News and notes from Reston (tm).

Friday, January 14, 2011

Macaroni Grill, We Hardly Knew You: Lerner Submits Plans for Spectrum Center

no grill.jpg
We knew this day would come someday, but we kept hoping against hope! Last month, Lerner Enterprises submitted plans for its long-anticipated redevelopment of the Spectrum Center, and as we can all painfully see, the Macaroni Grill seems to have been swallowed whole by some giant, distinctly non-Macaroni Grill structure.

According to the Fairfax Newsletter, a land development newsletter printed on green paper (we subscribe for the Jumble puzzle on the back cover), Lerner has submitted detailed plans for the redevelopment of the big box retail shlockfest that county officials approved way back in 2008. Lerner filed a subsequent lawsuit last spring over some complicated back-and-forth about density requirements, but it's not clear if these new plans reflect the outcome of that case, which a cursory Google search our team of legal analysts were unable to determine.

Divided into three sections, the proposed development includes more than 1,400 residential units, 255 hotel rooms, 172,000 square feet of office space, and more than 245,000 square feet of retail space spread across a number of buildings ranging from 120 to 180 feet tall, according to the newsletter. Open space has been incorporated into the proposal, particularly in the section closest to the existing Town Center, but the biggest chunk of open space we see is the parking lot around an existing office building next to Reston Parkway, which isn't part of the Lerner proposal.

The broad strokes of the proposal aren't new, and look pretty much like what the county signed off on nearly two years ago. And just about anything would be an improvement over the big box grandeur of the existing Spectrum Center. But it is with a heavy heart that we move the hands of the Macaroni Grill Doomsday Clock a minute closer to midnight:

new mg clock.jpeg


  1. Ok...

    Time to plan this thing before it is too late. How many Restonians want to meet up wearing name tags that say Anon for some moderately priced domestic beer and of course all-we-can-stuff-our-faces bread sticks?


  2. Hey, what about Popeye's?

    I hear that JBG may be saving Peasant's favorite eatery after all.

  3. HCKD

    Only if you buy the chianti and Peasant brings the fava beans

    Love serving man,

    Hannibal Lecker

  4. Peasant From Less Sought After South RestonJanuary 14, 2011 at 5:03 PM

    Hickory: count me in!

    Anon 4:54: where did you get that idea? Sheesh!

    Anon 5:01: but who's bringing the liver?

  5. Any timeline to these changes?

  6. Get RID of that hideous eyesore Popeye's! That place is a dump and needs to go!

    Long live Macaroni Grill -- the BEST food by far!

  7. I loved Macaroni Grill when my kids were little because no matter how loud they were, no one could hear them over the noise level in there. And, they could color on the tables to their heart's content.

    Since they outgrew that phase . . . well, I don't think we've been back there since the youngest was about 5 and old enough to take out to the car for a "discussion" if he didn't behave in a nice restaurant.

    So I guess I won't miss it.

  8. What is restonian going to do when they get rid of the macaroni grill? Atleast 80% of his lame material involves that place.

  9. Peasant From Less Sought After South RestonJanuary 16, 2011 at 12:36 PM

    Anon 7:38 -

    Simple. Restonian will find another Awesome Mid-Scale Chain Dining Option to write about.

    And it's only about 5-10 percent of his material that involves the Macaroni Grill.

    The real victim of the Grill's demise will be Hickory Cluster Knuckle Duster, since it's unclear what menu offerings he'll then be able to tell people to stuff their fat faces with!

  10. I guess HKCD will have to run with AYCE croissants and fromage from La Madeline.

    Restonian has already starting stalking his next victim: The Cheesecake Factory. I don't want to sound like a peasant (Sorry, Peasant), but I'll take a Macaroni Grill over a Cheesecake Factory any day of the week.

    And if any of you numnuts out there think that this development thingie is going to come together the way you want, you should probably think again. About the only thing that We The People have any control over is Zoning. After that, it's pretty much up to the developer to put up what they want. In spite of your best efforts, this thing is just going to get cobbled together the same way that the AWOD (aka RTC) and the Spectrum Center make an architecturally harmonious fit.

  11. I, for one, love the Spectrum center. I like to take the kids there for the B Daltons, while I sneak off to the Best Buy to look at tech stuff. Then we top it off with a trip to La Madeleine or Macaroni Grill.

    I guess we will have to replace that with taking the kids to the Target and the Y, and eating a bite at Carrabbas. It may be heresy, but the Carrabbas food it a bit better than the old Mac.

  12. But you have to walk through Targetville to get to the Y and there's the damn emu running around and now coyotes? Here in Reston?

    Geez---I will take my Mac Grille any day! All I have to do is cross Reston Parkway, on foot...

    Better stay home and order in!

  13. I hope they don't get rid of Barnes N Nobles and Best Buy. I even enjoy that overpriced ceaser salad which is apparently French at La Madaline.


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