Around Town

Family-owned Tex-Mex restaurant Guapo’s now open in Merrifield

The Tex-Mex restaurant Guapo’s recently opened a location at Gatehouse Plaza in Merrifield (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

(Updated at 4:05 p.m. on 1/2/2024) The Rincon family business has officially staked a claim in Merrifield.

The Tex-Mex chain Guapo’s, which the Rincons have owned since 1990, welcomed diners to its new location in Gatehouse Plaza for the first time last Thursday (Dec. 21). The building at 3052 Gate House Plaza was last occupied by Chevys Fresh Mex, which closed over four years ago now, per Annandale Today.

Guapo’s soft opening came months later than its originally anticipated launch of early 2023, but the initial response from the community suggests the wait was worthwhile.

“People have been expecting it for a while now, and yesterday was very, very busy,” Guapo’s marketing manager told FFXnow by phone on Friday (Dec. 22). “So, customers are really, really happy that we brought it to Merrifield.”

Residents of Virginia since the late 1970s, the Rincon family opened its first Guapo’s in D.C.’s Tenleytown neighborhood in 1990. The flagship location has operated at 4515 Wisconsin Ave. NW ever since, though there were reportedly plans to move down the street in 2016 that got nixed.

According to Guapo’s, the business is now run by the founders’ children, who all graduated from Fairfax County schools and universities. It has expanded to Arlington, Fair Lakes, Bethesda, Gaithersburg and Georgetown, and the spin-off Charcoal Chicken and Taqueria can be found in Herndon and Manassas.

The expansion to Merrifield was inspired by the family’s history, according to the marketing manager.

“When the family first came from Colombia to Virginia, they lived in Gallows Road that’s why they chose Merrifield to honor their beginnings in the United States,” she said.

All locations are owned and operated by the Rincons, who haven’t tried franchising. Guapo’s says they plan to “stay local for now before we decide to expand nationwide.”

While the look of the Merrifield restaurant is more modern, the owners were committed to keeping the same recipes and level of customer service seen at other locations, according to the marketing manager.

The menu features many staples of Tex-Mex cuisine, including enchiladas, fajitas, burritos, tacos and a variety of meat, seafood and chicken dishes. There are also salads, soups and brunch options, such as omelets and eggs benedict.

Guapo’s is open in Merrifield from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. during the week and from 10 a.m. until midnight on Saturday and Sunday. A grand opening celebration planned for Jan. 10 will be highlighted by a live DJ and salsa music from a band at 5-10 p.m.

(Correction: This story previously misstated Guapo’s hours of operation and timing of the band’s performance at the upcoming grand opening.)

Located northwest of the Route 50 and Gallows Road intersection, Gatehouse Plaza is also home to Sweetwater Tavern, Uno Pizzeria and Grill, a Wendy’s, Starbucks, Panda Express and a Sunoco gas station.