Local Commentary

Guest Commentary: Eden Center is a Hidden Gem in Falls Church

The News-Press has recently reported on 19 misdemeanor arrests at Eden Center. These non-violent arrests concerned alleged gambling on the kind of video game commonly found in many local bars and restaurants. Gambling is not condoned by Eden Center, and we sincerely appreciate the police department’s attention to the matter.

To aid the police department, over several years Eden Center has installed 49 video surveillance cameras throughout the Center. These cameras provide electronic footage to the police and insure the safety of the public. The recent events are not representative of the “real” Eden Center, which is a cultural center, and a place where hard-working families have built businesses that are part of the fabric of the Falls Church community.

For many years Eden Center has been the largest tourist attraction in the City of Falls Church and perhaps the most unique destination shopping center in the Washington Metropolitan Area. With over 115 family owned stores and 230,000 feet of retail space, Eden Center is the largest Vietnamese American shopping center on the East Coast. Located conveniently on Wilson Boulevard at Seven Corners it regularly attracts tourists from as far away as New York, Atlanta and even Vietnam yet many lifelong Falls Church residents have never even set foot inside this “hidden” gem.

Many Falls Church residents already know that Eden Center is the cultural hub for generations of Vietnamese immigrants; Eden Center supports many Vietnamese organizations and holds several annual festivals celebrating Vietnamese holidays. Other residents know Eden Center as the best area location to purchase a bubble tea drink or a bowl of “Pho” (Vietnamese Noodle Soup). But what many residents do not know is that Eden Center is the second largest tax payer in the City of Falls Church, is a Partner Level sponsor and active member in the Falls Church Chamber of Commerce and benefits the entire City by attracting thousands of visitors each week from all over the Eastern Seaboard and beyond. The recent economic downturn has impacted all area retail centers. Despite the recent fluctuations in the economy virtually all of the Eden Center tenants have remained in business (Eden currently has only two vacancies) and have continued to provide a solid revenue stream for the City.

 

Many Falls Church residents already know that Eden Center is the cultural hub for generations of Vietnamese immigrants.

 

Eden Center prides itself on being a family destination. Visitors to Eden often see children and teenagers of all ages enjoying a tasty dessert, playing near the recently installed water feature or spending quality time with family members. The Eden Center is also proud to host the Tet Trung Thu (Mid-Autumn Moon Festival) on Saturday, September 17,, 2011. Starting at 3pm there will be free events and activities for the whole family, including children’s games, face painting, entertainers, art contests, Eden Idol (singing contest), giveaways, prizes and much more. This is the fourth year that Eden Center has hosted the event which regularly attracts thousands of children. Come enjoy the famous Eden Center cuisine and the highlight of the event – the family-friendly “Miss Vietnam DC” Pageant.

Eden Center also boasts 41 restaurants serving delicious cuisine from every province of Vietnam (paying 4% meals tax plus 5% sales tax). Whether you are in the mood for a quick lunch or a formal dinner Eden Center has a restaurant to satisfy your palate. The most recent edition of Washingtonian Magazine recognized four Eden Center Restaurants (Viet Taste, Huong Viet, Pho Xe Lua & Phung Hoang) in its 100 favorite spots for great food at $25 or less. Eden Center is also one of the few area locations where you can purchase a Bon Mi (Vietnamese Baguette Sandwich). At around $3.50 a Bon Mi is one of the best values in Falls Church and is something that famous foodie Anthony Bordain noted when he featured Eden Center in a recent edition of his nationally televised “No Reservations” show on the Food Network.

Eden Center also has several restaurants that cater to customers less familiar with Vietnamese food. Rice Paper (Eden’s newest restaurant), Viet Taste, Viet Royale and the Viet Bistro are just a few of Eden’s restaurants that feature bi-lingual menus, friendly bi-lingual wait staff and the option of using cutlery instead of chopsticks. Whatever your food preference or previous experience with Vietnamese cuisine Eden has a restaurant to suit your taste.

Eden Center also has 13 Jewelry stores that are known for having the very best prices on exquisite jewelry. The family owned jewelers offer exceptional customer service, quality and price that larger “cookie cutter” competitors cannot offer.

Whether you are a regular visitor to Eden Center and are already familiar with its outstanding bargains and unique charm or have never been to the Center and want to see for yourself what all the excitement is about there has never been a better time to visit Eden.

 


Alan Frank is senior vice president of Eden Center, Inc.