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Jul 2, 2006 04:48 AM

Loudoun County

Loudoun County VA is one of the fasted growing counties in the country. Many of its residents once lived in DC/Arlington and moved to the McMansions of Ashburn and Brambleton to settle down and raise families. They came to Loudoun for the schools and the ability to buy a home with a yard for the dog and kids.

Well, just because all the houses look the same doesn’t mean that all the food has to as well. So, I thought it might be a good idea to open up a thread devoted to the restaurants and food outlets in Loudoun County.

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  1. The Mighty Midget in Leesburg.

    Yes, yes, the name is no longer merely a quaint description of the size of the kitchen but has become the definition of politically incorrect. Laugh or shake your head in disgust over the name, but there is one thing that is not up for debate: the Midget makes tasty BBQ. Located across from the Tuskies, the Midget’s kitchen is an aluminum structure with a fantastic neon sign above it. All of the seating is outside. So, if it is raining, it will probably be closed.

    Behind the “kitchen” is the heart and soul of this operation. There you will find stacks of hard wood and a huge smoker chock a block full of rose colored ribs and pork. Typically the owner of the Midget (and Bz’s BBQ Sauce Company) is there manning the grill.

    The menu is pretty simple. You get BBQ, hamburgers, kielbasa, chicken, hotdogs, and ribs. I think the ribs are only available on weekends and they sell out quick. So get there early.

    The good news is that the BBQ has improved this year. I don’t know what they are doing differently but the meat is sweeter and smokier. On the sandwiches I have had this year there was a perfect balance of the moist center pieces and the crunchy end pieces.

    As for the sauce, get it on the side the first time. The Midget gets its sauce from B’z BBQ Company. These sauces are loved by many and have won many awards. However, I find them cloying sweet. Even the hot sauce fails to pack a punch. If you are looking for traditional vinegar based sauces this is not the place for you. On the other hand, try ‘em, and like Mikey, you might like ‘em.

    Another great disappointment at the Midget is the coleslaw. Coleslaw should be cold and crisp at a minimum. At the Midget it is warm and soggy. For a location that does not seem to have a bathroom or running water this troubles me.

    Luckily the fries will make up for the coleslaw. The fries are crispy and luckily, if you like sweet sauces like catsup you can dip them in the B’z BBQ sauce you ordered on the side.

    Perhaps the greatest disappointment about the Midget is probably completely out of its control. For the time being the Midget does not sell alcohol, or more specifically, beer. See, when you sit outside eating great BBQ you really want a cold beer to wash it down.

    Overall, the Midget has great food, a great location and great value. So the next time you are out buying overpriced antiques at Four Shabby Chicks save your money and skip Tuskies.

    1. I'm less versed there than when I lived there, of course, but also Lightfoot in Leesburg deserves a mention for a nice meal - they also have a bakery next door.

      There's a Sweetwater nearish 7 & 28, and though I haven't been to that exact one, I'm sure it's as good as the Merrifield location.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Dennis S

        A great secret for Lightfoot is the Bar Menu. The menu is small, inexpensive and tasty. It includes fried green tomatoes and a great meatloaf sandwich that has a spicy curry mayo. You can also split a meal for a couple of bucks extra and they will serve it to you on two plates and double the sides.

        Now, if only Lightfoot would sort out the main dining room and work on consistency.

      2. For Leesburg, my vote goes to Giovanni's for pizza, the gelato at the bakery next to the WalMart and the Eiffel Tower Cafe.

        1. Let's turn to the Route 50 corridor, where we all live in our "McMansions" and have a serious shortage of decent food.

          There are some things happening down here.

          At Market Square in South Riding, San Vito (part of a small local chain) will be opening soon. We have always enjoyed the pizza from their Frankin Farm location. An Indian place run by Connaught Place veterans is also coming there as well as a Thai joint and allegedly a ZPizza too.

          Just over the line in Fairfax County -- four eateries have identified themselves in the new plaza on the south side of 50 across from the 7-11: Paisano's (subs etc), Cafe Aroma (mysterious so far, all we know is they will be serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner), Philly Connection Cheesesteaks, and most promisingly, Pho 98, for "authentic Vietnamese cuisine."

          Also, Picante! The Real Taco has opened up a little place a few doors to the east called Picante Burrito Express. This is a storefront takeout only operation. I haven't been in but I looked in yesterday. The menu consists of 8 kinds of burritos (including tongue). You can get a burrito for $1.95 or a "platter" for $6.95. Looks promising!