2QD Local: The Ten Top

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Welcome to 2QDLocal. In our 2QD Local posts, we’ll talk about different places that operate in or near the headquarters of the blog. If you’re not familiar, the blog is based in the area of Virginia know as Hampton Roads. Where is that?

Hampton Roads is the name commonly given to the southeastern area of Virginia.  For most non-natives, the most familiar sites within the realm would be Virginia Beach, Colonial Williamsburg, and quite possibly the minor league sports franchises in Norfolk, the Tides and Admirals.

All of those attractions are designed to attract tourists. 2QDLocal (2QDL) is not concerned with brochure-ready destinations. We’ll admit to cheating by choosing a restaurant for our first location. The place in question is The Ten Top, a small American foods shop in Ghent. 

We need to discuss more geography before we go in depth. Hampton Roads is divided into seven cities, which are in two areas.  In the north, we have the Peninsula which has the cities of Hampton and Newport News along with outlying areas like Yorktown and Williamsburg.  We then have the more populated Southside, which includes the cities of Chesapeake, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, and Norfolk. 

Norfolk is the home to The Ten Top.  Considered the “landmark city” of the region (the city on sports jerseys), it is the most urban of any of the localities. Notable institutions include Norfolk State and Old Dominion Universities, the Norfolk Scope, the Norfolk Naval Base, and Nauticus, which is a boring museum.

Within the city, there are of course several neighborhoods. Norfolk has a traditional downtown area, and some very artful neighborhoods very close-by. One of them is Ghent, which is the general area of Colley Ave and 21st Street. Amongst this area, you’ll find any number of hip bars as well as some local favorites like Fair Grounds Coffee, Cogan’s Pizza, and the Naro Theatre. 

An up-and-coming neighborhood is developing near the Eastern Virginia Medical School, in the proximity of Ghent. It’s going by the name of Chelsea, and is already home to places like specialty beer bar The Birch and Tortilla West. Still, the majority of the action is just up Colley Avenue in Ghent proper. 

One of those places is The Ten Top.  The restaurant is situated right off of the corner of Colley and Shirley Avenue. You won’t see it at first; it’s next to a Coin Laundry and behind a closed down Dairy Queen. Unlike most Ghent businesses, The Ten Top features a few spots to park directly in front.  On recent trips, 2QD has been able to park without a problem. 

Once inside, you’re greeted by spartan decoration. There are a few tables here and there, local art on the walls, a large chalkboard with rotating quotes, and a pinball machine. Dotting the tables are bowls that look like hands with napkins in them, which is a bit weird at first.

You order by going up to the counter, and choosing from the menu. Most orders will come with your choice of a side of chips, pasta salad, or fruit. On my recent excursions, I’ve opted for the classic chicken wrap with a bag of chips.

The Ten Top makes a traditional chicken wrap, with caesar dressing, romaine lettuce, and grilled chicken. Unlike some other wraps, it comes with salsa. For my taste, I find the salsa overwhelms the other ingredients when there is already a dressing within the wrap itself. Nonetheless, it’s a tasty result.

I’d highly suggest taking a trip to The Ten Top if you’re ever in Ghent.

Visit The Ten Top at www.thetentop.com

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