Date Visited: 19 June 2015
Diners: Me, Wendy, Bob, Joyce, Perry, and Laurie
Experience: Leesburg has a new Barbeque restaurant: Smokehouse Live! It’s a big deal, a big restaurant, and more than just food. Smokehouse Live opened up at the beginning of June in the Village at Leesburg, and according to the Washington Post, it is the largest in the D.C. metro area, and among the largest nationwide. How big? It’s Texas-big, occupying 16,000 square feet and able to seat about 600 guests at once. On this visit, we were joined by a quartet of good friends/good food lovers, so we got a good sampling of what Smokehouse Live has to offer.
At Smokehouse Live, you order your food by the piece in a buffet-type line called the Marketplace. You get a “Grub Stub” card upon which your choices are recorded by various servers as you go through the line. Smokehouse Live is all about the barbeque, offering multiple types of Beef, Pork, Poultry, and Sausage, served “from Pit to Counter,” all sold by the pound. Most of the meat is done with dry rubs, and they offer several serve-yourself house-made sauces that you can add to taste. When you order your barbeque, you just tell them how much you want, then they weigh it out in front of you, ask you what kind of bread you want, wrap it up in paper, and hand it to you in a basket. Then there are lots and lots of sides (also ordered individually, in 4/8/16 ounce sizes) like cornbread, onions, pickles, slaw, potato salad, pasta salad, deviled eggs, mac ‘n cheese, green beans, cheese grits, baked beans, and chili. If you’re not too stuffed after all that, there are puddings, pies, tarts, cake, cookies, and ice cream for dessert.
For this visit, I tried the Beef Texas Short Ribs, Beef Brisket, and Shiner Bock Brat Sausage, as well as the Kitchen Sink Baked Beans and Southern Slaw sides. I also got to sample the Cheese Grits, Cornbread with Roasted Peach Butter, and a few bites of a yummy-gooey-chocolatey dessert of some kind.
Overall, I liked the taste of the barbeque very much and thought it was first class, but not all of our friends thought so. I think part of the reason was that the Texas Short Ribs (beef) were a bit fatty for our taste, and at $24/pound, a little hard to swallow (pun intended). And therein lies an unexpected downside of all these choices. The prices (per pound or ounce) really add up fast, and you can end up spending quite a bit without realizing it until you see the total. Again, i think the barbeque was exceptional, but I recommend being conservative in the amounts you order. My eyes were much bigger than my stomach, and I did spend quite a bit on my meal. On the other hand, I had plenty of leftovers for some great lunches over the next few days!
The “Live” part of Smokehouse Live refers to the fact that they’ve got a proper music stage and lots of country, folk, bluegrass, blues, and rock bands lined up several days per week. On this visit, the band was just getting set up as we were leaving, so we didn’t get that experience.
I also had an earlier visit on 14 June, which was a Sunday afternoon. This happened to be the day Smokehouse Live introduced their Sunday Brunch. The Brunch menu is also served buffet-style, and offers a Scrambled Station, Smokehouse Live (Eggs) Benedict, Thanksgiving Casserole, Biscuit French Toast, Meats (Applewood Smoked Bacon, Country Ham, Pulled Pork, Buttermilk Fried Chicken), Smoked Sausage Gravy, Creamy Local Stone-Milled Grits, Red Skin Home Fries, Granola, and Sweets (Seasonal Cast Iron Cobbler, Seasonal Fritter, Bacon Sticky Buns, Cookies, Whoopie Pies, Cupcakes, and Mini Pick-Ups). Whew! I sampled almost everything, and nearly every dish has a distinctive smoky/barbecue taste - Yum! The Sunday Brunch buffet is a fixed price of $19.95 for adults. On this visit, we were lucky enough to have a live band, Bob Perilla’s Big Hillbilly Bluegrass, which was fun and appropriate.
Lots of choices and lots of taste - but try a little at a time! Support a locally-owned business and try Smokehouse Live yourself!
Location: 1602 Village Market Blvd., Leesburg, VA 20175, 571-447-5483
Web site: http://smokehouse-live.com/
Total bill: $95.06 + $20.00 tip = $115.06