The essential source of things to do for locals & visitors
EVENTS • FOOD & DRINK • SHOPPING • REAL ESTATE • ATTRACTIONS • RECREATION • WELLNESS
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Collins Square is located at 4001 Virginia Beach Boulevard at Thalia – just one mile east of Town Center “HOME OF THE FAMOUS CHRISTMAS LIGHT DISPLAY”
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Locals’ Choice, Casual Dining Overlooking Incredible Views of Rudee Inlet
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Elbert Watson: A Career en Pointe
Making dance an integral part of life
Bounty of the Bay
The tides may change for Tangier Island
Cream of the CROP
Creating gastro training grounds for aspiring young chefs
Innovative Dining Trends
How area restaurants have adapted to new restrictive guidelines
10 RICK BLANTON
22 TANGIER ISLAND OYSTER CO.
PERSONAL COLLECTION OF ELBERT WATSON
From the Publisher
Persistence, perseverance and resilience
In-season fish to reel in
Your Two Cents
Reader feedback to Boulevard
Calendar of Events
What’s happening in February through April
Viewpoint: Tourism Tackling COVID-19
Perspectives from industry leaders in hotel and restaurant fields
Boulevard team picks of locally sourced items you can’t live without
Historical cocktails for chilly spring days
Destination: Williamsburg, VA
Boulevard’s Last Call
Where was this taken?
COURTESY OF BARBARA LEWIS
ON THE COVER It’s always so peaceful on the beach in the early months of each year. The clouds drift overhead and the waves crash on the shore. The air smells crisp and salty. Take a moment to look up and imagine. You’ll be glad you did. [ PHOTO by Mark Woodland ]
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from the publisher Persistence, Perseverance and Resilience A glance back and a path forward: The case for opportunity and growth. It’s the middle of January as I collect my thoughts and write my second Publisher’s Note to you, gentle reader. A full year has passed since we launched Boulevard Media and not much has gone according to plan, but our commitment to local economic development initiatives has not wavered and our pledge remains steadfast to support and promote small business in the Tidewater region. If one word describes our economy last year it would be “resilient.” The year 2020 fostered bleak fatalism. In 2021, we won’t let bleakness win. We must focus on advocating economic opportunity and growth. The COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the economy and our lives. Many have faced grave illness, others lost jobs and we’ve lost people whom we knew and loved. We all owe it to ourselves, our families, our friends and our city and county, to hold our heads high and march into 2021. We must come together as a community and support our businesses. In Virginia, our tourism industry sits poised to capitalize on a nation emerging from the pandemic. After a year of quarantines, curfews, shutdowns, stay-at-home orders and missed experiences, everyone needs escape. The Tidewater region offers a range of social experiences and our community can provide a safe and accessible destination. Recent vaccine news provides optimism for a recovery, but the process will require patience and persistence. We have months before enough vaccine doses are manufactured, distributed and administered across the nation, but when we reach that point, this community will stand with open arms. If millions of people visited Tidewater with limited amenities during a pandemic, imagine how many will arrive in a postpandemic world. As we reflect on the year behind us, we turn our attention ahead, through renewal and resolution, toward possibility and optimism. We closed out an unforgettable year that most would rather forget. For the first time in 12 months, we can shift from measuring recession to measuring recovery. As we emerge from
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FROM THE PUBLISHER
the COVID-19 cloud, the nation will release months of pent-up demand and launch the economy into a robust period of recovery and expansion. According to research by McKinsey, the arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation and hospitality services were sectors hit hard by the pandemic. These businesses are all intrinsically linked to the travel industry. Forced to react, food services switched to take-away and delivery to satisfy our cravings for meals cooked by our favorite spots, theaters and musicians began streaming online and art galleries rolled out virtual tours. Evolution, innovation and disaster recovery emerged in the struggle to survive. It’s time to rethink target markets. In the absence of air travel, people have turned to local areas for inspiration. Camping, staycations, road trips and rural stays topped Google’s hit list last year. While the office lifestyle isn’t dead just yet, many businesses will face a post-pandemic workforce unwilling to give up the freedom and flexibility of working from home. This year has already seen an increase in demand for co-working camps and other resorts. Employees have proven that the job can be done from anywhere—even the beach! Now that I’ve outlined the current situation, let me remind you that, as our mission, we curate all the best things happening in Tidewater for the enjoyment of our readers. As we develop a better understanding of the stories you enjoy, we will bring more to you. We value your feedback and that’s why we describe this magazine and our associated digital assets on the web and social media as a platform—a soapbox for you to sound off on what interests you and what’s on your mind. In this issue we continue our standard lineup of featured content. Here’s a teaser of what you’ll find in the following pages. 7—What’s Biting All you need to know about the day’s catch coming into the docks and some secrets from the fishing crews that will help you find elusive targets offshore or in the bay. 8—Your Two Cents Here we publish your feedback—both good and bad— about the previous issue or whatever else is on your mind—within reason of course. 10—Elbert Watson Paying homage to the arts, we feature a world-acclaimed ballet star who danced internationally and with Alvin Ailey’s troupe. He now teaches at Norfolk Academy and also mentors those interested in learning his craft. 16—Tangier Oysters My family hails from Crisfield on the Eastern Shore. This pristine island is sinking into the bay and that the way of
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life that has supported multiple generations is at risk. A group of folks want to resurrect the oyster industry so we can enjoy one of the most bountiful crops the Chesapeake has ever produced. 22—CommuneXCROP Combine local farming, entrepreneurship, dining, education and a plan to foster all of this in our community and CommuneXCROP becomes the entrée. See how locals Kevin Jamison and Kip Poole nurture this project. 26—Calendar All the best things happening around our region. Please send us any information about your special events so we can include them in this section. 30—Restaurants: How They’ve Adapted A photo editorial about how some favorite local dining establishments have creatively innovated to meet the pandemic restrictions. 34—Profile Meet Barbara Lewis, founder of the Town Center Club. Original, opinionated, connected, stylish, capable and sassy, she supports economic development and the arts, which also need our help as they struggle to adapt. 38—Viewpoint The executive directors of the Virginia Beach Hotel Association and the Virginia Beach Restaurant Association share their perspectives on how COVID-19 has affected our hospitality and restaurant industries. 42—Tidewater Temptations In true Boulevard fashion, we curated an amazing selection of special items for you to peruse. 45—Day Trip: Williamsburg This escape to Williamsburg Winery at Wessex Hundred and the surrounding area will provide you with the blueprint for a pleasant distraction, both to read about and experience. 48—Last Call Who won our Last Call contest? Meet the winner and take your chance at winning it this issue.
The early months of the year are not the best for fishing, but that doesn’t stop diehard anglers from heading offshore or up the bay. Local fishmongers will happily prepare whatever they can get fresh off the boats for their customers. If you visit Welton’s Seafood Market (Virginia Beach), owner Mike Gnilka will show you photos of some prized catches he’s reeled in over the years, like the giant rockfish pictured below.
During February, March and April you’ll typically reel in these catches:
FEBRUARY Offshore Bluefish, seabass, tautog Inshore Rockfish, tautog, speckled trout Lynnhaven River Speckled trout, puppy drum
MARCH Offshore Bluefin tuna Inshore Tautog Lynnhaven Inlet: Speckled trout, puppy drum
APRIL Offshore Yellowfin tuna Inshore Tautog, red drum, black drum, bluefish, roundheads Lynnhaven Bay Speckled trout, puppy drum, flounder, bluefish We would like to publish your photos, information, prize catches and catches of note in our What’s Biting segment. Send us your favorite amateur photos with a description and the photographer’s name.
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your two cents Reader commentary via email, social media, text and even snailmail This publication was the perfect guide to the area! I kept it handy as we planned our visit to the Tidewater region. It saved me a ton of time researching, giving us that much more time to explore. Mary Jo Strobel Winchester, VA Impressive, you guys!! Great job! I look forward to reading each issue. Ezven Burian, D.V.M. and Paula Burian Virginia Beach, VA I flipped through the issue briefly to check out our ads, and the whole publication is so well done! It looks beautiful. I am looking forward to going through it in more detail this weekend, and will definitely be checking out the holiday gift guide! Thanks again for the generous offer to include us. Courtney G. Brough, marketing director, Waterman’s Surfside Grille + The Attic at Waterman’s Virginia Beach, VA Pretty cool! Micah Landreau, president EXP Realty LLC Virginia Beach, VA Have a great day, look forward to future great articles on Orion’s Roof Tiffany L. Sawyer CMS, CEC, general manager, Orion’s Virginia Beach, VA Thank you so much for supporting the local restaurants during this very challenging time. Your generosity makes a difference! Please let me know if you need anything else or have any questions. We really do appreciate the opportunity to be part of Boulevard Media. Ghada Culler, Warriors Taphouse Virginia Beach, VA
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My family and I stayed in downtown Norfolk during the Thanksgiving holiday and were pleased to have the Boulevard magazine as a guide for some places to eat while we were in town. We enjoyed the articles too. We are Bonvoy members and travel frequently and have seen magazines like this in other big metro areas. Since we have family in Chesapeake, we travel to visit them often during normal circumstances. It was surprising to see such a quality publication for that area. We plan to return in the summer and stay at the oceanfront and we look forward to enjoying another Boulevard in the near future. Dawn Adelson Boston, MA I like it! Good feel. Craig Suro, former Virginia assistant secretary of health and human resources Richmond, VA I’m excited to learn more about Boulevard, and I appreciate what you are doing to promote this very fragile part of our economy. Andria McLellan, Norfolk City Council, candidate for lieutenant governor Norfolk, VA This is wonderful! Congratulations! You all have done an amazing job. Stacey Shifflet, executive director, Virginia Beach Restaurant Association Virginia Beach, VA
Send us your thoughts digitally (and don’t forget to follow, like and subscribe while you’re there!) or mail to: Blvd. Media, LLC, 4001-117 Virginia Beach Blvd., Suite 181, Virginia Beach, VA 23452
My husband and I moved to the Tidewater area a year ago. We were not familiar with the local attractions and were unable to find much information. Then we got our hands on the first issue of Boulevard. Much to our delight, we were able to find great restaurants, clothing stores and more. We can’t wait for COVID to end so we can explore the hot spots even more. Thanks Boulevard! Taylor Gaynes Chesapeake, VA Awesome, this looks so good. Congrats to the Boulevard team! Neil Richmund Indianapolis, IN Looks really good! Thanks very much for the feature. Craig Beecroft Virginia Beach, VA Looks great, thanks again. And thanks for your continued support. David Edelen, Eurasia Virginia Beach, VA Thank you so much for sharing this with us—it looks great and I loved reading it with my coffee this morning. Congrats on the first issue! Stephanie A. Smith, Ph.D., APR, assistant professor, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, School of Communication Blacksburg, VA Wow! This is really awesome. I love it. Awesome job. Carol Pressman Delray Beach, FL
blvdmedia.io/letters-to-the-editor email@example.com blvdmedia757 360.333.7161
This is great. Very well done. I’m so excited for you all. Lisbeth Couser Nashville, TN
I love it! Really well-made. Great job. J’amy Sheffer Seattle, WA
Congrats! John Sanker, owner, Hampton Roads Security Chesapeake, VA
Well done! Very impressed. Has a great look and interesting articles that highlight the region. I’m sure it feels good to have that first edition off the presses so to speak. Mark Woodland, retired CBN North Carolina
Wow! Looks fantastic. Julie Bricker Williamsburg, VA
This looks wonderful! Cathleen Healy, Hair and Make-up Stylist at Kohl’s Milwaukee, WI
Thank you so much for sharing your inaugural issue of Boulevard. I was very impressed and you and the team have a lot of local knowledge of places to shop, dine and play. Kylie Ross Sibert, Retail Alliance Norfolk, VA Thanks so much for sharing this—it looks amazing! Erin Goldmeier, Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau Virginia Beach, VA
Thank you for sharing the holiday issue of Boulevard! It’s visually stunning and beautifully written. Certainly provides a new list of places I’d love to visit once it’s safe to do so. Take good care and Go Hokies! Christina Miller, director of alumni relations, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Blacksburg, VA
Thank you so much for promoting the many local restaurants in the area. This has been a challenging time for the community and it is reassuring to see so many wonderful restaurants and venues are still operating at their high performance level. This has been a great resource for those of us in the area. Kathleen Wilson Wilmington, NC
Very impressive! That’s quite a magazine with over 50 pages, all with excellent presentation/write-ups and high quality pictures. Kudos to the team. Michael Massey, Vanderbilt Search Naples, FL
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[ by jill doczi ]
Photos courtesy of Elbert Watson’s personal collection unless otherwise noted
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lbert Watson, biologist? Elbert Watson, historian? Although he started down these paths in college, he became disenchanted with the subjects. He also participated in the college dance team and outside dance classes while studying at Norfolk State University and fortunately for the world, he chose to become Elbert Watson, dancer. Once he made the decision, the course of action became evident. “Everybody recognized that I was exceptional at dancing as a hobby,” said Watson. “Few were in agreement with dance as a career. All are proud now. I share the story that one day I heard some elderly people discussing their lives. Many expressed that if they could do it all over again they would have done things differently. It was in that moment that I decided that I would never come to the end of my life with regrets. I was going to be a professional dancer. If it didn’t work out, at least I pursued that dream.” He changed course and set out to make his dream become reality. “I decided to study at the Academy of the Tidewater Ballet under Gene Hommett,” said Watson. “It was the place to study if you wanted professional training and you wanted to pursue a career in a dance company.” Watson grew up in Norfolk, VA dancing with the modern dance group at Campostella Junior High School, the Tidewater Dance Guild, the Norfolk State University dance theater and the Academy of the Tidewater Ballet. His dance ability surfaced early in life. “I won every dance contest in the neighborhood,” said Watson. “When families visited me at home, I was always called out to show or compete. I always loved music and movement. Music was always a part of my life. I remember Brooke Benton, Dinah Washington, Harry Belafonte, Lena Horne. There was music and rhythm at church. I had an aunt, Josephine, who always taught me the latest dance steps. There was “American Bandstand,” “Shindig,” “Soul Train.” Comprehending new moves was always love for me.” His first paid dance-related jobs included his one-man show at Virginia State University in Petersburg, VA and some local functions. While these had a home-state appeal and he felt that the audiences appreciated his talent and presentation, his career had so much more in store. He traveled and moved often in the beginning of his career. When he joined the prestigious Alvin Ailey company, he had never flown in a plane before. “We flew West Coast, East Coast, South and North, Africa, Europe, Asia and more recently New Zealand,”Watson said. “What I didn’t enjoy towards the
PHOTO ©2013 JONATHAN ATKIN / WWW.HEROPROJECT.US
MAKING DANCE AN INTEGRAL PART OF LIFE boulevard | feb-apr 2021
His career has taken him across the globe, landing him back home—at Norfolk Academy end of my time with Ailey was the constant checking into another hotel room.” His favorite performance to date is always the one in the moment, but standouts include: • Dancing with the Ailey Company in front of the pyramids in Egypt • Dancing in Diocletian’s Palace in Yugoslavia • Dancing the role of Count Dracula in Kassel, Germany • Dancing on an outdoor stage in the rain at the Palais des Papes in Avignon, France, when the audience stayed in the storm to see the remainder of the performance • Dancing Othello • Choreographing and dancing in an original ballet for the Holocost Commission titled “I Flutter My Wings But I Can’t Fly Away” • Dancing to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech • Dancing and leading the audience in movement for Virginia Symphony for a healing
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community concert after the Charlottesville riot incident After traveling the world for years, dancing, collaborating, creating and receiving numerous accolades (see sidebar), he eventually landed permanently back in Norfolk, but not by design. “I was between jobs in Germany, waiting for my director at the time to call about a new theater assignment,” said Watson. “I came home to visit my parents and among the part-time jobs I got was as an instructor for Academy Arts. I was hired the following fall to instruct the dance team. Still waiting for my call from Germany, I was hired again in the spring. When the call finally came to go back to Germany, I had this epiphany that I loved teaching children and directing. The headmaster challenged me to build a dance program. I accepted the challenge and here we are.”
Coming from a world-renowned background with an esteemed resume, Watson faced this new audience at Norfolk Academy with a sense of amusement at their reception and their opinion of the art of dance. As usual, his initial job description and impression expanded by leaps and bounds as he settled in. “I was the first African American teacher hired. Initially I was a bit of a novelty because fine arts weren’t considered that important and dance was perceived as a female sport. Boys wouldn’t even walk through the room. That’s changed 100-fold. The interesting question I was always asked was, ‘What do you really do—is dance a hobby?’ I found, in general, unlike in New York or Europe, dance was considered a hobby not a career.” He first made a commitment to approach his craft in a new way personally.
Elbert Watson describes himself as a dancer, choreographer, director, coach, administrator, artistic advisor and teacher. He is a former principal dancer with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, the State Opera Ballet Company Staatsheater of Kassel, Germany, The Pearl Primus Earth Theater and The Joan Miller Dance Players. He studied classical ballet at the New York Conservatory of Dance with Vladimir Doukodosky and Nina Stragonova. He taught at Brooklyn College, Adelphi University, Wichita State University, The College of William and Mary, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Norfolk State University, Virginia State University, The Governor’s School at the University of Richmond, Christopher Newport University, The Gresham School in Holt, England, Eastern College, Hampton University, Old Dominion University and the Virginia Governor’s Magnet School. He served as the former artistic director of the Nanette Bearden Chamber Dance Group of New York, and the former ballet master of the Virginia Ballet Theater. He serves on the advisory board of Learning Bridge, the artistic advisor of the Portsmouth Redevelopment Dance Project. He collaborated on projects with the Chrysler Museum (Rodin exhibit, the Murano glass exhibit and the Barbara Morgan photo exhibit about Martha Graham) and the Virginia Symphony as choreographer for the “Heroes and Human Rights Series.” In the spring of last year the Chrysler museum asked him to choreograph a dance response for the Daniel Rozin interactive exhibit. Norfolk Academy named him teacher of the year in 1997 by the upper school student council and teacher of the year in 2007 by the lower school. He also received the city of Norfolk legacy award for work “Most dancers either stop and change careers or they become dance instructors only,” said Watson. “My first goal for myself when I came to Norfolk Academy was to make dance an integral part of life. I came out of the isolation of the dance studio and found ways to apply and
on dance education 2018, the alumni dance theater award presented by Norfolk State University dance theater 2018 and the distinguished alumni award presented by friends and Booker T. Washington high school 2019. He received the J.E. Wallace Sterling Award for Scholastic Achievement at Stanford University in 2014 for contribution to the education of high school students for exceptional influence on Dustin Fink, a former Norfolk Academy student. He taught and choreographed in schools and universities throughout the United States, Europe, New Zealand and the Caribbean. He currently instructs as the dance master at the Norfolk Academy, where he introduces dance not only as an art form, but as a communicative bridge between athletics and academics serving to enhance the learning process for grades 1 through 12 in ballet, jazz, creative class projects, musical theater, pointe, hip hop”kinetic learning projects,” tik tok and stretch and strengthen classes for the faculty. In 2011 he received the teacher of the year prize in middle school. He served as a former member of The Commission of Arts and Humanities for the city of Norfolk, and currently serves as the master teacher for the Ballet Virginia International and for the city of Norfolk Dance Program, founder of the Tidewater Dance Collective and The Elbert Watson Dance Company. He teaches sunday school, leads worship, serves as a church elder and as event teacher at the Fit Company in Norfolk. Watson co-founded Kinetics of Stone, an international visual and performing arts collaborative, started in Christ church, New Zealand, and currently in Graz, Austria and he created the original Ballet “I Flutter My Wings But I Can’t Fly Away” for the Holocost Commission.
collaborate with others, using dance skills that I had. Having worked in classical ballet, hip hop, now tik tok, I came to every situation with a multilingual movement approach. I teach 1st through 12th graders and work with the athletic teams and do many projects with city of Norfolk public
libraries. I do private consultation for dancers, athletes, laypeople. My life is a constant trajectory of discovery and celebration. There is always some new method, insight, technique to learn.” In true form, he quickly began innovating, creating and boulevard | feb-apr 2021
collaborating—expanding the idea of the art and function of dance for those around him. “I so enjoy the endless atmosphere of innovation, the chance to collaborate and the fearless opportunities to make paradigm shifts,” said Watson. “Collaboration has been great joy. It’s so fulfilling to talk to colleagues and come up with an adjoining lesson plan. Also meeting students 1st grade to 12th grade. Whether middle school science, ancient history, Latin, geometry, the Renaissance, the novel “Jane Austin,” upper school English, World War I poems, the solar system or the dance of the butterfly, I am
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always learning. It also becomes an opportunity for students to see two teachers from diverse disciplines working together.” “I have come to the conclusion through my work at the academy— this includes now all sports teams, private stretch classes for colleagues, kinetic learning adult dance programs, musical theatre and a host of other movement-related activities—that the human body is an amazing instrument in all forms and sizes.” Watson took his work at the academy and spread his artistry throughout the greater community. He sits on many boards and collaborates constantly with others
in the area. “I love creative challenges,” said Watson. “I love meeting new people. I love bringing to fruition someone’s dream even if they can’t articulate it—choreographing a couple’s first wedding dance, creating a plant dance for the Botanical Garden’s 50th anniversary, creating a 70s-themed review with jumpsuits and 8-inch shoes, performing “One More River to Cross” at the Attucks Theater’s 100th anniversary, dancing the Arabian pas de deux for the Virginia Regional Ballet in Williamsburg and the Virginia Ballet Theatre in Norfolk—new ventures capturing always that sense of play and discovery.” Watson uses the Virginia Arts Festival as his measure for the state of dance in relation to the arts community in the surrounding cities. He says they sponsor excellent dance companies and the event definitely has a dance audience. He also notes that all of the major theaters in the seven cities have a strong dance component. He would like to see more opportunities for regular citizens to dance. “Somehow many people in our culture feel that after 20, you shouldn’t dance,” said Watson. “Also, I would like to see every physical education program have a dance component. I have had to teach every section of 6th grade because of COVID and I have found that dance provides an artistic and athletic experience that can be applied to everything. Before COVID, we had a Wednesday boy’s class, which at its peak had over 25 boys.” Over his illustrious career Watson has seen many things change in the dance world. One thing stands out as both a positive and a negative: “With the enhancement and dominance of media, I have seen less original development of movement and teaching methods,” said Watson. “Many people don’t understand the craft of how to study technique and the use of literacy as motivation to
“With the enhancement and dominance of media, I have seen less original development of movement and teaching methods... not regurgitating what is popular. True artistry always wins out.” — Elbert Watson RICK BLANTON
create. Reading great books, going to museums, researching great art, having time for reflection and quiet to formulate unique ideas. Not regurgitating what is popular. It seems now you have to be a cross between a gymnast, an acrobat and a contortionist in order for people to really appreciate you. However, I have found true artistry always wins out.” Watson has sound advice for those considering a career in dance. “You must absolutely love it,” said Watson. “Like breathing—you can’t do without it. You must be disciplined. That includes going to dance class (ballet, contemporary, jazz) you must be willing to sacrifice your time and prioritize your plan of action. You must be able to take constructive criticism. You must be able to work with different people.” And for those who wished to follow the career path highlighting their love of dance, but either due to lack of ability or other circumstances could not? “Everybody can’t be a professional dancer,” said Watson. “However, everybody can study and appreciate the art form for as long as they live. There are adult classes. There are performances, there are workshops to continue facilitating and enlivening one’s love for the craft. I love people who have identified and are aware of their purpose in life. Specifically, people who sacrifice their own agenda to serve others, people who have a moral compass, who are honorable not just in word, but in actions and deeds. Integrity and humility are big on my list.” Watson hopes all his students have learned five things from him: Always be on time. Never give up perseverance and discipline. Always strive to do your best, always try. Being able to work with others is so important and, without question, always have faith in God and yourself. Personally he always follows Matthew 6:34: “Take no thought for tomorrow,
for tomorrow shall take thought of itself. Sufficient unto the day is its own troubles. Basically—one day at a time, one moment at a time, one breath at a time.” Jill Doczi has written and edited in public relations, marketing and journalism for a lifetime, forever trying to earn the respect of her journalism instructors. She resides in Virginia Beach—her home since the end of high school—while a piece of her heart remains in the Virginia mountains of her adolescence. She oversees a postage stamp of property by the Chesapeake Bay including pond fish and yard turtles, while defending her urban farm from squirrels.
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Drive up Virginia’s Eastern Shore to Crisfield, MD, board a seaworthy vessel and head southwest back down the Chesapeake Bay into Virginia waters about 14 miles, making landfall at Tangier Island, a 740acre (and dwindling) piece of property with only about 83 acres of ground high enough to inhabit. A multitude of arrowheads and the discovery of an ancient offshore oyster midden, or shell dump, thousands of years old, containing an enormous pile of spent shells, provide evidence that humans have enjoyed bivalves from these waters long before the first recorded European explorer, Captain John Smith, visited here in 1608. Most recently, before European settlement, the Pocomoke Indians used this land for a retreat, feasting off the same blue crabs, fish and oysters we enjoy today. Since the first permanent settler of the island, Joseph Crockett, moved here in the late 1700s, inhabitants have had little space for traditional agricultural pursuits and instead turned to harvesting the bounty surrounding them. Tangier watermen, with a long and rich history of rugged existence and saltwater in their blood, have worked these waters crabbing, fishing and oystering for centuries. After the oyster industry crumbled in the 1980s, due largely to decline in water quality and pollutants inflicted on the bay by the surrounding mainland, locals relied primarily on the blue crab to support their families. Island families found the crab market attractive for many reasons. They take their boats out to waiting crab pots, collect the crabs and receive payment immediately. Oystering has a longer wait, making it not quite as appealing. Recently, however, a combination of state regulations and restrictions
The tides may change for Tangier Island [ by jill doczi ] PHOTOS COURTESTY OF TANGIER ISLAND OYSTER CO.
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designed to protect the declining population of blue crab have threatened their way of life. This adds up to little incentive for young people to stay on the island. The 1930 census recorded 1,120 residents and the 2020 reports show that number shrank to 440. More importantly, since 1850, the island itself has shrunk by 67 percent due to a variety of circumstances including rising sea levels, erosion and storms. Without mitigation and shoreline protection, current projections have the island disappearing in 50 years. In modern years, the nonwaterman population of the island turned to tourism to bolster their economy. Visitors bring their money to spend on historical tours, kayak rentals, restaurants, bed and breakfasts, an ice cream shop, gift shops and a museum. The quiet solitude of the beaches and marshes provide a refuge from modern life. Popular pursuits include duck hunting and beach combing. In fact, inspiration struck childhood friends Tim Hickey and Craig Suro during a duck-hunting trip on Tangier. The men appreciated the beauty of the island and had concern for the struggling watermen about to lose their primary source of income. Why not take what was once a shorter
Tangier watermen, with a long and rich history of rugged existence and saltwater in their blood, have worked these waters crabbing, fishing and oystering for centuries.
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oyster bottom-harvest and create a farmed, year-round aquaculture industry? Their inland, fast-paced experience in technology, raising capital and marketing could take the latest in floating aquaculture science and combine that with already usable equipment and centuries of waterman know-how to create the perfect storm—a storm that might just give to this island instead of taking away. These men appreciated the island and its ways, but neither had a background in working the water. Hickey, a Washington, D.C. writer, worked on film and TV scripts and wrote political campaign copy. Suro operated as a Richmond, VA investor. The other fellow owners included a hip-hop producer and compounding pharmacist and Suro’s pool maintenance operator. No matter. Suro would build the team. Hickey would take orders, handle sales and shuck at restaurant presentations. Andy Stefanovich of New Richmond Ventures would handle the marketing and David Johnson, formerly head of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, would serve as aquatic advisor. All would invest. About 20 others funded the fledgling business. Ken Cuccinelli, former
Virginia attorney general, now chief legal counsel for the group, filed the paperwork in 2015 with the State Corporation Commission for a limited-liability company named Tangier Island Oyster, Co. The idea from a wide angle seems laughable—some polished, modern outsiders coming into a centuries-old, tight-knit, independent and salty community telling them what they needed to do. The islanders held the power though. The key element—the Tangier watermen—would need to come on board for any of it to succeed. They met, and a partnership became a reality. The Tangiermen involved in Tangier Island Oyster Co. understood the need for diversity. They recognized that they could preserve their rich culture while doing so. Tangier Mayor James “Ooker” Eskridge’s son, also named James, decided to give the idea his blessing and participation. Research and development panned out. As Tangier Island Oyster Co. professes “Ideal conditions make ideal oysters” and Tangier Island, it turned out, has ideal conditions. “There are elements that determine that,” said Hickey. “Grapes are to terroir as oysters are to merroir. Where you are in the body of water defines the oyster. You get this unique situation for raising oysters here. The only thing we have control over is the growing method. The rest is luck and the right salinity, turbidity and ocean washout, plus the tides, wind and rough weather that cause a stronger shell, stimulating growth that hardens the shell—shapes it so it has a deeper cup that won’t shatter when you shuck it. The thing that appeals to our chefs is the meat-to-shell ratio. When you open it up, it’s just full.” The location worked and so did the modern cultivation methods. Rather than the centuries-old method of harvesting from wild beds on the bay floor, Tangier Island Oyster Co. created an aquaculture situation
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Floating oyster cages become oyster “fields’ from which to harvest.
where they sow oyster spat on floating cages and harvest from their oyster “fields.” Living at the top of the water, the oyster feeds more and in water less polluted than on the mucky bottom. “When it’s at the top, that’s exactly where the algae live that the oyster is eating,” said Hickey. “A lot of oyster operations tumble their oysters. We don’t need any tumblers because it’s naturally occurring. We’re not near anything like river mouths or farming. They are raised in the middle of the bay, miles away from the mainland, in what are arguably the best oyster grounds in the hemisphere. You want something grown in clean, running water rather than something that is static on the bottom. It’s a hassle to be on the island, but we don’t have to worry about the water becoming polluted enough to affect us. It’s hard on gear and more labor, but it produces a superior oyster, both in looks and taste—a perfectly balanced combination of the saltiness of the Atlantic and the sweet freshness of the bay. These are arguably the best oyster waters in the hemisphere.” The company had success and growth. Tangier Islands showed up at restaurants in Richmond, Washington,
feb-apr 2021 | boulevard
Founding Tangier Island Oyster Co. partners Craig Suro (left) and Tim Hickey
D.C. , Baltimore, Fredericksburg, Williamsburg and New York. Then the pandemic hit. “It’s terrible right now. I’m afraid because we’re so dependent on restaurants,” said Hickey. “It’s been the hardest time we’ve experienced, for sure.” In March 2020, the company had considered some pretty large expansions, but not now. This past summer, they had plans for tourism, but all boats stopped. The islanders reacted too. Even Hickey himself stays afar, although he still talks to his partners on the island every day. “They’re wary about people coming on the island,” said Hickey. “They have no cases and they have an elderly population.” “So far, it has not turned into the big, vibrant cultural transformation I had idealized in the beginning. “It’s hard to overstate just how awful the
pandemic has been.” Like other food-related industries, the company pivoted and evolved. They sold directly to customers and retail markets. They sent some oysters to shucking houses. “We do some business with people who want to do roasts or big events,” said Hickey. “We do now have the capacity to ship overnight. In one instance we pulled them out of the water and they were eating them in the Teton Mountains the next day. It’s not cost prohibitive.” “While that is helpful, it’s not nearly what it should be,” said Hickey. “If restaurants can return to full capacity, that’s the route for us to reach full potential. The oysters themselves are great. At some point, they become too big to be useful in restaurants, but they’re going dormant at 52 degrees. In spring
they’ll start growing again.” Tangier Island Oyster Co., wants to not only sell oysters, but to address the erosion and sea level rise. A plan exists to deal with the encroaching seas. These partners feel increased awareness of Tangier Island and its situation will help with the execution of those plans, “thereby preserving a way of life, an irreplaceable natural habitat, a piece of history, and a population that calls Tangier home.” Additionally, the environmental benefits of raising oysters helps the bay since oysters filter the water and their shells help with phosphorus. Long-term goals of the company include setting up a foundation to help preserve Tangier Island. “It’s a wonderful business,” said Hickey. “I’ve gotten a lot out of it. I’ve enjoyed it all the way. There’s something fundamentally cool about working with the guys on Tangier, working on the water and in the bay. It’s what appealed to me in the beginning and what still motivates me.” These relative newcomers have the same appreciation for, and wish to preserve, this way of life as the descendants of centuries of Tangier families that rely on the bay to survive. “They know that my interest is in the island and in oysters and nothing else,” said Hickey. “My reception and relationships with everyone on the island is great. They certainly are kind to me and I consider some of them my friends.” “It’s funny to go over there and I’ll see Ooker, the mayor, and he’ll say ‘Hey oyster man!’ That’s how I like to be thought of.” Jill Doczi has written and edited in public relations, marketing and journalism for a lifetime, forever trying to earn the respect of her journalism instructors. She resides in Virginia Beach—her home since the end of high school—while a piece of her heart remains in the Virginia mountains of her adolescence. She oversees a postage stamp of property by the Chesapeake Bay including pond fish and yard turtles, while defending her urban farm from squirrels.
Serving Hawaiian coffees, salads, wraps, & more! All in a bad ass way with a local VB vibe.
badasscoffee.com boulevard | feb-apr 2021
Creating gastro training grounds for aspiring young chefs As the menu’s “Bite” rolled out of the kitchen at Commune NFK restaurant in Norfolk, it became clear what the guests should expect for the rest of their meal. These were no ordinary oysters. The creative offering consisted of one oyster chilled with lemongrass and one caviar-fried, served with chickweed, rutabaga relish, sweet corn, beet, apple cornbread, cashew and goat cheese. That’s quite a “Bite,” and we watched as the young students who prepared it, plated it for serving. Yes, 14-19-year-old students prepared and served fig and apple wood-fired sourdough bread with wild onion butter; a salad of local kale and greens with beets, wildflowers, corn breadcrumbs, arugula, and strawberry vinaigrette; and charred rainbow carrots with whipped cheese. They followed it with heirloom polenta, sausage ragout and parsley cake with carrot and brown butter ice cream. Since starting The CROP Foundation in Delaware in 2014, Kip Poole, executive chef and executive director, has watched his mission grow, providing education and real-world learning opportunities for young culinary enthusiasts interested in a career in food service, hospitality, food advocacy and sustainable food-related fields. Poole moved to Virginia Beach in 2018 to serve as the Virginia Beach public schools district chef. He and
his staff helped numerous schools turn their kitchen staff into skilled cooks, creating scratch-cooked meals with student-grown, school garden produce and crops from local farms rather than simply reheating institutional products. Cafeteria staff even took field trips to local farms to learn about crops, pastured poultry and slaughtering techniques. In the summer of 2020 Poole and Kevin Jamison, owner of Commune restaurant in Virginia Beach, Commune NFK, Prosperity Kitchen & Pantry and New Earth Farm, collaborated to provide The CROP Foundation with a location at Commune NFK for a student-led kitchen called CommuneXCROP. Their team includes Brent Hillard, sous chef—Commune VB and chef consultant of The CROP Foundation and Meghan Raftery, program director. After leaving the public school system to focus on CROP in Virginia Beach, Poole reached out to various high school students to develop and prepare a new menu for the restaurant and create ticketed, themed seasonal dinners. They continually sell out. When school opens and culinary programs start again, Poole plans to have CommuneXCROP students also participate in educational community events and outreach, cooking classes, on-the-farm training and more for a comprehensive industry experience. While
by jill doczi 22
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PHOTOS BY RICK BLANTON
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COURTESY OF KIP POOLE
COVID-19 has affected them, Poole’s vision remains unwavering. “Like all businesses, we feel the effect, but we manage to think of creative ways to keep going,” said Poole. We’re hosting cooking classes both virtual and in person, we’re doing private dinners, to-go and pickup and of course regular service.” With fresh, local products at the core of their presentations, students learn the importance of using foods from local and regional farms and why it’s a healthier, more symbiotic option. “Our emphasis is on freshness and purity of ingredients,” said Poole. “We capture the highest level of flavor, by utilizing ingredients in season. Our methods highlight the importance of tradition and knowing our suppliers, from farmers to fisherman.” The CommuneXCROP program offers more than just ticketed dinners for the public to experience. They host informative events, contests, cooking classes for children and adults, pop-up events and more. Supporters can choose to host their own, or sponsor an already planned, pop-up dinner, fundraiser or other event to raise funds for the CROP mission. The nonprofit has also held events to prepare and give back for to those who need it in the community.
For those visiting from out of town, a CROP event provides a curated taste of what’s fresh and local. “This is a unique experience here, not only are we founded on the philosophy that great tasting food comes from only the most cared-for, high quality ingredients, but we’re teaching our youth the importance of using fresh and local,” said Poole. “Our finished product speaks for itself; when food is grown with respect, picked at its peak, served close to its source and prepared with care, the finished plate is a culinary experience that nourishes and satisfies on many levels.” CommuneXCROP has developed a year-long, four-season curriculum for high school students and college externs to receive a gastronomy education, including menu development, cooking, serving, hosting, regenerative agriculture and event planning. The program offers students scholarships and identifies internships with chefs, farmers,
CommuneXCROP collaborators Kip Poole (left) and Kevin Jamison
restaurateurs and other members of the culinary community. They currently have a 600-hour curriculum set in place with 10 students from throughout the area. They also plan to host an event space run by students of the culinary and visual arts, music, design, environmentalism and more who will collaborate on seasonable food-centered events that showcase their creativity. Poole’s educational plans don’t stop there. “We hope to work with colleges and institutions all over the country that will offer college credit for what the students are doing here,” said Poole. “We also will work with chefs around the country that will offer internships for our students.” Poole sees the educational process evolving into an all-inclusive creative laboratory space for young people with diverse interests, with
“Building a sustainable community of young culinary students.” — THE CROP FOUNDATION —
food at its center, using mentorships provided by community experts. Jamison, from the restaurant and business angle of the collaboration, shared his thoughts on the direction the partnership heads in the future. “It feels like that’s such a big part of our job right now, and we spend a lot of time figuring out what’s next and how to adapt to constantly changing regulations, consumer attitude towards dining out, how to differentiate ourselves from the rest of the pack, making plans for Commune and CROP to be sustainable for the long term while continuing to support local agriculture in an impactful way,” said Jamison. “So yes, we have lots of exciting new plans and ideas for what we do, 2021 is going to be a big year for us and we can’t wait to share with everyone all of the things we’re working on.” All revenues from Commune XCROP events go directly to sustaining the program and furthering The CROP Foundation’s mission. For more information on how to support CommuneXCROP, upcoming culinary events or become a participant, visit www.thecrop.org or www.communeva.com. Follow them on Instagram and Facebook. Jill Doczi has written and edited in public relations, marketing and journalism for a lifetime, forever trying to earn the respect of her journalism instructors. She resides in Virginia Beach.
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events Now through March Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Virtual Environmental Education Program The Chesapeake Bay Foundation offers a live and local learning program to provide students the opportunity to discover our unique species and ecosystems, and examine the most pressing environmental challenges of the watershed. Our expert educators will lead interactive 45-minute lessons, inquiry-based activities and discussions to inspire students to investigate local environmental issues relevant to their communities and engage in actions to help save the bay. Themes include “State of the Bay,” “Watershed Connections,” “Oysters and a Clear Bay,” “Chesapeake Bay Ecosystems,” “Freshwater Ecosystems and Forests” and “Wetlands and Healthy Water.” TIME: Times vary. COST: $50/reservation. Fee waivers are available for schools that qualify.
Now through May 16 First Course Virginia MOCA exhibit Virginia MOCA Satellite Gallery, Towne Pavilion II, 600 22nd Street As both a primer and an expansion upon the exhibit “Nourish,” scheduled to launch in February 2021 at Virginia MOCA, the exhibit “First Course” is on display now through May 16, 2021 at the museum’s satellite gallery. Just a short walk from the museum at 600 22nd St., Towne Pavilion II, the permanent gallery is a partnership between Virginia MOCA and the Runnymede Corporation that has over 80 combined feet of wall space spanning the lobby and hallways of the first floor. The “First Course” exhibit features twelve artist and local food expert pairings exploring the possibilities at the intersection of food and art. While the art pieces are vastly different in medium and theme, they all center on thoughtful collaboration and discussions to find new connections and insight into food-related issues. TIME: Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.–6 p.m., Sat., 10 a.m.–4 p.m. COST: Admission is free. Art purchases vary.
Check blvdmedia.io and social media for even more events
Now through July 11
Every Second Saturday
Clear As Crystal
ViBe Second Saturday Mural Tour
Chrysler Museum of Art
Virginia Beach Public Library, Cypress Avenue and 17th Street
Colorless Glass from the Chrysler Museum explores the allure of colorless glass by showcasing contemporary artworks and historical objects from within the museum’s permanent collection that are made exclusively with colorless glass. The works on view reveal the wide array of techniques that artists have used to capitalize on the aesthetic and intellectual opportunities offered by clear, colorless glass. TIME: Tues.–Sat., 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Sun., noon–5 p.m. COST: Free
Every First Friday ViBe’s First Friday Art in the Dark Mural Tour
Tour the ViBe District murals leaving from the LOVE SIGN next to the Virginia Beach Public Library. This tour covers approximately one mile of art. Wear comfortable shoes and bring a camera. Children and dogs are welcome. Free parking is available along 18th Street behind the library. Free on-street parking along 18th Street. PLEASE WEAR A MASK AND KEEP SIX FEET APART; LIMITED TO 10 PEOPLE. Support from the Virginia Beach Arts & Humanities Commission and Virginia Commission for the Arts provides this tour free to the public. TIME: 10 a.m.–11:30 a.m. COST: Free to attend; donations to the ViBe Creative District are welcome.
Chesapeake Bay Distillery Bring your flashlight and friends or pup. Starting at the LOVE sign at 18th Street and Cypress Avenue (free parking on Baltic Avenue and 18th Street before 8pm) and touring over one mile of art along 17th, 18th and 19th streets and popping in to businesses hosting featured artists events. We’ll add a little light to your outfit for safety, with glow-in-the-dark accessories. Please register in advance with the number of people in your group. LIMITED TO 10 PEOPLE. PLEASE WEAR A MASK AND KEEP SIX FEET APART. Make plans to stay late for dinner and drinks at one of our #culinaryarts partners. TIME: 7:30 p.m. COST: Free to attend; donations to the ViBe Creative District are welcome.
March 1-31, Multiple Days and Events She’s A BrickHouse: A Performing Arts Celebration of Stories About and by Women Zeiders American Dream Theater Main Stage Theater and Virtual This March, The Z presents “She’s a BrickHouse”—a full month of free performing arts offerings and panel discussions celebrating art and stories by and about women. TIME: Varies by event COST: Free
February 6–June 6
The Plan B Comedy Show
Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art
Zeiders American Dream Theater
Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (Virginia MOCA) has four exhibitions in February that share a common theme: food. Enjoy “Nourish,” a collaboration between 12 artists and food experts from our region, and presenting new work commissioned by the museum. On view with “Nourish” at Virginia MOCA are “American Appetite: Selections from the Chrysler Museum of Art,” “Real Food Films” and a Community Gallery Open Call. All hours subject to change. Reserve tickets in advance. TIMES: Thursdays: 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Fridays: 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Saturdays: 9 a.m.–3 p.m. (First hour is reserved for patrons 60+) Sundays: 1 p.m.–4 p.m. COST: Free
Plan B Comedy, the resident comedy group at The Z, performs regularly in both the Studio and the Main Stage. Plan B Comedy provides a high-energy, fast-paced and exciting experience to audiences of all ages. Plan B Comedy’s brand is “FUN” and it shows. TIME: 8 p.m. COST: $15
March 27–28 Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live™ Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live has returned BIGGER than before with an amazing and authentic Hot Wheels Monster
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!! Details as of press time; confirm information with venue before you attend events. !!
FARMERS MARKETS April 13 Neil deGrasse Tyson The Norfolk Forum Astrophysicist and the Frederick P. Rose director of The Hayden Planetarium, Neil deGrasse Tyson was born and raised in New York City where he was educated in the public schools clear through his graduation from the Bronx High School of Science. Tyson went on to earn his Bachelor of Arts in physics from Harvard and his Ph.D. in astrophysics from Columbia University. Tyson received the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, the highest award given by NASA to a non-government citizen and serves as the fifth head of the worldrenowned Hayden Planetarium in New York City and the first occupant of its Frederick P. Rose Directorship. TIME: 7:30 p.m. COST: TBA
FARMERS MARKETS Market season is upon us! Check back each issue for more listings of fresh, local items as they become available.
VIRGINIA BEACH Year-round, Every Saturday Shore Drive Farm Market 2947 Shore Drive A variety of local vendors sell products each Saturday including produce, jewelry, prepared foods, jams, jellies, pickles, teas, meats, eggs and more. TIME: 9 a.m.–noon COST: Free to attend. Purchases vary.
Facebook: Shore Drive Farm Market Instagram: @shoredrivefarmmarket
February 20; March 20; April 17; Starting May 1, Every Saturday Old Beach Farmers Market, Art & Eco Markets 19th Street and Cypress Avenue
Starting April 25, Every other Sunday Farmer John’s Market Front Yard of Back Bay Brewing Co.’s Farmhouse 614 Norfolk Ave. TIME: TBA COST: Free to attend. Purchases vary.
www.farmerjohnsmarketvb.com Facebook: Farmer John’s Market VB
NORFOLK Starting Mid-April, Every Wednesday Hampton Boulevard Farmers Market 7400 Hampton Blvd. TIME: 3–7 p.m. COST: Free to attend. Purchases vary.
Starting June 7, Every Other Sunday Harvest Market at O’Connor Brewing Co. O’Connor Brewing Co. TIME: Noon– 3 p.m. COST: Free to attend. Purchases vary.
Now through April 15, Every Thursday East Beach Farmers Market 4550 East Beach Dr. Contactless Pickup Market A strictly pre-order, pre-pay curbside pickup market designed as a safe, contactless way to get local food all winter long. TIME: Pickup Time 3–6 p.m. Online Ordering Window Saturdays 8 a.m.–Wednesdays at noon COST: Purchases vary.
To order: woso.co/eastbeach www.norfolkvafarmersmarket.com
Starting Late April, Every Saturday East Beach Farmers Market 9680 Shore Dr.
Starting May 6, Every other Thursday King’s Grant Farmers’ Market 873 Little Neck Rd. TIME: 4 p.m.–7 p.m. COST: Free to attend. Purchases vary.
Facebook: King’s Grant Farmers’ Market
TIME: 9 a.m.–noon COST: Free to attend. Purchases vary.
www.oldbeachfarmersmarket.com Instagram and Facebook: @oldbeachfarmersmarket
!! Details as of press time; confirm information with venue before you attend events. !!
Regular Outdoor Market TIME: 9 a.m.–noon COST: Free to attend. Purchases vary.
PORTSMOUTH Year-round, Every Saturday Portsmouth Olde Towne Farmers Market 434 Washington St. TIME: 10 a.m.–1p.m. COST: Free to attend. Purchases vary.
portsmoutholdetownefarmersmarket. com boulevard | feb-apr 2021
Trucks experience for the whole family. Each show will feature real life versions of the iconic Hot Wheels monster truck toys–Bone Shaker™, Tiger Shark™, V8 Bomber™, Demo Derby and Hot Wheels® Racing 1. The show will also feature the King of Monster Trucks, BIGFOOT®! Fans will be fully immersed in exciting action and competitions as their favorite monster trucks come to life. All event performances will include a special appearance from the car-eating, fire-breathing transforming robot MEGASAURUS, and the high-flyers of Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live, Freestyle Motocross. TIMES: March 27, 2021 12:30 p.m. March 27, 2021 7:30 p.m. March 28, 2021 1:30 p.m. COST: $10-$37
FARMERS MARKETS WILLIAMSBURG Now through April 3, Every Wednesday Williamsburg Farmers Market 202 Quarterpath Rd. Contactless Pickup Market A strictly pre-order, pre-pay curbside pickup market designed as a safe, contactless way to get local food all winter long. TIME: Pickup Time 3–5 p.m. Online Ordering Window Wednesdays–Sundays COST: Purchases vary.
April 17-24 Garden Club of Virginia Historic Garden Week Tours throughout Virginia
To order: williamsburgfarmersmarket. com/shop williamsburgfarmersmarket.com
For one week this April, visitors will tour inspired private landscapes, public gardens and historic sites across Virginia, enjoying our beautiful state at the peak of spring. In addition, over 1,000 world-class floral arrangements created by Garden Club of Virginia members will enhance tour properties. This beloved statewide event will include 30 unique tours organized and hosted by 48 member clubs located from the foothills of the Shenandoah Valley all the way to the beaches of Tidewater.
Starting April 3, Every Saturday Williamsburg Farmers Market 410 West Francis St.
Regular Outdoor Market TIME: 8 a.m.–noon COST: Free to attend. Purchases vary.
williamsburgfarmersmarket.com Facebook: Williamsburg Farmers Market JILL DOCZI
Four properties, including one of the earliest domestic structures in the United States that has been continually inhabited since 1652, are showcased on this tour taking place in Gloucester and Mathews County. As a recipient of one of the earliest historic preservation easements in Virginia, one site stands as an outstanding example of an early Tidewater planter’s home. The estate sprawls over 100 acres and the nearly mile-long river front with its enormous willow oaks commands the longest southern exposure of any home on the North River. Another sits well back from Main Street in Mathews behind a sweeping lawn dappled by the shade of mature trees. A third includes a lovely terrace area for entertaining with plenty of room for seating where guests can enjoy both garden and water views. A final property began life as an 18th-century icehouse; a circular brick two-story tower with dirt piled around it to insulate the ice kept inside. In 1922, it was converted into a simple retirement dwelling. TIME: Morning Tour: 9:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. Afternoon Tour: 1:30 p.m.–5:30 p.m. COST: $40
April 17 Suffolk Governor’s Pointe, a land grant made in 1700 by King William, offered rich land, deep rivers and an environment where families could flourish in early Virginia. By the end of 1865, the plantation system was
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replaced by family farms. In 2003 one of these farms was developed as a community of 141 custom-build fine homes where the property’s mature hardwoods, lakes, marsh areas and river views have been conscientiously maintained. This walking tour showcases a variety of charming outdoor living spaces. TIME: Morning Tour 10 a.m.–1 p.m.; Afternoon Tour 1:30–4:30 p.m. COST: $35
April 20 Williamsburg Visitors will be inspired by this self-guided tour of geometric gardens, trimmed topiaries, pristine flower beds and mature shade trees. Learn how to incorporate 18th century landscape details and heirloom plants into your own outdoor spaces. Walking tour includes six Colonial Williamsburg gardens and two historic properties with pleasure gardens, plus access to the Custis Square Archaeology Project and the Reveley Garden at William & Mary. Get ideas for decorating your own outside venues from Williamsburg Garden Club members who will enliven these historic exteriors with fabulous floral arrangements. TIME: Morning Tour 10 a.m.–1 p.m.; Afternoon Tour: 1 p.m.–4 p.m Cost: $50
!! Details as of press time; confirm information with venue before you attend events. !!
events Virginia Beach The Birdneck Point neighborhood in Virginia Beach, a peninsula in Linkhorn Bay offering picturesque waterfront views, is also a mecca for a variety of birds and waterfowl. Properties featured are newly constructed or renovated, each with splendid gardens. A sixth is a mature waterfront garden lovingly planted and maintained by the master gardener homeowners. Visitors can enjoy a box lunch outside at the Cavalier Golf and Yacht Club, originally created in 1927 to serve the recreational needs of guests of the historic and iconic Cavalier Hotel. TIME: Morning Tour 10 a.m.–1:30 p.m.; Afternoon Tour 1:30 p.m.–5p.m. COST: $40
April 21 Yorktown Nestled high on a bluff overlooking the York River, the charming village of Yorktown provides the backdrop for a tour that features contemporary and colonial architecture, curated interiors and lovely gardens sure to delight visitors. Two restored, significant structures bring
Yorktown’s special place in America’s Colonial and Revolutionary eras to life for the history buff. TIME: First Tour: 10 a.m.–noon; Second Tour: noon–2 p.m.; Third Tour: 2– 4 p.m. COST: $20
touring experience. Please check back for availability of tickets for this particular tour. TIME: 10 a.m.–5 p.m. COST: $30
April 22 Norfolk On the banks of the Lafayette River, a new section has been added to the Talbot Park neighborhood on grounds that were originally part of a Federal era plantation with ties to the antebellum heritage of southeastern Virginia. Home to the Talbot family for 150 years, the land was gifted to the Episcopal Diocese, then sold in 2015. Today, it represents a blend of Norfolk’s past and its future. This walking tour features private properties showcasing both modern and traditional architecture, a shoreline filled with wildlife and charming exterior entertaining areas. Visitors will enjoy the neighborhood’s quiet streets filled with live oaks and views of the river. Note: We are still working on logistics for the Norfolk tour to ensure adequate social distancing and a safe and enjoyable
Explore gardens steeped in history on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, the 70-mile long peninsula where you can view the sunrise on the Atlantic Ocean and the sunset over the Chesapeake Bay. Renowned for its scenic farms, preserved coastlines, seafood and hospitality, quaint towns dot the way north from Cape Charles to the Maryland state line. This driving tour features gardens and properties located in the Southernto-mid section of the peninsula. Perennial tour centerpiece and National Historic Landmark, Eyre Hall, is an acclaimed ancestral property displaying some of the country’s oldest continuously maintained gardens. TIME: 10 a.m.–4 p.m. COST: $30
WE MISS YOU LET’S KEEP IN TOUCH
ATTUCKS THEATRE • CHRYSLER HALL • HARBOR PARK • HARRISON OPERA HOUSE • OPEN AIR EVENTS • SCOPE ARENA • WELLS THEATRE boulevard | feb-apr 2021 29
Innovative Trends How area restaurants have adapted to new restrictive guidelines
Froggie’s Smoke Taphouse 
COURTESY OF FROGGIE’S
Restaurants throughout Virginia have shown their resiliency and resourcefulness by pivoting fast and hard, multiple times, when faced with changing pandemic restrictions. Solutions include switching to take-out, providing curbside service, installing fire pits and outdoor heaters, erecting tents and igloos, and using relaxed city codes to install outdoor dining areas. Tidewater eateries have become creative in their efforts to continue serving their customers.
Virginia Beach froggiesvb.com
Steinhilber’s Restaurant  Virginia Beach www.steinys.com
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COURTESY OF GOURMET GANG
Gourmet Gang  Norfolk, Chesapeake, Virginia Beach gourmetgang.com
Aberdeen Barn Steakhouse 
COURTESY OF NEW RIVER TAPHOUSE
Virginia Beach www.aberdeenbarn.net
New River Taphouse  Virginia Beach www.newrivertaphouse.com
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Duke of Gloucester Street 
COURTESY OF WATERMAN’S SURFSIDE GRILL
Williamsburg www.colonialwilliamsburg.org/ locations/duke-ofgloucester-street/
Waterman’s Surfside Grille  Virginia Beach www.watermans.com
The Williamsburg Winery  Williamsburg www.williamsburgwinery.com
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BBQ Beer Live Music
BBQ Breakfast Sat & Sun 8-1
Froggies has an awesome BBQ menu—smoked on-site and accompanied by our house-made sauces. We’ve got 26 beers on tap and a full bar. Live music Thursday–Sunday featuring a variety of classic rock, blues, acoustic sets and oldies. Dining options include a deck, heated tent, inside seating and curbside to-go.
Come check out our daily specials! 3656 Shore Drive, VA Beach, VA 23455 • froggiesvb.com • (757) 216-3300
profile Barbara Lewis “The way I see it, dumplin’,” declared Barbara Lewis from the cozy inner sanctum of Town Center City Club, “Good sense and gumption can overcome almost anything.” Lewis, who turns 85 in June, is president of the private business club and has long had her finger on the pulse of the area’s economic health. “I’ve been here since it was a frontier town; when all this was just two lanes to the ocean and, my goodness, we didn’t even have a city,” she said, in reference to the incorporation of Virginia Beach in 1963. “If somebody had asked me then if the day would come when there would be high-rises and hotels, arts and entertainment, top schools, dining and shopping, first-rate hospitals and city amenities, well, I might have laughed, but I would’ve said, ‘Yes.’” Lewis is a believer and always has been. She arrived from Mobile, AL as a fresh-faced bride in 1956, “worried mostly what I was going to wear to meet my in-laws for the first time,” and never looked back. Her husband, Bill Lewis, worked for the railroad, and they bought their first house in Aragona Village, an early subdivision. “You had to walk to the end of the street to use a telephone,” she said. “My very first fundraiser in the area was to help raise money for the library at Louise Luxford Elementary.” Business-savvy and civic-minded, Lewis handled public relations for Princess Anne Business College and Montgomery Ward department store, briefly owned a cosmetics shop and eventually purchased and ran Charm Associates for 30 years. The mother of two sons and a widow by age 42, she persevered, forging connections with area businesses and supporting community endeavors. She founded and ran Outstanding Professional Women of Hampton Roads for 24 years and fundraised for nonprofits Lynnhaven River NOW 2007 and Hope House Foundation, among others. Her experiences convinced her of the need for a private business club where members could socialize, network and contribute to the community. “We had wonderful golf clubs and country clubs, but there wasn’t a club specifically for business, and for many years I wanted to change that,” she said. Her dream became a reality in 2004, courtesy of developer Dan Hoffler’s faith in her sales ability and local businesses’ faith in Lewis. “Mr. Hoffler agreed to lease me space in the first tower at Town Center if I had 200 members,” she recalled. “So, I had to find 200 people willing to write me substantial checks with only my word to go on.” It is that small town loyalty, business-with-a-handshake ethic that Lewis credits with successful city growth. “The heart of this city is still about the relationships between people and their efforts to create a wonderful place to live and work,” she said. “You make friends, keep your word and stand upon your reputation.” By way of example, Lewis pointed to the power of personality in her friends, Pearl Smith and Nancy Creech. As president of the Central Business District Association, now retired, Smith diligently worked with community and city politics to pave the way for Town Center development. Similarly, longtime Neptune Festival president and CEO, Creech has grown the oceanfront festival into one of the biggest events on the East Coast. “Town Center and Neptune Festival are now both economic engines for
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[ by irene bowers ]
“The heart of this city is still about the relationships between people and their efforts to create a wonderful place to live and work.”
Barbara Lewis teaching a class at Princess Anne Business College in the late 1960s
Upscale, authentic Italian dining on the Virginia Beach oceanfront
FAR LEFT-Lewis (C) accompanied by Terry McAuliffe, former governor of Virginia, and his wife, Dorothy LEFT-Janet Leigh, who spoke at the 1992 Women’s Review Luncheon, holds an honorary OPW (Outstanding Professional Women) award with Lewis (R)
Virginia Beach,” said Lewis. “If you look behind area successes, you’ll see people with vision and ability, who inspire others to come along. I mean, you don’t have to look any further than Pharrell Williams to see
it continuing.” Her abiding passion for the arts now drives much of her considerable energy into fundraising for Virginia Musical Theatre, of which she is a board member, as well as for The
Governor’s School for the Arts. “I’d have probably loved a career producing song and dance shows; musical theatre is such fun,” she said. In 2014, she began an annual fundraiser for local arts organizations and education titled “Dancing with the Hampton Roads Celebrity Stars.” Featured dance instructor and world-acclaimed performer and collaborator, Elbert Watson, presided as a judge for the inaugural show. With an estimated $1 million dollars raised over its short history, the dance show will go on, post boulevard | feb-apr 2021
RIGHT-(L-R) Seated: Grant and Pearl Narrelle, Sharon Smith, Frank Hull. (L-R) Standing: Lewis, current Virginia Beach mayor, Bobby Dyer, Mark Hudgins, Jennifer and Charlie Mallan BELOW-Art installation in the entrance hallway of Town Center City Club.
LEFT-Former mayor of Virginia Beach, Meyera Oberndorf, with Lewis (R)
RIGHT-Pearl Smith with Lewis (R), 1994. Among other things, Smith was director of community and public affairs of the CBN. She currently hosts high-powered luncheon meetings for the Hampton Roads Chamber.
COVID-19, according to Lewis. In the interim, she leads a sustained patrons campaign for Virginia Musical Theatre. “When you support the arts, you support more than artists. You support set designers, stage managers, costumers, sound, lighting, theater staff, just to name a few,” she said. “And when you support arts education, local school programs have exposure to professional artists in their field, and you also create future audiences.” Lewis is a fundraising powerhouse for local arts. She raised $2.5 million for the construction of the 1,300-seat Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, which now counts nine resident companies including ballet, symphonies, musical theatre, chorale and education. She runs a successful gallery in her club to showcase local artists and supports the Virginia Beach Sister Cities program, which promotes global cultural exchange. In 2016,
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the Virginia Beach Arts & Humanities Commission named her the first recipient of the Champion for the Arts Award. From her Town Center City Club, she has enjoyed a front row seat to the incubation of the arts at Town Center. “Right here, we have the Sandler Center, Jones Art Gallery, Ramone Photography Studio and Zeiders American Dream Theater,” she said, adding that the arts are expanding elsewhere, such as the ViBe Creative District at the oceanfront. “It shows what can be done and what can be dreamed to come.” None of it comes without shared vision. She credits aggressive economic development and cultural affairs departments, city government and “our excellent mayor” as key players in Virginia Beach’s progress. “Rome wasn’t built in a day,
but we now have world class museums, theaters and entertainment venues,” she said. “With so many fine cultural offerings in Norfolk and Virginia Beach, and with eight cities supporting the Governor’s School, we’re now a noteworthy area for attracting national talent as well as developing it.” The arts and culture provide critical components of city life and catalysts for future enterprises, according to Lewis. In her experience, attendance at events and performances brings growth in retail, dining, transportation options and even residential life. In a rare moment of introspection, she examined her fingernails, polished a deep burgundy. “You know, I get my nails done right here at Town Center on Sunday mornings,” she said. “I just love to watch all the folks who live
BELOW-Dr. Adam Billet and Dan Hoffler, both sponsors of the 1997 OPW Awards, with Lewis
RIGHT-Barbara Lewis (C) is accompanied by Carolyn and Marvin Garrett
BOTTOM-Lewis at the 2018 Red Carpet Gala at City Club
ABOVE-Lewis with Gayle Higgs RIGHT-Lewis and Steve Ambrose
“When you support the arts, you support more than artists. And when you support arts education, local school programs have exposure to professional artists in their field, and you also create future audiences.” — Barbara Lewis
here, walking their dogs, jogging, getting coffee or enjoying the plaza. People want to live where interesting things are happening.” In her opinion, a culture of fear and state government mandates shuttered many small businesses during COVID-19 lockdowns and
drained the necessary audiences of the performing arts industry. “There was no balance—it was too extreme no matter where you looked. They destroyed people’s livelihoods to force the general public to behave sensibly,” she said. “To me, it showed a lack of faith in our business leaders, and there is now a heavy price to pay for it.” Ever the optimist, Lewis hopes Virginia Beach’s growth as a digital port and the development of offshore wind resources and biotechnical centers will strengthen the area’s economic health. “I’ve always said that nothing happens until somebody makes a sale,” she said. “You can’t have a thriving city without a tax base, and
you can’t have a tax base without business.” It’s the leitmotif of her long career and the bedrock of her belief in the purpose of a private business club. “I like the word ‘enrichment,’ and I don’t mean it as in lining my pockets,” she said. “So many of our social events and galas are fundraisers for nonprofits—many in the arts—and our major patrons are businesspeople in Tidewater. Their support enriches the lives of everyone who calls this place home.” Irene Bowers is a local contributing writer.
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viewpoint Tourism Tackling COVID-19 HOTELS PERSPECTIVE | The tourism industry is a prominent economic engine in the commonwealth of Virginia and the Hampton Roads area. In Virginia Beach, tourism represents the largest private sector industry, typically providing $60 million annually to the General Fund. The industry provides added quality of life for area residents, and guests and residents alike benefit tremendously from the offerings of quality restaurants, hotels and attractions, in addition to entertainment options. All of the tourism stakeholders have had to grapple with challenges from the pandemic and it continues to be a struggle for everyone. People have lost lives and businesses face immense hardships. Furloughs have occurred and restrictions have forced creative ways of running local hotels and restaurants. Sports tournament directors have changed their ways of doing business and the city of Virginia Beach has adapted and supported the industry by offering Beach Ambassadors and other supportive policy decisions. Virginia Beach hotel occupancy boasted the No. 1 nationwide spot for Destination Marketing Areas (DMA) for 16 weeks during the summer and into the fall of 2020. Although occupancy numbers fared better in our destination than others, Virginia Beach revenue fell $87.9 million from the prior calendar year when comparing 2019 to 2020. The winter of 2020 and into 2021 appears bleak as we face declining occupancy and revenue. We now expect the winter business forecasted from the opening of the new Virginia Beach Sports Center to occur at later dates due to rescheduling caused by COVID-19 restrictions. The hotel industry looks forward to warm weather and the wide distribution of the vaccine. We continue to hold cleanliness as a priority in all the properties and we forecast a strong summer, when pent-up demand for travel becomes a reality. The hotels welcome residents in the area to consider the gift of employment that tourism provides. Customer service skills and a desire to welcome others to our destination are the winning ingredients. We look forward to sharing our offerings of employment in 2021 at www.vbha.net or virginiabeachhotelassociation.com/find-a-virginia-beach-hotel-job/ or by emailing email@example.com for more information. Special congratulations and thanks to executive office manager, Deborah Buringa, as she celebrates 20 years of service to the Virginia Beach Hotel Association.
[ by Diane Burke ]
In Virginia Beach, tourism represents the largest private sector industry, typically providing $60 million annually to the General Fund.
Diana Burke, executive director, Virginia Beach Hotel Association (VBHA), serves on a variety of boards including the Hampton Roads Chamber, Patriotic Festival, Virginia Beach Tour and Travel Foundation and the Virginia Tech Howard Feiertag Hospitality and Tourism Management Board.
RESTAURANTS PERSPECTIVE | The saying “business as usual” is not one that you have heard, or will hear, anytime soon from the restaurants in Virginia Beach. Under Governor Northam’s Executive Order 72, and as of press time, it was extended through the end of February 2021, restaurants have restrictions of 50 percent capacity with six feet of spacing between tables, bringing their capacity down to about 40 percent. Included in this order, they may not offer bar seating and alcohol sales and consumption ends at 10 p.m.
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[ by Stacey Shiflet ]
Projected sales in 2020
Restaurant locations in U.S.
New jobs created by 2030
of the Virginia Beach Restaurant Association has had to close. The Virginia Beach community has been a big part of the restaurants being able to survive by supporting small business and dining in or supporting takeout at their local favorites. We encourage dining in, takeout and the purchase of gift certificates for future use and to share with friends and family. www.dineinvb.com Stacey Shiflet, executive director of the Virginia Beach Restaurant Association, serves on many organization boards, some of which include the Bayfront Advisory Commission, Advertising Advisory Commission, Virginia Beach Travel and Tourism Foundation Board Member.
*Reference: https://apnews.com/ press-release/pr-newswire/legislaturenorth-america-united-states-restaurantoperators-health-9fe81820b3711b64262f3c 0ed6d31206
Publisher’s Viewpoint At the start of the pandemic, everything began shutting down and there was a helpless feeling. Restaurant owners and operators lifted up employees, supported communities and expanded offerings, such as curbside and delivery services. Curbside service remains, but human interaction still presents a challenge. The delivery conundrum weighs heavily on restaurants, with the rising costs it incurs. Outdoor dining is also here to stay—offering a little bit of Europe to Main Street America. Post-COVID-19, people will want to connect and celebrate, and there’s no better place to do that than over a shared meal. As the pandemic moves into its second year, many consumers continue to partake in meals within the confines of their own dining rooms, not those at restaurants. However, we all have pent-up desires and hopes to return to restaurants and see long-missed friends over a meal, honor a company milestone with colleagues or have full-blown celebrations to mark a birthday or anniversary. Restaurateurs need to prepare to ensure that every guest’s first meal back is a memorable experience. Many diners will likely want a more subdued first meal back at a restaurant so they can catch up with people they missed. Operators will want to ensure social distancing and food safety in the dining room. People will expect a comforting first meal back. Most long for a taste of their favorite dish—long missed—that will make the experience relaxing and all-the-better for lingering
[ by berry brunk ]
DATA: NATIONAL RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION
U.S. RESTAURANT INDUSTRY PROJECTIONS PRIOR TO THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC
Each day, restaurateurs worry about announcements of further restrictions or possible closures. Our restaurants operate under strict sanitation guidelines and follow all COVID-19 related guidance to keep their staff members and customers safe and healthy. Restaurants in the United States are closing at an alarming rate. *Nearly 1 in 6 restaurants (representing nearly 100,000 restaurants) closed either permanently or long term; nearly 3 million employees still remain out of work; and the industry is on track to lose $240 billion in sales for 2020. Through 2020, restaurants in Virginia Beach have been more fortunate than the national average, but the start of 2021 has shown several of our local restaurants throwing in the towel and closing for good. Thankfully, as of print time for this publication, none of the members
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and socializing with friends. Off-premise ordering strategies will continue in popularity, and any guests that operators can serve indoors or outdoors, will have higher expectations for food safety and COVID-19 precautions. Now is the time to reassure consumers about your safety policies, it will pay off later when the pandemic ends.
Consumer Data A recent survey and report from Datassential yielded the following insights: • 48 percent of consumers say they will definitely avoid eating out • 50 percent of optimists think they will get to see their friends and family in person soon • 48 percent of optimists think they will get to do what they loved doing outside the house (eating at a restaurant, going to the movies, etc.) • 57 percent of pessimists think the country will not get the coronavirus under control fast enough • 41 percent of pessimists think they’ll still be unable to visit a restaurant or movie theater for a while • 57 percent of consumers want to improve their health and lose weight • 41 percent of consumers want to cut back on sugar • 29 percent of consumers want to support local restaurants by ordering more • 58 percent of consumers look forward to going out to restaurants once they are vaccinated • 62 percent of consumers said they will continue to order for delivery or takeout over the next few months The good news? Pent-up demand is huge. Data from the National Restaurant Association shows that 83 percent of adults say they don’t eat on the premises at restaurants as often as they would like—up from 45 percent pre-pandemic. Baby boomers especially miss eating out, with 90 percent reporting they would like to dine at restaurants more
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frequently. The not-so-good news is that closures continue at a significant rate—about 17 percent of all U.S. restaurants and counting—and those closures represent disproportionately independent businesses. That number is expected to grow as the long winter compromises the outdoor dining lifeline and as coronavirus cases continue to increase. Delivery provides just one piece of an off-premise landscape made particularly relevant by the pandemic as droves of consumers sought safety and convenience through their mobile phones. Curbside and carryout became part of the business. They fulfill that safety/convenience demand with less cost for both the consumer and the operators. Research shows that 40 percent of Americans took advantage of takeout and curbside delivery (at both fast casual and dinein) during the pandemic, and about two-thirds of those said they would continue using these services even if restrictions lift. As the demand for off-premise business stays elevated, expect more bells and whistles to support such channels. Here in Virginia, we had a workforce of 378,600 restaurant and foodservice employees before the pandemic. In 2019 it equaled nine percent of employment in the state. That has dwindled considerably. Around Richmond, nearly 100 restaurants have closed. Tidewater has fared much better with few, if any, major closings due to COVID-19. Restaurants have suffered the highest sales and job losses of any industry since the pandemic began—and sustained the most whiplash. They have opened, closed, been at 50 percent seating capacity and only allowed to provide take-out meals. This problem needs dedicated longterm financial assistance to solve. Our industry leaders do not expect the restaurant sector to recover until 2023, even then it will be largely fast, casual establishments and restaurants with limited service that will do well.
Full-service restaurants may need until 2025 to get back to preCOVID-19 revenue. If we want to see these places survive, state officials must step in and create long-term relief specifically for small businesses, which includes neighborhood diners, city cafés and local pizza shops. They can do this by extending the state’s COVID-19 Relief Fund. We have reason for optimism right now about the pandemic, but the vaccine distribution provides no panacea. Restaurants won’t suddenly have the rent money, crowded dining rooms or the ability to rehire workers. We need state relief funds focused on small businesses through at least the next fiscal year. “I like to envision this time next year with restaurants booked solid, staffing at capacity and owners moving their finances back into the black,” said Eric Terry, president of the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association in an opinion piece he authored for Virginia Mercury. “But I am a realist, and officials should be, too. Virginia needs to extend the relief fund through June 2022 to hold off further economic devastation and keep the lights on in our favorite eateries.” It may be some time until we fully understand just how much impact the pandemic has had on this massive industry, but the high-level impacts have become quite clear in just one year. Essentially, consumers miss dining out and they will ultimately return. But their behaviors have changed and they’re not changing back. That means restaurants will have to master the art of balance now more than ever. The Boulevard Team will stay committed to supporting our local restaurant industry in any way possible. All of you should too. Berry Brunk, president of Boulevard, grew up on the Eastern Shore and in Tidewater. He’s worked with companies representing the engines of job creation and economic development in their respective cities.
MORE THAN 14,000 JOBS AVAILABLE IN THE LOCAL HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY
Go to the Virginia Beach Hotel Association website for a listing of vacancies: virginiabeachhotelassociation.com/find-a-virginiabeach-hotel-job
TENNIS, ANYONE? Come in from the cold and play on one of our 10 indoor courts. Tennis, fitness, dining and drinks—our world-class facility is here for you. Also available: 25 outdoor clay courts, pickleball, tennis lessons and clinics, and pro shop. 1950 Thomas Bishop Lane, Virginia Beach (757) 481-7545 www.vbtcc.com
My Vegan Sweet Tooth 
What started out as the Boulevard Gift Guide in the previous issue has morphed into a “Gotta Have” column. We found so many amazing items, services and tasty morsels available in the region that we need to highlight them on the regular.
Virginia Beach 100 percent vegan bakery, also offering gluten-free, tree nut-free, peanut-free and soy-free. myvegansweettooth.com
VANILLA LAYERED CAKE: Vanilla richness with oh-socreamy frosting.
Hummingbird Macarons & Desserts 
A. Dodson’s 
Norfolk Macarons, cakes and other special sweet treats hummingbirdmacarons.com
Norfolk | Suffolk Apparel, home furnishings, gifts and antiques www.adodsons.com NOT A HUGGER SHIRT: Yeah, some people social distance all of the time. This shirt gives folks fair warning, pandemic or not. Decorative masks available too.
WOODLAND CAMO SPORT CANTEEN: MILITARY WIVES This newest canteen CANDLE & SOAP: has a durable finish Where are we again? Pretty that’s made to last. With sure we were in Seattle a wide mouth for ice yesterday, but my phone cubes, a metal loop on says I’m checking the local the cap, built-in straw, forecast in Virginia. You know and triple insulated— what that means—time to this sports canteen find a new school for the is the perfect fit for kids. Again. Once you settle whatever you’ve got in, treat yourself to some chilling inside. Tumbler hand-poured candles and also available. crafted soaps.
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DISPLAY CASE: Huge assortment of treats made fresh daily.
ASSORTED MACARONS: So many flavors— decadance in a box. DOUBLE CHOCOLATE ECLAIR: Chocolate. Double. WEDDING CAKE: When couples are adventurous and want three different filling flavors for their wedding cake: Semi-naked vanilla chiffon cake featuring black peppercorn raspberry buttercream, lemon curd and raspberry jam—I do.
McDonald Garden Center  From selection to service, Emerson’s provides the total cigar experience. Quality handmade cigars at everyday low prices.
Emerson’s Cigars  Virginia Beach | Norfolk | Hampton | Chesapeake Premium cigars, tobacco, pipes, humidors www.emersonscigars.com
Virginia Beach Plants, home and garden accessories, seasonal specialty items www.mcdonaldgardencenter.com BIRD HOUSE: Large selection of unique bird houses PILLOW: “Let’s Stay Home” echoes the sentiments of many people lately, so might as well settle in.
S.T. DUPONT SINGLE WIND-RESISTANT JET FLAME LIGHTER Brass-coated with colored epoxy lacquer—each piece is packaged in a timeless gift box.
Gallery features bronze sculptures of Richard Stravitz and fine art by local and international artists. EARRINGS: Rose-cut chrysoprase, sterling silver and 18kt gold bi-metal CUFF BRACELET: Rose-cut labradorite, sterling silver and 18kt gold bi-metal NECKLACE: Blue moon turquoise and sterling silver
Stravitz Sculpture & Fine Art Gallery  Virginia Beach Sculptures, fine art and paintings, jewelry www.stravitzartgallery.com
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memorable drinks ISTOCKPHOTO
Historical cocktails for chilly spring days. Enjoy!
Old Virginia Wassail Cider
Who knew Boulevard magazine had its own namesake cocktail, steeped in the tradition of publishing in Paris? The Boulevardier Cocktail is an alcoholic drink composed of whiskey, sweet vermouth and Campari. Its creation is ascribed to Erskine Gwynne, an American-born writer who founded a monthly magazine in Paris called Boulevardier, which existed from 1927 to 1932.
Irish Coffee became famous in America when journalist Stan Delaplane returned from Ireland to San Francisco; he told his friend Jack Koeppler, owner of the Buena Vista Cafe, about the delicious drink he had sampled. They tried reproducing it on their own. After much experimentation and a trip back to Ireland, the two finally found success. The Buena Vista Irish Coffee was born.
Wassailing, or toasting to good health, first became popular in England in the 1770s. This tradition migrated over with the colonists. This drink takes the edge off brisk days and is great for cold weather entertaining.
Main alcohol: Campari, vermouth, rye whiskey Ingredients: • 1 oz (1 part) Campari • 1 oz (1 part) sweet red vermouth • 1 oz (1 part) to 1.5 oz (1.5 parts) rye whisky or bourbon
• 2 cups orange juice
• 1.5 oz Irish whiskey (Buena Vista uses Tullamore Dew)
• 2 cinnamon sticks
• 2 sugar cubes
Preparation: Fill an 8-ounce clear, heatproof glass with hot water to warm the glass. Pour out when the glass feels warm to the touch. Add the whiskey to the glass. Fill the glass 3/4 of the way with hot coffee and then add the 2 sugar-cubes. Stir until completely dissolved. Holding a spoon over the glass, start to slowly pour the slightly thickened, whipped cream over the spoon into the glass until full.
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• 4 oz hot coffee (smooth blends work best)
Served: On the rocks; poured over ice
Serves: 15 • 2 qt apple cider
• 1.5 oz heavy cream (lightly whipped, not stiff)
Drinkware: Old Fashioned glass
Prep time: 5 Min
Preparation: Stir with ice, strain, garnish and serve Standard garnish: Cherry, Orange peel
Cook time: 15 Min
• 1 46-oz can pineapple juice • 1 tbsp whole cloves • 1/2 cups honey Preparation: In a large stock pot over medium heat, combine the apple cider, orange juice, pineapple juice, cinnamon sticks, cloves and honey. Bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat, or transfer to a slow cooker to keep warm while serving. Strain out cinnamon sticks and cloves before serving if desired. Drinkware: Any type of glass or mug with a handle; insulated cup
day trip Destination: Williamsburg, VA If one yearns for a quiet retreat in a small European town, enjoying a picnic beside a pond, sipping the latest vintage produced from the vines in the surrounding fields, the solution exists within an hour’s drive of most Tidewater locations—Williamsburg Winery at Wessex Hundred. Depending on your day trip origination, you will travel the typical hurried highways until a turnoff just near the exits for Busch Gardens transports you to Humelsine Parkway and then Lake Powell Road, which leads to your destination. The winding drive through the property presents patterned acres of grapevines strung along wires and posts. Visitors may choose from the many options to experience the vineyard once they reach the parking lot, which faced what could best be described as the replica of a European village with several buildings. We found the following order suited the day perfectly. First, enjoy a tasting flight, accompanied by all COVID-19 precautions such as outdoor (but comfortable) seating only, masks and plastic tasting cups at the Wine Pavilion, a two-story, covered and uncovered porch-like facility with views of the fields. Choose from white, red, sparkling and dessert/ specialty wine flights. The staff provided pleasant conversation and knowledge of the wines. Determine your favorite wine and from there, head across the “village” road to the gift shop to purchase a bottle. You would typically also have access to the tasting room here and could skip the pavilion experience to sample the
[ by jill doczi & rick blanton ] Less than an hour from most places in the Tidewater region, an escape toward Williamsburg offers some definite “chill” time.
The Williamsburg Winery property offers wine tasting, a place to enjoy the delicious varietals inside and outside, food options and some retail therapy. PHOTOS: RICK BLANTON
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LEFT-Wedmore Place offers overnight accommodations with access to fine dining at nearby Café Provencal ABOVE-The Damn Horse Trader (inside The Flipping Flea) has just about anything you might want related to horse riding.
wines, but current restrictions have closed the room temporarily. A stroll back toward the parking lot places you in front of the Gabriel Archer Tavern where you may purchase a to-go picnic of anything from a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich to crab cakes. We chose the local Virginia cheese and charcuterie board, but they also offered a variety of creative salads, sandwiches, seafood, pasta and quiche along with desserts. The tavern currently has limited indoor seating and patio dining, but on a beautiful day, head around the back of the events building where a grassy field and numerous picnic tables beside the pond provide a pastoral setting for lunch. This open area also provides the space for those with families to stretch out and get comfortable. While this day trip did not include overnight accommodations, from the parking lot, we saw Wedmore Place, which houses
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28 European-themed rooms, a swimming pool, courtyard and library, as well as conference space. The Café Provencal, featured in Wine Spectator’s Article “8 Outstanding Winery Restaurants” in May 2018, uses a variety of vegetables and herbs grown onsite at the Wessex Hundred property. This café remains open only to Wedmore Place guests currently due to COVIC-19 restrictions. According to the website: Wessex Hundred Founder Patrick Duffeler, Sr. and his family spent many years traveling throughout Europe, and in particular, the South of France. The food and wine culture in Provence, specifically, left an indelible impression of them and forever changed the way they experienced the culinary arts. Café Provençal brings to life the ideals of the Provence food culture—a creative celebration of local producers, coupled with delicious wine in a comfortable and relaxed setting. The Café Provençal aims to showcase the delicious bounty
of Virginia farms, and those in surrounding states, to create a true farm-to-farm dining experience. The Wessex Hundred culinary team works especially hard to support smaller farms—quality farms that raise animals humanely and practice environmental stewardship. The farm-to-farm concept isn’t easily accomplished, but the team is committed to this philosophy. Although we had no plans to spend the night, we still received excellent service in the form of a description of the facility, its history and the encouragement to wander the hallways and lobby to see the vast array of antique furniture, art and floor coverings. We, of course, accepted the offer. Next on our venture, we headed to Rocco’s Smokehouse Grill. You can go here for an early take-out lunch before heading to the winery for a picnic or for dinner after an afternoon of tasting. When you walk into the building, you’ll find the aroma of the smoked meats amazing. We had the
LEFT-Smoked beef brisket sandwich at Rocco’s Smokehouse Grill BELOW-Chile relleno with taco, beans and a salad from El Sabor Mexicano
very juicy and tender smoked beef brisket sandwich with the smoked beans and coleslaw. They specialize in Carolina-style BBQ and pride themselves on good food at a fair price. The next gem we found boasts on their website that they are “the only indoor flea market in Williamsburg.” The main reason we ventured there is to check out The Damn Horse Trader booth (804-5396946). I am told it is the place to go within the equine community in the area for riding apparel, tack and most anything horse-related. If owner Mary McKann doesn’t have what you need, she will find it for you. After perusing The Flipping Flea for a while, we were a little hungry again and right next door was El Sabor Mexicano. I’m always in the mood for Mexican. Since I was working, no margaritas for me this time, but the food was delicious, quick and a nice price. We had the chile relleno with taco, beans and a salad and the lunch fajitas. After a full day in the Williamsburg area, our final stop was Yorktown Beach to watch a
Williamsburg Winery 5800 Wessex Hundred Williamsburg, VA 23185 www.williamsburgwinery.com • Gabriel Archer Tavern www.williamsburgwinery.com/ gabrielarchertavern • Wedmore Place www.williamsburgwinery.com/ rooms-and-amenities Café Provençal 5810 Wessex Hundred Williamsburg, VA 23185 www.williamsburgwinery.com/ cafe-provencal
gorgeous sunset before heading for home. Yorktown Beach is a two-acre public beachfront with boat dock, free parking, picnic areas and restrooms. This beach is also ADA accessible, with a Mobi Mat and Mobi Chair for visitors in wheelchairs. Overall Williamsburg is a nice little getaway from the Norfolk area; we will be back. Jill Doczi has written and edited in public relations, marketing and journalism for a lifetime, forever trying to earn the respect of her journalism instructors. She resides in Virginia Beach. Rick Blanton (rickblanton.photography) has photographed for periodicals, ad agencies, and businesses throughout the Mid-Atlantic, and shot travel pieces within the continental U.S. and in Europe for over forty years.
Rocco’s Smokehouse Grill 207 Bypass Rd. Williamsburg, VA 23185 www.roccosmokehousegrill.com The Flipping Flea 6927 Richmond Rd. Williamsburg, VA 23188 www.theflippingfleamarket.com El Sabor Mexicano 6925 Richmond Rd. Williamsburg, VA 23188 elsabor.weebly.com Yorktown Beach 425 Water St. Yorktown, VA 23690 www.visitwilliamsburg.com/ attractions/yorktown-beach
Planning to take a road trip somewhere within a day’s drive? Tell us about the experience. Send in your piece (and any photos you take) for us to consider publishing in a future issue of Boulevard. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org boulevard | feb-apr 2021
DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHERE THIS PHOTO WAS TAKEN? “Last Call” highlights a location or an artifact in the Tidewater region every issue. Send us your guess via email or on the website as to where you think the photo was taken and identify what it is. Those who send correct guesses will have their names placed into a hat with the winner randomly chosen. Please provide your email address/contact information with your submission in case you’re the lucky one. We will award a prize each issue. For this contest we will provide a $150 gift certificate at one of The Boulevard Team’s favorite restaurants. Of course, we’ll name the winner in the next issue and on social media so you can take advantage of all the appropriate bragging rights with your friends and family. Good luck everyone!
[ PHOTO by Berry Brunk ]
Last issue’s winner:
Libby Ross Location: Town Center Virginia Beach in front of Bravo’s, near the fountain.
feb-apr 2021 | boulevard
game on. The all-new Virginia Beach Sports Center is in a league of its own
Join the fun and play your favorite sport at the region’s newest and most state-of-the art indoor sports facility!
WAVE Basketball Club
Wave Basketball helps boys and girls grades 4-11 build character, learn teamwork and develop a lifelong love for the game of basketball.
Who said games were just for kids? Join the grown-ups for basketball, volleyball and a full range of social sports like dodgeball and more.
Take a Virtual Tour & More at Vbsportscenter.com
Youth Basketball Leagues & Camps Our Youth camps help kids learn, grow and develop both on and off the field. Open to all ages and experience levels!
1045 19th Street, Virginia Beach 23451
Keeping those in the know
since 1955. We look forward to many more years to come. Thank you for your patronage.
SINCE 1955 Virginia Beach | lowenthals.com