By Melissa James,York County Contributor
Across the street from Yorktown Beach is a building filled with everyone from York County regulars to people visiting the area from as far as the west coast.
Since 1987, the Yorktown Pub has served as a fabric of the community, welcoming any customer who comes through it’s doors with a warm greeting, superb service, delicious food and ice-cold drinks.
“I think the pub is an institution in Yorktown now,” said owner Dean “Dino” Tsamouras. “It’s a place to come to that’s been here for a long, long time. We’ve been here (Yorktown Beach) longer than anyone, except the monuments.”
Now known as the Yorktown Pub, the location was built in 1951 and went by the name “Gus’s.” The name changed to the Yorktown Pub in 1987, according to the restaurant's website, and the two current owners, Tsamouras and Rick Tanner, bought the pub in 2001.
Tsamouras, an experienced restaurateur whose family owns College Delly in Williamsburg, Goodfellas on Route 17, as well as multiple other restaurants in Hampton Roads and the Richmond area, bought the Yorktown Pub sight-unseen. According to him, it was the restaurant’s long-standing and exceptional reputation that prompted the purchase.
When Tsamouras and Tanner bought the business, they didn’t change much. Instead, the duo elevated the original pub menu by adding upscale and fresh foods. They also got rid of indoor smoking, Tsamouras added.
“Instead of Oscar Mayer meats, we serve Boar's Head. Instead of frozen or processed seafood, we buy all fresh and I really make a point to keep it local,” Tsamouras explained. “We buy from Gloucester, Mathews, Seaford, Poquoson and try to keep it as local as possible.”
The Yorktown Pub serves traditional American favorites, including burgers, sandwiches, side dishes and more. The restaurant is also known for its fresh seafood including oysters, clams, tuna, crab and more. It also has a full bar, featuring plenty of beer and liquor options.
Tsamouras refers to the restaurant as a chameleon because it serves diverse purposes, beyond just being an eatery and bar.
The pub is home to live music every Friday and Saturday night in addition to an open mic night every Tuesday. It’s also hosts parties, first dates and serves as a tourist destination. At the Yorktown Pub, there’s no certain customer base.
“It’s so eclectic here,” said front house manager Charlotte Lee. “You have families, it’s a military bar, it’s a biker bar. It’s all these things in one.”
During the summer, 12-year employee and current kitchen manager Lindsey Mason, said the pub sees an uptick of tourists rushing in and out of its doors. Some of the restaurant’s busiest days happen during annual events such as the lighted boat parade and Fourth of July, she added.
“Fourth of July is very busy and very grand here,” Tsamouras with a smile.
But the pub is not just a place for tourists. Inside, locals across Hampton Roads have made their mark on the Yorktown Pub as well as felt the restaurant’s impact on their own lives.
Long-time customer and pub regular Martin Chriscoe has been coming to the Yorktown Pub since 1987. The American flag that hangs on the right wall inside the restaurant was a gift from him. According to Chriscoe, the reason he continues to frequent the pub is simple: good people, good beer and, of course, the BLT sandwich.
Edward Odom also feels a strong connection to the Yorktown Pub. He raised his kids around there and his two daughters worked at the pub as teenagers. The pub currently employs around 50 people who work as waiters, bussers and parking lot staff, according to Mason.
“It teaches them hard work,” Odom said. “It teaches them how to relate to people. It teaches them work ethic. Both of my girls learned that here.”
Visit Yorktown Pub at 540 Water Street in Yorktown. The restaurant and bar is open 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday-Thursday and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday-Saturday. For more information visit, www.yorktownpub.com or call 757-886-9964.