Where to Eat and Drink in Virginia Beach

Tour Virginia Beach like a local with these off-the-beaten-path restaurants

Virginia Beach isn't just a picturesque resort town, or even just about the beach and boardwalk. Locals know that the real gems are often where visitors would least expect. There's no better insider to guide you around the famed destination than Chase Pittman, a Virginia Beach native who with friends from college founded beloved local beer shop and tasting room Bottlecraft. Pittman also has become known for his role in Logstradamus, an annual music festival and surf contest where contestants compete while wearing semiformal wear to raise money for charity. He believes that Virginia Beach is the best place on earth—and here's why.

Three Ships Coffee Roasters

At the café and roastery in Virginia Beach's emerging ViBe Creative District, the attention to craft and quality speaks for itself. "This is the only coffee place on earth where I will never ask for cream or sugar—I wouldn't recommend you do either," Pittman says. "It's not necessarily to avoid the scorn of the owners and employees (there will be judgment), but because the coffee is simply that good." He recommends rounding out your morning with one of Three Ships Coffee's handmade biscuits or hand pies. The secret to their deliciousness perhaps lies in indulgent ingredients. "You don't want to know," he says.

The Stockpot

Another favorite in the ViBe District, this cozy restaurant specializes in Southern fare made a little lighter. "When I want comfort food, but I also don't want to hate myself after my meal, I come here," Pittman says. "Anne, the chef/owner, has managed to create a menu that pays homage to Southern food culture while simultaneously sprinkling in elements and ingredients from around the world [at] prices that won't break the bank." The Stockpot got its name from its original incarnation as a farm market soup stand. While Pittman recommends trying a bowl, his favorite dish is the breakfast fried rice. Overall, The Stockpot's interpretation of the classics makes for a unique experience. "The decor, aromas and cuisine will trick you into thinking you're enjoying a meal on your great grandmother's front porch—if your great grandmother was really into fitness," he says.

Doc Taylor's

"Brunching is a way of life in Virginia Beach, and this place is king," Pittman says. The appeal isn't about a chic setting or fancy cocktail. Instead, it's all about character. "Doc Taylor's is a time capsule and everything is as it was 60 years ago: the food, the old cottages and best of all the prices. I'm not sure if they forgot about inflation or what, but with $2.50 mimosas, Bloodys, etc., the hair of the dog has never felt better." Still, this local standby mixes things up a bit. "Ever thought about putting grilled Parmesan tomatoes on a bacon and egg sandwich? Well, they did. And it is glorious. Yes, there is usually an hour wait, but good things come to those wait (with a $2.50 mimosa in hand)," he says.

Pizza Chapel

"This wedding chapel-turned-pizza place in the Shadowlawn neighborhood is cranking out the best slice in town. With church pews for booths and walls adorned with pics of newlyweds from the building of old, you will find yourself falling in love," Pittman says. When it comes to grabbing a piece of the pie, timing is everything. "I recommend trying it out on a Tuesday or Thursday when you can dip your toe in the pizza pool for only a dollar a slice," he says.

Commonwealth Brewing Company

Like other parts of the country, Virginia Beach is experiencing a boom in craft beer—and Pittman has seen (and sampled) it all. "To date, I have not had one beer that I didn't love from Commonwealth Brewing Co. Their hazy IPAs are some of the most mouthwatering and juicy in the biz, but they aren't a one-trick pony," he says. Yet, there's even more to love at a brewing company that really, really thinks local. "Their tasting room is host to the entire spectrum of beer styles. If you wanna talk about hyper locality, they isolated a yeast strain that was already existent in this firehouse-turned-brewery and proceeded to use it by inoculating some of the best sour beer I have ever had. This place is a must-visit for anyone that loves beer, but especially for those who might not. They will convert you."