Not lengthy after I moved to the realm some 32 years in the past, my late husband, Wayne, instructed me a couple of restaurant in a church that we would have liked to take a look at.

The stately constructing, positioned in downtown Norfolk, was certainly a church — or moderately, a former church. For the previous two years or so, nonetheless, it has been become a restaurant, with what I came upon serving scrumptious dishes. We went inside; proof of the previous occupant was all over the place, together with hovering ceilings, spectacular picket beams and stained glass home windows.

I had seafood, I bear in mind, and loved it very a lot. Now, three a long time later, I can say the identical in my first report on this venerable eatery, Freemason Abbey, on this column.


The spectacular constructing had its first life because the Second Presbyterian Church in 1873. Later it modified arms just a few instances, turning into the First Church of Christ Scientist, and later the assembly location for the Unbiased Order of Odd Fellows.

Luckily, the constructing was repurposed, saving the basic gothic structure for future generations. And, lucky too, it turned an exquisite restaurant to get pleasure from a lunch or dinner with household and buddies.

Whereas I’ve lengthy loved Freemason Abbey, I’ve not written about it on this column, however I’m pleased to share a scrumptious current expertise.

Seated downstairs, with great views of the spectacular inside throughout, my group of buddies and I began with the legendary She Crab Soup.

I’ve been lucky to be a choose within the East Coast She Crab Basic, off-and-on, for a few years now, so I used to be acquainted with this providing, which has received quite a few instances.

A cup of the soup, wealthy and thick, was served effervescent sizzling. The thick soup was creamy and filled with taste, completely and easily seasoned so the big quantities of lump crab meat might shine by means of. A drizzle of sherry accented the soup on high, and a skinny sesame cracker was nice for sopping it up. That is one in all a handful of the perfect soups within the space, and price visiting only for it.

For the entree, the Broiled Seafood Platter match the invoice. I used to be lilting for a superb assortment of seafood that was on the lighter aspect, and on the platter got here a half dozen shrimp, three scallops, and a superb sized piece of flounder all seasoned completely and broiled. Alongside was herbed rice and steamed asparagus.

The seafood was scrumptious. Every factor was cooked splendidly till the flavors shined by means of, have been fork tender, and succulent to the chew. I loved every bit very a lot. Additionally loved was the tender rice, seasoned to accent the seafood, and the skinny asparagus rods.


The Pine Ridge Vineyards Chenin Blanc and Viognier white wine mix was great for slicing by means of the creamy She Crab Soup, in addition to accenting the broiled seafood platter that my companion, Doug, and I shared.

This Napa, California classic was crisp and refreshing, with citrus and floral notes on the nostril and palate. It was a scrumptious pairing of two of my favourite grapes.

Freemason Abbey Restaurant is at 209 W. Freemason St., Norfolk. Go to 757-622-3966 or go to




Begin your morning with right this moment’s native information


Everybody’s in search of bargains nowadays; Joyful Hour at Cogan’s Ghent helps stretch the finances. The following pleased hour is Aug. 8. Supplied Monday by means of Friday from 11 a.m till 7 p.m. for dine-in solely, search for $2.25 domestics, $3.50 properly drinks, and $1 off different drafts, bottles and liquors. There’s additionally lunch specials and a Pizza & Wings deal provided day by day for dine-in or to-go. In our humble opinion, that is among the many greatest pizza on the town.

Cogan’s Ghent is at 1901 Colonial Ave., Norfolk. Name 757-627-6428 or go to

Within the Kitchen with Invasive Species on the Norfolk Botanical Backyard seems to be at utilizing native invasive crops in quite a lot of dishes. The category is from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Aug. 9. Be taught in regards to the function invasive specials have within the atmosphere, and the right way to use them in recipes. The occasion focuses on interactive consuming in quite a lot of choices.

Teacher Devani Jolman leads the category, which is priced at $35 for botanical backyard members and $45 for nonmembers.

Norfolk Botanical Backyard is at 6700 Azalea Backyard Street, Norfolk. Name 757-441-5830 or go to

Patrick Evans-Hylton,

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