HAMPTON—The popular strip of road known as Queen’s Way in Hampton has always been a hub for outdoor activities. Visitors hankering for a local nosh or cold beverage have a number of different establishments to choose from including Marker 20, Pour Girls, Venture Kitchen & Bar, Brown Chicken, Brown Cow, and Goody’s Deli and Pub.
In the past, most of Queens Way would be blocked to vehicles during major festivals such as Bay Days and the Blackbeard Festival so pedestrians could freely stroll along and visit vendor booths set up along the road. The section of road between Kings Way and Wine Street was also blocked off to traffic during the summer Block Parties to allow a stage for live music to be set up on the Kings Way end.
In 2020, covid-19 presented new challenges for the restaurants on the strip as they struggled to keep their businesses open. As restrictions eased and they could start serving customers again, the city closed down the storied block once again to provide outdoor seating for restaurant patrons. The tables and chairs that were put out for socially distanced diners disappeared over the winter as the street opened back up, but it closed once again as the warmer weather of 2021 rolled in.
This was supposed to be a temporary measure until the state of emergency was lifted by Governor Ralph Northam. However, after receiving such positive feedback from restaurant owners and visitors, the city reconsidered and Hampton’s City Council unanimously voted to keep the street blocked for up to five years.
Even now that the covid state of emergency has expired, visitors still enjoy the outdoor dining experience and welcome the city’s decision. Local restaurant owners are also happy to have the increased capacity to help them increase revenues lost due to the pandemic.