VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — When someone brings up Pungo, Virginia, most people think of farmland, strawberries, and peaches. But, if you travel just past some of the popular crops, you'll stumble on Redhead Bay Cafe. "We're way out in the middle, in the end of Virginia Beach. I would say we're the last restaurant in Virginia," laughed owner Aristotle Cleanthes.
Cleanthes works to make this place feel like home for everyone. So if you ever come inside and you're not in the best mood, his laugh will pick you up. "We're having fun. When I'm in the kitchen cooking, I'm smiling, I'm laughing, I'm singing, and I think that adds a contagious vibe throughout the whole place," he said.
The inside of the restaurant is very quaint and homey. You feel welcomed as soon as you step through the door. "It's all about the people, you know, we can have this beautiful space, and we make this beautiful food, but if the people aren't coming here and really enjoying the vibe, and really enjoying the energy, we're not delivering the experience that we want to deliver," Cleanthes said.
When it comes to the food, there are options galore! The menu is long, and it is delicious. "I add flair and flavor to everything. Now, it might be over the top for some people if you like stuff a little simple, and that's okay. What we're doing is bringing creativity to the plate to where you don't have to be that creative when you order," Cleanthes laughed.
Fried green tomatoes, biscuits and gravy, variations of avocado toast, chicken sandwiches, pancakes, stuffed french toast, and the menu goes on and on. It is a delicious, down-home flavor, but don't let the comfort food style fool you. These dishes pack some flavor. "It's big, it's bold, it's flavorful, it's visually appealing," Cleanthes rambled off the reasons this spot is so good. What makes the food unique is tater-tots are the main ingredient in a lot of the menu items, and they're a significant side. "It's [the food] paired with a mountain of tots or crispy waffle fries, whatever you want. Our goal is for you to not leave hungry," he smiled.
The food is great, but Cleanthes says it's the staff that makes this place so special. "It's humbling that the community supports us so much, and I feel like that's because the team supports it so much. They love the business. They love the brand. They love the vision," he went on about how incredible his staff is and how much they mean to him.
This restaurant checks all the boxes, good food, good people, a good atmosphere, and a good time. If you'd like to visit Redhead Bay Cafe, they are located at 605 Princess Anne Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23457.
Author's Note: The video below is on file from Sept. 3, 2021.