The owners of the Kingstowne Shopping Center have applied for permission open a new drive-thru Chick-fil-A in the space formerly occupied by Fiona’s Irish Pub.
The shopping center, which would be renting its space to Chick-fil-A, put in its paperwork with the county last week to open the new location at 5810 Kingstowne Center (see map). The space has been empty since Fiona’s closed last spring.
The new Chick-fil-A, which still needs to get approval from the Fairfax County Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors, would be 58,000 square feet with approximately 110 indoor seats. It would feature an indoor play area, 32 outdoor seats and a dual station drive-thru.
“Infusing this particular tenant, known nationwide for their commitment to customer service, will be a tremendous benefit to the viability of the shopping center and to Kingstowne in general,” the shopping center’s application states.
The former Fiona’s site is one of two sites in the Kingstowne area that Chick-fil-A had scouted, according to the application. The company had also looked at the corner of Kingstowne Boulevard and Kingstowne Village Parkway, but after meetings with the Kingstowne community and Kingstowne Residential Owner’s Corporation, it decided on the Fiona’s spot.
Right now the closest Chick-fil-A to Kingstowne in on Backlick Road in Springfield, which is notoriously crowed and subject to extremely long drive-thru lines. The application references that situation, saying a new Chick-fil-A will “alleviate the pressure” on that location.
“The addition of the proposed use will bring a much sought-after business to the Kingstowne area, and help alleviate the pressure on the only other Chick-fil-a nearby at the Backlick Shopping Center,” the application states.
Chick-fil-A’s expansion in southeast Fairfax is likely to continue beyond Kingstowne. The chain has long eyed opening a new location in the Richmond Highway corridor, scouting various locations from Huntington to Hybla Valley.
Most recently representatives from the restaurant were looking at a spot on Route 1 in Gum Springs, and met with community members in November 2019 to go over the proposal. However no application has been put in to the county yet.
Chick-fil-A estimates the Kingstowne location will have 75 employees, with 10-15 working during the busiest hours. The location will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Chick-fil-A expects about 500 patrons will visit the restaurant daily, and another 800 will use the drive-thru each day.
County planning staff is now reviewing the Chick-fil-A application. Eventually the staff will release a report either recommending or not recommending the application move forward. Once that happens, the Planning Commission will hold a public hearing and make their recommendation, after which the Board of Supervisors will hold their own hearing and final vote.