It’s fifteen minutes till two and you’re David-Hasselhoff-eating-a-hamburger fucked up. The bright lights come on at the bar, ruining the illusion of ‘flirting’ or ‘conversation’ you were having across the room through howling slurred sentence fragments. Thrown to the street, you soon find yourself staggering across the desolate post-hours city avenues and alleyways, fighting a losing battle against gravity. Either way, through drunken haze or double vision, it’s likely a few neurons of your still functioning brainstem will end up relaying primal urges for something greasy and satiating. You’d like to oblige: if not to remove the bile edge from the back of your throat, just to guilt-eat away the memory of that alley cat you just pissed on.
Article by Wade Hunter with photography by Fitz
(Lead photo of Wade Hunter outside of Dodge’s Chicken)
We’ve all been there–well, maybe―but the question is what to eat? Although three years sober and counting, I nonetheless bring a past lifetime of drunk bingeing and bad judgement in prominent cities across America to the table. Combined with the experience offered by the esteemed heathens Jimmy and Fitz, we set out to sample select foods of inebriated interest in the Hampton roads area.
(Entering the Bier Garden)
After sufficient pre-gaming for the two lab rats, we set out to Portsmouth for the renowned Bier Garden with me at the wheel as DDD (i.e., default designated driver). Fitz reminisced of one time being blown away by ‘perfect’ fingers while getting zugeknallt off of high ABV stouts at this particular location.
(Spatzle, Chicken, Mushrooms from The Bier Garden)
I have it on good authority that the Bier Garden is about as authentic as one can get, with an expansive exterior for sitting and enjoying a sunny spring with an equally inclusive food and beer list. We ordered the fried mushrooms, schnitzel bites, and the chicken fingers off an unassuming part of the menu. Everything was great, but the chicken fingers were incredible: perfectly tender inside, with a phenomenally gritty breadcrumb crust. Of course, go figure the Germans would be good at breading and frying things.
(Liev working at Mr. Shwarma)
In the past, my fondest memories of drunk food happen upon the pervasive pita stands lining the late night streets of Brooklyn. While plastered, there’s nothing as cheap that’s better than a edible pocket packed with four o’ clock falafel and veggies. Luckily, Mr. Shawarma is there to provide such delicacies of Israeli persuasion off of 21st street in Norfolk. Arriving with an appetite, we were treated with a hodgepodge of delicatessens.
Offering bowls, wraps, pitas, and plates, they cram each full of shwarma or falafel, and a superfluous amount of salads and sauces; it’s a cacophony of flavors that coalesce into something equal parts exotically and universally delicious.
(Falafel bowl & Shwarma pita)
Jimmy, our sound guy and fellow writer, had a stink to raise. All the places we had gone so far were fine for the professional day drinker, but for those looking for after-hours faire there is woefully little. We set out to a greasy spoon with decent notoriety known as Rick’s Cafe. It’s a true southern joint with Carolina-level sweet tea that has the kind of overhead lighting which keeps people honest and awake.
Jimmy seemed to enjoy his BBQ sandwich and fried okra. Usually breakfast food is a drunk staple, but we found the gravy and biscuits sub-par.
(Front door of Rick’s & BBQ w/ Okra)
Of course, Rick’s isn’t the only late night option. For the more discerning drinker who prefers a nice can of spray paint and a paper bag as accoutrements to his Four Loco, nothing could possibly beat an early morning trip to the infamous grease-hole Dodge’s Chicken for a deep-fried turkey leg. Wrapped in cellophane and kept scalding hot under high BTU heat-lamps from days prior, the entirety of it’s surface is coated in rancid fat and leathery skin, sheathing wonderfully undercooked turkey, reminiscent in flavor to Thanksgiving day MREs. The best part is, utilizing it as a club, you could literally mug someone with it before even taking a bite, relishing in the Neanderthal-like glee as you hobble back to your van by the creek.
Bier Garden: biergarden.com
Rick’s Cafe: rickscafevb.com