Lake residents have another place to go during the winter months for food. Portside Grill & Bar at Virginia Dare Marina has moved indoors for the off-season.
New owners Garrett Meyer and Darrin Main cleared out the former marina gift shop when they purchased Virginia Dare Marina last year. Now Beacon Pub at Virginia Dare features an oversized bar and seating for 50 people.
Meyer said there is a lack of places to eat or hang out in that area, especially during the winter months. “We really wanted to give people on this side of the lake some place to go,” he said.
The name came from a bit of history the new owners learned about the marina. Beacon Marina was the marina’s original name before it was changed.
While it has a different name, the menu is the same as Portside’s, Meyer said; however, they are considering some additions in the coming months, including adding a salad bar and a brick oven to make pizzas.
Joining Meyer and Main in opening Beacon Pub is longtime bartender and restaurant manager Bill Thornton. After operating Blind Bill’s Restaurant in White House for several years, Thornton said he decided to close the restaurant and come back to where he started.
“This is a dream come true for me,” Thornton said of returning to work at the Virginia Dare Marina.
Thornton worked as a bartender at Portside when he first arrived at the lake in 2001. Over the years he has tended bar at Moosie’s, Mango’s Bar & Grill and Waller’s before opening Blind Bill’s (the restaurant is also Thornton’s nickname because he is legally blind).
While his vision is impaired, Thornton said he doesn’t have any trouble behind a bar. Meyer said Thornton will focus on running the restaurant while they continue to improve other aspects of the marina.
“We have a lot of plans for this property,” Meyer said. They are continuing renovations around the marina and currently are considering adding as many as 12 RV campsites.
The hours for Beacon Pub are Thursdays from 4 to 9 p.m., Fridays from 4 to 10 p.m., Saturdays from 4 to 10 p.m. and Sundays from 4 to 9 p.m.
Beacon Pub will remain open until Portside reopens in the spring.