The grills are cooking once again at Portside Grill and Bar.
The lakefront restaurant that usually opens in the spring was delayed after a fire at Virginia Dare Marina on Feb. 9. While Portside was untouched by the fire, the marina’s main building was completely destroyed — and with it the kitchen where food is stored and prepped.
Once spring arrived and construction of a new building was underway, marina owners Garret Meyer and Darrin Main began searching for ways to reopen Portside.
“The number one question we got was ‘When will Portside open?’” Meyer said of their restaurant’s patrons. “Everyone wants their wings back.”
With no kitchen on site, Meyer and Main found a temporary solution to their problems — they purchased two food trucks with adequate food prep space. The food trucks have running water, sinks and plenty of work space.
Food distributor Performance Food Group also donated a refrigerated truck used for food storage.
With everything in place, Portside reopened June 30. A soft opening was held a day earlier to assure the new system of using food trucks worked well, Meyer said.
Once the word got out that Portside was open, Meyer said response was overwhelmingly positive. “We’ve had huge support,” he said.
The business opened daily from June 30 through July 8. Starting July 12, the business will resume normal operating hours of Friday through Monday from noon to 9 p.m.
Once work on the new building is complete, Meyer said plans are to continue using the food trucks by taking them to various places around the lake, including at events and festivals.
While there’s no timetable on when the marina’s building will be completed, Meyer said it will serve the same purpose as before — as a reception area for people waiting to board the Virginia Dare and as Beacon Pub restaurant in the off-season.