|Anita's on Maple Avenue in Vienna.|
The new place could open in early September, says Thomas Tellez, president of Anita’s New Mexico-Style Foods Inc. It will be the eighth Anita’s, joining restaurants in Burke, Fairfax, Vienna, Chantilly, Herndon, Ashburn, and Leesburg.
The Annandale restaurant will have the same menu as the others – featuring lots of different types of burritos, fajitas, enchiladas, tacos, chile relleno, and breakfast fare – and will also have a full bar like the restaurants in Burke, Ashburn, and Vienna. New menu items are planned, Tellez says, but he is not ready to reveal them.
Tellez is working on developing an “Express Anita’s” concept serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. “Once we get that going, there will be many more,” he says. “It’s my intention to locate those restaurants in extremely high-traffic areas, nothing in the neighborhoods.” Annandale and Bailey’s would be possibilities for new locations, he says.
Tellez and his mother, the original Anita, opened the first Anita’s on Dec. 23, 1974, across from the Magruder’s in Vienna.
“Nine months after we opened, we hired a dishwasher to work Friday nights for two hours. I thought we were going big-time,” Tellez recalls. “It took us nine months to make enough money to take the donut sign off the roof. We actually took a magic marker and wrote ‘Anita’s’ on a poster board when we opened.”
“It was a pleasure working with my parents for 30 years,” he says. His mother, “the hardest-working woman, was a waitress her whole life until we opened. She worked until she was 71 and passed in 2009. I miss her dearly.”
His father, Phil Tellez, worked at the Postal Service headquarters in D.C. before retiring. He unfortunately had Alzheimer’s for the past 20 years and just turned 90.
“We’ve come a long way. We own most of our properties and have just over 200 employees,” Tellez says. He feels blessed that his son is following in his footsteps, “so it looks like we’ll be around for another 40 years.”