The last takeout order John and Nancy Maxwell placed at the now-closed Honolulu restaurant in Fairfax County was a big one. They wanted one of everything. They didn’t get it all, but what they got, they took home. On the second floor of the Maxwells’ barn is an almost exact copy of the restaurant, which closed in 2004.
The Honolulu was “a Polynesian paradise fashioned of grass mat, bamboo, fishing nets and painted totem,” Walter Nicholls wrote in a 2001 review of the restaurant for The Washington Post. Owned and operated by a former Trader Vic’s bartender, David Chan and his wife, Anne, the Honolulu attracted a wide swath of Washington, from power brokers to power-line installers, from judges to janitors.
When it closed to make way for an expanded Beltway interchange, many patrons mourned the loss of a neighborhood institution — few more so than the Maxwells, who had been regulars for nearly 25 years.
“It was just a fun, fun place,” John said.
The Maxwells were commiserating with friends over the loss of the restaurant when the idea struck.
“You know, we hate to lose this place,” John said at the time. “Maybe we should get involved in the silent auction and pick up a bunch of the interior and move it to our hayloft.”
They took just about everything but the kitchen. Friends with pickup trucks helped move it all from the restaurant to their barn. The pulley that once carried hay into the loft brought up the heavy pieces.
A year after the restaurant closed, the Maxwells held a reunion and invited the Chans. David insisted on being the bartender and mixing his famous Mai Tais. The new Honolulu wasn’t some museum, but a well-used entertaining space for the Maxwells. They often hosted friends to watch Sunday NFL games.
The tiki bar is not the only feature that makes this property special. The land was once part of Burgundy, a plantation built in 1808 by Alexandria merchant James Hewitt Hooe. It was later bought by George Fowle, who gave it to his daughter and her husband, Fitzhugh Lee. Lee, who was Robert E. Lee’s nephew, went on to become governor of Virginia.
A.C. Sutphin built a two-bedroom farmhouse on the land circa 1920. When E.F. Cannon, owner of the Alexandria brick works, bought the property in 1936, he more than doubled the size of the house, encased it in brick and added the columns out front.
A backup on the Beltway led the Maxwells to own it. John had long admired the house as he passed it on his way to the Springfield Mall. Then, one day in 1985, as he was cutting across on Franconia Road to avoid traffic, he saw a for-sale sign. Not long afterward, he and Nancy snapped it up.
The 1.32-acre property includes a five-bedroom, six-bathroom, 3,462-square-foot main house, a two-car carriage house with guest quarters on the second floor, a pool house, swimming pool and two-story barn. The list price is $1.2 million. An open house is scheduled for Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m.
Listing: 4010 Franconia Rd., Alexandria Va.
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