Downtown Norfolk’s Granby Street is buzzy with word that Codex, a haven for haute cuisine that’s down-to-earth and accessible, is doing lunch. But to be precise, Gunner & Marley’s by Codex is doing it.
Chef-owner Ian Hock gave his counter-service luncheonette in the garage-door-fronted space housing Codex a distinct moniker to signal that it’s even more informal than his easygoing dinner (and monthly brunch) destination.
Playing up just how relaxed it is, he named it after his two pit bull rescues. That’s 12-year old Gunner and three-year old Marley on the logo, waggishly riding tandem; building and repairing bikes being a hobby of Hock’s during his rare spare time (until recently he also ran Lil ‘Za Pizzeria inside Veil Brewing).
While G&M is primarily grab-and-go—whoa—don’t expect a sorry, assembly-line sandwich. A la Codex, everything is scratch-made in virtuoso fashion. A tuna melt means fresh loin poached with lemon, layered with white cheddar and signature Virginia Ian’s Hot Sauce on brioche bun. The Thai salad’s peanut dressing makes kale, red and napa cabbage, bell peppers, carrots, mint, cilantro and mango sparkle. And you know Hock swears by his smash burger: it’s tatted on his left forearm, a hair away from where his wife is inked.
“Of course, you can stay and eat here, too,” Hock says thoughtfully. If you do, you’ll visually feast on paintings and photos by noted local artists like Dathan Kane. “We have so many great creators in this community,” he reasons. “It’s a no-brainer.”
Hock does display one piece that wasn’t produced nearby. It’s part of a Polaroid transfer print series entitled Codex by his late dad, Rick McKee Hock, whose work can be found in MOMA’s collection in New York.
Artwork extends off the wall onto tabletops. Hock plates his divine fettuccine, chicken liver tarts and more on ceramics by Sherród Faulks; the Portsmouth-based designer’s soulful pottery befitting the understated, of-the-moment milieu. Faulks has been a Codex regular since its birth as a pop-up in Ghent’s Pendulum Fine Meats in 2018 (see article about Sherród Faulks on page 14). Codex moved Downtown two years ago and celebrated its first anniversary with an ACLU fundraiser (more events benefiting the organization are anticipated).
After a summer vacay in August, lunch service is scheduled to return this September, limited to Tuesday through Thursday, as if Hock is popping up in place, a kind of loopy mise en abyme, a story within a story. To be continued…
Learn more at CodexVa.com.