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This is the Last Week for Il Fornaio at Reston Town Center

by Dave Emke June 26, 2017 at 2:45 pm 49 Comments

(This article was updated at 7:45 p.m. with a statement from an Il Fornaio representative.)

Rumors circulating about the impending closure of Il Fornaio (11990 Market St.) are true, employees say.

The California-based Italian restaurant opened its first East Coast location in 2007 in Reston. Now, as its 10-year lease comes to a close, the business will shutter rather than renew at an increased rate. Its last day of operation will be Friday.

Patrons have been learning the news in recent days.

Melancholy. Our family's favorite restaurant, Il Fornaio, is closing in Reston next Friday. We enjoyed years of date…

Posted by Brenda Zuzolo on Thursday, June 22, 2017

Il Fornaio is located in the Retail at Midtown block of Reston Town Center, which is not owned by Boston Properties. JBG is the block’s landlord, and there is a free parking lot for customers.

Regardless, however, employees on duty Monday reported that business has taken a nose dive since Boston Properties’ paid-parking initiative went into effect in January and led to many customers staying away from Reston Town Center altogether. Lunchtime has been dead and dinner reservations have disappeared by the hundreds, they said.

A “Last Happy Hour” event, scheduled for Friday evening, has been set up by customers on Facebook.

Ted Laymon, vice president of sales and marketing for Il Fornaio, sent the following statement to Reston Now on Monday evening:

Since opening at the Reston Town Center, Il Fornaio has been a proud partner in the community as we strive to provide the most authentic Italian dining experience outside of Italy.

However, after 10 years in the Town Center, we will be closing our doors effective July 1st, 2017, as our lease is not being renewed. Our Senior Leadership at Il Fornaio worked diligently over the past several months to execute a new lease with the current landlord, and unfortunately, we were not able to come to a mutually beneficial agreement.

We have so many wonderful memories at the Town Center, and throughout the years have developed a loyal guest base who we know are going to be as sad to see us leave, as we are at leaving the Town Center. Most of all, we are saddened that we will be saying goodbye to many of our wonderful employees (many of whom have been with us for the entire 10 years!), while some will be moving back to our locations in California.

Il Fornaio takes pride in creating, developing, and strengthening relationships in our neighborhoods, communities, loyal guests, and most of all our employees.  We know this closure is difficult for so many people, but we wish the Town Center, the greater Reston area, and most of all our loyal guests and wonderful employees, a wonderful second half to 2017 and beyond. We also hope that when you are in California, Las Vegas, Denver, or Seattle, you will visit one of our Il Fornaio or Canaletto restaurants to once again experience the most authentic Italian dining experience outside of Italy!

Grazie Mille Reston!

  • Mark

    It’s too bad. Best of luck to those behind Il Fornaio. You will be missed!

  • I think there are a half dozen others coming soon. BP may have triggered a house fire.with that App.

  • Kara Gardner Wills

    I am saddened to hear this.

  • Generic User

    Rumor is that The Apple Store is next. Sad to see Il Fornaio go.

    • JoeInReston

      Apple Store? I would be shocked. There were times in the winter, prior to the paid parking fiasco, where most of the Town Center was a ghost town… except for the Apple Store. There always seems to be a mass of people in there.

      • Tom H

        I have to say.. I am quite dissapointed in Apple that they have been silent on this topic…

  • Ann S

    Sorry to see them go. Thanks BP, for destroying Reston.

  • Ann S

    I just called the CEO of Boston Properties. His name is Owen Thomas, and his number is 212-326-4000. Try it. I got through. He told me “this is the way it is” and that “all the surrounding area charges for parking.” They really know a lot about Reston, and DC suburbs, don’t they?

    He also said the app was the wave of the future, and implied that people are too sensitive about sharing their information, but they will soon get used to it, because again, “that’s the way it is.”

    • Mike M

      Nice catch! I hope he gets lots of calls. Because that’s the way it is.

      • 40yearsinreston

        He only listens to toadies

    • LeftPolitico

      Very nice that you actually spoke with him. Here is a bio of him that I found:

      Senior vice president and New York regional manager
      Boston Properties
      599 Lexington Avenue
      New York, NY 10022

      Owen Thomas is CEO of Boston Properties, one of the nation’s largest landlords and developers. The publicly traded firm controls more than 50 million square feet of commercial space nationally, including such gems such as the General Motors Building and the Times Square Tower in Manhattan. Its holdings in the New York region total more than 11.5 million square feet.

      The selection of the 51-year-old Thomas in early 2013 to lead Boston Properties’ overall operations surprised some—it was long assumed that the firm’s president, Doug Linde, was being groomed for the job. As it was, Thomas succeeded Boston Properties co-founder and chairman Mort Zuckerman, who took over the CEO role, too, in 2010, when co-founder Ed Linde, Doug’s father, died.

      Before moving to Boston Properties, Thomas had extensive executive experience in the banking world. He was CEO of Morgan Stanley Asia, among other top titles at that firm, such as head of Morgan Stanley Real Estate. He also chaired for year the board of directors of the holding company for failed bank Lehman Brothers.

      Thomas earned a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Virginia and an MBA from Harvard.

    • 40yearsinreston

      These fellows live in cocoons and have no concept of the real world
      Offices full of toadies jnflate their egos
      Its called hubris and will eventually destroy their companies

      • Larry

        Maybe Owen will have trouble gaining access to his bank account someday or boarding a plane… Just saying, others work in certain industries that get back at these ego greedy people and make life even more miserable for them.

    • Adrian Havill

      “All the surrounding areas charge for parking.” Fact: RTC is the only shopping center or venue in Fairfax County that charges for parking. The county has well over a million people and RTC is pretty much dead center.

      • Larry

        Yeah, even Tysons Corner doesn’t charge for parking.

    • LeesburgTony

      Thanks I will call too.

  • meh

    Who didn’t see this coming?

  • LakeNewportLady

    Well I learn something new everyday ….I never knew they had their own garage!

  • Josseline Wood

    That is sad.

  • Riding into the sunset

    BXP is 100% institutionally owned. Many of those retired people living in Reston are heavily relying on BXP and others to make their numbers.

    Thats the way it is.

  • Scott

    How does il fornai and/or JBG not put the word out that their businesses have free parking.

    In other news, I visited lake Anne Saturday night. More ppl there than I’ve seen in 15 years. Seems like BP has unintentionlly revitalized old Reston.

  • John Farrell

    Eat there once. A member of our party spent the next 36 hours in terrible pain with food poison, enduring a endoscopy to confirm the diagnosis.

    Management (which also owns Pottery Barn) could not have cared less.

    Never went back. Good Riddance

  • 40yearsinreston

    Keep up the boycott

  • RTC Resident

    Everyone- as much as everyone loves to blame BP and the parking situation for EVERYTHING that is happening in Reston these days, it’s not the case here (nor was it the case for Cosi or the burger place). It’s been known for a YEAR (read: long before paid parking) that Il Fornaio didn’t plan to renew its lease here. The company is focusing on its West Coast locations; this location was its ONLY one on the East Coast. Maybe they hoped to see more expansion on the East Coast that never materialized. But the decision was made long ago to not renew when the lease was up. It’s a corporate chain decision. PLUS – despite what many of you are quick to think, BP doesn’t even OWN this building – JBG does – AND Il Fornaio ALWAYS had free parking (at least during the evening – I will admit I’m at work on weekdays and am not fully versed on the hours the garage opens) for its customers (no app required) in the garage in its building. Sure – it’s convenient for restaurant management to SAY it had to do with the parking, but the decision was made at a real estate and corporate level LONG before this ever happened.

    • Edward Calvert

      Bp shill

      • RTC Resident

        Sorry to disappoint. I’m not a BP shill. I live in RTC and am a realist. I was initially in favor of paid parking (because despite what many believe, as a resident I see firsthand daily that the commuting IS an issue – between people using it as a metro parking garage or using it as a carpool stash location, not to mention many of my own neighbors who were using the garage spaces as their own personal parking spots instead of paying for an additional spot in their own building), but I’ll be the first to say that BP’s rollout of it was a disaster – they couldn’t have rolled it out in a worse way if they were trying to make it the screwup of the century. Nonetheless – it doesn’t change the fact that the parking issue had NOTHING to do with the closure of Il Fornaio – if you read the statement from the restaurant it was all the result of not being worth the increase in the rent.

        • TheKingJAK

          You forget that the entire purpose of RTC was to be a Downtown for all of Reston, not just a place for some insulated non-Restonians to live within Reston. Additionally, the management for RTC apartments and houses should have already considered their own parking situation beforehand.

        • Larry

          Parking on the street is BP in front of Il Fornaio. So, saying paid parking had nothing to do with it. Their revenue took a big hit since Jan 1 when the paid parking started. It was a factor.

    • RTC Denizen

      This is an excellent point. It will not be heard or believed, but this is the truth.

      I am not surprised to see this restaurant go- the food is largely mediocre and as someone who walks by this restaurant on a near daily basis, the tables have been empty long before the parking changes.

      I think the bar is lovely and the happy hour crowd always seemed dense, but a large empty restaurant during lunch and dinner hours will not pay the rent, which is sure to increase after a decade!

    • LakeNewportLady

      I don’t think most people knew they had their own garage. I certainly didn’t and have avoided the town center since paid parking. If I had known I would have gone to Il Fornaio just to reward JBG for recognizing we are a SUBURB and not a urban area.

    • Larry

      But part of re negotiating is making rent cheaper to offset lost revenue due to the RTC being less crowded during the week due to paid parking fiasco. Just ask all other businesses. Happy hour is more like empty hour. Pretty soon the people living at RTC will have to travel to eat and shop since most stores will be closing down when their lease is up. I doubt JBG or BP will lower the rent to offset paid parking for employees and customers.

      • reston resident

        “,,,most store will be closing down when their lease is up.” you live in fantasy land. If a space becomes vacant, another retail use will eventually replace it, or the space will be repurposed and then released. Either way. a new lease gets signed. Amazing how little ppl on this blog know how very little of the dynamics of commercial real estate–these things all work out in the end, dont’cha know?

  • Boston Properties – what a monumental backfire they got due to their greed

  • Nancy Smith

    I’ve stopped going to Reston town center due to the parking situation. It is hard enough to find spots let alone have to pay for them. Reston is nice but it is NOT downtown DC. No one else in the area charges for parking.

    • 40yearsinreston

      Their CEO has different advice

    • PGG

      That’s really not true. Bethesdcharges, DC, every major downtown area of a city charges parking. I’m not a supporter, but at the same time, we are lucky it took this long to get here.

      • JoeInReston

        ” Reston is nice but it is NOT downtown DC. No one else in the area charges for parking.”

        “That’s really not true. Bethesdcharges, DC, every major downtown area of a city charges parking”

        My interpretation is that Nancy is saying that Reston is a suburb and nobody in the nearby suburbs charges for parking. Bethesda is not near Reston. Bethesda and DC are for more urban than Reston is.

        • PGG

          I hear ya. Unfortunately, Reston is going the way of more urban and less suburb. I go to see my sister, in Westchester, and she lives so close to Greenwich, CT. Greenwich is the suburbs, and that whole shopping area is metered. Same with Mamaroneck, Rye, and other towns. All of these are suburbs and they all have meters in their shopping areas. I think it stinks, but it’s a reality and we have been very fortunate and even spoiled here, to have gone this long without meters. I promise I’m not defending it. I’m just seeing it as a reality that we are stuck with. Thank God it stops at 5 now! That was really disgusting of them to go till midnight.

          • Larry

            Loudoun One will be the new RTC. Lots of free parking.

          • PGG

            Yep, but I’m not going over there, unless they have something different to offer me. I’m so sick of all the exact same chain restaurants and chain shops, everywhere one turns.

          • Larry

            Not chain restaurants out at Loudoun One, Top Golf just down the road too which is packed.

  • Tom H

    Did I hear correctly that The Capital Grill signed the lease and will replace Il Fornaio? If so… I will not be a patron at this location or others.

    • JoeInReston

      You won’t be lacking for steak house options at the Town Center.

      I wouldn’t blame ‘The Capital Grill’ for any perceived fairness issues with Il Fornaio.

  • May Fiat

    Boston Properties has ruined Reston. We won’t go back until parking is FREE 24×7.

    Too many other places to go, sorry – not sorry – hope all the businesses pack it in and move to free parking areas that surround Reston. Apple is at Fair Oaks and Brio is a great restaurant. Artiesnis in Fairfax and Uncle Julios, Coastal Flatts and Ozzies in Fair Lakes – Parking is FREE, FREE, and FREE!!!!

    Wish Il Fornaio would consider coming to another location, John Milton drive or North Shore.

    • Larry

      Loudoun One will benefit. I know many of the happy hour bars are struggling because the young crowd is heading to Fairfax, Arlington or Loudoun.

  • Juli Vermillion

    WTF is wrong with the MORONS running RTC? Il Fornaio was the last reason worth the hassle of coming to RTC…and they couldn’t be bothered to negotiate a decent deal to keep them? I guess they all are really out to destroy Reston. Please Il Fornaio, please consider another location in the area!

  • PGG

    The unimaginable greed coming from Boston Properties. Will they be happy when all of their spaces sit empty for longer than they can imagine. I really wish they will pay the price for their ongoing lust for more money.

  • T

    Town Center will be dead soon. Just like it was in 2004. Good Job Boston Properties. Hope the parking was worth the loss in your investment

  • Larry

    Thanks to BP, Reston Town center will only have people living there but they will have to travel to eat and shop as most businesses will be closing down after lease is up, unless changes are made. Blaming the paid parking on a metro that isn’t going to be open for another year….And doubt that many will park at RTC and walk the mile plus…..Just a greedy company Boston Properties….


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