Mad Fox Taproom at 2218 Wisconsin Avenue, a companion to the Mad Fox Brewing Company in Falls Church VA, closed its Glover Park doors for good on Tuesday March 27th, 2018. This closure comes amid a spate of vacancies and turnover on the Glover Park commercial strip on Wisconsin Avenue. See vacancies blog post from December 2017 for recent history.
The head of Mad Fox Brewing Company, Bill Madden, had high hopes for the tap room in 2015 when it opened, but recently acknowledged that: "we are not able to maintain the profit margins necessary to keep the location viable." The Washington Business Journal had reported in 2015 that Mad Fox had invested a whopping $1.3 million on the renovation of the space. Mr. Madden's brewpub in Falls Church, with onsite brewery and full service restaurant, will remain open.
This particular location in Glover Park is a tough one for businesses, and in particular restaurants. The south end of the five-block strip gets less foot traffic and thus less notice from the street. The former restaurant at 2218 Wisconsin, Mayfair & Pine, lasted only about a year. Emily Sprissler, former co-owner and co-chef of Mayfair and Pine, put it bluntly in an interview with the Washington Post: "we weren't getting enough butts in the seats."
Residents often complain about chain restaurants and lack of quaint independent dining options in the neighborhood and applaud the opening of restaurants like Mad Fox and Mayfair & Pine, but then these restaurants cannot get enough sit-down business from the same residents to survive. Often people prefer delivered meals or half-priced pizza rather than a $20 entree and a $10 glass of wine, and this has created a conundrum in the neighborhood over how to keep decent restaurants that don't need to resort to beer-soaked parties or fast food to turn an acceptable profit.
Mad Fox in particular was a good neighbor, participating in the community, inviting the neighbors to dine, sponsoring the Big Chili annual event with their fine selection of beers and more. They will be missed, yet the closure is understandable. It's a business and they need a certain level of profit to make the effort worthwhile. What is the future of restaurant and retail in high-rent Glover Park? It's a tough question and no one has an answer yet.