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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Tiki Thai, a bar and restaurant, will officially open its doors at 11 a.m. today (Monday) in Reston.

The business, which combines elements of Polynesian and Thai culture, is located at 12100 Sunset Hills Road. The team behind Sense of Thai St. — a popular Thai food restaurant in One Loudoun — is also behind the latest venture in Reston.

Here’s more from the owners on what inspired the business:

While it’s fun to celebrate Polynesian culture, at TIKI THAI we also honor it.Without compromising of integrity and staying true to the history, we aim to deliver the same experience that historians like Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt (aka Donn Beach) feel in love with in the early 1930s while traveling the islands of Oceania . Around the same time the kingdom of Siam transitioned to what we know as Thailand today. Thailand’s deep culinary history pays homage to neighboring country’s like Malaysia, Indonesia and India that have heavy influence within every dish.

These two cultures carry a strong heritage worthy of respect and it is our pleasure to share our passion hospitality while honoring both cultures here at TIKI THAI.

This week’s soft opening hours are from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., with a lunch special from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays and a brunch special on weekends from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Customers can place orders for curbside pickup and delivery.

Photo via Tiki Thai/Facebook

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As winter settles in and it gets a little colder outside, there’s a chance to reclaim a bit of the summer spirit with a new restaurant opening at Reston Town Center.

Playa Bowls will open its 101st location in the United States and Puerto Rico at 1820 Discovery Street on Saturday, Nov. 28, in partnership with Jeffrey Giuliani and Dave Eynon.

The acai bowl shop is based at the Jersey Shore and specializes in superfoods and healthy options including chia seeds, coconut, kale, bananas and pitaya. Playa Bowls offers a variety of acai bowls, smoothies, juices and poke bowls.

“Dave and I are excited to bring the beach vibes and delicious, healthy acai bowls, smoothies and fresh juices to the Town Center and can’t wait to contribute to this awesome community,” Giuliani said.

In recognition of the restaurant’s opening day, free bowls and T-shirts will be given to the first 50 customers in a socially distanced line beginning at noon on Saturday.

The 1,400-square-foot store will be open for restricted indoor dining while adhering to social distancing and requiring masks. The store will also offer takeout, no contact delivery and curbside pickup through DoorDash, Postmates and Grubhub.

Photo via Playa Bowls/Facebook

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Thursday Morning Notes

Reston Company Buys Matchbox –Thompson Hospitality, a Reston-based company, has brought Matchbox out of bankruptcy with new ownership. The company expects to open a new location at Wiehe-Reston East. [WTOP]

Herndon-based Company Acquires Maryland Cyber Defense Firm — “ManTech International Corp. (NASDAQ: MANT) has made its first acquisition move of the year, buying cybersecurity firm Minerva Engineering in a deal announced Thursday. The terms of the acquisition weren’t disclosed, but it marks the Herndon information technology company’s first mergers & acquisition activity since 2019’s $115 million purchase of Kforce Government Solutions Inc.” [Washington Business Journal]

Fairfax County Park Authority Names New Director of Golf — “The Fairfax County Park Authority has selected Jesse Coffman to head operations at its eight public golf courses. Coffman will begin his duties as Director of Golf Operations on Dec. 7, 2020. He succeeds Todd Johnson, who will retire in December as Golf Enterprises Branch Manager after more than 32 years with the Park Authority.” [Fairfax County Government]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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A new Turkish restaurant will replace Midtown Kabob next year.

Taste of Istanbul, which has typically limited its offerings to local farmers’ market for the last four years, is expected to open in the spring of 2021 at 11190 Explorer Street.

Taste of Istanbul currently takes part in the EatLoco markets at One Loudoun (Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.) and Brambleton (Sundays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.) as well as Reston Farmers Market (Wednesdays, 3-7 p.m.). Orders can be placed online.

The owners say they’re prepared to open despite the uncertainty of expanding during a pandemic and particularly as cases rise in the county and throughout the country.

“This is a time where people don’t know what’s going to happen next,” the representative said. “…But we believe we are prepared for this.”

The business plans to take safety precautions and offer a safe environment for customers and employees.

Taste of Istanbul will offer doner kebabs, wraps, stuffed grape leaves, chicken shish kebabs, and other items.

Photo via Taste of Istanbul

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Foodies waiting for the opening of True Food Kitchen in Reston Town Center will have to wait longer for opening day.

The restaurant, which aims to offer healthy dishes, has delayed its opening to the spring of 2021, according to the company’s website. The company originally planned to open at 11901 Democracy Drive — space formerly occupied by M&S Grill — in early August.

Company representatives did not return requests for comment from Reston Now.

The chain currently has locations in Arlington and Fairfax, along with others around the country.

Andrew Weil, a doctor. Who supports healthy eating, founded the business in an effort to fight chronic inflammation. Many dishes are gluten-free, vegetarian or vegan.

Image via Google Maps

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Pupatella is targeting a late fall opening in Reston, according to a company in Reston.

The estimated opening date is “pending any unforeseen issues with buildout and inspections,” the company representative told Reston Now.

Construction began in early 2020 after The Pizza Hut, which first opened in 1977, closed its doors.

Pupatella, a Neapolitan pizza restaurant, announced had originally planned to open earlier this year.

The 2,700-square-foot restaurant will be located at 1921 Wiehle Avenue. A patio for outdoor planing is also planned.

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.

Photos via Chris Gieckel

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