Fogo de Chão (Image via Fogo de Chão)

(Updated at 3:07 pm to clarify opening date) Reston Town Center’s new steak house is gearing il for a launch this year.

Fogo de Chão plans to on open in the spring at 11915 Democracy Drive.

The restaurant, which has locations in Tysons, North Bethesda and Penn Quarter, will feature an open-air churrasco bar where guests can watch chefs prepare multiple cuts. Another bar area includes whiskey and bourbon.

This is the second Fogo location in northern Virginia. It takes space formerly vacated by Big Bowl, which called RTC home for nearly two decades.

“We are proud of our brand’s rapid growth in recent years as we expand in new and existing cities, and credit that to our differentiated, experiential dining and broad guest appeal,” said Barry McGowan, Chief Executive Officer of Fogo de Chão. “We’ve been fortunate to be able to bring our experience to the Metro DC area for nearly 17 years, and we look forward to sharing the culinary art of churrasco with guests at Reston Town Center soon.”

Here’s more from the company on the opening;

The new restaurant will feature unique design aesthetics, including wood-beamed ceilings, modern chandeliers and a towering glass wine case displaying many of South America’s finest varietals. Dry aged meat lockers for in-house aging display indulgent cuts such as a 32 oz. long bone Tomahawk Ribeye, aged for a minimum of 42 days for rich flavor. Fogo’s “next level” design concept includes an elevated bar experience for guests to enjoy all-day happy hour and relax with a craft cocktail, premium South American wine, whiskey, or bourbon. The Reston location will also offer Fogo To-Go and Offsite Catering so guests can enjoy Fogo in any space.

The restaurant was first founded in southern Brazil in 1979 and has since expanded throughout the world.

Image via Fogo de Chão

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A new pizza restaurant is opening in Lake Anne plaza by early December.

And it’s owned by Yasser Baslios, an Egyptian immigrant who first began as a dish washer at the restaurant shortly after he came to the United States with little to nothing in 1998.

Baslios, who comes from a family of businessmen, plans to open Deli Italiano at 1631 Washington Plaza. The restaurant has other locations in Leesburg, Sterling, Great Falls, Arlington and Burke.

He believes that business is about giving back — not just making money. He also benefited from this ethos when he started working as a dishwasher at the Deli Italiano location in Great Falls as a dishwasher.

With no language, savings, or support, Baslios said he was keen to learn everything. Staff would help him learn English by assigning him ten words daily to help learn the language. He says the previous owner, who retired in 2002, offered him leadership opportunities after seeing his desire to learn and grow.

Arriving in hopes of better financial means, Baslios did not immigrate to the United States to become a dishwasher. He left his work as a teacher and businessman in Egypt in search of better opportunities.

The Reston location will be much smaller than other locations, but Baslios hopes that won’t have any bearing on community partnerships and business.

“We’re really excited to be part of the community. We don’t just say that. We mean that,” Baslios said.

The business donates meals on Christmas and Thanksgiving and also organized a pie drive, Baslios said.

He hopes to continue to use his business to touch lives, just as it bolstered his.

The Coptic Christian, who often refers to his faith and ideals, saved up enough to support his family after he moved up the ranks at Deli Italiano. His humble start as a dishwasher in 1999 — one year after he immigrated to the United States — continues to inform his business practices.

“To me, this is not a job. It’s about touching people’s lives. It’s a mission.”

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PassionFish (Photo by PassionFish)

A local employee was selected as employee of the year during this year’s RAMMYS.

The awards, which are organized by Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington. Fully vaccinated guests attended the in-person ceremony over the weekend at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Ruben Avila of PassionFish in Reston Town Center was named employee of the year by a panel of judges. But more than half to the awards were based on public votes.

The awards honor the accomplishments of organizations and individuals integral to the local foodservice and restaurant community.

A complete list of the winner is available online. Silver Diner, which has a location in Reston, was recognized for being a technology trailblazer.

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Red Velvet Bakery and Little Beast Bistro will open at Reston Town Center West on Sept. 15.

First announced in May, the bakery and bistro now have an official opening date for their new location at 12100 Sunset Hills Road after passing a health inspection, getting a liquor license, and obtaining necessary permits, owner Aaron Gordon tells Reston Now.

Gordon previously ran Red Velvet Cupcakery at Reston Town Center, but the venue closed more than three years ago mostly due to Boston Properties instituting paid parking.

He always envisioned returning to Reston, though.

“We’re extremely excited to be back in Reston after three years away!” he wrote in an email to Reston Now. “Red Velvet Bakery is coming back to Reston much stronger.”

He says the menu will include a “full array of favorite cupcakes,” along with new items like croissants, cross-cinnamon rolls, butterkuchen, and other pastries.

The bakery will be carry-out with 10 to 12 seats outdoors and a separate, side entrance.

Alongside Red Velvet will be Little Beast Bistro, a sandwich and pizza concept also from Gordon. They will share kitchens but will have separate storefronts, much like how it is at the Chevy Chase location.

Little Beast, which will have about 100 seats inside and 20 outside, will serve Detroit-style pizza, sandwiches, and pasta. It will also have a full bar and cocktail bar.

These ventures were partially supported by crowdfunding. Gordon raised more than $46,000 with a campaign through MainVest that launched in May, allowing those interested to invest in the restaurants in exchange for perks like owner hats, customized beer stein, and cupcakes for life.

The restaurants are taking the space formerly occupied by Famous Toastery, which closed in March.

Back in May, Gordon said they were seeking a pre-built, second-generation space that could be open on a quicker timeline. He called the location at Reston Town Center West “ideal” because of all the new development and the eventual arrival of a Metro station across the street.

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McCormick & Schmick’s in Reston Town Center closes (staff photo by David Taube)

(Updated at 11:15 a.m.) The seafood and steak chain McCormick & Schmick’s in Reston Town Center has closed.

Notices are posted on locked doors, its logo on the front facade has been removed, and the first floor of the building at 11920 Democracy Drive has been approved for interior demolition, according to a permit issued July 29.

“We are grateful for the support of the community,” signs on the restaurant say.

The news was first reported Thursday (Aug. 5) by The Burn, which noted that the restaurant had occupied that space for over 20 years.

A company phone number on McCormick & Schmick’s Facebook page leads to the chain’s Indianapolis location, and an employee there said the Reston location closed about a week ago. The Reston phone number is no longer working.

A customer who noticed the signs when passing by on Friday (Aug. 6) fondly recalled the restaurant’s deals with happy hours and $1 oyster specials.

The chain has nearby locations in Arlington’s Crystal City neighborhood (2010 Crystal Drive), D.C. (1652 K Street NW), and National Harbor, Maryland (145 National Plaza).

A media line for the Houston-based hospitality and entertainment company Landry’s, which owns McCormick & Schmick’s, didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment.

Landry’s also owns another steakhouse chain — Morton’s — that’s still operating nearby at 11956 Market Street in Reston Town Center.

Media representatives for Reston Town Center did not return messages seeking comment by press time.

This is the latest Reston Town Center restaurant to shutter during the COVID-19 pandemic, following Famous Toastery, Le Pain Quotidien, and Big Bowl, which had been there for nearly two decades when it closed in April 2020.

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Morning Notes

Michael Delaney Found Dead in Sugarland Run — The remains of Reston resident Michael Delaney were found in the Sugarland Run area on Wednesday (July 21), 14 months after he went missing from Reston Hospital in May 2020. His step-daughter says the family is “heartbroken but feel relieved” to have closure on his disappearance. [Courtney Park-Jamborsky/Facebook]

Matchbox Pizza Opens at Reston Station Today — After a few delays, Matchbox will officially open its new restaurant at 1900 Reston Metro Plaza Drive today (Friday), as promised last month. Some opening activities have been planned, and the venue will serve happy hour specials during the work week with bottomless brunch on the weekends. [Matchbox]

Pickleball Tournament Coming to Reston — “We are excited to announce that the first annual Reston Paddle Battle Pickleball Tournament, on September 18 & 19. See the attached flyer for more info. Register today at pickleballtournaments.com, space is limited!” [Reston Association/Twitter]

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A lobster diavolo pizza with spicy lobster cream sauce, seasoned tomatoes, basil and mozzarella at Matchbox (photo via Matchbox/Facebook)

Matchbox at Reston Station is targeting a mid-summer date for opening.

The wood-fired pizza restaurant, now owned by Reston-based Thompson Hospitality, is looking to start serving in mid-July, a restaurant representative confirmed to Reston Now.

Matchbox has delayed the opening of its new venue at 1900 Reston Metro Plaza Drive near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station a number of times.

The lease was signed in June 2019, and the company announced then that it would open its doors in early 2020. But it was postponed as the COVID-19 pandemic hit the restaurant industry hard.

Then, representatives said this past February that it would open sometime in May, but that also didn’t happen.

A Matchbox spokesperson didn’t comment on why the opening was pushed back another two months.

When it does open, it will be located in 5,500-square-foot space within a building designed by famed German architect Helmut Jahn. Once called the “Flash Gordon of American architecture,” Jahn’s work includes the United Terminal at O’Hare Airport and the J. Edgar Hoover building (FBI headquarters) in D.C.

He was killed in a bike accident just last month.

Google will anchor the complex at 1900 Reston Metro Plaza Drive, taking up about five floors of the 16-story building. Matchbox will also be near Big Buns Damn Good Burger Co, which did open this spring.

Matchbox went through a Chapter 11 bankruptcy late last year before reorganizing and being bought by Thompson Hospitality. The Reston-based food service provider, which previously managed a number of Matchboxes, stated that they were planning on opening new locations.

Matchbox is currently hiring for a number of positions at the Reston Station restaurant, including a assistant general manager, servers, bartenders, hosts, bussers, and dishwashers.

via Matchbox/Facebook

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A new restaurant that offers sushi and Thai cuisine has taken up residence at Plaza America in Reston.

SAAO Thai and Sushi will open its doors in late May, according to Naruedon “Don” Senatham, a partner on the restaurant.

It is located in Suite 105 at 11730 Plaza America Drive, taking the place of Nikko Sushi and Hibachi. Other tenants in the building include The Melting Pot and NCI Information Systems Inc.

This will be the fifth restaurant in the D.C. area for the ownership team, which also operates Teak Wood Thai & Sushi, Kruba Thai & Sushi, and The Regent Thai in downtown D.C. as well as Galae Thai in Alexandria.

Senatham told Reston Now that the restaurant team became interested in expanding into Reston after seeing the area grow over the past 10 years. Plaza America’s proximity to key transportation hubs like the Dulles Toll Road, Metro Silver Line, and Dulles International Airport suggested it had “great potential” for doing business.

“Over 15 years, we served millions of dishes of our Thai and Sushi culinary expertise in D.C.,” he said by email. “Now, we are offering Reston residents [the chance] to enjoy the dining experience with 2 cuisines in 1 place.”

The Thai menu features several staple dishes, such as pad thai, tom yum soup, and panang curry. There is also a Japanese menu with sushi, sashimi, and ramen.

According to Senatham, SAAO takes its name from the Northern Thai word for “twenty,” and its logo incorporates the number 20 in Thai numerals, a nod to the fact that it was intended to be established in the year 2020.

Inside, the restaurant has been furnished with woodcarvings and decorations made in Thailand.

“Saao Thai and Sushi offers an authentic Thai dining experience,” Senatham said, noting that the restaurant will use freshly sourced produce. “From smooth, aromatic curries to fresh salads and perfectly balanced pad thai, our menu provide an insight into the best of Thai and sushi cuisine.”

Photo courtesy SAAO Thai and Sushi

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(Updated at 1:30 p.m.) It took about nine months longer than anticipated, but True Food Kitchen is officially in business at Reston Town Center.

As announced in late March, the health food restaurant opened its new Reston franchise on April 28. This is True Food Kitchen’s 37th location nationwide and its fourth in the D.C. area, joining venues in the Mosaic District, Ballston Quarter in Arlington, and Bethesda, Maryland.

“We are thrilled to officially plant our roots in Reston, a buzzing dining scene and community home to a vibrant, active and wellness-driven community,” True Food Kitchen CEO Christine Barone said. “We’re grateful to be welcomed into Reston Town Center and look forward to sharing our mission to bring people together to eat better, feel better and celebrate a passion for better living.”

Founded in 2008 by integrative medicine specialist Dr. Andrew Weil, True Food Kitchen emphasizes anti-inflammatory food and offers a menu that changes depending on what ingredients are in season.

Right now, the restaurant has its spring menu, which features a new vegan double cheeseburger, spicy tuna spring rolls, and avocado key lime pie as a dessert option. Some dishes, such as the ancient grain bowl and spaghetti squash cassarole, are available year-round.

Located in the former M & S venue at 11901 Democracy Drive, True Food Kitchen Reston occupies 9,379 square feet of space with a main indoor dining room, outdoor patio seating, and a private dining room that can seat up to 44 patrons, according to a press release.

The location also boasts a private entrance and room exclusively for people looking to get takeout or pick up online orders, a feature that seems especially useful while the COVID-19 pandemic persists.

Other accommodations for pandemic-related public health guidelines include mobile ordering, a seating arrangement set up for social distancing, and modified service intended to minimize contact between customers and workers.

True Food Kitchen is still hiring for several open positions, including servers, cooks, hosts, dishwashers, and bartenders.

Like other chain restaurants, True Food Kitchen maintains a standard aesthetic design and atmosphere across its different franchises, but the Reston Town Center location has one local touch in the form of wall murals with plates hand-painted by four different artists based in the D.C. area.

Sabrina Cabada, who lives in Arlington, says she appreciates hearing from brands who are interested in working with local artists.

“I am a figurative artist and liked the idea of incorporating food and emotion into my signature style,” Cabada said.

The other participating artists are Martina Sestakova, Emon Sura, and Natasha Platt. They each painted a row of plates based on how they interpreted the moods of happiness, calm, energy, and focus.

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Morning Notes

True Food Kitchen Opens at Reston Town Center — True Food Kitchen officially opened its doors at Reston Town Center yesterday (Wednesday) after a more than two-year wait. Located in a 7,798-square-foot space at 11901 Democracy Drive that was previously M&S Grill, the restaurant was previously expected to open in August 2020 before getting delayed and announcing an April 28 opening in March. [The Burn]

Key Reston Planner Dies at 93 — Glenn William Saunders Jr. died on April 1 at his home on Singer Island, Florida. The civil engineer served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War before working as an engineer for the cities of Alexandria and Fairfax. He was hired by Reston founder Robert E. Simon in 1961 to help plan, design, and build the planned community. [Patch]

Fairfax County Could Expand Outdoor Classrooms — Fairfax County Public Schools has been running outdoor learning pilots at five schools since the start of the 2020-2021 academic year with the goal of expanding classroom capacity and reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Using federal relief funds, FCPS has purchased a total of 215 tents, each costing around $4,300, as of late April and anticipates expanding the program in the fall. [The Washington Post]

Fatal Drug Overdoses Up During Pandemic — “Last year was Virginia’s worst on record for fatal drug overdoses. In 2020, nearly 2,300 people died from drugs in the state, according to a new report from the Virginia Department of Health. That’s a 41% increase from the year before, which was already record-breaking.” [The Virginian-Pilot]

Reston Breweries to Celebrate American Craft Beer Week — “With three breweries in or near Reston, the Brewers Association is urging craft beer drinkers to support local breweries as American Craft Beer Week approaches. The 15th annual weeklong observance will run from May 10-16 this year.” [Patch]

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Updated at 9:45 a.m. on 4/6/2021 — True Food Kitchen has extended the job fair for its new Reston Town Center site into late April, a spokesperson says.

Earlier: After months of delays, True Food Kitchen is opening in Reston Town Center on April 28.

The 7,798-square-foot restaurant is also kicking off a three-week job fair to hire 100 staff members ahead of its opening at 1901 Democracy Drive.

The schedule for job fairs is below. Applicants can also apply online.

  • Now – Saturday, March 27; 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Monday, March 29 – Saturday, April 3; 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Monday, April 5 – Saturday, April 10; 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. 

The restaurant includes a dining room, outdoor patio, and bar. Its dining chairs are made of recycled soda bottles and the space is designed around an open kitchen concept.

True Food Kitchen’s menu adheres to a diet developed by Dr. Andrew Weil, who specializes in integrative medicine. The menu focuses primarily on anti-inflammatory foods.

Open jobs include chefs, cooks, servers, hosts, dishwashers, and managers.

Photo via True Food Kitchen

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When Gary and Diane Reedy opened Famous Toastery in Reston two years ago, the couple looked forward to running a brunch and breakfast spot near Reston Town Center’s future Metro station.

Nearly two years after operating Famous Toastery, the couple decided to close the Reston location at 12100 Sunset Hills Road. The business, which offers a combination of breakfast, brunch, and lunch options, is one of several ground-floor retailers at RTC West, a mixed-use development owned by JBG Smith.

It is the last business venture for the couple, which built several businesses — including some of the first laser tag facilities in the area — in previous years.

Gary Reedy says the landlord of the property was difficult to deal with during the pandemic.

He says that although a discount on the rent was offered for six months, payments had to be paid back over two years.

‘We tried working with the landlord over the spring and summer with no progress,’ Reedy said.

The couple is now retired after 25 years of building businesses in Fairfax and Loudoun counties.

Famous Toastery has locations throughout the country, including a location in Ashburn and Roanoke.

Photo via Carlos Banos

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Reston Station is officially welcoming the opening of a new business today.

Big Buns Damn Good Burgers, a fast-casual restaurant that sells burgers, burger bowls, shakes, craft beer and booze, is located at 1908 Reston Metro Plaza in Suite C.

In order to celebrate the restaurant’s soft opening, Big Buns is offering a ‘buy a bag, give a bag’ promotion. When customers purchase a bag for 25.99, Big Buns will donate one bag to local hospital or front-line workers.

Only 250 bags are available for purchase online

The company has other locations in Ballston and Shirlington.

Photo via Big Buns

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The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the restaurant industry hard, including many establishments in Reston and Herndon.

Two restaurants — which have delayed their openings by more than a year — are now firming up plans to open at Reston Station near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station by May.

Big Buns Damn Good Burger Co.,  a DC-based burger and craft beer restaurant, is expected to open sometime in March, according to a company spokesperson for Comstock, the developer of Reston Station.

The business will take up roughly 3,000-square-feet at the BLVD, Reston Station’s first apartment tower. It was originally expected to open in late 2019 or early 2020.

Matchbox, DC-based wood fire pizza restaurant, plans to open sometime in May, but so far, there’s no set date, according to company spokeswoman Victoria Thornton. The 5,500-square-foot space was originally set to open in early 2020 at 1900 Reston Metro Plaza Drive, the building designed by Helmut Jahn that Google currently anchors.

‘Our Reston location is having some minor delays,’ she tells Reston Now.

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Monday Morning Notes

Local Podcast Explores ‘Gray Love’ — Reston resident Laura stasis is returning with the second season her podcast for people over the age of 50. The podcast is called Dating While Gray. [Reston Patch]

True Food Kitchen On Track for April Opening — The business is still on track for an April opening in Reston Town Center. It will be located at 11901 Democracy Drive. [The Burn]

Delayed Opening for Inova Vaccine Clinic — Because of yesterday’s wintry mix, Inova’s vaccination center is planning for a delayed opening today. All canceled appointments will be honored. [Inova]

School Board Approves Capital Improvement Program — The Fairfax County School Board approved the capital improvement program for FY2022-2026. The program includes partial funding for the Silver Line Elementary School. [FCPS]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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