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New café opens in Chuckatuck

Bruce Waddles and Warren Ellis were no strangers to their lunch destination location in Chuckatuck Tuesday, even if this was their first time looking at this specific menu.

The two men sat and talked in the restaurant on Tuesday as cars passed in the window facing Kings Highway by the intersection with Godwin Boulevard. Ellis finished his ham-and-cheese sub, while Waddles enjoyed his grilled cheese and soup with vegetables and hamburger.

Waddles said he never had vegetable soup with that protein twist before.

“It was very tasty,” he said.

Laura Lippard Quesenberry opened Village Café with her family at 108 Kings Highway on Monday, next to the now-closed Jeff’s Sir Cakes-A-Lot Bakery.

Laura said the location was “at the right price, at the right time and at the right location.” She named her restaurant at the suggestion of landlord Bobby Jones.

“We’re in the small village of Chuckatuck, and Bobby Jones suggested we name it village something, so that’s what we went with,” she said.

The menu is a selection of simple-yet-tasty recipes like turkey and cheese melts, grilled chicken and sausage, and burgers. Daily specials rotate between delectable options like baked ziti, deviled eggs and desserts such as strawberry caramel chocolate cheesecake.

At her first restaurant after about 10 years of waitressing and cooking in Isle of Wight, Chesapeake and Suffolk, Laura said she wanted to keep the menu simple and focus on customer service and keeping her space tidy for a good first impression.

Laura’s mother, Virginia Gay, works the grill as her daughter greets customers at the door, changing roles when needed. The stereo plays as customers enjoy their meals. There’s even a few trinkets for sale by the door for those that would like a souvenir.

“She’s been wanting to do this for quite a while,” Gay said about Laura.

Laura worked with her husband, Matthew Quesenberry, and her children to get the place ready. They installed new tables with fresh coats of paint and decorated the walls with picture frames while her husband, a carpenter, set up appliances and made other adjustments.

Laura admitted that it’s been a learning experience so far, whether it’s been scheduling conflicts with government departments or the lunch rush on Monday that filled about a half-dozen tables at the same time with just her, her mother and her daughter, Maddison, on staff.

“If I didn’t have the experience, I probably wouldn’t have made it through,” she joked.

The restaurant space has been busy over the years. Previous tenants include Chuckatuck Village Tavern, Jimmy’s Pizza & Subs and Fat Boys Hamburgers and Hotdogs.

Ellis and his friend Waddles have eaten at every restaurant that’s been at the location. He said the area needs a place for convenient dining other than the 7-Eleven nearby.

Waddles said he’d be happy to come back for another round of that hamburger and vegetable soup, or some of the other menu options.

“This is a perfect little menu to get a little lunch, he said.

Village Café is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Call 610-3652 for more information.