If you’ve been to Downtown Norfolk lately then you have certainly noticed the revitalization the area is going through. Helping give a big boost to that, is the Downtown Norfolk Council’s Vibrant Spaces initiative. In a nutshell, the program gives incentives, like matching grants and deals on rent, to inspiring business owners to set up shop downtown. While the business vary from a dog grooming place to clothing boutiques, one of the latest dining establishments to hit Granby Street as part of the program, is the Brick Anchor Brew House.
Brick Anchor is the brain-child of Buffalo, New York native Phil Smith, who opened the restaurant with his brother. Smith, a retired Army officer, spent time stationed in Hampton Roads. He was drawn back to the area by the booming craft beer scene and wanting to try something new after being in the corporate world.
When picking the location for his new project Virginia Beach was originally the plan, but he was nudged to take a look at Downtown Norfolk.
“We picked Granby Street because it was so energetic. It has all of things you are looking for when putting together business plans. It has built-in condominiums and mass transportation. It has really a growing aura for a center of gravity for arts, entertainment and for eating and drinking,” Smith says.
When picking the concept for the place, Smith says they went with steampunk because of its uniqueness and homage it pays to the industrial roots of Downtown Norfolk and the Army and Navy.
The three-tier restaurant features private dining and lounging areas for special events such as military retirements or rehearsal dinners. Also sticking with their commitment to promoting Virginia beers, Brick Anchor hosts special beer dinners with Hampton Roads and other Virginia breweries.
Smith talked to hrScene about the making of the Brick Anchor, the concept of steampunk and the future of Granby Street. Check out the interview below.