When Field Guide first opened some four years ago, it felt like it could be the beginning of an institution.
Great design. Menu that set the place apart from the rest of downtown. The into-it staff. Most of all, the enduring mystique of Field Guide rested in the bar stools that looked out onto Granby, seats from which the city felt most alive.
It turns out, Field Guide won’t be an institution, but it served a just-as important purpose: it was a bridge between the dead Granby of old and the (relatively) hopping Granby of today.
The restaurant announced that they will be closing on December 2nd.
“It’s been four incredible years since we opened,” they wrote on their Facebook page, “and we’ve loved being part of Downtown Norfolk’s growing energy. With that said, it’s time for Field Guide to make way for new adventures and allow the next rad idea to move into our home at 429 Granby.”
Before there was Grain, there was Field Guide — and I wonder if, without genuinely vibrant places like Field Guide, if there ever would have been a Grain, all the new apartments, and a sense that downtown has finally come to a point of fruition.
John Porter and Dave Hausmann, the folks behind Field Guide, also own the successful Handsome Biscuit and Toast. Their newfound time after closing FG will be well spent.
“For John and I, we are driving our focus into Handsome Biscuit with the intent of opening more locations throughout the region over the coming years and we want Toast to continue building itself as a neighborhood spot,” said Hausmann. “Park Place has great potential and we’ve loved being part of this phase in its history.”
We all have bandwidth limitations, at some point. I love thinking about these two incredibly talented and dedicated people pushing their chips in the center of the table on Handsome Biscuit. It’s a concept that could be national. And wouldn’t that be fun, to be able to say that we’re from where Handsome Biscuit first started.
429 Granby is controlled by Drew Ungvarsky of GROW. Maybe you’ve heard of them. They do good things. The prime storefront is not going to become a competing Domino’s Pizza, I can promise you that.
“Having Field Guide in the space for the past four years has been awesome, and it’s had all the impact we hoped it would,” said Ungvarsky. “We’re excited about the next chapter, though, and look forward to sharing plans soon. I hope it goes without saying that Grow and I won’t be happy unless we move the needle.”
I will miss Field Guide, though. For a minute there it was indisputably ‘the spot’ downtown to hit up before a show at The NorVa or Virginia Stage, and always a great end point to the night. Thank you to John, Dave, and Drew for taking a chance on something different and fun. While Field Guide might not last forever, its impact will live on.