With hundreds of cake flavors and designs, the options are nearly endless at Pinky Sweets Cupcakes and Confections. A rotating selection of cupcakes delights taste buds with flavors such as chocolate salted caramel, chocolate turtle, lemon coconut, and red velvet. Pinky's bakers also design specialty cakes and cupcakes for weddings, and they can arrange cupcakes on custom displays.
Pinky's birthday-party packages, which have themes ranging from spa party to tea party to tax-filing party, allow kids to take on the cupcake-decorating responsibilities while munching on snacks. They often feature a professional photographer.
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.
The Boot sources its fresh, seasonal ingredients from local farms to ensure that customers are never faced with a plate of summer squash with frostbite or snow peas with suntans. The restaurant's evolving menu is infused with French and Italian influences, but it maintains its true footing in Virginia virtues. This summer's savory starters ($6–$15) include summer tomato salad with basil, aged balsamic, and mozzarella; the grilled calamari packed with shrimp, orange, black olives, basil, and zucchini; and the Eastern-shore middleneck clams steamed in tomato-pepper broth with grilled bread. For dinner ($17–$26), anchor your mouth bones into the crispy fried chicken leg with a stuffed tomato of fregola, corn, garlic, and basil, or get a meatless mouthful of local veggies as served on the chef's vegetable sampler. For a comforting punch of protein, opt for the grilled rib-eye steak with sweet-potato fries and Boot's special sauce.
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
Pollard's Chicken & Catering’s boasts that they have the best chicken in town, and in their case, it’s actually true. Many locations garnered gold-medal status in the Best of Hampton Roads 2012 poll, orchestrated by the Virginian-Pilot’s online affiliate HamptonRoads.com. Beyond morsels fresh from the fryer, the eatery’s titular dish comes in many other forms, from buffalo wings and kid-friendly tenders to barbecue pulled chicken sandwiches. An array of other meat adds diversity to the dine-in menu, including barbecue pork ribs and tender crab cakes.
Pollard's Chicken & Catering also lives up to the other half its name, with various outposts also taking top honors for catering in the HamptonRoads.com poll. Clients can piece together their own spreads by ordering bulk fried chicken and à la carte hors d’oeuvres, or choose one of nine party buffets, which, like a well-packed piñata, include meat and vegetables for 25 or more people.
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.