This small navy town hosts one of the most historic and stunning theatres on the East Coast- Virginia Stage Company, and, while working there, you will be housed in beautiful downtown Norfolk, able to enjoy all the local treats this lovely town has to offer.
The Lizard Cafe. Ok. I cannot recommend this spot more heartily. Tucked away inside a local bookstore called Prince Books, this lunch spot uses local fare from Virginia tidal farmers, and the quality of its deli meats and produce and homemade bread makes this lunch joint an absolutely delicious treasure. The salads, soups, and sandwiches are as fresh as they come and completely and utterly delicious. So, while you're working in Virginia- eat food from Virginia, and The Lizard Cafe is the perfect place to do just that.
109 E Main St #150A, Norfolk, VA 23510 HOURS: Mon- Fri 11AM- 3PM prince-books.com
Bodega is a Spanish/Mediterranean Tapas restaurant in downtown Norfolk with an exotic menu that includes incredible ceviche, crispy artichokes, lamb with sundried tomato polenta, as well as an assortment of paellas. The flavors here are extraordinary and combined with an intimate, cozy environment, this downtown standout is a must-go while you're working at Virginia Stage.
442 Granby St, Norfolk, VA 23510 HOURS: Sun- Mon CLOSED bodegaongranby.comTues- Thurs 4PM- 11PM Fri- Sat 4PM- 12AM
Freemason Abbey has the award-winning best She Crab Soup in town, and this chowder is a must while working in Norfolk. Every restaurant in town has their own take on it, but Freemason's bowl will win your heart, hands down. This upscale restaurant, located in a beautiful, historic building, is worth a full dinner trip as well, but, if your goal is mainly the soup, it's worth sitting in the bar area to indulge in this delicacy along side a glass of wine. The crab meat is seasoned with some herbs, sherry, and a little bit of spice making it complex and rich without being overly creamy. Sweet crab meat and the light spice will make this dish addictive, I promise.
209 W Freemason St, Norfolk, VA 23510 HOURS: Sun- Thurs 11AM- 9:30PM Fri- Sat 11AM- 10:30PM freemasonabbey.com
Chow Bar and Restaurant
This is the first place I had fried pickles. This is the first place I had shrimp and grits. Little did I know how high the bar was set. Drive away from downtown Norfolk and visit Chow Bar and Restaurant for some down-home, solid, unbelievable Southern cooking. This is a chill joint with a killer craft beer list to boot, and I really cannot say enough good things about it. Go often, sample that whole menu, and treat yourself to this incredible spot.
5103 Colley Ave, Norfolk, VA 23508 HOURS: Sun- Thurs 11AM- 11PM Fri- Sat 11AM- 2AM chownorfolk.com
Alatte Cafe is a special place. With local owners, a husband and wife team, they have taken care to make every aspect of this coffee shop as warm and welcoming as possible. With local art on the walls, board games scattered throughout its spacious seating area, a varying assortment of wooden chairs, plush loveseats, and tables, Alatte offers fantastic coffee, espresso drinks, and tea in addition to sandwiches and ice cream. Really and truly a locals joint, this place will become your go-to while in town.
321 Granby St, Norfolk, VA 23510 HOURS: Mon- Fri 7AM- 5:30PM Sat 8AM- 2PM Sun CLOSED
Right up the street from the theatre and actor housing, Hell's Kitchen bar is a dive. Period. I love a good dive, though, so that's me, but, even for those less than enthused, this Norfolk favorite features local music, mind-blowing drink deals, and solidly greasy bar food that serves late for a post-show snack. Their "Rush Hour" deals include $2.50 well drinks and $2.50 domestic bottles, and their Monday Special is an additional 1/2 off craft bottles and cans until 9pm.
124 Granby St, Norfolk, VA 23510 HAPPY HOUR: Mon- Sat 4PM- 7PM HOURS: Mon- Fri 11AM- 2AM Sat 12PM- 2AM Sun 5PM- 2AM hknorfolk.com