Pendulum Fine Meats

Pendulum Fine Meats in the Ghent section of Norfolk

Anne Leonard

My meaty mood made me determined to visit Pendulum before my friends and I sat beneath the stars for Norfolk's annual Harborfest. The Colley Avenue crowd was bustling about for their Friday evening festivities. Us—we just wanted to munch on gourmet sandwiches made with local meats before a folksy evening with The Head and the Heart.

I gazed at the meat laying lovely in the glass cases. I felt like a kid in a candy store except I'm a mid-twenties gal in a butcher shop who actually went vegetarian for a year...a year ago. Good thing Pendulum just opened a few months ago in February or otherwise my year of vegetarianism would've been nonexistent.

After teetering between the roast beef or the sopressata sandwiches my husband, Cody, and I decided to split the former with a side salad made with local greens. My friend, My, ordered the ham and cheese on brioche and a side of their homemade couscous.

As the nice bearded fellow educated Cody on their meat, my friend and I perused the store. A Ghent first, Pendulum is a butchery, market and eatery all underneath one roof. We goggled at every item. The market holds everything from pre-seasoned cast iron skillets to local chocolate truffles to the first batch of canned beer from Norfolk brewery Smartmouth.

A few dining tables overlooked the quintessentially flaky bread from Artisans, but we opted to head straight for the harbor to grab a seat before the crowd settled on the lawn. 

Our bagged dinners were ready in a jiffy. We darted to Harborfest, quick to set up camp to devour our tasty meals. The roast beef sandwich was generously sized so it's shareable between a gal and a guy a foot taller than her. The roast beef lie snug between floury ciabatta. The beef practically melted with every bite as it fused with the caramelized onions and a red peppery spicy aioli smeared on each side of the fluffy bread.

Roast beef with carmelized onions and red peppery spicy aioli

My's ham and cheese didn't taste like the average sandwich I grew up eating from Thanksgiving leftovers. The sweet, dessert-like cushioning of the brioche and mustard spread tamed the warm layers of the melted smoked cheddar and the not-your-average-but-better-than-you-could-fathom ham. Her side order of couscous was tasty on its own. It was curried with golden raisins offering a sweeter side to couscous. We finished just in time for the band to start, and we're sure nearby attendants envied our fancy picnic.

Fresh ham with with melted smoked cheddar

Pendulum sits quaintly on Shirley Avenue with a neighborhood on one side and the sleepless Colley Avenue on the other. The owners have a passion for local ethically-raised meat, and it's evident in their knowledge and warm candor. You'll find prosciutto, pâté, gourmet sausage, bacon, lamb, veal, steak—you name it!

Pendulum is open Tuesday to Friday 11–7, Saturday 10–6 and Sunday noon–5.

Fresh local produce for Ghent,Norfolk, and beyond

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