it’s 2006 and erick heilig is heading up a kitchen in a successful downtown norfolk restaurant, when a series of what seemed to be unfortunate events takes place. really long story short, the restaurant he’s working in closes without warning.
so just like that, erick is out on the street. bandana on stick and sautee pan in hand, he’s a man without a country. a chef without a kitchen. erick recalls his mind being dominated by just one thought: “it’s time.”
clichés become clichés for good reason, and that “one door closing” saying has never been more true. serendipity took over and it wasn’t long before erick found the perfect little spot at the virginia beach oceanfront. everything seemed to fall into place. and the best part? this time it was all his.
the location had been many restaurants in the past, including the long-time virginia beach fave, ciolas’s. (remember ciola’s?) the place needed some serious love though. erick did the build out himself, with support from family and many friends. sweat equity soon paid off and eat: an american bistro was born in October 2006.
with paul benton (erick’s right-hand man) by his side, and many members of his former crew, eat opened to rave reviews. the creative food and casual atmosphere soon had many fans. fast forward – present day. it’s been 10 years, and the creativity has never stopped. erick, paul and staff continue to wow customers and convert fans daily.
the dream? oh it’s real, my friends.