A longtime fixture in Prince William’s restaurant community is officially back, as ‘Bar J’ opens its doors on February 22.
Bar J’s Chili Parlour and Restaurant started in the 1980’s as a family-owned chain of Tex-Mex restaurants. After a hiatus following the retirement of the chain’s original owner, John Anderson, the new location will be opening at 125 Mill Street in Occoquan.
Anderson’s daughter, Kathy Anderson, has decided to partner will her son Joshua Anderson to reboot the restaurant. According to Kathy Anderson, her father is excited that the legacy will continue on.
“My father is so proud…he just thinks it’s the greatest. He never imagined that this place would look this great,” said Kathy Anderson.
The original Bar J solidified its status as a go-to for Tex-Mex after winning D.C.’s Best Chili Cookoff in 1984, according to Kathy Anderson.
The 1,700 square foot restaurant will be able to seat 56 people, with additional seating for 40 on the outdoor patio in the warmer months, according to Kathy Anderson.
The Anderson family had originally planned to open Bar J back in December, but a few challenges delayed the opening.
“We ran into a few snags, but we got through it…building a restaurant from the floor up is definitely different than walking into a restaurant already done. It’s been a venture,” said Kathy Anderson.
In terms of their food offerings this time around, Kathy Anderson said that they’ll be sticking to their core dishes that people know and love, such as their Texas Chili, Chili Mac, and Texas Devil Steak.
“We’re bringing back all of the original recipes…the food will come out quick, like it always did…what we’re known for is our Texas chili. What I was really trying to do was focus on our original menu,” said Kathy Anderson.
For Kathy Anderson, one of the best parts of bringing Bar J back is the sense of community and friendship that the restaurant created so many years ago.
“Getting everyone back together. Just bringing friends back together. What I’m trying to do here in Occoquan is bring the Bar J back, not bringing a corporate restaurant, bringing a place where you can walk in, see your friends…if you don’t have any friends, this is the place to find a friend…it’s just something that’s not around anymore, and we miss it as a family. And that’s what Bar J is about – bringing people together,” said Kathy Anderson.
For Joshua Anderson, he’s excited about being able to raise his own son in the restaurant business, and spend more time with his mother.
“I’m just happy that I was able to make my mother’s dream come true…it was a lot easier, knowing what the restaurant needed as far as moving parts…and now I get to have my son grow up and watch how it works, so that’s a great feeling to have,” said Joshua Anderson.
While February 22 is going to be a soft opening, a larger grand opening is currently being planned.
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