Transformation of the former Marina Restaurant to the Water’s Edge Grill is near complete, with the new operators offering an extensive menu to please a variety of customers.
Water’s Edge Grill, on the Camden Causeway, will open early next month, managed by John and Mai Chin. One of the couple’s sons and a business partner, Dr. Wayne Chin, a podiatrist on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, was in the Harbor of Hospitality on Friday afternoon to help get the restaurant ready.
“This is the ultimate makeover,” Wayne Chin said. “It was a larger project than the contractors expected and we expected, but we all buckled down and got it done.”
For many years, John and Mai Chin operated a restaurant near Portland, Ore., before retiring to Clearwater, Fla. Then, they decided they wanted to get back into the restaurant business. That’s when the couple and Wayne Chin acquired the property at a Nov. 30 auction.
Mai Chin said that the people in the Elizabeth City area have been quite helpful. “I like the area,” she said. “I like the people here.”
Asked what she believes makes a good restaurant operator, Mai Chin said treating a customer like he or she is almost like a family friend.
“And of course you have to give them good service and try to put good food on their table and make 'em happy,” she said. “They will come back.”
John Chin, who will be a chef, said that he welcomes customers’ comments. And he said he likes Elizabeth City because residents are kind.
“So, I’m happy with the people,” he said.
At Water’s Edge Grill, the building’s exterior and the first-floor interior have undergone major changes. The interior was completely redone, including the addition of new tables and chairs.
Wayne Chin said Water’s Edge will have the capacity to seat 80 customers.
On the front side, facing U.S. Highway 158, the first-floor interior includes a bar with 32-inch and 47-inch television screens and a renovated kitchen. Additionally, the rest rooms have been redone and meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards.
The middle area of the first-floor interior, with sliding doors, can be converted to serve as a private banquet room, with a 50-inch screen. The main dining area, which faces the waterfront, has three 32-inch television screens. Also, the restaurant has tables that can be placed on the waterfront deck to accommodate customers who want to dine outside.
Wayne Chin said that he wants to extend the deck, including out into the Pasquotank, so he can build 10 boat slips.
“We believe in Elizabeth City,” he said. “We love this city and we want to expand in this city and we want to bring the boaters into the city.”
“Elizabeth City has been good to us,” he said. “And we would like to return the favor.”
Water’s Edge Grill’s future menu will include steaks and ribs, raw or steamed seafood, hamburgers and sandwiches, pastas and salads.
The menu cover has an image of a dragon wearing a bib, with an image of a crab, and blowing flames on a steak. The renovated kitchen includes a trace of the Chin family’s Chinese heritage, as evidenced by the installation of a wok.
The restaurant has a team of chefs, including Harry Williams.
Williams worked at the former West End Restaurant when the restaurant, located off South Hughes Boulevard, was co-owned by his brother, local attorney H.P. Williams Jr. Also, Williams has worked at Thumper’s Downtown Bar & Grille and has done personal chef work on his own in the Albemarle region.
Williams said he senses potential for greatness for Water’s Edge Grill.
“There’s an opportunity here for me personally as a chef, living here in Elizabeth City,” he said. “The menu is very diverse. It’s going to be a little bit of something for everybody here.”
Water’s Edge will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, from 11 a.m. on Fridays to 2 a.m. on Saturdays and from 11 a.m. Saturdays to 2 a.m. on Sundays. The restaurant will be reachable by phone at (252) 337-9888.
Contact Bill West at email@example.com