VB Bites: The Rustic Spoon Retwists Comfort Food

Spent the night cramming for an exam and missed out on breakfast? Have no fear, The Rustic Spoon is here. Located only minutes away from VWU, The Rustic Spoon offers an array of comfort foods with a modern, local twist, family oriented and warm rustic charm to enjoy brunch in a welcoming space. Customers can enjoy seating indoors by the fireplace or eating outside on the patio by the giant eight-foot wooden spoon hanging from the front.

From being former bartenders to becoming business partners, a restuarant
was in the making of a dream. Ryan Hines, the owner and managing partner
of The Rustic Spoon, opened the new establishment on Pleasure House Road in Feb. 2020 along with the support of his two
longtime friends and business partners, Jason Kulas, a former VWU baseball player, and Nick Pogue.

“We all bartended together at the Oceanfront for years at a place called
Lunasea, and we always wanted to open up a nightclub. Back in early 2019, we started talking about ideas and what we could be doing and looking for a place,” said Hines. “And lo and behold, here we were and we opened up February 12, 2020, [just] five weeks before the pandemic hit.”

The Rustic Spoon menu has something for everyone to enjoy from sweet toothers to salty-savory lovers. Hines recommended for sweet tooths to order stuffed French toast or the spoon stack, a Japanese cloud soufflé styled pancake served with seasonal fruit, whipped cream and maple syrup.

For salty and savory dishes, Hines recommends the shrimp and grit cake  and the carnitas hash. The restaurant’s number one selling appetizer, the Scotch egg. “It’s a soft-boiled egg wrapped in sausage, egg wash flour panko breadcrumbs, deep fried for six minutes in the oven for two and rested for one [minute].”

Hines shares why the restaurant decided to focus on serving comfort to customers, “One of the things that we wanted for our guests to feel like while they’re here is to feel comfortable. We want you to feel like you’re at home. We want a homey atmosphere,” Hines said. “We want you to know that everybody here [is] smiling and taking good care of you and you’re going to get fed a good down-home meal while you’re here. That was the main reason why we chose comfort food.”

Their open hours from Sunday to Wednesday are 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. and 8 a.m.
– 9 p.m. on Thursday through Saturday. Amanda Cannon, a server at The Rustic Spoon, shares her recommendation for when customers should come. “Saturday and Sunday mornings are the busiest. Tuesday or Wednesday [are recommended] if you’re looking for a chill day,” said Cannon.

The Rustic Spoon will soon start to do online ordering and add a Wednesday and Sunday night dinner. Hines encourages customers to pay close attention to their upcoming changes as far as hours because they will start offering dinner nights a little more often.

“We want them to come in and have a good dining experience with good food, a nice atmosphere and great, friendly service. With those three things, [our] ultimate goal is to get repeat customers, so that’s what we hope for every time someone walks in the door. That’s the goal,” Hines said.

Being a new, locally owned restaurant amidst the COVID-19 pandemic brought forth some unique complications that required unique solutions. The newly opened restaurant had to furlough their staff and follow regulations regarding seating capacity and mask mandates that made business challenging.

In response to COVID-19 after five weeks of being opened, The Rustic Spoon
adapted to the new reality by providing takeout and delivery services.

“We were only open for five weeks before we were shut down. We had to
resort to takeout, curbside delivery, [and] getting creative by doing what we could to sell drinks outside on the sidewalks, go put up a pop-up tent out front selling oysters Rockefeller and shrimp skewers with the Orange Crushes,” Hines said. “We did everything we could to make sure that our
investment and all of our hard work were not going to waste or get ruined from the pandemic.”

Cannon added, “We began offering dinner items for take-out in order to stay

The Rustic Spoon is located at 1658 Pleasure House Road Suite 101, Virginia
Beach, VA 23455. It’s available for outdoor seating and takeout orders by
calling (757) 937-8930. Visit their website at www.therusticspoonvb.com, and their social media platforms on Instagram and Facebook @therusticspoonvb.

tawarren@vwu.edu            dmperez@vwu.edu

Image Courtesy of Tiffany Warren | Marlin Chronicle