Bennett’s Creek development opening soon

Published 10:59 pm Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Workers are expected to finish construction of an anxiously awaited Bennett’s Creek project in time for a March debut.

Developers and restaurateurs Brian and Teresa Mullins have spent more than two years working to bring a new restaurant, marina and residential neighborhood to the former site of Bennett’s Creek Marina and Restaurant on Ferry Road.

The two currently own the successful River Stone Chophouse and Vintage Tavern in North Suffolk under their shared company M&M Hospitality Group. Heather Stouder has worked for both restaurants since 2009 and will be the general manager of the new Decoys Seafood Restaurant at Bennett’s Creek.

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The restaurant is expected to open by the end of March, according to Brian Mullins, and will specialize in a reasonably priced lunch and dinner menu by executive chef Gene “Eric” Miller.

Mullins had spent more than 20 years launching his boat from the old marina to duck hunt. He combined his love of the hunt with years of Labrador love to set the property’s theme.

Artwork of dogs and duck decoys by regional artists like Paul Fisher and the late Jack Dashiell are proudly displayed in the restaurant, along with more than 200 Mason decoys that date as far back as 1887, Mullins said.

“The whole theme here is black Labradors and ducks, and there’s nothing better than that,” he said.

Most of the timber used in the construction was harvested from the land and the Mullins’ private residence. The restaurant features pine trim, pecan for the floors and staircase and black walnut for the bar top.

“We repurpose everything,” Mullins said.

The Woodshop on Bennett’s Creek will sell custom furniture and unique woodwork in a separate building on the property using leftover lumber from the construction. Paxton Company also agreed to have a sales counter in the building for its marine, safety and industrial supplies, Mullins said.

“Everything from stump to finished furniture is done in house,” said Brenton Talbot, master carpenter with Quality Homes Inc.

Adjacent to the restaurant and featuring equally sharp craftsmanship is the Blind Duck Tiki Bar, which is expected to open on March 31, weather permitting. The 14,000-square foot deck will seat approximately 120 guests and feature live entertainment by local and regional artists.

The space also features one of the few swim up pool bars in Hampton Roads with fiberglass seats.

“You can sit on the bar and enjoy a jacuzzi if you wanted to,” Mullins said.

He asserted that the outdoor bar space would be strictly for patrons 21 and older from noon to closing time and available to all eligible visitors from the community.

That includes boaters that take advantage of the 60 available slips, plus slips for day rentals. There’s also an 1,800-square-foot floating dock of superb event space, and a ship store for slip rentals, boating essentials and souvenirs.

More patrons will come from the 23 condo-style residences set for the Landings at Bennett’s Creek. Residents will be restricted to ages 55 and older and pay dues to cover lawn services and other exterior work. Permits will be pulled by the end of the week to begin the process of constructing model homes, Mullins said.

The property grew from eight acres to about 10.5 with the addition of two shoreline cottages, the Mallard and the Canvasback, respectively. The shoreline cottages will have their own fixed dock for multiple boats.

Each cottage will have two rooms furnished with stone shower bathrooms, fireplaces, leather sofas, mini bars and more amenities. Each room will have ample view of the creek’s lavish greenery and wildlife found swimming and flying.

“There’s nothing else like this in Hampton Roads,” Mullins said.

He said the community has supported the enterprise since its groundbreaking and is anxious to enjoy everything it has to offer.

“I’ve never had a project like this in my life, with so much support from the community,” he said.