Although it now has more than 430 locations in 28 countries, Hooters wasn’t always welcomed by the public. In fact, when it opened in October 1983 in Clearwater, Florida, the founders of the restaurant were “quickly detained for impersonating restaurateurs,” according to the company's website. But the restaurant was able to prove it was more than just a pretty face—that it was serious about serving tasty American food and frosty brews—and its popularity exploded in the decades to follow.
Amid its beach-themed vibe and flat-screen TVs, Hooters still fuels appetites with original chicken wings, burgers, sandwiches, and fresh salads. Of course, nobody carries those casual eats and icy pitchers better than the Hooters girls. To complement their friendly smiles, their uniforms harken back to the ones the original waitresses wore in 1983: orange hot shorts and white tank tops with the emblematic owl on the front—though that owl has lost its Lionel Richie perm.
The Iguana might be one of Hampton Roads' newest gay bars, but it's already making quite a splash in the community. The hotspot is helmed by Patricia Harris, whose drink-slinging prowess earned her the title of 2014's Bartender of the Year by the Norfolk Tourism Research Foundation. Away from the bar, Iguana gives folks a slew of fun-enhancing options. The space includes a dance floor, indoor and outdoor bars, and a patio with pool tables, corn hole, and volleyball. They even overhaul brunch with Brunchbox, their popular Sunday drag show during which people nosh on shrimp omelets and banana pancakes while taking in a show by local queens such as Noelia Bella and Jasmine Devoux Spaulding. The rest of the week, folks can share small plates, custom pizzas, and telepathic conversations.
Whether they're delicately rolling rice around veggies and seafood or arranging a visually arresting plate, Soya Sushi Bar & Bistro's culinary experts approach every step of their sushi making with artistry. They fill rolls with ingredients such as quail eggs and fatty tuna and craft california roll variations such as the Lion King, a cali roll with caviar sauce, which never fails to send guests home with a hankering for Elton John's unique brand of adult-contemporary piano rock. Sushi aside, chefs douse Chilean sea bass in a sweet ginger onion ponzu reduction, whip up classic tempura udon, and pair stir-fried veggies with hibachi-style lobster, chicken, and scallops.
In downtown Norfolk, on a bustling part of Granby Street just steps from the Norfolk Scope Arena, Granby Theatre, and Flatiron Park, you'll find Scotty Quixx Lounge & Bistro, a one-stop entertainment destination that serves up world fusion food alongside a schedule of live music and DJs. The hot spot also keeps things classy, welcoming guests decked out in accordance with a “smart casual” dress code with cocktails crafted from top-shelf spirits. On the food side, an eclectic menu includes fish tacos, burritos, and quesadillas as well as rib eye steaks, chicken alfredo, and fish and chips.
The rollicking sounds of blues artists headlining the two stages of the restaurant’s performance venue filter through this barbecue hot spot. It features spice-rubbed meats served up with a selection of homestyle sides. The menu centers on hickory-smoked beef, seasoned and smoked pork, and rubbed and grilled chicken and ribs that are steeped in spices, like Marco Polo’s scrapbook. The restaurant outfits tables with a selection of spicy, savory, and slightly sweet sauces, allowing patrons to customize heat levels on entrees or provide a flavorful accompaniment to fried pickles, baskets of corn bread, or Mojo pit beans.
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.