Recently renovated and under new management, the "Virginia Originals and Chesapeake Grill" is located midway on one span of the mid-twentieth century's engineering marvels--The Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel. The Bridge Tunnel crosses to/from Virginia Beach to the Eastern Shore of Virginia. I first crossed it as a young girl when I just had to visit Chincoteague, Virginia, and be there for pony penning day (this yearly event is recounted in Marguerite Henry's "Misty of Chincoteague") .
The unique feature of this combination restaurant, gift shop, and snack bar happens to be that it's literally on a man-made island in the middle of the bridge span AND it's a great place to stop over for a meal and the views are sensational. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner but we stopped there and had a great Southern breakfast while we enjoyed the waterview. My delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, grits cost about $8.50 including a bottomless cup of coffee.
Since we would have to pay a toll for the bridge on our way north anyway, it was a great opportunity to have a meal while enjoying the great view, and then pick up some very special seaside souvenirs in the gift shop! There is also a pier for fishing which is free of charge if you have time to linger and you have fishing tackle in your car.
Favorite Dish: We've stopped many times but most often for snacks. I am really glad we stopped for breakfast this time because it was delicious. I am sure that any item on the menu for dinner would be as good, though choices maybe limited.
"Johnny Rockets" is a fairly well-known chain restaurant which usually can be found in trendy places, and even on cruise ships. We found one in the food court of the MacArthur Center Mall in old, downtown Norfolk. Johnny Rockets is famous for its 1950's decor, including vintage Coca Cola signs and decor, advertisements, 1950's music, a juke box and other memorabilia.
Though it was a week night when we were there to have dinner, the restaurant was already quite full of families, couples and young people. We had to wait 15 minutes or so, but since the special was a large hamburger fully loaded with fries for $5, we thought the wait would be worth it. Drink refills were free and so the meal was quite inexpensive and filling.
Since the service was a little slow and the hamburger was a little sloppy, I enjoyed the decor and the music more than the food but I really shouldn't complain considering the price!! If "Johnny Rockets" is not your first choice or the wait is too long, the mall had a good selection of places to eat or get quick meals in its large food court area.
Favorite Dish: Love the 50's decor and 50's music----wish my hamburger bun hadn't fallen apart!!
One morning while in Norfolk I intended to visit the Norfolk Southern Railroad Museum but it was not yet open. Plan B was to visit the MacArthur Mall but it was not yet open either. Between these two places was the "Bean There Cafe," and since it was another terribly cold morning, having a hot cup of coffee and sitting in a cozy place for a while seemed like just the ticket.
The "Bean There Cafe" was a large space with floor-to-ceiling windows, miss-matched but charming sofas, tables and chairs, and other seating arrangements tucked into little niches. Brand-labeled, burlap coffee bean bags did a nice job of decorating the upper walls. Pleasant music was playing and the lovely aroma of coffee filled the air though just a few people were there to appreciate it before easing into their weekday morning routine. A painted, French Provincial-style credenza made a nice place to display milk, cream, sugars, special toppings, spoons and napkins, and other accountrements coffee lovers might need. Along with all types of delicious coffee concoctions, the shop also offered an assortment of goodies such as muffins, danish, cakes, etc.
My plain, medium-sized coffee was $1.80 (2011 prices) with one free refill. I enjoyed sitting at my little table making travel notes and waiting for the museums to open.
Free WiFi here is a definite plus. Stop by for some of these extras:
Open Mic Poetry/Poetry Slams
Coffee for a Cause Fundraising
Barista Jams and Hands-on Training
Favorite Dish: Loved the shabby chic decor and relaxed feel of this coffee shop. Made me think I'd like to own a similar place!
As the hotel didn't have its own breakfast spot, the porter suggested the "D'egg Diner" just near the Marriott Hotel. Wishing to get an early start to some sightseeing, I began my day at the D'egg Diner. If you are used to the restaurants which are called "diners" in the mid-atlantic to northeastern partof the USA, D'egg Diner is not a diner in that sense of what a diner is considered to be. This is rather a very non-descript restaurant, and quite characterless, but the food was not bad and it was warm inside on the bitterly cold morning I had breakfast there.
I spent about 45 minutes enjoying my pecan pancakes with bacon and watching the morning crowd filter in. As this is not in a highly populated residential section, the restaurant caters mostly to the business crowd and hotel guests apparently. Service was OK and the price was fair enough.
Favorite Dish: The pecan pancakes were good, and if I were to eat at D'egg again, that's probably what I would order.
This is apparently a chain which our friends were familiar with. After we walked up to the MacArthur Center and looked unsuccessfully for long pants that Bob would approve of, we looked around for a place to eat, and they recommended this one.
This is a dark wood /steakhouse/bar kind of place. Burgers, chicken, soups, salads and entrees.
A food reviewer says:
"The buffalo chicken sandwhich is awesome and don't forget the fresh baked chocolate chip cookies for dessert!"
Favorite Dish: Food was good, but I don't remember much else about it. They have burgers, steak and BBQ. I think I might have had something like:
A thick slice of homemade meatloaf and mashed potatoes smothered in our rich gravy. Served with buttered corn. $9.29
The total bill for the two of us was $30.22 including the tip.
Jillians has billiards, video games etc. It was noisy walking through the mall to get to it. Bob said it was too cold to sit outside. If it had been warmer, it would have been nice to sit outside and look out over the activity in the harbor. Of course later in the year, the leaves might obstruct your view more.
The Hamptonroads.com website says:
"Four themes under one roof - includes blues café, sports bar, tiki bar and game room"
The Jillian's website says: Kick back and jam to rock n’ roll tunes while our talented and dynamic cooks grill a six-course meal right at your table.
Favorite Dish: I had barbecue meatloaf and Bob had ribs.
Minor curfew implemented at 9 p.m.
children's menu, high chairs, booster seats
Smoking not allowed in dining area. Four smoking tables available.
Hours of Operation
Sunday - Wednesday: 11:00am - Midnight
Thursday - Saturday: 11:00am - 2:00am
Thursday, Friday and Saturday:
9:00pm - 2:00am
Mojo is a live dance club and lounge that will mesmerize you with pounding, pulsating live drum and conga beats all set to the hottest Top 40 remixes of today.
On the way back home, we ate at Dixie Tavern. A meal for two of us was $21.13 without the tip.
The website says: "Festive New Orleans atmosphere - a popular night spot." (Hamptonroads.com)
Favorite Dish: There was a scathing review of this place which said it part:
"Dixie tavern is no place for a lady...Good place for "spring break" like atmosphere if that is what your into." That's the kindest part of the review.
I didn't find the place particularly appealing, and doubt if we would go back, but it wasn't that bad. Perhaps that is because we normally eat dinner pretty early.
Looking at their website, I see that they sometimes have jello wrestling, and they advertise Pool Table, Foosball, Darts, (7) Large-screen TV's.
Hours of Operation:
Being raised near the Chesapeake Bay, a large part of my diet as I was growing up was seafood. I especially love flounder, crab, clams, shrimp, scallops and lobster. When we discovered a "Joe's Crab Shack" was located inside the Waterside Festival Marketplace, I knew we had to eat there.
The large restaurant is appropriately decorated with seashore & nautical decor, has a neat little bar area, a gift shop and overlooks the Elizabeth River. In the summer time it must be a bustling place but when we arrived for lunch, it was nearly empty.
Our lunch of coconut-crusted shrimp with french fries, coleslaw and sweet mango dipping sauce was fantastic! Served piping hot, just the way I like it, the shrimp were superbly flavorful. Though the french fries were good, I would have exchanged the fries for hush puppies but unfortunately I didn't have that choice. For a price less than $10 and with free soft drink refills, I thought it was a good deal.
We enjoyed it so much we decided to come back for dinner! We had the "Joe's Classic Steampot for 2." Something akin to a clam bake, but instead of being cooked in a pot buried in coals in the sand, Joe's Crab Shack steampots are really steamed. Our steampot for 2 included dungeness crab, snow crab, boiled shrimp, smoked andouille sausage, corn on the cob, and potatoes! It was quite a feast for seafood lovers and costs about $40 for the 2 of us which for that type of seafood, in that quantity, was really reasonable.
Other steampots have a variety of seafood combinations, but all contain fresh corn on the cob, potatoes, and andouille sausage.
Favorite Dish: The Joe's Classic Steampot for 2" was a perfect seafood feast for me. It could have only been better if it also had steamed clams. Don't forget Joe's Crab Shack also offers domestic and imported beers, mixed drinks, and "crabby apple crumble," "sea turtle sundae," and "key lime pie" for dessert if you have room after your dinner!
After a long morning of sightseeing on foot in the old downtown area of Norfolk, I was ready for a bite to eat. Earlier in the day I had passed a rather cute looking, little place with outside tables which in better weather might have been occupied.
I popped in just before the regular lunch crowd, and sat at a table looking out at the street. The Bistro & Deli was also doing a brisk take-out business with the local crowd. The atmosphere is cusual and popular with local workers. My waitress arrived promptly and I ordered a Greek Salad with only a glass of water with lemon. The salad was a good size and really very tasty--lots of chopped green lettuce, tomatoes, Greek olives, feta cheese, cucumbers and red onion with fantastic dressing.
I was really enjoying the salad and would have liked to linger in the Bistro much longer as the inside was warm and cozy though nothing fancy. I would definitely have lunch here again if given the opportunity as the atmosphere was nice, the food good, and the price not bad though I think they could have offered rolls or crackers with the salad. The Bistro location is within easy walking distance of historic sites, the waterfront, shopping and many other attractions making it a good place from which to continue sightseeing.
Favorite Dish: I only had the Greek Salad but it was very good and there were at least a dozen Greek olives on it with a generous amount of feta cheese. The price was $6.75 which I though was fair but as mentioned above, I would have been happy if it was accompanied by rolls or crackers.
The Granby Bistro & Deli had a large menu with a Greek/Mediterranean influence. Their hummus & pita is supposed to be terrific and now I wish I had ordered some to go with my salad!!
This is primarily a seafood restaurant.
We happened to stop in at lunch time however and their lunch menu is more meat sandwiches and wraps. I had the turkey club and my wife had the chicken wrap.
Both were large portions and nicely presented and delicious.
The lunch menu offers sandwiches with beef or turkey or crabmeat or tuna or chicken and wraps with chicken or tuna or BBQ beef.
The dinner menu is more extensive.
Appetizers include, clams and oysters and hush-puppies and shrimp as well as nachos and chili and garlic bread.
Entrees are fish fillets, steamed clams, seafood combos, shrimp tempura as well as roast beef and pasta and pork loin.
There is a good list of wines and mixed drinks.
They have live entertainment in the evening for the diners' enjoyment.
The lunch price was relatively cheap and we were casually dressed (from going to the Mariner Museum). The service was fast and friendly.