News and notes from Reston (tm).

Friday, April 16, 2010

Crowds at Tall Oaks Shopping Center, Open Thread Just a Sad Excuse to Post This Video Again

"Crowds at Tall Oaks Shopping Center" -- when was the last time you heard someone say that? The Observer newspaper posted this exciting cellular phone photo of folks lining up for the grand opening of Compare Foods at Tall Oaks Shopping Center.

We could have posted an item today about tomorrow's awesome Reston Master Plan community meeting on the fate of the area around the planned Reston Parkway Metro, but then we wouldn't have had an excuse to post this video again.

Sadly, we didn't see this comely lass as we wandered the aisles, looking for canned Yoo-hoo, but it's a good enough excuse to kick off yet another open thread.


  1. The atmosphere especially near the lower priced produce seemed like the extras in some epic motion picture, like maybe the ten commandments in despoiling the Egyptians with the checkout like the crossing of the Red Sea part of the movie. Because no one understandably knew the prices (remember the old Dart Drug where you used to be able to find several prices on the same items)it took eons to get out the door and even then had to push for the listed price over what the cash register gave me. Remember to haggle.

  2. this place has been stocked since early november. Good for you all to buy up the expired goods. I may peruse the store in about 8 weeks if it is still open.

  3. yes, but is our supermercado . . . a place to walk to get milk or drop by on the way home without fighting through the Harris Teeter, TJ, or Giant parking lot. Comidas mas deliciosa

  4. Hey, if you don't have anything better to do on a Friday night, here's a great practical joke for you. Go in and shout "La Migra!" and then count how many people get trampled to death at the doors.

  5. Like Fresh World, this transformed foodería's seafood dept. reeks, the A/C seemed to malfunction, and the lines did not budge. After standing in one line, where the baffled checker held a bag of frozen shrimp in her befuddled hand for orver five minutes, I abandoned my cart and departed. ¿Dónde están estas comidas deliciosas? I doubt I'll be back...

  6. Las Deliciosas? Isn't that in the middle of the Herndon across the street from Town Hall?

  7. Ah, I wondered about that sign on Wiehle Ave ... now I have to decide if it's worth a look.
    (I <3 snarky neighbors ..)

  8. Yoo-hoo in a can! LOL

    I wanna put my Yoo-hoo in Susie De Los Santos' can.

  9. I would like to thank Hudgins and VDoT for the traffic calming measures along Personal Injury Lawyers road. Just last Wednesday on my way to work traveling east on the PIL, I was going 10 mph over in the 35 mph zone. However, the lady in the white Honda behind me was not a happy camper. She must have wanted to go 15 mph over, so she drifted into the suicide lane, sped up to pass and then zippity-doo-dah-ed down the road.

    This is the fourth time in about a month and twice in the last week that I've seen this happen: once passing me, twice on my side of the road and twice coming head-on. Each time this happens, I have to remind myself to chant "Connie, calm down. Remember your blood pressure." instead of "Gawd grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, the courage to change the things I can and the strength to strangle that bastard when I finally get my hands around their throat."

    So, I would like to thank Hudgins and VDoT for the opportunity to practice my self-calming exercises. It has certainly helped me to learn how to remain calm in traffic.

  10. "Connie calm down". I'm gonna remember that


  11. Crowds have thinned out. Tall Oaks could use a coin-operated laundromat to bring in business like Hispanics and BICO.

  12. A coin-operated laundromat? Hmmmm. What's Spanish for, "you have only to glance at my wife's intimate undergarments, and I will be forced to kill you"?

  13. Broke in Charter Oak (BiCO): Soon-to-Be "Amongst the 'Hoods in Colvin Woods"April 18, 2010 at 3:34 PM

    Wow. I just hit up Compare Foods to give them a chance to "wow" me, and they most certainly did (albeit not for good reasons). I'm 100% supportive of any efforts to increase diversity in Reston, but could there at least be a MARGINAL attempt at having EQUAL amounts of signage for both Spanish AND English? People were letting their screaming kids run amok, the staff I interacted with was helpless, the cart corrals in the parking lot were literally overflowing (the cart I decided to grab to do them a favor was shoved on a landscaping median), and I STILL have to go to Giant to pick up MORE groceries (back in the car!) UGH! Great. This is the only "walkable" grocery store to my new neighborhood, too. So much for living a walkable lifestyle in Reston when I'll now just have to further add to our traffic woes.

    Some other questions:

    1.) Did I just miss it, or were there NO gallons of skim milk? I snagged one of the few 1% gallons I could find.

    2.) Why do the cashiers ask for ID if you're using a credit card? It has been my experience, including having worked in the retail industry myself, that if the back of your card has an authorized signature you don't need to demand ID.

    3.) Is "Excuse me" a foreign concept to people at this store? At least when those yuppie soccer moms let their kids plow into me with their shopping carts at the Northpoint Giant they give me a fake apology.

    4.) Was there ANY useful business in that shopping center? Good Lord! I've actually never been to Tall Oaks before, and I can see why. Northpoint has a LOT of businesses I patronize very frequently. Ditto South Lakes. I'm so embarrassed now to tell people I live in Tall Oaks since I didn't realize it was apparently the slum of Reston.

    A Bloom would have been better here. Maybe even a Shopper's. ANYTHING but that place. I will not be returning.

  14. Not only is this the face of diversity, BiCO, but your staring straight into its capacious maw. Well, there's always the grosery store at Lake Anne, but I don't think it compares. That should be a walkable alternative for you.

  15. Tall Oaks used to have a very vibrant economy.

    There was a Giant there that did a roaring trade. (It fell off some when South Lakes Safeway opened up. and died altogether when Northpoint came along.)

    There was a pet store that did quite well until a JustPets opened in Herndon. (which was later killed by PetCo)

    A dog groomer that was always busy.

    There was a chinese restaurant that did ok business. Before that it was the Roman Cave Reston's 1st pizza place that I remember was totally cool as a kid to go to.

    The Bank at tall Oaks did well.

    There was a 7-11 where the lady gym is now. It was a busy 7-11. In fact all of the 7-11's in Reston seemed to do well.

    The Dry cleaners next tot he pet store went chugging along for a good many years.

    Then guess what happened?

    R fucking T god-damn C is what.

    Now Tall Oaks is a under utilized shopping center that cannot attract a decent grocery store. Sad.

    On the bright side BiCO the Pho place is decent. as are the two competing pizza delivery places.

  16. The only business I can BICO opening in the Tall Oaks Shopping Center is an argument clinic like the one in the Monty Python sketch. 9 times out of 10 people select the wrong door and get an earful of complaints from BICO.

  17. Bob Simon's Metallic Alter-EgoApril 18, 2010 at 6:10 PM

    So is El Manitial, which, although a bit on the pricey side, is probably my favorite restaurant in Reston. Mama Wok's is quite good as well. As proof, they've both managed to hang on for the long periods of time when the anchor space was empty after Giant closed and then after the other international place folded and virtually no traffic was coming into Tall Oaks.

  18. "Now Tall Oaks is a under utilized shopping center that cannot attract a decent grocery store. Sad."

    Along the same lines, one has to think that the presence of the Community Center in the best location in Lake Anne is impeding the ability of that plaza to attract a grocery to anchor the site.

  19. Anon 6:13

    In defense of RCC, it is a pretty reliable long term tenant. We all pay its way so we know it is getting money.

    Interestingly enough, the Millenium bank space would make a decent grocery store, but until the "revitalization" is ever complete, no store will touch Lake Anne.

    Another potential problem would be the weekly Farmer's market competing with the Grocery store on Saturdays.

    Whole Foods in Union Square in NYC manages to coexist with the Greenmarket there, so.... take of that what you will.

    But in any case, I along with many others, would LOVE a decent gorcery to open at Lake Anne.

  20. HCKD- if memory serves (and maybe it doesn't) the Millenium Bank space did actually use to house the safeway at lake anne. I'm not sure why it went out of business, to be honest, since there are so many people who live so closeby. Did it go under before or after they put the Giant in at northpoint? I wonder.

    Oh, and someone was asking the other day if Cafesano has wifi- in fact, it does.

  21. Cool, I'll definitely have to hang out at Cafe Sano when I need somewhere to work away from the house (and work of course). Cafe Sano also has coupons for various discounts - you can get on their email list either via their website or filling in one of their forms in the store.

    Switching topics, BiCO, I think I know now why you seem perpetually pissed at everyone in Reston. If you drink skim milk, my theory is that you are trying to avoid fat in general. Here's just one study which seems to indicate that making reductions in fat consumption can significantly (negatively) effect one's mood:

    So BiCO, if this is you, maybe you want to go up to 1% permanently, or even, gasp, WHOLE milk!

    Also, I'm still confused about the whole move you are intending. Again, maybe I missed the explanation in one of these threads, but the last I remember you were planning to move to either Warrenton or Balston. Now you are moving to an area in Reston that you are ALREADY complaining about even before you move there. Since you haven't moved yet, maybe you could actually, say, opt to move somewhere else where you might actually have decent access to shopping without driving, if that is a priority to you? But I'm beginning to really believe that your biggest priority is to move to a place that you'll have plenty to complain about!

  22. In the early nineties, Fresh Valu occupied the space currently taken by the first three storefronts on the left as you enter the plaza. The Millenium Bank used to house a branch of the United Virginia Bank (now BB&T).

  23. HCKD said...
    Anon 6:13

    In defense of RCC, it is a pretty reliable long term tenant. We all pay its way so we know it is getting money.

    We are actually paying half (over twenty years)(not allowing for inflation) of what Simon got for Carnegie Hall for the Lake Ann Annex of RCC to Simon. In addition are we are paying rent there?

  24. HKCD, I don't much care for RTC (Or should that be RfTgdC?) myself, but I don't think it drove the nail in Tall Oaks coffin either. These two shopping meccas cover different market niches. Note that Tall Oaks anchor has always been a grocery store where as the Blasphemy on the W&OD has never had one, nor does it have a pet store, a pet groomer, a (non-gourmet) pizza place, a dry cleaner or a 7-11.

    I want to say that South Lakes and North Point shopping centers sucked off the Tall Oaks business, but I don't really understand why. I guess the big question is, why would folks who live in that area go to more distant areas that offer pretty much the same stock and prices. Sure, the Giant may have been a little smaller, but it wasn't significantly so.

    My sister used to work at Pizza Cave. Those leopard print mini-dresses and go-go boot outfits were cute. Every time I saw my sister when she was dressed for work, I couldn't help but think of Wilma Flintstone and Betty Rubble.

  25. BTW, it happened again this morning. A red mustang with Va plate JPB-1596 muscled its way around me in the suicide lane while I was still accelerating, having just turned left from Soapstone onto PIL.

    Sigh. There's never a cop around when you need one...

    1. Same just happened to me this morning at Fox Mill Shopping Center, why can't the police find and stop this clown....

  26. Peasant From Less Sought After South RestonApril 19, 2010 at 11:24 AM


    I strongly suggest you phone in a report to the non-emergency line (703-691-2131) of the Fairfax County Police about what happened to you on Lawyers this morning. It's especially appropriate/important because you got the license plate number and car description. I'm not sure how the police follow up. They can't give a ticket because they didn't witness it themselves, but they might follow up with a letter to the offending motorist that at least puts him on notice. You used to be able to make a report about incidents like this through an on-line form, but that reporting mechanism was abolished due to budget cuts.

    Funny, after reading your post of April 17 about the same thing happening to you with a white Honda, I was thinking it had yet to happen to me. Well, of course, yesterday as I was on Lawyers approaching Soapstone from the west, some moron in a sports car used the turn lane to pass not only me but the car in front of me. I guess that was because the car in front of me had the temerity to be going at or just below the speed limit. As you say, there's never a cop around when you need one.

  27. Convict, Please, Please report this, as the Peasant suggests. I used to live along that stretch of Lawyers, and the reason for the 35 mph speed limit there is that the people who live along that stretch have a limited view of Lawyers when they turn onto it. I used to live off of Staley, and I can't even tell you the number of times I was almost hit by some idiot doing 50+, because there was no way for me to see him in time (I was actually run off the road and into a ditch once.) There have been many, many fatalities along this stretch for just this reason.

    You would be doing a huge favor to the people who live there if you report this to the police.

  28. Greater Greater Washington is reporting that, according to the draft budget that the Board of Supervisors have now negotiated, Fairfax Connector service will not be cut after all. Yahoo!

  29. BiCO wrote: Was there ANY useful business in that shopping center?

    Yes - please try Mama Wok!

    Great Chinese food!

  30. I'll second BSMAE's opinion of El Manantial. Great restaurant. Reston's little hidden secret. The vegetarian paella is killer, and they have a great wine list.

    Had an encounter with the crazy commuting Russian tonight. I had the honor of him sneaking behind me through the Metro exit gate on my dime. I hate when people do that, but I had to smile this time, because he was very clumsy about it, but pulled it off. He had like five bags along with this rolling suitcase. Talked on his cellphone most of the time, and spent the rest with headphones on. A grifter?

  31. The space is too small for a Bloom.

    T.J. would have been a good choice but they already have a spot . . . it has to be a specialty store that will attract people.

    It is a supermercado . . . plain and simple. clean,fresh smelling, smaller fish market than Fresh World (that's why it smells nicer) but still very good choices. Some specialties will be strange to those who have not lived in other countries but still a place to stop for milk and eggs.

    My daughter's mango and my white coconut were excellent.

    Everyone, please forgive their grand opening confusion, I found it quite friendly and efficient when I went without the smash of initial crowds.

  32. I wish more retailers would ask for ID when customers present credit cards. I love the fact that there's a supermarket in that space. The produce section is nice. I did try for two days in a row for skim milk, but no luck. Was told that they just haven't gotten it in yet.

    Maybe if El Pollo Campero opened up in the drive-through fast food place, it would liven things up. I've been to Mama Wok, Pho Reston 75, and have gotten pizza from there. El Manatial (sp?) is on my list of places to try, since I've heard people just rave about it.

    I bet Harris Teeter, et. al., also sucked off some of the business from Tall Oaks.

  33. Wow..lots of geriatrics driving on Lawyers. If you need your local LEO's, they will be hanging out on the Wiehle bridge and Sunrise Valley Drive issuing tickets in the 35mph zone..easy pickings.

    Don;t bother the local police with your irate citizen's call. But do crawl on over to El Manantial - their tapas are killer.

  34. Peasant From Less Sought After South RestonApril 20, 2010 at 8:02 PM

    Anon 2:59:

    Not sure what's up with that "geriatrics driving on Lawyers" comment, but I can tell you the road is dangerous enough even without the me-firsters on it.

    On January 1, 2000, (a date easy to remember) a teen-aged girl was killed at the intersection of Lawyers and Myrtle when she exited Myrtle and was broadsided by a car coming down Lawyers. About four or five years later a motorcyclist heading west on Lawyers was killed when he and a car pulling out of Pinoak collided.

    I once asked the cops pulling over speeders on Soapstone about 150 yards down from Lawyers why they didn't try to get the speeders on Lawyers itself. "It's too difficult to do that there", was the response.

  35. Peasant, they actually do set up speed traps at the intersection of lawyers/staley from time to time. I wish they'd do it more often. It's a very dangerous stretch of road. And that doesn't even include the stretch west of the Catholic church, where over the years I have seen more than a few cars upside down in the roadway because they took that big curve too fast.

  36. I don't know where all those speeding cars are on Lawyers Rd. I constantly find myself stuck behind some bozo driving at about 25mph when the speed limit clearly is 40mph on the stretch from Soapstone to Reston Parkway. Slowpokes inevitably lead to passing in the middle lane.

  37. Don't blame it on the slowpokes. Even at 25 mph, they're still within the legal speed limit. The lawbreakers are the idiots passing in the middle lane.

  38. I have seen a speed trap on PI Lawyers Road exactly once in 30 years. There is no safe place to pull over a revenue source ('scuse me, miscreant.) Even with the bike lanes.

    It is not that I am unobservent. I spotted two traps on my 6-mile commute this AM: Soapstone between Glade and Lawyers, and Reston Parkway (rolling.)

    I mourn the 4-lane and 45 MPH speed limit. It was the only place in my 6 miles I could actually use 5th gear.

    Connie, sometimes there is a reason people can't wait to drive as slow as the slowest. I don't begrudge passers in the suicide lane. While I admit, most are just bungholes, sometimes there is an emergency.