New Restaurant Openings in Norfolk and Virginia Beach
Hampton Roads is a tasty place to be, and it seems that the area is getting even more delicious with the opening of new restaurants all the time. Here are a few recent notable openings:
Zeke’s, which has quite a following at its original Virginia Beach store in Shadowlawn, has opened in Norfolk’s Arts District.
It has the same style of eclectic dining room—there is always some kind of fun kitsch to look a—and the same delicious menu, with gorgeously crafted coffee. I recently had a local Three Ships Coffee Rwanda pour-over that was some of the best coffee I’ve sipped through pursed lips. (Read more about Three Ships here.)
They have a fun menu with breakfast bowls with smoothies as a base and fresh fruit toppings (try the PB & J bowl once and you won’t go back), as well as savory items from tuna poke to sandwiches and salads.
There is a gorgeous outdoor patio for enjoying a good cup of joe. Make that a damn good cup of joe.
Zeke’s is at 800 Granby St. Call 757-963-5220.
Torch Bistro recently opened in Norfolk’s tony Chelsea neighborhood.
The New American cuisine restaurant is open and inviting, simply decorated in mute tones, with dark wood accents and chandeliers of Edison lightbulbs. There is also a large outdoor patio, complete with picnic tables aplenty and cornhole boards to occupy your time while you’re sipping a cold one.
Torch is open for brunch, lunch and dinner and features a number of creative dishes, from sandwiches and salads to entrees.
On an investigative report, we tried Fried Pimento Cheese Balls with Jalapeno served with a Sriracha Ranch for dipping. Think hushpuppies and crabcakes have a beautiful love child together.
We also sampled The Torch Burger, gorgeously char-grilled with some heat from pickled jalapenos and ghost pepper jack cheese, along with the usual accompaniments and bacon and arugula on a brioche bun. The sweet potato waffle fries are incredible, with just a dash of cinnamon to make them slightly sweet.
There are good vegan and vegetarian options too.
Torch Bistro is at 601 Orapax St., Norfolk. Call 757-416-6848.
1608 Crafthouse is a new addition in Virginia Beach’s cuisine scene, located in the former Mannino’s Italian Bistro and both versions of Lucky Star.
Chef/owner Kevin Sharkey has been in many Hampton Roads kitchens over the years, and we are happy to see him on his own now. Sharkey sources local ingredients for approachable, affordable dishes. Craft beers are a focus, too.
Nosh highlights were an amazing dish of Lamb Meatballs—rich and fatty with roasted bone marrow, served in a delicious umami bomb of a hunter sauce atop creamy grits and garnished with fresh tarragon.
Remarkable was the Stout Braised Pork Shoulder, a bold and juicy offering roasted 14 hours until tender and piled high on Cuban bread with creamy grits on the bread—yes, on the bread—instead of mayonnaise, and topped with garlic broccolini.
Insanely delicious is the dessert the Cast Iron Skillet Cookie—a simple cookie dough has sweet and savory components, including white chocolate chips and crushed pretzels. It comes to the table hot in the skillet, ooey and gooey and melting with a big scoop of vanilla bean gelato on top.
1608 Crafthouse is at 1608 Pleasure House Rd., Virginia Beach. Call 757-965-4510.