Sawdust Road: New business in old Pungo home

VIRGINIA BEACH — While Sawdust Road might sound like the title of a classic country music song, it’s actually the name of a new business located in an old house in Pungo – and a name inspired by a man who was born in that very home more than eight decades ago.

Sawdust Road, which opened its doors last month, is part coffee shop and part art gallery, as well as a relaxing hangout that sits along Princess Anne Road between the Pungo Board House and the Red Barn Food Store (previously the Tar Roof was located there).

The name was chosen in honor of a man who, literally, began his life there when the business was just a private home.

“We chose to name the shop Sawdust Road to pay homage to the local history of Pungo village, and also to honor the man who grew up in the house where we now have the shop,” said co-owner Eddie Compo. “Joe Burroughs is his name and he was actually born upstairs 86 years ago.”

Compo said he and co-owner John DeWald became close friends with Burroughs and that one day during the buildout, Burroughs told them the story of how locals used to call Indian River Road “Sawdust Road” because of all the sawmills that operated nearby, and that the road at that time was not much more than a layer of sawdust and wood tillings.

Since the property sits on both Indian River and Princess Anne roads, the pair decided it was the perfect name.

Sawdust Road’s coffee selections vary by season and they’re constantly cupping new beans and trying new varieties. All of the roasts have been designed for their specific water source.

“We currently have our beans roasted at either Eastern Shore Coffee Roasters over on the Eastern Shore or at Carytown in Richmond, but we plan to have our roastery set up on the property within a couple months,” Compo said.

They also serve a variety of sandwiches and unique small plates, as well as a gallery space for art.

Being in the heart of Pungo, Compo and DeWald believe it’s important to take advantage of all the great local farms, so they source as much produce as the seasons and harvests allow, and are always adding new specials based on what’s available.

“The Pungo community has really embraced us so we’re really proud of the fact that we’re able to put money back into the local economy and help other local businesses grow,” he said. “Plus, it just tastes better.”

Paint with John

Sawdust Road sits on five acres. There’s a large outdoor space with strings of lights, farm tables, magnolia trees, and open spaces where kids can run and play, as well as a second cottage on the grounds where resident artists have studios.

When the artists are in, guests can watch a potter (Chris Cardone) work on the wheel or firing up his kiln, or see painters (Jay Young and Bee MacDonald) painting, Compo said.

“If you’re lucky you can paint on the porch with John (DeWald) – when he’s not making sandwiches or pulling espresso shots,” Compo said.

The facility is also available as a wedding venue or for other events.

Sawdust Road is open daily from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., and is located at 1791 Princess Anne Road.

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