Developing a taste for Suffolk

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 30, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

Before long, you’ll be able to stop in downtown Suffolk for a seafood dinner, a margarita or a latte.

Over the next few months, three new – and different – types of eateries will be opening in the growing downtown community: Pisces Seafood, Steaks and Raw Bar; 149 North Java; and an unnamed Mexican eatery.


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Suffolk residents Stephen and Margaret Gellas, owners of Rose Bay Seafood in Great Bridge, are expanding their business with the mid-August opening of Pisces in the former Nansemond Drugstore on North Main Street.

Although Pisces will have a few other dining options, its forte will be the fresh seafood, said Stephen Gellas.

&uot;Nothing will be frozen and everything will be caught locally,&uot; Gellas said. &uot;And we will cook it however people like it – fried, broiled, saut\u00E9ed or blackened.&uot;

When the couple decided to grow their business, Gellas said they were quick to gravitate toward downtown Suffolk.

&uot;We saw what was happening here and we really wanted to be a part of it,&uot; Gellas said. &uot;We’re looking forward to opening next month.&uot;

Folks will be able to get a caffeine kick and feed their hunger for culture when 149 North Java opens this fall.

Heather and Jess Jones of Suffolk and Brian Jones of Virginia Beach expect to open the artsy coffeehouse at 149 N. Main St. by October.

&uot;We want it to be sort of a cross Starbuck’s and Central Perk (the coffee house on Friends),&uot; said Heather Jones, whose father, Mickey Boyette, owns the nearby store, Heirlooms of Tomorrow.

People can drop by for a simple cup of joe or fancier coffee-based beverages: espresso, cappuccinos, and the like.

The restaurant will also serve sandwiches and pastries.

But the Jones’ are hoping the coffeehouse will catch on as a local venue for artists.

The coffee shop will have regular poetry readings and occasional art shows, giving local artists a place to exhibit and talk about their works, Jones said.

There will be plenty of couches and chairs for folks to relax, chat or peruse the day’s newspaper, Jones said.

The shop will also sponsor a book share program, she added. As long as they leave one in its place, readers can take home a book from a central bookshelf in the shop.

Both her husband, Jess, and his brother, Brian, have food service backgrounds, Jones said.

Jess is manager of the Pargo’s Restaurant in Chesapeake while Brian spent several years managing a Manhattan, N.Y., coffeehouse.

Suffolk newcomers Mickey Garcia and Ernest Hefferon are beginning renovations this week to turn the former Crystal Restaurant into a Mexican eatery.

&uot;This is going to be a hip new restaurant, more like a cantina than a traditional Mexican restaurant,&uot; said Garcia, who is responsible for restoring College Court.

The two are planning to bring back many of building’s original features, including the tin -paneled ceiling and the mosaic floor that has long been tiled over. The glass-block interior facade will also be restored, Garcia said.

Garcia is still talking with prospective operators of the restaurant.