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Coast Guard veteran honors Poquoson's 'culinary roots' with new restaurant

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Posted at 9:25 AM, Aug 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-04 09:54:20-04

POQUOSON, Va. - The perfect fine dining experience...in what was once a fast food joint.

"They lovingly called it a 'Kentacohut' in Poquoson," said Barry Wildman, chef and owner of Blue Crab & Purple Pig Bistro, a new restaurant in Poquoson.

After five months completely remodeling the inside of the building on Victory Boulevard, Wildman and his wife Mundia Chitambala-Wildman fulfilled their dream, opening their place on June 22.

"It's really been a labor of love," said Mundia.

The name, Blue Crab & Purple Pig, is a nod to blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay and the pork industry in Smithfield.

The interior, exposed brick and duct work with a sleek wood bar, is a tribute to the area the restaurant calls home.

"This was a really good area for us to source local ingredients. That was the foundation, what we wanted to start with," Wildman, who recently retired from the Coast Guard after 24 years, said.

He's a Culinary Institute of America graduate, reluctantly telling News 3 he finished at the top of his class. After two decades cooking in the Coast Guard and training others to cook, he says he wanted to open his own spot.

Chitambala-Wildman, a healthcare IT professional and self-proclaimed foodie with her own food blog, was on board.

"We've had great crowds, we've been doing really good numbers," Wildman said. "Like everyone else, staffing is a challenge. We had to close for lunch because we just didn't have enough cooks."

But they've managed to make a name for themselves through dinner service alone, thanks to the quality of the food coming out of the kitchen.

Dishes like the "Flight of the Pig," featuring three types of pork and the crab ravioli, are hot sellers, Wildman says. The News 3 crew that visited Blue Crab & Purple Pig bistro finished them off quickly to confirm they are, in fact, delicious.

But the couple is quick to point out that there's still work to be done. The walls are still missing decorations they want to put up to highlight the Poquoson area. Wildman also wants to have an outdoor patio and music every Thursday through Saturday night. The first musician plays this Thursday.

All that said, the staff is happy with how things are going and how they're being received. After all...they do live in Poquoson themselves.

"It is heartwarming, especially to have the business in the community where we live, near home, so he's able to come home after a very long day," Chitambala-Wildman said.

Click HERE for more information about Blue Crab & Purple Pig Bistro, including hours.