It’s a good weekend for local foodies.
From 1-3 p.m., the restaurant will host a tasting in the Biergarten at 8346 Leesburg Pike.
Chef Erick from the restaurant near the Tysons Galleria (7900 Westpark Drive) will teach guests how to make grilled shrimp and Vietnamese rice noodle salad. The demonstration runs from 2:30-3:30 p.m.
Photo via Facebook
Update on 2/16/19 — In a Facebook post, Great American Restaurants announced that the new location will be a “coupling” of Patsy’s American and Randy’s Prime Seafood and Steaks. According to the post:
We are excited to announce, Patsy’s American and Randy’s Prime Seafood & Steaks will be “coupled together” on Leesburg Pike in Tysons Corner – with Best Buns Bakery & Cafe opening next door. Named by children Jill, Jon and Timmy Norton – and Great American Restaurants – in honor of founder Randy Norton and his wife Patsy Norton’s 50 years of marriage and nearly five successful decades dedicated to the hospitality industry.
It’s a mouthful, but it accurately describes a planned restaurant said to have bakery, American food and sports bar components.
The new restaurant is being built at 8051 Leesburg Pike, formerly the site of a Chili’s and On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina, before both were torn down.
The new location is under construction, with a manager at a nearby location from the same company saying the new restaurant was planning to open in June or July.
According to a legal notice in the Washington Post, the restaurant is currently seeking approval to sell alcohol at the site as well. The license is being filed under the name “Fred’s Food Group LLC,” whose only online reference is in connection with this restaurant.
Inside, it’s all hands on deck as the kitchen and hospitality crews get the final preparations. Kevin Choe, regional operations manager for the Shinsekai, said he’s excited.
The restaurant is the first of a new brand behind Sushi Jin. While Vienna has other sushi restaurants, Choe said in researching the local market they didn’t find any other ramen-focused locations.
The restaurant opens at 5 p.m. Choe said the restaurant will normally be open for lunch at 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 5-9:30 p.m. for dinner. On weekends, Choe said they close an hour later.
Choe is passionate about ramen; not just the cooking of it, but the culture and the history. Shinsekai is a little different from most ramen restaurants. While pork-based ramen is the most common variety in the United States, Choe said Shinsekai uses a more traditional chicken based broth.
But while much of the menu is traditional, Choe also said the restaurant has some modern and international twists, like Korean kimchi as part of a dish that Choe said pairs well with ramen.
The restaurant also boasts a variety of vegan options, though Choe said those will not be available tonight. Choe said the focus of tonight’s soft opening is on the restaurant’s four main ramens.
If you want your Starbucks coffee but can’t be bothered to walk into the one on 207 Maple Avenue E., a new drive-through Starbucks is under construction roughly 200 feet away at 362 Maple Avenue E.
The facade of the former Donuts of Vienna, then a Taco Bell post-1997, is currently undergoing renovation. No signs or public information is available on when the new Starbucks will be open.
The new cafe was unanimously approved last April by the Vienna Board of Zoning Appeals.
The alterations to the existing restaurant will include moving the drive-through’s speaker closer to the building and shifting the pick-up window closer to the front. Landscaping will be installed around the perimeter.
Two crosswalks and two bicycle racks are also listed as additions to the site.
The location will have outdoor seating for 20 people and indoor seating for 20 more. The drive-through’s stacking area is expected to hold 12 vehicles.
One Reddit user, “Futhermucker”, posted an elegy to the departed Taco Bell:
I grew up with this Taco Bell. I’ll never forget rolling in squad deep after middle school — mastering the little balance game on the counter to get a free soft taco with every meal. They removed that game because of us. In high school, I got two out of my five first kisses inside that Taco Bell. It was there that I made a beeline towards after smoking my first joint on the WO&D trail. It was on a 90s retro bench seat there that I broke up with my first girlfriend via text. They were so understanding when my first car’s alternator died in their drivethru, shutting it down for me until the tow truck arrived. Once I got to college, it was always a sweet relief from my mom’s cooking when I came to visit. I watched staff come and go, but it was always the same Taco Bell. If my life was a coming-of-age movie, that Starbucks sign going up would be the ending scene, right before the credits roll. RIP Maple Ave Taco Bell, Vienna didn’t deserve you.
Valentine’s Day Options in McLean and Tysons — “With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, you don’t want to be stuck trying to find a last-minute dinner reservation… We’ve got a few suggestions for restaurants around McLean and Tysons, including those offering special dining options on OpenTable.” [Patch]
Inca Social Officially Open in Merrifield — “Inca Social just brought Merrifield a colorful new getaway for Peruvian comfort foods that are designed to be paired with a long lineup of Virginia craft beers.” [Eater]
A Local Teardown Story — A local man who grew tired of his five-level townhouse in McLean decided to pursue a new home but, unsatisfied by the options, decided instead to buy and tear down a “distressed” house in Pimmit Hills and build his dream home in its place. [Washington Post]
Keam in the Times — “Asked about the state of the government, Delegate Mark L. Keam, a Democrat from Fairfax County, replied with one word: ‘Uncertain.'” [New York Times]
McLean Mansion Offered for Sale — “Buyers will be able to bid in person and online when the mansion in McLean, Va., known as Whispering Woods goes on the auction block on Feb. 27. The 15,000-square-foot mansion at 8305 Alford St. rests on three acres behind fences and gates.” [Washington Post]
And like the nearby Agora in Tysons, trouble with permitting means the restaurant won’t be opening until March.
Archontiko will be a Greek restaurant focusing on modern cuisine from restaurateur Theodoros “Ted” Theodorou, who owns Delia’s Pizzeria and Mediterranean Grille in Alexandria and restaurants in Sterling and Springfield.
The restaurant is under renovation at 1313 Old Chain Bridge Road at what was once the Evo Bistro.
Theodorou said when the restaurant was applying for permits and received inspections from Fairfax County, there were problems with the building design left over from previous tenants that will require additional time to fix.
As a result, Theodorou said he’s had to push back the opening of the restaurant to opening at the end of March, if construction continues as scheduled.
Agora, the Mediterranean restaurant planned for a 26-story apartment complex behind Tysons Galleria, has on a sign on the building proclaiming “opening 2018” — these days, while the restaurant is still opening, there’s a strip of tape covering the 2018 part.
It isn’t the first delay for the restaurant, which last year was forced to push the planned opening back to December. Ismail Uslu, owner of Agora, said the restaurant has struggled with a slow permitting process currently entering its 11th month.
“We’re planning on opening sometime in March,” said Uslu. “We’re building a mezzanine, which is more of a challenge [for permits].”
Inside, the building is designed with split levels, and while it’s still under construction the bare bones visible, Uslu said he hopes to bring in decorations from Turkey.
When the restaurant does eventually open, the menu will feature small plates and cocktails similar to its trendy Dupont Circle location.
A sign is up, but little else is clear about Gem Tea, a new restaurant coming to 155 Maple Ave W.
Renovations are underway at the space between Marjan and the Vienna Carwash. The location was previously home to Swan Cleaners. The building is remaining intact, with interior work turning the space into a restaurant.
An employee at Marjan, a Persian carry out and catering restaurant next door, said Gem Tea will be offering bubble tea and is likely to be opening sometime in April.
No website is available for the restaurant, and a similarly named Gem Tea in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, confirmed they are not opening a new location in Vienna.
Kevin Choe, regional operations manager for the Shinsekai, said the restaurant is scheduled to open on Monday, Feb. 11, though if there are delays he said the restaurant could open around mid-February.
The restaurant also has a variety of vegan options, including a veggie miso ramen and tempura bowl.
Also on the menu are a wide array of Japanese beers and sake.
The type of ramen at Shinsekai is a traditional type of ramen made from chicken bone broth. According to Choe:
“Ramen has many styles and with today’s pop culture it has become even more broad. Our style dates back in the old traditions where our chef owners Jin and Hideyoshi Matsu hometown of ashahikawa region only cooked chicken Bone broth ramen, which eventually made its way to the popular ramen city of Kumamoto, however today’s most popular style of ramen broth is made with pork bones (tonkutsu broth). We are using a very a underrated and yet a traditional style of chicken bone broth of ramen of Kumamoto. This style of ramen is highly underrated in the [United States].”
Choe said the type of broth used in the restaurant is a fusion of the popular “white broth” and the more traditional “clear broth.”
“Our core focus is to introduce to U.S palate to a beloved recipe… without the fancy price tag,” said Choe. “What better place to start their legacy in the diverse food community of Vienna.”
The restaurant features Peruvian cuisine, like fried rice with shrimp or the eponymous chicken. Sides include South American staples like yuca.
Meals range from $8 to a whole chicken and two sides for $20.
According to Milton Escobar, manager of the Vienna location, the store opened on Jan. 19 and has seen steady growth as word of mouth spreads.
“Every day, we’ve been having about 15-20 percent more people,” said Escobar. “We had 50 customers on Saturday, then 75 on Sunday. So it’s a little more every day.”
Escobar said he’s hoping things really kick off with the restaurant’s Super Bowl special. Don Pollo will be running a special deal where any purchase of a “fiesta-sized” family platter will come with a whole chicken for free. The deal is available on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.
According to Escobar, the restaurant fills a niche for diverse food on Maple Street at an affordable price. Many of the patrons at the restaurant around noon yesterday were dressed in construction gear and came from nearby projects.
“This town doesn’t really have anything for Spanish cuisine,” said Escobar. “People have been saying that it’s about time for real Peruvian cuisine in Vienna… Our journey is just about to get started.”