(Updated at 3:05 p.m.) Alt’s, a vegetarian restaurant in Lyon Park, might soon be opening.
Though Alt’s signed a lease at 2300 N. Pershing Drive in May 2015, according to the restaurant’s Facebook page, and filed permits to renovate later that year, the restaurant has only recently revealed signs of life.
Signs and a business hours card are up on the restaurant’s storefront. A company representative arrived unannounced at ARLnow’s office yesterday with laminated menus in hand, saying that it was opening this week. (Note to other businesses: please email information to us instead.)
No one from the restaurant answered calls or emails today and it was not open during lunchtime.
The restaurant’s business signs indicate it will be closed on Mondays and open from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and 5-8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 12-2 p.m. and 5-8 p.m. on Saturday to Sunday.
The restaurant sells basic vegan and vegetarian “Altburgers” for $4.50 and a vegetarian “altbacon” cheeseburger for $6.20 — “the true pinnacle of meat alternative burgers.” Customers can sub out the bun for a “delicious gluten free rice tortilla” if desired, according to the menu.
On Alt’s website, it claims people can’t tell the difference between a regular burger and its meatless burgers.
“Come to Alt’s, where your perception of a meatless burger will be forever changed,” the site writes.
The donut store opened at 1014 S. Glebe Road to much local fanfare last month. Today Sugar Shack announced the new vegan, gluten-friendly offerings, the result of “a few weeks of testing.”
“We’ll be offering these bad boys around 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. each day,” said store owner and former state legislator Rob Krupicka. “They are best when they are fresh out of the kitchen… We will be topping these with a variety of gluten-free toppings. We are also making vegan, gluten-friendly apple fritters.”
Why the “gluten-friendly” label?
“These donuts do not contain gluten, but as there is a lot of flour in our store, we can’t say they are gluten-free because the chance of cross-contamination is too high,” Krupicka said. He added that the new donuts will be an exclusive for the Arlington Sugar Shack location, at least for awhile.
“Because our Arlington store is bigger, we have more room to do new things in the kitchen,” he said. “We hope to offer these at all our stores soon, but for now, to get these rare, unicorns of donuts, head over to Sugar Shack Arlington on the Pike.”
Mind Your Body Oasis is scheduled to open at 1750 Crystal Drive on January 12. Owner Amanda Shipe said the area has been hurting for a business of this type.
“I’ve lived here for 15 years, I own a house on South Glebe Road, so I kind of know the lay of the land really well. I’m also a realtor,” said Shipe. “There’s not a yoga studio in the area. It’s very densely populated and is really in need of something different than what’s happening with the restaurants and shops.”
In addition to yoga, the center will offer massages, facials, acupuncture and nutritional coaching.
“There is nothing else like my studio,” said Shipe. “You have your yoga studios that have just yoga and maybe massage, but there is not a center that has hot yoga, regular yoga, pilates and the spa options and acupuncture. There is no other studio that combines everything I’m doing into one in the entire D.C. metro area.”
The Crystal City location made even more sense to Shipe after she led a few outdoor yoga classes in the neighborhood earlier this year. She said the studio will be easy to get to by Metro, and customers can enjoy the renovated courtyard area at the Crystal City Shops. Shipe said customers can take food they buy at her studio into the courtyard to eat.
The food will be provided by local startup Postmodern Foods. Business owner Denise Hicks will make the pre-packaged health food that will be sold out of a refrigerator near the studio’s front desk. Hicks became more involved with health foods when she became ill a number of years ago, and she saw positive changes in her body and emotions due to a change in diet and exercise. She then attended the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York and learned about concepts such as cooking foods to keep them nutritionally intact.
“It took me to another level in terms of understanding different philosophies about food. I think food is really powerful, but it can be more powerful if you handle it respectfully,” said Hicks. “I’m really excited to be able to create food that I believe in and give it to the market. I want to make sure that people have access to really healthy foods that can change the quality of their lives.”
Although about 80 percent of the selections will be raw foods, Hicks plans that around 20 percent of the products will be cooked.
“100 percent raw is not something that you want all day, every day, especially not in winter,” she said.
Hicks makes all the items herself and plans to sell the beverages in glass containers, and the food in compostable, cornstarch based plastic containers. One of the pre-packaged dishes she’s featuring will be a quinoa and egg scramble, with an organic tortilla, corn, salsa fresca and a spicy black bean sauce.
Shipe said she is excited to have Hicks on board for the wholistic center, not just because of the healthy raw food concept, but also because she enjoys helping local people start a small business. Another business she’s helping out by selling its products is House of Steep, which is owned by Shipe’s sister, Lyndsey DePalma.
“We really play off of each other with our strengths and weaknesses. She helped me with the business plan, I helped her with the marketing,” Shipe said. “She’s a little bit ahead of me, so she gives me a future view of what I should be doing. It’s a very, very fun bonding experience for us. It’s been two years since we started this journey. We’ve been along for the ride together.”
If all goes well for both businesses, the sisters would eventually like to open a location combining Mind Your Body and House of Steep. But for now, Shipe is focused on getting out the word about her wholistic center.
“I want Mind Your Body Oasis to be a community and be a place where people can come and meet like minded people and escape the world,” said Shipe. “When you walk in the studio you have a sense of peace and harmony and it’s your little oasis to escape to for a while and forget about anything you’re dealing with that day.”
Mind Your Body Oasis will have a grand opening event from 2:00-9:00 p.m. on January 19. There will be raffles and samples of the juices that will be sold at the center. Customers are also welcome to check out the facility and enjoy a free yoga class.
Cafe Wilson (3033 Wilson Blvd) closed up shop on Friday.
The cafe and deli was noted for its vegan sandwich options and its close proximity to the Clarendon Metro station.
The cafe’s owner told ARLnow.com that she was not given the option of renewing her lease, though she would have liked to. The owner, who declined to give her name, said she hopes to reopen at some point in a different location on Wilson Boulevard.
The good news is that a new restaurant is apparently coming to Shirlington.
The bad news is that we’re pretty thin on details.
If you go to Google, you’ll find out that Native Foods Cafe is a chain of Vegan restaurants in Southern California. Is this restaurant going to be the company’s first east coast location, or is the name merely a coincidence? We don’t know, since the company’s Director of Marketing has declined to respond to an emailed request for information and since the address of the holding company listed on the ABC application comes back to a UPS Store in Henderson, Nevada.
There’s also a “Mitsitam Native Foods Cafe” in the National Museum of the American Indian in D.C., but so far we haven’t been able to establish a connection there, either.
Will Shirlington be getting a Vegan restaurant? Stay tuned.