What to do with Waterside?

August 24th, 2009 at 11:37 pm by under Personalities, Politics


With all the stories in the news about the bars “Have a Nice Day Cafe” and “Bar Norfolk” getting padlocked by  security and no longer wanted in Waterside by the city of Norfolk, I can’t help but think about the old Waterside from back in the day.  Even though I grew up in Virginia Beach, Waterside was a destination for people of all ages from all over Hampton Roads when it first opened.


The  Fudgery, Phillips Seafood, Pierces Pitt Barbeque, a pizza shop, a Chinese restaurant, lots of boutiques. Those were the days!


Some say the city of Norfolk recruited the big name chain bars to help revive the waterfront building, but  is now looking for something different to bring back the family friendly atmosphere at all times.

town point park

town point park

The renovation of  Town Point Park outside of Waterside is gorgeous and it’s slowly bringing folks back to hang out on the lawn, run through the fountain, walk or run along the border.

The commemorative bricks are fun to look at- especially when you recognize the names!  Inside Waterside, you can watch a puppet show, grab a bite to eat, listen to live music or work out at the Gym Downtown’s new location there.  The retail appears to be rebounding…  there’s a new Foxers lingerie boutique, the popular Virginia store and a few other old faithful shops that remain.

I think Norfolk city leaders should take a trip to Columbus, Ohio and check out the North Market.


Here’s a description from its web page:

We are butchers, bakers and candy makers. We are fishmongers, greengrocers and restaurateurs. We grow, catch, find, make, produce, distribute, cook, create and invent our wares.
We are Columbus’ only public market and an incubator for small businesses. And we are the place to shop, eat, mingle and people-watch.
The North Market is home to dozens of unique, independent merchants and farmers who deliver personal and personable service every day of the week.
It’s no wonder a million people visit each year.

I visited the North Market for the first time in the spring and loved it!  The best thing about Waterside is it’s on the water!! Imagine the possibilites of spending the entire day eating, relaxing, exercising- whatever you want to do.  Hopefully it will continue to bounce back and folks will get on the same page about what they really want it to be.  What are your memories and thoughts about Waterside? Please share them below.

Ava Hurdle reports on the latest in the Waterside bar battle:

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4 Responses to “What to do with Waterside?”

  1. Erica says:

    I feel the city should rebuild Waterside with family business. This area does not have alot of Family gathering places. The city should search for new business and eateries not based in the area.

  2. Its a shame what has happened to Waterside in the past few years. I remember going there as a kid to sing with my school’s choir and thinking it was the coolest place in Hampton Roads! I went back recently (before the epic battle of Bars VS Board of Unhappi…errr…City Council) and was shocked at just how empty it was. Waterside has an awesome location and, in and of itself, is a fantastic building. I say keep it as it is structually speaking. Take out off those little shops and turn it into a high end shopping area. Make it compete with MacArthur…it can! Bars at Waterside? Well, at least one. The building is too perfect to go to waste.

  3. me says:

    Hi, I had alot of fun at bar norfolk and have a nice day cafe over the last 8 years or so. I’ve moved away in the past year but was sad when I came home and couldnt go to waterside and have a night with my friends. Yes in the past year things have changed their. But maybe try bringing back the old crowd that use to go their before all the trouble

  4. It is not a crazy notion to imagine Norfolk’s Waterside as a premier restaurant and banquet catering facility. While Waterside has been “the subject of endless studies, surveys and hand-wringing over the years” it continues to sit underutilized and marginally enjoyed, not to mention a financial albatross to the City of Norfolk.

    Introducing the “Elizabethan at Waterside”, for the Elizabeth River of course: in 2010 GMF+ conducted an architectural and feasibility study for converting the second floor of the western 2/3 of the existing structure into a premier banquet facility. (This equates to the space formerly occupied by Julian’s Gaming Bar and Restaurant, some 55,000 SF.)

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