A new brewery is breathing new life into a former Leesburg hotspot.
Dog Money Restaurant & Brewery quietly opened its doors this past Friday in the former Vintage 50 space at 50 Catoctin Circle. The venture is the brainchild of founders Tim Regan and Dean Lake, two seasoned pros in the restaurant and brewery scene. Regan had worked for Gordon Biersch for the past decade, and Lake has been brewing in Loudoun for 20 years, including seven years at Old Dominion Brewing.
“We met here when Thoroughbreds was being built in this location. We worked together for a time and that’s how our friendship started,” Lake said in a recent interview.
Regan said he had been keeping an eye on the restaurant building over the years, having been a patron of Vintage 50, which took over the space when the Thoroughbreds brewpub closed.
“I always thought if this ever became available I would make a run at it,” he said. “When it became available, we said, ‘let’s go for it’.”
The restaurant serves up only Lake’s beers, all of which are brewed on premises. He plans to offer beer “that spans all the Old-World styles from all around the world.” Dog Money also has the capabilities to produce German-style lagers and English-style ales, and Lake also plans to offer “a nice big hoppy beer for the hop heads of the world.”
The Dog Money name is derived from the local currency issued by the Town of Leesburg prior to the Civil War.
“When we were looking for a name for this place we wanted something that had some historical significance and tie into the community,” Regan explained, noting that was something that was important for the two Leesburg residents. “When we came across the story [of dog money] it seemed to be a quirky, odd name for a restaurant.”
While the name may be full of quirks, the ambiance of Dog Money certainly is not. Regan and Lake have taken the best features of the restaurant brewery space and added enhancements, not the least of which is more vibrant lighting. With much of the front of the restaurant, including its outdoor seating space, remains largely unchanged, Regan said it was important to make the back of the restaurant seating more inviting.
“What we want to create back here is a really cool atmosphere that you want to be sat in,” Regan said.
Part of those adjustments are adding spaces for large booths, for up to six people, and also providing capabilities to host cocktail events or happy hours.
The menu aims to be just as inviting, with an emphasis on tying the food selection into the beer menu.
“What makes us different is the quality of food that goes along with the quality of beer,” Regan said. “Most breweries either don’t serve food or the menu is sort of an afterthought. Our menu is first-class American cuisine, pub fare that we actually use our beer in our recipes and on our menu. We very much wanted to meld the two together.”
And they hope that Dog Money may be a bit more family-friendly than some of its predecessors.
“We endeavor to be family-friendly at every step,” Lake said. “We’d like to be the great place to go get fresh, craft beer, but also a great place to go bring family.”
Dog Money opens at 11 a.m. daily.
For more information on Dog Money, go to dogmoneyllc.com or the Dog Money Restaurant & Brewery Facebook page.