A new cultural dining experience has landed in one of Middleburg’s iconic buildings.
James and Piya Cameron, owners and operators of Thaiverse Thai restaurant in Lovettsville, have opened a Middleburg location in the building that previously housed The French Hound restaurant. They held a ribbon-cutting celebration for the new Thaiverse location Friday.
“They’re a place that’s perfect for everyone—visitors, residents and the equestrian community,” said Vincent Bataoel, chairman of the town’s Economic Development Committee, who joined Mayor Betsy Davis for the grand opening celebration. “We’re lucky to have James and Piya in Town.”
Middleburg Thaiverse launched with a soft opening a week ahead of the ribbon-cutting ceremony and James Cameron said the eatery has been booked every night.
“It was a little bit less soft than we anticipated,” he said. “We had expected just like a few people but we got slammed from day one.”
While the Camerons didn’t expect this much attention so soon, they did plan to keep their reputation in order. In less than two years of operation in Lovettsville, Thaiverse has already been voted by OpenTable’s Diner’s Choice Awards in 2017 as the best overall restaurant and the No. 1 Asian restaurant in the Washington, DC, area.
The couple now has plans to make their Middleburg location an even bigger sensation. What has helped them do this so far has been the restaurant’s physical address.
“When it comes down to it, opening a restaurant in a building that was already a restaurant is just easier,” Cameron said. It’s also larger than the Camerons’ Lovettsville location, and a spacious kitchen means more variety of dishes can be made. This suits the restaurant well, as its name is a play on the word “diverse.”
“[The restaurant’s name] gives us the option in the future to introduce a few other dishes from around the world to the menu,” Cameron said.
The Camerons also plan to add a deck on the back of the building for additional seating.
They aren’t stopping here. As Middleburg is known for being a hub in Northern Virginia’s wine country, the Camerons will soon expand their drink menu to incorporate local wines.
“We’ve talked to a number of vineyards,” Cameron said. “We intend to increase and expand that wine selection over time.”
The Middleburg Thaiverse already has a full cocktail bar, too—something the Lovettsville location lacks.
All of this excitement and growth is much more than the couple originally thought possible. Before they became Loudoun residents, the Camerons were living and working in the U.K. It was in 1999 when James moved from his native Scotland to Windsor that the couple met. At the time, Piya was working as a waitress at a Thai restaurant across from the Windsor Castle called the Thai Castle. When the chef quit, Piya, who is Thai, took over. She excelled in cooking up traditional cuisine.
The couple married in 2003 and moved to the U.S. in 2008 to follow James’ corporate job. Before the move, however, they visited the area and stayed in the Middleburg Country Inn. A visit to The French Hound was their first dining experience in Loudoun.
Once settled in Lovettsville for seven years, the couple decided to make a change in their lives.
“My wife was getting bored and decided that she wanted to go back and have a restaurant,” James Cameron said.
They opened the Lovettsville Thaiverse in December 2015. While the first location was a success, they still had a long-held desire to open a restaurant in Middleburg.
Less than two years later, they turned their desire into reality. Their next goal on the horizon is to open for Sunday brunch.
All their effort comes from a passion to make Thai dining special in America.
“We kind of like the idea of having a destination restaurant with a character building and a bit of history,” Cameron said. “The key thing is making sure the standard doesn’t slip.”
Make a reservation, read the menu and find hours of operation at thaiverse.com.