News and notes from Reston (tm).

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Clydespocalypse Now: Reston's Nautical Themed Ur-Chain Eatery Departs RTC After Three Decades, But Sinking Feeling Persists

V. v. sad news for fans of midscale chain dining and nautical-themed knickknacks: Clyde's of Reston is departing Reston Town Center after more than three decades--literally almost since RTC was first envisioned as a more tree-lined version of Tysons. Give us some semaphore-themed blockquote, BFFs at the Washington Business Journal:
The current Reston outpost of Clyde's Restaurant Group will close May 21, affecting 73 employees. But Clyde's Restaurant Group, a subsidiary of Graham Holdings Co. (NYSE: GHC), plans to retain and relocate its Reston staff to other locations in the region, including its Broadlands and Mark Center restaurants.
"We came to a termination of the lease and an amicable parting with the property owner. Boston Properties has been a good landlord," said Jeff Owens, chief financial and corporate development officer at the D.C.-based restaurant group. "We are still very much excited about the Reston area, because we have a lot of regular customers out there." 
The Reston location, which opened in 1991, wasn't the first Clyde's. That distinction goes to the original Clyde's in Georgetown, which opened in 1963. But the restaurant brand was among the first tenants to sign on at Reston Town Center, and Owens said it has developed a loyal, multigenerational customer base there over the years.
It was a fairly big deal when Clyde's opened in our plastic fantastic fake downtown back at the dawn of the the Naugahyde Nineties. It was a sign that Reston could be as hip and urbane as nearby Tyson's Corner, which at the time also had a Clyde's, which in turn was a sign that that particular shopping mall and office park amalgamation could be as hip as (checks notes) Georgetown... which, in the kind of irony only filthy "web loggers" can appreciate, wound up going through the Commercial Real Estate Singularity and wound up with the same bland midscale chain emporia as both Tysons and RTC.

Suffice it to say it's been a long day for RTC's paid Facebook commenters elite crisis management team, who have a well-rehearsed script when people mention past public relations kerfluffles that may have contributed to the many departures over the past few years -- that the community has "moved on" from the whole paid parking debacle. And sure, we love a confusing app and/or kiosk you have to use to get "free" parking during the day as much as anyone else, and sure, we think COVID probably has as much to do with restaurants struggling as their landlords at this point, but this will be a big loss for what the aforementioned crisis managers would call RTC's "elite" "brand". As awkward announcements go, this is almost as bad as when fellow Georgetown/Tysons/RTC fav Banana Republic closed its RTC location last month as part of a nationwide push to eliminate stores in places with "low foot traffic."

And while Clyde's had nothing but good things to say about Boston Properties in their statement, sometimes actions speak louder than words:
The company is considering opening another location in the Greater Reston area. “We are very excited about the growth and development activity in the area and are eager to share some big news soon,” Jeff Owens, CRG’s chief financial and corporate development officer, said.

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