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Located in the county with the highest median income in the United States, Leesburg and Middleburg have a plethora of good restaurants to feed the discriminating locals as well as visitors who expect much from a region that specializes in organic and sustainable agriculture.
Middleburg’s Red Fox Inn (2 East Washington St., Middleburg, Va., 540/687-6301, www.redfoxinn.com, breakfast daily 8-10:30 a.m., lunch daily 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m., dinner Mon.-Sat. 5-9 p.m., Sun. 4:30-8 p.m., brunch Sun. 10 a.m.-3 p.m.) is a historic restaurant and inn of cozy fireplaces, farm tables, and an ages-old stuffed fox in the dining room, with a menu of seasonal and colonial fare that includes peanut soup and prime rib along with lighter fare like crab cakes, gazpacho, and salads stacked with tomatoes and mozzarella.
The French Hound (101 Madison St., Middleburg, Va., 540/687-3018, www.thefrenchhound.com, lunch Wed.-Sun. 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., dinner Tues.-Thurs. 5:30-9:30 p.m., limited menu until 10:30 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 5:30-10 p.m., limited menu until 11 p.m.) has quickly won the hearts of Middleburgians as one of the few places to relax after dark. The French-inspired bistro, whose kitchen is led by local John Gustin-Burkitt, who earned his strips at Napa Valley, California’s Domaine Chandon and Brix, hits the high notes for its snacks, including spicy peanuts and house-marinated olives, and French standards like goat-cheese puffs and steak frites.
For casual dining, try Julien’s Café (3 West Washington St., Middleburg, Va., 540/687-3123, Fri.-Wed. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.) for croque-monsieur, soups, pâté, and sandwiches like the tasty smoked salmon BLT.
For a sweet treat to eat or take home, check out the Little Apple Pastry Shop (23217 Meetinghouse Lane, Aldie, Va., 703/327-2500, www.hotapplepie.com) in tiny Aldie. You’ll miss it if you drive even a mile per hour over the speed limit. In addition to mouthwatering fruit pies, the shop makes sandwiches and ham biscuits, meat pies, and homemade candy.
During a day of antiquing in Leesburg, a few restaurants can meet the need for sustenance, including the Green Tree (15 S. King St., Leesburg, Va., 703/777-7246), which serves colonial-themed fare in a casual setting conveniently located in the middle of the historic district. It’s a go-to place for a rib-sticking meatloaf or basic chicken Caesar and a draft beer.
The city’s Wine Kitchen (7 S. King St., Leesburg, Va., 703/777-9463, www.thewinekitchen.com, Tues.-Thurs. and Sun. 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.) serves small plates, salads, and charcuterie prepared with ingredients from local producers as well as wines by the glass in a tiny storefront restaurant of white wood, exposed brick, and warm cherry finishes.
Lightfoot (11 N. King St., Leesburg, Va., 703/771-2233, www.lightfootrestaurant.com, Mon.-Thurs. 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5:30-11 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.-midnight, Sun. 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.), in a former bank, has an eclectic international menu that features dishes ranging from pad thai and Baja fish tacos to Cajun spaghetti and meatloaf. Southern dishes fare well here, such as the crab bisque and fried green tomatoes at lunch.
A block and a half from the center of Leesburg (intersection of U.S. 15 and Rte. 7) is Market Station, with Tuscarora Mill (203 Harrison St., Leesburg, Va., 703/771-9300, www.tuskies.com, Mon.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-midnight, Sun. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., brunch 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m.), one of those restaurants that looks like it was built exclusively to gouge visitors but is a real crowd-pleaser with locals and visitors alike, with 22 beers on tap, an extensive wine menu, and ambitious, well-prepared selections such as duck and waffles, grilled bison, and shrimp and grits, made with Virginia ham and truffled grits.
© Patricia Nevins Kime from Moon Washington DC, 1st Edition