Story and photos by Chelsea Rose Moore
Brian Jenkins has always loved to eat. He learned to perfect his barbeque game in college by smoking meats and serving them to friends. Today, he operates Monk’s BBQ—which many have called Loudoun’s best barbeque joint—and serves up smoked meats to customers in search of an authentic barbeque experience. And he’s stepped things up by opening Tipped Cow Creamery, an ice cream shop, next door in Purcellville, Virginia.
He has enjoyed creating a one-stop shop of sorts, and he loves watching customers grab barbeque and then head next door for ice cream. Next on his mind is a distillery, which will also be inside the same building—but won’t open for at least a year.
“There’s a togetherness you feel with people when you eat,” he said. “You’re having beers, you’re talking. [At Monk’s], the word ‘community’ comes out quite a bit. It’s become more than a restaurant: It’s a community gathering place.”
Jenkins received a marketing degree from James Madison University. After graduating, he took a job at Visit Loudoun, where he worked for 13 years. He started in the stock room and worked his way up to director of research, running demographic profiles on visitors in Loudoun to track what they were spending and where they were visiting. During his 10th year at Visit Loudoun, he met the Corcorans (the owners of Corcoran Vineyards and Cidery and Corcoran Brewing), as their daughters played on the same soccer team. One day, he sent their daughter home with some barbeque he’d made for his family. Shortly after, he received a call from Jim Corcoran asking if he wanted to sell his barbeque at the winery.
For three years, the Jenkins family cooked barbeque on the weekends for Corcoran visitors. They sold it in all kinds of weather, from snow and high winds to warm summer days. And pretty soon, they built a following. They had a write-up in the Washington Post and won Best Food Truck at WTOP-FM, even though he didn’t actually have a food truck. (“It was a smoker with a barbeque stand,” said Jenkins.)
But Jenkins realized something had to change. “The passion for this started to take over,” he said. After a few successful years of the barbeque stand, he knew he needed to give it more of his time. But he also knew it meant letting go of something else he loved: Visit Loudoun. He walked into his boss’s office and broke down. He loved the team and culture at Visit Loudoun, but his heart was pulling him towards barbeque. He knew he needed to step out in faith and pursue his passion.
His decision turned out to be worthwhile. What began with just brisket, pulled pork ribs and pastrami expanded to include coleslaw, beans and their famous smoked gouda mac and cheese (which alone is worth the trip!). Today, their menu offers wings, desserts and regular specials, which fluctuate among barbeque lasagna, brisket meatballs, brisket stroganoff and a Mexican-barbeque fusion.
“With all of our menu items, there is an element of going the extra mile and making sure it’s different from what other people are doing,” Jenkins said. “Everything here is from scratch. It takes longer to do, but it’s worth it.”
The proof of this is not only in the taste of the food, but in the fact that they don’t own a freezer. The meats are smoked overnight and served the next day. When they run out, that’s it until the next day.
The parking lot is regularly filled with license plates from Washington, D.C., New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Monk’s BBQ doesn’t just attract local residents: It attracts everyone in search of really good food.
With no desire to open another Monk’s location, Jenkins started asking himself some questions. “What can we do that complements it [barbeque]? What other genre of food are people passionate about?” His questions led him to frozen dessert. “Gelato comes and goes. Frozen yogurt comes and goes,” he said. But, ice cream? It’s classic.
He and his wife Kirsten attended a two-day ice cream class outside of Orlando called Mystic Ice Cream’s Bootcamp, led by ice cream guru Tie Dye Jeff. With newfound knowledge and confidence from the class, they came home and got straight to work on bringing Tipped Cow Creamery to life.
Just like at Monk’s, Jenkins and his team made all the countertops, tables, and benches. The building that houses the two restaurants was formerly an apple packing warehouse and is 98 years old—and Jenkins’ team is restoring it in the process. “I like having my hands in it. If something breaks, I know where to go to fix it,” he said.
Tipped Cow offers 16 flavors, five of which will rotate seasonally. They’re working on new flavors to roll out later in summer, including sweet corn and Thai iced tea. The current lineup offers the usual flavors—vanilla, mint chocolate chip, cookies and cream—and experiments with unusual flavors, like lucky charms and green tea.
Jenkins lists his favorite flavors on the menu: the butter brickle, Luxardo cherry and the carrot cake. As a huge fan of carrot cake, I can’t remember ever trying carrot cake ice cream before, and I have to give it a taste. I take a bite, and my taste buds explode. With raisins and bits of shaved carrots, it’s creamy and thick, like some of the best carrot cake I’ve had.
And I know in that first bite: Just as Monk’s is my go-to spot for really good barbeque, Tipped Cow is going to be my go-to spot for really good ice cream. My hat is off to Brian and his team on another job well done. ML
Tipped Cow Creamery is located at 251 N. 21st St, Purcellville. They are open from Tuesday – Thursday, from 12pm to 9pm; Friday and Saturday from 12pm – 10pm; Sunday from 12pm – 9pm; and are closed on Mondays. For more details and list of ice cream flavors, visit tippedcowcreamery.com.