Loudoun County diners know Curtis Allred as the owner of Delirium Café and Wild Wood Pizza in Leesburg. But his empire as Rocket Collective Hospitality is rapidly expanding. By the end of spring, he will have notched five more concepts onto his belt.
Since January, the space behind Delirium has been overtaken by bubbles. Bubbles & Brews, that is. The pop-up features seating in outdoor bubbles that are carefully sanitized after each use. The menu features “a more tapas kind of energy” than the recently revived Belgian classics like mussels and varied frites (made from imported potatoes) available inside. The casual menu of small plates changes “every week or two” to suit Allred’s whims, but options are resolutely casual. Currently, they include shareable platters of everything from artisan cheese to Belgian chocolate. There’s also 12-hour-braised brisket and fish and chips.
At the start of this month, Delirium also launched ghost kitchen DC Wings. The chicken, prepared in the Delirium kitchen, includes eight varieties sold by the pound for $11. Flavors range from sweet Thai chile, honey and Old Bay, and turmeric and harissa to plain-Jane keto wings. The menu also offers burgers, fries, and crispy cheese curds.
Next on the roster is James Dairy Bar, which will open inside Wild Wood at the end of March or beginning of April, as soon as branded supplies arrive. It’s named for Allred’s centenarian great-uncle, James Hutton, who opened a dairy bar after he returned home from serving in WWII. James will make its own ice creams with a 70-gallon-a-day capacity. “You’ll be able to build your own milkshakes and build your own cones,” says Allred. Unique toppings include fudge and caramel made in-house as well as candies from the Rocket Fizz location that’s also in Village at Leesburg.
The final two ghost kitchens that Allred will debut this spring are revivals of previous concepts. Balls of Glory, Allred’s former Leesburg meatball shop, will return in April for delivery. In May, Cake or Death, the bakery that was previously slated to open in the former Leesburg Vintner space on South King Street, will come to life inside Wild Wood’s kitchen, usingthe pizza ovens in the morning to bake cupcakes that will be paired with sparkling wine. In fact, diners at Wild Wood are already getting a cookie to try out the wares.
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