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Teaism Receives Parking Reduction

Washington, D.C.-based restaurant looking to move into Saul Building, which also houses Trader Joe's.

Washington, D.C.-based teahouse Teaism received approval from the Alexandria Planning Commission Thursday night for a new restaurant in North Old Town.

The applicant for the restaurant, Vitalitea, is seeking to open a shop at 682 N. St. Asaph Street, which is in the building that also houses , and .

The Planning Commission granted a 13-space parking reduction to the applicant.

According to city code, one off-street parking space is required for every four restaurant seats. Teaism is requesting 197 seats at the new restaurant and would have been required to provide 50 off-street parking spaces, plus one space for each delivery vehicle.

Instead, Teaism will provide 37 parking spaces and one for its delivery vehicle.

On Thursday night, city planners said they supported the request because it is seen as a “positive addition to restaurants in the area” and replaces a storefront that has been vacant for two years.

Planners also said they liked the fact the location is easily served by public transportation.

The application is scheduled to come before City Council on Sept. 17.

The previous tenant at the 682 location was Sizzling Express, which closed in August 2009.

Vitalitea proposes to operate a "fast casual" restaurant in about 4,700 square feet of space with an emphasis on Asian-inspired food, including on-site sales of alcohol and no live entertainment.

A small area in the restaurant would be dedicated to retail sales of tea-related items.

Catering services also would be offered and food delivered directly to customers via a delivery van, which would be parked off of the street. 

Forty of the 197 seats woulf be outdoors. Exterior dining would have to wrap up by 10 p.m. and indoor dining would run until 11 p.m. or midnight on the weekend.

Teaism restaurants are also located in Dupont Circle, Lafayette Park and near the Verizon Center.

Several members of the Planning Commission said they work near Teaism locations and claimed to be big fans of the restaurant.

fcmk September 10, 2011 at 01:46 PM
i'm a fan of teaism, but am dismayed that the Planning Commission's action will create additional parking problems in North Old Town. Earlier this year the Commission and the City Council approved a parking variance for the Harris Teeter Development just one block away. Now Teaism is also allowed to provide less parking. By accrestion we are slowly making North Old Town parking unfriendly. Why do we have zoning code and a master plan if we cocsistently waive them? The same condistions exist at the spot as when Sizzling Express operated there, Teaism.could make a profit just as well with the current 157 seats compared to the 197 planned. . It is short sighted and not what the neighborhood deserves. The City Counsil will have an opportunity next week to vote on this. I hope they will countermand the Planning Council's decision.
Drew Hansen (Editor) September 20, 2011 at 09:58 PM
Teaism received the approval of City Council on Saturday, so it looks to be a done deal.

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