Commune - Norfolk

Address: 759 Granby Street
Norfolk, VA  23510
Hours:

Click to view hours

Phone: (757) 962-2992
Website: communevb.com
Rating: Best
Categories: Lunch, Dinner, Weekend Brunch, Bakery

FOODWAZE REVIEW

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 in Virginia Beach 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 his second Commune restaurant in Norfolk’s NEON district, the city’s official arts district.

The restaurant serves lunch and dinner, and brunch on the weekends 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.

THE FOOD

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 at both locations is incredible… crisp and clean with beautiful aesthetics.

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: At the Virginia Beach location they have a large garden in back where they grow vegetables and herbs using ecological practices. It embodies this restaurant’s commitment to local, regenerative agriculture. The garden doesn’t come close to serving their entire need of both restaurants by any means, 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 and beef both frequently used. They come 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 region like the Hampton Roads, 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 this Norfolk location. It was the need to fulfill their demands for pickling that helped lead to the creation of this second 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!

ADVOCACY 

Commune is a no-gimmick business that comes across as a genuine champion of real food. We’ve already mentioned their garden in the back of the Virginia Beach restaurant, 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 Norfolk is located in Work | Release, a multi-purpose art space in the NEON district. It is bigger than the Virginia Beach restaurant and has a visual appearance similar to an art gallery. In fact, the walls are adorned with original prints from local artist Andrew Breitenberg.

True to its name, the restaurant strives for a sense of community with long communal tables mixed in with smaller tables. Outdoor seating consists of small tables lining the restaurant along the sidewalk.

There is a parking lot in back but it’s relatively small. There is also street parking. Click on the Related Places tab to connect to their Norfolk location.

OUR RESEARCH

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.

• Visiting and verifying the practices at several of the farms they use as sources. 

• Conducting other research about the business to verify its practices.

Farm Supplies
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 - Norfolk specializes in preparing food for the following dietary needs:
  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Paleo
Other information about Commune - Norfolk:
  • Mid-cost meal: $11-$25
  • Outdoor Seating
  • On-site parking
  • Accepts Reservations
  • Catering
  • Accepts Credit Cards
  • Full Bar
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Family Friendly
  • Business Meeting Friendly
  • Romantic

Commune - Virginia Beach
501 Virginia Beach Blvd.
Virginia Beach, VA
23451