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Husband-wife team to open SideBar in downtown Leesburg

Leesburg restaurateur Nils Schnibbe and his wife Olivia have announced the opening of two new restaurants and a food truck this year.

And, if that won’t keep them busy enough, they are also expecting a baby this winter.

The husband-wife team's ambitious, creative ideas will bring some new nightlife, as well as a daytime lunch and coffee spot, to downtown Leesburg.

SideBar – a concept that will be run by Olivia and restaurant manager Aislin Kavaldjian – is located a  24 S. King Street out of a property owned by Don Devine, next to Blue Mountain Cafe. SideBar is slated for a Dec. 1 opening.

The space was previously home to a psychic studio, and the Schnibbes are doing major renovations to give it a more historic -- rather than psychic -- vibe, by uncovering brick walls, hidden doors, and beams that were covered by plaster.

The front of the building facing King Street will have a to-go window for ordering coffee and baked goods, or patrons can go inside, where there will be tables and countertops to order casual fare such as breakfast items, soups, sandwiches and salads.

There will also be late-night fare and cocktails available into the early hours of the morning.

“I'm in my 20s and am excited about bringing this type of place to Leesburg. This is my dream place to have cocktails and a bar scene. We want downtown to be a part of that,” Olivia Schnibbe said.

Olivia Schnibbe, right, and Aislin Kavaldjian will oversee SideBar in downtown Leesburg. Courtesy Photo

Walk around the side through an arched entrance that was once used for carriages, and there is a stone paved patio that will have seating designed in a charming and cozy setting for drinks and dining.

In the rear, there is a carriage house that was previously office space. It will be used for special events and parties.

“There is a constant stream of opportunities with private events, and we can fit in this niche and provide something no one else does,” Kavaldjian said.

The name, SideBar, is a reference to the the courtroom proceedings just down the street at the Loudoun County Courthouse.

“This is a feel-good place with something for everyone, where we can fill all your needs,” Schnibbe said.

They are working with Petal and Hedges on creating the design – which will bring the outside in – and to create a “living wall” in the patio area.

SideBar will be open daily. They are working with a kitchen team to prepare “elevated traditional, nouveau American cuisine.”

“The talent is very exciting. It's a big team of people we have worked with in the past,” Kavaldjian said.

Nils Schnibbe also has a couple of other projects up his sleeve. In addition to Captain Cactoctin’s Crab and Concoctions, which opened in downtown Leesburg July, and Morven Park Cafe, he has launched a new food truck called SunDay Chicken.

The idea came about when he and Olivia realized they couldn't find a place to get a good chicken sandwich on Sundays.

He has partnered with Christopher Peters of Leesburg, and the truck debuted at Vanish Brewery in Lucketts Oct. 22.

SunDay Chicken will be traveling around Loudoun throughout the week and at events and wineries and breweries on the weekends.

Eventually, Schnibbe hopes to find a brick-and-morter space for the concept.

The truck was previously used to deliver potato chips, and Peters retrofitted it as a traveling kitchen over the summer. Menu items include grilled and fried chicken sandwiches, chicken tenders, waffle sandwiches and breakfast sandwiches.

Their daily locations will be posted on Facebook.

The last project is still in a planning phase – called More Better Restaurant and Beer Garden - and will be located in Round Hill. Schnibbe plans to sell German food, burgers, and “sharing boards” to “relax and kick back,” he said.


mmmmmm…. snooze.  While I wish them luck, isn’t Loudoun just over saturated with “fast-casual” and bar/grill concepts?

What about solid, consistent, moderate-priced bistros that don’t think noise (“vibe”) is a good thing?  And, also choose to spend a bit more for table-cloth service, cloth napkins and carpeting?

We need smart restauranteurs who can bring a bit of tradition to the table at moderate prices.

I haven’t seen a food truck do particularly well in a snowstorm

As a friend of my says, watch out for any business where the owner promotes it on the basis of having a “vision.”  Your wallet will suffer.

I wish them luck.  They really seem to be trying to improve the downtown area.

Let’s hope the high rent doesn’t kill yet another dream.

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