Business Matters

Business Matters

Adult Sushi

Del Ray is known as the place where Main Street still exists. Now it's also a place where adults can eat sushi without the threat of hearing a crying baby.

Next month, Mount Vernon Avenue will add its newest restaurant to the long list of dining establishments. Known as The Sushi Bar, the latest addition will be adults only. That's right, nobody under 18 will be admitted.

"We're not making it 18 and over because it's sushi," said owner Bill Blackburn, who owns the place along with "Mango" Mike Anderson. "We are making it 18 and over because it's a lounge."

Blackburn said the age restriction was driven more by the size of the room, which is less than 2,000 square feet, and the concept, which includes a sake bar and a sushi bar along with low-slung lounge-style seating. He said he heard from lots of people in Del Ray who are eager to ditch the kids for a while. Then again, he said, he's also heard from people who are unhappy about the restriction.

"There's quite a few folks here who are very upset about this decision, which I can understand," said Blackburn. "But we think of this as kind of like adult swim at your local pool."

Sur La Old Town

The old CVS at King and Royal has been closed for more than two years as landlord EastBanc waited and waited for the right tenant. New retail-size windows were even installed.

"There were some big name prospects that were looking at it and passed on it," said Val Hawkis, president of the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership. "The landlord wanted to get the building in shape, and he was in no rush to do a deal with somebody who wasn't solid."

Now the wait is over. Gourmet retailer Sur La Table plans to open a new store at the location, which is in the heart of Old Town directly across the street from Market Square. The store will have about 12,000 square feet of the building, which also includes a real-estate office. The retailer sells high-end cookware and gourmet items, everything from oven mitts to margarita glasses. And the business also plans to offer classes at the location, as it does at the nearby Pentagon City location.

"We think it will be a nice addition to Old Town," said Hawkins. "It's well known, and it's got a great product."

Athenaeum Asks for Your Vote

Do you love the Athenaeum? If the answer is yes, executive director Catherine Aselford is asking for your vote.

This week, American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation announced that the Athenaeum has been selected as one of 24 sites in the Washington Metropolitan area to compete for $1 million in preservation funds.

"Please spread the word," said Aselford. "Retweet our tweets. Share our Facebook posts."

Next Sunday, May 5, the Athenaeum will be having an open house with a handful of local celebrities. Visitors can see the building and learn about the history of the iconic structure, which was originally built in 1851 as the Old Dominion Bank. Its stately Greek columns have graced the corner of Prince and South Lee for more than 150 years, as the use of the building changed from a bank to a storage facility to a church. Since 1964, the building has been owned and operated by the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Association.

"A vote for the Athenaeum is a vote for Alexandria," said Aselford.

Competition is fierce. Although the Athenaeum is the only Alexandria site on the list, other sites in the competition include some of the biggest and most well known Washington landmarks. Aselford said she's hoping the money could be used to restore the cracked and peeling stucco facade.

Those interested can vote online at Participants can vote daily through May 10. Aselford says that means Alexandrians should vote early and often.