Lillian’s Restaurant unflinchingly commits to homestyle cooking and comfort food with a southern influence. Seafood gets an entire page of the menu and tempts diners with staples such as jumbo crab cakes, fried clam strips, and broiled lily pads. The rest of the selection is just as familiar, featuring everything from Carolina-style pulled pork to fried chicken and baby back ribs. Even with this variety of fare, Lillian’s Restaurant ensures that every entree echoes the eatery’s dedication to satisfying bellies with casual homestyle cooking.
Each day, the cooks at Spaghetti Eddie’s Pizza Café knead fresh dough for stuffed pizzas, white pizzas, and specialty pies layered with fresh toppings. They also bake pasta dishes in a stone oven and dust crisp calamari with parmesan cheese. A children's menu offers chicken tenders, hot dogs, and other kid-friendly favorites, and a full bar caters to the tastes of the 21 and older crowd.
Seated between royal blue walls, guests at Tradition's Seafood & Grill can scan two menus: a permanent list of pub cuisine, and a dry-erase board decked out in specials. Either way, they can expect battered morsels of fish and chicken alongside helpings of crispy fries. The grill piles popcorn shrimp, chicken strips, and fried scallops into baskets as generously as it stacks burger patties and Italian sausage between sandwich buns. Meanwhile, hot dog and grilled cheese offerings for youngsters stand as a sign of the venue's inviting family atmosphere.
Cooks at The Pizza Box hand toss fresh dough into a base for each of their 70 different pie variations, and it's that kind of dedication to diverse dough disks that earned them silver in the HamptonRoads.com's 2012 Best of Hampton Roads. The topping combinations range from internationally inspired blends such as the France—with potato, rosemary, and goat cheese—to the Morocco, which has figs, falafel, chicken, and cucumber. They also make domestic-inspired pies like the California, a blend of squash, sundried tomato, and mozzarella the exact shade of white as the snow atop the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
While growing up in Palermo, Italy, Nunzio was surrounded by impassioned Italian cooking: his grandfather was a chef at the Grand Hotel of Palermo, his mother was a skilled cook from the Italian countryside, and his brother grew up to open a restaurant of his own. Following in his clan's footsteps, Nunzio began his kitchen career by learning the art of pastry construction at age 17, though he quickly expanded his expertise to compiling main courses. After packing bags and moving to the United States, the chef has remained as glued to Italian tastes as a pepperoni on melted cheese, and he now shares the family tradition with his son Adam at Mamma Mia Pizzeria.
Inside the kitchen, thin-crust pizzas bake to a bubbly finish while cradling toppings such as fresh tomatoes, basil, spinach, feta, salami, sausage, and drizzles of olive oil. Fresh pasta, zesty sauce, and melted cheeses combine to form house-made lasagna, a house specialty, and golden breadcrumbs hug the tender eggplant parmigiana to add a delicate crunch, similar to the crunch caused by adding bones to barbecue rib meat. The father and son duo shares its culture with customers by encouraging Italian-speakers to practice their conversational skills, and Nunzio often delivers pizzas to large parties himself, charming the customers with an Italian serenade in his strong, tenor voice before departing
The 100% vegan menu at Path stands as a tribute to the scrumptiousness of sustainable, locally sourced fare. Housed beyond a bright red door of a cottage, the ordering counter acts as a gateway to three-course meals, sandwiches, and vegan desserts. Local art and thank-you notes from carefree cows hang on the walls, and musicians perform for diners on weekend nights. Path's dedication to minimizing its carbon footprint also extends to its bike-delivery service, which is free for customers in downtown Norfolk and Ghent during lunch.