Email signup

Fairfax ‘landmark’ Coyote Grille goes dark after 21 years

Fairfax City’s Coyote Grille and Cantina has unleashed its last howl.

The eatery abruptly closed its doors at 10266 Main Street for good on Oct. 1 after serving up tacos, margaritas and other dishes and drinks inspired by the American Southwest for more than two decades.

A paper sign taped to the door offers little explanation, stating only that the restaurant would be permanently closed as of that Sunday.

“We appreciate all our valued guests and staff,” the sign said.

While Coyote Grille’s closure may have come suddenly, it wasn’t a complete surprise to regular patrons, who lamented in Yelp reviews and social media posts that the food and service had declined in quality after longtime owner Tatjana Farr sold the business last year.

Farr launched Coyote Grille in 2002 with the goal of creating an oasis at a time when Northern Virginia “was suffering a drought of fresh, flavorful Southwestern-inspired food,” according to the website. After running the restaurant for 20 years, she decided to sell it so she could move to South Carolina, Old Town Fairfax Business Association (OTFBA) Chair Josh Alexander says.

However, Farr’s reaction upon learning that the new owners were shutting down the place she’d spent two decades overseeing was one of “shock and sadness,” according to Alexander, who worked as a manager at Coyote Grille for 14 years.

“It was definitely a landmark in the neighborhood, a local place for families and friends to gather, and it was tough to see it close,” Alexander said. “We all went in on the last day to celebrate it when we heard that they were closing.”

The current owners plan to reopen the restaurant under a new name as an “upscale, small plate concept,” Alexander says.

As chair of the OTFBA, Alexander says he wants all businesses in the city to succeed, but it’s not yet clear how much the rebranded restaurant will retain from its predecessor, if anything.

At the very least, Coyote Grille’s legacy will continue to some extent through Alexander’s own restaurant, Mackenzie’s Tunes & Tonics, which opened on June 1 at 3950 University Drive, Suite 210. He employs some former Coyote Grille staff members, and he threw a party there for Farr and Coyote supporters on Oct. 8.

“I want[ed] to say thank you for 20 years. Thank you for the memories,” he told FFXnow.

Some familiar dishes may even turn up on Mackenzie’s menu in the future, if the Coyote Grille owners opt not to use the recipes for their new establishment.

“Whatever the new concept, whatever they decide they don’t want to use, I’ll gladly bring to my place so that the locals can still come try some of their favorite dishes from over the years,” Alexander said.

Recent Stories

Good Friday evening, Fairfax County. Let’s take a look back at today’s stories and a look forward to tomorrow’s event calendar. 🕗 News recap The following articles were published earlier…

Reston Association is seeking candidates for its 2024 Board of Directors’ election. Four seats are open for the election, which will take place in March. Specifically, two at-large director seats…

Zombies, pirates and other virtual characters are about to be unleashed on Tysons, just in time for Christmas. Sandbox VR will launch its new virtual reality gaming experience at 1656…

Do the holidays have you stressed and busy? Worry not about what to wear as Live Fairfax has the Style Survival Guide for this season!

Art House 7 warmly welcomes you to our upcoming Fall 2 session of classes starting on October 30th. We’re thrilled to offer a diverse range of mediums and flexible class lengths, catering to a wide age range, starting from as young as 2, and, of course, providing a multitude of engaging options for adults!

Our classes cover an exciting spectrum of creative mediums, including fiber arts such as knitting, modern embroidery, crochet, and sewing. We also offer classes in ceramics on the wheel, drawing, watercolor, gouache, oil, acrylic, still-life painting, and captivating Japanese Suminagashi and printmaking. One of the highlights of this session is the highly anticipated 5-week “Painting the Portrait and Figure” workshop, led by the renowned local artist, Danni Dawson.

For our younger artists, we have specially designed classes like “Art Exploration through Impressionism” for students in kindergarten through 5th grade, an engaging “Art Together” parent-child class designed for 2–4-year-olds, and a “Teen Taught Art Club” tailored for kindergarteners through 4th graders.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

Winter Wonderland Fundraiser

Proceeds benefit Fellowship Square, improving the lives of 800+ older adults with very limited income and resources by providing affordable housing and supportive services.

Experience a festive holiday fundraiser complete with savory wines & craft beers, scrumptious hors d’oeuvres, exciting


Subscribe to our mailing list