In 1983, "Beefalo" Bob DiMartino began a small-scale catering operation built around no-frills, classic recipes of pit-roasted barbecue, growing his business to include a carry-out joint, sports bar, and even an upscale banquet hall. Bob's process is simple: slow cooking beef, ham, turkey, slabs of ribs and morsels of pork and chicken over smoking hickory fires and not cutting corners with gas jets or heat vision. The sports bar garnishes these backyard-style feasts with plates of oysters, lump crab cakes, and strip steak, as well as sports games on 20 big-screen TVs and rivers of cold beer.
True to its roots as a catering outfit, Beefalo Bob's supplies parties of up to 10,000 with bull roasts, crab feasts, and roasted pigs, as well as rentals of tents, tables, and moon bounces. Fancy occasions find a home in the 250-person Reflections Hall, decked out with chandeliers, DJs, a fireplace, hints of sparkly gold, and a wide-open hardwood dance floor.
Perched on a hill overlooking northern Baltimore County's scenic valleys, Royal Rabbit Vineyards typically provides guests pleasing views throughout the year. It isn't until late spring and summer, however, that the landscape begins to change: heavy green and purple orbs crop up along 4 acres of climbing grapevines. By fall, the heavy, ripened grapes are ready for harvest—later on they’ll be turned into the winery’s award-winning wines or used as low-impact marbles. The small winery lies along the Piedmont Wine Trail and Mason-Dixie Wine Trail, which connects more than 20 small, family-owned wineries in Pennsylvania and Maryland.
In keeping with the Royal Rabbit Vineyards motto—"Treat yourself royally"—many of the wines have royal titles, including a cabernet franc blend dubbed “the duke.” Wine labels display a kingly rabbit holding a golden chalice.
A store created by wine lovers, for wine lovers, and built on a cemetery that only buried wine lovers, DiWine Spirits stocks a large selection of wines from national and international producers. Inside the well-designed store, vine enthusiasts will find themselves surrounded by an array of choices including introductory quaffs such as 2006 Calma Rioja ($10.99) and Cat Amongst the Pigeons Riesling ($9.99), as well as experienced-palate-pleasing 2008 Benmarco malbecs and chardonnays from the Scott Family Estate (both $16.99). Via France’s special long-range bottle trebuchet, champagne a la Maxime Godet Premier ($24.99) delights palates with special bubbles. All prices listed are sale prices and may be subject to change.
Pure Wine Café invites wine aficionados and casual winers alike to their welcoming space, where burnt-sienna tabletops nuzzle against modern aluminum chairs. A quiet escape from the outside world, the café focuses on providing healthy and inspired bistro cuisine to accompany the various flavor profiles of its carefully selected wines, including 2.5 oz. samples, 5 oz. glasses, and bottles (ranging $20 and up for bottles). Friendly and knowledgeable sommeliers are more than happy to educate curious customers in the ways of different wines and guide them toward their perfect liquid match. Drink in, or bring home a bottle from Pure Wine's generous stock of affordable whites, reds, and bubblies. You can also use your Groupon toward the more expensive Reserve Cellar Selections ($96¬–$135), which are an elegant choice for marking any rare occasion or Stratego victory.
It may be the inaugural year of Tysons Fall Harvest, but it already has the docket to rival any well-established fall festival. This family-friendly event will keep kids entertained with plenty of activities, from pony rides and petting zoos to a hay maze and pumpkin carving. Those who need to brush up on their carving skills can sit in on demonstrations from master pumpkin carvers or head to the craft corner to paint or just hug a gourd that escaped.
Even without kids in tow, adults will have plenty to do, including visiting the wine and beer garden for unlimited samples when they purchase a tasting glass, as well as shopping a marketplace with pumpkins and fall decor. They might even consider dropping by Rocknoceros's set at the live-music stage; they might be a kids' band, but their acclaim has landed them gigs at Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, and the Kennedy Center. A portion of the Harvest's proceeds will benefit the Spirit of Hope Children's Foundation.
Forty varieties of bourbon and 60 beer draughts flow freely from taps into souvenir glasses, slaking thirsty throats with unlimited sips as guests tear through smoky meat concoctions at the Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival's tasting stations. Once stuffed with ribs, brisket, and sausage, attendees can retire to the tasting theater to take in a seminar from pit masters and gourmet chefs on preparing fine barbecue or brewing stellar bourbon. Live rock, blues, and bluegrass bands set the airwaves quivering from the main stage with wailing tunes or announcements drawn in barbecue sauce. A cigar tent provides a smoky haven for puffing on fine tobacco products, and big-screen TVs beam the latest sports action directly into eyeballs.