Inside ChefScape: Loudoun’s Culinary Incubator Celebrates Expansion

The Village at Leesburg gained several new dining options over the weekend all with the grand opening of one establishment—ChefScape.

The county’s first culinary incubator and food hall features four food vendors, offering everything from soul food to Syrian to Hawaiian cuisine. With the exception of the vendor featured in the ChefScape test kitchen, which will rotate more often, each current food vendor is signed up to exhibit for six months.

Here’s a look inside what patrons will see in ChefScape:

Eat

The eateries signed up for Loudoun’s first culinary incubator represent myriad backgrounds and industry experience, but all have one thing in common: a love of food and a desire to get their product in front of an audience. ChefScape will bring them the audience, and hopes to be a launching pad for vendors’ own restaurant concepts.

The four current food vendors are:

Rooted + Bloomed

Chef Vanessa Maneja, a Hawaiian native, brings her love of Hawaiian cuisine to Leesburg, following a previous stint running her own food truck in Washington, DC. Rooted’s menu features food representing all the different cultures found in Hawaii, from Japanese to Filipino to Puerto Rican and more. Sample dishes include garlic shrimp inspired by Hawaii’s north shore; musubi, a popular rice ball snack; kalua pork; and poke, served deli style. For more information, go to rootedandbloomed.com.

Sandwich Bistro

Chef Samih Massabni immigrated from Syria four years ago and brought his love of cooking with him. With Syrian cuisine largely underrepresented in the area, Massabni and his wife decided the ChefScape environment was the right one to bring their concept to the masses. Massabni’s menu features pressed sandwiches, crispy on the outside and moist in the middle, and will also include vegetarian bowls. Sample dishes include the Toshka Aleppo, a sandwich with marinated minced beef, gouda cheese, pickled cucumber, Aleppo spices and parsley leaves in panini pressed Italian bread; shawarma; and falafel. See details at sandwichbistro.com.

Johnny Ray’s Sultry Soul Food

Chef Johnny Ray brings his Southern cuisine to Leesburg following his success at ChefScape’s first commercial kitchen location in Ashburn, where he ran his catering business. Ray’s cuisine includes all the quintessential southern comfort foods, from deep-fried wings to colossal pork chops and melt-in-your-mouth ribs, even Grannie’s famous meatloaf. Learn more at sultrysoulfood.com.

Rocoto Peruvian BBQ (Test Kitchen)

Chef Ricardo’s popular food truck and catering business will be the first exhibitor in ChefScape’s test kitchen, which will see its chefs rotate more frequently. Rocoto’s menu has included Peruvian street foods like chicharron and chorizo sandwiches, tamales, empanadas and more. Find details at facebook.com/rocotogourmet.

Food served up at Rocoto Peruvian BBQ at the ChefScape Test Kitchen. [Renss Greene/Loudoun Now]

Drink

Bar AhSo gives ChefScape visitors an opportunity to wash down the many culinary options with an expansive bar menu at its 40-plus-seat bar area. Owner Jason Maddens is hoping the success of his Brambleton AhSo restaurant follows him to Leesburg, where he said he is excited to reprise some of the ideas that have made his 1-year-old restaurant successful.

Like the restaurant, Bar AhSo will focus on local sourcing and beverage pairing, and take into account the offerings of the ChefScape food vendors with cocktails that pair well with the food. In addition to beverage pairing and crafted cocktails, the bar will also feature a great wine list and locally sourced craft brews. The bar will remain open an hour later than the food vendors. Find more information at bar.ahso.com.

A bartender mixes drinks at AhSo Bar AhSo, inside ChefScape. [Renss Greene/Loudoun Now]

Shop

The EatLoCo farmers market will debut its year-round farmers market in ChefScape on March 21, and will be open 3-7 p.m. every Thursday evening thereafter. In addition to giving the public another option to buy local produce, the market gives ChefScape vendors, as well as other local restaurant professionals, an opportunity to patronize area farms and other vendors by bringing the market to them. EatLoCo founder Dan Hine said 22 vendors are signed up for the weekly market, but he believes that number will increase over time given the already long waiting list of those clamoring for space. Already, vendors include those selling an assortment of proteins, produce, chocolate, cakes, gluten-free products, oil and vinegar, and kombucha. For more information, go to eatloco.org.

krodriguez@loudounnow.com

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