Meet Dave

This week’s spotlight is on Dave.  Apparently, he’s been waiting forever for his interview.  Sorry I took so long, Dave!  So read on and let’s get to know him!
Dave 2
Quick Facts:
Name: Dave Walker
Age: 42, Birthday February 21
Position: Chef/Kitchen Manager
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Favorite WHBC  Beer: Isle of Wheat
Favorite WHBC Food: Non Wontons 
Education: Plum High School, PA

WHBC: Hey Dave – so tell me how long you’ve been here.  Since the start?
D: Before we opened actually.  I helped with the construction.
WHBC: How did you find out about the position open here?
D: I saw it on Facebook.  And I knew Robert.
WHBC: Does everyone know Robert?!
D: Ha! Yeah, I used to go up to the Grille and shoot pool.  Knew him from there.
WHBC: Where were you working before this?
D: I was at the Smithfield Inn for 13 years.  I left there to go to the Cypress Cove Country Club, but only stayed there for 6 months because it was boring and not at all busy.
WHBC:  So you’ve been a chef quite a while.  Is this always what you wanted to do?
D: I watched my mom and grandma cook while I was growing up.  I moved here in 1986 and started working at Fire and Ice in Hampton as a dishwasher.  I showed an interest in cooking and one of the chefs there gave me a shot.  Started teaching me and I ended up running the kitchen there before they closed.
WHBC: Why this profession?
D: I love food. haha.  I like to see people eating my food and being happy.  How can I say this…Food brings people together.  I come from a big Italian family and that’s just what we did.  We all got together on Sunday, ate, and had fun.
WHBC: Well said! So did you help create the menu here?
D: Not in the beginning.  Robert had ideas for pub/bar food and my experience was more in fine dining.  I do it now though.
WHBC: Which dishes are your babies?
D: The meatloaf, a different chicken sandwich, the fried green tomatoes, and the marinara is my recipe too.
WHBC: The meatloaf is one of my favorites! So being the manager, you still work the line too, right?  How do you get yourself and the guys through when it gets slammed and you’ve got tickets coming out all over the place?
D: We just focus, stay calm, and do what we have to do.  I say don’t let one screw up slow you down.  Get past it and move on.
WHBC: That’s pretty solid advice. If I were to ask the line, what would they say about working with you?
D: Haha.  I think they’d say I’m fun to work with and that I let everyone be themselves and be creative.
WHBC: What is your favorite part about working here of all places?
D:  I know everyone says this, but the people.  They’re fun to work with and this is a fun place to work.  Lee is an awesome boss and looks out for everybody.
WHBC: Do you have a favorite person to work with?
D:  No, I don’t play favorites.  I really like working with all of them!
WHBC: What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you while working?
D: This just happened not too long ago.  I was cooking pork butts to finish them in the oven.  Tom pulled them out and some grease spilled out without him knowing.  It wasn’t long until the oven caught fire and I had to run for the fire extinguisher to put it out!
WHBC: Hahah.  That is very reminiscent of Thanksgiving at my house a few years ago.  Turkey grease spilled and caught the oven on fire. haha.
WHBC: So when you’re not working, what are you up to?
D: I just hang out with friends, shoot my guns ad play corn hole.  I think it would be cool to have a corn hole tournament between the local restaurants.  But we’d have to not be working to be able to do that!
WHBC: That would be fun, although I suck at cornhole!  So tell me about your family.
D: Most of my family is still back in Pittsburgh.  My kids are here in Smithfield.  I have four kids; they’re 19, 18, 16, and 12.  Jacob and Justin both work here.  And I have a 1 year old grandson.
WHBC: And he’s adorable!  So tell me something the world might not know about Mr. Dave Walker.
D: I’m nicer than my coworkers think.  And I like to work on cars.  My dad and grandpa taught me while I was growing up and it just stuck with me.  I’d like to restore my truck one day soon.
WHBC: So are you ready for the weird questions?  I like to save these for last! haha
D: I’ll tell you right now the super power I’d want – to get rid of stupidity! haha.
WHBC: Wouldn’t that be something?! So my question to you then is if you were a time traveler, where and when would you go?
D: I think I’d go to the early 1900s to Italy.  That’s where my family is from and I’d like to see it. And I’ve never been.
WHBC: Have you ever been out of the country?
D: Just recently actually.  We went on a cruise to Cozumel, Jamaica, and Caymans.  We got to swim with sting rays and snorkel the coral reefs.  In Mexico we hung out on the beach.  I didn’t like Jamaica though – people were pushy and there were a lot of drugs.  The island was beautiful though.
WHBC: Last question – what’s your catchphrase?  If I were to ask around, how would people finish this sentence?  Dave always says…
D: Now I can’t tell you that because they all have the F word in them. hahah
WHBC: Yes, then best to save those I guess.  Haha.  Thanks for talking with me – it was fun!

So I’m doing something a little different – giving it a try, spicing things up, stirring the pot… you get it.  Keep reading to see what some of Dave’s coworkers had to say about him.

I asked what it is like to work with Dave.
Nick: ” It’s intimidating, but rewarding.  He’s one of the hardest workers I’ve ever seen.  He’s a really good role model.”
Sam: “He awful, the worst ever.  He beats us when no one is looking.  Seriously… he’s really great.  No complaints here.  Hopefully I won’t get fired for saying the first haha.”
Tammy: “You gotta keep his water jug refilled.  If he’s got water he’s happy.  If you’re doing what you’re supposed to do, he’s happy.  He doesn’t like confrontation.  Dave is very focused.  He’s hilarious and sarcastic.  If you don’t know him, some might take it personally, but you can’t.  It’s all in fun.  Dave is super creative, hard working, the energy of the kitchen, has a great laugh, and can whip up some of the best desserts I’ve ever had.  That’s saying a lot since I don’t really eat sweets.  When he’s working, I know whatever comes our way, we can get through it!”
Dave 3 Dave 1
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Meet Malachi

This week’s staff spotlight is on Malachi!  He very patiently waited for our interview, so without further ado…
Mali 1
Quick Facts:
Name: Malachi Spruill
Age: 21, Birthday April 5th
Position: Server/bartender
Hometown: Windsor, VA
Favorite WHBC  Beer: I don’t drink beer
Favorite WHBC Food: Pork Parmesan
Education: Windsor High School, Radford Online, Hampton University

WHBC: Hi Malachi!  Tell me about all that schooling.  What is your major?
M: I’m studying Food & Beverage. I want to work in the hotel industry running a restaurant and banquet services.
WHBC: Have you ever done that type of work before?
M: Yes, I used to work for Hilton Garden Inn as a server and banquet server.  I like serving, but it’s nice to oversee everything.  Plus, you get hotel discounts, so that will help me get to travel the world.
WHBC: Where is the first place you want to go?
M: That’s hard!  Italy, I guess.  It’s just beautiful and they have great wine!
WHBC: So how long have you worked here?
M: Since August of last year.  I started here as a server.  I had 3 jobs at the time; Hilton, Verizon and here.  Now I work just here and on my dad’s car lot.
WHBC:  Your family is local?  You were born and raised here?
M: Yes, we lived in Gates County for a bit, but mostly here.
WHBC: Do you have a favorite childhood memory?
M: My family and I traveled a lot.  My favorite place was the Bahamas.  We went on a cruise (I snuck into the bar) and got to go to Atlantis.
WHBC: Very cool.  What’s something that you loved to do as a kid?
M: I used to race dirt bikes when we lived in Gates County.  I was 8 or 10 years old, I can’t remember.  I wasn’t very good though.  I couldn’t keep my balance.  The last time I fell, I hit a pole and my dad told me I was done. haha
WHBC: Ouch.  Probably for the best. So what do you do for fun now?
M: I like to go to concerts, go to different bars with friends and family, and go to OBX.  We sit on the beach and drink and eat!
WHBC: What type of music do you like?
M: All types.  I’ll go to pretty much any concert.  I’m getting ready to go see Florida Georgia Line.
WHBC: Do you have any hobbies?
M: Not really.  I would love to be on an adult kickball or dodgeball team.
WHBC: That would be so fun!  Back to work for a second here.  What do you like best about working here?
M:  The staff and customers.  The customers are the best!  If the staff wasn’t so great, I would not enjoy my job as much.  They make the time go by fast.
WHBC: Do you have a favorite person to work with?
W:  Meagan.   She scratches my back.
WHBC: You are at least the third person to say this.  I think I need to hit her up for one of these back rubs I keep hearing about!  So it’s fun to work here.  I get it.  But what about when it gets slammed.  How do you get through it?
M: I just tell myself to calm down and at the end of the day it will all be okay.  I don’t rush – rushing leads to mistakes.  I like to be busy though; it makes the day go faster.  I like to look back at the end of the day and think, “I did that and didn’t get stressed!”  I feel accomplished.
WHBC: That is it’s own accomplishment for sure.  So weird question time. You knew these were coming.  If, when you die, you could come back as anything, what would it be?
M: Alcohol.  Because people really love me for a short time, then I’d be gone.  That’s how I am now.  I like to be around people, but then like to be left alone for a while too.  I swear I’m not an alcoholic!
WHBC: No judgement here! haha.  Last question.  Give your 13 year old self some advice.
M: Don’t be in a rush to grow up.  When you get to college pick one major and stick with it; don’t bounce around.  I wasted so much time trying different things and ended up right back where I wanted to start in the beginning.
WHBC: Excellent.  Thanks for hanging out with me for a few minutes today!
Mali 2
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Meet Will

Welcome to this week’s staff spotlight.  Let’s have a chat with Will, shall we?
WIll 2
Quick Facts:
Name: Will Pruden
Age: 29, Birthday May 15th
Position: Dishwasher/prep cook
Hometown: Smithfield, VA
Favorite WHBC  Beer: Isle of Wheat
Favorite WHBC Food: Chicken Wings
Education: Smithfield High School

WHBC: Hey Will!  I’ll start with the basics; how long have you worked here?
W: Since day 1.  My dad had looked into doing some woodworking here and I asked him if they were hiring.  Came in and filled out an application and the rest is history.
WHBC: What position did you start in?
W: I started out cooking.  I got to stand over in the little corner with AC when I did dishes, so I kind of just moved over there.
WHBC: What’s your favorite position of the three you’ve worked?
W: Prep for sure.  It’s the easiest and nobody really bothers you.  I just throw my headphones in and get to work.
WHBC: What’s your favorite thing about working here?
W: Time flies.  You’ll be working and it’s one minute and then you look up and two hours has passed.
WHBC:  Do you have a favorite person to work with and why?
W: Meagan because she gives me back rubs. haha
WHBC: I should start working in the pub more often if that’s the case!  You work full time; what do you do in your spare time?
W: Yeah I work 5-7 shifts a week.  When I’m not working I just like to sit down and relax on my back porch.  I like to go fishing all along the James.  I’m also a commercial fisherman; oystering and crabbing.  I’m the resident oyster shucker here.  My family owns Brown’s Marina in Rescue, so I’ve been doing that a while.
WHBC: You were born here?  Have you ever left or wanted to leave?
W: Yup born here, and no I don’t want to leave.  This is where it’s at; there’s water everywhere.  I like vacations, but I like living here.
WHBC: Your family is here also, I assume. How many siblings do you have?
W: Two older brothers.  They tormented me and made me into the person I am today!
WHBC: Haha.  Do you have a favorite childhood memory?  Anything that sticks out that you’ll always remember?
W: So, I got my thumb stuck in my grandpa’s pickup.  There’s a little hole in the tailgate and I was pushing my thumb in there and it got stuck.  We had to drive cross the JRB to the hospital so they could use the jaws of life to get my hand free.  The paramedics had to ride in the bed of the truck with me, we had a police escort, it was a pretty big deal.
WHBC: Oh my gosh haha!!  You’re good to go now though, right?  Two working thumbs?
W: *gives me a double thumbs up and a big grin*
WHBC: Excellent.  What is something a lot of people might not know about you?
W:  I guess that I can tell you anything you want to know about the water or seafood.  I’ve been on the water my whole life.  I know all the waterways very well.
WHBC: Cool!  So, weird question time.  Because that’s kind of my thing.  I’ve heard you’re an animal person.  If you could come back in another life as an animal, what would you choose?
W:  A turtle for sure.  They live a very chill life.
WHBC: You seem pretty laid back yourself.  Do you have any life words of wisdom?
W: I guess I’d say not all who wander are lost.
WHBC: Tolkien is very wise!  Will, thank you for the interview!
Will 1
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Meet Peter

This week’s staff spotlight is on Peter, our newly clean shaven bartender/manager.  Let’s have a look…
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Quick Facts:
Name: Peter Catron
Age: 27, Birthday Sept 17th
Position: Manager
Birthplace: Carrollton, VA
Favorite WHBC  Beer: NAP Porter
Favorite WHBC Food: Shrimp & Grits
Education: Smithfield High, Virginia Tech, TCC, Community College of Beaver County

WHBC: So here we are finally! {I was supposed to interview Peter a few weeks ago but he just HAD to go on a trip to Europe instead of staying and talking to me}.  So it appears you’ve got a largely varied education.  What is your degree in?
P: I have an Associates in Air Traffic Control.  I started out going to Virginia Tech for engineering and decided I didn’t like it.  So ultimately, I ended up in Air Traffic Control.  I hope to work for the FAA; they’ve slowed hiring this past year, but it should open up again at the end of the summer, so I hope to be picked up.
WHBC: Anywhere specific you want to go?
P: I’d like to either stay local or head to Atlanta.  I’m a big fan of that city, my favorite teams are there, and it’s a busy airport, which means more money for me!
WHBC: Very cool!  But in the meantime, you are here.  How long have you been here?
P: Since April 2015, a week after opening.  Robert called me on a Friday to offer me to job.  I started the next day.  I started as a server, then trained to be a bartender, then started managing this past April.
WHBC: What’s your favorite thing about working here?
P: The people, definitely. I have worked in restaurants before and remember looking ahead at the schedule and dreading seeing names on the schedule with mine.  That just doesn’t happen here.  Everyone here makes everyone else’s job easier.  We have heat of the moment issues sometimes, but by the end of the shift, things are usually cool.  In other restaurants, there’s usually tension between servers and the kitchen staff and it’s just not like that here.
{For the record, every single person I’ve asked this question of has had the same basic answer.  Our staff absolutely rocks!}
WHBC: What’s your favorite position you’ve worked?
P: Bartender.  Hands down.  I bugged the crap out of Robert to give me a chance behind the bar.  It feels less robotic.  When I’m a server, I feel like Peter the Server, but when I’m behind the bar, I can have genuine conversations with people.  I get a chance to talk to mostly everyone for a time because they are all right in front of me.  It is busier that way, but I enjoy it.
WHBC: So what do you do when it gets super busy? How do you deal?
P: I just put my head down and knock things out.  I try to not look at the big picture, just a bunch of little ones and focus on one at a time.  And I am not afraid to ask the manager on duty for help.  They all know now.  I give them this look and they just know I need help.
WHBC: So there’s actually a thing called “The Peter Look”?
P: Not officially. Haha.
WHBC: What is your favorite day to work?
P: Sundays.  The run club on Sunday is great. {He likes us!  He really likes us!}.  Once I learned how to handle y’all and get the procedure down when all twenty or so of you come in at once, I loved it!
WHBC: Do you have a favorite regular customer?  Other than the Wharf Hill Chuggers, of course!
P: 3 o’clock Bob.  He calls me Pierre.  He’s super easy to talk to.  Pretty much any low maintenance, easy to talk to person is a bartender’s dream.  Mike & Trish come in on weekends.  When they first started coming in, I felt bad because I could not remember their names for the longest time, though they remembered mine.  They are very patient and easy to talk with.
WHBC: So, you mentioned Bob calls you Pierre.  I assume that had something to do with your mustache.  You knew I would have to speak with you about this…
P: Haha.  I knew it would come up!
WHBC: Were people traumatized when you shaved your mustache off?  I always told people your mustache was amazing; like if it spoke to me and told me to do something, I wouldn’t even question the fact it was talking facial hair.  It was epic.
P:  Ha!  Yes, people took it a little personally.  One regular almost cried when she saw me clean shaven.  I started with Noshember and it kind of just went from there.  I’d never really grown facial hair before, so I wanted to see where I could take it.
WHBC: That’s incredible for a facial hair rookie!  Well done!  So onto things other than work and facial hair… what do you like to do in your spare time?
P:  I just got back from Spain & Italy; I enjoy traveling, but I like doing stuff around here.  I visit other breweries.  Not only from a competitor standpoint, but to find new watering holes.  I’ve also just gotten back into running too.
WHBC: Am I speaking to a future Chugger then?
P: Ha!  maybe if I can manage to get Mondays off, but not in the summer.  It’s too hot!  I used to run in high school, then in ROTC at Tech, but I had no self motivation after that. I’m a work in progress right now.
WHBC: Aren’t we all?  So what’s your favorite music to listen to?  Any favorite bands?
P: I like Indie stuff.  Radiohead, Carseat Headrest, My Morning Jacket, and Parquet Courts.
WHBC: I love Radiohead!  That’s nostalgic music for me right there.  So last question; I always like to end with an off the wall type.  If you were offered a trip in a time machine, where and when would you go?
P: Well, I have no memory of my paternal grandfather.  I think I’d like to go back and meet him to see what he’s like and spend time with him.
WHBC: Aw, what a cool answer.  Well Peter, thank you for the interview.
For those of you who miss Peter’s ‘stache, I made him one to wear for a picture so we could all commiserate and reminisce.
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Meet Tom

Tom is the creator of my all time favorite WHBC food – the Shrimp and Grits.  Seriously, you need to run your buns down here on a Sunday to get some.  Best thing ever.  I surprised him with his interview because of my lack of planning this week, but he took it like a champ.
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Quick Facts:
Name: Thomas Owen
Age: 38
Position: Sous Chef
Birthplace: Baltimore, MD
Favorite WHBC  Beer: Bell Ringer
Favorite WHBC Food: BBQ
Education: TCC Culinary Program

WHBC: Thanks for taking a a little while to sit and chat with me today!  I know it was a surprise!  So you were born in Baltimore; how did you get here to Smithfield?
T: My parents.  Ha ha.  We moved here when I was 2 or 3 months. My dad worked for Smithfield Foods and got transferred here.
WHBC: How long have you been a chef?
T: I am a culinary graduate from Tidewater Community College. I worked at The Grille, Reel Inn, and here.  I’ve been cooking since I was about 15 years old; it just seems like second nature.  I had chefs in my family, so I got into it and started doing my own thing.
WHBC: Do you remember the first thing you ever made and thought to yourself, “Self, this is good!  I can do this!”
T: Hmmm.  I can’t exactly remember, but it was probably BBQ – I’ve been around pork my whole life.  It’s my favorite.
WHBC: So tell me, are there any cardinal sins of BBQ?  I’ve heard some chefs get very offended if you do certain things to your BBQ (like put coleslaw right on top – sorry not sorry).
T: For people who cook it, it’s that they don’t let it cook long enough.  They try to rush it, but you can’t rush good BBQ – you have to take time and have patience.  As far as eating it, to each his own.  I guess I could say try the meat before you drown it in sauce.
WHBC: You’ve worked here how long?
T: Since we opened.  I grew up with Betty’s youngest daughter, so I knew their family.  When Pam told me about Wharf opening, I came over.  Betty, Pam, and I have been working together since we were all at The Grille.
WHBC: Your culinary education?  What does that consist of?
T: I have two degrees actually. One in Culinary and the other in High Voltage Electricity.
WHBC: Ha! Do you ever use both degrees at the same time?!
T: I try not to…that’d be a little shocking.
WHBC: Do you have advice for someone who might want to be a chef one day?
T: Well, when I was a teachers aid at school, I told the students if you don’t have a passion for it, you won’t succeed.  Whatever your passion, just do it.  Working in a kitchen is hard and you have to be committed.
WHBC: Great advice!  So even though it’s tough, what’s your favorite part about working here?
T: The people.  Definitely.  Dave is an amazing person to work for, and the rest of the guys all bust their butts.  It’s a really great work environment.  I’m impressed everyday at how hard everyone works to put out really great food.
WHBC: Do you have a favorite shift you like to work?
T:  No.  This isn’t a job, it’s my passion, so I work whenever I can.
T: We are always joking around.  All the staff is serious about our jobs, but we have a good time.  It’s always been my motto if you can’t have fun at work, why do it?
WHBC: Agreed!  There are times I’m sure it’s less fun than others.  What is your strategy for getting through those crazy busy times?
T:  Just hunker down and get the job done.  There’s no sense in worrying about things, just do it.
WHBC: So when you’re done working, what do you do to unwind?
T: Time off?  Is there such a thing?!  Well, I have a wife, an 8 year old daughter and a 4 year old son.  I spend all my free time with them.  We like to travel; we just came back from a vacation at the beach, we went to Disney a little while ago.  Anything to get outside and hang out with them.
WHBC: Cool.  So last question so you can get back to work.  If you could have a superpower, what would you pick?
T: That’s a loaded question.  Hmmm.  I’d say the power to heal.
WHBC:Why that one?
T:My father has cancer, and I’d want to be able to heal him.
WHBC: That would be a great power to have…
Now that I’m crying into my beer, we’ll end the interview.  If you see Tom emerge from the kitchen, be sure to say hello!
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Meet Betty

I had to catch Betty in between tables to fit her interview in – the pub was packed while we were talking!  If you’ve visited our local restaurants anytime in the last two decades, chances are you’ve seen Betty around.  We’re going to shine the spotlight on her to get to know her just a little better…
 Betty color
Quick Facts:
Name: Betty Carter
Age: 65
Position: Server
Birthplace: Dunn, NC
Favorite WHBC Guest Beer: Pineapple Cider
Favorite WHBC Food: Grilled Shrimp
Education: Sanford Central High School, NC.  I got my GED the same year my Pam graduated!

WHBC: Thanks for taking a few minutes here and there to sit for this!  I’ll start with the basics – How long have you been at Wharf?
B: Since day 2.  I worked for Robert when he owned the Grille, then worked for both owners after, off and on.  I was working at Reel Inn when I heard Robert was opening a new restaurant.  So I called him up and said, “Robert is what I hear true?”  He said, “It depends on what you heard!”  I asked him if he was opening a new restaurant and he told me about Lee and how he was helping Lee open Wharf Hill.  I asked him to keep Pam and I in mind for staffing, and he let me know we were the first two he thought of!  Pam is my daughter.
WHBC: So you followed Robert here – why?  What do you like about working here?
B: Three things: The staff, the management, and the customers.
WHBC: Do you have a favorite customer?
B: The McConnells. I think that’s spelled right.  They’re so nice, easy going, and very polite.  Also, Don & Candie.  They were customers of mine at The Grille, then Reel Inn, then they followed me here.
WHBC: Are you here full time?
B: No. I work 4 shifts a week.  I work full time, five days a week, for Western Branch Diesel as a payroll clerk.  I’ve been there 42 years.
WHBC: Wow!  That’s incredible!  So if you work there full time, and here 4 shifts a week, what do you do in your spare time?  Or is that a mythical idea?  Is spare time even a thing for you?!
B: Not really!  When I’m not working, I’m sitting and resting, and sleeping.  That’s just the reality of it!
WHBC: Do you have any days off total during the week?
B: I do have Sundays off to get caught up on everything.
WHBC: I’m tired just listening to your schedule! When you do find yourself with spare time, or time off, do you have a hobby?  What do you like to do?
B: We like to camp.  We have a travel trailer.  Our favorite place to camp is Bethpage Resort.  We call it the Cadillac of campgrounds.  We like Hatteras also.
WHBC: Getting back to work, since that’s where most of your time is spent anyway!  I’m sure after working in this industry since the 90s, you are familiar with getting in the weeds.  What’s your best strategy for getting out?
B: Holler out for help! You have to ask for help.  Make sure you use big letters for that – HELP!
WHBC: Haha.  I couldn’t agree more!  I was a server for five years and agree you have to rely on each other!  Who is one of your favorite people to work with and why?
B: Debbie, because… {we just got slammed.  Please imagine your favorite telephone hold music at this time.  We will return shortly!}

WHBC: Aaaaand, we’re back.  Two hours later. Okay, so you said you like working with Debbie.  Why is that?
B:  You know what it is?  She’s an excellent team player.  I mean, I like working with everyone, but I really like working with her.  It’s like we understand each other.
B: You asked me before about something funny that’s happened while I’ve been working.  The only thing that came to mind was the time I was walking up from the kitchen, not a thing in my hand, and tripped up the stairs.  Fell right down on the floor and was so embarrassed all I could do was lay there laughing!
WHBC: Haha.  Tripping over nothing is a common thing – it’s okay.  I’m glad you weren’t hurt.  Okay last thing because I know it’s super busy tonight!  Tell me something most people wouldn’t know about you?
B:  Probably that I smoked for 14 years.  I quit in 1976.
WHBC: Congratulations!  That’s hard to do.  Okay, let’s get back to work – thanks for taking the time to let us get to know you! I appreciate you!
B: Well thank you!  I appreciate everyone!
Betty makes me smile every time I see her!
Betty BW
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Meet Traun

This week, we will spotlight Traun.  I caught him for a few minutes before his shift last week.

Traun 1

Quick Facts:
Name: Traun Greene
Age: 36 – Bday Nov 24 (he’s 2 days older than me!)
Position: Kitchen supervisor
Birthplace: Smithfield, VA
Favorite WHBC Beer: Bell Ringer
Favorite WHBC Food: A different chicken sandwich
Education: Smithfield High, Johnson & Wales

WHBC: Thanks for not hiding from me in the kitchen!
Traun: Haha.  No problem.
WHBC: So, how long have you been at Wharf?
T: Since we opened. I worked at CW Cowlings for 13 years.  I left there to work at Ruby Tuesday, but it was just too corporate for me.  So when I heard about the opening here, I came in.
WHBC: What do you like about working here?
T: I like the family feel.  Dave lets us be creative too.  We can make new stuff if we want.  There’s a light mood here to that make me want to work.
WHBC: So what exactly do you do for the kitchen?
T: Most of the time I make sure things are stocked and everything looks good before it leaves the kitchen.  I want to make sure the customers enjoy what we make them.
WHBC: What happens in your mind when it gets slammed?
T: I’ve been at this so long, I just go on auto; it just kicks in.  I do what has to be done.  Sometimes I jump in on the line.  I think it makes it a little easier for me because I’ve been trained by so many great people.
WHBC: Has there ever been anything super crazy to happen to you at work?
T: One night during a storm, the lights went out.  The kitchen was pitch black – you couldn’t see anything.  We couldn’t see, people were falling down the stairs.  Oh and there was another time that Alex (who isn’t here anymore) mix bleach and another chemical while he was cleaning and  put it in a hot skillet.  He made this cloud of noxious gas that filled the kitchen.
WHBC: So he pretty much tried to poison everyone?
T: {laughing} Yeah. Haha.  We had to open all the doors to air it out.
WHBC: I’m glad everyone survived. What would people say is the best part about working with you?
T: Probably that I am always ready to work and usually in a good mood.
WHBC: Have you ever hurt yourself in a weird way?  (I don’t know why I ask this question other than to laugh at other people’s situations)
T: I cut my finger with a piece of toast.  A little paper cut.  And once I almost cut my finger off?
WHBC: With the toast?!
T: Haha. No – with the slicer.  Things just happen sometimes.
WHBC: Happy to hear there’s never been any death by toast.
WHBC: Enough about work – what do you do for fun?
T:My girlfriend, her son and I just got a new house, so now I mostly do yard work and stuff.  We play with our new puppy.
WHBC: Are you a music fan?
T: I listen to rap, mostly.  Old school rap. When I was a kid I got to meet and hang out with Wu Tang Clan because they lived near a friend of mine.
WHBC: That’s a pretty cool story to be able to tell.
T: Yeah, I tell that one a lot!
WHBC: So, here’s weird question for you.. if you had a super power, what would it be?
T: That’s hard.  Probably flight; the freedom to go wherever whenever.
WHBC: Do you like to travel? What’s your favorite place you’ve been?
T: Washington D.C.  My aunt lives there and I used to go every summer.  We’re going again soon.
WHBC: See, if you had the ability to fly, you wouldn’t have to pay any baggage fees!
T: Ha! That’s true.
WHBC: Alright, I know you’re a busy man and have to get to work.  Thanks for hanging out!
Traun 2
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Meet Sam

This week’s staff spotlight is near and dear to my heart.  We focus in on Sam.  Normally I head up to the pub to do these interviews, but she’s my kid, so we sat down before school one day to chat a bit…

WHBC_Sam1

Quick Facts:
Name: Samantha (Sam) Heugel
Age: 16 (17 in August!)
Position: Busperson
Birthplace: Saratoga Springs, NY
Favorite WHBC Beer Drink: Agua
Favorite WHBC Food: I love the chefs’ specials
Education: Smithfield High, Isle of Wight Academy

WHBC: Hi Sam. It’s nice to meet you 😉
Sam: Hi mom.
WHBC: So, you were born in NY.  How did you get here?
S: Well, when a mom and a dad love each other very much… haha.  Seriously though, we are a military family.  We moved from New York to Virginia, then I lived in Missouri with my grandparents after my parents’ divorce for a couple months, then with my mom and stepdad in Washington, then back here to Virginia!
WHBC: Do you hope to stay here?
S: For the most part right now.  I’d like to move to an island somewhere to live and learn their cuisine.
WHBC: How did you come to work here?
S: My mom’s friend told her there was an opening.  So I came in and applied in October.
WHBC: Why here?
S: I want to learn all aspects of the restaurant industry because it will help me in my future. I HOPE to start cooking here some this summer.  Wink, wink, Dave!!
WHBC: How will this help you in the future?
S: My plan when I graduate is to go to school for business, while learning how to cook and run a restaurant.  One day I’d like to be a chef with my own place.  I feel like I’d want to have a farm to table style restaurant that serves fresh, healthy, tropical cuisine.
WHBC: That sounds like a great plan!  Do your parents approve?!
S: {laughing} I don’t know, do they?
{aside}: yes.
WHBC: You want to live on an island?  Do you travel?  What’s your favorite place?
S: So far, my favorites are Jamaica and Spain.  Jamaica for the weather, beaches, and food.  Spain because I can speak the language and it was cool to talk to people.
WHBC: Cool.  So you’ve been at WHBC for about 6 months.  What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you so far while working?
S: Haha!  The night I face planted in front of the whole kitchen, then not even ten minutes later I dropped an entire tray of silverware.  It sounded like loud, metallic thunder throughout the whole restaurant because the place was pretty quiet.
WHBC: When things get super crazy here, how do you manage? When Murphy’s Law takes hold, what do you do?
S: I just fill in and do the little stuff; fill sauces, fold napkins, that kind of thing.  So those don’t run out.  I pre-bus and bus as soon as customers are done so it moves things along.  I help the servers if they need me.  I think if I can do the little stuff to help things keep moving, it makes everything easier for everyone working.
WHBC: What is your favorite thing about working here?
S: We’re like a family.  Even though I’m one of the youngest, my coworkers include me and appreciate me for the person I am.  Everyone seems to get along with everyone else.  It’s great.
WHBC: So when you’re done working, what do you do for fun?
S: Well, I don’t really hang out with people outside of school too much for some reason, except my coworkers.  I like to longboard, draw, surf, and play ukelele.
WHBC: What is your favorite song to play?
S: I don’t have a favorite song, but my favorite bands to play songs from are Ballyhoo and the Dirty Heads.
WHBC: One last question before you have to leave.  I heard your mom is pretty cool.  Is this true?
S: No.  No it’s not.
{aside}: She really does think I’m cool, but can’t admit that for a couple more years…
WHBC: Okay, an actual last question.  If you could live another life as anything/anyone else, alive or inanimate, what would you be?
S: I would be a flower.  They’re beautiful and don’t have to worry about anything or anyone else.  They just do their own thing and bloom!
WHBC: Right on.  Thanks Sammer!
WHBC_Sam 2
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Meet Greg

This week’s staff spotlight features our Brewmaster, Greg.  I hung out with him for a bit while he was brewing one Sunday.

Greg Bullis 1

Quick Facts:
Name: Greg Bullis
Age: 46
Position: Brewmaster
Birthplace: Alexandria, VA – moved to Newport News at age 9
Favorite WHBC Beer:  Bell Ringer
Education: Warwick High; Apprentice School, US Marines
 

 WHBC: You were in the Marines?
Greg: In 1991, for 5 years.  I was Security Forces; an Anti-Tank Assaultman
WHBC: That sounds pretty BA.
G: It is!  We were trained to take out tanks.  There’s the Russian Zeus 23-4; 4 guns, 23mm anti-air.  We trained to take those out.
WHBC: So from taking out tanks to brewing beer.  How’d you get here?
G: It’s a long story, really.  I own my own lawn care business, and I used to take care of the grounds over at Bon Vivant.  I would try a lot of what Mike had there, but saw a few home brewers bring their stuff in too.  I decided to give it a shot and started brewing for myself.  When Lee decided to open this place, he went to Mike (the owner at BV) and asked if he knew anyone who brewed who would want to help open a brewpub.  Mike gave him my name, and after some back and forth, I ended up here.
WHBC: You designed the brewery setup, right?
G: I did.  Once I saw the space we were going to have, I designed the whole thing.  Put up a wall for our fermenters, and built all this.
WHBC: What’s your favorite part about brewing beer?  You obviously love it – that shows in the brews you make.
G: Thank you. I really like the experimentation of it all.  Trying different things and seeing what works.  I like the mechanics of it all too.  I built it, so if something breaks, I can fix it.  It pisses me off, but I can fix it!  Designing beers – it’s a lot to think about.  It’s kind of like being an alchemist or a mad scientist {insert insane maniacal laughter here}.  You’ve seen the flask I mix the yeast in (as he shows be a huge beaker sitting on top of the stir plate).
WHBC: Being so involved with everything physically, have you ever hurt yourself?
G: {laughing} One day, before we had the bricks around the fire, I was soldering pipes and bent over to pick something up. Half my beard fell off right onto the floor; I’d singed it off!  I had to shave the other half.  Thankfully it wasn’t my eyebrows!
WHBC: Ha!  I can totally picture that happening!  This is quite an eclectic mix of music you have here.  From country to Imagine Dragons.
G: My girls put some music on here too, but I like it.
WHBC: So when you’re done working, what do you do to unwind?
G: I’m always working.  I’m here on Sunday, I still have my own lawn care business and I work as an outside machinist at Norfolk Naval.
WHBC: You must have SOME time off though!
G: A little.  I guess when I do have time off, I just hang out with my wife, Christine.  We are getting ready to buy a new house in Zuni.
WHBC: Okay, last question because I know you’ve got to get to work.  If you could have a superpower, at work and home, what would it be?
G: I was not prepared for a question like that!
WHBC: I know. I like to keep people off balance.  It’s my thing.
G: Okay..superpower.  Let me think.  I’m already a Marine though, what could trump that?
WHBC: Excellent point.  We’re done here!
This guy can tell you anything and everything you’d ever want to know about beer.  If you catch him at the pub, be sure to ask for a brewery tour!
Greg Bullis 2
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Meet Meagan

This week’s staff spotlight focuses on one of our managers, Meagan.  We had ourselves a fun little conversation before opening one day last week…

Meagan 2

 

 Quick Facts:
Name: Meagan Pugh
Age: 29 (she turns 30 on May 24th!!!)
Position: Manager
Birthplace: just outside Philadelphia, moved here at age 11
Favorite WHBC Beer: Any IPA – “I like ’em hoppy”
Favorite WHBC Food: The Non Wontons
Education: Governor’s School for the Arts, VCU with degrees in photography and business
 

WHBC: Here we are.  Hello!  So, I hear that your family owns a vineyard.
Meagan: My parents own SummerWind Vineyards.  My mom was a Master Gardener and President of the Arts League at one point, and having vines started as a bit of a hobby for her.  She started with just a couple of vines and now we have 12-15 acres full.  All our grapes are sold to Smithfield Winery now.  Wine and craft beer are a lot alike; they are conversation starters.
WHBC: That’s great they keep the grapes local!
M: They used to sell to wineries in Williamsburg too, but once the Smithfield Winery opened, they all went there.
WHBC: I’m sure you helped your parents in the vineyard, but how did you get into the restaurant business?
M: My parents owned a family restaurant outside of Philly until about a year and a half ago.  I worked for them full time doing a little bit of everything.
WHBC: How did you come to work here?
M: The timing was just right.  WHBC was just opening and I was looking.  I was hired as a manager at the start and have been here since.
WHBC: Your degree in business helps, I’m sure.  Now that you’re out of college, did you ever use your photography degree?
M: I’ve always been interested in art.  The thing I didn’t like about college was that you had to focus on one specific thing.  So I picked photography.  But I like to paint and create other things; the wreaths hanging in here were made by me.  I like to paint portraits also.
{aside}:  You can see all of Meagan’s art on her Facebook page!!
WHBC: What would be your dream job?
M: To make money as an artist.  I like art so much, I spend so much time and money to create something and get so pumped and invested in it, I don’t end up making money from it.
WHBC: In the meantime though, you are here at Wharf Hill.  What is your favorite thing about working here?
M: I think Smithfield has needed a place like this for a long time.  The sense of camaraderie and family here is great.   We have great customers and staff; I enjoy working with literally everyone here.
WHBC: When things get super crazy here, how do you manage?
M: Just don’t get flustered.  I’ve been doing this a long time so I’m used to things getting a little crazy. When it gets busy, you just have to prioritize what needs to be done.  At the end of everything, you’re only one person who can do only so many things at once.
WHBC: What is the craziest thing that’s happened to you at work?
M: That’s hard!  I think everyday, there is something to laugh about.  That really is the key to serving – staying happy.
WHBC: So when you’re done working, what do you do to unwind?
M: Have a beer! haha.  I think most people in the service industry like to have other people wait on them for a change.
WHBC: What customer sticks out most in your mind?
M: Oh, so many!  I hate to leave anyone out.  3 o’clock Bob – we tease him if he comes in and it’s not actually 3! Fred, Karen, April, Mike, Connie, Julian – they’re all super nice.
WHBC: So one last question because I know it’s your day off.  Just for fun, if you were to walk into a spiderweb, what would you do?
M: Flail around spastically and then be paranoid the rest of the day that a spider was in my hair.  When I was younger, we’d have picnics.  To be funny, my dad would tie beetles to a string and pretend to fly  them around my head.  I would flail around so the string would wrap around my head.  So I then would lose my mind and continue to flail around the whole picnic until I got it off me.  Everyone would be laughing, and I’m sitting on the ground sobbing.  THAT was my childhood which is why I can tell people now, no matter what’s going on, to suck it up!
WHBC: {at this point I’m laughing hysterically also}  That’s funny.  Well now it’s funny, though I’m sure it wasn’t then.  Thanks for hanging out today Meagan!
Meagan 1
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