Commune - Virginia Beach
|Address:|| 501 Virginia Beach Blvd.
Virginia Beach, VA 23451
Click to view hours
|Categories:||Breakfast, Lunch, Weekend Brunch, Coffee, Bakery|
Commune is owned by Kevin Jamison, who first moved to Virginia Beach with his family in the late 90s when he was in high school. He moved away and then came back to the area about a decade later. In Fall 2015, he opened Commune as a natural extension of his advocacy of ecological farming in New York City, Virginia Beach, and the country of Haiti. In May 2017, he opened a second Commune in Norfolk.
The restaurant serves breakfast and lunch seven days a week and offers a daily selection of homemade baked goods. The price points are outstanding for such high-quality real food. Jamison’s commitment to using almost entirely local, seasonal ingredients from farms practicing regenerative agriculture, along with his unmistakable efforts to champion real food, earn Commune a BEST rating.
• Healthful Vibe: Consistent with its Best rating, we think Commune is top-notch in its ability to deliver a healthful experience. The food as described below is served in moderation…it’s enough to eat but not overly done. The dining area is crisp and clean. The kitchen, which is in full view, is also very clean in appearance.
• Menu: The menu is a constant evolution at Commune. While “seasonal” menus are in vogue at restaurants, Commune is a place where you will truly experience food based on what’s available at any given time. There is a very suitable balance between meat and vegetarian options.
• Produce: After you park, take a peak at their large garden in the back. The organically grown vegetables and herbs give you a flavor of the commitment to local, regenerative agriculture. The garden doesn’t come close to serving their entire need, but the rest is sourced from nearby farms using ecological practices, including the amazing New Earth Farm, which Jamison helped run before launching Commune.
• Meat: Meat is respectfully subdued at Commune, with pork being the most ubiquitous offering. It comes from a few different local and regional farms committed to regenerative, pastured practices.
• Eggs: All eggs come from local farms raising their hens in pasture. Commune uses these eggs for serving and for all cooking.
• Fish: In a coastal place like Virginia Beach, you can find seafood up the wazoo. We’d hazard a guess, most of it is not local, and most of it is low-quality imitation from foreign countries. At Commune, fish is real local and respectably understated. They use sustainably farmed oysters from Pleasure House Oysters, as well as other seasonal selections.
• Grains: Commune’s sourcing and use of grains puts them in rarified company for a restaurant. Most grains, including wheat, barley, rice, and sorghum are sourced from local and regional growers using organic practices. Their breads are made using a sourdough starter and traditional slow fermentation.
• Dairy: They use quite a bit of cheese and dairy, but this is not low-quality commodity dairy. They source from local and regional farms using pasture practices.
• Dietary Info: If you’re a paleo looking to avoid grains, Commune is probably not the best place or you’ll miss the full essence of it. For people who absolutely need to avoid gluten, there is some flexibility. But as we’ve previously stated, this is not your typically restaurant when it comes to the quality of grains they source and serve. People who must avoid gluten may have to tread carefully.
As noted, vegetarians and meat eaters should feel equally comfortable here.
• Other Health Factors: The restaurant rates highly for these qualities:
- An incredible attention to detail in every ingredient.
- Coffee from Haiti roasted by La Colombe. Their commitment to using only Haitian coffee comes from Jamison’s past and present work there and it also happens to be the closest source of coffee to the Virginia coast! Using this coffee helps expand Haiti’s historical coffee industry through farmer training and new coffee farm creation in collaboration with The Clinton Foundation and The Haiti Coffee Academy.
- Use of only Virginia wine on the wine list.
- They pickle much of their leftover vegetables at their Norfolk location.
-Desserts made with the the same attention to detail explained under the Grains section. Organic flour, local eggs and dairy, and sourdough starters are all part of the process… and they taste out of this world!
Commune is a no-gimmick business that comes across as a genuine champion of real food. We’ve already mentioned their garden in back, in full view for any customer who wants to observe.
As previously noted, Jamison has been involved in supporting ecological stewardship for several years. He help found Community Development International (CDi). Among the non-profit projects are an organic community garden in New York City, an organic farm in Haiti, and a partnership with New Earth Farm in Virginia Beach. Through that partnership, Jamison helped launch community programs on topics such as composting, pickling, and cooking with real whole foods. It was the popularity of the cooking classes that led to the opening of Commune.
You can read a Foodwaze blog post about Commune by clicking here.
LAY OF THE LAND
Commune is located a newly designed district called the ViBe Creative District. It’s a few blocks from the beach, near the Fishing Pier. The restaurant is in a 1940s era building that previously served as both a car and motorcycle dealership.
But nothing inside looks old or antiquated. The relatively small space is well utilized and true to its name, there is a sense of community to the place. There’s a long communal table in the middle, and several other tables that can seat up to six.
The large plate glass windows are lined with stools for anyone who wants a little more privacy, but this definitely seems like a place where few people keep to themselves. There is also a bar with several stylishly shaped wooden stools. There is some outdoor seating in front of the restaurant.
There is a parking lot, but it gets very crowded on weekends. Click on the Related Places tab to connect to their Norfolk location.
This listing was compiled using the following processes:
• A lengthy meeting with owner Kevin Jamison.
• Eating at the establishment as well as talking to the staff, observing the kitchen, and walking through the garden.
• Visiting and verifying the practices at several of the farms they use as sources.
• Conducting other research about the business to verify its practices.
|Autumn Olive Farms||Pork|
|Cromwell's Produce||Fruits, Vegetables or Herbs|
|Manakintowne Specialty Growers||Fruits, Vegetables or Herbs|
|New Earth Farm||Fruits, Vegetables or Herbs|
Commune - Virginia Beach specializes in preparing food for the following dietary needs: