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Takeout Tuesday: Local restaurants find strength in family, community

Qdaddy's ribs
The plaid turnip
Posted at 4:12 AM, Apr 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-13 10:26:01-04

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, News 3 is featuring restaurants around Hampton Roads saying 'We're open!'

#TakeoutTuesday is an effort to get people supporting local restaurants that are working to staying open despite pandemic restrictions prohibiting dine-in options.

Qdaddy's Pitmaster BBQ in Smithfield is all about family.

Jesse Witten is Head Pitmaster serving up his dad's original barbecue recipes.

Witten's mother is President and CEO, his three sisters all help run the restaurant and his brothers, who own Tidewater Pro Build, built the location.

Only a few years in business, Qdaddy's has made a name for itself serving up delicious brisket, pulled pork, ribs, shakes and much more.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit and restrictions with it, Witten says he and his family started offering curbside takeout and quickly got overwhelmed on the weekends.

Now on Fridays and Saturdays, Qdaddy's has an energetic pop-up service both at its South Church St. location and it's future location on County Drive in Wakefield.

Witten tells News 3 the support has been so strong that sales are actually up despite having no dine-in service currently. He says that support starts with the Smithfield community and city leadership, but they've seen people from much further too.

"We have people coming from all over Hampton Roads and further to come out and support based on one person’s recommendation and that blesses me so much that does my heart so well," said Witten. "When you support your local businesses, you know you’re really keeping the lights on for those local people.”

That's the case two times over for The Plaid Turnip in Suffolk. The breakfast, lunch and dinner spot is located on Main Street, but a building renovation at the beginning of the year forced it into the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts on Finney Ave...at least for the time being.

So, Owner Ed Beardsley is paying for a lease at TWO locations. Beardsley says Governor Northam's Stay-at-Home order came down a day after the renovation finished so business-wise it doesn't make sense to move back in yet.

He tells News 3 the support has been great at the new location during the pandemic, not only from customers, but the city too.

"Our regular guests have been fantastic. They really make an effort to support us and other businesses downtown," said Beardsley. "A friend of mine at [Suffolk's tourism office] has started a Facebook page called "Suffolk VA-Love Local, Eat Local". It highlights all of us local restauranteurs that are open for delivery and curbside service.

He says the city's Economic Development office is also purchasing boxed lunches that it's then donating to churches for people in need.

The Plaid Turnip is open seven days a week and offers curbside takeout.

In Chesapeake's Edinburgh area sits one of three Tinto Wine & Cheese locations.

Wine might not be the first thing people think about when they think Takeout Tuesday, but the tasting room tells News 3 they're seeing enough support to keep all full-time staff working.

"Fortunately for us, whether times are good or times are bad, people need a drink and so we've had some really great customers that have continued to support us," said Shaina Kelley, Owner and Managing Partner.

Tinto's Edinburgh location may not be offering tastings, but it's still selling wines by the bottle and offering takeout, curbside pickup and delivery across Hampton Roads. Customers can also pickup delicious charcuterie boards.

The store's wine labels are all at least sustainable, if not fully organic, Kelley says. Most come from countries like Portugal, Italy and Spain, but Tinto's also carries some Virginia wines and others from the West Coast.

Influence from other countries is apparent from the moment you walk into Desmond's Island Soul Grill on Reon Drive in Virginia Beach.

Well...one country in particular.

Owner Shavonne Alexander's parents came from Guyana, a country on South America's Caribbean coast. The restaurant is named for her father, who passed away 20 years ago.

"I learned hospitality and cooking from my mom. She would open her door to anybody," said Alexander, who calls her food Guyanese-influenced vegan Caribbean.

That's right; the entire menu is plant-based since September of last year.

After a visit from a vegan social media influencer earlier this year, Alexander says sales were through the roof. Then, the pandemic happened, dine-in was closed and now she's doing only takeout and curbside pickup.

Having to lay off most of her staff, Alexander and her Executive chef, Will Riddick, assumed more work. She's determined to keep her restaurant open for a several reasons: To offer one of the few menus where local vegans can eat anything and to honor her aunt, who passed just a couple weeks ago in New York.

Alexander says her aunt had recovered from COVID-19 and then died of a heart attack.

"Any kind of event. Any kind of celebration, funerals, she cooked. She cooked massive meals," said Alexander.

Yet another family influence pushing this young restaurant owner as she navigates through a crisis.

Desmond's Island Soul Grill is open Tuesday through Saturday.

Qdaddy's Pitmaster BBQ
1007 S Church St, Smithfield, VA 23430
(757) 542-4227
Hours: Mon-Thurs, 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Fri-Sat (pop-up), 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

658 County Dr., Wakefield, VA 23888

The Plaid Turnip
110 Finney Ave, Suffolk, VA 23434 (Temporary location)
(757) 923-9740
Hours: Sun, 7 a.m.-3 p.m., Mon, 8 a.m.-3 p.m, Tues-Fri, 8 a.m.-8 p.m., Sat, 7 a.m.-8 p.m.

Tinto Wine & Cheese
236 Carmichael Way #308, Chesapeake, VA 23322
(757) 204-4647

640 Hilltop West Shopping Center, Virginia Beach, VA 23451
(757) 422-1000

Main Lobby across from Vintage Kitchen, Dominion Tower, 999 Waterside Dr, Norfolk, VA 23510
(757) 386-1452

Desmond's Island Soul Grill
977 Reon Dr STE 102, Virginia Beach, VA 23464
(757) 963-2681
Hours: Tues-Thurs, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Fri-Sat, 12 p.m.-8 p.m.