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Reston Town Center: Many New Restaurants Coming...

  • Joe H Nov 9, 2007 08:46 AM
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There is a 650,000 square foot addition to Town Center opening next year which will be anchored by Google and Rolls Royce among other incoming tenants. As part of the four building complex there is quite a bit of retail and a number of new restaurants and food outlets. Additionally, there are more new restaurants opening elsewhere in Town Center.

The Chocolate Grill ( http://www.whitechocolategrill.com/20... ) is a mini chain
from Phoenix opening in the old Ruby Tuesday's location.

Marvelous Market will open where Wrapworks was.

Potbelly is coming with their second Reston location.

Mon Ami Gabi moves into the new South of Market complex, owned by Lettuce Entertain
You from Chicago. They already have another local operation in Bethesda.

Jackson's from the Great American Restaurant Group, a hybrid Coastal Flats,
will open across the street from Big Bowl.

Passion Foods (i.e. DC Coast, Ten Penh, Acadia, Ceiba) is coming into South of Market
with a new seafood concept, perhaps somewhat in the spirit of DC Coast. For myself this is exactly the kind of restaurant that Town Center needs!

Additionally, there will be a new burrito outlet-but apparently it will not be a Chipotle but rather a different national chain.

And, of course, Il Fornaio, a better regional Italian chain from California, has opened.

I believe there will be two more additional restaurants opening in South of Market; apparently one will be a tapas restaurant but I have no information on which one. Note that Lettuce Entertain You does operate a tapas restaurant in Chicago.

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  1. Il Fornaio wasn't bad the one time I went. I ate light and was there more to catch up with friends. Odd that Potbelly is opening a second location so close to the first.

    I'm excited by Walters - Reston needs a GAR representation.

    In related news, the space where Reston Kebab currently is located is set to be razed. I forget the timeframe, but more office space and about 500 condos are going in. Popeye's apparently will be spared, but everything between it and the Intl. center will be replaced. No word yet on where or when RK might go, and it's way too soon to hear what restaurants may go in the new construction.

    10 Replies
    1. re: Dennis S

      that is terrible news. the reston kebab is awesome. such a great gyro.

      1. re: kneelconqueso

        Yeah, I've been meaning to stop by during a non-peak time and inquire more about time frame of the move and if they've found a different location yet.

        1. re: kneelconqueso

          Reston kabob is barely average...imo. It's a little further but the Kabob place in Herndon (K-mart shopping center) is much much better.

          1. re: lukeinva

            They're different. Depends on what I'm in the mood for as to which one. Generally over the past few years I've leaned more to RK, but Charcoal Kebab held the top spot for me the few years prior to that. The biggest drawback for RK is that they don't really have sides.

            1. re: Dennis S

              I am a real fan of Charcoal Kebab. I don't eat chicken kebabs anywhere - I find them uninteresting. CK's are OK but not great - I dislike Moby Dick's chicken kabab and haven't tried RK's version. But, what I like a lot at Charcoal Kebab is their Chapli Kebab - spicy and interesting with the whole spices. That and a doogh make me very happy. I have tried Chapli at other place (one on McLaren and Centerville Rd) - they are good, but not as wonderfully spicy as that at Charcoal Kebab!

              1. re: MarietteB

                And the sides at CK - especially the spinach!

            2. re: lukeinva

              Strongly disagree. For myself the kabobs at RK are far superior, more succulent and flavorful than the mediocre kabob place in Herndon which I just ate at two weeks ago. I am talking about only the chicken kabobs. Having said this, both are barely decent beyond their kabobs. While the chicken at RK compares favorably to Moby's, Kabob Bazaar, Amoo's and Shamshiry, there is little else that they serve that I really like. Both Amoo's and Shamshiry have far superior rice. The sides at Ravi (and the chicken kabobs) are better. Moby's nan is much better. In fact, the best chicken kabobs are at Ravi with RK perhaps second. I think the best sides overall are at the Afghan place on route 7 in Bailey's Xcrossroads with, perhaps, Ravi their equal. Shamshiry, a Persian destination, may still be my favorite of all for a variety of reasons.

              1. re: Joe H

                Joe - I'd love to have another go at Shamshiry! (there was a chow-off a few years ago to anyone not picking that up). As we concluded back then, I think Shamshiry is just in a different category than most any of the others, but esp. RK and CK (and Moby's, Kabob Bazaar, Kabob Palace, etc, etc, etc).

                In total, I'd have to lean to Kabob Palace in Crystal City as the overall best kabob joint, but this focus of this thread is on the Reston/Herndon offerings, of which, both that were named are at least above adequate.

          2. re: Dennis S

            No!!!! I love their kabobs. :(

            1. re: Dennis S

              we recently dined at Il Fornaio- headed back tonight, and had a fantastic experience start to finish., from hommade pasta to outstanding service- we were thrilled with it.

            2. I thought the new GAR was going to be called Jackson's? At least that is what I thought I read in the Post. It was a dedication.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ktmoomau

                You're right!!! Sorry. I'll make the correction. Thanks.

              2. One more: Read in WBJ that a California gourmet burger chain is opening a location in the Reston Town Center It's called the Counter. The site is www.counterburgers.com. Looks different and promising...

                4 Replies
                1. re: jajack

                  Whoa! Hold the phone, Mable! THE Counterburger is coming to VA? This seriously changes the local burger landscape and merits a visit to Reston.

                  http://www.chow.com/digest/996

                  And they serve BEER? I'm there, or at the Dupont or Georgetown locations.

                  http://www.bizjournals.com/washington...

                  1. re: jajack

                    Actually, I found it's www.THEcounterburger.com

                    1. re: MsDiPesto

                      Oh wow, it might give Cheeburger Cheeburger a run for first place in my heart of burgers. I love the list of toppings.

                      1. re: ktmoomau

                        I am not the fan of Cheeburger Cheeburger that several others on here are. Five Guys are also very inconsistent, yet are probably the fastest franchising chain in America. Counterburger is intriguing; I'll probably stop at one in CA while travelling on business before the one in Reston opens. Fatburger is also franchising nationally now with the closest outposts that I am aware of in Atlantic City and Chesapeake, VA. In CA Fatburger compares favorably to In-n-Out although I still prefer In-n-Out. In Northern CA a regional chain called Nation's is something of a local legend.

                  2. Reston Town Center is underwhelming as far as eats go. More or less, it's the trendy chains (Morton's, McCormick & Schmick) or the local chains (Clyde's, GAR, Tunks).

                    With so much "traffic" and great real estate and high incomes, this could really be a destination restaurant location -- far better than Tysons with the horrific traffic congestion there. I'm hoping that RTC kicks it up a few notches....

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: BigEats

                      Mon Ami Gabi is decent -- the French bistro equivalent of Legal Seafood. I've eaten in the original in Chicago and the branch in Vegas. It will be a good addition.

                      Cheeburger Cheeburger is not my fave for burgers either, but I do like their shakes.

                      1. re: brendastarlet

                        I actually don't like Mon Ami Gabi at all. It's variety for the Town Center but, for me, not a good addition. However, I do believe that Counter Burger, White Chocolate Grill, the GAR outpost and especially, Passion Foods' restaurant are very positive additions. Having said this, rent is so expensive at Town Center (K street prices) the likelihood of any chef owned and operated restaurant is very small.

                        1. re: Joe H

                          The new Passion Foods restaurant appears to be called Passion Fish. There will be a nice mezzanine level to the restaurant, overlooking the park area. Anxiously awaiting their arrival!

                          1. re: Joe H

                            Passion Fish will rock the Town Center's socks off. Passion LLC outta DC really runs a tight ship. Their restaurant's pay attention to detail, consistency, quality, environment, service. They do what they do very well. The Town Center needs restaurant that is consistantly good. Watch out upper Democracy Drive, you're in a run for your money!

                      2. Didn't really want to start a new thread, but I wanted to post that the location at Tall Oaks left vacant by Giant is going to be filled by Fresh World market - apparently around May 16. Hopefully this will be a nice addition for Reston. The parent company is Super Ee, which is said to have a store in Springfield.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Dennis S

                          Do you know anything about Fresh World? I was expecting Bloom to take over that space, but an international supermarket sounds interesting.

                          Reston Town Center has got quite a few good restaurants, with more to come, but a stand-alone non-chain place would be nice. There's a few at Lake Anne which are pretty good.

                          1. re: Reston

                            Yep, here's the article where I found the info (didn't know till now there was a site for the Observer):

                            http://www.observernews.com/stories/c...

                        2. What would you all think about putting a Brazilian BBQ in Reston? Would it work?

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: drewster911

                            Where? Town Center proper? You're competing against Morton's and M and S Grill and a half dozen new restaurants including Passion Foods, Great American and Mon Ami Gabi (Vegas location is one of the ten highest grossing restaurants of all kinds in America). Regardless of the 650,000 square feet of new occupied office space this is becoming an extremely competitive market. At this point I believe that only a "name" chef could successfully add to the mix and then, it would be a restaurant like Central or Beck. (Both of which would empty Lettuce Entertain You's Mon Ami Gabi) Jeff Black would be successful too, depending on what Passion "Fish" is developing. Before spending two or three million or more I would have a locally renowned chef in hand with a concept like the two I mentioned which will stand up to any restaurant in Town Center.

                            I'm just not a fan of Brazilian steak houses.

                            Tapas might work along with a Lebenese Taverna kind of place, too. I would love to see something along the lines of Philly's Amada.

                            1. re: Joe H

                              I agree I think Brazilian Steakhouses are a little over the top, and I think execution is always a factor in those places, I mean how much meat can one eat. Especially when you never seem to get the quality meats.
                              I always take quality and sanity to quantity and insanity.

                          2. I'm excited to try Jacksons. Although Coastal Flats underwhelms me. I love all the others, but Coastal Flats I have to be bribed in some way to eat there. The only thing I get is the shrimp and grits (which is awesome). I hope the hybrid part makes up for my lack of enthusiasm for Coastal Flats.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: Manassas64

                              I agree about Coastal Flats - we think their menu is far to limited (when you compare with Artie's). But I usually get the lobster roll which is pretty similar to what I used to get (way back in the day) in Boston. Next time I'll have to try their shrimp and grits. First time I had that was at Bill Neal's Crook's Corner in Chapel Hill. We're hoping Jacksons will be even more interesting than Arties :)

                              1. re: meem

                                I like Coastal Flats a lot-for what it is. (excellent salads by the way) Along with their other restaurants it is predictably good. Jackson's will probably be their signature restaurant. Also, agree about Passion Fish which should be one of the best restaurants in western Fairfax county.

                                1. re: Joe H

                                  Passion Fish is such a bizarre name.

                                  1. re: Joe H

                                    Yuk. The short smoked salmon with the ubiquitous mashed potatoes is everywhere, and it shows up at Mike's too, makin we think that GAR has succumbed to national restaurant central kitchen style of boring food.

                              2. Yuk. More reasons to avoid the artificiality of Reston. Head to El Manatial for a good non-chain experience off Wiehle. I wouldn't go to the Town Center at gunpoint.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: BigEats

                                  I also wish the rents were not so high at Town Center so we could have independent restaurants. However, I would say El Manatial is alright. I'm not crazy about the ambience and the scoop of mashed potatoes that they serve with everything. If you live in Reston, it's a good option, but certainly not a destination restaurant.

                                2. Reston is not artificial - only the town center is. Locals dont eat there.

                                  I have lived and worked in Reston for 10 years - here are my local pix:
                                  1. Sushi - Ariake (look up recent Post write-up)
                                  2. Thai - Thai Luang in Herndon. We eat here at least once a week, it is so good. Their special crispy chicken with basil is UNREAL. Great lunch specials (soup and springroll too) for one decent price. People come from all over DC to eat here.
                                  3. Indian - Angeethi in Herndon. I work w/several Indian folks who have confirmed this is great, and it is. they focus on buffet for lunch, but will let you order off the menu if you ask. I prefer the menu.
                                  4. Kabobs - Charcoal kabob in Herndon (KMart shopping center) is very good for afghani and Moby Dick for Iranian (on Sunrise near Herndon). Great kabob salads.
                                  5. Chinese - I am partial to Mama Wok in Reston but i dont eat a lot of chinese.
                                  6. European - Euro Bistro in Herndon rocks! This is a better dinner choice, as many of the meals are heavy - weinershnitzel goulash and the like - but they have awesome salads, homemade pastas and the most kick-ass roasted pepper soup! The owners are fantastic people too. Chef is austrian.This is my favorite restaurant.
                                  7. Mexican - Teocale (in Herndon) is more tex mex but this is an awesome taco/burrito counter. Their guac is homemade and their pulled brisket beef is the bomb. The owner recently sold to move to take care of his sick mom, but the same cooks and people are there...so far still good. Great quick lunch place for tacos, tamales and burritos.
                                  8. Diner - The Amphora in Herndon is an old school diner with anything you can imagine on the menu, and its BETTER than the silver diner! Its just diner food, but its good. My picks- greek grilled chicken souvlaki salad, everything omelets & home fries, and money pancakes!
                                  9a. Frenchy - Mediteranee in Great Falls. Used to be in Arlington for years and moved out here. Great food, daily fish, good cheaper wine list options. Have not been for lunch but have heard its great for it. My pick - saled with fennel, roasted peppers and goat cheese brick dough, and any of the fish. Not as great on the dessert.
                                  9b. Cafe Montmarte on Lake Anne. I have had an excellent piece of halibut on salad greens here but have only been here twice. I know there are diehard fans however.
                                  10. Contemp American - Jasmine Cafe at Lake Anne - salads, french bistro fare, This is a Reston establishment, and its good, especially in spring when you can sit outside.
                                  11. Pizza. I have two recommendations. Mamma Lucia in Reston (awesome pizza) and Lucianno in Herndon (great pizza as well as good-value lunch pasta specials).

                                  Support local business owners!

                                  12 Replies
                                  1. re: tuni

                                    The problem with Reston is finding and supporting the good family-owned non-chains is becoming more and more difficult as the national chains move in and capture the discretionary dollars of the residents. Reston consumers have to be more discriminating. The glitz and upscale feel (and artificality) of the Reston Town Center has to be resisted so that the El Manantials of the world can survive and thrive, otherwise the chains will force the good family-owned businesses to go under. Reston has this problem in spades, as does Tysons.

                                    1. re: BigEats

                                      Agree. It's a sad commentary on the state of restaurants today.

                                      The same is true for most of Northern VA. There are a few good local restaurants that are exceptions to the rule, but, for the most part, new openings are all plastic chains that can be found most anywhere.

                                      There must have been 100 new places opened in the Ashburn area, but I can only think of a couple that are not chains. I guess that's what most people want.

                                      We enjoy seeking out the one-of-a-kind local places.

                                      1. re: BlueRidgePro

                                        Sorrento Grill in Ashburn is a local place worth checking out. It's sort of greek-lebanese-ish. Not really Italian, despite the name. Good, fresh food.

                                        1. re: Bob W

                                          It's actually Persian cuisine with a slight Mediterranean flair. As far as Persian cusine's go, it's definitely catered to the American taste. Not authentic, althought you can find daily specials that are worth checking out like lamb shank and baghali polo (lima beans mixed with dill in the basmati rice).

                                    2. re: tuni

                                      Good list.

                                      Add:

                                      Greek: Mykonos in Reston - great place.

                                      Kabobs: Add Reston Kabob

                                      Thai: Add Tarin Thai

                                      Indian: Add Mayuri

                                      American pub: Jimmy's

                                      Peruvian: Pollo Inka

                                      Vietnamese: Pho Reston 75 (NOT the Pho 75 mini-chain)

                                      Sandwiches: The Deli (near Charcoal Kebab)

                                      Mexican: Add Lake Anne Deli and the roving taco truck (if anyone has updates on his location, please post!) Also, not Reston/Herndon, but the place in the Sterling clocktower is also really good.

                                      1. re: Dennis S

                                        I don't think Americans want chain restaurants, it's what is foisted upon us. When people find a good local restaurant, they're excited. It's a matter of being lucky enough to live near a good, reliable restaurant. Fortunately, Reston and Herndon do have some choices. It'd be great to have more.

                                        1. re: Martha

                                          I think we need to really tackle the whole stigma of "chain."
                                          First when we think of chain the first things that pop into the minds of most Americans is places like McDonalds, Olive Garden, Ruby Tuesday, Panera, TGIF,etc.
                                          But there are some business under the umbrella of a chain which I guess means expanding into more than 1 or 2 properties, that have made strides to implement sound management and quality control. Great American restaurants have gotten it right. Clyde's is not a bad place to go and reliable as an American eatery with great ambiance. I respect the opinion of those who want to keep the Mom and Pop or privately run restaurants running, but I think we all are a little guilty of group think on both sides of this topic. Not all chains are bad they offer health care and benefits for their career full time employees. Mom and Pops most can not or will not offer these things. Most sound company run establishments are much more capable of at least keeping up a more sanitary work environment. Now let me clarify this by saying that this a broad brush stroke or an overview. Not all factors are considered.
                                          Now I think we look at private places like L'Auberge chez Francois and then look at Cheesecake Factory and go you see why would we want to go to a chain?
                                          But you can turn that around and have a decent meal with good service at Artie's, part of the Great AMerican chain, and venture into a place like the Peppermill grill in Leesburg and say we're supporting the small business person that really doesn't support the guest's dining experience. I have worked for a family run establishment for 14 years and am a big advocate of the small eateries and restaurants, but also have now been working for a sound run chain that has received accolades for it's service standards, and I can honestly say that the chain restaurants are not all cookie cutter, but I still prefer a well known local gem just like everyone else who enjoys dining out and feeling like they're made welcome by the manager or owner.

                                          1. re: keithlb1

                                            It's just a sliding scale - with goodness on an inverse proportion with size. I think you'll find similar sentiment here, generally. This coming from someone wanting to launch a site against major chains. It's all in the degree...

                                            1. re: keithlb1

                                              I've never had a decent meal at Clyde's: indifferent service at Georgetown, screwed up orders/ridiculous waits in Gallery Place, crowds/slopppy service in Tysons. I'll still go to Old Ebbitt and eat oysters at the bar, but I'll never set foot in any other Great American-affiliated establishment again.

                                              1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                The Clyde's family and GAR are different entities - have you been having bad experiences with GAR - or just the Clyde's family?

                                                1. re: Dennis S

                                                  Just Clydes. I've had decent meals at Sweetwater and Mike's.

                                                  1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                    Yeah, I saw that too, I like the Great American Restaurant Group much more than the Clyde's chain, but I think both have some good things.

                                                    I love the lobster roll at Coastal Flats, and the entree salads at the GAR chains.

                                                    I like the raw bar, burgers, artichoke dip and some other things at the Clyde's chain. They have a really good mushroom veggie sandwich on their brunch and lunch menu I like.

                                      2. Had Easter Brunch at Passionfish and was very impressed. The biscuits were really good, do they serve those at dinner? I hope so. The catch of the day simply grilled was great, the flavors were perfect so you just tasted fresh lightly seasoned fish. The salad with it was well dressed, not overdressed. And I had a crab and corn chowder that had a kick to it, that was great. Also the crabcakes were good, as was a tortilla soup. And they had mini-doughnuts and a fresh rhubarb crisp that was delightful. I was really impressed with the use of fresh ingredients.