Fall in love with Tupelo Honey

If you’re looking for a new flavorful way to enjoy a chicken and waffles breakfast plate, go no further than a short drive down the street from VWU. Located right on the edge of Virginia Beach’s Town Center is Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen and Bar.

While Tupelo Honey isn’t a locally owned business, the corporate chain gives off down-home southern vibes. The atmosphere both inside and on their outdoor patio gives you the feeling of warmth at Grandma’s house in summer. 

The aesthetically pleasing decorum, coupled with a new fall menu, is definitely one you must try. Tupelo Honey offers two different menus that don’t shy away from flavor. A select brunch menu is offered in the mornings on Saturdays and Sundays, while an extensive lunch and dinner is offered all other days and times.

Their scratch made Southern faves style of cooking matches their ambience. Executive Chef John Ferguson describes his creations as “elevated southern cuisine with a twist.”

By adding non-typical ingredients to the usual southern home cooking favorites, like goat cheese in your grits, Ferguson boasts that their style of food is sure to be high on your favorites. Tupelo Honey strives to create dishes with different flavor profiles. While playing with different textures and seasonings, they create a distinctive flavor unique to their business.

Starting at the beginning of October, Ferguson and his team rolled out their new fall menu. Items such as the crispy pimento grilled cheese with fried green tomatoes, bee-dusted buttermilk country-fried cauliflower and the chef’s favorite roast beef debris (pronounced day-bree) served over goat cheese grits and gravy are now available. “The roast beef debris is a hearty filling dish with all the additional flavors from the grits to balance,”  Ferguson said.

Tupelo Honey’s classic Bloody Mary. Their hours of operation are 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Mon. – Fri. and 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. Sat. – Sun.
Kylea McCarel|Marlin Chronicle

Tupelo Honey is always open for reservations of all kinds, whether made online or over the phone. Soon-to-be-bride Brielle Maskell and her friends dined inside on a Sunday for an engagement brunch.

“I love that they allowed my friends to bring balloons and decorations,” Maskell said.

Her friends appreciated the easy-to-make reservation online and were even provided with a table before their initial reservation time. Despite the quick and easy seating, Maskell and her friends said the service was quite slow.

“Our server was nice but it did take her a long time to actually take and get to our orders,” Maskell said. She and her friends also complained “the champagne in the mimosas was a little flat” causing them to send them back for a different drink. She hopes to go back another time and see if she receives a better experience with a table of two versus six.

Besides having wholesome made from scratch dishes, Tupelo Honey also prides themselves on their company ideals. In spite of being a corporate chain restaurant, a neighborhood “one team, one purpose” ideal is what the staff team likes to keep in mind.

“Serve and do with integrity” is one of their company’s many core values, Ferguson said. Their waitstaff wears comfortable black and white clothing that allows for a convenient and cozy workplace environment.

Server Bailey Smith said her favorite part about working at Tupelo Honey is their “accommodating management staff” and the comfortable, versatile uniform requirements. “Not many places allow you to wear what you want to work. There’s no discrimination and the guidelines are easy to follow,” Smith said.

Perfectly fried green tomatoes on grits. The restaurant is located at 4501 Main
St. Virginia Beach, Va.
Tupelo Honey|Facebook

The company prides itself on taking care of its staff with their Biscuits for a Cause. Before COVID-19, Tupelo Honey served small thumbprint sized biscuits complimentary to customers. With the large impact COVID-19 took on restaurants and small businesses, they decided to make a change.

Tupelo Honey took their small thumbprint biscuits and created something more beneficial to their employees. Now served as two large “cat head” sized buttermilk biscuits with blueberry jam and whipped butter; the proceeds from each order go to the Tupelo Honey Employee Relief & Development Funds.

During COVID-19, this fund supplied more than half a million dollars in financial relief to their staff. These soft, handcrafted biscuits exemplify their company’s core values and helped many of their staff in a serious time of need.

In addition to their everyday biscuit fund, they are also raising money in the month of October to donate to the Childhood Cancer Fund by participating in “Cookies for Childhood Cancer.” For every “boo-nana” pudding sold, they will donate a dollar to help fund research and treatments for children with pediatric cancer.

If you’re looking to make a reservation, donate to their many causes or take a peek at their new fall menu, you can find them online at tupelohoneycafe.com or on Instagram with the handle @tupelohoneycafe.

3 and ½ stars out of 5. While they have incredible dedication to their employees and an aesthetically pleasing atmosphere, they lack in customer service and consistent food/drinks.

By Kylea McCarel