To get a sense of The Greene Turtle's commitment to the neighborhood, one need only sit at the bar and look up. Dozens of mugs hang above the counter, emblazoned with the pub's logo and a unique number—each one belongs to a recurring patron. The Mug Club awards its members with draft-beer discounts and other specials, but more importantly, it allows loyal patrons to feel as though they own small slices of the venue without tattooing their names on the bartender's arm. This sense of shared familiarity is what fuels the entire franchise, which refrains from calling its locations "restaurants" in favor of friendlier terms: gathering places, communities, havens.
Many of the locations contribute more than mugs to their districts. Staff members who participate in the annual Tips for Tots program donate the entirety of one day's tips to a nearby Toys for Tots initiative, and Tuesday Funds for Friends events benefit local organizations. These efforts have been chronicled by press sources such as Food and Drink magazine, with features that liken The Greene Turtles' philanthropic generosity to the generous portions of comfort food that leave the kitchens.
From cheeseburger sliders and flatbread pizzas to handmade lump-crab cakes, the offerings on the menu embrace barroom traditions along with ingenuity. The steak and chicken entrees arrive with classic sides of green beans and yukon gold mashed potatoes, whereas the eastern shore mac ‘n’ cheese updates a comfort staple with chopped bacon, lump crab, scallions, and Old Bay seasoning. Diners can enjoy their meals by the glow of private flat-screen TVs—there's one in every booth—or beneath one of many larger televisions broadcasting sports games throughout the venue.
Supper Thyme's goal is to de-stress the breakfast, lunch, and dinner hours by inviting visitors to craft hearty and nutritious meals beforehand. After perusing the monthly rotating menu, customers can select an assortment of calorie-conscious, family-friendly, or organically inspired dishes and schedule an appointment to come in and assemble the ingredients. Staff members then gather all of the necessary ingredients and utensils, ensuring that each meal can be assembled in as few as 10 minutes. In between portioning out servings, visitors can enjoy a snack while listening to music or chatting with fellow attendees in the shop’s casual, low-stress kitchen environment. The meals can remain safely frozen in homes' freezers, with easy-to-follow cooking instructions allowing customers to quickly thaw and cook entrees whenever they might need to feed families, guests, or a lost restaurant reviewer.
Light glints off chrome-plated woks in a glass-enclosed kitchen at the eatery’s center. Patrons look on from a semi-circular sushi bar or the surrounding tiered seats as chefs handcraft Asian dishes ranging from marinated nigiri sushi to the house specialty—vegetarian sweet-and-sour fried chicken. Japanese seaweed salads also emanate from the kitchen alongside Chinese classics such as peking duck and kung pao beef, which warms diners’ insides as effectively as spicy tuna rolls swaddled in tiny afghans. To end meals in style, coconut flan or Chocolate Duo Mocesse trip lightly across the tastebuds.
Under the direction of chef-owner Roddy Domacassé, a Puerto Rican native, Restaurant Sabor features a seasonal menu of creative New American dishes sprinkled with traditional favorites from Chef Roddy's childhood. Jump-start your meal engine by passing around an order of halloumi cheese drizzled with honey and served with house bread and spicy nuts ($9), or graze on a vidalia onion salad with grilled oranges and roasted almonds ($7). Dive into a gastronomic sea with the roasted local wahoo, served alongside grilled vegetable ratatouille ($27), before paddling over to a coastline made of meat to taste the chorizo- and yucca-stuffed pork chop a la parilla ($26).
The menu at Piv's Pub & Restaurant includes a variety of seafood and classic American cuisine alongside a hefty list of draft beers and craft bottled beers. An ever-gracious hostess, the vegetable du jour accompanies many entrees to their respective tables, including the jumbo-lump crab cakes, served over grilled tomatoes ($17.99 single order, $24.99 double order), and the juicy filet mignon with homemade mashed potatoes ($22.99). The shrimp salad ($9.99) is pleased to attend the table alone or with the companionship of a baked potato and onion rings ($4.99 each) from the à la carte menu. Diners looking for a solid base can turn to jumbo shrimp, lump crabmeat, and juicy scallops swathed in a cream sauce atop Piv's Norfolk Pasta ($19.99).
As the official history explains it, Jedediah Bumphus founded Wits End Saloon in 1867 "with a dream to serve cheap whiskey and freshly made raccoon sandwiches to the locals." If that sets your stomach growling, prepare for disappointment?it's completely untrue.
By its own admission, Wits End's history?including a bit about Jedediah's dual enlistment in both the Union and Confederate armies?is "fantastic and completely fabricated." The comedic touch makes sense for a saloon located at Magooby's Joke House, where local comedians take the stage every Tuesday, filling out a calendar of live events that also includes live music and trivia nights. While you won't find raccoon on the menu, there are plenty of classic bar bites including veggie quesadillas, Creole-style catfish tacos, and burgers made from local grass-fed beef. As for the whiskey, that might be the only part of Wits End's history that's actually true, as bartenders pour shot of more than 50 varieties, along with craft beers and handmade cocktails.