There is a love affair going on between pizza and myself, and Pizza Chapel in Virginia Beach may just be the perfect venue to take this serious affection to the next level.
Pizza Chapel is located in the former location of Virginia Beach Wedding Chapel, which relocated down the road off Birdneck. This neighborhood pizza parlor in Shadowlawn fits in surprisingly well with its surroundings, sharing a building with Back Bay Brewing, Gringo’s Taqueria and Zeke’s Beans & Bowls.
From the outside, it would appear completely unsuspecting as a wedding destination, but it’s the themed interior design that sets the mood for lunch and dinner. Brothers and co-owners Dany and Tany Ha spent months renovating the old building, scraping the interior and restructuring the look, along with Thom Smith of Moliar Group, a commercial and residential construction contractor based in Norfolk. “It kind of started as a joke, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it and just made it happen,” says Dany, who was a regular at the next-door restaurants.
Blooming bouquets of decorative flowers with light and dark patterns throughout adorn the walls, while framed pictures of album covers, from Etta James, Elvis Presley and Marvin Gaye, add a touch of cool retro. With my choice of tables at the time, I walk down the aisle and seat myself on the pews, which are remnants of the original chapel. Patrick Ryan of Benevolent Design Co. in Virginia Beach’s ViBe District crafted all of the restaurant’s seating, from the barstools to the tables.
The pews were refurbished by The Strip Joint in Norfolk and then re-stained. They are surprisingly comfortable, not rigid as they may have been in their former days. Patrons can literally be laid back, which is precisely the intention for the atmosphere and crowd that stops in to Pizza Chapel. The open space and young wait staff provide a relaxed vibe for good times, creating an instant hangout spot for groups of friends looking to grab a slice.
Before taking the plunge and going straight to eating pizza, there are some appetizers you’ll want to try first. The Fried Mozzies (fried mozzarella) are panko-breaded and fried, served on a plate accented by basil leafs. The real party pleaser, ideal for sharing, is Tying the Knot (garlic knots), crispy and neatly tied together. Lighter options are available, too, like the list of salads, including the Greek Wedding Salad.
When it comes down to the pizza, I’m happy to find 10 tempting options of specialty pizzas, along with build-your-own Prenup Pizzas. I choose the White Wedding Pizza and Veggie Lovers 12”. The White Wedding gives prominence to its rich and creamy cheese, topped with ricotta and mozzarella on pan-style, thick crust. My next bite is the Veggie Lovers, with sweet tomato sauce loaded with mushrooms, green peppers, olives, onions and tomatoes on the same pan-style crust.
With its hearty pizza selection, themed setting, selection of local craft beers and cordial wait staff, Pizza Chapel has some great ingredients and an enjoyable atmosphere that makes customers vow to return. And so, if asked if I recommend this place, I do.
Pizza Chapel is located at 637 10th St., Virginia Beach. Call 757-578-2882, or visit PizzaChapel.com for more info. On Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5–7 p.m., diners can enjoy slices of large, New York-style slices on crispy crust for just $1 a slice.