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Guapo’s will replace the now-shuttered Chevys Fresh Mex restaurant at Gatehouse Plaza in Merrifield (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

A family-owned chain of Tex-Mex restaurants will soon add Merrifield to its roster of locations across the D.C. area.

Guapo’s plans to take over the former Chevys Fresh Mex restaurant at 3052 Gate House Plaza, as the Washington Business Journal reported on Friday (Sept. 23).

“We are looking to open early 2023,” Guapo’s owner Ángela Musalem told FFXnow by email, adding that more information will be available as the opening gets closer.

Chevys didn’t return FFXnow’s request for more details about the closure of its Merrifield location by press time.

The restaurant will be located between Uno Pizzeria and Fairfax County’s first unionized Starbucks in Gatehouse Plaza, which also has a Wendy’s, Panda Express, Sweetwater Tavern and Sunoco gas station.

Fairfax County granted an interior alteration permit to Guapo’s on Sept. 9 allowing renovations to the building’s patio, vestibule, bar area, and dining room.

According to its website, Guapo’s was started by the Ricon family, who moved to Virginia in the late 1970s. The chain is currently run by the original owners’ children after they all attended and graduated from Fairfax County Public Schools.

The business has six Guapo’s locations, including one in Fair Lakes, as well as three Charcoal Chicken & Taquerias, one of them on Elden Street in Herndon.

The Washington Post ranked Guapo’s as the fourth-best Tex-Mex restaurant in the D.C. region in 2017, highlighting its freshly made flour tortillas.

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The son of one of Reston’s first 500 residents is paying homage to his family and hometown with the launch of a new Belgian-inspired gastropub at Lake Anne Plaza.

Owner Jan Carlos Byl plans to open Common Ground in the next six months at the space formerly filled by Local VA, another local restaurant that abruptly closed up shop earlier this year at the plaza.

“This is a way for me to honor my father, my father’s legacy at Lake Anne and fulfill my childhood dream of one day owning a restaurant,” Byl told FFXnow.

Byl returned to Reston after his father, Adhemar Byl, became ill in 2021. After his death, Byl launched the business, which has the motto “good vibes, great food.”

“This is to honor my father and our very special Lake Anne community,” he said. “The Lake needs more watering holes and gathering places where you can break bread and drink with your neighbors and loves ones from just a short walk away.”

The son of a Belgian father and a Nicaraguan mother, Byl hopes to marry different culinary cultures from remote regions and bring together his exposure to different culinary traditions in one place.

Byl moved to Europe at age 21 and remained in Amsterdam for 10 years before returning to the U.S., where he became an investor and creative partner in some D.C.-based transitional bars and restaurants, he says.

In Europe, he spent nearly a decade managing platinum recording artists from around the world, he says.

For now, Byl returns to his roots. The name of the new restaurant fittingly pays homage to a daycare that occupied space above what is now Reston Community Center’s Lake Anne facility years ago: Common Ground Daycare.

It’s also where he and his brother went for daycare. An exact opening date is still pending as work continues on the site.

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A new burger spot is opening soon in the town center (Photo via Google Maps).

A new fast-casual burger spot is coming soon to Kingstowne Town Center in Alexandria.

Smashburger, a chain that has locations cross in the country, plans to open in at 5920 Kingstowne Towne Center in suite 120, according to state permits.

The company did not return multiple requests for comment from FFXnow.

The burger restaurant was founded in 2007 in Denver, Colorado. In addition to its signature burgers, the restaurant sells grilled chicken sandwiches, black bean burgers, and salads.

Smashburger has other locations in the state, including Arlington, Gainesville and Sterling. 

Photo via Google Maps

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The restaurant/movie theater CMX CineBistro will open at Tysons Galleria on Sept. 23 (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

CMX CinéBistro was originally scheduled to open later this month, but the upscale theater chain has pushed its showtime back to October.

According to a release, the opening date is now Friday, Oct. 14. The theater/restaurant is opening at 2001 International Drive on the third level.

CinéBistro is a hybrid restaurant-theater, with meals presented alongside blockbuster films. The release said the Tysons Galleria CinéBistro menu features entrees like steak au poivre with duck fat fried truffled pommes frites along with a selection of wines.

“Another signature dish is the Artichoke Cakes with Old Bay Remoulade and Brazilian Tomato Slaw,” the release said, “an adventurous, vegetarian-friendly preparation that evokes all the rich flavors of Chesapeake Bay and pairs perfectly with a flute of bubbly or glass of chardonnay.”

“Classic movie theater snacks” will also be available, the release said, along with both alcoholic and nonalcoholic milkshakes.

Guests who want to dine-in at the theater are encouraged to arrive 30 minutes prior to showtime.

The grand opening will launch alongside Olivia Wilde’s, director of Booksmart, new movie Don’t Worry Darling, starring Harry Styles and Florence Pugh. The release makes no mention of the extensive internal drama and feuding that’s dominated the headlines around the film’s release.

“It’s great to be able to open alongside the premiere of such a sophisticated film,” Guy Austin, vice president of film and operations, said in the release, “So we’re really looking forward to elevating the dinner and movie experience for our region.”

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Herndon Centre is anchored by Sprouts Farmers Market (via Sterling Organization)

Lovers of slow-cooked barbecue can soon turn to Herndon Centre for a meal.

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, a fast-casual franchise that started in 1941, is slated to open up soon at Herndon Centre I, a strip mall that is anchored by Sprouts Farmers Market.

The location will open in suite five at 494 Elden Street, according to an application before the Town of Herndon’s Architectural Review Board.

A representative for the business did not immediately return a request for comment from FFXnow. But the center’s owner — Sterling Organization — indicates that the business is expected to open soon.

Dickey’s will lease just over 2,000 square feet of space alongside IHOP, MOD Pizza, Pacific Dental and LA Fitness. Items on the menu include marinated chicken, brisket, loaded sides, ribs, and wings.

The chain has locations across the country, including Fair Oaks Malls, Fairfax Centre, and Hilltop Village Center.

Photo via Sterling Organization

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The chain Desi Chowrastha, which has a location pictured here in Texas, will open in Herndon (via Google Maps)

A new fast-casual Indian restaurant is coming soon to the Town of Herndon.

Desi Chowrastha Indian Eatery — a fast-casual Indian chain that has two locations in Texas, New Hampshire, and Ohio — plans to open in the third quarter of this year at 905 Herndon Parkway.

Items on the menu include biryani, curries, dosas, Irani chai, chicken, and roti. The business did not immediately return a request for comment.

Herndon’s Board of Architectural Review will hold a public hearing tonight (Wednesday) on a signage application for the business.

The Herndon Parkway Crossing Plaza, where the restaurant will be located, has tenants like PM Pediatrics, Potbelly and Capital One. One 1,200-square-foot space is available. Desi Chowrastha’s suite was formerly occupied by Great Clips.

Photo via Google Maps

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A new sushi restaurant is rolling out in Tysons.

Kura Sushi welcomed dine-in customers to its 40th U.S. location and first in Virginia at noon today (Thursday). It initially opened its doors at 8461 Leesburg Pike, Suite C, last night (Wednesday) exclusively for takeout service.

“We are thrilled to bring Kura Revolving Sushi Bar to the Tysons Corner community!” Kura Sushi spokesperson Lauren Murakami said in a statement. “…Whether you’re a sushi connoisseur or interested in trying a new restaurant that’s fun for the entire family, we offer more than 140 dishes free of artificial seasonings, sweeteners, colorings and preservatives, so everything has the highest nutritional quality and makes the experience memorable for everyone.”

The Tysons restaurant will be open until 9 p.m. today. It will again operate from noon to 9 p.m. tomorrow (Friday) before introducing its standard hours on Saturday (Sept. 3):

  • Sunday through Thursday: 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
  • Friday and Saturday: 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.

Sushi plates cost $3.30 each. The menu has over 140 items overall, including rolls, noodle soups, and a variety of both hot and cold side dishes.

Kura Sushi originated in Japan, where its inaugural restaurant opened in Osaka in 1977. The American subsidiary Kura Sushi USA launched in 2008 and opened its first location in Irvine, California, a year later.

The company is known for its use of a two-layered conveyor belt system that circulates through the restaurant. Diners can pick food off the main revolving bar, or get dishes delivered on an express belt by ordering with a tablet by their table.

The restaurant also features “Kur-B” drink delivery robots, a recent addition, according to the press release:

How this works is once our waitstaff receives a notification about a party’s drink order, they place the beverages on Kur-B and program it to deliver to the corresponding table. With the added features to the tablets, guests can place their drink orders directly on the tablet and check-out on their mobile phone, limiting their wait times for service and providing more options for how they want to experience Kura Revolving Sushi.

Finished plates are disposed through a slot at each table. Diners can see a short anime on their tablet after every five dispensed plates, and every 15 plates nets a prize, such as a sticker or key chain.

Starting today through Oct. 31, the prizes are branded with Pac-Man as part of a partnership between Kura Sushi and the video game.

Kura Sushi’s Tysons location occupies a former Roti Mediterranean Grill in the Best Buy-anchored shopping center. The business’ only other restaurant in the D.C. area right now is in Chinatown.

Kura doesn’t have any specific plans for additional Fairfax County locations right now, but an expansion in the future hasn’t been ruled out.

“We’d love to open more locations in Northern Virginia,” Murakami told FFXnow.

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A popular Peruvian chicken spot — one of many in the area — is expanding with a fourth location in DMV region.

El Pollo Rico, an eatery that serves up pollo a la brasa or traditional Peruvian chicken, is celebrating its soft opening through Sept. 4. It’s located at 10801 Fairfax Blvd.

“We chose this location because of the format of the space was ideal and we felt there was a great opportunity to serve people in the Fairfax City area — especially with delivery service to the main [George Mason University]  campus,” John Lillis, a representative for the company, said.

Lillis noted that the Fairfax location is larger than its Woodbridge location with a smaller-sized kitchen and two identical ovens. The dining room and parking lot are slightly bigger.

Regular hours will begin on Labor Day (Sept. 5), running from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. El Pollo Rico has other locations in Arlington, Wheaton and Woodbridge.

The restaurant traces its beginnings to a strip mall in the 1980s on Wilson Blvd in Arlington, where Victor and Nelida Solano hoped to open a Peruvian rotisserie chicken restaurant.

Opened in 1988, the chain’s standalone Arlington restaurant on N. Kenmore Street was featured on the late Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations” travel show in 2009 and recently got a visit from tennis great Serena Williams, who’s currently competing in her final U.S. Open.

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Inside Capo Deli, which opened in Tysons this summer (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

The Fauci Pouchy has arrived in Tysons.

The first Virginia franchise of D.C.-based Capo Deli is now open for business at 8359B Leesburg Pike in Tysons Square by the Greensboro Metro station, offering fresh Italian subs and cocktail pouches inspired by longtime U.S. health official Dr. Anthony Fauci.

The location has actually been operating since early June, according to Ziad Abulaban, who co-owns the Tysons site with his brother, Mohammed. However, they’ve taken a gradual approach to advertising the opening, starting with an Instagram post on July 11 before making the leap to Facebook on Aug. 17.

No grand opening date has been set yet, as the business works to bolster its staff. Like other restaurants in recent months, Capo Deli Tysons has struggled with hiring, to the point where it temporarily reduced its hours to 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The deli’s two D.C. locations are open until 8 p.m. on weekdays.

“We don’t want to do a grand opening and not be able to keep the Capo standard,” Ziad told FFXnow. “Right now, we’re still in soft opening until we get more employees and get everybody trained. We want to make sure our product is 100%.”

A spin-off of a long-standing Italian deli in Florida, Capo Deli planted its flag in D.C.’s Shaw neighborhood in June 2017 and quickly generated buzz — including from Ziad, who was quoted by Eater DC praising its late-night hours.

Just a few years later, Ziad has gone from patron to franchisee, partnering with the business to expand it into Northern Virginia, where he grew up.

“I loved the sandwiches so much, and there’s not really a good sit-down deli like we have, so we decided to bring it to the Tysons area,” Ziad said.

Despite the build-out taking twice as long as anticipated, thanks to pandemic-related construction and permitting delays, the opening “has been great” so far, Mohammed Abulaban says.

The bread comes fresh every day, and all of the sauces and dressings are made in-house, according to Capo Deli. In addition to hot and cold subs, the menu features salads, pasta dishes, and sweets like tiramisu and cannoli.

The “Fauci Pouchy” cocktails were introduced in spring 2020, as the deli adapted to a world shut down by the COVID-19 pandemic. With some pouches from a liquor provider and an abundance of lemons on hand, Capo Deli’s beverage director concocted a vodka mint lemonade with elderberry and grapefruit.

“It just kind of exploded,” Capo Deli spokesperson Natalie Flynn said. “We had the right product at the right time and right moment. It was very of the moment.”

While Fauci’s plans to retire suggest the drinks may need a rebranding at some point, Capo Deli’s fresh ingredients and old-school “family vibe” — as Ziad describes the atmosphere — are what the Abulabans hope will help the Tysons location replicate the success of its D.C. predecessors.

Mohammed expressed appreciation for the support the deli has already gotten from nearby businesses and the community, which he says has “welcomed us with open arms.”

“We couldn’t have asked for more. We really feel blessed,” he said.

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New District Tacos are coming to Springfield and McLean, the first franchise locations for the regionally-based restaurant.

The Mexican fast-casual eatery, which started as an Arlington taco cart in 2009, will open its first franchise at Old Keene Mill Shopping Center.

The space appears to previously have been a bank. It’s next door to the Pupatella Neopolitan Pizza — another Arlington-based eatery expanding its Northern Virginia footprint — that opened earlier this month.

District Taco at 8432 Old Keene Mill Road is looking to open before the end of the year, a company spokesperson told FFXnow.

Another District Taco franchise location is coming to McLean, but the exact address and time frame for opening are not being shared just yet. The company spokesperson said the paperwork is still being signed, but more details are expected to be finalized within a few weeks.

Once those two locations open, there will be a total of five District Tacos in Fairfax County, which currently has locations in Baileys Crossroads, Tysons, and near the Dunn Loring Metro station.

District Taco began as a food cart, selling breakfast tacos on the streets of Rosslyn in Arlington.

Over the last almost decade and a half, the company has opened more than a dozen brick-and-mortar restaurants in Virginia, D.C., Maryland and Pennslyvania.

The upcoming Springfield and McLean locations are the first steps in the company’s plans to expand further through franchising. They are also looking to add sites further north, in the midwest, and even internationally.

“The sky’s the limit. We want to go everywhere,” co-founder Osiris Hoil told ARLnow earlier this month. “But we gotta take it one taco at a time.”

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