by Pete Newell
If you’ve lived on the Southside during the past two decades, chances are you’ve eaten at a restaurant touched by Jamie Correll.
Correll, co-owner of Norfolk’s Torch Bistro, has worked as the general manager at Scotty Quixx Bistro & Lounge, tended bar at Virginia Beach’s South End Pub, and managed The Block bar and grill at the Oceanfront.
His latest venture, the Craft Burger Bar, opened in mid-September in the ViBe Creative District on Mediterranean Avenue. Featuring a simple menu of specialty burgers, hot dogs, wraps, and salads, it has quickly become a popular destination for locals.
“I’m not necessarily trying to draw tourists here,” Correll says. “This place was opened for locals and families to be a neighborhood establishment.”
I stopped by one evening – dodging bicycles parked out front – and ordered the Whiskey Burger with sides of fried kale and sweet potato waffle fries. Fried pimento cheese, bacon, onions, and barbecue sauce were piled onto a Wagyu beef patty, creating an explosion of flavor that continues from the first bite to the last. The crispy waffle fries offered a sweet contrast to the tangy barbecue sauce and were gone far too quickly.
If beef isn’t your thing, you can order burgers made with organic chicken, homemade black bean patties, or the eatery’s exclusive plant-based burger, which is 90 percent peas and beets.AdvertisementPauseUnmuteLoaded: 0%Progress: 0%Remaining Time-0:25Fullscreen
I contributed to the neighborhood theme by ordering a Gringo Cerveza, a pale yellow Mexican-style lager from Back Bay Brewing Company. The clean, crisp lager was a welcome addition to the meal, and had a subtle sweetness that paired well with the savory burger. Correll says Back Bay Brewing, located only eight blocks from
Craft Burger Bar, will be prominently featured among the other local beer offerings.
While craft beer is an important part of the drink menu, the restaurant also emphasizes small-batch alcohol. Handcrafted cocktails feature spirits like Jefferson’s Reserve Bourbon, Hudson Baby Bourbon, and Blue Ridge Vodka from Virginia Beach’s Chesapeake Bay Distillery.
The focus on spirits compliments the restaurant’s Prohibition-era style. The 1920s are featured on indoor and outdoor murals, and lights encased in wine barrels adorn the bar area. The heavy use of wood and copper in the dining room and bar give the place a speakeasy feel.
“I wanted this to be a rustic, trendy, casual spot,” Correll says. “Kick back and have a beer or bring your family; everybody is welcome and comfortable.”
Craft Burger Bar
Where: 1706 Mediterranean Ave, Virginia Beach
When: Open every day 11 a.m.-12 a.m.
More info: (757) 502-4883