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Longtime Esposito’s Fairfax patrons launch fundraiser to help owner of now-shuttered restaurant

Esposito’s Fairfax closed on March 10 after 40 years in Fairfax City (staff photo by James Jarvis)

After years of enjoying the homey Italian cuisine served at Esposito’s Fairfax, Colleen Lester and her family decided the time had come to give back to the woman behind the restaurant.

So, when they learned that Esposito’s would close for good on March 10, ending a 42-year run in Fairfax City, Lester created an online fundraiser to support owner Maria Esposito. The campaign has now raised $4,100 out of a $20,000 goal, as of press time.

Esposito previously told FFXnow that she was given just two weeks to vacate the building at 9917 Fairfax Blvd where the business had operated since 1982. The property had been sold and is being considered for a Tommy’s Express Car Wash.

According to Lester, the abrupt notice left Esposito with a significant financial burden.

“Since she didn’t have much notice, she didn’t really have time to prepare financially for the cost of moving out of the space,” Lester said by email. “She also wanted to provide some sort of severance for her employees, who all lost their jobs without much warning.”

She will also still need to pay business taxes and any debts resulting from food and equipment orders that were placed weeks to months in advance but then had to be canceled, added Lester’s mother, Brenda Halbrook, who remains in close contact with Esposito.

The GoFundMe campaign is intended to help ease the burden of those expenses. Boosted by multiple triple-digit donations, it will remain open until early July, according to Halbrook.

A native of Fairfax County, Lester says her family was “heartbroken” when they heard that their long-standing favorite dining spot was going to shutter.

“My parents have lived here for the past 40+ years. We have been going to Esposito’s together for decades and are long time customers/friends of Maria’s,” she wrote. “…Our family has been eating at Esposito’s since I was a child and now my kids love going there with my parents (their grandparents) so we are 3 generations of loyal customers.”

Esposito’s was “packed” during its final week of business, and based on their conversations with Esposito, Lester and Halbrook say the restaurant owner appreciated the outpouring of support.

Since the closure, Esposito has been working at the Italian Oven, which is owned by her cousin. The McLean restaurant reopened at 6852 Old Dominion Drive in June 2022 after a 20-year hiatus.

The possibility of a comeback for Esposito’s Fairfax in a new location isn’t out of the question, according to Halbrook.

“The sudden notice to close shocked Maria to her core, but the outpouring of support from her many fairhful customers has been incredibly helpful to her,” Halbrook said. “Maria is a ‘people person,’ who genuinely loves her ‘family’ of customers. Maria would like to open her own restaurant again, if she can get the needed support.”

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