New restaurants offer escape from everyday eats

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April 27, 2010

4:06 AM

*Cheap drinks reconcile for pricey meals*
__By Caitlin Shoemaker__

Conveniently located in the former Lenny’s Gourmet location on Prince George Street, The Short Stop Market and Deli, which opened in early April, is the perfect location for grabbing a sandwich or a snack from the upstairs convenience store and then pre-gaming at the bar in the basement before heading out for the night.

The biggest perk of the whole package — aside from the $1 Natural Ice and $2 Tumbler nights — is that anything you order comes with free delivery — including groceries and beer — to anywhere in Colonial Williamsburg. Unfortunately, it closes at 10 p.m. due to zoning restrictions, but even at 6 p.m. on a Tuesday there was already a crowd of College of William and Mary students at the bar taking advantage of the cheap drinks.

There is no drink menu yet, which is strange considering the full bar, but the deli offers daily specials upon request. It would certainly be a great spot to try again, if only for the beer.

As for the sandwiches, price is the only real issue. The “Build Your Own” option is more economical: for $7.99, customers get a choice of bread, two meats, two cheeses, unlimited toppings and sauces. However, chips, sides and drinks are extra, and they add up to be quite a pricey meal for college students.
The sandwiches are slightly more expensive, but extremely delicious, and made with Boar’s Head meat and cheese and homemade sauces. All sandwiches are toasted except for the paninis, which are grilled.
The menu is pretty extensive for a sandwich shop, offering salads, sandwiches, paninis, The Brown Bag Special — $5.49 for a basic sandwich, chips and small fountain drink in a brown to-go bag — the Build Your Own option, kids meals, sides and soups. The convenience store has anything from cases of Budweiser, to Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, to jars of peanut butter. It’s actually quite an ingenious idea: a convenience store by the entrance/exit to a bar where college kids are hanging out. The Short Stop also caters.

The relaxed environment makes it easy to forget that the sandwich shop is located in Colonial Williamsburg. The setting makes it a good place for groups to gather — to hang around the bar watch a sports game, or to mingle. The basement is a tiled room with a simple bar, a large flat-screen and barstools in one corner, wooden tables and tacky framed paintings in the other corner, and an order pick-up window in the middle. Admittedly, the juxtaposition of the two clearly different sides feels a little odd. It’s nothing too fancy, but it’s great for informal sandwiches and drinks. Luckily, it is not constantly swarming with tourists, and serious 90s jams are being played over the speaker system. The waitstaff, is young, friendly and eager to help. The campus WiFi reaches the restaurant, so it can be a great place to chill out away from campus.
Overall, the Short Stop gets one thumb up and one thumb down. One thumb up for the inexpensive drinks and the unique grocery and sandwich idea, but one thumb down for the prices and portions. It’s definitely worth trying the sandwiches if you are willing to spend $10 for your meal, but it’s nothing more special than the Marketplace — the meal plan is also about $10 per meal. Unfortunately, the sandwich business is covered by the already-established Cheese Shop, which has managed to succeed at comparable prices. Regardless, in a college town that caters more to tourists than students, the Short Stop Market and Deli will hopefully be able to attract day-trippers in Williamsburg, while still offering College students another much-needed place of entertainment.

*Espresso and wine come together under one establishment*
__By Lindsey Hundley__

Terra, which opened March 29 on High Street, is an espresso bar by day and a wine bar by night, located within a five-minute drive — or a manageable 35-minute walk — from campus. It offers a quiet, classy atmosphere that’s perfect for an evening of relaxation after finishing a final.

The Terra wait staff is pleasantly friendly and highly attentive. Seating options are varied and interesting — there is a cozy lounge and an elegant dining area, as well as classic bar seating. The concrete floor is unique, and mosaic tiling gives the room a warm vibe that adds to the relaxing atmosphere. Additionally, the large window areas provide a wonderful view of the outside patio and the fountain in the center of High Street, where many other entertainment and restaurant options are available.

During the day, the Italian-inspired espresso bar serves Illy coffee. If you’re a fan of Starbucks, you’ll definitely enjoy the drinks offered here. You can also order pastries such as scones, danishes, biscotti and croissants to accompany your cup of joe. Unfortunately, classic breakfast foods and lunch items are not offered here.

At night, the restaurant turns into something a little bit different. The establishment transforms into a wine bar that offers customers a chance to try a variety of wines that are rarely available by the glass at similar establishments. To complement their delicious wines, Terra offers a variety of salads, cheese and hummus platters, as well as appetizer-like dishes under the category of “hot ‘nibbly’ things.”

Unfortunately, the title of “nibbly things” is all too appropriate. Although all of the food is very well prepared, Terra is definitely not the place to go if you’re especially hungry. With most dishes starting at $10, the pricing of all the food is somewhat expensive, especially considering portion size. All in all, Terra is not very conducive to most college students. It seems to be aimed more at the middle-aged workers who would stop by to grab a drink with colleagues after a long day at work. However, if you are looking to escape the typical college atmosphere, Terra may still be a good choice — if you’re willing to spend a few extra bucks for a special occasion.

*Secret hideaway provides high-quality coffee to local residents*
__By Walter Hickey__

Williamsburg is teeming with great places to eat — some within students’ budgets, some reserved for more special nights. The coffee scene in Williamsburg is similar. Most students don’t feel the need to go very far off campus for coffee, seeing as the Daily Grind, Meridian and Wawa certainly satisfy the most pressing caffeine cravings and are close to — if not on — campus. But there is quite a bit off campus in the realm of java that warrants exploration. Few know about Harbour Coffee, the site of perhaps the best coffee in town for a reasonable price.

Harbour Coffee, practically hidden in the back corner of New Town, has been in operation for almost three years now. Due to the labyrinthine New Town road scheme, it has unfortunately not seen a lot of student business. They have a variety of lattes, all hand-made, all delicious, and all affordable. Harbour is the ideal place to grab a cup of premium joe and study for finals. The casual atmosphere won’t erode your sanity like Mews does, and the fresh smells and great, affordable food will keep you fueled for whatever test you have coming your way. The paninis are fantastic and the selection is otherwise delicious.

Whatever your preferred coffee-based beverage is, Harbour presents a custom spin on old favorites. Try the Ivory Mocha — a delicious white chocolate latte — or the Aunt Bee’s Latte, which seamlessly combines fresh honey with espresso. The coffee itself is top-notch and ground in house, and Harbour also sells wholesale beans for reasonable prices. Another invitation for students knee-deep in finals is the chance to relax, work with free WiFi, and order a pot of premium French press coffee to sustain them, all for pretty cheap prices.
The major issues with Harbour are essentially the location and the hours of operation. If you can get to New Town and find it on the first try, kudos to you. If it’s open, you get several more kudos. Open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and closed on Sundays, it’s not exactly open at ideal times for student visitation, especially given the hassle it takes to get to New Town and back. The good news for folks spending the summer here is that they expand hours during summer months to be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Perhaps Harbour Coffee is best described by the testimonial on the back of the menu: “well worth the effort to find.” If you’re looking for that transcendent cup of coffee and Wawa isn’t scratching the itch, head over to New Town, and make a go of it.

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