News and notes from Reston (tm).

Friday, October 11, 2013

Goodbye Local Watering Hole, Hello Chain Drinkery: The Midscale Chaining of Reston Continues

moe-homer-barney-at-bar-E1968_sml.JPGA South Reston institution, if a "bar serving somewhat mediocre food" can be considered an "institution," is closing its doors this month. The Lakeside Inn will leave its decades-old perch at South Lakes Village Center after -- everyone together now, folks -- it could not come to an agreement on lease terms with the property owner. The end of many a locally owned business comes to this, and we're sure Chipoltes Junior or Macaroni Grill Express will reduce its corporately mandated pieces-of-faux-antique-flair-per-square-foot ratio to accommodate the inconvenient lake views.

flamingmoes9_thumb.pngBut fear not! Just a increasingly traffic-clogged short drive across the Toll Road, another good-time drinkery is opening in yet another Reston village center! Glory Days, a "regional chain," is taking the long-vacant Blockbuster Video spot at North Point. It already has a location at Fox Mill and "each location has more than 25 TVs for maximum sports viewing," our BFFs at Patch tell us. Huzzah!

Our BFFs at Patch also tell us that Reston residents have mixed emotions about Lakeside closing. We are here to bury it, not praise it, but it does stink that shopping centers seem to push out locally owned businesses (and some well-loved, not-so-local ones) any chance they can get.

Also, the e-mail jokes Lakeside sent every week were pretty awesome. Here's an example:

An elderly man was stopped by the police around 2 a.m and was asked where he was going at that time of night.

The man replied, "I'm on my way to a lecture about alcohol abuse and the effects it has on the human body, as well as smoking and staying out late."

The officer then asked, "Really? Who's giving that lecture at this time of night?"

The man replied, "That would be my wife."
Ha ha ha ha ha ha. Something tells us you won't find jokes like these on the back of the newsprint Macaroni Grill kids menu, the end.


  1. Recall that just a few years ago, there was ample space available in South Lakes Center, that was seen as difficult to fill. Several different property management/leasing companies each took a shot a trying to fill that space in the years following the 2001 recession. This slower market gave local businesses, such as Footsteps, some breathing room because their rents were likely discounted just to keep the remaining space filled. But those days are gone, as landlords now search for "credit tenants"( generally regional or national chains with the capital or borrowing ability to expand), to occupy space. With the exception of the offset entry way, the Lakeside Inn location is a great space, let's hope that something halfway decent gets shoehorned in there.

  2. Excellent analysis, Another Anonymous. But are the commercial landlords overly optimistic about the local economy? The metro line might help, but with new retail and dining at the metro station coming, can South Lakes afford to lean on tenants? Short-term, the answer must be "yes," but the next 18 months might bring more vacancies for local retail, not unlike our excess commercial office space.

    1. I predict that there may be more retail vacancies overall in Reston, not fewer, when the Silver Line is operating. Any new retail space that is built contingent on the Metro,may never be completely filled. Overbuilt, period. I also predict that the Lake Anne Plaza redevelopment will never be completely saved from itself. Access, traffic circulation and parking (as well as the older part of that retail center) will remain problems in search of solutions. Local planners want to dramatically increase residential densities everywhere in order to compensate. Who knows? The Mighty Oz has spoken, but remains clueless.

  3. Peasant From Less Sought After South RestonOctober 13, 2013 at 3:37 PM

    Both of you Anonymous make very good points about the economics involved.

    As for the Lakeside Inn itself...Mrs. Peasant and I normally dined there about three or four times a year. As long as you stuck to the basics like burgers, ribs, and fajitas, you could eat quite well, but I'd take a pass on anything more ambitious than that. The downside was that, other than the great view out to Lake Thoreau, the ambience was rather dingy and down at the heels. Before Virginia outlawed smoking inside restaurants, moreover, you also had to pass a veritable curtain of cigarette smoke from the bar to get to the dining section.

    I share the hope that we won't get in its place some boring midscale chain restaurant (TGIF, anyone?) on the one hand, or on the other hand some uber-hip and edgy/trendy place that's better in Reston Town Center. That may be a tall order to fill. But Cafesano is certainly a step up from what used to be in that space, so maybe some happy medium similar to it can be found.

  4. Here's hoping Peasant.

    There are a few Reston beaneries worthy of repeat visits:
    Lake Anne Cafe Montmartre
    Tall Oaks El Manniteal
    Town Center Passion Fish
    Fox Mill Lucias
    South Lakes Please, get us something?

    1. Don't forget Mama Wok's at Tall Oaks... Whoa, Tall Oaks must be hopping... ;)

      Any guesses as to what will populate the giant hole in the wall there and when?

  5. I doubt the Silver Line station at Wiehle will have any real effect on traffic at SL Shopping Center except for those people willing to bike or use a bikeshare bike when they arrive. It's not within walking distance of the station and the parking lot is a nightmare on a good day. I too hope the successor to that space is innovative and local. That's one of the main things Cafesano has going for them.

  6. Instead of an eatery, that spot should be used as a reception room and observation deck for a Viking boat burial service on Lake Thoreau. Only then will anybody truly be able to go from cradle to grave solely within the confines of Reston.

  7. Of course you know these complaints are First World Problems. After living in the other part of Reston (its suburbs) for 35 years, I moved to Las Vegas where there are restaurants everywhere. Some chain franchises, yes, but others local. Of course the Casino Hotels rule with cheap eats (or expensive ones, if you won something or want to feel rich for awhile.)

    1. GeorgeW6 is right, of course. Goes without saying. Am I sad that South Lakes loses another restaurant? Um, not really, I think I last ate there in 2003. Do I care what replaces it? Not so much. Change happens. We live in the burbs, after all. where developers go batshit crazy to make a buck. Eventually, I'm blowing this pop stand called Reston, especially if the planning process perpetrated by county planners and their developer friends gets implemented.

  8. I'll actually miss the place. I wasn't a bar regular -- far from it -- but like someone upthread mentioned, if you stuck to the standard fare, it was a decent place (especially after the menu rework about two years ago). It was affordable, the waitstaff were pleasant and kind to us and our young child, and they always had our drinks waiting when we came in.

    I sincerely hope that something local and affordable comes into the place. Families need a restaurant where they can sit down and grab dinner that isn't Crapplebees or another chain and there's nothing wrong with having a "local" in the area.

  9. This place was awful. Thank God it's gone!


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