The Hidden Gem of Purcellville

Smokin Willy’s is an American Barbeque restaurant located in a small strip mall on the outer edge of downtown Purcellville. Nestled right next to Loudoun Valley High School, and mere blocks away from perennial favorite Monk’s BBQ, Smokin Willy’s  has managed to remain unassuming and small, which adds to its charm. Finding this place was a breath of fresh air to me and my family after searching for a decent American Barbeque restaurant in western Loudoun county. 

The atmosphere entering this restaurant is dark, and I mean that literally. The dim lighting and rough wood paneling give the impression of entering an Old Western saloon, rather than a restaurant. This adds to the hole-in-the-wall aura of the place, and gives it more character. After being seated (which took awhile since a family of seven needs a large table!)  our waitress arrived almost immediately to take our orders. 

The food ordered took some time to arrive, but that is to be expected when you have seven full entrees being prepared for one table alone. When it did arrive, we were treated to some of the best barbeque in nort

Photo of Smokin’ Willy’s Barbeque (Rob Krogh)

hern Virginia. The ribs were chewy, yet tender. The flavor of the meat and the sweet yet spicy flavors of rich barbeque sauce complemented each other perfectly, resulting in a delicious serving of classic American ribs.

The bacon burger was exceptionally good. With crispy smoked bacon layered on top of a patty of juicy beef. American cheese, melty and soft, covered the beef, the buns were lightly Texas toasted, providing a subtle and buttery crunch to each bite. The sliced onion was sharp and flavourful, the tomato firm and ripe, and the lettuce crisp and snappy, and the pickles tart and firm. This was one of the highlights of my meal.

The nachos were alright. Nothing to write home about, but acceptable. The chips were good, and covered in rich cheese, and the jalapenos over everything were green and spicy. The  true downfall of the nachos then  was in the meat. Barbeque pork might be good in a juicy sandwich, it does not work well in a dish of nachos. The juice from the meat soaked into the chips, and reduced the bottom third of the plate to mush. When all was said and done about the nacho platter, it was certainly better than some other nachos you could find, but they were imperfect.

The all time specialty of Smokin Willy’s in my opinion, is without a doubt the barbeque pork cheesy fries. This delicious platter of melty cheese, tough BBQ pork, crispy jalapenos and delicious seasoning that is just on point. The cheesy fries take everything good about the nachos, and crank it up a notch. This ‘appetizer’ hardly qualifies for such a name, with its sizable plate heaped with cheesy goodness, this is quite possibly the best thing on Smokin’ Willy’s menu.

This is a restaurant that deserves more love. It’s an excellent combination of delicious food and a unique atmosphere that is at its purest form the distillation of an old western saloon.  Its location, while out of the way, is very central. And it’s hole-in-the-wall feel helps sell this hidden gem of American cuisine.