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.
The gleam of razor-sharp knives flashes from behind the sushi bar at Domo Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar, where chefs slice sashimi and assemble maki rolls before elegantly plating each dish. A tempura volcano roll clasps crab and tuna at its core, and fried oysters fraternize with eel, red snapper, and tuna in the Godzilla roll. Domo’s chefs also glaze chicken, beef, shrimp and other seafood with teriyaki sauce for diners that prefer their food to be slightly sweet and cooked, much like the books of a corrupt accountant in Candyland.
The menu at The Cutting Edge Cafe is written on a blackboard, neatly scripted in impermanent chalk. The chalkboard setup makes sense, because owners Matt and Melanie Hayes often need to update the menu with new specials that they craft using seasonal ingredients from local farms. They bake loaves of artisanal breads each day, then pile slices with gourmet ingredients such as grilled cheese and apple or wasabi braised beef. Diners can also find an abundance of vegan, gluten-free, and non-GMO options for both lunch and dinner.