Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 2 p.m., 5 to 8 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 7 p.m.; closed Mondays. Guests are seated until the closing hour.
Atmosphere: Colonial kitchen.
Price range: Complete dinners from $6.50 to $15.50.
Credit cards: None, but personal checks are accepted.
Special features: Three steps from the street. Restrooms upstairs. Booster seats, highchairs. Public parking lot across street.
Being in no hurry to rush home after an afternoon of fun in the Virginia countryside, we found the Laurel Brigade Inn, in the midst of Leesburg's historic district, a perfect conclusion to a day's outing.
From the minute you enter the large sitting room of the country inn, you immediately return to an earlier century. Much of the inn looks unchanged and undisturbed, a testimony to construction skills of the 1700s.
Although many of the diners appear to be regulars rather than wayfarers, casual travel attire is still acceptable. Men may be more comfortable with a jacket, as the large dining room has a dressed-up appearance, with its white linen cloths and fresh flowers.
The menu has the usual country dishes of ham and chicken as well as more elaborate creations, including seafood dishes stuffed with crabmeat.
All dinner prices include the works: appetizer, salad, relish tray, vegetables, rolls, drink and dessert. Relish trays and tomato juice cocktails--standards of yesteryear--are very much alive in Leesburg.
For families with young children, the butter and crackers served immediately and the flowing procession of courses forestall any question of hunger.
Expect nothing fancy and you will be rewarded with a display of pleasant surprises.
From an appetizer list that included juice, fresh fruit cup, fruit punch with sherbet, chicken liver pate' and soup, the children had no difficulty making a choice. Having punch with sherbet is like going to a party and being allowed dessert before dinner.
Both the liver and the soup lacked seasonings, but the cream of asparagus soup was smooth and decorated with freshly cut asparagus tips.
Children's portions are available, so we ordered a fried one-quarter chicken ($6.50) and a reduced portion prime rib ($7). If you can get the children to agree on an entree, the restaurant is quite willing to split an order.
To balance the country selections, we chose the flounder ($8) and the loin lamb chops ($14) instead of the steaks or the crabmeat-stuffed seafood selections.
Dinner is a progression of courses with no time in between. Salads arrive as appetizers are cleared. Midway through the fresh bowl of lettuce and spinach, a large relish tray with celery, cottage cheese, sauerkraut and apple butter arrived at the table.
Our waitress was so busy bringing and clearing that water glasses were ignored and butter was not replenished. But her friendliness more than made up for her forgetfulness.
The one dinner we thought would surpass the others was the evening's single disappointment: the fried chicken was dry and overcooked.
All dinners come with fluffy mashed potatoes and selections from the large vegetable bowls that the waitress serves individually. Lima beans and beets, although not family favorites, were worth tasting.
Prime rib was a meaty medium rare. Lamb chops were thick and perfectly cooked. They came with mint jelly and a broiled tomato half.
The broiled flounder was the prettiest selection. Three large pieces of fish with drawn butter and lemon slices more than made up for fried chicken blues.
A meal like this cannot end without a touch of sweetness. The kitchen is prepared with chocolate sundaes, sherbet and homemade pies. Apple pie and the blueberry tart both displayed the hand of an expert pastry cook and dough handler.
Our dinner for four with a half-bottle of wine, tax and tip was $46.04.