Whether you’re craving Asian, barbecue, burgers or comfort food, there are exciting new restaurants on the Peninsula to satisfy.
Frank’s Monster Munchies Cantina
Tide Mill Shopping Center, 2710 N. Armistead Ave, Hampton
The food truck Frank’s Monster Munchies, famous for their Mexican/American food, is also a restaurant.
Owner Charlie Timms said specialties include nachos, street tacos, Carne Asada, smothered burritos and game changers.
“The game changer is our take of the best quesadilla you ever had,” he added.
The San Diego native said he’s always had a passion for cooking since watching his grandmother and mother in the kitchen.
“They were the ones that taught me how to cook with love. I have always wanted to open up a taco shop, however a food truck was the best way for me to get started and learn the process of serving other people. I’m blessed beyond measure to now be able to open up that restaurant,” Timms said.
Rosa’s Columbian Bar and Grill
Commonwealth Center, 12715 Warwick Blvd, Newport News
Owners Ricardo Soni and Oscar Parra bring Columbia to Newport News with their new restaurant.
Mexican-born Soni and Columbian-born Parra come with strong restaurant experience. Soni was a chef in Mexico and Parra owned a restaurant in Columbia.
Popular items include Empanadas de Carne o Pollo (Corn Tortilla turn over filled with potato and beef or chicken) and Bandeja Paisa (rice, beans, egg, beef, avocado and Colombian sausage).
Their focus are steaks and salmon with shrimp sauce.
The restaurant is nicely decorated with a separate bar area complete with pool table.
The pair said their family-oriented restaurant welcomes Peninsula residents to try a taste of Columbia.
Matt’s Smackin Macs
13650 Warwick Blvd, Newport News
The new business occupying the A-shaped building on Warwick Boulevard is offering comfort food.
“We have our main focus on mac and cheese and are experimenting with ways to add new items to our menu. Our sides currently include hot dogs and a house tomato soup, and we carry sodas,” said Matthew Moskal, co-owner with Dylan Shannon and Noah Pritchard.
The specialties are the rich macs with meat dishes that include barbecue chicken, Buffalo chicken, and jalapeno bacon.
The restaurant offers discounts to veterans, active duty and first responders.
“We appreciate everyone coming out to enjoy good food and support our new business,” Moskal said.
Amirtha Curry and Bar
12715 Warwick Blvd Unit A, Newport News
Rajaseka Murugesan’s Indian and Chinese restaurant specializes in North Indian, South Indian and Chinese cuisine. Wine, beer and cocktails are served. He said the restaurant is the only one in the area serving South Indian cuisine.
Murugesan’s crew has 13 years combined experience in culinary arts, including luxury cruise lines and hotels.
Aroi Thai Cuisine
70 Colony Rd, Newport News
The new Thai and Chinese restaurant, opened by husband and wife team Drew and Yaowapa Snyder, specializes in pho, Massaman curry, khao soi, green curry fried rice and special crispy pad thai.
Drew, an Army veteran who served as a combat engineer in Afghanistan and Iraq, has managerial, kitchen and delivery experience. Yaowapa has been a cook, manager, and hostess in Thai restaurants for almost 10 years. This is the couple’s first time owning a restaurant.
Drew was working for Newport News Shipyard and his wife worked at Thai Paypa when an offer came to purchase Bamboo One.
“We talked for several years about opening a restaurant of our own. We ended up getting a great deal from the prior owners of Bamboo One, who wanted to retire, and obtained the business from them. After careful planning and much renovation, we have been open for about five weeks and hope to be able to serve the community for the foreseeable future,” Drew said.
20 West Mercury Blvd, Hampton
George serves comfort food with a twang of southern island fusion. Specialties include Rasta pasta, Kansas City dry run wings, blackened catfish tacos, and Chef Kev’s Maryland style crab cake, according to Kurt Hogan.
Hogan is co- owner with Gail Toney, Vernon Davis, Michael Rodgers, Jeanette McCullen and Lataunya Winters.
Hogan’s experience includes managing high-end establishments in Manhattan in the 1980s and 1990s,
Hogan said it’s been a dream to create an inviting environment with great inexpensive food and music with a little New York City flavor.
“This is a place where everyone knows your name and destination for friends to meet up and just enjoy,” he said.
The restaurant opens March 11.
The Point BBQ
435 Messick Road, Poquoson
While not exactly new, The Point BBQ is re-opened. They serve in-house smoked BBQ meats including pulled pork, brisket, turkey, sausage, and chicken for chicken salad, homemade desserts and soups. The sauces, dressings and rubs are made in-house. Adult beverages include beer, hard cider, and RTD cocktails from Virginia, said Catherine Owen, an owner. Her husband, David Pecor, along with Craig and Christa Lang round out the ownership.
The pulled pork is very popular because it’s flavorful, tender and juicy. Sauce is not necessary, but try the homemade BBQ sauces. The mac and cheese dishes are made to order with Cavatappi pasta, a creamy white cheddar sauce, and buttery crumbs.
The waterfront location qualifies as destination dining.
“We are surrounded with water views of the Back River and all of the wildlife, from dolphins to birds, that call Messick Point home. We are across the water from Langley Air Force Base so there are daily air shows overhead. We are adjacent to a large park with a huge green space overlooking the river and walking distance from the public boat launch and city pier,” Owen said.
Originally from rural, small-town Vermont, the owners have no formal culinary training. Their training has been their careers in food service management.
“Our food is delicious but we bring more than just food to the table. Our hospitality is something we pride ourselves on. We want every guest who comes in our door to know that we are genuinely happy to see them and that we strive to deliver excellent customer service in a fun, family-friendly atmosphere with delicious food and drinks. We treat our guests as we would want to be treated. We believe in supporting local, small businesses and we understand how a community can thrive when small businesses are embraced,” he added.
1900 George Washington Memorial Hwy Suite A, Yorktown
Tokio Express serves Japanese food in a relaxed environment. Brothers Javier Sanchez and Alfredo Sanchez opened Tokio Express after working in Japanese restaurants for more than 15 years.
“That’s what motivated us to open this restaurant,” said Javier.
Specialties are hibachi lunches and dinners. There is a variety of egg rolls and sushi rolls – raw and fried Afterward indulge in fried ice cream, green tea ice cream or fried banana ice cream.
They offer a 10 percent discount to military and senior citizens.
Wings To Go
13678 Warwick Blvd, Newport News
The wings are deep fried with a choice of seasonings like sweet barbecue, regular, hot, Buffalo and lemon pepper.
While the name is Wings to Go, there’s more than wings. Owner Hedayat Jamshid, a Denbigh High School graduate, serves burgers, chicken sandwiches, gyros and Philly cheesesteaks.
The Cobbler Café
10153 Jefferson Ave Ste C Newport News
Patricia Bland, owner of The Cobbler Café believes people should always eat dessert first because life is sweet.
The café serves a variety of cobblers, banana puddings, and cinnamon rolls.
1631 Burger Bourbon and Brew, Poquoson
Owners Mike Harris and Jeremy Nance specialize in craft burgers, house-made chips and a variety of sauces.
The military veterans also offer an espresso coffee bar from 6:30 a.m. to 11a.m. While burgers and bourbon are served 11a.m. until 9 p.m.