Palio Rebrands for Family Dining Downtown

Downtown restaurant Palio has shaken up its image once again, with a new menu, a new executive chef, and a new name.

The menu at the Tasting Room at Palio will not be familiar to even the most loyal of the restaurant’s patrons. Not a single item remains from the old menu, General Manager David Saavedra said.

“It is the biggest change of everything,” he said.

When the restaurant debuted in the downtown area eight years ago, owner Michael O’Connor presented a menu with authentic Italian dishes. The restaurant later rebranded to cater a bit more to the steak and seafood crowd. The latest change, he said, is in hopes of establishing Palio as less of a fine-dining establishment and more as a family-friendly venue.

“Leesburg is attracting such a broad range of diners, and we were looking to evolve with Leesburg as it evolves,” O’ Connor, who also owns the nearby Leesburg Diner, said.

“When we decided to do the new Tasting Room at Palio, it was with the idea of not being closed to one type of ethnic food,” Saavedra explained. “Right now, we’re offering dishes from all over the world—a couple Italian, a couple French, a couple Spanish dishes. You have fusions. We even have an Asian dish or two. It’s everything from everywhere.”

The idea is to capture the family where mom, dad, and kids all may be craving a different type of food, and The Tasting Room at Palio with its expansive menu is there to accommodate everyone, he said.

“We want to serve the family,” Saavedra said.

Newly hired Executive Chef Ian Dieter comes with an impressive résumé, having served as sous chef at Salamander Resort & Spa and executive chef of The Goodstone Inn.

The restaurant has also beefed up its wine menu, with an innovate way of pouring wines, O’Connor said. A Wine Club has been created where, for $25 a month, members are entitled to one free bottle of wine a month and $10 corkage fees are waived. Wine Club members also receive priority invitations to beer and wine dinners and cooking classes at Palio, Saavedra said.

For beer lovers, the restaurant still has six taps and is planning to debut a slew of new bottled microbrews.

Since the restaurant unveiled its new look in early June, the response from both Palio regulars and first-timers has been phenomenal, both Saavedra and O’Connor said.

“The proof is in the pudding, and the proof is there,” O’Connor said.

The Tasting Room at Palio is at 2 W. Market St. in downtown Leesburg. For more information, call 703-779-0060 or visit The Tasting Room at Palio’s Facebook page.

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