Another Virginia Beach restaurant closes at apparently doomed location

The owners of Americana Roadside Grill closed the restaurant’s doors in October 2017 — about four months after it opened. It is the fourth restaurant to come and go at 981 Laskin Road since 2009. (Adrienne Mayfield/Southside Daily)

VIRGINIA BEACH — The fourth restaurant to open in eight years at a Laskin Road location in Virginia Beach recently shut its doors.

Americana Roadside Grill closed this week — about four months after it opened at 981 Laskin Road.

When a Southside Daily reporter visited the restaurant on Monday morning, the doors were locked and a sign out front read: “Last Day Open Half Off Beers.”

Baxter Simmons, part-owner of Americana Roadside Grill, confirmed the restaurant’s closure, but declined to comment on it; however, he spoke with Southside Daily in June, just days before the eatery was slated to open.

What nearby Cal’z Pizza owner Mike Sconiers called a “bad luck spot” in June, the Laskin Road property has seen four restaurants come and go since 2009.

First the location was a burger joint called The Purple Cow. Later it became Planet Pizza, and in September 2016, Simmons and his fraternity brothers, Ryan Houfek and John Peterson, opened the location’s doors again as Calliente Catina.

When customers weren’t coming to the Mexican eatery, the trio decided to close it in June and reopen days later as Americana Roadside Grill. Simmons said they hoped to lure in hungry customers with their “aggressive price points” and traditional American fare like sloppy joes, chicken wings, pimento cheese sliders and alcoholic milkshakes.

“This spot has changed themes and restaurants over the years, and there’s no reason something can’t get in here and stick around for awhile,” Simmons told Southside Daily in June. “Sometimes you have to go through four or five different operations until you find the right fit for the right location.”

But closing isn’t the only stroke of seemingly bad luck Americana Roadside Grill has faced in recent months.

In July, a 45-year-old man was arrested and accused of burglarizing the restaurant, as well as stealing a boat from nearby Bay Venture Boat Rentals.

Jason Lawrence Wirt, of the 900 block of South Oriole Circle, is accused of stealing alcohol and cash from Americana Roadside Grill in the early morning hours of July 9. Three days later, the Virginia Beach Police Department reported he stole a boat from its slip.

Wirt was charged with two counts of grand larceny, armed burglary and possession of burglary tools on July 12. He is scheduled to appear in Virginia Beach Circuit Court on Nov. 1 for a trial.

It’s unclear what business the Laskin Road location could host next. Southside Daily attempted to call the property owner — Phi Mu LLC — but was unsuccessful in reaching anyone. The news organization also attempted to contact the business entity’s registered agent, Howard Sykes Jr., but he did not respond to a request for comment before publication.

Information for this article was obtained from Southside Daily’s archives.

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Adrienne Mayfield is an award-winning, multi-media journalist hailing from Clermont, Fla. She moved to Lynchburg, Va. on a whim when she was 19, and worked her way to Hampton Roads in 2013. Adrienne is passionate about telling people stories via covering public safety and the judicial system. She isn’t afraid to take a heads-on approach to covering crime, including knocking on doors to get the details police aren’t sharing. Adrienne is a 2014 Old Dominion University graduate who still lives within walking distance of the college. You may see her cruising around Downtown Norfolk on her bike, enjoying a sandwich from Grilled Cheese Bistro or playing fetch with her dog, Greta, at the Colonial Place dog park.