The Mighty Midget Returns Home

A Leesburg landmark returned to its home Thursday. The Mighty Midget Kitchen was moved back to its traditional location at the Y-intersection of Market and Loudoun Streets in Leesburg.

The move came two years after the Leesburg Town Council awarded a new 20-year lease on the tiny building to Avis Renshaw. She owns Mom’s Apple Pie, the bakery located at that corner, and with the help of her family plans to return the Mighty Midget to a restaurant operation. 

That will take quite a bit of work and there is no set timetable to get the Midget back up and running.

Although a new pad site has been prepared for the building, the structure itself will require significant restoration, starting with its iconic neon sign, which will be sent off to specialists in Philadelphia.

Made from part of a World War II B-29 bomber, the Midget operated as a carryout restaurant from 1947 to 1994 at the intersection. After operations there ceased, the Town of Leesburg received title to the Midget and moved the structure into storage. The town issued a request for proposals for the relocation and use of the Midget, awarding the lease to Gordon MacDowell and The MacDowell Companies. A 20-year lease between MacDowell and the town was agreed upon in 1996 at a rate of $10 annually. 

At the Harrison Street location, the restaurant use was revived by Chef Brian Devaux, who operated a barbecue eatery from the small hut. From 2008 to 2019, the Midget served as the main kitchen for Döner Bistro when the restaurant was located at MacDowell’s Harrison Street property. Since the Döner moved to the Virginia Village shopping center last summer, and the Midget has not been in active use. McDowell’s lease expired in 2016.

Renshaw was one of three bidders for a new lease, along with McDowell and Scarps Breakfast Joint. Her new lease comes with a $50 per year fee to the town.

Workers carry the iconic neon sign of the Mighty Midget Kitchen on Sept 15 as the tiny restaurant building was moved back to it traditional location at the eastern intersection of Market and Loudoun streets in Leesburg.
The interior of the tiny Mighty Midget Kitchen, which will undergo a restoration as the Renshaw family works to bring the long-time Leesburg landmark back to life.
The Renshaw family has prepared a new home for the Mighty Midget Kitchen at its original location at the eastern intersection of Market and Loudoun streets.
The Mighty Midget Kitchen, perhaps best known for its 25-cent burger sliders, operated at the eastern intersection of Market and Loudoun streets in Leesburg from 1947-1994. [Thomas Balch Library]

3 thoughts on “The Mighty Midget Returns Home

  • 2022-09-15 at 5:35 pm

    How nice the Mighty Midget is coming back to life in Loudoun County! I wish Avis Renshaw & her family every success in their new endeavor. Welcome to Fall Loudoun! P.S. — I hope I’m fortunate enough to eat one of Mom’s Apple Pies soon.

  • 2022-09-30 at 9:52 pm

    Outstanding! Gen. George Marshall, who lived across the street, would be pleased!

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