It probably wasn’t easy to create the intimate feel of a small town in an area known for strip malls, office parks and busy highways. Yet developers, including retail developer Edens and local homebuilders EYA, did just that with the Mosaic District. Now a bustling town center in Merrifield, Va., it’s bounded by Gallows Road to the east, Route 50 to the south, Lee Highway to the north and Eskridge Road to the west. Shops began opening here in 2012 and housing in 2013. Now, the transformation from little more than a movie theater and parking lot to a hub of stores and dining is complete. You can stroll down narrow streets, stop at a butcher, fishmonger, wine shop or even a barber — most of them local businesses rather than national chains — or come for dinner and a movie at the Angelika Film Center (571-521-3301), an art-house cinema that anchors the town center.
The town houses in the Mosaic District were built by EYA. The first phase of construction — more than 100 new homes — has already sold out. The next phase, 25 homes, is expected to go on sale in September, and prices will start in the $700,000s. That’s the price of most new homes throughout Merrifield, says Ana Reina of Fairfax Realty. Older single-family homes in the area might be priced closer to $450,000, she says.
The Mosaic District is located about a mile from the Dunn Loring Metro station on the Orange Line. There’s a free Metro shuttle during the weekday rush hour (6 to 10 a.m. and 3:30 to 7:30 p.m.) running to and from the town center every 15 minutes. The 1C and 2B Metrobuses will get you to the edges of the District.
By car, Mosaic is 20 to 30 minutes from downtown D.C. Driver bonus: Its public parking garages are free.
For Virginia residents who balk at the thought of fighting D.C. traffic for a meal, Mosaic has plenty of District favorites transplanted to Virginia. There’s a Matchbox pizzeria (2911 District Ave.; 571-395-4869) steps from the movie theater. Local gelato shop Dolcezza (2905 District Ave.; 703-992-8701), and Red Apron butcher (8298 Glass Alley; 703-676-3550) have outposts, too.
If you’re in a rush, Mosaic also has the requisite versions of D.C.’s favorite faster-food joints, including Taylor Gourmet (2905 District Ave., Suite 160; 703-462-9970), Sweetgreen (2905 District Ave.; 703-992-7892) and Cava Mezze Grill (2905 District Ave.; 703-988-4313).
And there are loads more restaurants to come, including brunch-favorite Ted’s Bulletin, which is expected to open this year. The D.C. area’s first True Food Kitchen, a chain from out West that bills its offerings as healthful, “anti-inflammatory” dishes, is slated to open this summer.
Rocksalt, a newcomer on the oyster scene, is expected in 2015. Or get your seafood fix right now with freshly shucked oysters at fishmonger MediterraFish (8298 Glass Alley, Suite 100; 703-462-9644).
Gourmet food and drink shops abound in the Mosaic District. Try Swirl & Sip (2905 District Ave., Suite 112; 703-992-8157), a wine and beer store with an art gallery feel, knowledgeable staff and free tastings. Find loose-leaf blends at Capital Teas (2910 District Ave. Suite 168; 703-942-8327). Or spend far too long sampling artisanal oils and vinegars at Ah Love Oil & Vinegar (2910 District Ave. Suite 165; 703-992-7000). Pro tip: Try a shot of the rosemary olive oil and 20-year aged balsamic.
Ensuring that you really don’t need to leave this District to get your basic shopping done, there’s a MOM’s Organic Market (8298 Glass Alley; 703-663-8810) and a sizeable Target (2905 District Ave., Suite 400; 571-533-3751) with a grocery and pharmacy. There’s also a farmers market on Sundays from May through November.
The Mosaic District’s small, central park is a hub for friendly gatherings. And there are lots of gatherings: Weekly free movies are shown on a huge TV screen on the side of the Angelika, and the park also hosts free yoga sessions in the summer.
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