Cape Charles Mirror Report
by Wayne Creed
“The first recorded subdivision of Eastville occurred in 1773 when 40 acres of land on the west side of Courthouse Road south of the courthouse were surveyed. John Tazewell divided the parcel into half-acre lots. The courthouse green was located on the northernmost lots numbered one through four. A tavern was located on two lots south of the courthouse…was located in Eastville and operated as early as 1724. James Taylor purchased six lots south of the courthouse in 1780 and constructed Eastville’s second tavern. This tavern was called the Taylor House and is currently known as the Eastville Inn. The tavern served as the center of Eastville’s social life and was conveniently located next door to the courthouse”-from United States Department of the Interior National Park Service NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES
In recent years, the historic Eastville Inn has struggled to produce a successful restaurant venture. Under Brent Schmidt’s ownership, even with five star cuisine, the old Inn just could not make a go of it– whether it was location, lack of immediate local clientele, or a combination of factors. The old Inn, standing vacant in the heart of our County seat, is something no County resident wants to see. But that is hopefully all about to change. Eastville chef and caterer Louise Oliver has applied to lease the Inn.
Louise and her husband Stuart have been Eastville residents for 26 years, and in fact reside just a ten minute walk away from the Inn. Mrs. Oliver has extensive experience in the hospitality industry, working around the world in Australia, London and Southeast Asia, honing her skills in catering and marketing, and is rated a gourmet chef. Mrs. Oliver has completed graduate work from Cornell University in the Hospitality Management Program. Locally, she is certified by the State as a food management professional. The Olivers have created an LLC named Kitchen Sync which will be dedicated to custom catering.
As a way to negate risk to the County, Mrs. Oliver has also offered to pay the yearly rent up front and in full, along with a damage deposit and a liability policy. According to Mr. Oliver, “The Inn has not been successful as a restaurant we can agree on that. There is a large kitchen and dining area. It would be immediately utilized as a catering operation. The dining room will be available as a banquet and special events location venue for family gatherings, receptions and private events. The goal is to eventually break out from the core catering to serve lunch to the Courthouse crowd.”
The proposed use by the Olivers is consistent with the historical building status of the Inn. The structure is currently very sound, and according to the applicant, will require no alterations or enhancements “for the proposed use and is consistent with the County’s proposed objective to bring business to the area.” The new operation hopes to create several part time jobs and may create some full time positions, as well as part time help needed for events and receptions.
According to Mr. Oliver, “It is our hope to be making some lunch packages for take out. There is also a small area to eat in house. We plan to proceed slowly and methodically to make this a successful operation. We want to walk before we run and not make this another failed venture. We feel confident the catering will carry itself with no problem. Well thought out, with very nice food being served. This will be done right, in small increments, with our core business plan centered around catering and as a venue.”
Supervisor Lemond added, “I’m very happy someone is willing to try the Eastville Inn again; Mrs. Oliver has a great reputation, is an excellent cook, we wish her well.”
The consensus of the Board was that a contract would be drawn up next week, once County Administrator Katie Nunez returns from vacation.