By Troy Abut
For all of the local sandwich and music fans out there, there is unfortunate news: the Jewish Mother has officially closed and this time, there won’t be another reopening. The original Jewish Mother first opened in 1975 by the Oceanfront, hosting intimate performances from musicians such as Hootie and the Blowfish and during its travels, hosting modern ones like Panic! at the Disco.
The recent Jewish Mother closing may be the result of two main factors, financial problems and the owner’s current health. Scotty Miller, the owner of the Jewish Mother since 2000, was unable to pay rent to the landlord at the Oceanfront and he also said that he is, “too old and too sick to continue.” In 2013, Miller fell sick to an illness that nearly killed him, and this has come to affect his business.
The Jewish Mother made its rounds throughout Virginia, having started down by the Oceanfront, then moving to Norfolk, then to Williamsburg, and finally back down to Virginia Beach at the Oceanfront again. Back in 2010, the original location down by the Oceanfront closed due to a leaky roof, was demolished to make way for new development, and moved over to Norfolk on Granby Street.
The Jewish Mother went through some changes: becoming the Jewish Mother Backstage and offering a new menu. Another location opened up in Hilltop a few months later, right on Nevan road, providing much more space and bringing some new international dishes.
After a few good years, the Jewish Mother Backstage ended up closing and moving again in December 2013, because of lack of parking and the food trucks scattered about downtown Norfolk. This time the company moved to Williamsburg bearing a new name, the Jewish Mother Unplugged.
This location was supposed to open in March 2014 in the Triangle Building in downtown Williamsburg, but the music venue never opened up as the the date was pushed to August. Although the deli portion was opened in the spring and was later closed in preparation for the music venue, the company entered default in August 2014. Just months before that, the Jewish Mother Hilltop closed due to financial problems related to the winter weather that kept customers at home.
In April 2014, the Jewish Mother returned to the Oceanfront, located just under Peabody’s night club. But the Jewish Mother couldn’t return to its former glory, closing forever just a few weeks ago on Monday, Sept. 8. Miller was hoping that the summer months would bring people back, but there was an issue with parking yet again.
Although the Jewish Mother was always located in Virginia, it had a great run among the people who went there for the delicious foods, the great music, or both.
Senior Morgan Stroyeck says, ” It’s really discouraging to hear that the Jewish Mother closed–I’m a Virginia Beach native and for as long as I can remember the Jewish Mother was a Virginia Beach hotspot. They were great for showcasing local live music, and the fact that their financial issues forced them to close means Hampton Roads is losing a locally loved, locally owned veteran restaurant.”
The Jewish Mother will be missed by many who have gone to one of the locations to enjoy its food, the bands that played there, and to just relax in the special atmosphere that only the Jewish Mother could provide.
Junior Katherine-Anne Christy says, “The Jewish Mother closing is a loss not only to the music scene in the area, but to everyone. And you can’t ever replace the amazing environment you got before a night of concerts.”