When a pair of former Virginia Beach lifeguards came up with the idea to open the first Chicho's Restaurant in 1968, they had one goal in mind: use nothing but fresh ingredients to make the best pizza they could. Decades later, this simple philosophy has grown into a statewide franchise where every topping is freshness and every pizza is hand tossed. A flavorful layer of marinara, garlic and herb, or hot and spicy sauces cover traditional and thin-crust pies scattered with more than 20 toppings in specialty and build-your-own combinations. Boneless chicken bites and wings soak up 10 different sauce varieties, including Cho's fire, garlic parmesan, and teriyaki. After two-handing a 5-ounce burger or hearty sub, guests can improve hand-eye coordination or get rid of cursed quarters by playing the games in Chicho's arcade.
Backed by live music and sleek décor, the culinary savants at 45 Degrees Martini Lounge concoct more than 60 specialty martinis to complement their shareable cuisine and meaty sandwiches. Diners can feel free to mix and match inventive tapas plates and appetizers, including seasoned steak bites, garlic shrimp, and tilapia stuffed with more crabmeat than a sea captain's pillow. Or dig into standalone entrees such as bison burgers, and then head over to the stainless steel bar to sip flavorful beverages.
Rich blue walls and red curtains make up the dining room, which also serves as a stage where local jazz musicians perform and open mic nights where patrons sing odes to their favorite cut of meat.
Though flavorful Italian cuisine is at the core of Cogan's Pizza, taste buds aren’t the only sensory receptors that perk up when visiting the vibrant eatery. The interior provides a visual feast with huge chandeliers casting subtle twinkles across pressed-tin ceilings and walls covered with posters and music memorabilia. The music motif also engages ears and vocal cords with regular live performances and karaoke.
At the bar, more than 30 beers flow from a lineup of seasonally rotating taps, each carbonated with the perfect number of bubbles to wash down cheesy and meaty pies. For patrons who adhere to a more plant-based diet, the cooks can also top crusts with faux meats, soy cheese, or an evil aunt’s favorite orchid. Pasta dishes, hot sandwiches, and subs stacked with roasted chicken, italian sausage, or roast beef round out the menu.
Resting in the shadow of the Grand Wayne Convention Center, Thirsty Camel features more than a handful of beers on tap and more than a dozen imported and premium bottled beers. The restaurant's suds selection makes for a model accomplice to its food spread, which includes such shareable munchies, such as buffalo-style wings and onion petals served with an onion-petal sauce. After warming up with some appetizers, diners can tackle homemade hamburgers and 16-ounce T-bone steaks—all while nodding to the beats of a live DJ on Friday and Saturday nights.
For Kombuchick Inc. owner Leslie Crews, the communal spirit that comes with brewing and sharing kombucha—a probiotic fermented tea—is integral to why she makes it a part of her lifestyle and business. And it's why she sells starter cultures for brewing it online at no profit. When Leslie started transitioning to a raw-food lifestyle, she became determined to brew her own kombucha. Soon enough, she found a starter culture from a woman on the Internet who brought Leslie into her home for a brewing demo—which was the first time Leslie realized the tea’s ability to create a communal spirit among its drinkers. Today, she hopes the healthful blends and brews that come from the recipes sold at her store continue to inspire the same sense of gratitude and generosity they spring from. At Leslie's Kombuchick Bar, fizzy tea brews flow from taps or sit tight in bottles in regular and seasonal flavors. Each is blended from organic and fair-trade herbs wherever possible by Leslie, who likens her skill with blending herbs to “someone who knows how to play the piano by ear.” A dry green tea-based Bangkok Blazin’ melds lemongrass, ginger, and galangal, and a popular winter brew mixes allspice, cloves, and snowman hearts for sips of warm comfort. Depending on the season, the bar also stocks fresh fruit juices to mix with the kombucha on draft. Even the loose-leaf teas sold in her shop are the same she uses at the bar, which she hopes further encourage kombucha brewing in the community alongside her regular three-session brewing classes.