Popular Portsmouth, Peninsula restaurant coming to East Ocean View just in time for summer

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Longboards East Beach. If approved by Norfolk City Council, the restaurant will open at 4251 Pretty Lake Avenue by May 1, 2017. (Courtesy of Longboards)
Longboards East Beach. If approved by Norfolk City Council, the restaurant will open at 4251 Pretty Lake Avenue by May 1, 2017. (Courtesy of Longboards)

NORFOLK — When you’re looking to soak up some sun while grabbing a meal this summer, there’s going to be one more option for outdoor dining in East Ocean View.

By the first of May, Longboards is opening a third location at East Beach. Located at 4251 Pretty Lake Drive, the restaurant will share its sunny view of the waterway with East Beach Marina and countless boats.

Vince Ranhorn, co-owner of Longboards Portsmouth and Newport News, as well as downtown Norfolk’s Tap Room, said he’s had his eye on the building for years, which was formerly The Blue Crab.

Growing up, Ranhorn worked various jobs at Ships Cabin Seafood Restaurant and Taylor’s Landing Marina Center. Ranhorn said he’s always admired the building, perched at the edge of the Little Creek Inlet.

“We had actually inquired about it three or four times over the years,” Ranhorn said about the multi-floored building in the center of the harbor. “I’ve always loved it, and we’re just very excited about getting the building.”

Ranhorn said the building has undergone a renovation and the inside had been completely gutted, making way for new equipment and decor.

The food servings at Longboards East Beach will match the two other restaurants, though Ranhorn said that they’ve encouraged Ocean View residents to contribute their ideas and suggestions about what they’d like to see on the new location’s menu.

“They seem to be excited,” Ranhorn said. “We’ve actually added a couple of the suggestions to the menu. It’s great when the neighborhood is excited as you are about opening your business.”

In addition to the burgers, wings and seafood offerings, visitors can also get a growler of their favorite beer to go from the 40 different options of draft beers on tap, or take home a six-pack of bottled brews.

“It’s mostly about convenience for the people that live nearby and in the marina,” Ranhorn said. “No one else is doing that over there.”

Ann Bolen, president of the East Ocean View Civic League, said the neighborhood is ready to embrace Longboards. Out of the few restaurants in walking distance to East Beach, only a few serve dinner. Longboards, she said, will give locals one more option for dining out after the sun goes down.

“They’ve got a great menu and they’re going to have local beers on tap,” Bolen said. “It’s just going to be good for the community.”

The restaurant will be open seven days a week, likely from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., Ranhorn said. Longboards East Beach will be up for a final vote by city council on Tuesday, March 21, and if all goes well, Bolen and her neighbors will be dining on their patios in just over a month.

“We saw no downside to it,” Bolen said, “and we think they’ll do well here.”

Poulter can be reached at amy@localvoicemedia.com