Tysons, VA

(Updated on 11/12/2020) Capital One expects to unveil a 1.2-acre sky park with food trucks, a bar and beer garden, games, a dog run and an amphitheater in time for summer 2021.

Nested on top of the newly open Wegmans grocery store, The Perch is part of the second building to be completed in the 24.25-acre Capital One complex. Two more parts of the project are slated to open in the fall of 2021: the Watermark Hotel and the Capital One Hall.

From The Perch, Capital One Center Managing Director Jonathan Griffith said the public will “view Tysons from a completely different vantage point.”

For him, that perspective applies to the company’s mission to mix employees and Tysons residents.

“We are trying to separate from the notion that this is for only Capital One employees,” he said, citing The Star, a shopping and dining destination inside the Dallas Cowboys’ new training facility in Frisco, Texas, as inspiration.

The Watermark Hotel and two residential buildings will surround the Perch. The 300-room hotel will be managed by B.F. Saul Hospitality, whose flagship property is The Hay-Adams luxury hotel in Washington, D.C.

The Watermark will no longer be one of two hotels on campus, after the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a request to change a planned hotel into an office building.

The Watermark Hotel is slated to open next fall, while construction on the residential towers could begin in 10 years, Griffith said.

Until the residential towers go up, semi-permanent installations will “activate the space,” including an old-school double-decker London tour bus and an Airstream converted into food trucks, Griffith said.

From the Sky Park, people can see the glassy Capital One headquarters, completed in 2018, as well as a 30-story office building with two floors of retail.

These developments fit with the trifecta of “live, work and play,” but Griffith said a fourth component, “culture,” is missing.

To fill that gap is Capital One Hall, with a 1,600-seat theater and 250-seat black box theater, as well as vaulted event spaces, large restrooms, plentiful concession areas and an expansive coat room, he said.

Capital One Hall General Manager Jamey Hines described both performance venues as “tight in feeling and room focus, but not uncomfortable.”

“People on the edges have just a good view and the audience won’t feel far away from the performer,” he said.

Having two options impacts the performer, too. “I’ve found that you have to create the room, so people achieve in the room, through seating,” Hines said.

Capital One, Fairfax County, and ARTSFAIRFAX are working together to ensure county agencies and Fairfax County Public Schools get access to 15% of the hall’s bookings at discounted rates. Already, the manager is looking to fill dates for 2022-2023.

Hines has mapped out some events and is gauging what people want to see.

The pandemic has given Capital One Hall more opportunities to be added to a multi-city tour, but he anticipates the Hall will be a bigger destination for one-time shows and productions. Hines encouraged those who are interested in dates to join the email list at capitalonehall.com.

Capital One Hall and The Perch will be open to weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs, galas and functions for nonprofits, concerts and speaker series, Capital One Center marketing and community affairs manager Meghan Trossen said.

The coronavirus pandemic has sped up the building pace, now unencumbered by traffic, but the supply chain has been disrupted, impacting shipments of materials and equipment, Griffith says.

Through it all, he said Fairfax County has done “an incredible job” accommodating construction during the pandemic, implementing measures such as inspections via FaceTime to keep employees safe.

Photo courtesy Capital One

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A Stuff the Bus food drive this weekend will give Tysonians several opportunities to contribute to some of their neighbors in need.

Fairfax County has typically held Stuff the Bus food drives — where volunteers contribute food to those in need — twice a year. But the pandemic and economic downturn has left more in need than usual, so the county is holding more Stuff the Bus events than usual.

Stuff the Bus food drives in May collected 33.6 tons of food for local non-profits to distribute over two days.

This Saturday, Sept. 26, buses will be parked at 21 locations throughout the county from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. to collect donations.

Locations close to Tysons this weekend are:

  • McLean Government Center (1437 Balls Hill Road)
  • Patrick Henry Library (101 Maple Avenue East)
  • Providence District Supervisor’s Office (3001 Vaden Drive)
  • James Lee Community Center (2855 Annandale Road)

The buses will be parked in less frequently used lots to avoid crowding.

The County included a list of frequently requested items from non-profits:

  • Canned Tuna, Salmon or Chicken
  • Soup
  • Canned Pasta
  • Macaroni and Cheese
  • Canned Fruit (in light syrup or juice)
  • Peanut Butter
  • Jelly
  • Bag (Dry) Beans
  • Rice – Brown or White
  • Instant Potatoes
  • Canned Tomatoes
  • Pancake Mix
  • Pancake Syrup
  • Hot and Cold Cereal
  • Canned Vegetables
  • Canned Beans
  • Healthy Snacks (e.g. raisins, granola bars)

Image via Fairfax County

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Where and How to Decrease Stress

Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in Vienna. You can follow Laura on Instagram at @LauraSchwartzRealtor or her Facebook page. Laura can be reached at 703-283-6120 or [email protected].

Happy week 2 all your home schooling parents!

I say that with the enthusiasm of someone who’s had two cups of coffee today (and it’s not even noon yet). Regardless of your child care situation right now, everyone I know is under more stress lately than ever, myself included, and I wanted to help offer up some opportunities to combat that cortisol!

Exercise

  • I did a post a few months ago about the best hidden walking trails. Still an option, especially on Monday afternoons like today where the work at home is light.
  • Outdoor fitness classes: Orange Theory, Pure Barre and Yoga just to name a few, are all doing an outdoor fitness class if you have an interest and comfort level with being outdoor.

Food

  • I read online, reducing caffeine intake helps with reducing stress. This might be one of those do as I say, not as a I do… you could try a Viva Sol smoothie, South Block smoothie or SweetLeaf smoothie (fruit, kale or sweet mix-in).
  • The total opposite of that is a decadent treat — Crumbl, Pie Gourmet, Kiln and Co, etc.

Hang Out With Friends

  • Lots of socially distanced options right now — outdoor tables at many of the eateries, wineries/breweries, apple picking, pumpkin picking — so many options.
  • Organize an outdoor “playdate” on the grass at a school or the blacktop

As the weather begins to finally (thankfully) turn to the fall, I look forward to getting back outside when my own kids are off the screens. Happy fall!

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(Updated 10/23) –Hawk & Griffin, a new British pub coming to Vienna will offer guests the chance to enjoy British culture.

Located at 435 Maple Avenue West, the restaurant and bar will offer a place for people to hang out with friends and family, according to co-owners Michael Burgess and Thomas Kyllo.

The space will feature amenities such as a stage for live music performances and viewing parties of sports like rugby and soccer, a regular dining area, a bar, an outdoor sitting area, an area for patrons to toss around some darts and two “snugs.”

Originally intended as a “proper” place for women to hang out in British history, Kyllo said that two snugs included in the space will be meant for small group gathering places where people can host book clubs, parties or even use as a space for musical jam sessions.

The exterior of the building itself is designed after the Edwardian Era, which ranged from 1900-1915, according to Kyllo.

Menu items will include traditional British fare, according to award-winning chief Burgess, who also owns Pure Pasty in Vienna.

Along with dinner and lunch, the pub will also offer brunch on weekends, the owners said.

The inspiration for the eatery came to the owners after they felt there was a gap in the market for a mid-range, mid-price place around town that emphasizes the comfort of its guests.

“We’ve got great restaurants in Vienna, there’s no shortage of that,” Burgess said, but added that there isn’t anywhere where people can feel like they’re walking into a small British village for a pint.

Tieing the eatery back to the community, the owners said they decided to name the pub after James Madison High School and Marshall High School, where Kyllo volunteers as a coach and whose mascots are the Warhawks and Griffen.

“We want everything down to the name to reflect the community we are in,” Kyllo said.

The anticipated opening date for the pub is March 1, 2021, according to Kyllo, who said that the COVID-19 pandemic threw a curveball into their plans.

“Early next year hopefully we’ll have a better path out of this and people will be used to going back into restaurants and indoors,” said Kyllo.

Images courtesy Hawk & Griffin Pub

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Friday Morning Notes

Two Candidate Forums Set for Special F.C. Council Election — “The Falls Church Chamber of Commerce and the Falls Church League of Women Voters have each announced forums to hear from the three candidates running to fill the F.C. City Council seat vacated by the July passing of Daniel X. Sze.” [Falls Church News-Press]

FCPS Extends Breakfast and Lunch To Go–“Fairfax County Public Schools announced they will continue free breakfast and lunch to go starting Tuesday through December 31.” [Local DVM]

McLean Firm Wins $7.3M DARPA 5G Security Contract — “McLean-based computer and network security company Kryptowire LLC won a four-year, $7.3 million contract to help the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) conduct research and development services for 5G mobile network security, according to a Department of Defense statement released Tuesday.” [Virginia Business]

Kids of All Ages on What They Miss Most About Dining in Restaurants — “The flaming onion volcano wouldn’t make it through the car ride. Marcus, who is 8 and lives in Tysons Corner, misses dinner and a show at his favorite restaurant, Sakura.” [Washington City Paper]

Capital One May Find Its Way Into the McLean Metro Station’s Name — “Fairfax County is weighing a proposal to rename the McLean Metro station as “McLean-Capital One Hall,” which, if approved, would become the first station to include a company’s name in its title.” [Washington Business Journal]

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Easter is usually the busiest time of year for the Polish Market in Vienna, but this year, the family-owned grocery store couldn’t invite customers inside and instead offered curbside pick-up due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Oskar Skrzeszewski, who helps his parents run the business, told Tysons Reporter that they had to “do a 360” with operations when the pandemic hit.

“We were one of the first stores to implement safety glass in the beginning of the pandemic,” Skrzeszewski said. “We soon realized this wasn’t enough and we had to close the store completely to foot traffic. We operated on a curbside pick basis only, which was extremely difficult since we’ve never done anything like that before.”

Located at 431 Maple Ave W., the market has served Polish customers and people of Polish heritage for six years, selling pierogis, kielbasa, cabbage rolls, packzi, beer, New York cheesecakes and more, Skrzeszewski said.

The last few months have taken a toll on the business by completely changing its operations and taking a financial hit.

“Our revenues are about 30% down and we have fewer customers coming into the store,” Skrzeszewski said.

At the start of the pandemic in Northern Virginia, Skrzeszewski said that they had trouble finding personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies, but eventually were able to order gallons of hand sanitizer from a company. Masks were also hard to come by, but customers who worked in the medical field were able to help.

Currently, customers can only access about half of the store and safety glass is everywhere inside. The limited capacity has led to a dramatic decrease in the shelf space.

“We have to pick and choose the items we order a lot more carefully now,” Skrzeszewski said.

Despite the inconvenience, the Skrzeszewski said shoppers seem to be taking the public health measures well: “Our customers have been tremendously supportive and we’re very grateful for that.”

Over the last few months, Skrzeszewski said he’s seen consumer demand change a little as more shoppers stock up on kielbasa, beer and mustard for barbecues and camping.

Elsewhere in Vienna, a new small grocery store is also working to overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic.

Owner Rami El-Hasrouni told Tysons Reporter he was glad he converted Bey Lounge into the LB Food Market (303 NE Mill Street) in late 2019 after the lounge got in trouble multiple times over the Town of Vienna’s noise ordinance.

The market sells Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food and is right next door to Wooden Bakery. Both stores are operated by D.C.-based Woodfire Brands.

After deciding to end the lifespan of Bey Lounge, he decided to expand the small market that was in the bakery into its own concept

While he’s glad that he doesn’t have to worry about how the former restaurant and club would have stayed open during the pandemic, he said the grocery store transition has been tough.

El-Hasrouni said he was already in the process of rebuilding his customer base for the small supermarket — “Everybody is used to this location as a restaurant with nightlife, not a grocery location” — before the pandemic hit.

Night club aside, the location doesn’t help either.

“We are in a hidden location,” he said. “Nobody expects a grocery store to be in the warehouse district. That’s the toughest part for us. If we’re on the main street, people walking by them might see us.”

For the grocery shoppers the store has attracted so far, El-Hasrouni said that the fresh pita bread is the big draw. Shoppers can also find Mediterranean specialty items, like Lebanese olive oil, spinach cheese pies and homemade hummus, along with standard groceries: milk, eggs, vegetables.

Even though LB Market is essentially an expanded version of the grocery section in Wood Bakery, El-Hasrouni is hopeful that the name “is something new” that will also catch people’s attention.

As the pandemic continues, El-Hasrouni said he’s working to get online ordering available on the website, along with mailing people coupons and flyers to help spread the word.

Photos (1-2) via Polish Market/Facebook, photo (3) via LB Food Market/Facebook

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PLNT Burger has started serving up vegan burgers and beverages inside Whole Foods at The Boro development.

The new location, which an employee at the Tysons location (1635 Boro Place) said opened today, is the sixth one all located within Whole Foods stores for Chef Spike Mendelsohn.

PLNT Burger’s menu is vegan and features burgers, cheeseburgers, chili bowls, Beyond Meat sausage, oat milk-based soft serve, fries, Whisked cookies, a salad and more.

Mendelsohn, the D.C.-area restaurateur who competed during the fourth season of “Top Chef,” opened the first PLNT Burger in September 2019 in Silver Spring, Md. Mendelsohn also operates several other D.C. eateries, including Good Stuff Eatery; We, The Pizza; Béarnaise; and Santa Rosa Taqueria.

The employee said that the PLNT Burger location in Tysons is open from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. daily.

Hat tip Vernon Miles

Photo via PLNT Burger/Facebook

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HAN Palace originally wanted to open its Tysons spot in April, but then the coronavirus pandemic hit Northern Virginia.

Now, the restaurant is looking to start serving its “traditional” Cantonese brunch and all-day dim sum in a few weeks. HAN Palace will have a bar, indoor dining and patio seating at the same building (7900 Westpark Drive) that houses Bourbon Coffee and Ahra Kitchen.

The restaurant recently shared on Facebook that it is aiming to open mid-September. Northern Virginia Magazine reported the opening date is Sept. 17.

Owner Chris Zhu, who also runs China Garden in Rockville, Md., told Tysons Reporter in March that the restaurant’s all-day dim sum will stand out because D.C. restaurants usually only offer dim sum for lunch.

Diners can get complimentary garage parking for two hours during the day or after 6 p.m. on weekdays and up to six hours on the weekends.

Photo courtesy Chris Zhu

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Hybrid Learning — “BASIS Independent McLean, which like all Virginia schools switched to online-only classes this spring because of the public-health emergency, on Aug. 25 reopened under a hybrid plan combining in-person and online learning.” [Inside NoVa]

Food Insecurity High — “Share of McLean is seeing twice its usual demand for food assistance, and several times its usual demand for emergency financial assistance, as the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to exact a heavy toll on the country’s most vulnerable populations.” [Connection Newspapers]

Calls to Remove Library Trustee — “A Fairfax County Library Board of Trustees member is facing criticism for comments about the diverse titles featured on the library’s online catalog. The Virginia Library Association expressed opposition to Phillip Rosenthal’s comments in a letter, while the NOVA Equity Agenda Coalition took it a step further and called for his resignation or removal.” [Patch]

Work Completed Along Route 7 — “The Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project Phase 1 crews have completed all work along eastbound and westbound Route 7 in Tysons.” [Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project]

Photo by Michelle Goldchain

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Visitors to Tysons Corner Center can drop off canned food and snacks to help people facing food insecurity.

The mall teamed up with radio station WGTS 91.9 and the Capital Area Food Bank on a food drive.

The Capital Area Food Bank is looking for the following items:

  • canned or dry beans
  • canned vegetables (low sodium, no salt added)
  • peanut butter
  • hot and cold cereal
  • grains: brown and white rice, pasta, macaroni and cheese
  • canned tuna, salmon or chicken
  • 100% juice (all sizes)
  • canned fruits
  • healthy snacks like raisins and granola bars

Working with more than 450 nonprofit partners, the Capital Area Food Bank provides more than 30 million meals yearly, according to its website.

For communities across the U.S., the coronavirus pandemic has made it harder to access food and resources. A study earlier this year by Feeding America predicts that 17 million more people — including 7 million kids — will face food insecurity this year than in pre-pandemic times.

People will have until Sunday, Aug. 30, to drop off donations at either the concierge desk on the second level near Starbucks or at Bloomingdale’s.

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