The delay in the second phase of Amazon’s HQ2 may not be for all that long, according to Arlington County Board Vice-Chair Libby Garvey.
Garvey appeared on WAMU’s The Politics Hour with Kojo Nnamdi late last week, talking about whether Amazon is still good for Arlington County and defending the current number of flights out of Reagan National Airport against attempts to add more, particularly long-haul flights.
The first phase of Amazon’s second headquarters in Pentagon City is basically complete and is set to open next month, with some 50,000 square feet of retail space filled with everything from a bike shop to a doggy daycare to several restaurants and bars.
Plans for the second phase, including the futuristic double helix, are still in flux. The “pause” announced earlier this year coincided with other announcements the company made to lay off more than 18,000 employees and pause office construction projects in Nashville and around Seattle.
“I know there’s been some concern that Phase 2 has been delayed but it’s not been delayed by a lot,” Garvey said. “We’re understanding it’s just a year, which, actually — if you think about what’s been happening in the last couple of years — a delay in some ways is quite reasonable.”
Here, Tom Sherwood, the radio show’s resident analyst, interrupted to say he had only heard speculation that the delay would only be for one year.
“I don’t know what they’ve said publicly. I know what I’ve heard,” Garvey responded, with a chuckle. “How public that is, I don’t know. I guess it’s public now.”
The biggest concern for the Arlington County Board regarding the second phase is the construction of a permanent home for Arlington Community High School and child care facilities, she said, adding that “our understanding is that is continuing to move forward.”
Overall, she said, Amazon is “absolutely right” for Arlington.
“In fact, it’s been helpful,” she continued. “One of the big concerns of any large metropolitan area right now is the vacancy rate and whether businesses are going to be coming. Amazon continues to be doing quite well and attracts folks here which I think is very good for us.”
She credited the company for investing significantly in local affordable housing to meet “a major need.”
Across all of its communities, the tech company has said it is investing $2 billion in affordable housing.
“Everything is in transition but it’s still a good deal for Arlington,” she said, adding that Arlington County has yet to pay Amazon any economic incentive money.
Garvey said the county agreed to pay Amazon for meeting office occupancy targets using expected revenue from the county’s Transient Occupancy Tax, which is levied on hotel rooms and other lodging. The county intended to draw from this because HQ2 would generate more business travel, she noted.
Speaking of travel, Garvey was quizzed about why National Airport should not expand and have more flights in response to a proposed bill proposed by members of Congress from Georgia and Utah. The bill is opposed by local lawmakers but has support from many locals and an advocacy group.
“It’s a small airport and it doesn’t have long runways for the really big planes,” she said. “There’s a limit to what you can do and what is safe and what makes sense. It’s plenty busy. Lots of planes go in and out.”
Garvey says it makes sense for DCA to handle shorter flights and Dulles to handle long-distance ones, especially now that people can take the Silver Line all the way to Dulles. Besides, she added, DCA is already noisy enough for people who live nearby.
“The noise of the airplanes drives some of our residents crazy,” she said.
Famed chef Peter Chang’s newest restaurant NiHao remains “on track” to open late this year or early next in Crystal City.
Earlier this year, it was reported that the 2022 James Beard Award finalist was planning on opening a second Arlington restaurant along Crystal Drive, right alongside Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and close to Amazon’s soon-to-open HQ2.
That remains the case with the restaurant hoping for a debut in the coming months, co-owner and Peter’s daughter Lydia Chang told ARLnow.
“We’re still on track to open NiHao Crystal City. Our team is working on obtaining the building permit. Will share more about the concept when we’re ready,” she wrote in an email.
The initial plan was for NiHao to be a bit different from the chef’s other local Arlington location, in the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center. It would focus on a modern approach to Szechuan cuisine while providing an “introduction” to authentic Chinese food, Chang told DCist in February, much like the Baltimore location with the same name.
However, Chang’s recent comments to ARLnow also make it seem like the concept could be tweaked by the time it opens late this year or early next.
Peter Chang first began to amass an American following in the late 2000s. For much of his career up to that point, he was one of the most well-known chefs in China. In 2001, he moved to the United States with his family to work as the head chef for the Chinese ambassador. Two years later, he secretly fled the embassy with his wife (a pastry chef as well) and his young daughter.
He took jobs cooking at modest-looking Northern Virginia restaurants in an effort to keep a low profile, but soon his fame and delicious cooking made him a mysterious sensation. Chang eventually opened his first restaurant in Charlottesville, and it quickly became a hit. He opened others, including his first local location in 2015 in the busy strip mall on N. Harrison Street in Arlington.
Peter Chang Arlington remains popular today, along with the other acclaimed restaurants he’s opened over the last decade.
NiHao Arlington will be restaurant 15 when it starts serving in the months ahead. And there are more restaurant openings ahead. Plans are already in the works for other Chang eateries in McLean and Herndon.
Arlington County will soon start using an automated system developed by Amazon Web Services to answer non-emergency public safety calls.
Starting on Thursday (June 1), non-emergency callers to 703-558-2222 will go through Amazon Connect to address their issues, according to the county.
“Amazon Connect is a cloud-based contact center service that allows residents to connect with the Arlington County Emergency Communications Center (ECC) for non-emergency inquiries,” says an FAQ on the county website. “When a caller dials (703) 558-2222 for non-emergency needs, Amazon Connect will answer the call and provide verbal assistance. It will provide a faster and more efficient response to non-emergency inquiries. Alternate languages will be built out in the future.”
“Personal information is not stored or shared with Amazon or the County,” the FAQ adds. “Amazon Connect is only for non-emergency calls like car towing inquiries, animal control needs, or noise complaints. For emergencies, always call 9-1-1.”
Additional capabilities, including the ability to speak languages other than English and artificial intelligence-driven functionality to address certain inquiries, are in the works, the county said.
In September 2021, WTOP reported that Arlington’s Emergency Communications Center was experiencing staffing shortages and “addressing concerns that its current setup is problematic and even potentially dangerous.”
More, below, from an Arlington County press release.
The Arlington County Emergency Communications Center (ECC) will launch Amazon Connect to handle non-emergency calls starting June 1, 2023. This cloud-based service allows anyone to contact the County quickly and easily for non-emergency issues using the non-emergency line, 703-558-2222, freeing up 9-1-1 professionals to focus on emergencies.
Amazon Connect is a secure and accessible service that allows the ECC to address non-emergency calls more efficiently while protecting caller privacy. The technology will streamline operations, improve service delivery, and reduce the burden on emergency responders.
“We are excited to continue to lead the region in implementing responsive and industry best-practice emergency communications technology,” said William Flagler, Director of the Department of Public Safety Communications and Emergency Management. “The use of Amazon Connect for non-emergency calls will allow our emergency communications staff to focus on emergencies while providing residents with faster, more efficient, and secure service for non-emergency inquiries.”
Amazon Connect is only for non-emergency calls; the current 9-1-1 system will continue to handle emergency calls.
When a caller dials 703-558-2222 (the non-emergency line), Amazon Connect will answer and provide verbal assistance. The system can answer calls and speak to the caller to provide verbal direction, providing a faster and more efficient response to non-emergency inquiries. No personal information is stored or shared with Amazon.
In the future, the County plans to expand the system’s capabilities using artificial intelligence. The system will learn to identify and effectively address reasons for calling (e.g. towed cars, potholes, trail and park maintenance, noise complaints, County operating status), and will offer service in the County’s top five most spoken languages. The County also plans to connect the system to its online reporting form and update residents on resolving non-emergency issues they share.
We’re getting our first official look into the mostly completed first phase of Amazon’s HQ2 in Pentagon City.
Amazon shared photos this morning from inside the two-building, 2.1 million square foot office complex, located along S. Eads Street between 12th and 15th streets.
The photos are notable for what they don’t show: rows of cubicles for the thousands of employees that are expected to work from HQ2. Instead, the photos show richly appointed, lounge-like spaces, a cafeteria and food market, outdoor grills, the park space outside of the building, and other recreation opportunities like a billiards table.
Phase 1 of HQ2 has around 50,000 square feet of retail space, with more than a dozen businesses ranging from a bike shop to a doggy daycare to several restaurants and bars.
A grand opening for the new complex is expected in mid-June. The second phase of HQ2 — to include the distinctive, lush Helix tower — is delayed indefinitely amid economic uncertainty and continued work-from-home trends following the pandemic.
An Amazon-written media kit and fact sheet about HQ2 Phase 1, also known as Metropolitan Park, is below.
When Amazon opens the first phase of its second headquarters in June, it is preparing to debut a new farmers market, too.
This farmers market is set to pop up four Saturdays a month starting June 24. It will be located inside the $14 million public park Amazon renovated as part of the Metropolitan Park or “Met Park” first phase of HQ2, at the corner of 13th Street S. and S. Eads Street.
Loudoun County-based EatLoco is set to operate the market within the park, which features meandering paths and public art.
The organization’s founder and CEO Dan Hine says it will be its first outside of Loudoun County and his “rock star” location, with at least 80 vendors and possibly live entertainment.
“When Amazon approached us back in August 2022 with this idea, we stepped up to the challenge by promising only the Best-of-the-Best Farmers, Food producers and Crafters for this one-of-a-kind, spacious venue,” Hine said in a statement on the EatLoco website. “This game-changer location has a neighboring dog park, children’s park and plenty of table seating for eating and relaxing provided by our Sponsors.”
Hine says he is working on plans for on-site entertainment “to keep customers coming and staying longer.”
“As always, we will do this the ‘EatLoco’ way,” he said. “Well marketed, professionally managed, and of course extremely well attended.”
This weekend, the Arlington County Board is set to consider a use permit allowing EatLoco to operate four Saturdays a month from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., March through November. It will be located at a green space to the east of a meandering path users can access from 13th and 14th Street S. and S. Fair Street.
EatLoco’s website says the market will run through Nov. 18.
As part of the agreement, the county is requiring EatLoco to work with the Aurora Highlands Civic Association and the county regarding signage, parking locations and noise restrictions.
Meanwhile, work on Met Park is almost complete, according to Clark Construction, which has overseen the project for the last three-and-a-half years.
Last week, it published the following construction update on its website:
After years of planning, and 40 months of construction, we’ve reached the final chapter in Metropolitan Park’s delivery. As our team puts the finishing touches on our work on site, we wanted to thank you — our neighbors and community partners — for your inquiries, engagement, and, most importantly, your patience and support over the last three years.
Soon the children’s park, edible garden and forest walk will be open and accessible to all. Soon, local businesses will activate new retail spaces, serving up new amenities and flavors that will further enhance this community. Soon, Metropolitan Park’s two 22-stories towers will be filled with new people and ideas.
While the physical structures our team will leave behind fill us with a tremendous sense of pride and accomplishment, we are equally proud of the significant economic impact this project has created. From contracting opportunities for local, small, and diverse companies, to apprenticeships, to unique learning experiences for our craft workforce and project management team, Metropolitan Park’s construction has served as a platform for growth. We are honored to deliver this important asset that has and will continue to invigorate the Arlington community for decades to come.
Several local businesses will be moving into the 65,000 square feet of street-level retail, including a daycare and a spa, Arlington’s second Conte’s Bike Shop, District Dogs and an outpost of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA) Arlington.
There will also be a slew of restaurants and cafés, including Westover-based Toby’s Homemade Ice Cream and D.C.-based Taqueria Xochi, which were announced last month.
The revamped Water Park in Crystal City is reopening this summer along with nearly a dozen new restaurants, including acclaimed local fried chicken spot Queen Mother’s.
The 1.6-acre park on Crystal Drive is reopening to the public this summer after a year-long construction effort, park owner JBG Smith announced this morning.
In addition to a number of food and drink spots, the revamped park will feature a live performance stage, public art installations, a building with public restrooms and bike facilities, and a “modernized fountain water wall” that empties into an “immersion fountain,” per a press release and renderings provided to ARLnow.
On top of the water wall will be an open-air raw and cocktail bar simply being called “Water Bar.” A New York-style pizza place will also be located in the park.
There will be a total of nine 300-square-foot restaurant kiosks lining Crystal Drive. Each will hold a small-scale eatery “meant to serve as incubator opportunities for up-and-coming culinary talent,” said the press release.
Among those are several notable local restaurants, including Queen Mother’s Restaurant — currently on Columbia Pike — and Reston-based Tiki Thai.
The full list of restaurants moving into the kiosks is below.
- Brij, a DC-based café and wine bar by Skyler Kelley, whose vision is to bridge people and communities together with proceeds benefiting single mothers, the LGBTQ+ community, and the un-housed.
- Bubbie’s Plant Burger, a plant-based and kosher certified Americana burgers, fries and soda pop shop from chef Margaux Riccio and general manager Shaun Sharkey, the creators of DC’s award-winning Asian fast casual restaurant Pow Pow.
- Cracked Eggery, launched by Potomac native Mike Tabb and his partners as a popular food truck serving inventive egg sandwiches, bowls and tasty sides throughout DC. It now has permanent locations in Cleveland Park and Shaw, where it occupies space in a JBG SMITH-owned building.
- DC Dosa, Bombay-born Priya Ammu’s South Indian street food concept, and her first location outside of Union Market.
- Dolci Gelati, a DC-born gelato shop by Gianluigi and Anastasia Dellaccio serving up 450+ seasonal and artisanal flavors made fresh on a daily-basis as well as a robust coffee/espresso program.
- Falafel Inc., launched by Ahmad Ashkar in Georgetown with a simple, inexpensive menu of falafel bowls, sandwiches and sides and the goal of feeding refugees alongside the World Food Programme.
- PhoWheels, a family-based business from Tuan and Jennifer Vo featuring Vietnamese inspired dishes. Their kiosk will be the first brick and mortar location for the popular DC food truck.
- Tiki Thai, a new outpost of chef Porntipa “Pat” Pattanamekar’s Reston eatery that has been dubbed “Virginia’s first premier tiki bar and Thai restaurant,” offering a wide-range of eats inspired by Thai and Polynesian cuisine.
- Queen Mother’s, Virginia native and James Beard Award Semi-Finalist Chef Rahman “Rock” Harper’s tribute to his mother through his renowned fried chicken joint.
Queen Mother’s owner and chef Rahman “Rock” Harper, who was semifinalist for a James Beard award earlier this year, told ARLnow that the new Crystal City location will serve the fried chicken sandwiches and duck-fat fries the restaurant is known for. The plan is to also debut new flavors — and alcohol.
“We’re going to introduce some cocktails, maybe a cocktail on tap or a beer or two. So you’ll be able to get your chicken sandwich and your duck-fat fries with a nice little tasty beverage,” Harper said.
The new location at the Water Park will also mark the end of Queen Mother’s run on Columbia Pike, at least for restaurant-style service. Harper said he’s going to keep the space to help with catering orders, though.
It appears another new restaurant is coming to Amazon HQ2.
Makers Union has applied for a Virginia ABC permit for a location inside Amazon’s second headquarters at 510 14th Street S. in Pentagon City.
The pub is owned by the local restaurant group Thompson Hospitality, which also operates Matchbox, Big Buns Damn Good Burgers, Wiseguy Pizza, and a number of other local restaurant concepts.
This would be the second location of Makers Union, the first location of which is in Reston. The menu consists of gastropub-styled lunch with more upscale choices for dinner.
ARLnow has reached out to Thompson Hospitality to confirm the opening and other details but has yet to hear back as of publication. Eater reported last year that the company was “in talks with Amazon to put some of its restaurants into HQ2.”
Reston-based Thompson Hospitality launched three decades ago with the purchase of several Bob’s Big Boys. It has since become a nearly billion-dollar company, with most of its restaurants still in the D.C. area. The group has recently added locations in Florida and Ohio, with more expansion potentially on the way.
Locally, it recently opened a couple of new restaurants in McLean.
Over the last year, Amazon has announced a slew of new businesses and restaurants that are coming to the first phase of the company’s second headquarters, dubbed Metropolitan Park.
Many of them are local, including Peruvian Brothers, Good Company Doughnuts, Conde’s Bike Shop, Toby’s Homemade Ice Cream and Taqueria Xochi.
Amazon’s Metropolitan Park office complex is on track to open this summer along with many of the businesses. However, the second phase of the company’s massive Pentagon City presence is currently on “pause.”
Taqueria Xochi and Toby’s Homemade Ice Cream are among another group of local businesses that are set to move into Amazon’s HQ2.
Amazon announced today that four more businesses will be opening up in Pentagon City, in the forthcoming first phase of the company’s second headquarters dubbed Metropolitan Park.
The group includes Westover-based Toby’s Homemade Ice Cream, Alexandria-based Mae’s Market, popular D.C. taco spot Taqueria Xochi, and an outpost of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA) Arlington, which is based in Virginia Square.
All of the businesses are planning to open up this summer, an Amazon spokesperson confirmed to ARLnow, along with the rest of “Met Park.”
This new shop will be Toby’s Homemade Ice Cream’s third location. It originally just had a shop in Westover Village before expanding to Vienna a year ago.
“You know, we present ourselves as your friendly neighborhood ice cream shop. We are ingrained in the Arlington community,” co-owner Toby Bantug said in a press release. “When we heard that Met Park’s focus was going to be on giving local community businesses expansion opportunities, we knew it aligned with our philosophy. It goes hand in hand.”
MoCA Arlington, the county’s preeminent art museum, is opening an “Innovation Studio” at Amazon HQ2.
This will be “where the public can experience the artistic process directly by interacting with artists and making art themselves,” said Amazon’s press release. The space will offer artists talks, public programming, and a museum retail store.
“When the organization was established, one of MoCA Arlington’s founding principles was to connect the community to contemporary art and artists,” said MoCA Arlington Executive Director Catherine Anchin. “This continues to be the mission that guides us today. Next year, we’ll celebrate our 50th anniversary, and our new location in Met Park will help us reach more of the county’s residents and visitors, providing a venue to celebrate the energy and creativity of both artists and the community.”
The coffee shop and cafe Mae’s Market, which opened in Old Town Alexandria in 2021, is also expanding with a second location inside of the new office complex. It’s owned by Nicole Jones, who also runs Del Ray’s Stomping Ground but it will be shuttering this month and turned into a taqueria.
The Amazon HQ2 shop will be the same concept as its original Mae’s Market in Old Town, per the press release.
Finally, popular D.C. fast-casual taco eatery Taqueria Xochi is making its move across the river with its inaugural Arlington location at Amazon HQ2. Launched by two chefs who cooked at celebrity chef José Andrés’ restaurants, it earned rave reviews when it first opened on U Street NW in 2020.
“Our dream when we opened the first Taqueria Xochi location was to bring authentic Mexican food to the D.C. area,” said co-owner Teresa Padilla. “Our tacos, how they are served, the simple ingredients, and the bold flavors are the same you would find on a trip to Mexico. To launch this second location at Amazon’s HQ2 is an expansion of that dream.”
These four new businesses joins a number of others that have previously announced their moves into the complex along S. Eads Street.
The already-announced businesses include Peruvian Brothers, Good Company Doughnuts, District Dogs, and Conte’s Bike Shop. Some are expected to open in the coming months, with the HQ2 complex along S. Eads Street wrapping up construction and set to open as soon as May.
Conte’s Bike Shop could open later this month in Pentagon City, perhaps making it the first business to open at Amazon’s new HQ2.
The nearly seven-decade-old, Virginia-based bike shop is planning to open its newest location inside of the still-under-construction office complex at 1350 S. Eads Street late this month or in early May, manager of strategy and operations George Lee told ARLnow. It will be situated adjacent to Good Company Doughnuts, which is set to start serving later in the summer.
If Conte’s Bike Shop meets that timeline, it will be the first business to open within the first phase of Amazon’s second headquarters, also known as “Metropolitan Park.”
The 4,000-square-foot store will be a bit different than other Conte’s locations, including the one in Virginia Square, in that it will feature a small cafe with complimentary coffee and will be focused “on being a start/stop/mid-ride point for cyclists with [Mt. Vernon Trail] access just a few blocks away,” per Lee.
It will also host “inclusive beginner-friendly group rides” and provide retail sales, repair services, and rentals like its other stores.
“It is a big deal for us as we are now the bike shop in the DC area with the best coverage of locations so customers are able to utilize services that come with bike purchases in any of our locations; we have a lot of customers in this area that used to travel 30-40 mins to get to a bike shop and now there will be one on their door stop,” Lee said.
This new location will be Conte’s second Arlington shop. The company also has stores in Alexandria, Vienna, and Falls Church. In total, the company has 21 locations in five states plus D.C.
Last May, Amazon announced that Conte’s and several other businesses were set to move into HQ2. Two months later, it announced that Peruvian Brothers, Good Company Doughnuts, and others would be joining them there as well.
“We are also humbled to have been selected by Amazon as a local… family business with deep history in the market as one of the most professional and approachable bike shops,” Lee said.
Conte’s hoped-for spring opening comes a bit sooner than Amazon’s planned summer debut of HQ2. Last month it was reported that the company was delaying construction of the second HQ2 phase — with the distinctive “Helix” tower — due to economic conditions and post-pandemic work patterns.
Good Company Doughnuts and Cafe is looking to open its new location at Amazon’s HQ2 in early summer.
Construction is nearly complete on the 3,000-square-foot second location of the Ballston-based donut shop, which is coming to 1400 S. Eads Street, managing partner Charles Kachadoorian told ARLnow. The plan is to open there in late May or early June, he said.
Like Peruvian Brothers, that hoped-for debut aligns with Amazon’s schedule for the first phase of its new Pentagon City office complex, also known as “Metropolitan Park.” Back in July, it was announced Good Company and a number of other local businesses were opening at HQ2 Phase 1.
The eatery first opened on N. Glebe Road in Ballston in 2019 and has since become popular as well as crowded on weekends, with lines and seating sometimes spilling onto the sidewalk.
That history played a big part in how this new location is being approached and designed, Kachadoorian said.
“It’s almost twice the size… compared to our tiny little spot in Ballston,” he said. “We’ll have more seating, indoor and outdoor seating, and we will have a great flow which we are excited about. Folks tend to get cramped up here in Ballston.”
The larger space will allow the cafe to have dinner service as well, a feature of the Ballston location prior to the pandemic. The menus will be pretty much the same at both locations.
“The [food] will be very, very similar. I’m sure there will be small things,” Kachadoorian said. “But, for the most part, the bulk of the menu is the same. The donuts are the same and the same coffee.”
The new Pentagon City location isn’t the only one that Good Company will be opening in the coming months. The company just completed construction on a new commercial baking facility in Tysons that will allow the majority of the baking to shift to that location. The hope is that it will open as soon as next week and alleviate some of the customer congestion often found in Ballston.
“We [currently] make everything in Ballston. We’ve spilled out of the kitchen into the dining room, so it’s time to get some more capacity,” Kachadoorian said.
Beyond baking for the two Good Company locations, the Tysons facility will also pick up the slack with the wholesale items the shop sells to area coffee shops and for catering. One of those places that Good Company provides pastries to is Misha’s in Old Town Alexandria.
Kachadoorian said he expects the company’s wholesale offerings and commitments to increase “dramatically” over the next few months due to the opening of the new Tysons commercial baking facility.
There’s also a plan to open a Good Company location in D.C. in the spring of 2024, but exact plans have not been finalized as of yet.
For the moment, what Kachadoorian is most excited with the new Pentagon City location is getting to know the community.
“It’s a new neighborhood. What’s really fun thing when you open a restaurant is getting to know everybody from the area,” he said. “So, we hope that, just like it has in Ballston, it becomes a really cool spot for people to gather and weave the fabric of the community a little bit.”
Empanada eatery Peruvian Brothers is set to return to Arlington this summer.
The fast-casual Peruvian restaurant owned by two brothers is planning to open in the first phase of Amazon’s HQ2 sometime in the summer, co-owner Giuseppe Lanzone told ARLnow. That timeline appears to follow Amazon’s schedule for opening its gleaming new office complex at 1400 S. Eads Street.
The new 2,000-square-foot restaurant on the first floor of the new building will have a full menu and a cocktail bar, serving pisco sours, among other drinks. This marks a return to the neighborhood for Peruvian Brothers, which previously occupied a stand at the Crystal City Water Park before the park underwent renovations.
Last July, it was announced that the restaurant was one of several moving into HQ2. The recently-announced delay for the second phase of the headquarters didn’t impact Peruvian Brothers since it’s moving into the almost-completed first phase.
“We are very much looking forward to going back into the National Landing area because the last they know we only had a small stand selling empanadas and some drinks,” Lanzone said. “Now, we are bringing our whole menu and a whole new bar concept. We hope all the neighbors… come enjoy a drink, a bite of food, and hang out.”
Giuseppe and fellow co-owner Mario Lanzone are originally from Peru and moved with their family to McLean in 1997. Prior to becoming a restaurateur, Giuseppe was a two-time Olympic rower for Team USA.
It was a decade ago when the Lanzone brothers first began their Alexandria-based food truck and catering business. Lanzone said they are celebrating its ten-year anniversary this week.
In February 2020, the brothers opened their first brick-and-mortar spot in La Cosecha, a Latin American market in D.C. Then, the pandemic hit and shut down the newly-opened location.
Thankfully, Lanzone lived in Crystal City and often jogged by the then-unoccupied stand in the privately-owned water park. The brothers struck a deal with park owner JBG Smith to serve a limited menu of empanadas and a few drinks out of the small space.
They were there for about two years before closing, but it led to an even bigger opportunity with the brothers moving into the largest restaurant space they’ve ever occupied.
The new restaurant will feature a similar menu as its La Cosecha location, which includes sandwiches, rotisserie chicken, and ceviche along with empanadas, but with at least one new addition.
“One of the things that were very popular with my brother and I growing up in La Punta on the coast of Peru were croquetas y pulpos, Peruvian croquettes,” Lanzone said. “It’s like an octopus burger, so to speak, which is absolutely delicious.”
The space will be designed with art and murals influenced and done by fellow Peruvians, he said.
Lanzone admits it’s been a bit of a challenge to build out the expansive space, from the back of the kitchen all the way to the front doors, but the reward is that they get to show off their shared heritage and culture to all who come by.
“We are very much looking forward [to bringing]…a little bit of a taste of where my brother Mario and I grew up… and where we come from,” Lanzone said. “From day one, teaching and sharing our Peruvian culture to everybody else that hasn’t been there yet. And, hopefully, one day will get to go there.”