When Ashburn's Jason Bursey launched Parallel Wine Bistro in Broadlands Center Plaza in May 2010, his goal was to create a space where patrons could share in his passion for wine while enjoying unique, chef-driven plates.
Bursey installed a wall system of self-serve wine machines that made tasting multiple styles of wine easy to use by sliding a pre-paid card.
Over the years, the restaurant has grown in popularity, and it gained a greater following five years later Bursey rebranded and remodeled the restaurant to Parallel Wine and Whiskey Bar.
“Just by changing the name and adding whiskey to the menu and opening the concept up, our business increased by 80 percent in year six,” Bursey said.
Along the way, the wine lover has also added other facets to the business, including three food trucks and a catering business.
Today, despite the many difficulties surrounding the restaurant industry due to the coronavirus pandemic, Bursey is ready to expand his brand further by opening Parallel Party Bar in the space across the walkway, which formerly housed a pizza restaurant and then an Indian restaurant.
The new bar will not represent a place for college kids to do “Jagerbombs,” Bursey said. Rather, it will help solve an issue of hosting private parties without shutting down the original restaurant.
“Last year, we saw a time when we'd go five straight Saturdays with private parties closing down the restaurant. I always thought about doing a second concept,” he said.
The new Party Bar – separated from Parallel by a sidewalk with a water fountain in the middle – will allow Bursey to offer a condensed version of the Parallel menu with a similar experience.
Popular menu items expected be featured on the Party Bar menu include the grilled romaine wedge, Chef Colin's Reuben sandwich, Talib's butter chicken, a cheesy cheese sandwich, shrimp and grits, Cajun fried pickles and duck fat fries.
More importantly, Bursey said he is excited about the opportunity to design the new space from the beginning, something he wasn't able to do at the original Parallel.
The new design will fully open the window space with newly installed garage doors. “It's an open inside-outside design – exactly the way I want it. This will be my baby from the start with the look I want,” he said.
Bursey hopes to create a community corner where the two restaurants have synergy, with live music in the middle.
“The community can embrace the space, listen to music, hang out, eat ice cream. It will be something community-driven,” he said.
The pandemic has not made the restaurant business easy over the past few months, he admitted, but one bright spot is a newfound lunch business.
“We were never open for lunch – no one was around – and now there are more people working from home and they come in, bring their laptops and we fill up the patio,” Bursey said.
Editor's note: Comments on this story have been disabled due to accusations and attacks against the restaurant's owner. The Times-Mirror is aware of the controversy surrounding the owner, and a reporter is reaching out to him for a separate story on the issue.