Bay Local Eatery has opened a new location in Virginia Beach! It's located on Laskin Rd. where Metropolitan Oyster Exchange used to be. Metro was doing great but they decided to pare down a little bit and sold the spot Bay Local. I hate seeing Metro go, it was solid with a great people but I know Bay Local will take the baton running.
This week they had their soft opening with family and friends but then opened the flood gates to stress test the system to work out any last kinks on the line, see how long it would take to get the tickets knocked out and how the new/relocated staff handled crowds. We felt lucky to be invited for an opportunity to eat there before it officially opened to the public the next day.
When we arrived at 1:00 it was packed! We had a little wait but it was only about 15 minutes, pretty good considering at the original location they waits are usually about a hour. While we waiting I cruised about the restaurant to check it out. The floor plan is similar to what it was with Metro, open space with booths along the walls and high-tops in the center but the decor has changed a lot. It's more in-line with the original Bay Local feel to it, homey and inviting. The huge "M" behind the bar is now a stained glass panel that glows a warm gold.
I bumped into owner Adrian and we chatted a little bit about what's new and life in general. He's be on the ground with this, making sure things have been running smoothly from electricity in the back to the hostess stand front of the house. My pager went off indicating we a table, Shelby and I took our seats.
The great thing about soft openings is that you pretty much get to try whatever you like from the menu. That doesn't mean you go crazy and order everything just because you can, but it's definitely a good opportunity to try something different! We decided we'd start with a couple of appetizers but then had a hard time figuring out exactly what we wanted, there was a lot to choose from and it all looked great. So....how about drinks then?
Shelby got a mimosa, it was moscato with a scoop of sorbet in it. Cute and tasty! I got a bloody mary, Bloody Bay actually. I always get one of these when we eat at Bay Local. It's a spicy house mix that has just enough burn to keep you hanging in there.
The starters we finally choose were the Shrimp, Scallop, & Bacon Fritters and the Poppin Champagne Fried Carolina Shrimp. The fritters were great but we really loved the shrimp, the batter was light and the shrimp were plump and not over cooked.
Adrian said we need to try the Bay Local Oysters too, so put in for a half dozen. They were delicious! Loved how creamy they were and the greens they were adorned with. I could easily eat two dozen of these!
Coming to a decision on entrees was hard too, Shelby kept eyeing the shrimp and grits but she also loves crab cakes. Easiest thing to do was have her order the grits and I would get the crab bennie then we could split them! Shelby's "Just Right" Shrimp and Grits were very good. The texture was great especially with the cheese and sausage blended in throughout. It's finished off with sautéed onions, sweet peppers, and bacon - so good! I'm all about that savory flavor profile. She also got the cinnamon fried biscuit on the side, those things are dangerous.
My Crab Cake Bennie are something I've had before but it's one of those things you can order over and over again and it doesn't get old. I opted for tots on the side, you always go for the tots!
We were pretty stuffed by the time our last plates were brought out and had to box up what we didn't finish. Definitely a good dinner of leftovers later that night! While we were eating Adrian came over and checked to see how things were going and asked Shelby if she'd like another mimosa. She was off for the rest of the day so she said, "Sure, why not." He came back with a huge one, we had a little laugh over that.
We settled up and headed out, on the way to the door we bumped into our friend Judy Cowling who writes the Turning Tables column for The Virginian-Pilot. It's always great to see her, we see each other a lot especially at events, restaurants, etc... We caught up then said our good-byes. I was about ready for a nap after our feast but I needed to get back to the office. I dropped Shelby off with the food at the house and headed back to work.
All in all a great day, any chance to eat at Bay Local is a good day. I hope you're planning on grabbing a bite there, you won't regret it.