Lansdowne Resort and Spa sees culinary changes

Two restaurants roll out updated menus, and the property is poised to open three new concepts.

Smoky Tomato Bisque and Great Falls Grilled Cheese at Coton & Rye.
Photo courtesy of Coton & Rye

Two of the restaurants at Leesburg’s Lansdowne Resort and Spa have made big changes to their menus for spring, but that’s just the beginning of the developments coming to the Destination Hotels property this year.

Last month, Coton & Rye, the resort’s Virginia tavern, rolled out an entirely new menu. Their first menu put a heavy emphasis on historical cuisine, but executive chef Marcus Repp opted to have this new iteration focus on shareable items that highlight local purveyors and quintessential Virginia ingredients.

To that end, there is now a selection of flatbreads, including one called The Virginian BLT, which is topped with house bacon flavored by leftover gin spices from Catoctin Creek. Another addition is the hickory smoked chicken wings—a nod to the smokehouse that used to sit on the property when Thomas Lee—Assistant Land Agent for Thomas, Baron Cameron, sixth Lord Fairfaxlived there during the 1700s and 1800s.

In an effort to educate visitors about the bounty that comes from Loudoun County’s land, many dishes make mention of their ingredients’ origin, like the Blue Ridge corn chowder and the Loudoun apple chopped salad. “For me, there needs to be a story. You cannot have food without a story,” Repp says, adding that he has formed relationships with local purveyors like  those at George’s Mill and Yohanan Farm.

The protein in the signature dish, a pot pie, has been swapped from turkey to chicken to make it a little more approachable. The hearty entree is still a traditional one that Repp says was inspired by the matriarch of Thomas Lee’s family, his wife, Fanny. “This would be something that Fanny would have made, probably in a cast iron pan,” he says.

Due to customer demand, the new menu also offers more vegetarian dishes, like a smoked tomato bisque with grilled cheese and a layered vegetable pavé with grilled eggplant, zucchini, gold beets, barley, marinara and mozzarella.

For dessert, there’s an “unnecessarily large” 12-layer chocolate cake named The War Cake, which alludes to Fanny hosting American soldiers for dinner during the War of 1812.

Repp expects this menu to be an evolving entity that changes every few months, with input from guests. “We’re going to be much more reactive,” he says.

Downstairs at Riverside Hearth, a restaurant that overlooks the Potomac River Valley, Repp has resurrected Sunday brunch in the interest of bringing families together. The meal includes a wide variety of classics, like pastries, bagels, breads, meats and cheeses, pancakes, waffles, omelets, breakfast meats, carved prime rib and turkey, bottomless mimosas and more.

With fresh offerings at both restaurants, Repp and the Lansdowne team are turning their attention to three new concepts on the property: Fanny’s Garden, the LOCO Tasting Room and C&R Market.

Fanny’s Garden will transform the outdoor patio into a casual dining space featuring fresh herbs grown on site—herbs that will make their way into featured cocktails. “We feel like we need more outdoor space, especially in the summertime,” Repp says.

The kitchen will consist of Big Green Egg grills, so Repp hopes to prepare breads, flatbreads and charred fruits and vegetables. “It adds a really nice flavor to the items as well, because it’s a natural charcoal,” he adds.

Repp says the space will have a casual feel via bamboo flatware, high top tables, lawn games and simple dishes that let the ingredients shine. “If you would come to my house, this is what I would serve you. Not complicated, very simple, but when you bite into it, it’s going to be like, ‘wow.’” Fanny’s Garden will open in May.

The LOCO Tasting Room, which will open sometime in 2019, will take over the space currently occupied by the Great Room and offer visitors a chance to sample wines from all over Loudoun County paired with bites from the kitchen sometime this summer. A large horseshoe table will host interactive tastings and double as a space for cooking demonstrations. Throughout the Tasting Room, iPads will be utilized for ordering wine and food.

Using the iPads, Repp hopes to implement a wine comparison program so guests can taste varietals grown in Virginia and around the world and then vote for their favorite. “We really want people to be aware of how good the wine in Virginia is,” he says.

Last but not least comes the C&R Market, a coffee shop and grab-and-go spot in the lobby featuring goods from the resort and surrounding area. Expect an espresso bar, sandwiches, salads and items from local wineries, breweries and artisans.

Though their offerings differ, each space shares this: a goal of highlighting the Loudoun community for both residents and visitors. “We just want you to like it as much as we do,” Repp says. // Lansdowne Resort & Spa: 44050 Woodridge Parkway, Leesburg