Features

Fox Tail to Pair Worldly Flavors, Vintages in Phoebus

When you dream of opening a cozy, intimate wine bar with big international menu flavors to match, you can’t let a pandemic put the cork back in your unbottled enthusiasm. And, like many local restauranteurs, the owners of the new Fox Tail Wine Bar on Mellen Street in Hampton have forged ahead with creativity and determination.
At a recent soft opening event, guests had an opportunity to sample brunch offerings that showcased an around-the-world sensibility. Avocado toast with whipped ricotta and pico de gallo delighted, as did a delicate, classic French omelet with paddle fish roe, beautiful fresh herbs and beurre blanc sauce. Meanwhile, two small plates boasted bold but comforting bites in the form of a fried chicken Bahn Mi Vietnamese sandwich with pickled onion, spicy aioli and pâté, and glazed brisket with next-level tater tots, shishito peppers and homemade dill pickles.
Co-owners Christopher Fox and Justin Ramos are both military veterans whose international travels and combined passions for wine and fine dining at an accessible price have come to fruition at Fox Tail, one of three exciting new attractions for food and drink lovers in the historic Phoebus neighborhood (The Baker’s Wife and 1865 Brewing are also slated to open soon).
Fox’s love affair with wine started when he was stationed in Vicenza, Italy, and he hopes to translate the vibe of the European wine bars he frequented into a laidback yet sophisticated venue where both “wine neophyte and connoisseur” can find something to their liking “from crisp and zesty sweet whites, to dark and bold reds,” as their website notes.
Ramos also serves as executive chef and brings diverse experiences and tastes to the table along with chef David Martell, who was miraculously navigating a miniature kitchen (think walk-in closet size) during the soft opening but will soon find a place to hang his toque in the permanent food trailer to become a fixture in the back of the restaurant and function as its full-service kitchen.
“Wine is international,” says Ramos, who grew up in Mexico City and will certainly incorporate some Hispanic and Caribbean influences into this venture, “so we definitely had to create a menu that complements that international flair.” There will be a French and Italian presence, of course, but there may also be African spices to go with South African wines or South American flavors to go with South American wines. “We wanted to be able to hit all the notes of our 70-plus labels of wine from all over the world.”
Charcuterie will be a mainstay on their full daily menu as will popular shareable noshes like hummus platters and cheesy crab and artichoke dip. A small changing entrée menu with a variety of price points will offer more filling fare from pork birria tacos with sundried tomato salsa and crème fraiche to prime NY strip with porcini miso and red wine reduction.
“We like to take very, simple fresh ingredients and treat them how they should be treated,” Ramos says. A big part of their approach, too, is making good eating affordable. “I feel like everybody should be able to experience an elevated style of cooking, because food is love.”
There’s much to love about the savory food and wine list at Fox Tail, but you’ll also want to be sure to check out their signature drinks and desserts. In addition to mimosas, sangrias, old fashioneds and the like, bar manager Paul Honda will be serving up intriguing blends like their smokey jalapeño chardonnay—chardonnay infused with roasted jalapeños, grilled pineapple, smoked rosemary and fresh mint, and mixed with honey and bitters.
Apple strudel and banana bread pudding were recent dessert features, and at the brunch event Ramos took chocolate chip cookies to a sublime new dimension with a crispy-on-top, gooey-in-the-middle version cooked in a single-serving cast iron pan—a recipe he notes took him much painstaking trial and error to perfect. The result is definitely a sweet reward for a job well done.
Fox Tail Wine Bar is now open and located at 15 E Mellen St., Hampton. Learn more at FoxTailWineBar.com or on Facebook @FoxTailWineBar.

Leona Baker

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The CoVa Best of Readers Choice Awards

Welcome to the Coastal Virginia Best of Readers Choice Awards!!
How many times have you wondered what businesses are the BEST in the Coastal Virginia area? Who has the best pizza? Who is the best Realtor? Where is the best place to buy flowers? The list goes on forever.  It’s your turn to sound off on who really is the best of the best!  The CoVa Best of Readers’ Choice Awards are a great way to support the places you frequent and the community individuals you love. In order to find out who is the best, we completely rely on you—our readers. So, vote away and spread the word!
The Nomination Phase of the Contest goes from January 1, 2021 through February 3, 2021.  The Voting phase will begin on February 10, 2021 and run through March 15, 2021.
 
Nominations

As you scroll through the pre-populated ballot, you can add a nominee that is not listed.  Click the green “Nominate” button at the top of the contest page.  You will then be able to add your nominee and using the dropdown menu choose the categories that you would like to see that business appear in.
Your nomination will appear on the ballot within 48 hours to reflect the “write-in” nomination. Please keep in mind that we receive thousands of write-ins daily and that write-ins will not immediately appear on the ballot.
For nominating businesses, please use the Business Nomination Form, for nominating in People in Business – please use the People in Business Nomination form- this category is for individuals that stand out in their field.  You may only nominate a business in 6 categories.  There will be an option to change your nomination, but once voting starts, no changes may be made.
You MUSTsubmit your name and e-mail address with entry to validate your ballot.
Nominees MUST be in the Correct Categoryin order to be counted.
This year nominations do not count as votes.
Each business can be nominated in a maximum of 6 categories that are approved by the editorial staff to determine legitimacy.
Once the nomination period ends on February 3, nominations are double-checked for fraudulent voting or obvious abuse (those are then removed).

 Voting

Vote for as many or as few categories as you would like, each voter is allowed one vote per category for the duration of the contest.
You MUSTsubmit your name and e-mail address with entry to validate your ballot.
All nominated businesses will go through to the final round.
The finalist round for voting runs from February 10,2021, at 4 pm through March 15, 2021.
Our contest winners will be those receiving the most votes overall.

Important Note
While businesses are encouraged to promote themselves through all legitimate marketing channels, in an effort to maintain the integrity of the CoVa Best of Awards voting process:

Any nominated business found to have used a third-party service to unfairly influence their vote count will be immediately disqualified (please be aware of potential scammers who may solicit your business for this purpose).
Any nominated businesses offering discounts, gift certificates or other monetary rewards to customers in exchange for Best Of votes will be immediately disqualified.

If you have any questions, or problems please contact Web Marketing and Promotions Manager, Kathryn Kelly – kkelly@vgnet.com.
***If you have trouble reaching the contest, clear your browser history and try again. We apologize for any inconvenience. ***

Kathryn Kelly

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CoVa Happy Hour Recipes - Fall Edition

Crazy for Cocoa Bombs

It wasn’t tick-tick-tick that signaled the explosion. It was TikTok. Viral videos of cocoa bombs last fall triggered legions to crave the cold-weather conceit, a thick chocolaty shell that bursts open to unleash a fusion of hot chocolate mix and mini marshmallows (and often other flavorings) when drenched in steamed milk. Stir and BAM! Rich hot chocolate as if Enrico Fermi and Swiss Miss meet cute in your mug.
The sweet sensation set off new businesses in Coastal Virginia, including one accidentally when Tyler Gunther saw them online and said to his wife Hunter, “Hey, we should do this,” thinking they’d make some for family and friends.
The confections were so well-received, they posted them on Facebook in hopes of earning a little extra money for the holidays. That’s when things blew up. “We were bombarded with orders,” says Hunter. “And we realized, maybe we should buy more boxes.”
They launched Gunther’s Gourmet Hot Cocoa Bombs, enlisting their moms, both with business backgrounds, for guidance and dropped their first 700 bombs in October. Initial flavors of milk chocolate, salted caramel, peppermint, and cookies and cream soon were augmented with peanut butter and cinnamon French toast.
The couple experiments with new combinations (even gender reveals), building bombs between full-time jobs (he’s in the Navy, she’s a nanny pursuing an elementary education degree). Ordering and payment is handled online, and Hunter schedules periodic deliveries on her days off at locations like Starbucks across Hampton Roads.
Business is booming for Storybook Bakery, too, a family-run, home-based business in Chesapeake’s Deep Creek founded in 2012 by Navy veteran – and Navy spouse – Jessica West. Known for specialty cakes and cookies, she added cocoa bombs to her arsenal in October.
“They’ve been around for a couple years, but I started seeing them recently being shared on baking and candy-making Facebook groups,” she explains. “When you start seeing it a lot, it must be a trend that’s catching on.”
Indeed. More than half of her orders now include bombs. She consults her children when developing flavors, offering more than a dozen ranging from pumpkin spice to strawberry vanilla, along with a KETO version. Storybook requests orders be placed online two days in advance for pick up by appointment.
Instructions come with both Gunther’s and Storybook’s bombs. A good thing, too, as they look so precious, like overgrown bon bons, you’ll be tempted to bite into one – don’t! Hunter shares that the secret to a satisfying blast is a slow, steady hand when pouring the scalding milk (about 180 degrees F).
Jessica explains that while milk is typically recommended, there are lots of options. “You could use coffee or any hot liquid. Hot cream…aah,” she adds with gusto. “And Lactaid works great if you can’t have lactose.”
When it comes to the bombs’ appeal, Hunter hits the bull’s-eye: “It’s more than just drinking hot chocolate. It’s ‘everyone gather round, we’re gonna do this!’”
The Bonbonnier sells these weapons of mass delight, too. It’s an apt spot for them since Lisa Lain, another Navy vet, concocted the name for her Ghent confectionery, decked with military memorabilia, by blending bonbonnière (French for candy box) with bombardier. Her flavors include chocolate cherry and Mexican hot chocolate.
Local prices average around $4. You might find them cheaper at Costco or Walmart, but these three purveyors handcraft them with topnotch ingredients. “And love,” says Hunter. They make perfect gifts for the holiday season and you can expect special releases for Valentine’s Day. After all, these bombs put the Oh! in cocoa.

Marisa Marsey

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Brunch Part I

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Brunch Part II

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Oyster Academy Is Delicious Fun

If the phrase “lunch and learn” conjures up images of boxed sandwiches and boring slide presentations, that’s probably because you’ve not had the privilege of washing down sublimely fresh, just-out-of-the-Rappanhanock bivalves with your choice of Virginia wine at the Virginia Oyster Academy. Held at the Tides Inn resort in beautiful, rustic Irvington, Virginia, this unique event takes place in the heart of one of Virginia’s eight distinct oyster regions, each with its own varieties of this favored fruit of the sea.
A boutique experience as educational as it is tasty and fun, the Oyster Academy invites participants to dive into the history and ecology of one of the most recognizable—and certainly most beneficial—underwater residents of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Happening Friday and Saturday mornings throughout the fall, weather permitting, this flavorful, four-hour adventure begins with an informative presentation led by oyster expert Joni Carter, held in the Tides Inn’s conference room overlooking picturesque Carter’s Creek.
Get Onboard the Oyster Academy: Captain William Saunders’ wooden dead rise, the “Redeemer”
A staple of the American diet for centuries, oysters were wildly popular particularly in the early 20th century, Carter tells me and an intimate group of five other participants gathered on a breezy but mild fall morning. A cash crop for watermen, then and now, these “hot dogs of the 1940s” were both a delicacy and an inexpensive source of protein for the masses. In those days, an able-bodied man with not much more than a shucking tool could make a decent living harvesting and selling oysters, she says. Whether raw, roasted, steeped in a savory stew or topped with that beloved Rockefeller mixture of breading, bacon and parmesan, oysters remain a staple on restaurant menus. 
Since their numbers dwindled drastically into the 1960s and ’70s, a variety of conservation efforts–from shell recycling to artificial reef building—have sought to turn things around, not just for the culinary demand but for the health of the Chesapeake Bay and surrounding waters in which oysters play a crucial role. Just one adult oyster can filter 50 gallons of water in a single day. Carter also schools us on the difference between wild harvested oysters and those generated through the practice of aquaculture, a distinction the next two legs of the Oyster Academy experience bring into sharp focus. 
After Carter’s presentation, we head down to the Tides Inn dock to meet working waterman William Saunders aboard his wooden deadrise, the “Redeemer.” Captain Saunders, who seems perfectly comfortable in t-shirt sleeves under his bright orange and yellow chest waders despite the brisk morning air, is our guide for an hour-long outing to the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay and back. Along the way Saunders, who has more than three decades of experience working these waters, demonstrates two primary methods of harvesting oysters, traditional tonging using two long wooden rakes and dredging using a giant basket that scrapes the mollusks up off the riverbed and hoists them onto the boat with a pulley system.
Best Off the Boat: A just-shucked oyster offered up to attendees during the Oyster Academy boat trip.
“A healthy bed is a healthy life for fish, crabs and everything else,” Saunders tells us as he sorts through his haul at lightning speed, tossing oysters back into the water that don’t meet the 3-inch size minimum. Next he demonstrates proper shucking technique, popping open the shells of the keepers he has set aside in one corner and offering their sweet, plump, briney contents to each passenger, one by one. “You can’t get fresher than this,” he says. Saunders also shares his no-nonsense recipe for fried oysters in three bowls: one bowl with flour and cayenne, one with milk and egg, and one with bread crumbs, in that order. Dip your oysters in each, he says, pop them in hot oil until golden brown and you’re, well, golden.
Recipes and methods for preparing and serving oysters are as plentiful as the people who love them, of course, and the final portion of the Oyster Academy is all about tasting, sipping and sharing knowledge. Aftering returning from the boat trip, guests gather poolside, adjacent to the Tides Inn’s newly opened Fish Hawk Oyster Bar where expert shucker, bar chef and oyster farmer Joey McComas is busy manning a coal grill, hot and ready for roasting oysters. 
Slurp and Sip: The Oyster Academy’s final leg includes an oyster and wine tasting, pairing fresh oysters with Virginia vinos
His signature preparation for the day is a simple but divine one—a dash of Thai chili oil, which caramelizes over each oyster as it roasts, resulting in a hint of sweetness and spice that pairs perfectly with the oysters’ naturally savory splendor. Unlike those we tasted on the boat, these oysters are harvested from a nearby oyster farm and tend to be more consistent in taste and appearance, often making them the preferred choice of restaurateurs.
Along with the Thai chili oil version, McComas plates up raw and plain roasted oysters with a variety of accompaniments for anyone who wants them. But, this oyster tasting isn’t complete without a little Virginia vino. On the day of our visit, wines on offer included a Chardonnay and a Cabernet Merlot from Chesapeake Wine Company (Ingleside Vineyards) as well as a Chardonnay, a Meritage and a Cabernet Franc from Rappahannock Cellars. All in all, a delicious and delightful way to lunch, learn and kick off your weekend.
The presentation, boat trip and tasting are all included in the price of the Virginia Oyster Academy. Cost is $250 per person. Classes typically begin at 11 a.m. on Fridays and 9 a.m. on Saturdays. For 2020, there are classes planned through December 19. This season, the Tides Inn will remain open through the end of January 2021 and will reopen in early spring when the Oyster Academy as well as other exciting experiences at the Tides Inn are scheduled to resume. 
Learn more on the Tides Inn website, contact 804-438-5000 or activities@tidesinn.com to register

Leona Baker

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Giving Back and Community Impact Awards Reception 2020

On Nov. 4, Coastal Virginia Magazine honored our annual Giving Back and Community Impact Awards winners, celebrating area nonprofits and businesses that make a difference in our community, at a special reception at Virginia MOCA in Virginia Beach.
For our 2020 awards, we made the process more selective than in previous years, narrowing down winning organizations to just 10 in each category. We also selected a single top honoree for Nonprofit of the Year, Norfolk-based Survivor Ventures. Our staff was particularly moved by Survivor Ventures’ unique approach to helping victims of human trafficking.
Guests enjoyed a delicious spread of foods from The Twisted Fork, along with drinks from our wine sponsor Sonoma-Cutrer, before heading into the museum’s theater for a socially distanced awards presentation recognizing the Giving Back and Community Impact Awards winners.
Special thanks to our Giving Back Awards sponsor Old Point National Bank for their support of this event and the organizations it honors.

Site Staff

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A Mind-Bending Virtual Journey

Never underestimate the power of imagination—even in the face of a lingering pandemic. In a new virtual production co-commissioned by the Virginia Arts Festival, renowned mentalist and performance artist Scott Silven gets inside the memories, minds and hearts of audience members logging on from around the world and does what has often felt impossible in 2020: brings us closer together.
An intimate experience for no more than 30 online audience members at a time, The Journey begins with sweeping drone footage of breathtaking countryside in Silven’s native Scotland, following his solitary figure along rocky paths to the sound of crashing waves and a magestic musical score.
Silven then invites the audience into the bedroom of what he describes as his childhood home. But is it? Theatrical magic and reality soon become indistinguishable in Silven’s world of metaphysical mystery, where blank walls and a minimalist set serve as a canvas for a master storyteller with a memory like a lockbox.
Over the next hour, Silven interacts in real time with individual audience members whose live-streamed images pop up like apparitions in the room with him before sweeping back to their places on the wall, disappearing and reappearing as they are woven into his tale of a nearly forgotten fable about a boy who wanders into the woods and comes back to a world transformed beyond his understanding.
Participants are asked to chime in with choices that appear to drive the direction of Silven’s mind-bending revelations. He invites them to share significant dates from their lives—birthdays or memorable years. He even enlists them in a show-and-tell featuring objects they have chosen beforehand—a beloved charm carved from a shell, a framed photograph of a family member.
Silven’s remarkable ability to memorize these details on the spot is outshined only by the uncanny craft he demonstrates in weaving them into a play in which the audience is as much the star as he is. Numbers, shapes and objects freakishly specific to the personal details shared by audience members only seconds before are suddenly revealed as part of Silven’s set or incorporated into his tale.
Even in the inevitable “How did he do that?” moments that ensue, one is forced to abandon adult skepticism for childlike wonderment—at least long enough to complete The Journey with him and envision a universe in which we are all tied together by the shared experiences that make us human.
Silven has a longstanding relationship with the Virginia Arts Festival, having previously presented two sold-out productions of his At The Illusionist’s Table in 2018 and 2019 at Leone’s Italian Restaurant on Granby Street in Norfolk.
The Journey online virtual performance will stream Dec. 8-13, 2020.
NEW DATES ADDED: Jan. 5-10, 2021
Tickets are available now at VAFest.org or by calling the Virginia Arts Festival Box Office at 757-282-2822. Be sure to test your device’s audio and video settings well ahead of time and follow the provided prompts to have a fully immersive experience.

Leona Baker

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CoVa Happy Hour Recipes – Fall Edition

Nov. 7 – Slane Irish Coffee
(Click to enlarge)

Nov 13 – Jacks Honey Cider
(Click to enlarge)

November 20 – Sonoma Cutrer
(Click to enlarge)

December 4- The Old Forester Old Fashioned
(Click to enlarge)
December 11 -Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Fall Fashioned
(Click to enlarge)
December 18 – BOURBON BLACKBERRY SOUR
(Click to enlarge)

December 31 – The New Year’s Kiss
(Click to enlarge)

January 1, 2021 – Bloody Mary
(Click to enlarge)
 

Kathryn Kelly

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August 2, 2020

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Ham It Up in Smithfield This Season

“For a little country store in the middle of nowhere, you have to have a niche. Ours is inside that building,” says DeeDee Darden, motioning to a rectangular pine and cinder block structure with a bright red coat of paint.
Smithfield locals going back generations know this landmark on the corner of Bowling Green and Carroll Bridge Roads, Darden’s Country Store and Smokehouse, like the backs of their hands. But it’s what’s inside the little red smokehouse that draws aficionados and foodies from far and wide.
DeeDee, her husband Tommy and his family have been curing Smithfield hams the old-fashioned way here since the early 1950s. “Like a good wine, a ham needs to age,” DeeDee told my colleague and me on a recent guided tour that included Darden’s along with a selection of other Smithfield must-stops—restaurants and shops along with historic and cultural sites.
Each year at Darden’s, they salt and dry more than 1,000 hams using a traditional process that begins in late January and peaks in time for the holidays when the hams have been aged to perfection, imbued with their signature hickory and apple wood flavor through the smoking process and allowed to develop their beautiful tell-tale rose color.
Not many people are doing hams the way they do any more, DeeDee says, and the end result of this dying art is a “thin slice of hog heaven.” The traditional method, distinctive mellow flavor and firm but silky texture of Darden hams have been featured on the Food Network and in The New York Times. And fair warning: if you want one in time for your Thanksgiving or Christmas feast, you better call now. These hogs go fast.
BISCUIT BELIEVERS: A Southern staple Darden’s style, get a bag full of biscuits or reserve a whole ham for the holidays.
After ogling all the other yummy-looking comfort foods at Darden’s—from quarts of cooked collards and chicken pot pies to pimento cheese and deviled eggs—I couldn’t help leaving that day with a paper lunch sack full of ham biscuits.
The rest of our day’s adventure was spent discovering Smithfield’s history and welcoming people, as well as its here and now, which has much to offer for a weekend getaway or a day trip from anywhere in Coastal Virginia.
Smithfield is well known, of course, for its eponymous inn, built in 1752 to serve travelers along the route from Norfolk to Richmond and still a beloved overnight and dinner destination serving Southern favorites with a twist alongside more modern surf, turf and small plates.
We had a light and lovely lunch at The Restaurant at Smithfield Station, an inviting waterfront complex overlooking the scenic Pagan River that includes a hotel, luxury lodge, marina and dining. The Salmon Caesar salad was a cool, crisp but filling presentation of greens topped with a perfectly blackened salmon filet.
ROOMS WITH A VIEW: The restaurant, inn and marina at Smithfield Station have become a year-round destination for travelers and locals.
The restaurant serves a full lunch and dinner menu, and during our visit, the staff was busy installing outdoor heaters on the deck to keep patrons warm and enjoying fresh-air dining as long as possible this season. Smithfield Station has recently resumed its popular Sunday brunch buffet and will be offering full Thanksgiving meals both to-go and dine-in.
I recommend a visit to St. Luke’s Church & Museum, Virginia’s oldest church building and open cemetery and a monument to religious freedom in The United States. And Windsor Castle Park, the vision of former Smithfield Foods CEO Joseph Luter III, has become a popular attraction for its natural beauty, walking trails, special events and historic Manor House.
Be sure to check out Downtown Smithfield’s charming shops like the Christmas Store, Perfectly Natural Soap, Fleur De Fou, When Pigs Fly Magic Happens and The Strip Joint. Get a pick-me-up at Cure Coffee House (sister location to the original in Norfolk) or a grab a pint and bite at Wharf Hill Brewing Company.
And, of course no visit would be complete without a stop at the Isle of Wight County Museum, where you can see the world’s oldest ham and the world’s oldest peanut for yourself. This is Smithfield, after all.
Walking and even personalized driving tours of Smithfield are available through the Smithfield and Isle of Wight Convention and Visitor’s Bureau located Downtown.

Leona Baker

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January 15, 2018

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Wasserhund Brewing to Open Second Location at Summit Pointe in Chesapeake

Wasserhund Brewing Company has leased 4,000 square feet of prime, street-level space at Summit Pointe, in Chesapeake’s Central Business District. The second location for the brewery, located at 510 Belaire Avenue, is scheduled to open in June 2021.
The company’s first brewery opened in Virginia Beach in 2015, recently celebrating its five-year anniversary. Wasserhund, meaning water dog in German, has created a strong following among beer lovers with a taste for authentic German-style beer and unique pizza.
The new brewery at Summit Pointe will feature its signature pizza and high-quality ales and lagers, along with a chill, family friendly environment that celebrates the German beer culture. Wasserhund’s most popular beers include German Shepheweizen, a German-style hefeweizen; Unleashed Boysenberry Gose, a fruited gose; Purebred Pilsner, a German-style pilsner; and Doggy Paddle IPA, a West Coast IPA.
Wasserhund Brewing founders, Aaron and Christine Holley, met and fell in love at Kellam High School in Virginia Beach. One trip to Oktoberfest in Munich motivated them to start home brewing and eventually to open the brewery, located at 1805 Laskin Road.
Wasserhund’s mission is to encourage people to eat, drink and enjoy good company. The company also has a strong commitment to the community and has weekly charity nights where a percentage of revenue goes to support different local charities.
“When we were approached about the opportunity to be a part of this amazing concept, we knew it was time to take the leap,” said Christine Holley, co-founder and operational director of Wasserhund Brewing. “We have been patiently waiting for the right place and time to expand, and this is the perfect fit for our brand.”
“We are thrilled to welcome Wasserhund Brewing Company to the neighborhood,” said Chris Williams, senior vice president with Summit Pointe Realty, LLC. “Aaron and Christine have developed a brand that fits perfectly with the community we are creating.  I have no doubt they will be welcomed with great enthusiasm.”
Summit Pointe is Coastal Virginia’s newest metropolitan center and lifestyle community, located on 69 acres in Virginia’s second most populous city. When complete, Summit Pointe will include more than one million square feet of office space, up to 500,000 square feet of retail space, approximately 250,000 square feet of hospitality and conference space, and 1,400-plus residences.

Arielle Patterson

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Tin Cup Kitchen + Oyster Bar will Serve Coastal American Cuisine with Waterfront Views

Renderings courtesy of SONNY + ASH
A new restaurant specializing in Virginia oysters and coastal cuisine is set to open before the end of the year. Tin Cup Kitchen + Oyster Bar, scheduled to open December 2020, will be a coastal American eatery boasting an expansive outdoor terrace overlooking the Chesapeake Bay.
The restaurant, located in the upcoming Delta Hotels Virginia Beach Bayfront Suites, will be led by Chef Kevin Dubel, who is a familiar face in Virginia Beach’s dining scene.
“It’s a coastal, causal atmosphere,” says Dubel, who also served as Chef De Cuisine at The Cavalier Hotel’s Becca, as well as other Virginia Beach restaurants Terrapin, Zoe’s and Eurasia.
Along with over 20 years of experience in the industry, Dubel also brings with him a robust knowledge of the region as he’s worked with some of the best watermen and fishermen in the area. Dubel says that he and his food and beverage team all come from fine dining backgrounds, allowing them to introduce different techniques to Shore Drive’s restaurant row.
Tin Cup Kitchen will showcase a wide variety of oysters that represent Virginia’s eight oyster regions, each with their own distinct flavor. The VA Oyster Trail Tower will take diners on a flavor tour through each region. The restaurant is committed to sustainable harvesting practices, collaborating with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
In addition to seafood, Dubel says Tin Cup’s menu will be globally inspired, with a main focus on Southern and mid-Atlantic cuisine. The menu will utilize local ingredients when possible, working with Virginia farmers and fisherman such as Scott MacDonald of Spots Fish Co., Mattawoman Creek Farms and Cartwright Farms.
Diners can expect traditional mid-Atlantic dishes such as Chesapeake crab cakes, with Carolina gold rice and citrus remoulade, seared scallops and more. A more intriguing menu item is the Buffalo Sugar Toads, also known as the “chicken wings of the sea,” according to Dubel. These Chesapeake Bay puffer fish are fried and coated in a house-made hot sauce, served with honey, benne seeds and buttermilk dipping sauce.
Another unique addition to the menu is the all-seafood charcuterie program.
“We’re making seafood pâtés, swordfish bacon, scallop mortadella,” explains Dubel. “It plays off of recognizable foods, but we’re doing it with seafood.”
Playing on the restaurant’s name, which comes from the part of a mess kit that soldiers and sailors would drink water out of, the restaurant’s signature cocktail will be a Tin Cup Smash made with rye whiskey of the same name, lemon and mint-lavender infusions.
Dubel wants this to be a restaurant that people can come to multiple times a week, whether for a sit-down meal or to just grab a drink and a bite after work.
“We’re taking a fine-dining technique and making it super approachable.”
There are already plans for happy hours with breathtaking bay views, champagne and oyster nights on Thursdays, known as “Bubbles on the Bay,” and “Sunday Supper,” a three-course, seasonal dinner every Sunday.
Accompanying Tin Cup Kitchen will be Conservatory at Tin Cup, a 56-seat outdoor spot for drinking and dining located between the restaurant and Café 2800, a full-service coffee shop. Delta Hotels Virginia Beach Bayfront Suites will open as the first hotel with its own private beach on the Chesapeake Bay.
Tin Cup Kitchen + Oyster Bar and Delta Hotels Virginia Beach Bayfront Suites are scheduled to open December 2020 at 2800 Shore Drive, Virginia Beach.

Arielle Patterson

+ post and articles by this author

Arielle Patterson
https://cova757mag.com/author/arielle-patterson/

November 30, 2017

Stripers Waterside at Norfolk’s Waterside District

Arielle Patterson
https://cova757mag.com/author/arielle-patterson/

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https://cova757mag.com/author/arielle-patterson/

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