(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.
— Patricia B. Vives (@angelwings0122) June 20, 2017
Melancholy. Our family's favorite restaurant, Il Fornaio, is closing in Reston next Friday. We enjoyed years of date…
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!
To celebrate, you may want to go to the “School’s Out for Summer Party” at the Hunter Woods Recreation Area this evening. The event will take place from 4-7 p.m. and there will be a pool party and cookout.
Tomorrow, continue your celebrations by heading to Family Fun Day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Dulles 28 Centre (22000 Dulles Retail Plaza, Sterling). There will be music, amusement rides, balloons, inflatables and much more.
Finally, top off a wonderful weekend by going to Scrawl Books on Sunday. The shop is having a special event from noon-6 p.m. There will be storytelling, games and a distribution of summer reading challenge cards for the kids.
There are plenty more events for the Reston area this weekend. Here is just a sampling of the events you can enjoy:
- Reston Station’s “Summerbration” series continues tonight at 7 p.m. with a free concert by King Teddy. Tomorrow night at 8:30 p.m., head to a free outdoor showing of “Sully” on the plaza. The Summerbration events outside the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station will continue through the end of August. (Note: To receive free parking for these events, parking tickets need to be validated by personnel on the plaza. Find the sign that reads “Parking Validation Here.”)
- Reston Town Center’s summer concert series continues Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. with a performance by Matuto, a Brazilian roots, rock, funk band. The show will take place at the Town Center’s pavilion.
- Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., visit Reston Station’s BLVD for an open house (with free mimosas!).
- The Reston Farmers Market will take place from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at Lake Anne Village Center.
- Reston Town Square Park will be hosting The Uncle Devin Show as a part of their Family Fun Entertainment Series Saturday morning at 10 a.m., for a free show. It’ll be fun for all ages as Uncle Devin takes children on an interactive musical adventure.
- Reston Museum (1639 Washington Plaza N.) is hosting is “Reston Stories” exhibit through July. The Reston Historic Trust and Museum has been collecting residents’ stories and preserving them for future generations. The collection includes stories about volunteering in Reston, the Fountain at Lake Anne Plaza, the early history of Reston and the amazing connections we make in our community.
- Lake Anne is hosting Sunday Yoga on the Plaza each week, at 9:30 a.m.
- This is the last weekend for “Urinetown: The Musical” at NextStop Theatre Company (269 Sunset Park Drive, Herndon). Performances this weekend are tonight at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2.p.m. General admission tickets start at $40.
- “Radcliffe Bailey: The Great Dismal Swamp” remains on display at Greater Reston Arts Center (12001 Market St.) through August.
- Many restaurants and bars in Reston will have live music this weekend. These include: Vinifera Wine Bar and Bistro (11750 Sunrise Valley Drive) from 7-10 p.m every Friday and Saturday night, CraftHouse (1888 Explorer St.) every Friday and Saturday night from 10 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. and Tavern64 (1800 Presidents St.) every Friday form 6-10 p.m.
- Reston Town Square Park (corner of Market and Explorer streets) is hosting an “I Hear America Singing” event, with selections of music from the American Songbook, from 7-8 p.m. Sunday.
- Scout and Molly’s Fashion Boutique (11944 Market St.) is having its grand opening Saturday and Sunday. There will be refreshments, snacks and raffle prizes at the event.
- Habitat Heroes’ Slow Mile-A-Minute Weed event will take place Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon. This is a volunteer project to pull invasive species out of Reston’s parklands.
- Reston Association will host an open house for the Lake House (11450 Baron Cameron Ave.) Sunday from 10 a.m. to noon.
That big new building at 12130 Sunset Hills Road? It’s Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant, and it has announced an Aug. 28 opening date.
Before that date, though, the restaurant is looking to hire more than 200 people. Its first hiring fair is set for Wednesday, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at its temporary hiring office, 12100 Sunset Hills Road Suite 130.
“Positions range from servers to line cooks, bartenders to wine tasting room attendants,” according to a press release. “Just about every job needed to run an upscale winery and restaurant needs to be filled.”
Additional hiring events are scheduled for July 11-12 and July 25-26, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. Cooper’s Hawk will be conducting open interviews with applicants on the spot, according to the release, as it aims to fill 202 positions.
According to founder and CEO Tim McEnery in the press release:
“We are currently looking to staff team members who have a passion for wine, food and first-class hospitality and look forward to meeting and working with many great members of the community. We are offering our staff a highly competitive pay rate, for example line cooks will be paid at $15 per hour and hosts at $12 per hour.”
This will be the 30th Cooper’s Hawk location nationwide. There are two others in Virginia, in Ashburn and Richmond.
Mama Wok (12022 North Shore Drive) at Tall Oaks Village Center has officially closed its doors.
A sign on the restaurant’s front door says Thursday was its last day of operation, and the owners “thank you for all your support since 2005.” A second sign says the restaurant’s equipment, furniture and decor are up for sale.
Speaking with Reston Now earlier this month, owners Cheah and Lisa Lee said their lease was about to expire and they decided to retire. Commenters on that article said the restaurant had “the best Chinese food in the area” and that it would be “dearly missed.”
Just three restaurants now remain at Tall Oaks: Paisano’s Pizza, Vocelli Pizza and Phở Reston 75. All are in the process of planning for the future, as the redevelopment of the village center into a mostly residential area is expected to begin soon. (Paisano’s will stay at Tall Oaks, moving to the former 7-Eleven/Curves building.)
About 30 restaurants are signed up to participate in this weekend’s Taste of Reston, scheduled for Friday and Saturday at Reston Town Center.
The 27th annual event is “expected to draw record crowds,” organizers say. It is put on by the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce and features fine cuisine, family activities, live entertainment, beer and wine, cooking demonstrations from local chefs, and much more. Parking at Reston Town Center will be free throughout the event.
Mark Ingrao, president and CEO of the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, says this event is different because of its four themed stages and its live music. A portion of the proceeds from the event will go to the INCspire Education Foundation.
“It’s a way for business to really highlight themselves,” Ingrao said. “We do this as a community give-back.”
Restaurants and vendors who will be lining the streets of Reston Town Center during the festival include American Tap Room, Arlington Donut Holes, Agora Restaurant, Barcelona Wine Bar, Buffalo Wing Factory, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Choolah Indian BBQ, Greenfare Organic Café, Gregorio’s Trattoria, Guapo’s Rotisserie Chicken, Hen Penny, King Street Oyster Bar, Lisa’s Lemonade & More, M&S Grill, McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurant, The Melting Pot, Mom’s Momo, Mon Ami Gabi, Not Your Average Joe’s, Paradise Ice Cream, Pitango Gelato, Punjabi Junction, Robeks Fruit Smoothies, Rocoto Gourmet, Tavern64 Regional Kitchen, Udon Food & Drinks, Vinifera Wine Bar & Bistro, and The Zone.
Entertainment is to be provided by Bach to Rock, Billy “T” Wilde, DJ Edward Daniels, Gary Smallwood, Hilary Veltri, Jason Masi, Jeff From Accounting, DJ Jon Paul, keeton, Ken Wenzel, DJ Moon Man, Sam Gunderson, and The Reflex.
The event is scheduled for 3-11 p.m. Friday and noon to 11 p.m. Saturday. For the full schedule of entertainment, demonstrations and more, check out the Taste of Reston website.
Starting today, parking in Reston Town Center is free for an hour before 5 p.m. and completely free all evening after 5 p.m. Patrons still have to pay a minimum of $2 for any time spent over an hour in the garages before 5 p.m.
In celebration of the new parking deal, at least two Reston Town Center restaurants are offering specials tonight.
Seafood restaurant PassionFish (11960 Democracy Drive) is hosting a “Parking Repeal Party” tonight in their bar/lounge, according to post on their Twitter account.
— PassionFish Reston (@PassionFishRest) June 5, 2017
“PassionFish has always offered parking validation, but is pleased that its fellow businesses will have the same advantages and that guests can visit more easily,” said Simoneink senior accounting director Meg Malloy, who works with PassionFish.
In addition, according to a Facebook post by French bistro Mon Ami Gabi (11950 Democracy Drive), the restaurant will have a special dinner menu item this week “to celebrate the return of free parking.”
New Schools Superintendent Tabbed — Dr. Scott Brabrand, the superintendent of Lynchburg City Schools, has been chosen as the finalist to become the new superintendent of Fairfax County Public Schools. Brabrand previously worked at FCPS in numerous positions, including assistant superintendent. The school board will give its final decision on the hiring June 8. [Fairfax County Public Schools]
Neurologist Charged with Distributing Pills — Ishtiaq Ahmad was arrested in Manassas earlier this week following a six-month investigation by the Prince William-Manassas-Manassas Park Narcotics Task Force. Ahmad, who also practices in Reston, is charged with distributing pain pills without performing medical exams. [Inside NoVa]
Details on Pedestrian Lighting Group Plan — In its most recent “Reston Today” video dispatch, Reston Association spotlights the work being done by the volunteer group to develop a plan to increase safety for walkers and bikers. [Reston Association/YouTube]
Restaurant Thanked by Fire Company — Vapiano (1875 Explorer St.) provided food for firefighters battling a blaze last summer. A-Shift from Station 25 recently presented the restaurant with a token of its appreciation. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue/Instagram]
Police Department Adds Another Former Journalist — Emilie Voss, a former television news anchor in Ohio, has joined the Fairfax County Police Department as the deputy director of the media bureau. Voss joins former WJLA reporter Julie Parker, who is the bureau’s director. [Fairfax County Police Department]
As redevelopment of Tall Oaks Village Center looms in the coming months, the few remaining restaurants in the plaza are looking forward to the future.
The first big change will come June 15 when Mama Wok closes its doors. According to owners Cheah and Lisa Lee, their lease is expiring and they will be retiring.
Meanwhile, on the other end of the plaza, Paisano’s Pizza plans to stay. Matthew Miller, area manager for the chain, said it has signed on to be one of the retail shops in the new development. The restaurant will move across from its current location to the building at 12056 North Shore Drive that most recently housed Curves Fitness and, before that, 7-Eleven.
“We’ll start construction on that space in about three weeks,” Miller said. “It’s going to have a bigger dining room, much better outdoor space with some seating that will be a little shaded. The building is going to look great.”
Miller said Paisano’s hopes to move into the new location in the fall of this year, closing up shop at its current location one night and opening in the new space the next day.
“We’re looking forward to the changes here,” Miller said. “I wish some of our neighbors were able to stay.”
Among the neighbors who will be leaving is the other pizza shop in the plaza, Vocelli Pizza. Sam Ostovari, part-owner and manager, said the business will stay open through at least October or possibly December. After that, though, he’s not sure where it will be.
“We have good business in Reston, so we’ll stay in Reston but [move to a] different plaza,” he said. “We’re working on it.”
Phở Reston 75 will be leaving Reston when Tall Oaks redevelopment gets underway. Manager Linh Dang said she will close up shop in December. A new location of the business, Phở Dulles 75 on Elden Street in Herndon, has already been opened.
The village center was bought in December 2014 by McLean-based developer Jefferson Apartment Group. Plans to redevelop the property into a mixed-use community were approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in July 2016.
Located on a dead-end of North Shore Drive off Wiehle Avenue, Tall Oaks Village Center struggled for many years before the redevelopment proposal arose. Its longtime anchor tenant, Giant Foods, closed in 2007 and further vacancies followed quickly afterward. The 70,000-square foot center was 86 percent empty by the time the redevelopment was approved.
The redevelopment will include approximately 5,800 square feet of office, 8,500 square feet of retail and 156 residential units.
Independent retailers at Reston Town Center are joining forces in the effort to entice patrons to shop local and support small businesses.
Fourteen businesses are participating in the “Small Business Support Sundays” promotion, which will begin this Sunday at the Town Center. Each will be offering specials, freebies and other treats between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. through Aug. 27.
Leslie Combemale, co-owner of ArtInsights Gallery of Film and Contemporary Art (11921 Freedom Drive) is leading the effort.
“Some would be surprised at the number of independent, small businesses that make their living at Reston Town Center,” she said. “We hope the public will make the effort to visit us, at least every Sunday, to enjoy the specials and free offerings.”
The initiative’s goals, she said, are for recognition of the quantity and quality of small businesses operating at Reston Town Center. She also said some larger chain shops are throwing their support behind the initiative, as many of the managers are local residents.
Family-owned business Pitango Gelato (11942 Democracy Drive) is also participating. Its manager, Alisa Dan, said the initiative is “an opportunity for Pitango to give back and support our awesome neighbors.”
“We are lucky to be rooted in communities that stand by our delicious offerings,” Dan said.
Other businesses participating in the initiative include:
- American Tap Room (1811 Library St.)
- Athleta (11923 Market St.)
- Davelle Clothiers (11921 Freedom Drive)
- Edibles Incredible (11917 Freedom Drive)
- Eyewear Gallery (11900 Market St.)
- Mon Ami Gabi (11950 Democracy Drive)
- Il Fornaio (11990 Market St.)
- PassionFish (11960 Democracy Drive)
- Scrawl Books (11862 Market St.)
- The Tasting Room (1816 Library St.)
In addition, Pottery Barn (11937 Market St.) will host local and national pop-up shops each Sunday. There will also be Art in the Park each Sunday evening through Aug. 13, from 7-8 p.m., with a variety of free performances by the Shenandoah Conservancy.
A Market Street storefront that until recently housed a frozen yogurt shop is being advertised as the future home of a raw-fish eatery.
Signage at 11990-C Market St. promotes a restaurant called PokeHub as coming soon to the space. That was the home of Iceberry, which closed April 30 after 10 years in business.
Very little information is available about PokeHub. A website listed for the restaurant provides no further details as of yet.
Poke (pronounced “po-kay”) is a traditional Hawaiian salad made with raw fish, often yellowfin or bigeye tuna. It has become very popular nationally in recent years, and it is on the menu of several restaurants in the area.
The 1,152-square foot location is within the Retail at Midtown property, which is owned by the JBG Companies. Other retail establishments on the property include Il Fornaio, Roosters, Subway, Midtown Jewelers, BB&T and Midtown Kabob. The address is also home to the Midtown Condominiums.
We have left a message with JBG and this article will be updated if more information about the new tenant is provided.
Florida-based World of Beer is suing Evan Matz, the former local franchisee who rebranded his restaurants earlier this month, saying he violated terms of the franchise agreement.
The Tampa Bay Business Journal reports that World of Beer alleges Matz in 2016 “refused to use the services, supplies, ingredients, food and beverage products required by WOBF under the franchise agreements” for his three locations, including at 1888 Explorer St. in Reston Town Center. Matz is now operating his three restaurants — the others are in Fairfax and Ballston — under the name Crafthouse.
In the suit, World of Beer says it sent Matz a formal notice in January telling him he was in default of the franchise agreement. At that time, records show, Matz brought up the fact that World of Beer had opened a restaurant at One Loudoun in March 2016 that was hurting his business in Reston.
“World of Beer Franchise gave permission for the WOB Ashburn to open just eight miles from WOB Reston which WOBF knew that this would cause harm/cannibalization to WOB Reston,” Matz’s told the company in a letter, the TBBJ reports. “This is still an ongoing issue and our number dropped 15 percent to 20 percent because of WOB Ashburn opening.”
The franchise agreement was terminated in February.
According to the suit, World of Beer says it “never consented to Matz’s proposal to rebrand and that it never reached an agreement to amend his post-termination obligations under the franchise agreement.” It is seeking, the TBBJ reports, “an order blocking Matz and Crafthouse from using WOBF marks and logos, using its confidential information, recruiting WOBF employee[s], diverting WOBF customers or engaging in any competitive business from operating in non-compete areas.”
The suit was filed last week in the U.S. District Court’s Middle District of Florida.
The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports World of Beer filed a similar suit earlier this year against a restaurant there that recently left the franchise and rebranded.
Matz told the Washington Business Journal last week that his decision to leave the W0B franchise was due to the fact that he had been “‘butting heads’ with the company’s corporate office over ‘operational differences.'”
Board President Addresses Pool Schedule — Sherri Hebert, president of the Reston Association Board of Directors, says RA’s pool schedule is broken into six sessions this year in the effort to maximize association resources. She says the board will be looking at each line item in the 2017-18 budget “to identify ways to shift funds to meet the community’s requests as they apply to pools and other matters.” [Reston Association]
Television Interview at RTC Cut Short — When a local television crew came to Reston Town Center to do a story on the effects of paid parking, they had to move across the street after security told them “photography is no longer allowed on the Town Center’s site.” [WHAG]
Bojangles’ Coming to Northern Virginia — The restaurant chain has a multiunit development agreement with a new franchisee that will bring its Southern-style chicken joints to the area. No news yet on how many are coming or where they will be. [Washington Business Journal]
Registration Open for Women’s 5K — Reston Runners will put on the “Seize the Day” women’s 5K on Saturday, June 17. The course is on Reston Association pathways. [Reston Runners]
The large “World of Beer” signage has been removed from the Reston Town Center restaurant (1888 Explorer St.) as Matz has left the chain and rebranded the location, as well as his former WoB franchises in Arlington and Fairfax, into a new concept he says is designed to bring the community together.
Now known as Crafthouse, the restaurants are offering a full menu of American craft fare and a drink menu that Matz says supports local breweries, bourbons, whiskey, wine and spirits. According to a press release announcing the rebranding, the mission of the new restaurant is “Drink Local, Eat Local, Support Local.”
“After collecting feedback from our customers about their ideal restaurant experience, I’m confident that the local Arlington, Reston and Fairfax communities will embrace Crafthouse and will appreciate the changes we’re making,” Matz said in the release. “After more than five years, we have learned a lot from our loyal customers who want more than a pretzel and beer.”
Matz opened his World of Beer restaurant in Reston Town Center in June 2014.
The new menu at Crafthouse includes build-your-own burgers, tacos and flatbread pizza, along with a selection of appetizers, sandwiches, entrees and more. For more information about Crafthouse, visit its website or follow it on Facebook.
Locally owned café chain Sweet Leaf is looking to open its seventh Northern Virginia location later this year at Reston Station.
According to a permit filed with Fairfax County, the restaurant will open at 1908 Reston Metro Plaza as part of Comstock’s BLVD development. Maggie Parker, Comstock’s vice president of communications, says the restaurant should be open in the fall.
“We’re very excited,” she said. “It’s a great restaurant — small, family-owned.”
Sweet Leaf was founded in McLean in 1991. It currently has locations in McLean, Tysons and Vienna, as well as three in Arlington.
The menu features healthful sandwiches, salads and grain bowls, and it also has breakfast options. The restaurant offers a “wide variety” of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options, according to its website.
Parker also said Salon Nordine, which closed its Reston Town Center location in September, will open at Reston Station later this year. She said the full-service salon and spa will be the first street-front tenant on Reston Station Boulevard.
Salon Nordine currently has two locations, in Merrifield’s Mosaic District and in Gainesville.
Top Reston Volunteers to Be Honored — An awards ceremony to recognize individuals, families, groups and businesses who make a significant contribution to the Reston community through volunteer service will be held tonight from 6:30-9 p.m. at The Lake House (11450 Baron Cameron Ave.). [Reston Association]
Meeting on Glade Drive Bike Lanes Tonight — The Fairfax County Department of Transportation will host a community meeting tonight from 6:30-8 p.m. at Hunters Woods Elementary School (2401 Colts Neck Road) to discuss potential changes to Glade Drive, including the addition of bike lanes and sharrows. [Reston Now]
Fairfax Corner Art Festival (Sponsored) — Fairfax Corner will transform into an outdoor art showcase during the 2nd Annual Fairfax Corner Art Festival this weekend. Monument Corner Drive will feature more than 100 national and international artists, arranged in pop-up gallery style and filled with all mediums of fine art. Admission is free and it’s taking place this Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 4100 Monument Corner Drive, Fairfax. [Howard Alan Events]
Reston Couples Find Business Success with Mat — Gerald and Michelle Zingraf, along with Ben and Camille Arneberg, have made about 6,000 sales of their new product, TerraMat, since February. The ergonomic anti-fatigue desk mat is designed to provide exercise, stretching and therapeutic massage for the feet of those who spend hours at a time standing at a desk. [Fairfax County EDA]
Red’s Table Has New Top Chef — Adam Stein has left Red’s Table to open his own D.C. restaurant, The Eleanor. Kevin Ettenson, 28, is the new executive chef at Red’s Table (11150 South Lakes Drive). Among his plans are an emphasis on housemade pastas and an expanded late-night menu. [Northern Virginia Magazine]