If there’s one key component to owning a business, it’s knowing how to navigate through adversity. As owners of Virginia Dare Marina, which includes Portside Grill and Bar and Beacon Pub, Garret Meyer and Darrin Main know this all too well.
“It’s been a very interesting couple of years,” Meyer said with a laugh.
In February 2019, faulty wiring sparked a fire destroying the marina’s main building that had been used for offices and the newly opened Beacon Pub.
While Meyer and Main continued to book cruises on the Virginia Dare and operate Portside Grill and Bar during the summer months, construction on the new building stalled, which led to a lawsuit due to issues with the contractor.
“They have failed in meeting those deadlines and are still failing now,” Meyer said in an interview last July.
Now, nearly two years later, after also having navigated through record flooding at the lake and the COVID-19 pandemic, Beacon Pub has reopened in the lower level of a new, 4,500-square-foot building.
“We opened about three weeks ago,” Meyer said. “It’s been a huge success.”
More of a grill than a restaurant, Beacon Pub offers menu items, including soups and a salad bar, that are “a step up” from those found at Portside Grill and Bar, Meyer said.
The pub’s pizza menu features some favorites found at Portside — there’s a Cuban pizza, a Philly cheesesteak pizza, a chicken wing pizza and a macaroni and cheese pizza.
“It sounds strange, but it’s delicious,” Meyer added.
The idea for opening the pub was to offer a place for lake residents to go and grab a bite to eat in the winter months. “We’re shooting for the same laid-back feel as Portside,” Meyer said of the atmosphere.
The pub will operate until about late spring when the weather turns warm enough for Portside to open.
Despite all the challenges, Meyer said their regular slate of employees has remained with them. “We very much try to take care of our staff, and they keep coming back,” he said.
Meyer said they’ve also tried to remain flexible and open to new ideas, including hosting different types of themed cruises aboard the Virginia Dare and offering accommodations at a newly renovated lakeside cottage on the property.
Looking forward, Meyer said he is hopeful the 2021 season will be one without challenges. “Quite frankly, we just want a smooth year without the virus, without the flooding of the lake ... all those kinds of things.”