The Rundown: Ali Velshi, Etihad and More…

EtihadLounge

Media: Al Jazeera America has poached CNN’s Ali Velshi. His last day with CNN/CNNi was Friday. Velshi may work with Kamahl Santamaria who presents “Counting the Cost” on Al Jazeera English. Santamaria tells DC Internationalist: “AJAM will be a separate channel, but we will of course share resources. Give it time and we’ll see :)”

Media: Yalda Hakim has begun anchoring newscasts for BBC World News.

Travel: Etihad Airways added non-stop flights from Abu Dhabi to Dulles to its schedule last weekend. The airline also unveiled a lavish lounge. The press release states the following: “Located next to the airline’s departure gate in Terminal A, the lounge provides premium passengers with unfettered and convenient direct access to the aircraft without having to go through a traditional departure gate.” Nice!

Food: Le Pain Quotidien is on an expansion craze in the D.C. area. Chevy Chase and Union Station will soon get the Belgian cafe experience.

Le Pain Quotidien in Tysons Corner

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Le Pain Quotidien is set to open in the Tysons Corner shopping mall, according to job postings on Craigslist and confirmation through their Twitter account. It will be located next to Bloomingdales. Dallas-based La Madeleine is also building out a location within the mall after exiting the strip plaza from across the street. It will feature the chain’s new and improved look. Hence, expect some healthy competition.

Belgian Café Coming to Fairfax

According to The Washington Post, Le Pain Quotidien will join a bunch of planned eateries at the Mosaic District project in Fairfax, VA this fall. We know Le Pain has been on the hunt for additional locations and they should fit in well within the brand new community. For over a decade, Texas-based La Madeleine has had a monopoly on providing “authentic” cafe dining to customers in the Northern Virginia area. But with a PAUL Bakery “in the works” – it and Le Pain will provide some much-needed competition.

Foreign Restaurant Invasion

Trends show the continuation of a foreign restaurant invasion this year. The metropolitan area remains highly attractive due to a robust spending capacity and consumer diversity. We’ve outlined the plans known thus far. Opening dates are rough approximations.
 
Nando’s
+ 1 = Gaithersburg, MD (Summer 2011)
+ 1 = Bethesda, MD (Late Summer 2011)
 
PAUL Bakery & Cafe *
+ 1 = Washington, D.C. (Spring 2011)
+ 1 = Georgetown (Fall 2011)
 
Yo!Sushi *
+ 1 = Location TBD (Summer 2011?)
 
Ping Pong Dim Sum = Actively looking for third site.
+ 1 = Dupont Circle (Summer 2011)
 
Pret A Manger = Actively looking for additional sites.
 
Wagamama *
+ 1 = Washington, D.C (Winter 2011?)
 
Le Pain Quotidien
+ 1 = Washington, D.C (Spring 2011)

* indicates first area location