(Correction: City of Falls Church only owns the land the old post office sits on, not the lot Anthony's sits on. City Manager Wyatt Shields said the landlord who owns the building the restaurants sits at, plans to sell his property to the developer buying the land from the city."
When Anthony Akis opened his restaurant in May of 1972, he just wanted to have a place families could come and have a meal.
Now, 40 years later, some of those same families still mosey into Anthony’s for a meal, and those little kids that came in with mom and dad are now coming in with children of their own.
But since the City of Falls Church’s Economic Development Authority has agreed to sell the land the old post office sits on and the owner of the building Anthony’s is in plans on selling his land to the developer, Akis’ future in the city is not looking good.
“We’d like to stay within the city if we can,” Akis said. “Some people are trying to get signatures on a petition.”
On Oct. 9 the EDA agreed to sell the 1.3 acres to Rushmark Properties LLC for $4.3 million. The developers plan to build a mixed-use building over the two lots that will include Harris Teeter, retail space and residences. City council could consider the second reading and approval of the sale on Oct. 22 at their regular meeting.
Attempts to reach EDA Director Rick Goff and City Manager Wyatt Shields on Monday were unsuccessful.
The lunch crowd was sparse at Anthony’s on Monday afternoon but the sounds of mumbled chatter and clinking of forks on plates could still be heard throughout the restaurant. Akis, 67, sipped on a cup of coffee as he recalled some of his favorite memories over the 40-years he's run the restaurant.
With his wife, Faye, by his side, Akis — once a 19-year-old kid from Greece that migrated to America in 1964 — said he has mixed feelings about having to leave.
Akis said he thinks it would have been different if he owned the building. He has leased the spot since he opened in 1972 and that lease expires in March.
“City council has said they’d like us to stay,” Akis said. “I don’t think the city cares if I stay or go to hell.”
For the last 18-years, Akis has owned a second Anthony’s in Manassas that his daughter and son-in-law operate. That restaurant will remain open, he said. Finding another affordable place to move to in the city could be difficult, Akis said.
If he can’t find a place to move to in the area, Akis said he will have to close the Falls Church location. Along with the memories will go several staff members that have been with him for more than 20-years.
“What about those families,” Akis said. “It will be sad if I can’t find somewhere near here.”