Michael Gomori has always been led by passion. As a young man and recent college graduate, he sidestepped a potential career in biology, a subject for which he'd lost his spark, and joined the Navy. He was eager to see the world, so he spent 27 years seeing, learning, and climbing the ranks.
When Michael reentered civilian life, he was determined to discover his next true passion—as it turned out, his passion was tucked under the crisp linens of fine dining. Joined by his wife, Diane, Michael developed a restaurant to embody his way of life, and the pair fittingly named it Passion the Restaurant.
Inside the romantic restaurant with white linens and crimson accents, couples and friends converse over new york strip steaks, Virginia crab cakes, and deboned chicken cooked under brick. Tapas dishes, such as duck sliders, spring rolls, and a cheese platter, play into the intimate environment under twinkling chandelier light.
Local artists’ works dapple the walls and are for sale, with a portion of proceeds donated to Our House Families, an organization that helps support families in need. Twice a month on the patio, patrons can partake in a cigar social, puffing away and reminiscing about the old days of candy cigarettes.
Whether settling a pool-hall bet or the question of who can finish a burger the fastest, gamers have been fueling their competitive spirits at Jillian’s of Chesapeake for more than 20 years. Balls tumble down nine lanes toward clusters of pins in the bowling alley, while players at the billiard hall’s 10 tables psyche out pool sharks by reenacting the ending to Jaws. Elsewhere, joysticks and racing wheels test hand-eye coordination on the arcade’s more than 100 video games. In between each frame, shot, or level, players can reenergize with salads, burgers, and flatbreads at the restaurant while catching up-to-the-minute sports and highlights. The facility’s private rooms and semi-private lounges further accommodate feasting guests, with bites from Jillian’s of Chesapeake’s catering menus keeping them pleasantly sated throughout their soiree.
Just as Thomas Edison stumbled through useless prototypes of light bulbs and movie cameras before perfecting the phonograph, the alchemists at Qdoba Mexican Grill took 47 attempts before landing on the franchise's signature blend of three cheeses, known simply as queso. That attention to detail still pervades every aspect of the menu, as employees spend hours each day chopping, dicing, and simmering the fresh ingredients that find their way into burritos, taco salads, and grilled quesadillas. Beyond the marinated bites of chicken, beef, and pork and hand-crafted tortillas, cooks protect their ripe, fragile avocados from harm by smashing them into batches of fluffy guacamole.
Salsaritas Fresh Cantina's dining-room walls—painted in lime green, electric orange, and other festive colors—echo the brightness of the fresh vegetables and salsas that complement each entree. Within this vibrant atmosphere, chefs tuck shrimp, chicken, and cheese into quesadillas, stuff burritos with shredded pork, and pair tortilla chips with bowls of guacamole, queso, and four varieties of salsa. They honor Mexico's 32nd state, Italy, by assembling pizzas festooned with vegetables and barbecued meat, and they also respect their guests’ dietary restrictions by providing detailed allergen information for all of their dishes.
From its four locations around Hampton Roads, Cinema Cafe combines old-fashioned American cuisine with first- and second-run films. The multisensory experience has garnered the movie houses a number of gold medals in the Virginia-Pilot's Best of Hampton Roads awards several years in a row. Thanks to a roaming wait staff, diners can place their orders mid-film and enjoy them right in the theater, a practice that discourages pizza scalpers from stalking customers in the lobby.
A tree that thrives in desert areas, the terebinth has historically represented refuge and shade for weary travelers–and Terebinth Patisserie & Bistro hopes to provide a similar service. Only here, unlike for travelers in the desert, visitors to the bistro are greeted with a spread of fresh food and accompanying drinks. Handcrafted soups, salads, and five different paninis pair perfectly with espresso, or pots of specially selected tea. After main courses, French macaroons, cakes, and tarts claim any empty real estate that remains in bellies.