Thursday, October 6, 2022

El Patio Mexican Restaurant In Williamsburg Expands And Rebrands As Pisco 51

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JAMES CITY–Husband and wife team John and Renee Harrell opened El Patio Mexican Restaurant in New Town in February 2021. By November 2021, they had purchased the adjacent storefront to accommodate entertainment events and additional customers on the outdoor patio.

“We took over the new space because about 70 percent of our income came from the patio,” said John Harrell. “When we realized other people were looking at the space that our patio was in front of, we knew we were in danger of losing our patio space, so we leased that in addition to our original space.”

The couple intends on using the additional square footage primarily for entertainment and special-event purposes. They’ve added a stage to accommodate local performing artists and are currently finishing up with stage lighting and interior aesthetics. “We’ll be using the stage for karaoke, standup comedy, and open mic nights,” said Harrell. “We’re also intending to rent the space out for wedding receptions, company meetings, and conferences.”

The restaurant also offers Drag Bingo with Aria from 7pm to 9pm on Wednesdays. A traditional game with a unique twist, Harrell said his restaurant caters to a variety of people and is all-inclusive. “My favorite thing is when people tell me that they feel comfortable at our location,” said Harrell. “I would like to see even more people enjoy our additional space and show off their talents. We like bringing people together.”

Prior to opening their restaurant, John worked as a data analyst at Ferguson Enterprises Inc. He and Renee launched a cleaning company that operated for about two years before they opened their restaurant.

“Our cleaning company is what has funded us to be able to do the things we’re doing now,” said Harrell. “A lot of people who live in New Town have told us how happy they are that we’re open because it had been a long time since people have been able to go out and enjoy themselves.”

The menu is getting a makeover as well. Soon to be renamed Pisco 51, the restaurant is in the midst of changing their menu from Mexican food to Peruvian cuisine. “There are so many Mexican restaurants in Williamsburg already, and, with my wife being Peruvian, we decided to change the menu to Peruvian,” said Harrell.

The menu includes Peruvian specialties, such as tallarin saltado, a stir-fried lo mein noodle dish made with red onions, tomatoes, cilantro and aji amarillo with choice of protein; ceviche, a citrus-infused raw fresh fish marinated in fresh lime juice and served with thinly sliced red onions and sweet potatoes; and aji de gallina, a chicken stew with mild cream sauce made with aji amarillo served over a bed of potatoes, topped with a hardboiled egg and accompanied with white rice. The restaurant also offers margaritas, cocktails, and craft beers in addition to other choices.

The Harrells are looking for additional employees to join them on their venture, especially servers and managerial staff. Normal hours of operation are currently 4pm to 9:30pm Monday through Sunday. Dance nights are held on weekends from 10pm to 2am. The restaurant is located at 4917 Courthouse St. For more information, visit or check them out on Facebook.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect a change in the renaming of the new restaurant to Pisco 51. The owners made Peninsula Chronicle aware of their decision to change the new name after the original story was published.

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