A local favorite, The Stockpot is known for serving healthy, made-from-scratch comfort food in Downtown Norfolk at the Selden Market and in the ViBe Creative District of Virginia Beach. The ever-changing menu has an international flair and introduces guests to different and unexpected flavors and styles of cooking in an approachable way.
Patrick Edwards and Anne Galante opened The Stockpot to build a community and feeling of hospitality around warm and comforting bowls of soup—a niche that wasn’t represented locally at the time. “We wanted to be known for one thing that would set us apart from other restaurants in the area,” Patrick says. He continues, “This is a community-oriented restaurant, and we wanted to invite people into our home. Soup was the perfect way to do that. It is comforting, approachable and inviting.”
We sat down with Patrick and Anne at the Norfolk location, which will celebrate its one-year anniversary later this month, to learn about the inspiration behind The Stockpot and the road that led them to open two storefronts.
How It All Began
Patrick and Anne attended universities in the area and after graduation found themselves gaining experience at local restaurants, one of which is where they met. Patrick had been working in restaurants since he was 15, and Anne was pursuing her passion for cooking. She earned the position as Executive Chef at Pacifica and Leaping Lizard Cafe. Her talents continued to grow during her time in the kitchen at Terrapin, which was the catalyst for entrepreneurship and opening a restaurant. Patrick explains how instrumental these experiences were for them: “They allowed us to learn as much about the business and cooking as we could. We asked questions and latched on to people who were willing to continue that dialogue.”
They took a hiatus and traveled to Europe for three months to explore new cities and restaurants and meet new people. Anne shares, “It gets you out of your bubble. In Europe, there were so many mom-and-pop shops; it is so inspiring. It gives you confidence when you see other people doing it.” Their travels gave them worldly experiences they would not soon forget. Patrick adds, “We fell in love with the restaurants and their vibes the moment we walked in the door.”
Those memories and moments stuck with this duo and nearly one year later, The Stockpot was launched as a pop-up at the Virginia Beach farmers’ market, serving two bowls of soup with two bread options. As interest and taste buds grew, they opened their first storefront in the Virginia Beach ViBe Creative District in 2015. The menu expanded to include additional comfort food options fueling the community through healthy homemade dishes and encouraging fulfilling conversations.
The Stockpot Experience
Arrive at The Stockpot Norfolk and you will be greeted with sincere hospitality and mouth-watering smells from the bakery and kitchen. “We want people to feel as though they are being welcomed into our home. It is something we take very seriously,” Anne says. “We want them to feel they were taken care of while enjoying good food,” she continues.
In the Kitchen
Culinary creativity is intuitive and super fun for Anne. She explains, “It is something that makes sense to me and pops into my head. I will have an idea [for a dish] and rework it a bit. I have also always worked in the sense of freshly prepared food and never reheated.” As ideas come to mind, the one question every dish is met with is ‘what will make it more Stockpot?’ This process keeps the menu authentic and fresh and invites guests back for more!
Varying by location, the menus boast breakfast entrees and sandwiches, soups, salads, smoothies and their signature toasties—which rotate daily. Our go-to dish is the pork carnitas toast made with crispy pork, herb aioli, sunny-side-up egg, cilantro and salsa fresca. You can upgrade any toast to a sandwich or wrap as well. Always keep an eye out for newly added dishes on the menu.
Keeping to their roots, Ramen Night is offered every Monday from 4 – 8:30 p.m. in Virginia Beach and every Wednesday from 4 – 8:30 p.m. in Norfolk. Slurping is encouraged!
Community Support + Impact
The local community has raised Anne and Patrick up, and they could not be more grateful. “The community is what has kept us successful. It truly is,” Anne admits. Conversations with restaurant guests and other small business owners inspire them to keep creating and evolving. And, the greatest compliment for this pair is when people come back for a visit and bring friends and family to enjoy a meal.
Proudest Moment & Biggest Obstacle
Over the years, Anne and Patrick have had many proud moments. For starters, the first time they popped up at the farmers’ market was monumental. But to define one moment, the two agree the proudest moments have been mentoring their team and seeing them grow. “It is the highest of times when you watch your team excel and grow,” Anne says.
Patrick continues, “I have a thank-you card posted in the office from a dishwasher who was with us for a long time—since he was 15. It was the nicest thing I had received since opening the restaurant and served as a reminder that you touch lives and leave an impression on people.” Anne expands, “Making connections with people is what lasts the longest.”
Teammates can also be a big obstacle for Anne and Patrick. “The restaurant business has a large turnover rate, and it can be tough to find great employees. When we do, we hold on to them as long as possible,” they both explain.
Advice for Aspiring Business Owners
This inspiring pair shares wise words from their experiences as entrepreneurs over the years. “Do it! You can give yourself a million reasons why not to but sometimes you have to take a leap and forget the naysayers,” Anne shares. A noteworthy reminder: “it is about your passion, not the money,” she continues.
They also share the importance of taking one step at a time and not rushing towards the end game, as it is all a lesson in trial and error.
Additionally, Patrick shares, “You really have to want it. And when you mess up, don’t give up.”
Future Goals + Happenings
This month, The Stockpot Norfolk is launching a monthly dinner series to celebrate its one year anniversary. Each month will be influenced by different cultures including Italian and Greek nights.
The restaurant is also expanding its catering services and party bookings. Serve The Stockpot’s delicious comfort food—both savory and sweet—at your next business event or private party and/or host your next gathering in their private upstairs dining space. For additional information, reach out to Amber at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to Experience All That The Stockpot Has to Offer
Whether you are in Norfolk or Virginia Beach, swing by The Stockpot for an insanely flavorful and comforting meal. Coming soon, you can place an order online through their website. Stay in touch on the latest dishes, events and news on their social media channels as well (The Stockpot VB on Instagram and Facebook; The Stockpot Norfolk on Instagram and Facebook).
While visiting, be sure to say hello and share your experience with Anne and Patrick. They cannot wait to meet you!