Crooked Run Brewing recently expanded in a big way, installing an all-day biscuit counter (Daybreak) and a cocktail and mimosa bar (Nectar) in the space next-door to its facility in Loudoun County, Virginia.
Two years after moving to 22455 Davis Drive in Sterling, the brewery was bursting at the seams during peak taproom hours. When the neighboring Potomac Flight School left, the Crooked Run owners jumped at the opportunity to grow.
“I am fairly tuned into the restaurant scene, both here and nationally,” says co-owner and head brewer Jake Endres, who helps handle beer sales coast to coast. “I also wondered why there wasn’t a biscuit and gravy restaurant here. They’re wildly popular.”
Endres says the group added a cocktail bar because “not everyone drinks beer,” calling a brewery that only sells suds “outdated.”
Daybreak’s chef Damian Dajcz’s menu opens with a traditional Southern biscuit dubbed the Nash (fried chicken, cheddar cheese, hot bacon jam, fried egg, caramelized onions, and sausage gravy). Many Daybreak orders integrate West Coast and Korean ingredients. The Southern Cali (classic biscuit, grilled chicken, maple candied cured bacon, fresh avocado, sliced tomato, lettuce, fried egg, and garlic aioli) is an early best seller.
A “Between Breads” section ($10-$14) includes carbs besides biscuits. For example, there are avocado toasts on multigrain bread and hot fried chicken on a potato brioche bun. The opening menu also features smoked salmon atop a toasted English muffin, Nutella waffles, and spins on traditional fries (think sea salt sweet potato sticks). Ceviche is joining the lineup soon.
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Dajcz runs popular Leesburg taco stop Señor Ramon. He formerly had a temporary setup inside Crooked Run. The brewery has also hosted a series of Cars and Coffee pop-ups — a roving meet-up built for gearheads and breakfast enthusiasts — that proved the demand for morning hours.
Crooked Run’s expansion nearly quadrupled capacity, from 80 to 300 seats. Endres reports there wasn’t a seat in the house for Father’s Day brunch last weekend.
The industrial-styled addition, lined with stacked shipping containers and soaring ceilings, sports a food hall-meets-beer garden vibe. The modern setup comes lined with Edison bulbs, metal accents, and tall glass windows to let natural light seep through.
Endres says Nectar seemed like a natural complement to Daybreak because it would offer people something lighter to go with their biscuits.
He taught himself the art of cold-press juicing, experimenting with flavors, raw fruits, vegetables, real herbs, and spices. A cold-press juice machine on-site creates blends — like passion fruit, pineapple, red apple, and lime — served on their own or as the base for mimosas.
Expect the Nectar menu to change routinely, depending on what produce is in season.
A well-known D.C. mixologist, Service Bar co-owner Glendon Hartley, designed the opening cocktail menu.
The drinking lab of sorts is also infusing its own beers. Last weekend, a stout got the German chocolate cake treatment when Endres added cacao nibs and roasted pecans into the keg.
“It’s a unique flavor that’s hard to replicate when you’re brewing a beer,” he says.
In two weeks, he plans to offer infused sour beer.
A short list of five wines range $7-$18 by the glass, with pours hailing from Napa Valley to South Africa.
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Daybreak’s hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nectar’s hours are the same (except Sunday until 7 p.m.).
A grand opening is scheduled for Saturday, June 22 at 9 a.m. The first 50 customers will earn free chicken once a week for the rest of the summer. Festivities also call for $4 OJ mimosas, live jazz, and a ribbon cutting ceremony.