Tequila Grande replaced by new multi-use complex

Sophia Brown, Lifestyle Editor

The iconic corner restaurant Tequila Grande has been demolished, and a four-story residential and retail complex is set to go up in its place. 

Tequila Grande has been at 444 Maple Ave. for the past 36 years, run by owner and chef Renu Prakash and her husband. The location has now moved to 10443 White Granite Drive in Oakton, formerly a Bob Evans restaurant, and has been renamed Mama Tigre. 

The town council initially approved the construction in 2018, causing waves of controversy and complaints from Vienna residents. Hundreds of Vienna residents voiced their concerns about the validity of traffic studies paid for by the developer.

The developer stated that the traffic concerns have been addressed, and that various traffic improvements were made to make the project more palatable.This includes extending turn lanes on Nutley Street and Maple Avenue, widening the Maple Avenue exit to allow right and left turn lanes, pedestrian and bus stop improvements, and shuttles to the Metro. 

Many residents, however, feel the development is too out-of-character and large-scale for the small town nature of Vienna. 

“If we’re going to have a project there, this one is not ready for primetime,” Councilmember Howard Springsteen said at the August town council meeting. “I think the developer has done a horrible [public relations] job and has created a firestorm of concerns around town. This is probably one of the most divisive things that has come to this town in 20 years.”

Despite the criticism from locals, the construction has prevailed thanks to the agreement from the Vienna Town Council. All buildings on 444 Maple Ave. are set to be torn down by the end of March. 

“After that, we’ll start construction sometime in late spring, early summer,” Senior Vice President of acquisition and development for 444 Maple Developer Hekemian & Co. Inc. Chris Bell told the Tysons Reporter.

The overall timeline of the construction is unclear, but Bell says a project of this magnitude generally takes 18-20 months to build. We will all have to wait to see how the design will manifest itself, as its anticipated completion is scheduled for the end of the 2023 calendar year.