The Egg Bistro
Not Your Father’s Breakfast Diner
When friends Mike Touhy and Doug Stumps realized their community lacked breakfast dining diversity, they spotted opportunity served in a Mimosa glass.
“We saw only a few traditional breakfast diners in the area,” explains Mike Touhy, co-owner. “We had a hunch that Chesapeake was ready for something more upscale and fun that also featured a full-service bar for mimosas and Bloody Mary’s.”
Named The Egg Bistro, its slogan accurately reflects Touhy and Stumps’ beyond-breakfast vision: “An independently owned neighborhood bistro that provides fresh, innovative food in a hip, family environment.”
They confidently gutted an existing coffee shop in town and created the original 110-seat Chesapeake location with their own hands, emphasizing bright and colorful decor.
The dining duo kept it simple with a soft opening supported by guerrilla marketing tactics: signs, flyers, business-to-business relationships and hitting-the-pavement-word-of-mouth. All led to an outlook that was nothing less than sunny-side up when they opened The Egg Bistro– Chesapeake in 2007.
“We way underestimated the customer excitement and traffic; we had lines down the block,” Mike exclaimed. “We definitely learned a lot. When we planned the restaurant, we thought we could get away with less. We quickly had to add more equipment in our kitchen to meet the demand. Our second restaurant opened more smoothly; we were ready this time.”
A glance at photos and videos on The Egg Bistro’s Facebook page and website shows how irresistibly attractive they’ve made the experience, with fun servers, eye-opening ambience, creative drinks and a unique menu that keeps things fresh and inviting. Even more important are the deep and personal relationships the owners and staff maintain with their community. Customers can find either Mike or Doug on site, supporting staff and talking to diners, and their social media channels have a very active, engaging and personal touch.
“We always say, if we get ourselves involved in the community, do a lot of fundraising with schools and hospitals and community organizers, and back it up with good food and service, they will keep coming,” explains Mike. “We are all one big family, with our staff, our customers and our community.”
The traffic and loyalty has been solid, reports Mike. In response to customer feedback, The Egg Bistro now serves a dinner menu Wednesday through Saturday nights. At any time of day, The Egg Bistro menu features dishes way above the ordinary, with favorites like bacon-wrapped asparagus and cinnamon-swirl French toast. Locally-sourced Edwards Pork products make multiple appearances on the menus, creatively served in main dishes, sides and appetizers: Black and Bleu Benedict features blackened strip steak, bleu cheese crumbles, poached eggs and hollandaise; Green Eggs and (Edwards) Ham is served as a unique starter, an avocado and bacon twist to the deviled egg. All menus are colorfully annotated with symbols for Gluten Free, House Special, Egg dishes, or a Fitness Healthy Choice. And, then there’s the memorable Bloody Marys ...
“We know Chesapeake has ‘arrived’ when you can get Bloody Marys with your breakfast,” exclaims Sheriff John Newhart, Chesapeake’s former sheriff of 42 years, and Virginia’s longest serving sheriff.
With the success of the Chesapeake location, The Egg Bistro was served up to Suffolk a few years later. The ‘egg-trepreneurs’ continue to grow, with a third location in Virginia Beach being planned.