An innovative food service incubator concept, and year-round indoor farmers market, will be taking over the Smokehouse Live restaurant space at the Village at Leesburg.
ChefScape owners confirmed this week that it would be taking over the entire 16,000-square-foot space formerly occupied by Smokehouse Live. The restaurant and music venue, which was the recent recipient of the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce Small Business Awards’ Tourism and Entertainment Business of the Year, had previously announced it would close temporarily to reconfigure in a smaller space. It has been closed since the end of March.
The decision by Smokehouse to permanently close came just within the past two weeks, ChefScape co-owner Ginny Grivas said Monday. Its decision to close now has ChefScape re-drawing up its plans to use the entire space.
The opening of ChefScape’s Leesburg location expects to ease the strain on its Ashburn facility. Since its opening in 2016, Grivas notes, the commercial kitchen space has seen demand grow quickly, with more than two dozen customers on its waiting list clamoring for space. The Leesburg location will be able to accommodate 100 users.
The Leesburg location will expand on the commercial kitchen concept and operate more as a food service incubator, she said. In coordination with the Mason Enterprise Center and the Loudoun Small Business Development Center, ChefScape members will be able to take classes on entrepreneurship and other business topics of interest. They will have ample areas and all the tools to prepare and showcase their food, and, just as importantly, an audience ready to sample it.
Along with a 40-seat bar, visitors to ChefScape will be able to purchase food from individual kiosks as well as a large marketplace. There will also be rental space available for parties and other events and to take cooking classes.
ChefScape will also house the county’s first year-round indoor farmers market, in partnership with EatLoco. Along with giving the public an opportunity to purchase farm-grown produce even in the coldest months, the market will be an important opportunity for farmers to sell directly to restaurants and other food service industry professionals. In fact, the first hour of the Thursday market, from 3-4 p.m., will be for food service industry professionals only.
“They’d love to sell to restaurants but it’s very hard for them to make these connections,” EatLoco founder Dan Hine said. “We’re bringing the restaurants to them. Anything we can do for the farmers we do.”
Hine said the hope is restaurants and other users like bed-and-breakfasts and hotels will place standing orders with the farms. By picking up food on a Thursday it can be used for the busy weekends, with the stock replenished or new items ready by the following Thursday, he said. There will be room for about 40 vendors at the farmers market, which will be open to the public every Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m.
ChefScape expects to be open to the public by July 1, although the farmers market may open prior to that, Grivas said. For more information, go to chefscapeleesburg.com or eatloco.org.