When Charlie's American Cafe moved to its current location at 4024 Granby, it was the passing of a torch in many ways. For more than 60 years, that space had belonged to the family-run eatery Veneziano. Charlie's built off of Veneziano's status as a neighborhood staple with its own unique charm and loyal following, which had made the original Charlie's location on the corner of 18th and Granby a huge success for decades.
Since then, regulars, newcomers, and service personnel have all flowed through Charlie's doors to soak up the homey atmosphere and eat the American comfort food?especially the omelets packed with meats, mushrooms, and cheeses.
At dinner, carnivores can savor a turkey reuben on grilled rye topped with swiss, sauerkraut, and thousand island dressing, and the Red, White, and Blue burger, which achieves its color scheme with tomato, onion, and blue cheese; diners are legally obligated to salute it before digging in. Meanwhile, those with seafaring appetites dig into the fried oyster po boy on a bed of lettuce and tomato hugged by a club roll and the honey-marinated grilled salmon with dill and cucumber.
Although Keith and Terry Wygant look to the Mediterranean for 905 Cafe & Grill’s culinary inspiration, they strive to use ingredients that are close to home. Locally sourced fish sizzles in the kitchen, homemade burger patties never see the inside of a freezer, and the house chili—which, the menu asserts, should have its own Facebook page—simmers under Keith's careful supervision. Blackboard specials such as popcorn-shrimp po’ boys, meanwhile, add unpredictability to the menu, shifting alongside the bar's catalog of seasonal beers and cocktails.
From breakfast hashbrowns to Cajun tartar sauce, many meal components are homemade, fueling the restaurant's neighborhood charm. This laid-back vibe becomes even more palpable on the outdoor patio, where music often accompanies bites, or on Sangria Saturdays, a popular alternative to other restaurants’ Tap-Water Tuesdays.
Geography teachers might quibble, but a fairly accurate map of India can be made by arranging the pots of Saffron Indian Bistro's octet of curries. Each curry draws on distinctive spices and herbs to represent a different region's cooking style. Acting as the common language to this culinary subcontinent is the blend of yogurt, ginger, garlic, and garam masala that marinates each skewer of tandoori chicken, lamb, or fish. Regardless of the entree, the chefs customize the heat to accommodate each diners' tastes, prepping plates with mild, savory flavors or enough incendiary spice to evaporate an iceberg.
Visual spice pervades the bistro's decor as well. Sunshine-yellow walls surround the small, striped booths and dark wooden tables. And when the sunlight ceases to stream through the large front windows, torch-like wall sconces and dangling pendant lamps take over, adding an atmospheric illumination to dinner dates.
Since 1999, Rajput Indian Cuisine has been delighting taste buds with authentic Indian cuisine that's garnered glowing reviews and accolades, including three 2013 Hampton Roads Magazine Readers' Choice Awards for Best Overall Restaurant, Best Indian Cuisine, and Best Buffet, as well as three 2013 Virginian-Pilot Readers' Choice Awards. Diners settle into crimson dining rooms with white-tablecloth-draped tables before savoring lamb or goat curries, tandoori chicken delicacies, and spiced seafood with foliage and framed artwork hanging overhead. The restaurant welcomes vegetarian and vegan diners with an extensive roster of meat-free fodder, and chefs keep the operation green by incorporating organic ingredients and high-fiving every tree limb they pass. Additionally, Rajput Indian Cuisine will soon be opening a third location in Suffolk's Harbour View West Shopping Center.
Lumpia House’s namesake delicacy––lumpia––lures taste buds with its thin, fried-to-order crepe stuffed with savory meat fillings such as pork, chicken, and beef. Lumpia is one of the many beloved gems of Filipino cuisine that the restaurant proudly showcases in its cheerful dining room swathed in red, yellow, and orange hues. Lumpia House’s chefs dedicates a portion of the menu’s spotlight to pork, preparing it more than a dozen ways for aromatic dishes such as pork tocino, which plates sweetened, cured, and shredded pieces of the flavorful meat. After guests fill up on hearty entrees and fried rice, they can burn off recently earned calories by climbing onto the karaoke stage to sing their favorite songs and remind fellow diners to chew 27 times before swallowing. Lumpia House also honors the brave members of the US Armed Forces with an active-duty-military discount.
Serving up self-described cuisine that's all-American (and a little Greek), the chefs at The Norfolk Grille turn out a menu of ultra-fresh dishes during breakfast and lunch, every day. Stop in for freshly cracked egg sandwiches tucked into buttermilk biscuits with sausage, or three-egg greek omelets lined with feta, spinach, and tomato. During lunch, chefs assemble caesar chicken wraps and lean ground beef patty burgers.
The restaurant goes beyond breakfast and lunch, though. The Norfolk Grille caters for weddings, baptisms, and parties, with options like building your own hot buffet or ready-to-serve food such as chicken pot pie and meatloaf. Children's tea parties are also held, offering more kid-friendly food such as chicken tenders, hot dogs, and apple juice.