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‘Maryland-style crab house’ coming to downtown Leesburg

Facebook/Captain Catoctin’s Crab House & Garden
Loudoun County residents Dave Miller and Nils Schnibbe are partnering to open what they're calling a traditional, Maryland-style crab house in downtown Leesburg this spring.

Captain Catoctin's Crab House will open its doors where Cajun Experience restaurant was located, at 14 Loudoun Street.

A lifelong crab lover, Miller said he has always dreamed of opening his own crab house-style eatery. While growing up in Pennsylvania, Miller's father used to take the family to the Chesapeake Bay on weekends to go crabbing and enjoy the fare. Miller has worked as a graphic designer, art director, song writer and antique dealer, but never a restaurant owner.

Miller and Schnibbe met seven years ago at Hunter's Run winery, and their friendship grew over the years. With Schnibbe's background in restaurants, the two felt this partnership was a good fit.

“Eleven years ago I worked for someone who packed and shipped crabs,” Schnibbe said, “now it has come full circle.”

After living in Loudoun for nearly 20 years and throwing many a crab feast at his home, Miller said everything “fell into place” after Schnibbe told him he was interested in partnering with him for a restaurant. Then the “perfect space” became available at 14 Loudoun Street.

The casual restaurant will have a nautical theme. They endeavor to create a fun, family-oriented place, with picnic tables and paper tablecloths on top.

“It will be a casual place where we can dump the crabs on the table and serve them with pitchers of beer,” he said. “The patio space is perfect for this type of restaurant … all we will be missing is the waterfront.”

The duo are planning to start with a “soft opening” in April.

Besides crabs, menu items will include shrimp, clams, oysters, soups and stews and crab cakes. There will also be a Maryland-style pit BBQ grilled beef and turkey sliced “paper thin.” Crabs will also be available for take out live, cooked and steamed.

“The whole process will be done outdoors. I have been throwing crab parties for friends and family and people enjoy watching me do the process as much as they enjoy eating the crabs,” Miller said.

For more information, follow Captain Catoctin's on Facebook.


We went to Cajun Experience once.  Food was ok and we’re fine with guns but the place was just so small.  There was no privacy at your table.  Hopefully, this will work better since it will be outside.  Lol Fred Sanford re mountain range.  Best of luck to the new owners.

Re the Cajun Experience: Food C+  If they had focused a bit more on the cuisine and a bit less on the in-your-face gun nuttery, then they’d have likely had more success.  Glad they’re gone from downtown Leesburg and I really look forward to a crab house taking their place.

Now I hope they don’t start giving discounts if you bring your own crab pot to the restaurant…

the quality will most likely be the same as McDonald’s. I will continue to go there and enjoy my Fish O Fillet for $2.22 and save the the extra $15-20 from avoiding this place or any other overpriced restaurant

Sorry, Resident of Ashburn Farm but the owners of Cajun Experience were very successful and will be in their new location at One Loudoun.
Those rights given to us by our forefathers sure are “nutty” aren’t they?
Good luck to the new Crab House in town, I think it is very timely as Lowry’s has slipped badly in terms of quality over the past 18 months and I have been looking for an alternative. Captain Ma’s is too expensive for tiny crabs, let’s hope Captain Catoctin does not make that mistake.

Captain Catoctin—Interesting choice to reference a mountain range when selling seafood.

I think just Catoctin Crab House would be a great name…do we really need the “Captain Catocin?”  Maybe it’s an inside joke amongst the management, whatever.

In any case, welcome to Leesburg and we look forward to visiting.

The previous owner elected to move to One Loudoun as French Quarter Brasserie. His crawfish étouffée was amazing & really miss it along with shrimp Po’Boys! Best wishes to the Crab House, can’t wait.

If I recall, the former tenant lasted a good 7 or 8 years, a fair run in the restaurant game, unless there was a pause in there I’m not aware of.

awesome development!!

I love traditional Maryland crab restaurants.

Hopefully they won’t continue the “bring your open carry gun to dinner and get a discount” policy of the previous owner.  Never tried the “Cajun Experience” because of that.  Wondering if that nutty idea influenced the closing of that business, or if the food/service was not that great.

This sounds like a winning combination and I hope it works out for them.

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