For Smokehouse Live co-owner Jim Foss, the restaurant’s blues and Americana music lineup is an added treat for patrons looking to enjoy tasty barbecue. But he admits that with the venue’s sweet lineup of up-and-coming performers—both national and local—there likely will be plenty of folks for whom music is the main draw.
“One of the great things that goes with barbecue is music,” Foss said. “We’re a restaurant first and an entertainment venue secondly. The music program was created to be an amenity to our guests so people can come in and eat some barbecue and watch some really good bands in a family environment.”
The restaurant, which opened in June, is a joint venture between Foss, a former vice president of operations and corporate chef for Capital Restaurant Concepts, and Kris Diemar, a veteran of several big name DC-area restaurants. Both men live in Loudoun—Foss in Sterling and Diemar in Hamilton—and they had talked about launching a restaurant for several years.
The Village at Leesburg location was conveniently between their homes and also offered the right ambiance.
“We love the little town center here,” Foss said. “It has a nice, upbeat, eclectic feel to it, and we were hoping to give people reason not to go into DC for the night. We really wanted to have a one-stop shop for people to come out and eat and have a nice time out with us.”
Foss, who runs the back of the house, is focused on high-quality, pit-smoked meats always smoked the day they’re served and sold by the pound, as well as homemade sauces, and hot and cold sides. The restaurant offers 12 beers on draft, wine, specialty cocktails and more than 80 American whiskeys.
But the music side is a big part of the operation for the partners, who have hired an in-house music booker and music program manager. Upcoming shows include the Levi Stephens Band, Karen Jonas and Thom Shepherd. Foss is particularly excited about Nashville-based Humming House, which appears Aug. 22.
The venue also offers family-oriented Americana/bluegrass brunches on Sundays (music is free with brunch), a popular monthly karaoke night with a live band. The karaoke night is free, and most shows run between $10 and $20.
Mississippi-based blues artist Jarekus Singleton, who appears Aug. 14, is exactly the kind of emerging artist the venue is looking for, said Smokehouse Live publicist Melissa Gold.
“We’re hoping to do a lot of Americana music, which is kind of all-enveloping: singer-songwriters, blues, bluegrass, some rock, but more of the soulful music. Jarekus really falls into that lane really, really well. We like to get a lot of up-and-coming bands, and he happens to be one of those,” Gold said.
For more information and a music schedule, go to smokehouse-live.com.