Monday Morning Notes

Lane Closures Planned on Eastbound Sunset Hills Road — The road near the Wiehle-Reston East Station will be closed several days this week to allow Silver Line Phase II crews to complete stormwater management work. Closures are in effect today (Monday) and Thursday (June 13) from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and on Friday (June 14) from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. [Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project]

The Post’s Sietsema Reviews Bombay Velvet in Reston — Tom Sietsema writes that the upscale Indian restaurant in RTC West has “fine aspirations with an uneven start.” [The Washington Post]

Reston-based SAIC Has “Stout Revenue Growth” — “Amid the torch-passing between outgoing CEO Tony Moraco and CEO-elect Nazzic Keene on Thursday’s first quarter earnings call, Science Applications International Corp. (NYSE: SAIC) delivered stout revenue growth fostered by its acquisition of Engility Holdings Inc. The Reston-based technology contractor reported $1.6 billion in revenue for the quarter, a 37% increase from the prior year, fueled largely by growth attributed to the Engility buy, which closed in January.” [Washington Business Journal]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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JUST IN: Big Buns and matchbox Coming to Reston Station by 2020

Two new restaurants are coming to Comstock’s Reston Station by early 2020.

The company signed leases with matchbox, a D.C.-based wood fire pizza restaurant, and Big Buns Damn Good Burger Co., a D.C.-based burger and craft beer restaurant.

Matchbox will take up a 6,000 square feet in Comstock’s Helmet Jahn building at 1900 Reston Metro Plaza. Big Buns will occupy 3,000 square feet in the BLVD apartment building at 1908 Reston Metro Plaza.

The latest tenants join other businesses like Starbucks and Founding Farmers in what Comstock is now calling the “Metro Plaza District.”

Comstock issued the following in a release today (Monday):

“We are delighted to add matchbox and Big Buns to our best-in-class merchandising at Reston Station,” said Tim Steffan, EVP/Asset Management at Comstock. “In choosing Reston Station, these popular brands will benefit from the high-traffic and upwardly mobile demographics of one of the largest mixed-use, transit-oriented developments in the Washington region.”

Strategically located midway between Tysons Corner and Dulles International Airport, Reston Station is among the largest mixed-use, transit-oriented developments in the Washington, D.C. area. Covering nearly 40 acres spanning the Dulles Toll Road and surrounding the Wiehle Reston-East Metro Station at the terminus of Phase I of Metro’s Silver Line, Reston Station is already home to more than 1,000 residents, numerous corporate headquarters, multiple retail establishments, and several restaurants. Comstock recently announced that Google has leased several floors in the Helmut Jahn designed office tower and anticipates additional announcements regarding additional leases in the near future. 

The restaurants are expected to open later this year or by early 2020.

File photo

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True Food Kitchen in Reston Town Center Targets 2020 Opening

M & S Grill’s former spot in Reston Town Center will likely remain vacant for more than two years.

True Food Kitchen, a restaurant that aims to offer “healthy, chef driven, seasonal food,” will not open until June of next year. The chain will fill the vacant spot at 11901 Democracy Drive, which has been empty since M & S closed last year on New Year’s Day.

A spokesperson for the company told Reston Now now that opening day could be delayed if there are any construction hiccups over the next several months.

The restaurant offers food based on Dr. Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet. The chain has locations across the country, including one in Arlington and Fairfax.

Image via Google Maps

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Report: Facelift Planned for RTC’s Common Areas

Boston Properties plans to upgrade Reston Town Center’s common areas in an effort to modernize the 30-year-old, mixed-use center, according to a report.

Over the next 18 months, the company plans to spend up to $5 million to upgrade some of the areas, the Washington Business Journal reported today (Wednesday).

The project is still in the design phase.

Here’s more from the report:

The improvements will include the installation of artificial green turf on the area where the ice skating rink is set up in the winter. There’s the possibility for some kind of outdoor beer or wine garden setup there, said Lisa Stoddard of CBRE, who represents the property in lease deals. 

The project will aim to soften existing public spaces, and make them more modern and contemporary, so that people are more inclined to hang out. The plan includes creating more programs and events to engage people, so that there is always “interactive things going on on the green,” Stoddard added.

Stoddard also told the Washington Business Journal that more restaurants aren’t expected to fill several vacancies in the town center. North Italia and True Food Kitchen are slated to open later this year in former restaurant space.

The report states the company is seeking more entertainment use, clothing, and “on-trend brands.”

File photo

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‘McTacoHut’ Marks the End of An Era in Reston

For Little Leaguers, kids skipping school, and fast food lovers, McTacoHut — a fast food block that takes its name from food spots on Wiehle Avenue — has a storied past in Reston. For decades, the McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut cornered on that block have served up the finest in fast food and fast casual grub, becoming what former Reston resident Michael Berger calls a “monument” in the community.

In early 2020, Berger plans to bring some big changes: The Pizza Hut, which first opened in 1977 at 1821 Wiehle Avenue, will flip to a Neopolitan pizza restaurant, Pupatella. Berger is a founding partner and head of the company’s real estate and supply chain.

As a former Restonian who played table-top Pac-Man at the Pizza Hut and attended more birthdays than he would’ve liked at the McDonald’s former PlayPlace, Berger says he is excited to “bring back the neighborhood pizzeria” to a place he still calls home.

“The Pizza Hut is a different type of restaurant now than it was 25 years ago,” Berger said. “We’re trying to bring the ‘hut’ aspect of McTacoHut back.”

For the Washington, DC resident, the opening of Pupattella comes full circle. Berger graduated from South Lakes High School in 1998 after attending Sunrise Valley Elementary School and Langston Hughes Middle School. He hopes to preserve most of Pizza Hut’s roof to pay homage to its pizza past while renovating the interior.

“We’re entering something that is a monument,” Berger said. “We don’t take that lightly. It honestly sounds kind of cheesy but it is a great honor to come back to the area and bring our pizzeria to the community.”

The Pizza Hut will operate until its lease ends in early 2020.

Until then, Berger says the community has plenty of time to rename ‘McTacoHut.’ That stretch of Wiehle Avenue has already transformed in recent years due to Metro and transit-oriented development. More change is on the way, as the fire department opposite McTacoHut is rebuilt and the coming.

For the coming era, Berger suggests ‘McTacoTella.’

Photos by Fatimah Waseem

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Hibiscus Thai Cuisine Closes After Six Years of Business

Hibiscus Thai Cuisine, a sit-down restaurant located at 11790-A Baron Cameron Avenue, has closed after six years of business.

The owners did not return requests for comment from Reston Now. A closed sign was taped to the door of the business today (Thursday).

The closure was announced on Facebook last night:

We regret to inform you that Hibiscus Thai Cuisine is permanently closed. We thank you for your patronage for the past 6 years of operation. It would not have been possible without you. Our family is so grateful to have served you our recipes of the most delicious Thai food. We hope you’ll always remember your experience here at Hibiscus Thai Cuisine.

County permits do not indicate what will occupy the space once it is vacated.

Photos by Fatimah Waseem

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Pupatella Pizzeria is Coming to Reston Next Year

Pupatella, an award-winning Neopolitan pizzeria, is coming to Reston in early 2020, according to a company news release.

The 2,700-square-foot restaurant will be located at 1821 Wiehle Avenue. It will also include a patio for outdoor dining.

The news comes as the business eyes major expansion. Another new location will open in Arlington this summer. More openings could be on the way in the District and Montgomery County.

“As a native Restonian, I know all the wonderful things Reston has to offer, but one thing that has been missing is authentic Neapolitan pizza. I couldn’t be more thrilled to bring Pupatella to the neighborhood,” said founding partner and head of real estate and supply chain, Michael Berger.

Enzo and Anastasiya Algarme started Pupatella as a food truck in 2007. The business has been named a top pizzeria, with recognition from The Today Show, The Washington Post, USA Today and the Washingtonian.

The location is currently home to Pizza Hut, which will remain open through the end of its lease, according to Eater.

This story will be updated.

Photo by Pupatella

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Local Couple of 40 Years Starts New Chapter with Famous Toastery Opening

From elementary school to George Mason University to the play pens of their entertainment businesses, Gary and Diane Reedy have been together. Instead of what was supposed to be a long awaited retirement ahead of the 41st anniversary, the couple decided to opt for something different: running a brunch and breakfast spot in RTC West (12100 Sunset Hills Road).

Famous Toastery had its first official opening on Monday (April 15), after a soft opening this weekend. All sales over the weekend were donated to Cornerstones, a nonprofit organization that the couple said embodies their mission of serving the community. Diane brings a heightened awareness of socio-economic struggle after years of traveling Africa and Asia for the World Bank, while her husband, Gary, reflects on previous experiences as a high school teacher and coach. Their partnership roots back to years in high school when Gary, who calls himself a former jock, dated Diane, who was a straight-A student.

Before opening the 3,300-square-foot restaurant at the mixed use center, the couple built several businesses, including Planet Play in Plaza America, some of the first laser tags in the area, a carousel in Springfield Mall for 12 years, and other entertainment businesses. Since then, they’ve sold off their ventures and opted for Famous Toastery, which is open for breakfast and lunch.

“The problem is that we can’t ever stop. I can’t play golf every single day,” Gary said, chuckling. “We’ve had our careers and retirements and a couple of kids. Sometimes I wonder how we did it all, but we’re young at heart and we want to stay involved.”

Although he lives in Loudoun County, Gary says Reston is a special community because it combines what he says are the best elements of work and family life. His wife agrees.

“Simon’s vision for Reston was to include people from all different kinds of backgrounds, ” Diane said. “It was really meant to be an integrated community and its benefited from a lot of public involvement and will continue to benefit from a lot of public involvement.”

As the Famous Toastery kicks off, they hope to continue partnering with the community after spending most of their lives in Fairfax County. “We’ve gotten out of the night business,” Gary said. “Reston is still really growing and we look forward to growing with it.”

Famous Toastery has two other Virginia locations. It was started in 2005 in Huntersville, NC in a small house. The owners turned the concept into a franchise in 2013.

Photo via Carlos Banos

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Monday Morning Notes

Contractor Identifies New Problems with Silver Line Phase Two — “The contractor building Phase 2 of the Silver Line has identified another problem with the beleaguered project. This time it’s at the Dulles Airport station, where concrete pedestals designed to support the two-story structure’s glass walls and windscreens are cracking because they were built without proper internal reinforcement.” [The Washington Post]

Famous Toastery Now Open— The breakfast-focused North Carolina-based chain opened on Saturday (April 13) at RTC West (12100 Sunset Hills Road). Diane and Gary Reedy, both Reston natives, are the owners of the new Reston location.[Reston Patch]

Indian Restaurant Opens Today — Bombay Velvet will join other restaurants at RTC West. The chef and entrepreneur behind the venture, Rajiv Chopra, describes the new business as an “upscale” business that brings new tastes to the area. The restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner today. [DC Eater]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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‘Gourmet Dive Bar’ Coming to Lake Anne Plaza This Summer

Signs portending the opening of Local VA at Lake Anne Plaza have raised some eyebrows on what the new business will bring to the plaza.

The business takes the place of Singh Thai, a locally owned Thai restaurant that left the plaza it called home for nine years earlier this month.

Owner Dylan Clark described Local VA as a “gourmet dive bar, unpretentious and comfortable with a neighborhood appeal.” Clark says the service will be “relaxed, very friendly and correct, creating an informal, comfortable environment.”

In an effort to ensure most ingredients are sourced locally, Clark said he is working with brewers, farmers, bakers and other purveyors in the state. The opening date is not final, but Clark hopes to open by June 1.

Singh Thai closed in March after the chefs, the owner’s parents, decided to retire and move back to Thailand.

Photo by Eve Thompson

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Bombay Velvet to Open in RTC West Next Week

Bombay Velvet, an Indian restaurant, will open at RTC West (12100 Sunset Hills Road) on Monday (April 15). The 2,500-square-foot restaurant, which the owner describes as “upscale,” can seat 100 guests between 22 indoor tables, three outdoor tables and one bar.

Rajiv Chopra, the chef and owner, is also behind other food ventures in the area like Punjabi By Nature and dessert shop Evergreen Sweets.

“We knew there was an opportunity to fulfill a missing need for a fine dining Indian establishment in the DMV,” Chopra said in a written statement. “Our new world approach to traditional cooking paired with our elegant food presentation gives us hope that locals and visitors who come into Bombay Velvet will expand their palates and try new regional Indian dishes that they have never experienced before.” 

The menu includes dishes like “Calangute Beach Surf ‘N’ Turf” — a spicy chicken chorizo with Goan balchao shrimps — and “Khosla Ka Ghosla” — a dessert with vermicelli and dates. The restaurant takes its interior design inspiration from 1970s Bombay and 1930s American households.

Bombay Velvet is open from Sunday through Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. to midnight.

Photos via Bombay Velvet

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Singh Thai to Say Goodbye to Lake Anne Plaza Spot on Sunday

After nine years at Lake Anne Plaza, Singh Thai plans to close on Sunday (March 31).

The locally owned Thai restaurant has been in its current spot at 1633 N. Washington Plaza — the former spot of Jasmine Cafe — since 2015. Singh Thai was located at 11424 Washington Plaza for about five years prior to its move to the larger and more visible spot on Lake Anne Plaza, Reston Now previously reported.

The Thai restaurant shared its closing plans in a Facebook post earlier this month.

“We have enjoyed our time here on the lake and have come to cherish the special people who live and dine with us,” the post says. “Unfortunately it is time for our chefs, the owner’s parents, to retire and move back to Thailand, and for the owner, Chai, to spend a little time back in the homeland as well.”

The post urges customers to keep following the restaurant on Facebook for “updates on the next location and reopening dates.”

The Thai restaurant is offering half off of all of its wine, beer and liquor until Sunday — while supplies last.

Photo via Facebook

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Jinya Puts Reston Town Center Spot Back on Website

Jinya Ramen Bar looks like it’s back on with its plans to fill an empty Reston Town Center spot.

Back in December, the Japanese ramen restaurant chain posted on its website that it was “coming soon” to 11964 Market Street. Then in early January, a reader pointed out that the Reston location disappeared from the website.

An employee at the parent company of the Jinya brand told Reston Now that nothing had been finalized yet on the Reston Town Center location and that she wasn’t sure why the Reston address was posted on the website.

Fast forward two months later, and Jinya has the same address back up on its website and listed as “coming soon.”

“Reston Town Center is rooted in authentic, home-grown experiences that create special moments for all who visit and dine here,” Stephanie Friedman, the vice president of leasing for Boston Properties, the owners of Reston Town Center, told Reston Now through a spokeswoman. “JINYA Ramen Bar is our ideal partner, bringing their local success and unique menu offering to the Reston community.”

The spot has been empty since Busara Thai Restaurant left last spring after 13 years of business there.

Jinya has nearby locations in D.C. and the Mosaic District in Merrifield.

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Indian Restaurant Bombay Velvet Nears RTC West Opening

The wait is almost over for Bombay Velvet, a fine-dining, Indian restaurant, at RTC West.

With the inspections process winding down, the restaurant will open in late March at 12120 Sunset Hills Road, Owner Rajiv Chopra told Reston Now.

The restaurant will be the latest addition this year to RTC West’s food scene, which includes Honeygrow, Mezeh Mediterranean Grill and BGR The Burger Joint.

Famous Toastery, a breakfast and brunch restaurant, is also set to open this month, an employee told Reston Now.

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Thai Restaurant Now Open in North Point Village Center

Finn Thai Restaurant and Bar officially opened in the North Point Village Center on Presidents’ Day (Feb. 18).

Finn Thai fills the former Payless spot at 1466 North Point Village Center. The spot has been empty since the discounted footwear retailer left in 2017.

The menu includes curry dishes, noodles, fried rice and vegetarian selections, along with a kid’s menu and wine selection. According to the restaurant’s Facebook page, selected steaks are half-priced on Mondays just for the Reston location.

Finn Thai has two other restaurants — one in Purcellville and the second one in Martinsburg, West Virginia.

Photo via Finn Thai Reston/Facebook

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