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Reston-based Crafthouse Goes Nationwide, Expands Beyond Northern Virginia

Reston-based Crafthouse, a Northern Virginia-focused eatery that offers a craft menu and local craft beer, scotch, and wine, is now franchising, the company announced this week.

Owner Evan Matz opened three locations in Fairfax, Arlington, and Reston in May 2017, positioning himself for rapid expansion in the coming years.

“Our goal is to have signature food and drink items that are available at every Crafthouse alongside menu favorites that are customized for that local community,” Matz wrote in a statement. “We will encourage each franchisee to feature what their region or state does best – North Carolina ribs or Maryland crab cakes, for instance – and source from local businesses for fresh baked buns, bread, local produce, meat, fish, brews, whiskey, wine and more. This way, Crafthouse can truly support and showcase its local neighborhood while giving guests the quality and consistency of a proven brand.”

Each drink menu has 50 craft beers and an addition 150 in bottles in cans featuring local, regional and national brews, with a special eye for local flavors. Each Crafthouse has a large Bavarian pretzel that’s paired with a house=made beer cheese, tacos, and burgers.

Matz hopes future locations will have a dining room and patio seating for around 150 guests, with square footage ranging from 3,900 to 4,500 square feet. Restaurants will offer lunch, dinner and weekend brunch options, as well as catering for private events and corporate meetings. Crafthouse was named the Best Sports Bar for Football Fans by Arlington Magazine.

Ideal franchise candidate should have liquid assets of at least $300,000 and a net worth of $1 million. More information about background and preferred qualifications is available online.

File photo

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Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls Opens This Week in Reston Town Center

After some delays, Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls is opening tomorrow (Nov. 7) in Reston Town Center.

The Annapolis-based restaurant will open its first Virginia location at 11939 Democracy Drive. Malcolm and Kim Gilbreath, the Reston couple running the Reston location, said they’re looking forward to welcoming new customers to the location.

The restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

The chain opened in 2014 with a flagship shop in Main Street in Annapolis, Md. Along with other locations in Maryland, Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls has a footprint in Delaware and South Carolina.

Photo via Malcolm Gilbreath

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New ‘Upscale’ Indian Restaurant Coming to RTC West

The food scene at RTC West, a small office park slated to become a major mixed-use project, is coming to life with the addition of another restaurant.

Rajiv Chopra, a chef-turned-owner, plans to open Bombay Velvet (12120 Sunset Hills Road), a fine-dining, Indian restaurant by the last week of November or the beginning of December. Chopra says the restaurant, which will be located next to Honeygrow, will offer a unique “upscale” dining experience with a full bar menu.

A grand opening will likely be held sometime near Christmas, Chopra told Reston Now.  Chopra also owns three other Indian restaurants called Punjabi By Nature in Leesburg, Chantilly, and Vienna, but Bombay Velvet offers “a completely new concept” that differentiates itself from Chopra’s other businesses, he said.

The Indian restaurant adds a new mix to existing area restaurants, including Honeygrow and BGR The Burger Joint.

Photos by Fatimah Waseem

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Opening of Mason’s Famous Lobsters in Reston Town Center Delayed

The soft opening of Mason’s Famous Lobsters in Reston Town Center has been delayed.

The Annapolis-based restaurant, which is opening its first Virginia location in RTC at 11939 Democracy Drive, will open within the next 10 days, said Malcolm and Kim Gilbreath, the Reston couple runs the Reston location.

A soft opening was anticipated by Malcolm Gilbreath this week, but the process was delayed pending the scheduling of final inspections with the county.

“The store is fully furnished and menu boards are mounted, but we are unable to serve customers until we receive all final approvals from Fairfax County,” Gilbreath said.

So far, Gilbreath said there appears to be strong interest in the restaurant ahead of its opening. At RTC’s trick-or-treat event on Saturday, Gilbreath said several hundred people stopped by the restaurant ahead of the opening. An exact opening date has not been determined yet. 

Photo via Malcolm Gilbreath

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Famous Toastery Coming to RTC West Early Next Year

A new sit-down restaurant is joining the food scene at JBG Smith’s RTC West development (12120 Sunset Hills Road).

Famous Toastery, a breakfast and brunch restaurant, will open next to BGR The Burger Joint in February or March next year.

Gary Ready, the Reston location’s owner who was born and raised in Fairfax County, said the restaurant is currently in the process of receiving permits from Fairfax County. Ready, who has been behind several businesses over the last 25 years in Fairfax and Loudoun counties, said he was intrigued by the restaurant’s high-quality ingredients and speed of service.

“The average ticket time is 10 minutes. A lot of other restaurants in Reston Town Center give you quick service. This is one of the few sit-down restaurants in Reston where you can get the sit-down experience and still be in and out in 30 minutes,” he told Reston Now.

Ready said the restaurant will be open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and can seat between 100 to 105 people.

County records indicate the building plan is under review.

Photo via Famous Toastery

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Helmut Jahn building wins award — The Reston Station building known for its iconic X design has won an award for best project and an award for excellence in safety. [ENR Mid Atlantic]

A passion for fish — PassionFish in Reston Town Center is celebrating ten years. Loyalty members can enjoy dinner specials to celebrate the restaurant’s milestone. [PassionFish]

No need to be alarmed — Units from the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department took part in roof ventilation and forced entry training in the area. The building will later be demolished. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]

Photo by Ray Copson

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Mason’s Famous Lobsters to Open Next Week in Reston Town Center

Finishing touches are underway at Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls, an Annapolis-based restaurant, ahead of its opening next week.

The restaurant’s sign was installed over the weekend at the new location at 11939 Democracy Drive, the former location of Red Velvet Cupcakery.

Malcolm Gilbreath, who runs the Reston location and is a Reston resident of 16 years, said he’s excited to bring a new enterprise to Reston Town Center.

“We’re in town center all the time and we’re excited to be a part of the whole community,” Gilbreath said.

There will be indoor seating at the restaurant, which is around 800 square feet. Gilbreath also plans to incorporate gluten-free lobster rolls and is working with local bakeries to have their items on the menu. More details on the grand opening are expected in several days.

The restaurant would be the first Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls branch in Virginia. The company has four locations in Maryland, one in Delaware and another in South Carolina. The Reston location’s menu is modeled after the Delaware location.

Photo via Art Display Co.

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Wendy’s on Bracknell Drive Reopens, Grand Opening Set for Next Week

After weeks of renovations, Wendy’s at 1701 Bracknell Drive reopened today.

The first 100 people in line by 10 a.m. on Oct. 27 (Saturday) for the restaurant’s grand reopening event will have the chance to win free food for a year.

The newly renovated interior has larger windows, more open dining areas and updated menus, among other changes.

“This restaurant has bold curb appeal and features a compelling design―inside and out,” said

Arif Islam, Wendy’s Region Manager. “It’s very different from what our customers in Woodbridge are used to, but we think they’ll really like the fresh look and feel of the new Wendy’s.”

Photo via Google Maps

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BGR The Burger Joint to Open in RTC West Next Week

As signs have foretold for several weeks, BGR The Burger Joint will open its newest location in Reston on Monday (Sept. 24), the company announced today. 

The restaurant, which sells burgers grilled over an open flame and hand-spun milkshakes, is the latest retail tenant to join JBG Smith’s RTC West development at 12120 Sunset Hills Road.

The restaurant company  did not respond to a request for comment from Reston Now, although an announcement by the company was posted online.

BGR has locations in Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, the District, Tennessee, and Utah. The restaurant is also located in Arlington, Springfield, and Tysons Corner. Two locations are also in Kuwait. It’s currently celebrating its 10th anniversary since it opened the first location in Bethesda, Md. in 2008.

Other businesses that are scheduled to open at the development include The Black Squirrel, Forever Nails, and Punjabi by Nature.

More retail tenants could be on the way if the county approves an application by JBG Smith for expansion of the existing development, which is mostly office buildings and ground floor retail so far. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will vote on the expansion project next week.

Photo via BGR The Burger Joint/Facebook

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Coming Soon: Thai Restaurant to North Point Village Center

Finn Thai Restaurant and Bar, a Thai restaurant, is coming soon to North Point Village Center.

The restaurant has one location in Purcellville and a second location in Martinsburg, West Virginia. It will take up space formerly occupied by Payless. (1466 North Point Village Center), which closed in April last year after the company announced plans to file for bankruptcy.

A restaurant representative from the Martinsburg location told Reston Now that the opening day could be several weeks from now. But an exact date was not known yet, the representative said.

Photo by Twitter user 

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Italian Restaurant to Open in Reston Town Center Next Year

Fox Restaurant Concepts plans to open its North Italia concept in Reston Town Center by early 2019.

The new restaurant, which offers a contemporarily Italian model, will take up space at 11898 Freedom Drive in the Fountain One building. The space was previously occupied by Neyla Mediterranean Bistro, which closed earlier this year.

The North Italia restaurant concept is the second in the D.C.-region. The restaurant offers pizza, salads and home-made pizzas.

Boston Properties issued the following statement about the opening on Tuesday (August 14):

“We are delighted that North Italia will become part of the Reston Town Center community this winter.  Their passion for handmade Italian cuisine and heartfelt customer engagement is unparalleled.  They will be a compelling addition to our vibrant tenant mix,” said Stephanie Friedman, director of retail leasing at Boston Properties.

Other new tenants expected to open by next year include lululemon, Muse Paintbar, and Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls.

File photo

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Reston Eateries Take Part in Summer Restaurant Week Beginning Monday

Several Reston restaurants will participate in this year’s Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Summer Week, which begins on Monday (August 13).

Restaurants throughout the greater Washington region will offer three-course lunch and brunch menus for $22 and a three-course dinner for $35 at fixed prices. The annual event is sponsored by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, a regional trade association that represents restaurants and the foodservice industry in the DC-area.

Restaurants in Reston that are participated are:

Special menus for the week, which runs from Monday through Aug. 19, are available online.

File photo

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Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls to Open Next Month in Reston Town Center

Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls, an Annapolis-based restaurant, will open in late September, according to the company’s founder.

The 800-square-foot restaurant will be located at 11939 Democracy Drive, the former location of Red Velvet Cupcakery.

The restaurant would be the first Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls branch in Virginia. The company has four locations in Maryland, one in Delaware and another in South Carolina. The Reston location’s menu is modeled after the Delaware location.

An exact opening date has not been set yet.

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Save the Date: ‘Flavors of Fall’ Returns to Reston Town Center in October

It’s not too early to begin planning for the fall. Flavors of Fall, a free annual festival that includes live entertainment, dancing and family activities, returns to Reston Town Center on October 6.

Admission and parking are free for the event. Restaurants will serve up samplings of their favorite falls menus. Tickets are $1 each or $20 for 24 tickets. Most food tastings require between one and five tickets.

Beer prices are five tickets for a 16-ounce, mainstream beer, six tickets for a 12-ounce craft beer and three tickets for a five-ounce craft beer.  Wine is six tickets for a five-ounce poor and one ticket per wine tasting.

More information on the event will be released soon. The event is produced by the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce.

Photo via Facebook

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Photos: Mezeh Mediterranean Grill Now Open in RTC West

JBG Smith’s mixed-use development, RTC West, welcomed a new restaurant this week. Mezeh Mediterranean Grill is now open at 12130 Sunset Hills Road. 

The 44-seat restaurant offers a mix of build-it-yourself bowls, pita pockets and wraps. Other establishments are also on the way in the development, including Punjabi by Nature, The Black Squirrel, and The Burger Joint. In recent months, Honeygrow, Starbucks and Nando’s were added to the mix of retail on the largely office-dominated site.

Although a soft launch was held on Tuesday, the restaurant’s grand opening day has not yet been finalized, according to Patrick Mika, Mezeh’s director of marketing and catering. On Wednesday (July 25), Mezeh will offer free chicken shawarma bowls – it’s inaugural opening promotion.

Beginning next week, Mezeh will also free promotions for different client bases in order to reduce overcrowding in the area, especially since immediate surface lot parking is limited.

The Reston location includes traditional elements of Mezeh’s nine other locations like a community bar and wrap-around seating. No paint is used anywhere on its mixed-media walls — except on the restaurant’s bathroom doors.

“More and more fast-casual restaurants I see are becoming more like a box,” Mika said. “Ours is more like a home.”

The restaurant will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Its first fundraiser for a local charity will be on August 7. Forty percent of proceeds from purchases made between 5:30 and 8:30 p.m. that day will go toward the fundraiser if customers mention “Solutions Street.”

Photos by Fatimah Waseem

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