NORFOLK, Va. - A tray full of wings and things comes through the kitchen door and straight to Chris Tillett's table.
"We've been patiently waiting," said Tillett, not in response to his food arriving, but to the 3 1/2 months he and the others at Crescas Real Estate had to wait while The Dirty Buffalo's Colley Avenue location was renovated across the street.
The eats? Just as good as before, he says. The surroundings? Fresh and clean.
"Aesthetically pleasing changes," said The Dirty Buffalo co-founder Ryan Lynn of the upgrades. "We changed up the stage a little bit, we changed up the bar a little bit."
Just changes, not replacing. The bar, Lynn says, used to be inside the original 4400 Club, an Old Dominion University hangout once across the street from campus. The stage once carried Green Day and Dave Matthews early in their careers.
Other improvements include the carry-out area that doubles as a game room. On the outside, there's a new mural by local artist Caesar McGann and a new outdoor patio space.
It's all in-line with the original vision for this location when The Dirty Buffalo opened it in 2016, at the time still a somewhat new local business.
"When we purchased this building, we didn't have a whole lot of money to put into it, so you slap some paint on and make it look pretty," Lynn recalled.
The changes debuted this month, just days before the start of the busy NFL season. But the reopening went fairly smoothly, Lynn tells News 3.
It helps that most of the staff returned after spending the length of the renovation scattered at other locations.
He says there are also signs that the staffing issues plaguing many restaurants might be getting better.
"We've actually seen an uptick here in the last two weeks, which is awesome. We're getting a lot of interviews on a daily basis, we're making a lot of hires on a daily basis so it's good to see," said Lynn.
Another reason for The Dirty Buffalo fans to celebrate. But was it all worth the wait?
"Definitely, definitely," said Tillett.