Loudoun's restaurants gear up to reopen on Friday

Jennifer and Kevin Bednarz own The Purcellville Pub and The Ashburn Pub, where they will offer outside seating beginning Friday.

Friday is a big day for businesses around Loudoun County, most of which will be able to reopen in some capacity after Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced Tuesday that he will lift restrictions that have been in place since March 24.

One of the biggest changes is that restaurants will now be able to offer seated dining outside on the patio.

Under Phase One of the Forward Virginia reopening plan, restaurants, food courts, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, cideries and wineries are able to open with outdoor seating if they have a permit from the Virginia Department of Health and Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC).

Other regulations state that the occupancy must remain at 50 percent and the seating must be on the same parcel as the establishment that it serves and not be located within any vehicular travel lanes, fire lanes, handicapped accessible area or required access to and from the building, according to a release from Loudoun County government. 

Kevin Bednarz, owner of The Ashburn Pub and The Purcellville Pub, has been a vocal advocate throughout the pandemic – not only for his business, but all local businesses – and he said both pubs are ready to start Phase One on Friday.

“We are beyond thrilled to enter Phase One and want to thank every single customer, friend and community member that helped us get past the last 60 days, which were obviously the hardest for any small businesses let alone restaurants,” Bednarz said.

In Leesburg, the Leesburg Town Council on Tuesday approved a temporary modification to the Leesburg Zoning Ordinance regarding parking requirements for restaurants.

This measure is aimed at increasing opportunities for restaurants to create outdoor dining areas while social distancing restrictions remain in effect, according to town officials. 

Under the modified regulations, restaurants may apply for a temporary use permit for outdoor dining.

Finding space for tables outside can be difficult for many of the restaurants in downtown Leesburg. Representatives for The Wine Kitchen said they plan to have four tables outside on the patio, while Black Hoof Brewing said they do not have enough space to add outdoor seating and will continue with carry out options.

There was some discussion during Tuesday's Town council meeting about closing down streets for restaurants to add tables, however, that raises concerns about large crowds gathering.

“Some folks have talked about closing streets. We want to encourage energy everywhere, everyone is hurting,” said Councilman Ron Campbell.

Town Manager Kaj Dentler said the town is looking at other options to help businesses, and he is waiting to have some rules clarified from the state.

“Closing the streets is problematic right now because of the crowds we could generate, which is the opposite of what we should be doing,” Dentler said.

In the Village at Leesburg near Wegman's, Chefscape is creating an area with six themed dining “pop-up” tents outside, located in parking spaces adjacent to the restaurant. Themes for the tents range from surfing to Harry Potter to racing.

The tents will hold up to eight people and may be reserved online beginning on Saturday for a two-hour window with a $65 deposit, which will be applied to a meal tab. 

Using QR technology, customers can order meals from the food hall vendors and have meals delivered to the tents. Participating vendors are Colombian's Place, Flavour and Chaat Wala. The Chefscape bar will also operate in the same way.

Courtenay Jeffers, director of business development for Chefscape, said they are working with vendors to pivot and make adjustments.

Jeffers also noted that the Village at Leesburg has had its “strolling license” renewed, which means customers can purchase beer, wine or cocktails and walk around within the limits of the development.

Farther down Route 7, at One Loudoun in Ashburn, Matchbox Restaurant General Manager Jason Steenrod said they plan to open the downstairs patio initially and “see how it goes.”

There are five tables on the patio, which can collectively seat 20 people. Matchbox has two additional upstairs patios that will open eventually, he said.

“We are ready with new cleaning measures in place and team members in masks and gloves. Safety is of the utmost importance,” Steenrod said.

Jim Drost, director of culinary operations at Matchbox, said they will be serving brunch everyday, with popular menu items including a lemon poundcake french toast served with eggs, bacon and brunch potatoes and a crab and avocado omelet served with fruit and a salad.

Drost said he is also preparing specialty cocktails to-go served in individual and large size portions. 

Both Drost and Steenrod are upbeat about making it this far through the pandemic, and they are hoping for a busy weekend.

"Our guests have kept us going through this with their great feedback. Friday night pizza night has generally been our best day," Drost said.

(35) comments

WisdomGuidedByExperience

Dear Governor Northam:

“If you do not have any repository symptoms such as fever, cough or runny nose, you do not need to wear a mask. Masks should only be used by health care workers, caretakers or by people who are sick with symptoms of fever and cough.”

-- Dr. April Baller, public health specialist, WHO

ChocolateDinosaur

Happy for more chances to support our neighborhood!

springerdad

I will be visiting The Ashburn Pub this weekend. Support your local small business owners. Beaver wings and a friend fish sandwich.

Guest

Cant wait to bartending outside in the heat while I’m wearing a mask....

ChocolateDinosaur

get a real job snowflake

Guest

Have some respect for hospitality workers you jerk off

Voltaire

Guest, unfortunately, it appears that some elements of the fringe cannot let an opportunity to act like a juvenile pass. That is unfortunate.

Voltaire

Can you define what a "real job" is?

Loudoun4Trump

Cant wait to eat my cheeseburger through my mask....

ChocolateDinosaur

lol you losers complain about everything

Voltaire

I believe that is their right to do so.

Guest

@Voltaire, He didn't say they don't have the right. He said you losers like to complain. Able to comprehend that?

Voltaire

Guest, yes, I can comprehend that. I didn't need your "clarification" as I was able to deduce that all by myself. My message simply affirmed that the "losers" as the original posted described them have the right to do so. Pretty simple to understand, no?

Waterfordresident

The Governor shouldn’t have closed the restaurants down to begin with. Now this stupid phase 1 requirement last with wearing a mask in public buildings. This is like putting a condom on when your wife is already 3 months pregnant. It makes zero sense. Then again liberals are ruining everything in this county, state and country.

loudouncommonsense

Loudoun is turning very blue. If conservatives can't turn it red in November, they probably should just leave for their own sanity (and stop their whining on LTM)

The liberals I know are very, very good at running businesses, and being fiscally responsible in providing services to residents .

Residents, including conservatives DEMAND services including education and public health, so taxes (the time-worn lament of conservatives) have to increase.

Your choice: low taxes & few services= go to very rural area; Live in Loudoun= welcome to an urbanized county The horse is out of the barn.

Conservatives: Stop whimpering about "liberals" and build an easily understood message that appeals. Just yelling "get off my lawn" (and calling good people bad names) doesn't work with educated voters.

LoudounClear

Don't be so harsh on those little snowflakes. They happiest when giving voice to their resentments.

Voltaire

How does calling them "little snowflakes" do anything to advance this discussion? The answer is it does not but satisfies the political gotcha culture in this county. Simply wrong.

BLT

Voltaire, I disagree with what you're saying but I defend your right to say it. Bet you hear that all the time, though...

springerdad

Of course this is your mantra. I would love to know what small business you own so I can personally ask the county and the state to raise you taxes since you seem to have all the money in the world.

so taxes (the time-worn lament of conservatives) have to increase.

Voltaire

OK. First, from a business/economic standpoint, there is a big difference between running a for-profit enterprise (business) and a public sector organization (county government). Public education and public health are, from an economic standpoint, a "public good" and it is the responsibility of the local/state government to provide them. However, that is not a justification for "Taxation Gone Wild". A good illustration is Loudoun County's uncontrolled desire to issue bonds for public schools. Why continue to issue bonds and build more schools when some facilities may not be needed? Because the electorate will blindly sign off because it is education. How about the school system effectively manage its resources? Before you ask the citizens to burden additional taxation, thereby driving businesses who hire people away to other states, how about cutting spending? How about about becoming more efficient? This county doesn't know the word "fiscally responsible" and that is a problem because, no matter how much economic development advertising about LC being a great place for business, business won't come if you have record high taxes...

springerdad

Voltaire - You better get ready to move. LCS doesn't want people like you living in their county.

Voltaire

Springerdad, why should I move? I pay and will continue to pay my taxes on time and comply with the applicable laws/regulations. Frankly, I don't care what the LCS wants. I have lived in this county for over 30 years and have watched this county morph from a rural/agricultural county (both Eastern and Western) into what it is now and watched the LCS not effectively manage/zone this county at all. Since the 1980s, there has been out of control development in the Eastern part of this county. I simply pointed out the basic economics of high taxation and its impact on economic development.

springerdad

Voltaire - I completely agree with you!!!

BLT

Pompous much?

springerdad

Yes you are BLT. Once you realize it you will be able to help yourself.

Independent

So much anger and intolerance, why?

Countyrez

Perhaps you should change your alias to loudnonsense. I am betting you are one the Karen's we will see on social media screaming at someone for not wearing a mask. There seems to be an incredible amount of intolerance from someone who surely preaches tolerance, but I am guessing tolerance of like opinions only. Sad.

LoCoTransplant

I'm sorry, but you're logic of comparing comparing the coronavirus to pregnancy is seriously flawed for many reasons that shouldn't need be explained here.

But go ahead, don't wear a mask. Maybe you'll luck out. Maybe you won't and will learn a lesson the hard way.

Mateo

Really Loudoun Times? You had one job and failed. I see this time and time again, it’s Colombian NOT Columbian! The Country is Colombia 🇨🇴 located in South America not Columbia In states.

Voltaire

Good catch. [smile]

Guest

Traffic is going to be a mess in the Loudoun County area tomorrow.

John M

I just don't think this helps restaurants very much. First off, not many have outdoor seating, and the ones that do have a small amount of space, so filling that to 50% capacity means a handful of customers. As we all know about our weather, we usually do not get much of a spring, we jump right into hot, humid, weather and not many people want to sit outside in that- we will tomorrow for sure, but soon it won't be worth it, especially with those pop up thunderstorms we get around here.

Fiscalconservative

This is a nice start but what about the restaurants that don't have outside seating? They are getting screwed through no fault of their own. Local and State officials need to fix this quick, we already lost several restaurants and will lose many more if our elected officials don;t get their act together.

LoudounPulse

Put in RSVPs now, everybody will be booked solid.

Guest

No one will be taking RSVP’s!

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