Tysons, VA

The owner behind a new taco place in Falls Church is looking to expand in Northern Virginia.

Wild Tacoz celebrated its opening at 7167 Lee Hwy — the former home of Milan Bakery and Miss Donuts — two weeks ago on Wednesday, Nov. 20.

Wild Tacoz is the first location for Kool Foods, a company that makes snacks and pre-packaged meals with dietary and nutritional supplements.

Owner Teddy Koumarianos grew up in the area to a family that worked in the restaurant business — which he credits for launching his passion for food.

He told Tysons Reporter that he created Kool Foods after nutritional foods improved his diabetes, heart disease and other health issues.

Kool Foods and Wild Tacoz focus on “well-proportioned,” healthy food served in an appetizing way, he said, adding that the food at the eatery is made marinated in a powder made from frozen vegetables.

“People love Mexican food,” he said. “You say the word [tacos], and everybody gets hungry.”

Diners can find taco burgers, design-your-own-salads, a salsa bar, packaged snacks from Kool Foods and taco options including soft and crunchy shells on the menu. For beverages, people can try the beet, tart cherry, honey and spice drinks that are made by Wild Tacoz.

Customers should try the combo deal with the taco burger — taco-flavored meat between two pieces of cornbread — and a Kool Foods meal, Koumarianos said.

He dubbed it “Now and Later” — the idea being that people will eat their taco now and save the pre-packaged Kool Foods meal for later.

Koumarianos hopes that the name “Wild Tacoz” will jump out at people traveling along the busy stretch of Lee Hwy in Falls Church. For people driving to the location, there’s parking in the back parking lot of the building off of Cavalier Trails, according to a Facebook post.

Located in a building built in the late 1940s, the space is a prime spot because of its low rent and close proximity to single-family homes in the Falls Church, Arlington and Merrifield areas, Koumarianos said.

The building’s age did cause delays, though. A sign last June said that it was coming in fall 2018 and then a sign in May said that it planned to open in the summer.

The wood beams holding up the roof had to get reinforced and the building required updates to its plumbing, Koumarianos said, adding that the permit process with Fairfax County took longer than expected.

Now that the Falls Church location is open, Koumarianos aims to make Wild Tacoz a chain. He said he’s hoping to expand to Arlington, Reston, Chantilly and Ashburn.

Photos via Wild Tacoz/Facebook

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The City of Falls Church is hosting its annual tree lighting ceremony tonight (Dec. 2).

The celebration will take place at Mr. Brown’s Park (100 W Broad Street)at 6 p.m. and last for an hour. Attendees can expect an appearance from Santa, according to the event page, which added that local businesses will also participate.

This event is free and attendees can park on the street, the Kaiser-Permanente garage and the George Mason Square garage, according to the city’s website.

Attendees are also welcome to attend the Falls Church City Council work session at 7:30 p.m. in City Hall (300 Park Avenue) following the ceremony.

Photo via Jason Leung/Unsplash

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Vienna Consulting Firm Acquired — “RyanSharkey LLP, an accounting and consulting firm in Vienna, will become part of Charlotte, North Carolina-based Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP (DHG) as of Dec. 1.” [Virginia Business]

W&OD Trail Face Lift in Falls Church — “The scenic Washington & Old Dominion Trail that courses through the City of Falls Church is undergoing a serious facelift, with a host of benefits expected to boost the city’s transportation infrastructure and the region’s environment when the project is completed by the fall of 2020.” [Falls Church News-Press]

FCPS Scores High on Environmental Ranking — “Fairfax County Public Schools has earned “Platinum” status in the Virginia School Board Association’s “Green Schools Challenge” for 2019.” [Inside NoVa]

Tysons Office Sold For $80 Million — “A six-story Tysons office building has sold for $80.5 million, roughly three times what it sold for just four years ago… Northridge Capital and partner KAMCO Investment Co., a Kuwaiti-based investment firm, has acquired 1550 Westbranch Drive.” [Washington Business Journal]

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Just a few weeks after opening a new store in Tysons, Whole Foods is gearing up to come to the City of Falls Church.

The grocery chain signed a lease in early November to anchor the redevelopment of the corner of E. Broad and N. Washington streets, Falls Church News-Press reported.

The upcoming 50,000-square-foot store will be a part of a mixed-use project that also plans to include a 5,000-square-foot community theater space that will be occupied by Creative Cauldron, according to a press release from Arlington-based Insight Property Group.

Broad and Washington LLC, a venture of Insight Property Group, signed the 20-year-long lease for Whole Foods, Falls Church News-Press reported.

Approved by the City Council last year, the “plan was derailed a little over a year ago, when developer Todd Hitt pleaded guilty in November 2018 to investor fraud,” the paper wrote.

Now, Whole Foods will come to a spot just a little over a block away from Harris Teeter (301 W. Broad Street).

“Whole Foods Market will bring an incredible amount of activity to downtown to both complement and help support the existing and longstanding businesses that make Falls Church so unique,” Maury Stern, a principal at Insight Property Group, said in the press release.

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City of Falls Church police are looking for the burglar(s) who sawed into a jewelry store’s safe.

“At this time, it appears one or more suspects broke into the vacant store at 1118 W. Broad Street (formerly Apple Federal Credit Union), entered the adjacent Yassini Jewelry store (1120 W. Broad Street) by breaking through the cinderblock wall, gained entry into the store safe with a saw, then fled the scene,” Clare Casey, a spokesperson for the City of Falls Church, told Tysons Reporter.

The incident occurred shortly before 10:30 a.m. yesterday (Monday, Nov. 26).

“It is unknown the items taken or the estimated value at this time,” Casey added. “Police do not have a description of the suspect(s), and there are no surveillance photos or video available at this time.”

Anyone who might have information about the burglary is asked to contact the police at 703-248-5053.

Hat tip to Bob M.

Image via Google Maps 

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Two new local locations for Jersey Mike’s are gearing up to open soon.

The spot at 1501C Cornerside Blvd by the Spring Hill Metro station in Tysons plans to open next Wednesday (Dec. 4), according to the website.

Over in Falls Church, the Falls Plaza location at 1108-A West Broad Street is also expected to open the same day, according to a spokesperson for the company.

The sandwich chain currently has job openings in Falls Church.

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(Updated at 4:10 p.m.) With the holidays approaching, there are plenty of events happening around the Tysons area for people looking for some festive fun.

From tree lightings to shopping events, Tysons Reporter compiled a list of events across the community in the coming weeks.

Tysons

Breakfast with Santa will take place on Saturday (Dec. 7) from 8-11 a.m. at level three of Tysons Corner Center. There will be entertainment by “Those Funny Little People” (featured on “America’s Got Talent“), a balloon artist, holiday crafts, free breakfast and Santa.

Tysons Corner Center will also host a Holiday Storytime PJ Party on Thursday (Dec. 12) from 6 to 8 p.m. on level one. There will be storytime, sweet treats and entertainment provided by Dee Vinchey Entertainment. This event is free and open to the public.

Town of Vienna

The Church Street Holiday Stroll takes place on Monday (Dec. 2) this year from 6-8:30 p.m. Santa will arrive on a Vienna Volunteer Fire Department 1946 fire engine and spend the evening visiting with kids around town.

Mayor Laurie DiRocco is set to help Santa light the town’s Christmas tree around 6:20 p.m. at the Freeman Store and Museum (131 Church Street NE). There will be live music throughout the streets and several businesses will be serving hot cocoa and warm beverages.

The town is also hosting a competition encouraging local businesses to put up holiday decorations. The theme is “Home for the Holidays” and all decorations must be put out by Friday (Nov. 29).

McLean

The McLean Woman’s Club is set to host its annual Holiday Homes Tour on Thursday (Dec. 5) from 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., highlighting four houses — two at the 6-acre Ballantrae Farm estate and another two on Benjamin Street in Langley Forest. Tickets are $35 and food and drinks will be provided. Guests will also have access to a craft show at Trinity Church. All proceeds go to charity.

The 11th annual McLean WinterFest will take place this year on Sunday (Dec. 1) and feature a parade beginning at 3:30 p.m. between Fleetwood and Elm streets on Old Chain Bridge Road. Beverly Road and Fleetwood Street to Old Chain Bridge Road will be closed to traffic along with the parade routes beginning at 2 p.m. that day.

Falls Church

Nova Lights Chorale will host a free global holiday concert at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (3439 Payne Street) on Sunday (Dec. 8) at 4 p.m. The performance will feature songs in more than seven languages and from different cultures.

The Annual Lighting of the Trees will take place on Monday (Dec. 2) at Mr. Brown’s Park (W. Broad Street) around 6 p.m. Santa will be in attendance, escorted by the Falls Church Volunteer Fire Department. There will be live music from the George Mason High School Chamber Singers and free hot cocoa.

The Holiday Craft Show will take place at the Falls Church Community Center (223 Little Falls Street) on Saturday (Dec. 7) from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. and Sunday (Dec. 8) from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Mosaic District

People can get their selfies with Santa in the street-level lobby of the Target building (2905 District Avenue, Suite 400) from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays between Nov. 30-Dec. 23, Friday (Nov. 29) and Monday (Dec. 23).

A Holiday Gift Fair is coming to Mosaic District on Friday (Dec. 6) from 3:30-8:30 p.m. The fair will feature more than 50 vendors selling handmade and vintage goods.

On the same day, people can also watch the Holiday Tree Lighting from 5-7 p.m. in Strawberry Park.

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Hozier Gives Shout Out to Local Shelter — Irish musician Hozier, who is known for the song “Take Me to Church,” gave the Wolf Trap Animal Rescue a mention on Twitter, along with a video of an adorable puppy. [Twitter]

A Look Inside a Tysons Software Engineer’s Wallet — As part of Refinery 29’s money series, a software engineer in Tysons gave readers a glimpse into how she spends her $100K salary. [Refinery 29]

Staying Home for Thanksgiving? — Here’s where to find local restaurants that will be open. [Patch, Our Community Now]

Vienna Residents Mad About Chopped Down Trees — “Neighbors are furious Wawa cut down three 100+ year-old maple trees that were not on the company’s property.” [WJLA]

Local Tech Company Growing — “McLean-based AppTek, which makes speech apps for enterprises, on Tuesday announced its acquisition of Ignite-Tek… The merger adds to a significant growth streak for AppTek, which says it has doubled its team in 2019.” [DC Inno]

Church and Retirement Center Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner — “Lewinsville Presbyterian Church and the Lewinsville Retirement Residence are teaming up for a community Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, Nov. 28 at noon at the retirement facility, 1515 Great Falls St. in McLean.” [Inside NoVa]

Part of Dominion Square Sold — “Capital Automotive Real Estate Services Inc. has sold part of its 18-acre Dominion Square development site near Spring Hill Metro station in Tysons for $60.2 million after taking the larger 3.6 million-square-foot mixed-use project through Fairfax County’s entitlement process.” [Washington Business Journal]

Another Raccoon with Rabies Found in Falls Church — Earlier this month, a raccoon with rabies was euthanized by police — the second one found in the city in recent months. “While there were no human exposures to the animal in this case either, the community should be cognizant of the rabies threat at all times.” [City of Falls Church]

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An MS-13 gang member from Falls Church has been sentenced for his role in a violent assault in a local park.

A federal judge sentenced 19-year-old Marlon Edgardo Huezo Rivera, known as “Oscuro,” of Falls Church to 38 months in prison “for his role and participation in a violent gang-related assault of a victim with multiple bats,” according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Earlier this year, 21-year-old Jose Ochoa Del-Cid, 21, also from Falls Church, was sentenced to five and half years in prison for conspiring with other members to lure the victim under false pretenses to James Lee Park in Falls Church.

Huezo Rivera was linked to the Chilangueras clique of MS-13 in Northern Virginia and was the final charged defendant to be sentenced in this case, according to the press release.

“This purpose of this senseless assault was to serve MS-13’s warped code of violence and overarching mission of instilling fear through violence,” G. Zachary Terwilliger, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said in a statement. “Huezo Rivera’s conduct demonstrates his contempt for the law and his total disregard for the safety of the people who make up this community.”

More from a press release:

According to court documents, Huezo Rivera and several other members and associates of MS-13 lured the victim to James Lee Park in Falls Church so that they could assault the victim. Rivera and other members and associates of MS-13 believed the victim was cooperating with law enforcement, falsely representing himself as a member of MS-13, and disparaging the Silvas clique of MS-13. After luring the victim to the park under false pretenses, Huezo Rivera, and approximately a dozen other members and associates of MS-13, beat the victim with bats, fists, and feet for approximately three minutes. As a result of the beating, the victim suffered multiple broken limbs and was hospitalized for several days.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Timothy M. Dunham, Special Agent in Charge, Criminal Division, FBI Washington Field Office; and Colonel Edwin C. Roessler Jr., Fairfax County Chief of Police, made the announcement after sentencing by Senior U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicholas U. Murphy II, Cristina Stam, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Shauna Hale prosecuted the case.

Photo by Joe Gratz/Flickr

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The City of Falls Church wants to update Oak Street Bridge, but funding uncertainty leaves the project without a distinctive start date.

Even though the damage to the bridge from the flooding in July has been completely repaired, the Falls Church Planning Commission still met last month to discuss the construction of a new bridge.

Now the city is just awaiting the results from grant applications — which will inevitably fund the project, Susan Finarelli, a spokesperson for the city, said.

Initial concept designs are in the works to rethink the aesthetic appeal, modernize the bridge, improve pedestrian and traffic safety.

The project is currently in the design phase, which should be completed from August 2020 to February 2021, potentially allowing construction to begin shortly after, according to a planning commission presentation.

Due to safety concerns, the bridge is on a yearly inspection list, which monitors at-risk infrastructure projects. Originally built in 1953, the bridge needs to be redone for engineering improvements to increase the weight limit.

“We will be lengthening the bridge approximately two feet on either sides,” a representative at the Oct. 21 Planning Commission meeting said, adding that pedestrians will have easier access to Tripps Run.

The project is expected to cost around $2.6 million.

The Planning Commission made a unanimous recommendation for the City Council to relocate a utility pole so it isn’t in the middle of the sidewalk, include adding wider sidewalks, a crosswalk for Tripps Run and decorative guard rails on the southeast side of the bridge.

Image via The City of Falls Church

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