For New Zealand-born sommelier and restaurateur Michael Pearce, his Vino Bistro concept seeks to bring fine dining and fine wine without the frills to the Village at Leesburg neighborhood.
The proprietor of the popular Wine House in Fairfax is hoping to catch lightning in a bottle again with his first Loudoun County restaurant. Vino Bistro quietly opened to the public in November, and celebrated its grand opening over the weekend.
The passion for hospitality and wine exudes through Pearce as he effortlessly lists the details that go into each item on the carefully constructed menu, as well as each wine he personally selects. The ample seating, with an extensive patio with outdoor seating for warm weather months, includes a 21-seat bar.
Pearce has a simple mantra for Vino Bistro: good value, fresh tasting food, and good service.
“The place will sell itself with the ambiance,” he said.
Pearce intentionally allows his wine selection, at 200 bottles, to be the main art for the space, as diners entering the restaurant are immediately greeted by the extensive retail space for wine behind the host’s stand.
Many diners can be intimidated by a lengthy wine list, Pearce notes, so he sees merit in giving diners an opportunity to pick up and read a bottle, or ask a staff member for a recommendation based on their tastes. Patrons may select a bottle to enjoy while dining, or take one home. Each bottle is priced just $10 above Whole Foods’ retail price, and that $10 is waived if the bottle is not opened while dining in.
To pair with its extensive wine list, Vino Bistro offers an assortment of French bistro-inspired specialty foods. Each dish is served with the highest detail. All beef served is grass fed, the gnocchi is handmade twice weekly, and the demi-glace sauce is the result of a four-day process.
Despite the high quality of the food and wine available, Pearce insists Vino Bistro should not be considered a special occasion-only establishment.
“I see us more as a Wednesday night place,” he said—a casual environment yet upscale in terms of its quality of product.
Vino Bistro is located at 1605 Village Market Blvd., Suite 100, in the Village at Leesburg. The restaurant is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, as well as brunch on Sundays. Learn more at vinobistroonline.com.