Coastal VA Magazine Article - Way Beyond "Pub Grub"
21 May

Way Beyond “Pub Grub” – Coastal VA Article

1608 Crafthouse has recently been featured in a write up by Coastal VA Magazine. They titled the article Way Beyond “Pub Grub”, and we sure appreciate the recognition! In case you missed it in print, here is the full article:

Way Beyond “Pub Grub”

1608 Crafthouse Offers House-Made Food So Delicious and Affordable, You’ll Become a Regular

What happens when you mix a “Cheers” atmosphere with a menu selection that offers anything  but bar food? Chef/Owner Kevin Sharkey and his staff at 1608 Crafthouse in Virginia Beach are waiting to show you.

1608 Crafthouse is a chef-driver concept that features sustainable, local products from the Chesapeake Bay\Mid-Atlantic region. “We are bringing something new and fresh to the Shore Drive restaurant scene,” says Sharkey. “The food is star here. By taking extra steps that our competition does not – such as house-curing pork belly for bacon and working with local farmers – the end result is not only a superior product, but with offerings such as Pork Belly sandwiches, hand-pattied burgers, all with house-made ingredients, 1608 Crafthouse is not your average single ‘pub-grub.'”

To wet your whistle, 1608 also offers a large variety of local and regional beers, as well as hand crafted elixirs. The goal is to offer a unique experience that offers diners the affordability to visit multiple times a month to taste and sample some of the best regional offerings.

“Our theory is that the ‘medium-priced’ restaurants 9n this country are not that great,” says Sharkey. “If we’re right, there is a fantastic business opportunity for that theory. When I opened this place, I wanted it to be the kind of place where you could feel comfortable coming in after work for a couple of beers while still in your suit, or come in from the beach in your flip flops. We are kid friendly and very casual, and at our price point, I want people to feel like they can come in two or three times a week.”

The core menu at 1608 stays pretty much the same year-round, but they do offer six to 10 specials a day. They also do beer-themed events once a month – either a dinner or a “tap takeover,” to help support local breweries. In fact, 90 percent of the craft beers they serve come from within 250 miles of Virginia Beach.

“The unique thing about us is that we don’t even have a walk-in [cooler],” says Sharkey. “So pretty much everything you get here is prepped fresh every day-and-a-half to two days. We make as much as we can here from scratch. We cut our own fries, we fabricate our own proteins, and we make all our own soups, salad dressings and sauces. If we can’t make it, I source it from either a local place or somewhere else I trust to get as good quality as I can possibly get. To me, it doesn’t make sense to try to save a nickel to buy something that’s lower quality. People can tell the difference and they notice it.”

On the menu, small plates include, Charcuterie Plate, Oysters of the Day, Lamb Meatballs, Poutine (house-cut fries, cheese curds, oxtail chili and fried egg), and a Simple Salad. Large Plates are Bacon Cheeseburger, Stout Braised Pork Shoulder, Fried Green Tomato BLT, Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup, Pan Roasted Ribeye, Shrimp & Grits (served “Naw-lins” style), and Mac & Cheese. For dessert, sweet plates include Cast Iron Skillet Cookie, Grilled PB&J, Bread Pudding and Locally Churned Gelato. The restaurant is a big proponent of supporting local vendors and participates in the Sensible Food Program through the Virginia Aquarium.”

1608 Crafthouse is open Monday through Thursday, 3 to 10 p.m.; Friday, 3 to 11 p.m.; Saturday, Noon to 11 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Reservations are taken by phone if you plan on dining with a party of 8 or more.