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True Food Kitchen Plans to Fill Former M & S Grill Spot in RTC

Restaurant chain True Food Kitchen plans to open its Reston location at M & S Grill’s former spot in Reston Town Center.

The restaurant will fill the vacant spot at 11901 Democracy Drive, which has been empty since M & S Grill closed last year on New Year’s Day.

When True Food Kitchen will open, though, remains unclear.

While Reston Town Center said a press release last month that the chain will be one of six newcomers slated to open this year.

The next day, a post on Reston Town Center’s Facebook page said: “True Food Kitchen, the award-winning restaurant that has pioneered health-conscious dining, will bring its seasonal menu offering brunch, lunch, dinner and cocktails to Reston Town Center starting Spring 2020!”

A spokeswoman for True Food Kitchen told Reston Now she was not aware of an exact opening date and that the chain will announce its job fair as it gets closer to opening in Reston Town Center. The Reston address is not listed with the locations “coming soon” on the website, which includes spots opening in the spring, summer and fall this year.

Located across the country, True Food Kitchen focuses on offering food based Dr. Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet. The chain currently has a location in Fairfax and plans to open in Arlington.

Image via Google Maps

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Finn Thai Restaurant Opening Soon in North Point Village Center

Finn Thai Restaurant and Bar is planning to open soon in the North Point Village Center.

An employee told Reston Now that the restaurant is almost finished with the inspections process. If everything goes as planned, the restaurant could open as soon as the middle of next week — right around Valentine’s Day.

An exact date, though, has not been set yet.

The Reston opening will mark the third Finn Thai restaurant. Currently, one location is in Purcellville and a second one is in Martinsburg, West Virginia.

Finn Thai will fill the vacant spot at 1466 North Point Village Center, which has been empty since Payless left in 2017.

Photos via Finn Thai website and 

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Reston Restaurant Feeds 100 Dulles TSA Workers, Offers Discounts to Furloughed Employees

Updated at 10:45 a.m. — Includes information about feeding the TSA workers from Gaurang Shah.

Vapiano in Reston Town Center has been pitching in to help government workers as the partial federal government shutdown looms on without an end in sight.

The recent efforts stemmed from a desire to “take care of those who take care of us during this political standoff,” according to a press release.

Earlier this week, the Italian restaurant at 1875 Explorer Street offered 50 percent off for furloughed federal workers on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Gaurang Shah, the local behind the Reston Going Out Group on Meetup.com and a Vapiano regular, approached the restaurant with an idea: ask for food donations to serve to TSA workers.

Vapiano then created a menu of homestyle Italian meals. Shah told Reston Now that he pitched in supplies and other food, along with reaching out to a TSA Supervisor at Dulles International Airport who agreed with the proposal.

Shah said that hundreds of TSA workers came to the restaurant for the food.

Image via Vapiano/Twitter

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Plans for Jinya Looking More Uncertain for Reston Town Center

Plans for Jinya Ramen Bar to open at a vacant spot in Reston Town Center are still undetermined.

Reston Now previously reported in December that the Japanese ramen restaurant chain said on its website that it was “coming soon” to 11964 Market Street, the former spot of a Thai restaurant. 

A reader pointed out yesterday (Jan. 17) that the Reston location is no longer listed.

An employee for La Brea Dining Group, the parent company of the Jinya brand, told Reston Now that nothing has been finalized yet on the Reston Town Center location. The employee said she wasn’t sure why the Reston address was posted on the website, since the plans are still in the process.

When contacted by Reston Now, Jinya Ramen Bar said, “We are looking for better opportunities in that area!”

The chain has nearby locations in D.C. and Fairfax, Va.

Photo via Google Maps

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Poll: Which Dining Option Are You Most Craving?

Who’s hungry for more dining options?

As Winter Restaurant Week winds down this weekend, foodies in Reston and Herndon may have noticed some changes to their dining options in an area. Over the last few years, the food scene has seen newcomers pop up and long-established restaurants close.

(For comparison, Winter Restaurant Week in 2016 featured eight Reston-area participants. That’s double the number of participants for this year and 2018.)

Last year alone, several restaurants and two dessert shops shut their doors in Reston Town Center at almost the same rate as new options — HoneygrowBalducci’sMason’s Famous Lobster Rolls and &pizza — popped up.

It’s a new year with new food. Openings already nearing for some of the seven restaurants coming to Reston and Herndon in the first three months of 2019.

Foodies, let us know your thoughts about which dining option the food scenes in Reston and Herndon really need.

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Uncle Julio’s Fights Paid Parking with Suit Against Boston Properties

Another Reston Town Center restaurant is joining the fight against paid parking just months after the settlement of the first lawsuit challenging Boston Properties’ controversial parking system.

Uncle Julio’s filed a suit against Boston Properties and several affiliated limited liability companies for at least $5 million over the paid parking, the Washington Business Journal reported today (Jan. 11).

The Tex-Mex restaurant at 1827 Library Street claims in the suit that it has lost approximately $1 million in sales annually since paid parking was implemented in January 2017, according to the article.

Uncle Julio’s is suing RTC’s owners on several counts, including breach of contract and conspiracy, according to the story. Boston Properties has not yet responded to the lawsuit, which was filed on Dec. 21 in Fairfax County Circuit Court.

Nearly two months ago, Boston Properties and Jackson’s Mighty Fine Food & Lucky Lounge settled a dispute over the developer’s paid parking system. Jackson’s filed its suit, which also alleged breach of contract, in March 2017, Reston Now previously reported

Boston Properties continues to face an uproar from many local businesses and residents. In 2018, nine businesses closed at RTC, with several owners and employees telling Reston Now that the paid parking drove customers away.

In December alone, two restaurants — Hen Penny and Obi Sushi — left.

This year doesn’t look any better. Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn, which are both operated by Williams-Sonoma Inc, are set to close at RTC later this month.

Image via Google Maps

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Jerry’s Subs & Pizza in North Point Village Center Closes After Fire

(Updated at 4:55 p.m.) Jerry’s Subs & Pizza is set to reopen soon after temporarily closing in the North Point Village Center.

The Reston location (1432 North Point Village Center) for the chain “closed due to a small fire-related incident that has been resolved,” according to a Facebook message from Jerry’s Subs & Pizza.

The Reston spot “will be reopening soon,” the company wrote, adding that there is no specific reopening date yet.

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue responded to a stove fire in the 1400 block of North Point Village around 9:08 p.m. on Dec. 30, according to a tweet from the fire department.

The fast-casual cheesesteak, sub sandwich and pizza franchise has more than two dozen locations in Maryland, Virginia and Delaware, according to the website. The closest locations — Gaithersburg, Md. or Manassas, Va. — are both about less than an hour away.

Image via Google Maps

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Wednesday Morning Notes

(Updated at 11:43 a.m.) Reston teen killed in a pedestrian hit-and-run crash — Marvin Daniel Cruz Serrano, a 16-year-old South Lakes High School student, was hit by a car while crossing South Lakes Drive Saturday evening. Fairfax County Police are still looking for the driver who killed the Reston teen. [Reston Now]

Metro’s “Rush Hour Promise” starts today — Starting today, Metrorail or Metrobus customers using a registered SmarTrip card who experience a rush-hour delay of 10 minutes or more will receive a Metro credit for future travel. [WMATA]

A look inside the upcoming Bombay Velvet — More details emerge about the Indian restaurant set to open in early 2019 at 12100 Sunset Hills Road. [Washington Business Journal]

Tons of toys — People donated more than three tractor-trailer loads worth of toys to Fairfax County’s fire and rescue stations for this year’s Toys for Tots campaign. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]

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Businesses Continue to Leave Reston Town Center

What a difference a year makes — for Reston Town Center’s retailers, that is.

While RTC has welcomed a number of new tenants this year, including HoneygrowBalducci’s, Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls, &pizza, and Lululemon, the closures outnumber the newcomers.

Businesses are closing twice as fast as they are opening in RTC. Several small businesses and restaurants that have been in the area for decades have pointed to dwindling numbers of customers due to paid parking as the main reason behind their closures.

The shift from free to the ParkRTC paid parking initiative at RTC began at the start of 2017. Then in June 2017, Boston Properties, RTC’s owner, changed its paid parking structure, which originally charged for weekday parking, following a major outcry from tenants and customers.

Still, some Restonians are boycotting RTC.

Red Velvet Cupcakery Owner Aaron Gordon previously told Reston Now that his decision to close the Reston location was driven by Boston Properties’ paid parking structure.

Employees at Busara Thai Restaurant, which served up authentic Thai cuisine in RTC for 13 years, and Obi Sushi Japanese Bistro, which recently closed after 14 years, said the paid parking drove customers away. 

When Appalachian Spring closed at the start of 2018, the store’s president told Reston Now that customer traffic dipped over the last few months and that customers often complained about the paid parking.

The handcrafted gifts and handmade jewelry store, one of the first tenants in RTC, opened its Reston location in 1990.

Reston Now reported on the following closures at RTC this year:

  • Dec. 30: Hen Penny set to close at 1820 Discovery Street
  • Dec. 26: Dawn Baby Price closed at 11985 Market Street
  • Dec. 22: Obi Sushi Japanese Bistro closed at 1771 Library Street
  • Aug. 28: Edibles Incredible Desserts closed at 11917 Freedom Drive
  • May 28: The Bike Lane closed at 11943 Democracy Drive
  • May 27: Red Velvet Cupcakery closed at 11939 Democracy Drive
  • May 19: Busara Thai Restaurant closed at 11964 Market Street
  • Jan. 24: Appalachian Spring closed at 1187 Market Street
  • January: Neyla Mediterranean Bistro closed at 11898 Market Street

While 2018 saw several small businesses and restaurants shutter their doors, large department stores are slated to close in RTC next year.

Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn, which are both operated by Williams-Sonoma Inc, are set to close at RTC in January.

Pottery Barn (11937 Market Street) will close sometime around Jan. 21, a store employee told Reston Now. A specific closing date has not been announced yet for Williams-Sonoma (11897 Market Street).

File photo

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Hen Penny Restaurant Set to Close in Reston Town Center on Sunday

Hen Penny will close its doors on Sunday in Reston Town Center roughly 20 months after it opened.

Hen Penny, a spinoff of Pheast Food Group’s Hen Quarter restaurants in Alexandria, Va. and Silver Spring, Md., opened at 1820 Discovery Street in April 2017.

An employee told Reston Now that Dec. 30 is the final day for the restaurant. The employee did not know what prompted the decision to close the location.

Hen Penny has another location in New York City.

Last Saturday (Dec. 22), another restaurant closed in RTC, citing paid parking as one of the main causes behind the closure.

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Jinya Ramen Bar ‘Coming Soon’ to Reston Town Center

The Reston Town Center spot vacated by a Thai restaurant in May now has a future tenant.

Jinya Ramen Bar, a Japanese ramen restaurant chain, is “coming soon” to 11964 Market Street, according to the website.

The move to Reston is part of a larger expansion, with more than 10 other spots slated to open across the country, including California, Georgia, Lousiana and Texas.

The chain has already set up restaurants in 12 states and has nearby locations in D.C. and Fairfax, Va. Jinya Ramen Bar also has five locations in Canada.

Busara Thai Restaurant closed on May 19 after 13 years of business at that spot, Reston Now previously reported.

Back in May, an employee with the restaurant told Reston Now the shift from free to paid parking in Reston Town Center drove the decision to shut down as “revenue just went down the drain.”

Photos via Google Maps, Jinya Ramen Bar/Facebook

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Seven Restaurants Slated to Open in Reston, Herndon in 2019

(Updated at 3:46 p.m.) Foodies who are hungry for more options can start craving these upcoming restaurant openings.

Italian, Thai and Afghan cuisine and more are heading to Reston and Herndon early next year.

Reston

Finn Thai Restaurant and Bar, a Thai restaurant, aims to open at 1466 North Point Village Center “around the beginning of 2019,” according to its website.

Bombay Velvet, a fine-dining, Indian restaurant, will open later in January at 12120 Sunset Hills Road, the restaurant confirmed on Facebook. Reston Now previously reported that the owner said the restaurant was planning to open sometime near Christmas.

Famous Toastery, a breakfast and brunch restaurant, will open next in February or March at JBG Smith’s RTC West development at 12120 Sunset Hills Road, Reston Now previously reported.

Fox Restaurant Concepts plans to open its North Italia concept at 11898 Freedom Drive in Reston Town Center by early 2019, Reston Now previously reported.

Herndon 

Ramen and Rice will open at 482 Elden Street in Herndon Centre sometime in January or February, Owner Sirinda Liw previously told Reston Now.

Kabobi by the Helmand, a restaurant serving Afghan cuisine, plans to open in February at 2321 Dulles Station Blvd, Suite A near the Innovation Center Metro station, Owner Khaleeq Ahmad told Reston Now.

Wooboi Chicken is coming to 139 Spring Street, Suite 1 in January, according to its Facebook page.

Photos via Helmand Kabobi/Facebook, North Italia, Finn Thai and Wooboi Chicken

This story has been updated

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Paid Parking Pushes Obi Sushi Out of Reston Town Center

Obi Sushi Japanese Bistro will shutter its doors tomorrow (Dec. 22) after 14 years at Reston Town Center.

Although the restaurant at 1771 Library Street is closing, the Herndon location at 2415-B2 Centreville Road will remain open, an employee told Reston Now.

The employee said that ever since Boston Properties, RTC’s owner, implemented paid parking, the restaurant has seen the number of customers dwindle. The employee added that the paid parking has also impacted other businesses by driving away patrons.

No specific time tomorrow for the closing has been announced yet.

Photo via Google Maps

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Reston Restaurants to Cook up Food for ‘Winter Restaurant Week’

Updated at 9:35 on Jan. 10 — Includes McCormick & Schmick’s. 

Four restaurants in Reston are among the 250 places in Virginia, Maryland and D.C. on the roster for Winter Restaurant Week in January.

Winter Restaurant Week will run from Monday, Jan. 14, to Sunday, Jan. 20, with prix fixe menus — $35 dinner and $22 lunch.

Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington announced yesterday (Dec. 20) that Founding Farmers, The Melting Pot and PassionFish will offer both lunch and dinner during the event. McCormick & Schmick’s is also on the roster as of Jan. 10, 2019.

Two of the restaurants have certain restrictions.

Located at 1904 Reston Metro Plaza, Founding Farmers will have its regularly priced buffet brunch instead of the prix fixe lunch available from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the weekend of Jan. 19.

The Melting Pot, a fondue restaurant located at 11730 Plaza America Drive, Suite 100, will not allow diners to share or split entrees or ask for substitutions.

Seafood-focused eatery PassionFish at 11960 Democracy Drive and McCormick & Schmick’s at 11920 Democracy Drive do not have any dining restrictions posted on Winter Restaurant Week’s website.

Photos via Passionfood Hospitality, PassionFish, Founding Farmers Reston and Google Maps

This story has been updated

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