Pink Dinghy endures hardships

The Pink Dinghy offers a welcoming pink entrance and outdoor seating for the warmer months.

Calee Lukowski|Marlin Chronicle 

The Pink Dinghy is a small, adorable restaurant located at 609 19th Street near the Virginia Beach Oceanfront. With indoor and outdoor seating, bright colors and an open style kitchen, The Pink Dinghy is the perfect place to grab lunch with friends after a beach day or just to relax and catch up. 

The original idea for The Pink Dinghy was conceived by Stephanie Dietz and Chase Pittman in February 2018. Dietz worked as a chef in New York before deciding to return to her roots in Virginia Beach. Dietz and her husband began doing pop-ups, where she met Pittman. At the end of the pop-up, Pittman asked Dietz if she wanted to make it into a restaurant, and so The Pink Dinghy was founded. 

The name was proposed by a neighboring business owner. Many of the small businesses on the block sport beach themed names. The neighboring owner looked at the pink and coral colored building and said it looked like a little pink dinghy. Dietz and Pittman ran with the idea, and gave the restaurant idea a name and a building. 

Like any new restaurant, The Pink Dinghy met its fair share of challenges as it was starting up. During the initial stages of redesigning the building to meet their purposes, a car ran straight into a newly added addition. Dietz and Pittman also had some troubles with contractors during the redesign. 

Just over two years later, in June 2020, The Pink Dinghy was finally open for business. Being open in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic had its own challenges. “At that time there were so many rules and regulations that we were just a takeout window…that was never the vision, we wanted it to be a small, intimate restaurant,” Dietz said. 

The situation was certainly less than ideal for a new business. Unfortunately, the trials of life don’t stop there. Sadly, in October 2020, Dietz’s co-owner, Pittman, passed away. The struggles of this business would be enough to make anyone pessimistic, but The Pink Dinghy persevered. 

Now, almost four years since its opening, The Pink Dinghy is a colorful staple to the community. Catering to both tourists and locals, The Pink Dinghy has a wonderful selection of foods and drinks. “We do have a lot of locals, and they are what keeps us afloat in the winter,” Dietz said.

“It’s just such a cute little place. It has a great summer vibe that just makes you feel good,” first-year Adriana Paci said. 

The Pink Dinghy also has many different themed nights and events. Every month, on the third Thursday, The Pink Dinghy hosts a themed food night called “Around the World in a Dinghy,” featuring different cities and cultures around the world. 

The Virginia Beach Flea Market takes place in the parking lot of The Pink Dinghy and neighboring shops. In the warmer months, it takes place on the first Friday night of each month, and the rest of the year on the third Sunday morning. 

The menu features a Chili Honey Chicken Biscuit (top left), a classic sugar and a cinnamon donut (top right) and Chilaquiles.

Sasha Saxon|Marlin Chronicle 

Every Wednesday night, The Pink Dinghy hosts “Bistro Night,” which includes specials on burgers and bottles of wine. Every Thursday night, the restaurant hosts “Cantina Night” with taco and margarita specials. Occasionally, The Pink Dinghy also has wine tastings, with an annual event held around Thanksgiving each year, where patrons can taste and preorder wines for their holiday meals. 

On Sunday and Monday nights during the winter months, The Pink Dinghy also offers cooking classes. These classes sometimes have themes such as Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, cocktails, cake decorating and more. Classes are small to provide students with one-on-one instruction opportunities. 

The Pink Dinghy is a wonderful spot with an inspiring story of perseverance. A review describes it as “a cute little pink hole in the wall,” and there truly isn’t any other way to describe it. The Pink Dinghy and Dietz are a perfect example of following your dreams, even through trials and tribulations. 

By Calee Lukowski