The Town of Vienna is about to lose an icon.
“It’s impossible to put into words what this place has meant to so many,” Amphora’s owners said in their announcement on Facebook. “With all of the support you’ve shown us over the years, we are beyond humbled to have contributed to our local restaurant and neighborhood community.”
Co-owner Maria Bilidas attributes the decision to close to the challenges of operating a restaurant under the limitations imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Amphora Group will instead consolidate its operations and staff at the newer Amphora Diner Deluxe that it runs in Herndon, where it also has a bakery and catering business.
“We have our bakery up in Herndon. Our corporate offices are in Herndon,” Bilidas said. “Given the current situation and the fact that we don’t see things changing in 2021 any time soon, we felt it was the prudent business decision to consolidate all our operations at this point to our restaurant up in Herndon.”
Founded in 1977 by the Cholakis and Bilidas families, Amphora offers an eclectic, comfort food-oriented menu with more than 350 items, ranging from burgers and grilled cheese to Greek, Italian, and Mexican cuisine. The Vienna restaurant is also complemented by a bakery with cakes, pies, and other desserts.
With its 24/7 operating hours, including all-day breakfast, and congenial atmosphere, the seemingly permanent Maple Avenue fixture built up a reliable local customer base, becoming a go-to venue for families, couples on date nights, and students looking to hang out late into the night.
“We love Vienna,” Bilidas said. “We all grew up in Vienna, we went to high school in Vienna, we have a very strong symbolic relationship with the Town of Vienna.”
Bilidas says the owners all labored “for days and days” over whether to close Amphora Restaurant, but when they got an offer from someone looking to purchase the property, they determined that shutting down would be the best decision for the business and their employees.
Many of the workers at Amphora’s Vienna restaurant will move to the Herndon location, and the owners are encouraging patrons to visit the diner, which has essentially the same menu.
“It’s been a long run, and we’ve made so many connections and so many friends,” Bilidas said. “Some people have moved out to our other location out west as people have moved, and they’re now regulars at our restaurant up in Herndon…We really hope [our customers] come and visit us there.”
Photo via Google Maps