Outside the Box Returns This Sunday

November 27, 2014

After a hiatus of a few weeks to rest and recharge, the Falls Church Times’ popular Sunday column Outside the Box returns this weekend. Thank you to those who inquired about its whereabouts, and prepare to read it this Sunday.

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Happy Thanksgiving to Times Readers

November 27, 2014

The Falls Church Times wishes all Times readers and all of Falls Church City a happy Thanksgiving. We hope you enjoyed your festivities. We are all blessed to live in a community like ours.

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Iraqi Food Makes Debut on West Broad

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
November 22, 2014

A West Broad Street restaurant that’s been in the works for some time is poised to begin serving traditional Iraqi food — but not quite yet.

The storefront, which is located in the space where Baguette Republic and later Teo’s used to be, is called Fatouche, and is the first food venture for owner Bashar Saeed. He’s currently doing catering, which he said is popular with large Iraqi populations in Tysons and Vienna, and he also is offering homemade frozen items at the store.

However, Mr. Saeed is not yet offering table service, much to his chagrin. He hopes and plans to do so, but said he has been having trouble finding employees that have the skills he is seeking. He suggests he might have more luck after the holidays, when fewer retailers will be adding staff.

Despite that issue, Fatouche already has a key piece in place: a chef who has worked in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, as well as in London. This is his first cooking position in America. Frozen items currently available include Middle Eastern favorites such as beef or chicken shawarma... [Read more...]

Broad & West Project Delayed as More Revisions Planned

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
November 14, 2014

The controversial Mason Row mixed-use project proposed for the corner of Broad & West streets has been delayed again after requests by city officials caused the developer to prepare more substantial changes.

The project, which in its previous incarnation would place a hotel, restaurants and retailers, and 320 apartments and condos on the 4-acre site located between West Street and St. James Church, was scheduled for a vote before the City’s Planning Commission Monday and the City Council next month.

But both of those meetings have been cancelled and a revised proposal from developer Spectrum Properties is now scheduled to be presented early next year.

Nearby residents, especially those on or in the vicinity of Park and Grove Avenues, have been concerned about the project’s size and the related traffic and parking issues. Some also have been concerned about the placement of an extended stay hotel near the West & Grove intersection.

City officials also have been critical of the project’s size from the outset of discussions early this... [Read more...]

Around Town

Forum on Mason/MEH Land Set for Sunday

Special to the Falls Church Times
November 12, 2014

The League of Women Voters Falls Church will host a program Sunday intended to continue our community’s discussion of the proposed uses for the new land Falls Church City acquired in the sale of the City’s water system to Fairfax County.

The program, slated for November 16 from 2:30 – 4:30 p.m. at the Falls Church Community Center, will begin by briefly reviewing ideas and the timeline for development of the land that have been developed by the City’s outside consultant, RTKL Associates, and the Urban Land Institute of Washington’s Technical Assistance Panel.

Program attendees will then break up into small groups for facilitated discussion exploring citizen visions for this resource and our City going forward. Finally, the small groups will report the results of their work to the group as a whole. The League will summarize the ideas generated during this visioning program and share the output from this program with City leadership and management.

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School Referendum, Treasurer Acosta Win Easily

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
November 5, 2014

In the end, it was anti-climactic.

Falls Church City voters on Tuesday handily approved a referendum authorizing the spending of $15.6 million to expand the Mt. Daniel School in order to relieve overcrowding.

The referendum seemed certain to easily carry the day earlier in the season, but unhappiness and rumblings around town in recent weeks made advocates for it and school officials nervous.

Vigorous debates about the issue took place on the comment threads of the Falls Church Times, with an initial story in October garnering 119 comments and a follow up last weekend receiving an additional 72.

But while substantial opposition did materialize, it wasn’t at all close in the end: two of three voters voted in favor, and the final margin was 68 percent to 32.

Acting City Treasurer Jody Acosta, who replaced the retired Cathy Kaye, won the right to finish Ms. Kaye’s term by virtually the same margin as the school referendum, turning back a spirited and visible campaign by Chris Johnson. The final numbers there also were 68 percent to 32.

In... [Read more...]

Curry Mantra Going, But Indian Food Staying

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
November 3, 2014

Multiple media reports last week indicated that Curry Mantra 2, an Indian restaurant, was closing after only a short stint in the City. But the reports of its death are slightly exaggerated.

The owner has indeed closed the restaurant, located in the West End Shopping Center, but it was seamlessly sold or transferred to a new owner and remains open with a new name, Saffron. Additionally, the chef at the new restaurant has come from the original Curry Mantra location in Fairfax, an employee told the Times.

The employee also said the new restaurant was keeping the existing menu for now, although it plans to expand it, and is keeping the 7-day-a-week all you can eat lunch buffet that the previous owner offered.

Curry Mantra 2 opened to considerable fanfare and acclaim when it took over two storefronts previously occupied by Pita Wraps and opened in early 2013. But it appears to have misjudged the Falls Church area market by pricing its dishes too high. It reduced prices substantially during its time here, and even cut the price of the buffet. But that may not have been... [Read more...]

Could Frustration, Mistrust Sink Mt. Daniel Referendum?

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
November 1, 2014

If it seemed likely a few weeks ago that the Mt. Daniel Referendum would be handily approved by Falls Church City voters this Tuesday, there seems to be less certainty about it now.

School officials and residents who favor the proposal have expressed some concern that it could fail, and a record 119 comments posted in response to the Falls Church Times’ previous story on the subject indicates there is some significant opposition to the measure.

And while the bulk of those opposed may be those who don’t have school-aged children in their homes, conversations around town indicate that even some voters who have kids in the schools are considering voting the proposal down.

If approved, the proposal would authorize the expenditure of $15.6 million to renovate the existing Mt. Daniel School and dramatically expand it as well in order to relieve overcrowding. Officials have been compelled to eliminate the music room and school’s library in order to add new classrooms to accommodate student growth.

The library is now outside in a trailer, where it can only make... [Read more...]

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