A Destination Beer Garden With Sugar Loaf Mountain Views Gets a Revamp

Veteran DC restaurateurs have taken over the Comus Inn in Dickerson, Maryland.

Country-fried quail on a cheddar cornmeal waffle with chili-garlic honey is on the Comus Inn's new menu. Photograph by Mykl Wu.

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The Comus Inn. 23900 Old Hundred Rd., Dickerson, Md.

Day trip destination the Comus Inn—a five-acre beer garden and restaurant overlooking Sugarloaf Mountain—is getting a revamp thanks to some veteran DC restaurateurs.

The historic farmhouse in Dickerson, Maryland, served as a wedding venue with a fine-dining restaurant until real estate developer Doug Yurechko turned it into a family-friendly beer garden and entertainment venue a few years ago. Recently, Yurechko sold it to a group that includes brothers Eric and Ian Hilton (whose many DC-area establishments include Chez Billy Sud, Players Club, and American Ice Co.), Steve Ryan (Ian’s partner in Solace Outpost), and Jonathan Staples (owner of 63-acre farm-brewery Vanish in Lucketts, Virginia).

Ian Hilton says he’s been visiting the Comus Inn since the early ’90s (he was friends with the daughter of a previous owner). “It’s something else. It’s beautiful out here,” Hilton says. Meanwhile, he and Staples had been talking about doing business together for years, and the Comus Inn ended up being the ideal project for Staples’s expertise in building a getaway beer garden.

Inside the restaurant at the Comus Inn. Photograph by Mykl Wu.

The Comus Inn restaurant reopened this week under the direction of chef JR Tiernan, who previously cooked at Dominion Wine & Beer in Falls Church. His new menu will utilize plenty of local ingredients like White Stone oysters, Roseda beef for burgers and dry-aged steaks, and mushrooms from neighboring Happy Mushroom Farm for a dish with chevre, buttered leeks, and duck egg. Other highlights include a Scotch egg with housemade sausage, and country-fried quail on a cheddar cornmeal waffle with chili-garlic honey.

The Comus Inn is located in a historic farmhouse. Photograph by Mykl Wu.

In May, the Comus Inn will open its dog-friendly, family-friendly beer garden and taqueria, which will also serve easy snacks like warm pretzels and beer cheese. Beers will predominantly come from Vanish, along with other local breweries. The Comus Inn will also pour local wines and host occasional tastings with winemakers. There’s even a little bourbon bar and frozen drink machines for margaritas and frosé.

The new owners are making a number of changes, including extended hours. While the previous iteration of the Comus Inn hosted a summer camp’s worth of activities and events, the new version will focus primarily on food, drinks, and live music at least four days a week. The scenic lawn has been re-landscaped with more seating and no more shuffleboard or bocce courts. The venue welcomes large groups, and has a private dining room upstairs, but they’re going to hold off on buyouts for weddings and large events initially to focus on day-trippers. “We don’t want to close the place down,” Hilton says.

Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.