Closed: El Manantial at Tall Oaks

by Karen Goff September 29, 2014 at 12:00 pm 1,030 17 Comments

Former El Manantial Restaurant

A longtime tenant of Tall Oaks Village Center has departed the mostly empty shopping center.

El Manantial Restaurant has cleared out its space and moved to 790 Station St. in Herndon, where it will reopen as “Europa.”

El Manantial owner Humberto Fuentes told Reston Now last spring that he would be closing in the next few months. The high-end Mediterranean restaurant, a 2003 Washingtonian Top 100 restaurant pick, had been a mainstay at Tall Oaks for 11 years.

Fuentes said he signed a five-year lease, rather than a 10-year lease, in 2009, knowing that Tall Oaks had lost much of its vibrancy.

“I realized this center is not going to get any better,” he said last March. “I want to operate in a better location.”

Fuentes will also rename the restaurant Europa, which better describes the menu, he said.

The departure of the popular restaurant is one of many businesses to recently close at Tall Oaks.

The stand-alone Burger King and the 25,000-square-foot anchor space have been empty for years. Curves gym, Total Care Chiropractic and Dominos Pizza have also closed in the last 18 months and no new tenants have taken their place.

Tall Oaks is just up Wiehle Avenue from the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station, but there are no current plans to rezone or redevelop the site.

  • animallover

    It’s just sad over there, they need to fill the grocery space to draw more traffic. We still get Mama Woks occasionally but only delivery..

  • Rob

    They should bulldoze the entire place and build a Bocce court.

    • animallover

      & there’s plenty of parking already 😉

  • joelandsonia

    Multiple grocery stores have come and gone without success. I’ve heard the owners want to get it rezoned residential so they can tear it down and build high-end apartments/condos.

  • Mike M

    Opened: Ghost Town Reston!

    Maybe some day they’ll clear the tumbleweeds out of the parking lot and it could become a giant launch pad for drones that would deliver for the takeout places that cling on.

  • Terry Maynard

    Looking at the future of the Tall Oaks Village Center, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE THIS AREA TO BECOME? Should it be a revived village center, a new mid-density residential area, a park, the site for the Reston recreation center, what do you think?

    Speaking for RCA’s Reston 2020 Committee, we could use your help in recommending what happens at this location. Just put your ideas here. If you want to endorse someone’s idea, just give it a “thumbs up.” Thanks!

    • Buzz

      Until the center’s visibility is increased, it will never thrive. How many thousands of drivers go past daily never knowing a commercial plaza exists?

      • Scott H

        That’s most plazas in Reston. Tall Oaks at least has a sign on Wiehle. Places like Fox Mill literally have no visibility from Reston Pkwy.

        • cosmo

          Fox Mill seems to have no problem thriving.

    • Scott H

      There probably needs to be a diagnosis of why the plaza has failed before a recommendation can be made.
      Also, with the planned redevelopment of Lake Anne just up the road, it should be considered if a revived village center is warranted or viable.

      Reston seems to be doing just fine without this retail space so perhaps this would be a great site for the Reston Recreation Center instead of taking from Baron Cameron park which is used heavily for outdoor recreation already.

      • Rob

        It’s not a big enough tract of land for a rec center, unless you drop all the fields (which are sorely needed). Some business persist there but just barely. When you have commercial properties that are vacant for extended periods of time, either the demand is too low or the cost is too high. I suspect the owners are content to write off the lost rent and vacant space for the tax savings, which means that it could be vacant for a very long time.

      • Robert Mowbray

        Use it for the indoor tennis courts and pool being discussed for Baron Cameron Park. This would ber more environmentally sound than clearing trees at Baron Cameron Park.

    • long time Reston resident

      Why not work out a deal with the owner of the center, Fairfax County and RA and build the much contested swimming/recreation center that was being proposed to be built at Baron Cameron Park since it is only a couple miles to Tall Oaks from Baron Cameron. The Reston Community center has been the “anchor tenant” at Hunters Woods since the original shopping center was demolished and rebuilt. While Hunters Woods Center may not be the most successful shopping center in Reston it is at least surviving.

  • We wish the best of luck to the Chef-owners of Europa in their new Herndon location….see you soon!

    • Robert Mowbray

      Sorry, we’ll have to go to Herndon to find a good restaurant, but we’ll see you there for our special occasions.

  • east297

    Build another hi-rise… More tax loot for the county andfees for RA!

  • alicem76

    we loved El Manantiel, and have tried 3 times to go to Europa, but there is just no parking. the food and service were excellent, but there are other excellent places that I can get to without driving around and around 3 blocks looking for a place to park. Sorry to the Fuentes, but you’re off our list!


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