As Loudoun gears up for the holidays, it’s worth raising a glass – or a heaped fork – to your favorite local restaurant. Usually, at this time of year, we’d celebrate the season with friends around a festive restaurant table or crowded downtown bar. While 2020 will look different, there are still ways to show Loudoun’s restaurants some love and enjoy some local fare.
“As the holidays approach, please support local restaurants,” said Tony Stafford, owner of the iconic Ford’s Fish Shack. “Restaurants have been challenged with seating restrictions and closures all year long and we need to keep supporting them so they won’t have to face laying off employees during the holidays.”
Here are five ways to support Loudoun’s restaurants in the coming months.
Give a Restaurant Gift Card
Coach’s Corner Grill in Purcellville has a program where you buy a gift card for a family in need. Meal cards start at $35 and the popular community restaurant, which is in touch with local church groups and charities, will select a family in need to give it to or will deliver it to a struggling family of your choice.
Ford’s Fish Shack has two promotional gift card offers. Purchase a $100 gift card in December and you will receive a $20 bonus card for yourself to use between January 2 and February 10, 2021. For corporate or business groups, every $1,000 in gift cards purchased will get a 20% discount.
Fire Works Pizza has a unique gift in store for its legion of fans this festive season. A $40 gift set gets the lucky recipient $10 off a meal at Fire Works, a fleece blanket for staying warm outside, two koozies, a bag of brownie mix from Ghirardelli Chocolate Company and two cans of holiday ale. Pretty tasty.
Blue Ridge Grill in Leesburg is offering $20 Bonus Cards – redeemable from January through March 2021 – for every $100 gift card purchase in December. At nearby One Loudoun, ever popular Bar Louie is offering a $5 bonus on $25 cards, $10 on $50 cards and $20 on every $100 card.
Carry Out and Curbside
The sublime Wine Kitchen in Leesburg now operates a takeout only “ghost restaurant” from its King Street kitchen. Named Paulie’s Italian Restaurant (after Chef Rowley’s middle name), the menu offers home cooked Italian fare such as penne alfredo and meatballs and spaghetti. You get a disposable red and white checked tablecloth with every order and a choice of five Italian house wines including Chianti. The options are entirely separate from the upscale locavore menu of Wine Kitchen proper, which does takeout as well as in-house dining.
Another wine forward restaurant – AhSo in Brambleton Plaza – has added a Takeout Loyalty Program to its promotions. Earn one point for every dollar spent and get a $15 reward for every 250 points. Points apply to all takeout items including Ramen (Mondays), Tacos (Tuesdays), Burgers (Wednesdays), Prime Rib (Sundays), and the full a la carte menu. Oh, and it also applies to the spectacular wine list. Cheers!
At Village at Leesburg, pick up the DIY “Pizza to Go” kits by Wild Wood Pizza. Popular with kids, the kits contain dough, sauce, cheese and toppings.
The holiday season isn’t complete without a seasonal cocktail! The Conche might be famous for its chocolate lab and cocoa influenced food, but they also do cocktails to go. Order the seasonal Wild Winter (it comes with a recipe if you want to make it at home) that includes spices, lemon, syrup, honey and bourbon.
Ready Prepared Meals
The holiday season is one of the best times of the year, but let’s be honest: cooking for a whole family can be stressful. Why not take a weight off your shoulders by ordering readymade meals to go?
Sparkling new Italian eatery Urbano Modern Italian opened in Cascades Overlook in Sterling in October, bringing modern twists to old world Italian classics. In keeping with the Italian tradition of fish on Christmas Eve, chef-owner Bill Downes is adding “Seven Fish” specials on December 24th, available as family meals to go. Highlights include the lobster risotto, octopus pizzaiolo and trofie puttanesca with anchovies. On New Years’ Day the restaurant will do a pre-prepared “Lucky 2021” Family Meal for four, costing a mere $65. It includes “lucky” rosemary and garlic crusted pork loin, Champagne risotto, braised Tuscan kale and sultanas rice pudding.
The Holiday Dinner Packages offered throughout December by gourmet roadside farm store and restaurant Roots 657 are also out of this world. You get your choice of bread, starter, three sides and dessert to go with either local dry-aged prime rib roast, strawberry Beaujolais-glazed spiral ham, pepper-smoked Verlasso salmon or honey-glazed turkey breast. Packages feed up to six, come fully cooked and include reheating instructions.
Purcellville BBQ mecca Monk’s is going all out this holiday season. The pre-order BBQ Christmas dinner is a selection of either whole, half or quarter racks of prime rib; butter injected turkey stuffed with chorizo sausage and cornbread stuffing, and a succulent house cured pork shoulder. For dessert order the delicious peppermint mocha ice cream pie with an Oreo crust, or an eggnog ice cream pie with a ginger snap crust from Tipped Cow Creamery.
More than 700 businesses-including Loudoun’s restaurants- have signed the Loudoun Is Ready pledge, that they will meet the latest safety guidelines outlined by the Virginia Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention so visitors can dine indoors confidently.
Look for the distinctive Loudoun is Ready sign in the windows of your favorite restaurants such as Tuscarora Mill in Leesburg, which will host holiday themed dinners and menus through December. Joining the campaign, the historic Red Fox Inn & Tavern in Middleburg features a four-course winter tasting menu, with an optional Virginia wine pairing.
BYOB – Bring Your Own Blanket
Summer was a groundbreaking time for outdoor dining in Loudoun, with restaurants opening tables in parking bays, backyards and sidewalks. Leesburg’s King Street even closed to traffic on weekend evenings to allow for European-style street-side dining. Now Loudoun’s wineries, breweries and restaurants are coming up with innovative ways to keep customers warm this winter. Just BYOB – Bring Your Own Blanket – and continue enjoying hand-crafted beverages, special holiday cocktails and dishes from your favorite chefs. Visit Loudoun highlighted five such business here including beer-forward Leesburg eatery Delirium Café USA, which has added a cozy tented lounge with electric heat to its al fresco area in a former parking bay on King Street. They also have a holiday-themed “Bad Santa” pop-up bar: a secret back-door cellar bar featuring charcuterie-style gingerbread houses, holiday themed decor and $10 specialty holiday cocktails that include a Run Run Rudolph concoction made from Tequila, cranberry and fresh mint. You can pick up a cocktail at the Bad Santa bar and take it to the outside lounge without having to step inside.