ALEXANDRIA, Va. (DC News Now) — Two restaurants in an Alexandria shopping center are closed after a pair of unexpected incidents happened roughly 24 hours apart.
At El Texano Bar and Grill at the Van Dorn Station shopping center, boards cover the front entrance, where a car crashed into on Wednesday. First responders told DC News Now that the damage is limited to just the glass front.
Then, on Thursday morning, a small fire shut down Calabash African Cuisine and Bar. Alexandria Fire and EMS posted a notice on the front door that the smoke damage was minimal, but the restaurant was closed.
While the damages were not extensive at either restaurant, it’s unclear when either establishments will be able to reopen.
“This is crazy,” said AB Abiyhirui, who works at the Hair Links Salon, a few stores over.
Abiyhirui, his co-workers and some of their customers all spoke highly of Calabash, expressing sadness about the fire, while describing its owner as a friendly and respectful man.
“Most of the time when I order food from them, if I’m extremely busy, even though they don’t deliver, the owner himself will deliver the food,” said Roukky Ray, who also works at the salon. “That’s what we do here. We look out for each other.”
Abiyhirui described the challenges the small businesses in the shopping center faced — first the pandemic, then inflation. While the damage could have been worse, he’s eager to help once they’re able to re-open.
“Calabash is more than a restaurant because most of us — we hang out over there most of the time,” he said. “We need to help small businesses like that. It’s not easy to come back.”