At no time in Loudoun’s history have residents had more choices to dine out with family and friends. The quality and variety of the county’s culinary landscape will be on full display during the inaugural Loudoun Restaurant Week.
Starting Friday and continuing for eight days, the chefs at 40 eateries will be offering special menus both to impress new customers and to give loyal patrons a little different taste or reason to take time to relax with a good meal.
The effort to put a brighter spotlight on this dynamic industry was built from a partnership of the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce, Visit Loudoun and Loudoun Nowwith the goals of building stronger relationships among restaurant entrepreneurs, spreading the word to foodies around the region, and helping local residents discover new culinary treasures close to home. Sterling Restaurant Supply, based at One Loudoun, jumped aboard as the signature sponsor to support the project.
Longtime Loudouners will remember the days when dining choices were much more limited. Family in town? Let’s get atable at Johnson’s Charcoal House of Beef where Violet Jewell was likely to take the order. Need to get the kids out of the house? It was off to see Mr. and Mrs. Zarou at Uncle Abe’s for pizza.
Much has changed in the past three decades. The modern dining scene has its roots with the pioneering efforts of Kevin Malone at Tuscarora Mill and the Gustavson sisters at Lightfoot that created fine dining destinations in Leesburg’s historic district. Today, high-quality, creative cuisine can be found throughout the county. Mixed-use centers like One Loudoun, Lansdowne, and Brambleton offer variety on every block. Middleburg’s thriving restaurant scene adds a whole new layer to the Hunt Country dynamic. And in downtown Leesburg, the growing number of restaurants still outpaces the expanding craft brewery operations, if only barely.
It’s Not Just About the Food
Loudoun’s restaurants contribute more to the community than fancy plates and full bellies. The industry is a major contributor to the county’s economy.
According to the Virginia Employment Commission, they provide 4 percent of all jobs in the county. Nearly, 6,500 employees work in Loudoun’s full-service restaurants—the fifth highest total of any Virginia jurisdiction.
In the towns that collect meal taxes, diners provide more than $8.5 million annually, allowing town councils to keep their real estate tax rates a bit lower.
The Week Ahead
Loudoun Restaurant Week will kick off Friday at Leesburg’s Market Station, where several of the participating chefs will be featured during a live broadcast by Fox 5’s Zip Trip team. Rick Allison, owner of King Street Oyster Bar will conduct an oyster shocking demonstration. Chef Thomas Harvey will do a little cooking. And Wine Kitchen Chef Tim Rowley will be presenting his Restaurant Week menu live from the King Street eatery.
Each day from Aug. 24 to Aug. 31, participating restaurants will offer special two-course lunch menus and three-course dinner options.
Find more details about each of the participants at loudounrestaurantweek.com.