POQUOSON — 1631 is now not only the year Poquoson was first mentioned in county records, but also the name of a new Burger, Cafe, and Bourbon concept.
1631: Burgers, Bourbon, and Brews opened at the former location of the Barking Dog, which closed its doors in September. Owners and military veterans who made the area their home, Mike Harris and Jeremy Nance used to be frequent Barking Dog when they found out that business was closing.
“I was thinking about what I wanted to do once I retired from the Navy, and I started with the idea of a coffee shop since there is no coffee shop [in Poquoson],” Harris recalled. “But then when my favorite watering hole, the Barking Dog, was closing down, and thought maybe I could come into this space with something more than coffee.”
It was then he picked up his business partner, Nance. The two decided on a concept of burgers and bourbon, followed by brews to represent both the coffee and beer aspect of the business. 1631 officially opened its doors March 9.
“1631 is the year Poquoson is first mentioned in county documents, making it the longest continually named city in Virginia,” Harris explained. “So we thought that was a pretty good name to use here in Poquoson.”
Burgers and apetizers are the focus of the menu.
“We kept our menu small so we could be really good at the one thing we do,” Harris explained. The business hasn’t ruled out expanding its menu in the future.
While the restaurant cafe aims to help increase the town’s popularity, it wants to remain loyal to its local customers. It plans on launching a bourbon club, with special events for members featuring tastings, education, and flights featuring Virginia distilleries.
“You have to go through the VABC to get everything and we’ve had our license for about two months. We’ve got a pretty good collection considering that short period of time. But obviously, more time gives access to better and rarer bourbons. So by the end of the year, we should have a pretty good selection of bourbons which will only make our bourbon club all that more fun,” Harris commented.
The business does feature other spirits, however, the selection is restricted to Virginia distilleries, where the bourbon selection is not.
According to the owners, the most fun they have had working on the business has been the creativity. They designed and worked on most of the decor themselves to achieve something as close to their vision as possible.
“A lot of it was as we went and looked at Pinterest boards, we pieced it together into what we see now,” Harris stated. “If we went with a contractor it would not have looked like this. It would have been done a lot faster, but our very first vision probably didn’t look exactly like this.”
To learn more about 1631: Burgers, Bourbon, and Brews visit its official webpage.