Allred’s Growing ‘Rebellion’: Restaurateur Plans Meatball, Pizza Ventures

Don’t waste time. That’s a mantra restaurateur Curtis Allred repeats, wisdom imparted from his late father just prior to his death.

“The problem with time is you believe you will have more. You only have this moment to be impactful. Be as good as you can be all the time,” he said.

Judging from Allred’s busy schedule, wasting time does not seem to be something he does a lot of. Allred’s life has gotten significantly busier in the past couple of years, following the opening of his Delirium Café USA in downtown Leesburg in May 2017. The international brand chose Allred, and by extension Leesburg, to be its flagship U.S. restaurant.

It’s the latest among many stops for Allred, whose career in the restaurant industry has taken him to New York City, Washington, DC, and now his family’s adopted hometown of Leesburg for the past 11 years. And while running one establishment—not to mention a very busy one, given Delirium’s popularity in the international scene—would be enough to keep anyone busy, Allred is planning a summer opening for two new ventures. Yes, two.

Balls of Glory, purveyor of all things meatball, recently enjoyed a successful pop-up in space occupied by Delirium. Allred has been perfecting his meatball recipes throughout his career, and the menu will include everything from your traditional Italian meatball, to falafel balls, rum balls, wedding cake balls, vegan meatballs, and more, served in sandwiches, salads, or over pasta. The restaurant will open in the Loudoun Street space currently occupied by Señor Ramon Taqueria, once Señor Ramon’s moves to its new space at the corner of King and Loudoun streets, expected to happen by mid-summer.

As opposed to the Delirium concept, which can require some explanation to those not familiar with it, “people inherently understand meatballs,” Allred says. Still, he hopes to take his customers a bit out of their comfort zone, by offering different takes on the meatballs.

“There’s been a homogenization of the food and beverage culture. I don’t want to do that,” he says. “I’m trying to get people to get out of their comfort zone by making something unique and delicious.”

And that’s something he plans to replicate at his other new restaurant, Wild Wood Pizza in the Village at Leesburg. The pizza restaurant will be located near Cobb Theatres and will offer a family-oriented dining destination that is both reverent to pizza and a bit rebellious, too, he said.

“You might say we’re reverent about rebellion,” Allred quips.

He had been working on the Wild Wood concept prior to Delirium’s opening, when he was still general manager at Shoe’s, Cup and Cork Club. He looked to his past experience working with establishments known for their pizzas, including Isabella’s in Manhattan and local legend Fireworks Pizza.

A beloved food staple that pleases all ages, Allred said the challenge in opening a pizza restaurant is not explaining the concept, but what makes you unique. He likens the space to reminiscent of the mid-90s Brooklyn hip-hop scene. A large mural, which Allred says looks like it was taken from a graffitied subway car, will be the focal point of the space.

In a nod to pleasing both the reverent and rebellious palates, Allred said he will offer both purist-type pizzas, with classic Neapolitan styles, as well as more foodie-driven selections. He is eyeing a June opening for Wild Wood. He hopes to use both his training as a sommelier and Cicerone—the beer equivalent—to offer an exciting beverage assortment there, too.

So, how is the husband and father-of-five juggling all of this?

“You just do,” he said, and he points back to the lesson imparted on him by his father.

Allred adheres, except for a busy Friday and Saturday evening, to a general rule of unplugging at 10 p.m. nightly, and credits his wife for the support of the ventures. He said his focus right now is on opening the two new restaurants, but he is always looking for a new opportunity on the horizon.

“I don’t know what’s next,” he said.

But, until he figures that out, Allred said he hopes his restaurants will be part of creating positive memories for his guests to look back on.

“[Customers] aren’t paying you for food anymore. What they’re really paying you for is the memory of the experience, and you hope you can make it a really good one.”

Delirium Cafe USA proprietor Curtis Allred is set to debut two new restaurants in Leesburg this summer.
[Renss Greene/Loudoun Now]

One thought on “Allred’s Growing ‘Rebellion’: Restaurateur Plans Meatball, Pizza Ventures

  • 2019-04-04 at 2:23 pm

    Leesburg needs a traditional, old world UK pub with local beer, domestic and UK, European Imports as well a small but great locally sourced menu. Nothing fancy, just cozy and welcoming. Plank floors, low ceilings, wood burning fireplace a great burger, charcuterie, soups and fresh bread. Would love a place like that!

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