VIRGINIA BEACH — When a Hilltop restaurant didn’t renew its lease, a Chesapeake-based chop house owner had his eyes set on the Beach to open a new spot.
The Butcher’s Son is set to open this September on Laskin Road — offering an eclectic array of locally sourced meats and sides for its lunch, brunch and dinner menus — in the space formerly occupied by Fire and Vine.
“We see ourselves between a Ruth’s Chris and an Outback Steakhouse,” owner Brian Radford said in an interview. “We want people who still want the casual segment, but people to come in and also feel good if they’re wearing a shirt and tie, or event a tuxedo for that matter.”
As a child, Radford grew up watching his father Thomas, who worked as a butcher for 35 years, slice beef, pork and chicken. Radford is literally the butcher’s son.
The concept grew from a weekly promotional event at Radford’s other local restaurant HK on the Bay. Guests could personalize their steak by choosing its cut, size and seasoning.
“It was a huge hit,” Radford said. “Everybody was saying ‘man, that’s a good name for a restaurant.’ That’s when we started building the business plan around The Butcher’s Son.”
Radford opened its first location in Chesapeake in 2015. Now, his second steakhouse is opening between the Bottlecraft Beer Shop and Tasting Room and Roast Rider at the Hilltop North Shopping Center. It will seat about 165 people and is the first of the two steakhouses to offer lunch.
“The atmosphere and space in this area, and the way the landlord keeps the place looking good on the outside tends to bring in a very nice crowd,” Roast Rider owner Wayne Richmon said. “I hope this place does well. I think it will be a plus for everybody.”
The Virginia Beach restaurant will feature an aesthetic inspired by noir films and early 20th century pop culture. It will have large booths the Rat Pack might have sat in, walls adorned with family memorabilia and a couple private dining rooms.
One of the private dining rooms named after Radford’s son Jackson. It has a fireplace, will seat about 10 people and features a prohibition-style door to order drinks directly from the bar. Guests can flip a switch, a light will turn on the bar side and a bartender will take their order.
“It’s 1920s and 30s wallpapers and tiles, where you get that feel of being back in time,” Radford said. “That time period has just always intrigued me.”
Radford said sourcing local hormone- and antibiotic-free meat is the key to keeping seats full at his restaurant. He was even compelled to order cuts from Pungo Tuck Farms after reading about it on Southside Daily.
“I read that story, wrote him a letter that day and said ‘hey, we love your culture,'” Radford said. “It’s the right thing to do for the guest, and it’s the right thing to do for the animal … you can tell the difference eating happy beef.”
Radford said he recommends ordering a six-ounce filet with the stuffed shrimp, which is a Baltimore crab cake wrapped in shrimp covered in beurre blanc sauce.
The restaurant will also feature a full bar with signature cocktails inspired by Radford’s family members. The most popular one is The Uncle Freddy’s Manhattan, according to beverage manager Robert Kimener.
“With this cocktail we are tipping our hat to Brian’s uncle, who liked to finish his day off with an ice cold Manhattan served up,” Kimener said. “Our version is made with Bulleit bourbon, Dolin sweet vermouth, a few dashes of Angosturra bitters and a house-brandied cherry.”
Radford said The Butcher’s Son has a few more months of construction left and plans to open the second week in September.
Its hours are set for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for lunch and 5-11 p.m. on weekdays. The restaurant will close at 1 a.m. on weekends.
No one from Fire and Vine was available for comment, but according to its website, it has plans to reopen at a new location by next spring.
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