Tysons Corner, VA

Police were called to the Vienna’s Freeman House a few days ago after human feces was found in a closet.

The defecation happened at some point this past Friday or Saturday, according to Vienna police.

“An employee reported that an unknown person took a bucket into a closet in the store and defecated in it,” according to today’s Vienna crime report. No additional information was immediately available.

The Freeman House Store and Museum at 131 Church Street NE is described as “a historic country store that gives visitors an opportunity to step back in time to experience what general stores in Virginia once looked like.”

Photo via Historic Vienna Inc.

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After a moratorium on new applications and a long series of discussions, the Town of Vienna is ready for the public debut of the new Maple Avenue Commercial (MAC) zoning changes at two workshops next week.

The community workshops will be held from 6-8 p.m. on Friday, March 29, and from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday, March 30 at the Vienna Community Center (120 Cherry Street SE).

The workshops will demonstrate how the community feedback has been translated into changes in the design guidelines, according to the Town of Vienna newsletter.

Some of the first changes proposed addressed the scaling of buildings, one of the biggest topics of controversy in last year’s MAC debates. Further changes have been added over the last month of workshops between the Town Council, Planning Commission and Board of Architectural Review.

The workshops are scheduled to be “open house” style, meaning residents can drop in and leave at any point. No formal presentations are planned.

Image via Town of Vienna

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The New York School of Arts — formerly Open Art Studio — has a new home in Vienna at 320 Maple Ave E.

The school, founded ten years ago, is focused on individual-based education in art and design with faculty from programs like Brown and Columbia universities.

The studio had previously been located at 225 Mill St NE.

The school programs range from art programs for children to portfolio reviews for students applying to arts programs.

Registration is currently open for the art foundation summer camp, aimed at students in grades 6 through 8. Classes range from $245 for children under two years old to $760 for older students.

Photo via Facebook

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South American chicken chain Pollos Keiko has opened its first American location — “Keiko Charcoal Chicken” — this week at 235 Maple Ave E. in Vienna.

The restaurant offers a variety of chicken options, from quarter-portions for $5.49 to whole chickens and three sides for $24.99, as well as salads, sandwiches, and sides like rice and plantains.

Nelson Barrios, one of the partners opening the restaurant, repeated the old real estate axiom for opening in Vienna: “location, location, location.” Barrios said he didn’t see anything quite like Keiko available in Vienna. (Don Pollo, a Peruvian chicken chain that opened a few blocks south in January, said the same thing).

Barrios said, for the most part, it was easy to get started in Vienna, though some of the administrative issues along the way were stressful.

“But once that’s done, you get to the fun part,” Barrios said. “It’s the reason someone wants to open a restaurant in the first place.”

Barrios encouraged Vienna residents to come in and try the chicken. Among the sides, Barrios said one of the more unique was “Tallarin Saltado” — a Peruvian stir fry noodle dish with green peppers and onions.

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Five months after it was destroyed in a fire, the ruined husk of the Marco Polo restaurant building in Vienna has finally been completely demolished.

It’s unclear when demolition began, but by March 19 most of the rubble had been removed from the site.

The restaurant was originally built in 1954. In 2015, local developer Doug D’Alexander applied to have the lot redeveloped as Vienna Market, but the application failed. A more scaled-down version was presented in 2017 and was approved.

The development plans were complicated an alleged intentionally-set fire that gutted the building. Two teenagers were later arrested and charged with setting the fire as part of a vandalism spree.

The charred remains were left as a visible blight along Maple Avenue, though Vienna staff said plans for development are still in the works.

In January, Cindy Petkac, director of planning and zoning for the Town of Vienna, said the building was expected to be demolished within the month.

Vienna residents remembered the building, a longtime local prom-date spot, fondly.

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Dockless electronic scooters are coming to Fairfax County.

Lime scooters will soon be released on the streets of Vienna, Merrifield and Falls Church, according to a press release.

“We’re thrilled to expand our footprint in the DMV area and to begin serving Fairfax, providing accessible, affordable mobility options to riders across the city,” Sean Arroyo, Lime’s regional general manager, said in a press release. “We couldn’t be more excited to integrate ourselves into the community and to begin working with local leaders to help achieve their sustainability and accessibility goals.”

Users can use the Lime app to locate the nearest scooter, then scan the QR code on the handlebars or baseboard to use it. Users are encouraged to ride in bike lanes and wear helmets.

Scooters cost $1 to unlock and 15 cents per minute to ride. Rides are finished in the app to be parked at a street curb or bike rack. Riders must be 18 years or older.

E-scooters are popular in major cities D.C., and are already ubiquitous in close-in suburbs like Arlington, but the hoards of abandoned scooters left haphazardly strewn across the streets has also drawn some criticism or even dramatic acts of vandalism.

In addition to Vienna, Falls Church and Merrifield, Lime says it is also bringing scooters to George Mason University and the City of Fairfax.

Photo via Facebook

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At least according to one real estate broker, realtors looking to expand outside Tysons, Reston or Arlington County should be looking into commercial redevelopment in Vienna.

In an article published by the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors, Frank Dillow, a senior commercial broker in Long & Foster’s Commercial Division, pointed to 2014’s approval of Maple Avenue Commercial (MAC) zoning as a step towards flexible zoning to attract new developments.

“Vienna’s interest in rethinking its downtown comes as suburban communities throughout Northern Virginia react to residents and developers seeking to transform existing retail outlets into more modern lifestyle community centers featuring restaurants and entertainment,” Dillow said.

The approval of MAC zoning regulations are part of an effort by the Town of Vienna to combat rampant vacancies throughout the town. The new regulations allow buildings up to four stories tall and greater density than usual to be considered for Maple Avenue, a primary thoroughfare in Vienna.

But the MAC zoning has also come under fire, from the public and members of the Town Council, for what is seen as too quickly and too radically altering the character of downtown Vienna. Controversy over MAC zoning led to a moratorium on new proposed developments until a review process for the ordinance can be completed. That review is currently ongoing.

But Dillow said in his article that local residents are increasingly understanding the necessity of added density.

“Increasingly, people understand that to achieve their community goals and create a vibrant place to live, the community needs different types of development — different types of density,” Dillow said. “As Northern Virginia continues its rapid commercial transformation, realtors should be looking beyond the current well-publicized developments in Tysons, Reston or Arlington County, to expanded opportunities in the commercial redevelopment occurring in older, more established communities such as Vienna.”

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The Persian New Year is just around the corner on Thursday (March 21), which means that many Iranian-Americans will also soon celebrate the coming of spring.

For many locals who rely on Middle Eastern markets — specifically Persian markets — to supply them with groceries, baked goods and other assorted supplies, Vienna has several places to buy all of the necessities for parties and family gatherings around the Persian New Year.

These small bodega-like markets are important to the Persian community as they act like microcosms of classical Middle Eastern bazaars. Many of the customers that go to the stores are able to speak in Persian, Arabic and Turkish with one another and get ingredients not common in most grocery stores.

Here are three favorites among Iranian-Americans in the area:

Assal Market (112 Glyndon Street NE)

The first shop on the list is Assal Market. Assal Market is one of the oldest middle eastern grocery stores in the area, having first opened up in 1986. Customers can shop for various meats, nuts, fruits and other grocery essentials for festive dinners and other occasions. Most specifically, Assal offers a wide range of halal meats for kabobs, beef stews, and all sorts of Persian classical dishes.

Yas Bakery (137 Church Street NW)

Located in the heart of Vienna, Yas Bakery is owned by Maryam Tabrizi and has been around since 2003. Yas, which means “Jasmine” in Farsi, offers an impressive amount of many sweets, all of which are made fresh in house daily. Zoolbia bamieh — fried honey pastries — are a stable and customer favorite among the sweets offered.

Shiraz Market (8486 Tyco Road G)

Shiraz Market, owned by Mahnaz Hooshmand and located in the Tysons area, is the largest of the three markets and offers fresh produce, baked goods and a small in-house café with homestyle Persian food. Customers often come in to shop for their groceries and also get a lunch of koobideh kabob with saffron rice. The market also sells a variety of glassware, including Persian teacups, hookahs and other china for decorating and serving dishes.

These stores are not exclusive to Persians or other Middle Eastern shoppers, and many of the people that go to these stores come from all sorts of backgrounds. All the shop keepers emphasized just how glad they are that their stores not only provide essentials to Middle Eastern homes, but also introduce the entire community to their food and culture.

Whether or not you celebrate or know someone who is celebrating the Persian New Year, these stores all offer something new and exciting to all local residents.

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Vienna’s version of “American Idol” plans to return for its eighth annual music competition.

Vienna Idol showcases local talent, while also raising money for the Khristin Kyllo Memorial Fund, which honors the memory of a local Vienna resident who died suddenly due to a sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP).

The contest has raised more than $80,000 for the fund, which sends several young people to college, purchases epilepsy seizure bracelets and monitors for people who can’t afford them and donates funds for SUDEP research, according to the competition’s website.

The semi-weekly auditions start the first week of April and will take place at either Caffe Amouri Coffee Roaster (107 Church St NE) or Whole Foods (143 Maple Ave E.) throughout the month.

The winner gets chosen by attendees, who vote for their favorite “Idol” during a concert on the Vienna Town Green (144 Maple Ave E.) on Friday, June 7.

The first place winner will receive $700 and eight hours of professional recording studio time. The contestant in second place will walk away with $500, while the contestant in third place will get $250.

Image via Facebook

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Davita Dialysis is bringing a new kidney care facility near the Dulles Toll Road in Vienna.

Davita offers home calls, health centers around the U.S. and conducts clinical research to improve kidney care.

Davita signed a lease back in December for a 4,008-square-foot space at 8605 Westwood Center Drive, according to Renaud Consulting, a commercial real estate company.

The spot is near the intersection of Leesburg Pike and the Dulles Toll Road.

An opening date for the Vienna facility has not been announced yet.

Image via Google Maps

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