Parleys Sip and Steam unveils expansion plans

Published 6:00 am Saturday, April 22, 2023

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Parley’s Sip and Steam is no stranger to change and growth. Over the last eight years, the establishment has evolved from offering art, wine and tapas into its present status as a restaurant. 

This summer, they are becoming a larger restaurant by taking over the space where the former Captain Cooks resided on East Water Street. The space is adjacent to their current location. 

They are expanding the restaurant into the new space to accommodate more patrons.

“We’ve had such phenomenal support from the community and all of our guests, local and from afar, that we have reached a point where we cannot accommodate the demand,” Beth Glisson, a co-owner of Parley’s said. 

She said the space “happened to fall in our lap and it has come together so flawlessly that we think it’s the perfect time and perfect place for this move.” 

As for the menu, current menu items will remain the same; however, there will be several additions. Flatbreads will be making a comeback, Horne said because she’s “been asked about it a thousand times.” Steaks, full-size cheeseburgers and fried foods like chicken tenders, calamari and mozzarella sticks will also be served in the expanded restaurant. 

Paige Horne, Glisson’s daughter and a co-owner of Parley’s, said they’ve become “quite attached” to the building the restaurant occupies. They are going to keep the building, using half of it to open a coffee, tea and spice shop called The River Grind, Horne shared. They will offer a light menu of handheld items like muffins, pastries and some sandwiches. The other half of the building will be used by Horne’s future mother-in-law as an art gallery to feature her art and pieces from other artists. Her side will also have an area where she can teach art classes. 

“We’re getting back to our roots with that building by allowing these local artists to come in and teach classes and share their talent, sell their creations,” Glisson said. 

“We’ve made a full circle to exactly what we were,” Horne said laughing. 

Even the name is getting an update. The name will change from Parley’s to Parlé (par-lay). In fact, the restaurant was supposed to be Parlé; however, a spelling error resulted in it being called Parley’s, Glisson said. 

Parlé is a nod to a term used in Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean.” It is meant to fall in line with many pirate themed places and motifs around in the area. 

As if expanding the business and changing the name isn’t enough to keep them busy, they are also planning to transform the alleyway beside Parley’s into a cozy outdoor seating area with lots of plants, lighting and privacy fencing. This way, people can have a quiet atmosphere to enjoy their book with a cup of coffee or tea from what will be the River Grind. The River Grind will be open later in the evenings, Horne said. 

They are hoping to have the restaurant expansion and coffee shop completed this summer. 

But that’s not all. They are planning an additional expansion for this fall. The roadside portion of Parlés will be a sports bar and arcade, Glisson said. It will have a small grill that will serve bar food late at night where people can grab a beer and watch a game. 

“With this transition and being able to divide and have high-end dining on one side and a fun environment on the opposite side of the building, we have decided to go back to the original plan. We will be rebranding with the move,” Glisson said. 

She continued, “little by little we’re going to kind of encompass all of this area and offer a variety that should meet somebody and everybody somewhere.” 

The white building next to what will be Parlé is not affiliated with the restaurant. The two buildings share a firewall. 

Speaking about being part of downtown Washington’s recent rejuvenation with Parlé’s expansions, Glisson said “it’s a great feeling.” She has lived in the city for six years, but Horne has lived here for a decade. 

Glisson said she’s been engaged with the downtown area since she was young. She grew up not far from Washington. Horne remembers her mother sharing stories about shopping at the Belks store downtown for Easter dresses. 

“We have a long standing history even though we are not locals per say,” Glisson said. 

She explained that the late former Mayor Mac Hodges’ vision for the City of Washington, his friendship and guidance were what persuaded Glisson and Horne to make their home here. 

“We’ve always kept some of his advice in the back of our heads moving forward and we shared a lot of the same ideas and a lot of the same visions that he had for the waterfront,” Glisson said. “I think for us, it’s a very personal and it’s a very exciting thing to be a part of what’s happening.”