Lily’s Chocolate & Coffee.
Owner Saifalden Alobaidi and his sister Lily Alobaidi wanted to share a taste of their native Iraq with their adopted home, but knowing that many potential customers might not be familiar with the treat, they decided to add their own touch, substituting the traditional honey or date syrup coating with a drizzle of chocolate.
“It’s a family-owned business,” Saifalden told Tysons Reporter. “We’re just trying to bring our culture from back home, from Iraq, introduce it to the community here…and make a friendly place, so people can come to a different vibe, a different coffee shop style than normal.”
The lokma, which can be filled with peanut butter or nutella, isn’t the only thing that distinguishes the Town of Vienna’s newest eatery, which operates from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday.
In fact, just about everything in Lily’s Chocolate has been specially designed, from the cardamom-spiced hot tea and Belgium-imported chocolate to the mousse, cakes, and other bakery-style desserts that Lily makes herself each day.
The coffee is a blend of Guatemalan and Brazilian beans that the Alobaidis developed through “a lot of coffee tasting,” Saifalden says. The beans are roasted by Grace Street Coffee in Georgetown, which has formed a partnership with Lily’s Chocolate.
Even the cafe’s tables, chairs, lighting fixtures, and other furnishings were custom-made by Saifalden, who also works as a civil engineer and owns a construction business. This is his first venture into the food service world.
“We’re trying to be unique so it’s not repetitive,” Saifalden said. “Even the coffee taste we have, the pastry we sell, the style of the place, we’re trying to be different than what’s in the market.”
The Alobaidis immigrated from Iraq to the U.S. — specifically to Arizona — in 2009, according to Saifalden, who obtained a master’s degree in engineering management from the University of Arizona before entering construction work.
After traveling from state to state for a while, he moved to McLean in 2016, and he and Lily came up with the idea for a lokma shop, signing a lease for the Maple Avenue spot in October 2020.
Though he now lives in Reston, Saifalden says he loves the Town of Vienna for its family-friendly atmosphere and an increasingly diverse population that embraces different cuisines and cultures. The town’s central location within Fairfax County and efforts to support small businesses heightened its attractiveness.
Getting Lily’s Chocolate off the ground was not without its challenges, though, as the COVID-19 pandemic delayed shipments and prolonged the licensing process and other preparations.
Saifalden also allows that he has gotten a few comments about the availability of parking at the site, which is prominently but awkwardly situated at the intersection of two busy streets with little room for drivers to manuever into or out of spaces without blocking traffic.
The building does have additional parking in the back, and he says the cafe is working to put up a sign to make that clearer to passersby. He also anticipates getting reliable foot traffic, including from pedestrians and bicyclists coming into town on the Washington & Old Dominion Trail.
According to Saifalden, Lily’s Chocolate drew over 300 people between 6 and 9 p.m. for its grand opening, which offered free pastries, tea, and coffee. The cafe has also gotten some social media buzz, thanks in part to the popular Vienna VA Foodies Facebook group.
Expansion plans are already taking shape. A friend has expressed interest in starting a franchise in Georgia, and the Alobaidis are looking at a possible location in Georgetown to complement their partnership with Grace Street Coffee.
“We’ve been getting a lot of feedback from people about the place, the design, the location, the scene, the quality of the coffee, the pastry or the lokma that we are serving, and a lot of reviews on Facebook, on Instagram as well,” Saifalden said. “We appreciate everybody’s business here.”
McLean Downtown Plan Public Hearing Today — The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing at 4:30 p.m. today (Tuesday) on the McLean Community Business Center plan, which unanimously passed the planning commission earlier this month. The plan aims to revitalize McLean’s downtown area but has faced objections over parking, building heights, and the potential impact on local schools. [Fairfax County Government]
Capital One Center Starbucks Closed — The Starbucks at Capital One Center (1610 Capital One Drive North) is temporarily closed “due to limited office occupancy during the COVID pandemic,” a spokesperson for the development confirmed to Tysons Reporter, adding that the coffee shop is expected to reopen “in the near future.” [Capital One Center]
Madeira School Expansion Approved — “Fairfax County supervisors on June 8 voted 10-0 to grant a special exception allowing Madeira School to add a new science building, more faculty housing and improved equestrian facilities on its McLean campus…Under the newly approved plan, Madeira will have 518,255 square feet of gross floor area, with up to 45 residential units and up to 12 accessory-dwelling units.” [Sun Gazette]
McLean HS Turf Field Replacement Starts Today — “Starting tomorrow (June 22nd), the turf field and track at our stadium will be closed until early August. This shut down is due to our turf field being replaced. We apologize for inconvenience.” [McLean High School]
Wolf Trap to Salute Front-Line Workers — “Wolf Trap is officially back open for in-person shows after a year of pandemic closures. So what better way to celebrate than a series of ‘Thank You Community Concerts,’ saluting frontline workers, education workers and health care workers?” [WTOP]
The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.
We’ve searched the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean, and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!
Tuesday (Apr. 13)
- Coffee with a Cop — 10 a.m.-12 p.m. at Mom & Pop (2909 District Ave) — The Fairfax County Police Department will be at Mom & Pop in the Mosaic District to chat over a cup of coffee. This is an opportunity to meet the police officers in the community and get to know them. Adherance to social distancing guidelines and masks are required.
Wednesday (Apr. 14)
- (the) Unruly Theatre Project’s Virtual Improv Show (Online) — 7 p.m. — The McLean Community Center’s teen improv group is putting on its latest virtual performance. Registration is open up to two hours before the show. The Zoom link and password will be emailed to those who register. For more information, contact [email protected]
- Rainbows, Halos and Glories Webinar (Online) — 7:30-8:30 p.m. — Join staff and volunteers from the Analemma Society to learn about phenomena in the sky such as rainbows, haloes, glories, and different colored skies. Register to receive the Zoom link for the class, which costs $8 per person. For more information, call Colvin Run Mill at 703-759-2771.
- Author Talk with Joby Warrick (Online) — 7 – 8 p.m. — The Mary Riley Styles Public Library will host a talk with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Joby Warrick about his new book, Red Line: The Unraveling of Syria and America’s Race to Destroy the Most Dangerous Arsenal in the World. Warrick has been a reporter for The Washington Post since 1996 and has written two other works. Email Marshall Webster at [email protected] for more information and the Zoom link.
Thursday (Apr. 15)
- ’80s Music Drag Bingo with Miss Fluffy Soufflé (Online) — 7 p.m. — The McLean Community Center mixes bingo with a drag show that is sure to send you back to the ’80s. Instead of calling out numbers, host Fluffy Soufflé will play music clips of songs from the ’80s. Tickets are available now through 9 p.m. on Wednesday, April 14. A Zoom link and bingo cards will be emailed after tickets have been purchased.
Friday (Apr. 16)
- Trivia Night (Online) — 7-9 p.m. — The McLean Community Center is hosting a family-friendly, virtual trivia night. Registration is required, and the price is $5 per team. There will be prizes for the winning teams.
- Musical Road Trip (Online) — 2-3 p.m. — Join Ben Pernick, board-certified music therapist, on a journey through classic songs from across the country. There will also be trivia from the different stops. This event is aimed at adults, and registration is required.
- Mayor’s Walk — 9:30 a.m. at Vienna Town Hall (127 Center Street South) — Meet Vienna Mayor Linda Colbert in front of Town Hall and take a walk through town. This is an opportunity to chat with Mayor Colbert or voice questions and concerns.
Saturday (Apr. 17)
- McLean Earth Day Event — 9 a.m.-12 p.m. at McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Ave) — McLean residents can celebrate Earth Day early by stopping by MCC’s disposal site, which will have paper shredders, paint recycling, bulk/household item collection, composting and more. Visitors can also pick up limited supplies of tree saplings and pollinator seed packets and see an art installation made of recycled materials from the Brooksfield School. See the McLean Community Center posting for more information on activities and what items can be brought for disposal.
Sunday (Apr. 18)
- John McCutcheon: The Old Home Place (Online) — 7 p.m. — Called “Folk Music’s rustic renaissance man” by The Washington Post, John McCutcheon is returning for his annual performance at his most frequented venue, The Barns at Wolf Trap. Live-stream tickets range from $5 to $50 and can be purchased through the Wolf Trap website.
There are a number of things that give Caffe Amouri owner Michael Amouri a warm feeling: drinking a cup of coffee, unsurprisingly, getting to a toll booth and learning someone paid it forward, and stopping to chat with someone in the street.
But those feel-good community moments have been hard to come by during the pandemic.
In the hopes of reviving that neighborly goodwill among his customers, Amouri has introduced a pay-it-forward “Cup on the Wall” program to his Vienna coffee shop. He was inspired by the Vienna Foodies and the Italian practice of caffè sospeso — literally “pending coffee” — when a cup of coffee is paid for in advance as an anonymous act of charity.
Customers ordering in-person or online can choose to buy any drink on the menu for someone else. Staff put a sticker on the window for someone to “cash in” when they order.
“If you’re feeling a little down, come and let a ‘friend’ buy you a drink,” he said.
It can be for anyone, particularly people who cannot afford a cup of coffee, but also for someone having a bad day or celebrating their birthday, Amouri says. The option will be available as long as the community engages with it.
Though it has mostly stayed open, Caffe Amouri has not been offering indoor service during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Competitively, we’ve probably lost some ground, but I just don’t feel I can do it,” Amouri said.
Customers can order in-person from one window, or pick up an online purchase from another window. The coffeehouse’s interior is configured to allow for six feet of distance between staff members, and staff and delivery workers are screened daily for COVID-19 symptoms.
Amouri plans to reopen after his staff is vaccinated.
“I have amazing staff and I can’t believe they’ve weathered it so well,” he said.
Amouri says he founded his shop nearly 11 years ago on the principles of quality, community, and sustainability. During the pandemic, he said the cafe’s role as a liaison among the government, the Vienna Business Association board — which Amouri sits on — and residents has grown in importance.
He commended Vienna residents for supporting local businesses and making the small town “feel even more small-townish.”
“There are times when I go, ‘I didn’t want to have a coffeehouse and hand coffee out a window’,” he said. “But as long as we can keep our doors open until we can fully open, I’m going to count that as a success.”
Photo courtesy Michael Amouri
Republik Coffee Bar (7915 Jones Branch Dr.) permanently closed earlier this week, Tysons Reporter has confirmed.
An employee at Republik Coffee’s Ballston shop told Tysons Reporter today (Friday) that the Tysons venue permanently shut its doors three or four days ago, but the worker was not privy to any behind-the-scenes information about what went into that decision.
A representative of Highgate at the Mile, the mixed-use building that houses Republik Coffee in Tysons, also stated that the shop just closed, but she didn’t know why. Tysons Reporter also reached out to Kettler, which owns Highgate, for comment but has not heard back yet.
Originally based in Arlington, Republik Coffee came to Tysons in June 2018 with the goal of providing premium coffee and serving as a key tenant of the fledgling Highgate development. It had been envisioned as the start of a larger expansion that would have included another Fairfax County location and two venues in Washington, D.C.
However, signs of trouble emerged only nine months later when Republik Coffee received an eviction notice in February 2019. Owner Talha Sarac told Tysons Reporter at the time that the situation was a misunderstanding, and the location stayed open past the Feb. 27, 2019 date when the space was supposed to be vacated.
Highgate resident Ryan Martinez informed Tysons Reporter yesterday (Thursday) that the furniture in Republik Coffee had been packed up, and equipment appeared to be in the process of being removed. He noted that the shop had always been a little erratic, opening its doors on some days and closing on others.
“I’m sure the pandemic really drove down business,” Martinez said. “Too bad, hope they or another coffee shop can turn things around.”
Alexandria coffee shop Java Loco is planning to open a new location in Tysons starting this weekend.
Java Loco is scheduled to open on Friday, Nov. 6, at 7516 Leesburg Pike in the Tysons Station shopping center.
“We can’t wait to serve customers at our new location in Tysons Station,” Nga Ho, owner of Java Loco, said in a press release. “We always love inviting customers into our relaxing space and we’re so appreciative of the customers who have supported us with their business over the years. We’re so excited to become a part of the Falls Church community.”
The location will be a 1,385-square-foot space with gourmet house coffee, Italian espresso, espresso-based drinks, and exotic drinks like Cuban or Vietnamese coffee. The beverage menu also includes a selection of decaf items, fruit smoothies and bubble tea from Ocha Bubble Tea in Annandale, which is also owned by Ho.
The location is planned to offer a limited breakfast and lunch sandwich selection, along with bakery items like muffins, croissants and pastries.
The Tysons Station location of Java Loco will be open from Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Photo via Java Loco/Facebook
Wegmans Manager Talks Hype for Tysons Location — “I’m most excited about our brand-new Tysons store opening with over 400 of my newest friends on Nov. 4 at 9 a.m. Nothing is more exhilarating than seeing new customers walk through the doors of ‘their Wegmans’ and feel at home.” [Patch]
New Roles for County Bus Drivers — Fairfax County Public Schools’ bus drivers are taking on new roles during a hiatus in in-person learning. Some were matched with temporary jobs based on their skill set. [NBC 4]
Coffee With a Cop Scheduled for Oct. 7 — While this year’s national Coffee With A Cop observance was called off recently due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Fairfax County Police Department is moving forward with their own events in hopes of connecting with the communities they serve. [Patch]