One of Middleburg’s culinary superstars has settled into a new space, but the owners of the Popcorn Monkey have an eye on further expansion.
Deltone L. Moore—known to most as Tone—turned his childhood love of ballpark popcorn into one of Loudoun’s hottest specialty food outlets. Founded in 2013, the business is taking the blame for a new addiction among town residents.
What patrons seem to like is not just the extensive variety of flavors offered by Popcorn Monkey, but the fact that it’s fun.
“I love his popcorn,” Middleburg Economic Coordinator Cindy Pearson said. “Any flavor you want to try—it changes the way you think about popcorn.” Her favorites include Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt and Hot Monkey Love. Other creative flavors include Monkey Korn, Loaded Potato, Old Crabby and Texas Tornado.
“It’s just fun food, and the town is so lucky to him and his wife, Mickey Moore—they’re lovely people, always thinking how to incorporate people in what they do,” Pearson said.
Everything is made fresh on site, Moore said, noting that’s one of the first questions customers ask when they come in.
Moore uses popcorn that is gluten free and non-GMO and cooked in special coconut oil. Customers are attracted by the tempting smells along with the sight and sound of the popcorn-making operation.
“You get the taste when you come in,” he said. A lot of operators make their popcorn ahead. “I don’t do much of that. It’s always fresh,”
Popcorn Monkey isn’t just serving walk-up clients. Its corporate clients include Mercedes Benz and the Washington Redskins. (Look for the Popcorn Monkey kiosk at FedEx Field.) Weddings and corporate events also are in the mix.
Moore and his family—his wife, Mickey, and daughter, Jewell, are key players in the enterprise—have developed a devoted fan base over the past four years.
“It’s an incredible taste,” said Punkin Lee, owner of The Saddlery.
“I love what he has—you could call [popcorn] America’s favorite food,” Mark Metzger, owner of Highcliffe Clothiers, said. “It’s fun, it’s flavorful and it’s fresh.”
“Tone really stands behind it, to make it the best it can be,” Metzger said.
After four years in Middleburg, the Moores are looking to expand, probably to Leesburg. But that’s still in the exploratory stage—so Leesburg customers will have to wait in anticipation.