Hiles converting Chuckatuck Village Cafe to ‘Fat Boys’

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Karen and Jim Hiles know good food.

&uot;We are big on going to restaurants in other cities,&uot; said Karen Hiles. The self-professed cuisine connoisseurs even shape their vacations around places where they want to sample the fare: Rome, Baltimore, New Orleans, Charleston.

But come September, the Cherry Grove Road couple will be behind the serving counter when they open Fat Boys at 108 Kings Highway. The restaurant will be in the former Chuckatuck pharmacy, vacant since the Village Cafe closed nearly two years ago.

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Slated to open Sept. 3, Fat Boys will be open for breakfast and lunch. The menu will be simple, its star feature being the 1/2-pound Fat Boy burger.

Other menu items sound like traditional caf fare: Carolina-style barbecue, chicken salad, grilled and steamed hotdogs, grilled cheese, French fries, fried sweet potatoes, and soup. The breakfast menu will consist mostly of biscuits, eggs, sausage and bacon.

What will make Fat Boys stand out from other eateries is the guarantee that everything will be cooked from scratch, said Karen Hiles. Even the barbecue will be made from pork shoulders that are grilled and pulled or minced on site.

&uot;Nothing on the menu will be prepackaged. Everything will be fresh and made to order,&uot; she said. &uot;Beef for the burgers will be delivered daily and pressed into patties every morning. When you order fries, you’ll be able to watch us slice an Idaho potato and fry it in front of you.

&uot;…We think being able to do that is important,&uot; she continued. &uot;When you see something being prepared in front of you, you know it is fresh, …that it isn’t coming out of a bag.&uot;

Besides a regular blend of coffee, Fat Boys will serve First Colony’s flavored coffees and teas, Hiles said. Her sister will also be making homemade carrot cake, cheesecake and cookies for the restaurant.

The Hiles moved to Chuckatuck from Virginia Beach two years ago, just a month before the Village Caf closed.

&uot;It closed less than a month after we moved out here,&uot; said Karen Hiles. &uot;I stopped and got a cup of coffee on my way to work one morning. Then when I rode by the next week, it was closed.&uot;

Jim Hiles, a recently retired pipefitting supervisor from Newport News Shipbuilding, said the lack of a restaurant in the village left a void.

&uot;We realized there was a need in the community,&uot; he said.

Karen Hiles agreed, saying they hope the restaurant will appeal to an array of people: retirees wanting to chat over a second cup of coffee, local workers who want to grab a lunch and get back to work, commuters who want coffee for the trip to the office, even hunters looking for a place to meet and eat before hitting the woods.

The Hiles say they feel confident that Fat Boys will be a success.

&uot;I think people are willing to pay for good food at a fair price,&uot; Karen Hiles said.

Prices will be affordable, Jim Hiles added. &uot;My intent is for people to get in and out for around $6 bucks,&uot; he said.

People are already stopping by, saying they can’t wait till we open, said Karen.

Jackie Knight, postmistress in the Chuckatuck post office, said she is hearing similar reactions from her customers.

&uot;Everyone I’ve talked to is tickled pink,&uot; she said. &uot;It’s someplace for the community to congregate, where people can relax in the mornings with a cup of coffee and talk to their neighbors.&uot;

If Fat Boys is as successful as they expect it to be, the Hiles want to rent the other side of the pharmacy and open a bait and tackle shop.

&uot;I’m not just talking about a place to buy bloodworms,&uot; Karen Hiles said. &uot;We are talking about a pro-bass shop.&uot;