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Smokehouse Live ready to light up Village at Leesburg

Smokehouse Live’s co-presidents of pitmaster hospitality, Jim Foss and Kris Diemar at Smokehouse Live in Leesburg. Times-Mirror/Rick Wasser
It was one Tuesday around 7 p.m. when Loudoun residents Jim Foss and Kris Diemar stepped out onto the streets at the Village at Leesburg.

Where are the lights, they thought.

Aside from the glow of the Cobb Theatre a few blocks down, a town center looking to buzz with activity among its many shops and restaurants was dark.
So the two decided it was time to bring in some light.

Alas, Smokehouse Live was born and the two found themselves immersed in bringing backyard Americana – everything from the food to the drinks to the music – to a mixed-use development designed for urban nightlife.

And patrons, prepare to get messy.

The restaurant boasts two barbecue pits that can accommodate 2,500 pounds of meat, smoked with local white oak.

“We cook nothing today for tomorrow. Everything is pit to counter,” said Foss, Smokehouse Live's co-president of pitmaster hospitality.

The 16,000-square-foot restaurant/bar/music venue is set to open around Memorial Day weekend.

Food will be served in the spirit of the Southern barbecue marketplace, where patrons can order as much or as little food as they want – all which is served on paper and metal trays.

Meat will be sold by weight, ordered on a 'grub ticket,' so the restaurant can accommodate an order of one brisket or 10 ribs, but allow for multiple trips back to the pit for more food before tabbing out.

The meat will feature mostly dry rubs, according to Foss, which take from the styles of other popular barbecue hotspots such as Kansas City, the Carolinas and Texas.

The restaurant already has partnered with several local farms for fresh produce to go along with the carnivorous feast.

Also on staff is pastry chef Jessica Yealy, who will serve up American-style desserts, such as Whoopie pies. Her father, Bryan Yealy is the restaurant's executive chef.

But the group is aiming for more than just a good barbecue meal.

The facility is divided up into six spaces, the main staples obviously named 'Smoke,' 'House' and 'Live.'

'Smoke' refers to the aforementioned array of barbecue, sides and dessert.

Despite its size, Diemar, co-president of pitmaster hospitality, says Smokehouse Live can be “as big as we want, we can be as small as we want.”

The bar, the 'House' of the facility, seats up to 90 with 12 draft beer taps, multiple TVs (one has an 80-inch screen) and garage doors that open the space to the front patio. Inside at the bar are USB ports, where visitors can plug in their electronics and sit and stay a while. On Sundays, the restaurant plans to offer “big country brunches” complete with, what else, grits.

The front patio, the “Hen House” can fit 10 two-top tables, a likely coveted spot on nice days.

“We wanted to create a feeling of energy for anyone that is walking by or driving by,” said Diemar.

'Live,' the club space where acts such as Drivin' & Cryin,' Human Country Jukebox, Howlin’ Brothers, YARN, Paul Thorn, Dale Watson and Band of Heathens will perform, can hold 225 standing room only guests and 150 people seated at picnic tables.

Inside 'Live' is a bar with 12 draft lines that seats 30 people.

And if Smokehouse Live isn't enough of a laid back environment, there's more. The Viper Lounge, fashioned in the same wooded pallets seen throughout the restaurant, but designed to look like your fenced-in backyard, fits 18 for lounging in Adirondack chairs and watching television.

“Even though we're a restaurant, we made it accommodating for everybody. We want to give them a reason to come to Leesburg,” Diemar said.

For more information on Smokehouse Live, visit http://www.smokehouse-live.com.

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