Leesburg Lands World-Renowned Beer Café

Delirium Café, known for its Belgium-style beer and pink elephant logo, has chosen downtown Leesburg for its first U.S. location.

The franchise is slated to open within the next four months at 101 S. King St., the former location of Crème de la Crème.

“With all the sprawl going on outside of downtown Leesburg, it’s fun to bring something like this to the heart of Leesburg,” said Curtis Allred, the longtime Leesburg restaurateur opening the franchise. “It’s an opportunity to elevate everything in the restaurant community here in downtown.”

Allred has led some of downtown Leesburg’s most popular eating and drinking establishments. He was general manager of Fire Works Pizza for four and a half years before, in 2014, he helped open and manage Shoes Cup & Cork.

Introducing the U.S. to its first Delirium Café has been an idea five-plus years in the making for Allred. He visited the world-famous Delirium Café flagship location in Brussels, Belgium, five years ago as part of a work trip for the Tuskies Restaurant Group, which owns Fire Works Pizza, Tuscarora Mill and Magnolia’s at the Mill.

“We were sitting there having had a really fantastic time and saying there’s no reason one of these should not be in the U.S.,” he said. “Then we came back home and, for some reason, the idea just didn’t go away.”

Delirium Cafe in Brussels, Belgium

He returned to the café a few months later, met with the owners, and later signed a franchise license agreement. The agreement collected dust over the next several years, as Allred and his wife had their fifth child and didn’t have the funding to get the operation off the ground.

“I had this idea that Delirium had to be in downtown DC or Reston, but we didn’t have several million dollars to open a restaurant like that, so we kind of shelved the idea,” he said.

Then, when Crème de la Crème moved out of the storefront on the corner of Loudoun and King streets last year after calling it home for 14 years, Allred had a revelation. “Nobody ever said that Delirium has to be huge. Here’s this building that’s got a massive amount of history, a ton of charm, and it’s the highest point in town,” he said.

The original Delirium Café in Brussels is known for its long beer list, standing at more than 2,000, according to The Guinness Book of Records. The Leesburg location will be its fourth international franchise; with others in Rio de Janeiro (2010), in Japan (2011), and in São Paulo and Warsaw (2014).

The Leesburg café is expected to be a destination place, likely drawing beer and pub-style cuisine lovers from around the Washington, DC, region and beyond. Allred said to expect a beer list featuring close to 300 beers, from all over the world, about a third of which will be Belgium beers. The café’s second floor will feature a Hoppy Loft, similar to the café in Brussels, that highlights American-style pale ales and IPAs. The second floor can also allow be reserved for private events.

Allred plans to hire a staff of about 20 to 22.

He, and Donald Devine, who owns the 101 Loudoun St. space and several other downtown buildings, said Delirium Café is one of several big things in the works to ramp up the foot traffic in downtown Leesburg.

They mentioned the tequila bar set to open early this year in Paul Reimers’ building on West Market Street, and Black Hoof Brewing, which is renovating the former Caulkins Jewelers storefront on S. King Street. Devine also noted that Nils Schnibbe, who helped open MacDowell Brew Kitchen, has signed on to rent his building at 14 Loudoun St. SE, which has housed Cajun Experience for the past seven years. Cajun Experience recently announced on its website it is closing. Schnibbe has plans for a crab shack-style restaurant there, Devine said.

“Everyone wants the spaces we have before they become available,” Devine said. “I’m more excited about Leesburg than I have been in 10 years.”

Follow updates on Delirium Café at facebook.com/deliriumcafeusa.


8 thoughts on “Leesburg Lands World-Renowned Beer Café

  • 2017-01-04 at 4:19 pm

    One of every ten of us—”24 million adults over age 18—consume, on average, 74 alcoholic drinks per week. That works out to a little more than four-and-a-half 750 ml bottles of Jack Daniels, 18 bottles of wine, or three 24-can cases of beer. In one week” (Ingraham, 2014, para. 3).

    Like the tobacco industry, the alcoholic beverage industry depends on addiction. Those profoundly addicted persons buy well over half of all of the alcohol:

    “‘The heaviest drinkers are of greatly disproportionate importance to the sales and profitability of the alcoholic-beverage industry,’ [Philip J. Cook, author of book, ‘Paying the Tab’] writes writes [sic]. ‘If the top decile somehow could be induced to curb their consumption level to that of the next lower group (the ninth decile), then total ethanol sales would fall by 60 percent.'” (Ingraham, 2014, para. 10)


    Ingraham, C. (2014, September 25). Think you drink a lot? This chart will tell you. Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2014/09/25/think-you-drink-a-lot-this-chart-will-tell-you/?utm_term=.9f15fcf3ab02

  • 2017-01-04 at 4:24 pm

    Alcohol is a leading cause of preventable death, behind only tobacco—a recreational drug that itself is the cause of one of every five deaths in the United States, one of every ten worldwide—medical errors, and obesity/overweight:

    “Excessive alcohol consumption is responsible for an average of 88,000 deaths each year, including 1 in 10 deaths among working-age Americans ages 20-64” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015, para. 4).


    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015, October 15). Excessive alcohol use continues to be drain on American economy [Press release]. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2015/p1015-excessive-alcohol.html

  • 2017-01-04 at 5:46 pm

    Curtis – you may already be tight with Kelly and Gwen, but if you need any “pulling strings” to get opened, I’m sure they will lend a hand. Better off if you are a friend or son in-law. I expect to visit, but agree with Charlie as life is all about moderation, but having some fun. Good luck with your venture!

    • 2017-01-04 at 11:42 pm

      Wow! Is there a tone of jealously and righteousness in your comments? What’s funny about your lame comments is a tone of a failed venture. We know who you are. Keep up the positive attitude, it will take you far

  • 2017-01-05 at 8:53 am

    Is there anything about America that you approve of Mr. McKeon? This business owner is stepping out on a limb to start a business and employee people. He will be run through the wringer in taxes. Do you know who the largest beneficiary of alcohol and tobacco consumption is? I bet you do.

    Government. Oh yes. In fact, liquor is so profitable, government has a complete monopoly on selling spirits here in the Commonwealth. It’s not about control — it’s about the money. Always follow the money and you’ll see the real deal.

    Same goes for tobacco: Government, at all levels, is so dependent on tobacco consumption and the sweet, sweet, tax money it brings in, they’d have a panic attack if everyone quit smoking tomorrow. For the feds, they’re cut of the action funds the SCHIP program – that’s a program that provides health care for kids and mom’s.

    We should mention big oil too, since lefties hate them. Again, government gets a very nice cut out of every gallon of gas sold. That’s called taxes paid by you and me. These taxes were supposed to fund roads, but it doesn’t look like that worked out very good, does it? That’s why we here in NOVA pay extra taxes to fund roads. And that’s starting to look like a scam as well.

    Government doesn’t turn a single barrel of bourbon. It doesn’t produce a single cigar or cigarette, nor produce a single gallon of gasoline, yet they inflate the prices of all of these products by taking a rather significant cut of the action, resulting in questionable outcomes.

    What we all should be asking is; Where in the heck is all of our tax money, and why is it being squandered via waste, fraud, and abuse?

    This guy is busting his hump to do something positive for his family and for the community. Sadly, he knows he’s going to have an envelope every week for the Feds, the Commonwealth, and of course the townies. And it better not be light.

    Let’s applaud his efforts.

  • 2017-01-05 at 2:01 pm

    Formula retail/restaurants… pass.

    My dollars are better spent somewhere local.

  • 2017-01-05 at 3:16 pm

    It will be interesting to see if the heart of downtown businesses shifts south as the south end will get a shot of redevelopment. I kind of see this as the first baby step of that southward shift.

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