The Virginia Beach restaurant scene, on display at the Sandler Center

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An exquisite exhibit of photos portraying the Virginia Beach culinary scene has opened at the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts.

“The Recipe” showcases more than 80 images, spread across the second and third floors in the Sandler’s art gallery.

The Virginia Beach Restaurant Association commissioned photographer Nathan W. Beck to capture all aspects of the journey, from food suppliers to customers to last call in the kitchen. The idea came about when Martha Davenport, executive director of the association, connected with Beck through a mutual friend over dinner at Il Giardino Ristorante.

“It took 18 months from conception to the reception,” she said.

Beck’s 35-year career has included photographing politicians, celebrities and sports figures. He’s also passionate about capturing life in restaurants.

“I love the opportunity of ‘The Recipe’ and putting Virginia Beach on the culinary map,” he said at the artist reception on Jan. 8.

He made more than 700 photos for the project, but the relatively few chosen have the ingredients to tell the story of the city’s food industry. Viewers can see the intricate details of the seeds on Pungo strawberries, thirst after an ocean blue drink at Rockafeller’s Restaurant, and admire the captivating Oceanfront from Orion’s Roof.

A second installment is planned for spring 2025 and a third in 2026.

Rekaya Gibson, 757-295-8809,; on X, @gibsonrekaya


If you go

When: During box office hours (10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays) and scheduled events; till March 23

Where: Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, 201 Market St., Virginia Beach. Later the exhibit will be at locations to be determined.

Tickets: Free