Leesburg Favorites: My Hometown

Four locals pick their best bets

By: Sophie Gilbert

Redskin Chris Cooley and his wife, Christy, love Fire Works pizza.
Chris Cooley is a tight end for the Redskins. He has a popular blog, The Cooley Zone (chriscooley47.blogspot.com), where he posts videos, updates, and other news.

There’s a New York–style deli called Puccio’s (15 Loudoun St., SE, Leesburg; 703-779-7676) that has unbelievable sandwiches—I order the Penn Station every time, which has chicken and cheese. They serve breakfast sandwiches, too, and they deliver.

Fire Works (201 Harrison St., SE, Leesburg; 703-779-8400) has the best pizza I’ve ever had. Our favorite is called the Smokey Blue, and it has bacon and balsamic glaze. They have an awesome beer selection, and their bartenders know a lot about all the beers, so they hook you up.

My wife, Christy, is a die-hard fan of the dress shop Madisonbelle (5 Loudoun St., SE, Leesburg; 703-443-1790). They have a lot of name brands but also really original stuff. The owner’s amazing, and it’s great for me because they know Christy there, so they can find things in her size and pick out things they know she’ll like. It’s really personal.

I play golf at Raspberry Falls Golf & Hunt Club (41601 Raspberry Dr., Leesburg; 703-779-2555). It has your typical golf-club feel, but it’s really laid-back and friendly. The course is designed by Gary Player—it’s kinda tough, but I’d say most people with normal experience can play there.

We love going to listen to acoustic music at the Beautiful South (17416 Hamilton Station Rd., Hamilton; 540-338-7335). It’s really cool, and the owners are these amazing Greek people. It’s great for going out for drinks.

Denyce Graves is a mezzo-soprano. Born and raised in DC, she made her professional debut in 1995 at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, and this summer she’ll sing the title role in “Carmen” at the Dorset Opera in England.

Leesburg is expanding all the time, but I really enjoy its small-town feel and personality. I’ve traveled all over the world, and Leesburg has the prettiest sunsets I’ve ever seen.

I always like going to Lightfoot Restaurant (11 N. King St., Leesburg; 703-771-2233). It’s owned by two sisters, and we watched them start out in a tiny place and grow their business. The food is delicious, and they have fantastic desserts.

To relax, I go to Spa Minérale at Lansdowne Resort (44050 Woodridge Pkwy., Lansdowne; 703-729-4036) for facials and massages. It’s definitely somewhere I’d take a friend for a relaxing day out.

I take my daughter to My Gym (1045 Edwards Ferry Rd.; 703-777-4496), which has classes specifically designed for kids from three months to ten years old. They do painting and drawing, have bars for climbing and trampolines, and organize games for children.

Leesburg has a really nice little post office off Main Street (15 E. Market St.; 703-669-5485). Two women work there, and they ask how the baby is doing. I also like to stop at the farmers market (20 Catoctin Cir., SE, Leesburg; 540-454-8089; loudounfarmersmarkets.org). You can get fresh peppers, lettuce, corn, homemade preserves and jams, and really ripe and beautiful tomatoes, watermelons, and cucumbers.

Former quarterback Joe Theismann played for the Redskins from 1974 to 1985. He cohosts “Playbook” on the NFL Network and owns Joe Theismann’s Restaurant in Alexandria.

Leesburg Restaurant
(9 S. King St., Leesburg; 703-777-3292) has been there forever, in a little place just off Main Street. Some of us who’ve been going there for so long know to park in the back and walk in through the kitchen.

I enjoy the Tally Ho Theatre (19 W. Market St., Leesburg; 703-777-1168). It’s so old, I’m guessing George Washington watched movies there, or maybe Robert E. Lee. The screens are somewhat small, but it’s quaint and local.

Downtown Saloon (7 N. King St., Leesburg; 703-669-3090) must be mentioned in some kind of biker’s guide to Virginia because everyone stops by when they’re riding through town. You’ll see 30 to 40 motorcycles outside.

The antiques shops in Leesburg are great. At the Old Lucketts Store (42350 Lucketts Rd.; 703-779-0268), there are myriad things you can find, from old benches to statues. A long time ago, I found a picture of Babe Ruth teeing off.

You could wander in and around Leesburg for a month trying restaurants and never get bored. Sweetwater Tavern (45980 Waterview Plaza, Sterling; 571-434-6500) has great roast-chicken salad. When in doubt, go to Friendly’s (46200 Potomac Run Plaza, Sterling; 703-430-2486) for a banana split. In fact, don’t even think about it—just go. Milwaukee Frozen Custard (510 E. Market St., Leesburg; 703-779-2007) is off the charts.

Russell Baker is a Pulitzer Prize–winning writer and satirist. From 1992 to 2004, he hosted “Masterpiece Theatre” on PBS, and he wrote a New York Times column for 36 years.

Tuscarora Mill (203 Harrison St., SE, Leesburg; 703-771-9300), also known as Tuskie’s, has maybe the best menu in town. There’s a great bar up front that attracts all the local-government people. This is a courthouse town, so the bar’s usually full after work with guys looking to seduce their secretaries.

The Eiffel Tower Café (107 Loudoun St., SW, Leesburg; 703-777-5142) is also good, especially in the summer. You can sit outside under the umbrellas and have a glass of wine.

Purcellville has a great hardware store, Nichols (131 N. 21st St.; 540-338-7131). It’s one of those big stores you can get lost in where they sell everything from bullets to old tin pots and cast-iron skillets.

If you’re coming to Leesburg, you should visit Station Auto Wash (149 Catoctin Cir., SE; 703-669-5500). It’s brand-new and very elegant. It burned down a year or so ago, but it was very quickly rebuilt and well restored. You can leave your car with the guys and sit down, and there’s sort of an old-fashioned railway-station motif.