Tastemaker: Laura Wood Habr of Crocs 19th Street Bistro, Virginia Beach

by: Amy Ciarametaro

Laura Wood Habr of Crocs 19th Street Bistro in Virginia Beach reflects’ “Virginia’s spirit” in everything she does! She has been waving the local flag long before people realized the value in Virginia products (i.e., before it was hip). In addition to working with local food purveyors, she’s a proponent of all things liquid Virginia. “Local Spirits – Lift Spirits and our Local Economy,” is Laura’s mantra. Not only for September #VaSpiritsMonth – but all year-round she’s offering eight Virginia cocktails for $8, all featuring vodka from her neighbor’s at Chesapeake Bay Distillery . Laura has been highlighting Chesapeake Bay Distillery on her ‘Green Drinks’ menu for eight years! The full cocktail menu can be seen below.


Laura is also a steward of protecting our local resources, which is why we love her even more! Her restaurant is Virginia Green certified with sustainable organic and local practices. She partners with local nonprofits like Lynnhaven River Now to recycle the restaurant’s shells to rebuild local oyster reefs, and the Virginia Aquarium Sensible Seafood Program to serve ocean friendly seafood. Oh, did I forget to mention she has solar panels for her hot water system, uses rain barrels to collect water for her on-site chef’s garden and a free car charging station for electric cars? She also features a local farmers market in her parking lot every Saturday. Furthermore, Laura’s a big fan of supporting the local arts with the newly formed ViBe Creative District, as seen by the photograph of her in front of the mural painted outside of Croc’s by local artist Kat Hicks.


Stop on by this September #VaSpiritsMonth (or any time of year for that matter!) and sample Laura’s #VaSpirits cocktails / ‘Green Drinks’ menu, including:

Rosemary Lemon Drop Aroma-tini: Croc’s signature aroma-tini. Fresh squeezed lemon juice. House-made simple syrup. Local Blue Ridge Vodka from Chesapeake Bay Distillery. Garnished with fresh rosemary from our garden.

Clean Martini: A play on the Dirty Martini. Muddled cucumber. Blue Ridge Vodka from Chesapeake Bay Distillery. Garnished with a cucumber

Beet Martini: Local Beets from Old Beach Farmers Market. House-made Beet Simple Syrup. Local Blue Ridge Vodka from Chesapeake Bay Distillery. Rosemary garnish from our garden.

Caprese Martini: A caprese salad in a glass. Fresh basil muddled with grape tomato. House-made basil syrup. Blue Ridge Vodka from Chesapeake Bay Distillery. Garnished with basil, grape tomato, mozzarella cheese on a bamboo skewer.

Lavender Lemonade Martini: Croc’s garden-fresh house-made Lavender syrup. Fresh lemon juice. Local Blue Ridge Vodka from Chesapeake Bay Distillery. Lemon and lavender for garnish.

Thyme for a Martini: Croc’s garden fresh house-made thyme rosemary and sage simple syrup. Local Blue Ridge Vodka from Chesapeake Bay Distillery. Garnished with fresh rosemary, sage and thyme from our on premise garden.

*Rapid Fire with Laura Wood Habr of Crocs 19th Street Bistro*

#VaSpirits: Where were you born?

Laura: Virginia Beach; been there for three generations!

#VaSpirits: Tell us about the new menu at Croc’s 19th Street Bistro.

Laura: My husband and I are co-owners. While I run the front of the house operations, my husband Kal manages the kitchen and is the main reason for the exciting Middle Eastern menu additions. Kal is from Lebanon and is known for family recipe-inspired dishes that have long been requested for parties, family gatherings and catering events. We now proudly serve taboule and fatoush salads, baba ghanoush, meat pies with seasoned ground beef and pine nuts, kefta, tawouk pita wraps, garlic french fries and more!

#VaSpirits: Tell us some fun tidbits about your daily routine.

Laura: I support our local coffee shops and artisans in the ViBe Creative District and at our Old Beach Farmers Market, which is the neighborhood surrounding our restaurant. I really enjoy the comradery and conversations of our other local creatives.

#VaSpirits: Why do you support Virginia/local producers?

Laura: It is important to support local farmers, distillers and producers. Simply stated, it makes for a better business environment for all of us.

For more information on Crocs 19th Street Bistro, visit their website or follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

Photo credit: Jay Paul