Plaka Grill brings Greek food to City

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
July 28, 2015

Plaka Grill, a Vienna-based Greek restaurant, has opened its second location in the former Cosi’s space in the Byron.

The restaurant is something of another coup for the City, which is continuing to attract a number of local or independent restaurants to its 2.3 square miles, rather than just more national fast food chains.

Based on a single visit, it appears Plaka is doing well. The so-called quick service style restaurant was doing a brisk business on a Thursday evening, and a number of the outdoor tables were occupied with couples as well as families with children.

The restaurant features cafeteria style ordering, with the food quickly brought to a customer’s table. It offers many standard Greek dishes, such as a gyro sandwich, souvlaki, and, of course, baklava. Quality seemed high, and the dishes were tasty and well-spiced.

It will be interesting to see if Plaka can do well in a location where Cosi couldn’t. The Byron has had trouble leasing some of its spaces, but Cosi’s problem could have been related to the presence of the similar Panera just across... [Read more...]

Another Disappointing Chapter at 1001 West Broad

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
July 27, 2015

While Falls Church City booms with new businesses and developments, 1001 West Broad continues to languish and appears to be vacant yet again.

It’s the latest unfortunate turn of events for the old concrete block building at the southwest corner of Broad & West, kitty corner from where Spectrum Development still hopes to build the four acre Mason Row project.

The building became vacant in January 2010, when Falls Church Cabinetry filed for bankruptcy protection. The owners, doing business as Broad Street Realty Trust, listed the building for lease, but nothing went into the space at any time from 2010 through 2014.

In March 2014 the owners received an occupancy permit from the City to open a new cabinet, carpet, and kitchen store, which seemed like an odd choice for the site, particularly since a cabinet store had previously failed at that location.

But it was four years later, and the economy and housing market had improved markedly from 2010, and the owners told the Times they were excited about Falls Church City’s redevelopment when they were asked about... [Read more...]

Grocery, Office, and Apartments Proposed for Broad & Washington

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
July 2, 2015

Just months after purchasing the northeast corner of the busy Broad & Washington intersection, the new owners have announced a major new development plan that includes a long-rumored grocery store, 324 apartments, and 36,000 square feet of office space.

Currently housing a variety of businesses, including the Applebee’s restaurant, a former medical office building, and the large building at the hard corner, the new development would again be a major change in style and density to the existing infrastructure, which now includes large surface parking lots.

The new proposal would feature four stories of underground parking and provide an array of new restaurant and retail amenities — and new revenue for the City.

Developer Broad & Washington LLC, a venture of Arlington VA-based Insight Property Group and Reston VA-based Kiddar Metz, say the 3 acre property would, when completed bring the City a net increase of $3.3 million annually, which would be more than any other mixed-use project to date.

City officials will do their own revenue projections... [Read more...]

City July 4 Celebration is Scheduled; Traffic Restrictions Announced

June 30, 2015

Enjoy free Independence Day celebrations in the City of Falls Church on Saturday, July 4! The main event of music and fireworks will take place at George Mason High School.

Seating is available at Moore Cadillac Stadium and the Northern Virginia Graduate Center Parking Lot. Music performed by The Beach Bumz starts at 7 p.m. and fireworks start at 9:20 p.m. Blankets and flat-based chairs are allowed for seating on the field. Food and drinks will be sold on site, but alcohol, smoking, fireworks, and pets are not permitted. In the event of rain, the celebration will be held on Sunday, July 5 at the same location and time.

Don’t miss the Independence Day Readings of the Founding Documents of the Nation will be held at 1 p.m. in Council Chambers of City Hall (300 Park Ave.). Hosted by the Village Preservation and Improvement Society (VPIS), this annual event allows us to focus on the meaning of Independence Day with a review of the issues of the times and the reading of the important documents that created the basis for our democracy and freedom.

The event is sponsored by the... [Read more...]

Around Town

SUNDAY, 4/19: Citizens for a Better City Annual Meeting

All are welcome to join Citizens for a Better City (CBC) on Sunday, April 19th for their Annual Meeting & Cocktail Reception at Falls Church’s Hilton Garden Inn, 706 West Broad Street.


Reception begins at 5:00 PM with drinks & light hors d’oeuvres followed by our meeting at 6:00 PM.


Cocktails including 2015 dues $30 per person


You may pay at the door or in advance. Make your check out to Citizens for a Better City and mail to CBC, PO BOX 6080, Falls Church, VA 22042


Parking... [Read more...]

April 9, 2015 | Leave a Comment

Parks Quietly Get Many Upgrades

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
June 29, 2015

The debate about whether the cost of Falls Church City’s fine and expensive schools is causing other priorities to be shortchanged rages on, but one area that had been ripe for improvement is getting it: the City’s parks.

Cavalier Trail Park was overhauled last year, with new basketball and tennis courts, and the Times has previously written about the ongoing expansion and renovation of West End Park, which appears to be in the process of getting transformed from a near afterthought into a landscaped urban oasis.

But other improvements are happening as well, big and small. Berman Park has been naturalized as part of stormwater improvements. The walking path has been rebuilt, and the adjacent creek, which had been a visually unappealing concrete Army Corps of Engineers Flood Control project, has been modified to look like a creek again. New landscaping, trees, and shrubs also abound.

A similar project is nearing completion at Howard Herman Stream Valley Park, where stormwater improvements designed to reduce flooding are being combined with a park overhaul, removing... [Read more...]

New Mason Row Changes Could Mollify Neighbors

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
June 29, 2015

The Mason Row project proposed for the northeast corner of Broad and West streets has undergone many revisions at the request of the City Council, City staff, and neighbors concerned about its size and the related traffic.

The developers were scheduled to deliver their latest version on June 19, which they haven’t done. But they did send City planners a letter outlining some new changes which could help reduce opposition from those adjacent neighbors.

One big change is to move the Home 2 extended-stay hotel from its location at the project’s northwest corner opposite Grove Avenue to the busy corner of Broad & West. Some neighbors objected to having a hotel looking out over the single family homes and townhouses on and adjacent to Grove.

Such a change would seem to be beneficial, too, for Home 2 owner Hilton Corp., since it the new location is busier and far more visible to the thousands of cars traversing Broad each day.

Another major change is that Spectrum has agreed to put residential units facing Park Avenue opposite the single family home neighborhood... [Read more...]

City Issues Rabies Alert After Spike in Rabid Raccoons

June 10, 2015

A rabid raccoon was euthanized by the City of Falls Church Police personnel June 4 following an altercation with two dogs in the 100 block of E. Jefferson Street. The Animal Warden says the raccoon tested positive for rabies. The dogs are receiving treatment.

The Fairfax County Health District that encompasses the City has noted a spike in rabid raccoons, and Fairfax Police report that a woman was bitten by a raccoon several times on Wednesday in a park near Springfield. The animal has not been captured, and it’s not known if it is rabid. However, such an aggressive attack is consistent with an animal suffering from the disease, police said.

Most of the raccoons in the abundant population are healthy. If a raccoon or any wild animal appears to be sick or does not move away when near humans, please contact City police at 703-248-5053 (TTY 711).

Rabies is a preventable viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. It is a myth that raccoons seen in the daytime are sick. It is not unusual to see raccoons during the day this time of... [Read more...]

Pita Pouch Brings New Restaurant Concept to City

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
June 10, 2015

After more than a year of indications that the company which owns the Burger 7 chain was planning on opening a Middle Eastern restaurant in the City, their plans finally came to fruition recently when Pita Pouch opened in the long vacant space previously occupied by a bagel and donut store located at the Falls Plaza.

Having a new restaurant is always a bonus, especially compared to a vacant storefront, but Pita Pouch is more than a new restaurant. It’s a new restaurant concept, which brings the approach of the popular Mexican chain Chipotle to food from the Middle East.

Like other restaurants working the same general territory, Pita Pouch offers beef, chicken, and the ever popular ground garbanzo bean patties known as falafel as their three staples. The beef and chicken are displayed on a rotisserie behind the counter and the meat is shaved off while the customer watches.

But where it mimics the Chipotle model comes after that.

After selecting the desired meat or falafel, customers are given the choice to pick from either a piece of pita to hold their Middle... [Read more...]

More Page1 >>