After More Than Two Decades in Fairfax, Carlos O'Kelly's Closes its Doors
The building has been rented by Herndon-based Piero's Corner.
Carlos O’Kelly’s is expected to close its doors by March.
Gian Piero, who owns Piero’s Corner in Herndon, said he hopes to open another branch of his Italian restaurant by April or May. He said he signed the lease to move into the building at 9959 Main Street in December.
The manager of Carlos O’Kelly’s referred questions about its closing to its parent company, which did not return calls for comment.
Longtime customer and former employee Mike Swinney said he was sorry to see the old Mexican joint go. He was one of the first hired in 1984. Swinney worked as a busboy and helped assemble the furniture that is still in the dining room. On graduation night, he and his friends partied at the bar.
Carlos O’Kelly’s is an Iowa-based company first launched by a couple of Irish guys in 1981 who wanted to open a Southwest-style restaurant. There are now 46 locations in 10 states, including the one in Fairfax City.
“I hope the neighborhood will welcome a new restaurant, a new concept,” Piero said.
Piero’s Corner is a moderately-priced Italian restaurant offering entrees and coal-fired pizzas for between $11 and $20. Piero said he will open as soon as the building undergoes some renovations.
“We have been paying visits to the site, we’ve applied for permits, it’s going to happen quick,” Piero said.
He also has plans to employ members of the Carlos O’Kelly's staff.
“We are very excited,” Piero said. “It’s good for the neighborhood, it’s good for the employees, but it’s also good for us so we can expand our brand.”