Iconic Downtown Restaurants: The OG's of Downtown's Dining Scene
Downtown Norfolk is always on the cutting edge of innovative restaurant trends and adventurous culinary fusion with new restaurant concepts popping up all over our district. But our Downtown restaurant scene is also anchored by iconic dining spots that helped to revitalize the Downtown dining scene. Whether you are celebrating a special occasion or enjoying the casual comfort of a spot that has been a family favorite for generations, here are some restaurants that have been dishing up deliciousness for decades.
Monastery owners Anna and Adolf Jerabek escaped from the formerly communist Czechoslovakia in 1967 and immigrated to the United States, bringing with them their restaurant concept The Monastery Restaurant, which first opened in New York City on the West side. Shortly after arriving in Virginia in the early 80s, they opened The Monastery Restaurant on Granby Street. They have been in business at this location for over 30 years and pride themselves in having one of the oldest restaurants in Downtown Norfolk. Everything about the restaurant, from the delectable old-school European dishes to the ornate decor, is a true dining experience.
Downtowners love Famous Uncle Al's as a one-stop shop for all their quick breakfast and lunch needs, serving up Boar's Head premium specialty hot dogs, juicy cheeseburgers, quick egg breakfasts, soups, and daily specials. Come for the reliably good food, stay for the friendly, casual atmosphere.
The building that houses Freemason Abbey has been a part of Norfolk's history since the 19th century, serving as a gathering place since its inception in 1873 as a Second Presbyterian Church. In the late 80s, the old church building was renovated, a second floor was added, and Freemason Abbey became the elegant yet casual restaurant we all know and love today, serving beloved She Crab Soup, and nightly specials like Friday's "Wild Game Night."
Chef Todd Jurich has been cooking professionally since 1976 and opened Todd Jurich's Bistro in Downtown Norfolk in 1992. The restaurant features a seasonal menu with the best of the Chesapeake Bay region, an intimate atmosphere, and is a wonderful place to see and be seen Downtown while enjoying a high quality meal. The spot is also a local's favorite for happy hours drinks and eats.
Omar's Carriage House's building is a Norfolk historic site, as the original (literal) carriage house was built in the early 1840s, housing carriages, horses, and riding equipment, before being converted to a tea room in the 1940s. Owner Omar Boukhriss opened the Omar's Carriage House that we love today over 23 years ago, with it's mix of European, American, and Moroccan food, eclectic decor, and beautiful outdoor patio. They are also well known for their full service catering, specialiing in weddings, corporate events, holiday parties, and private events.
d'Egg Diner has been a locals' favorite since first bursting onto the Downtown scene. Anchoring Selden Market on the Main Street side, d'Egg scrambles up breakfast and lunch classics for its loyal fans. It's "how Norfolk starts d'morning."
The current site of 456 Fish was built in 1923 and was originally occupied by Curley's Billiard Parlor and the Navy Store. 456 Fish celebrates Norfolk's history with black and white images on the walls of their dining room. The restaurant is a part of the ever-changing historic landscape in Norfolk and is both comfortable and inviting, with refined seafood and cocktails.
Hell's Kitchen is a staple in the Downtown Norfolk music scene, showcasing over 500 groups and artists, and a place national acts stop to eat after their performances. They are also a local favorite for great grub and an electric atmosphere.
The Byrd & Baldwin Bros. building was built in 1906 and restored in early 2006, preserving architectural integrity and original façade. It is now a stellar traditional Steak and Chophouse serving quality beef with exceptional marbling and flavor. Be sure to also request a tour of the private wine cellar while you are there.