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Isabella Eatery, Mike Isabella Lends his Name to a 41,000-Square-Foot Eatery at Tysons Galleria

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On 2/12/2016 at 3:20 PM, DPop said:

My (not-so-bold) prediction for this little venture; it starts off with fanfare and pretty good food, although plenty of service and other glitches.  Isabella is there to show face initially, shake hands, etc, and is never seen at the place after month 1 of operation.  The food steadily declines for the next year, after which time the parties involve "mutually agree" to remove Mike's name from the venture, which won't matter because the damage to his reputation will have been done (see "Todd Gray's Watershed" for proof point). Another uneventful year or two goes by with the occasional horror story about crummy food and worse service until the space closes altogether and gets repurposed into something else.

I'll be back in 2018 to check on this and will be shocked if 80% of what I wrote above did not come true.

On 8/10/2018 at 10:21 AM, Tweaked said:

What do I get?  A medal?  A cookie?

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12 minutes ago, DPop said:

What do I get?  A medal?  A cookie?

You get a Brownie Button.

(Or, if you must, a Girl Scout Cookie.)

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54 minutes ago, lion said:

What would work in the space? 

Oi.   I started working in that field in the early 1980’s.  Worked on the initial lease up of Georgetown Park.  Listened to many experts discuss how to spread and diversify traffic to all the levels of a mall.  Have seen the same problem reoccur in other properties around the nation.  

If there was an obvious or easy answer it would have been attempted years ago.  What occasionally works in some locations won’t work elsewhere (different market conditions).

Whereas there is no guaranteed solution sometimes you take shots at things—- such as a first of its kind “name” food emporium.   Doesn’t seem to be working- eh?

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15 minutes ago, DaveO said:

Oi.   I started working in that field in the early 1980’s.  Worked on the initial lease up of Georgetown Park.  Listened to many experts discuss how to spread and diversify traffic to all the levels of a mall.  Have seen the same problem reoccur in other properties around the nation.  

If there was an obvious or easy answer it would have been attempted years ago.  What occasionally works in some locations won’t work elsewhere (different market conditions).  

Whereas there is no guaranteed solution sometimes you take shots at things—- such as a first of its kind “name” food emporium.   Doesn’t seem to be working- eh?

The Legal Seafood at the Galleria always seems to have a good crowd and there typically is a line at Paul throughout the day.  The Lebanese Taverna appears bustling as well.

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2 minutes ago, Kev29 said:

A 41000 sq ft Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A's best days are behind it - they changed their recipe, and it's no longer what it once was. It will take a few years for people to pick up on that, but it's just not the same. Twenty years ago, Chick-fil-A was *special*, like In-n-Out Burger special (which is also no longer special), but it was *great*; now, it's really pretty mediocre. 

I should correct this: It's best *financial* days are ahead of it, but they won't last forever, as a decline in quality is a leading indicator of a decline in finances.

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11 minutes ago, dcs said:

The Legal Seafood at the Galleria always seems to have a good crowd and there typically is a line at Paul throughout the day.  The Lebanese Taverna appears bustling as well.

All first level which is where the traffic walks in.   Getting folks upstairs is always the issue

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Agree with the issue about the location upstairs.  It almost feels like that needs to be either a furniture store or a big box restaurant like the PF Changs or Maggiano's a level below.  And even then, I think whatever goes there will struggle a bit, although I say that and Wildfire is always pretty crowded when I go.

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5 minutes ago, DaveO said:

All first level which is where the traffic walks in.   Getting folks upstairs is always the issue

I have never been inside, but Wildfire on the third level seems to do just fine.

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1 minute ago, dcs said:

I have never been inside, but Wildfire on the third level seems to do just fine.

Neither have I.  There are exceptions.  It’s an overall problem.  Top floor of Mazza Gallerie— a problem over the decades.  

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Put all the kiddie stuff up there and then have ancillary shops with things that the parents can grab in a hurry for themselves, or make it the teen gathering area

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2 hours ago, DPop said:

Agree with the issue about the location upstairs.  It almost feels like that needs to be either a furniture store or a big box restaurant like the PF Changs or Maggiano's a level below.  And even then, I think whatever goes there will struggle a bit, although I say that and Wildfire is always pretty crowded when I go.

This raises another good point. For a mall that has many -- not just a few, but many -- of the finest, most recognizable names in fashion/retail in the WORLD, the eateries are remarkably pedestrian. Anyone got a theory about that? Corner Bakery, Legal, Maggiano's... it's as if the restaurants are a completely separate entity, aimed at the white-collar drones in the neighboring office buildings, that was grafted onto the Galleria's retail.

Are malls simply not conducive to higher-end dining?

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3 hours ago, dcs said:

I have never been inside, but Wildfire on the third level seems to do just fine.

While I've never seen Wildfire "busy" in the dining room, they seem to do a decent happy hour with local office workers.  It may be a little more approachable than the Palm or Capital Grille.  I just go in on a monthly basis when I'm next door at the Grooming Lounge (and I don't seem to be alone there).

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1 hour ago, Bob Wells said:

This raises another good point. For a mall that has many -- not just a few, but many -- of the finest, most recognizable names in fashion/retail in the WORLD, the eateries are remarkably pedestrian. Anyone got a theory about that? Corner Bakery, Legal, Maggiano's... it's as if the restaurants are a completely separate entity, aimed at the white-collar drones in the neighboring office buildings, that was grafted onto the Galleria's retail.

Are malls simply not conducive to higher-end dining?

I mostly agree, but I won't lump Lebanese Taverna in with that crowd. The Tysons Galleria outpost is one of the best of the Lebanese Tavernas, along with the expanded original on Washington Blvd in Arlington. And footsteps away is the dependable Paul Bakery, one of the better coffee shops in Tysons.

Other than those two, you are right. You even missed Cheesecake Factory.

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28 minutes ago, Kibbee Nayee said:

I mostly agree, but I won't lump Lebanese Taverna in with that crowd. The Tysons Galleria outpost is one of the best of the Lebanese Tavernas, along with the expanded original on Washington Blvd in Arlington. And footsteps away is the dependable Paul Bakery, one of the better coffee shops in Tysons.

Other than those two, you are right. You even missed Cheesecake Factory.

Yes, did not mean to lump Leb Tav in with the mediocrities. Definitely include CcF, though. It's ok, and not a bad value since you get three meals from each entree (or you should). But this is the Galleria, not a "value shopping" destination. And personally I kinda like TCB, but it's miles downscale from the stores at the Galleria. Paul is pretty good and fits pretty well at the Galleria, but I'm a Maison Kayser fan!

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On 8/16/2018 at 1:48 PM, Bob Wells said:

This raises another good point. For a mall that has many -- not just a few, but many -- of the finest, most recognizable names in fashion/retail in the WORLD, the eateries are remarkably pedestrian. Anyone got a theory about that? Corner Bakery, Legal, Maggiano's... it's as if the restaurants are a completely separate entity, aimed at the white-collar drones in the neighboring office buildings, that was grafted onto the Galleria's retail.

Are malls simply not conducive to higher-end dining?

The Galleria even used to have a Ruby Tuesday's.

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On ‎8‎/‎16‎/‎2018 at 11:17 AM, weezy said:

Put all the kiddie stuff up there and then have ancillary shops with things that the parents can grab in a hurry for themselves, or make it the teen gathering area

Teens don't go to the Galleria; there's nothing there they can afford.

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25 minutes ago, kgottwald said:

Teens don't go to the Galleria; there's nothing there they can afford.

That has been the case since it's inception. 

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On 8/18/2018 at 9:30 AM, lion said:

That has been the case since it's inception. 

I can't speak to the teen population, but the SweetGreen is jam-packed at lunch; largely 20s crowd.  

While I'm off topic, though there is no Nordstrom Cafe at Galleria, I recall seeing some sort of cafe in the Neiman Marcus (as I was walking through, of course).

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On 8/13/2018 at 8:17 PM, Keithstg said:

Taking the thread back to the original discussion, the Isabella eatery was at most half open today - Yona and Arroz were closed, as was the bar. Seems like Requin was doing ok business, but entire place was less than 1/2 full. 

The last hold out on that side of the Eatery, Kapnos Market, was closed and roped off today a little past noon.  They were open and serving take out last week.  That whole side also appeared closed to seating with hopeful signs directing people to Graffiato (which itself was sparsely populated at the noon hour).

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