Tucked away from the main thoroughfare of Route 123 on the west side of Tysons, two new restaurants which are opening without major fanfare, are showing there is life outside of the new high-rises climbing the Tysons skyline.
Over the past few months the small retail property located near the intersection of Old Courthouse Road and Howard Avenue has been undergoing a small scale renovation. That very small construction project, which was not likely on anyone’s radar, has finished and resulted in a couple new restaurants, Levant and Crust Pizza, moving in.
While the property is by most metrics just a strip mall, it’s location is important to growing walkability organically in a town often plagued by mega-solutions. Being close to otherwise residential and office zoning means a new mix of food options for office workers and residents within walking distance.
By itself the minor modification to the existing building and the new restaurant tenants is no major step forward for Tysons, but it is a critical step. Without this type of small scale redevelopment activity Tysons would be doomed to an unhealthy future that some would typify as “Disney World” planning where changes are calculated and inorganically achieved.
What will ultimately be key to Tysons being successful is dozens, if not hundreds, of similarly sized projects that infill existing developed regions of town and create a more well rounded neighborhood and community. It also helps build more business community urgency for walkable improvements to sidewalks and crosswalks as, in this case, major impediments like the intersection of Old Courthouse and Route 123 can keep potential customers from finding these near by restaurants.
I haven’t been to Levant yet, and Crust is yet to open, but I look forward to checking out the food there soon.