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Ivy Gilmore and Ashley Thurman make frozen mango sangrias at Portside Grill and Bar on July 13.
Portside employees Ivy Gilmore, Sam Aguilera and Zach Cromwell hustle to get food out to the tables at the on-the-water bar and grill.
Ashley Thurman shows off a slice of the Portside's chocolate-dipped key lime pie on a stick.
Sam Aguilera fires up a batch of chili-lime wings on the grill July 13.
Friday, August 16, 2013
Portside Grill and Bar at the Virginia Dare Cruises and Marina in Moneta serves up plate after plate of burgers, foot-long hot dogs, and, of course, the Cuban sandwiches and chili-lime bone-in wings for which it is known.
“It’s pretty much the only reason people come here,” Sam Aguilera said, jokingly.
Aguilera, who works the grill making wings at the popular waterfront restaurant, has been working for the Virginia Dare Cruises and Marina for a decade, since he was 15.
Waitresses and cousins Ivy Gilmore of Roanoke and Ashley Thurman of Bedford explained one of the requirements of working at Portside — you gotta like to have fun.
“This is the lake. You can’t be a bummer. People come here to be happy so if they’re unhappy, it doesn’t work out,” Gilmore said.
“Well, we just make them happy,” Thurman adds.
Gilmore who lives on a houseboat at the marina said she enjoys her job.
“I got a 30-second walk to work,” she said. “You get a lot of regulars in here. I wouldn’t go anywhere else.”
By the looks of the crowd, the customers agree. On weekends, customers clamor on the deck next to the cruise ship for good eats and cold drinks.
On a recent Saturday afternoon, employees moved quickly on the small deck near a barbecue pit and bar and served a nearly full house.
“It’s actually kind of slow for a Saturday,” Gilmore said.
Sam agreed, “Yeah, this is nothin’.”
General manager Alice Swain said that while Virginia Dare is the draw, Portside holds its own with many local families coming every day on the weekends. There are courtesy boat slips at the marina, she added.
“All I gotta say is, you open a bar, they will come,” she said.
Swain said Portside is family-oriented , which is one of the reasons it serves only beer and wine. She doesn’t want to attract customers whose main interest is in doing shots of alcohol.
Portside is open at noon on Fridays and at 11 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
“We have opening times. We don’t have closing times,” she said. “If we’re busy, we stay open.”
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