The Surf Rider Story

    For many locals in the Tidewater area, Surf Rider is a name that has long been synonymous with terrific home-style cooking. In fact, Surf Rider first opened in May 1980 when Liz Massey and her son, Stanley, had an idea about serving up real home-style cooking. Together they would do it all- from cooking to serving to bussing and cleaning up. Mother and son built a restaurant that soon became a favorite spot for many, serving friendly fare.
    The original Surf Rider restaurant which was located in Virginia Beach at 17th and Mediterranean Streets, closed after 20 years. But, prior to it's closing, the family-run business gave birth to other locations which began popping up across Tidewater in 1988. The most recent opening was Laskin Road at the oceanfront in April 2007. After this latest opening there will be six locations in all-Still run by family members. Stanley Bennett and son, Chris, have a hand in running four of the locations, while Stanley's brother Jim runs a Surf Rider location on Newtown Road in Va. Beach along with a third partner, Bobby Pallet.
    What about Grandma Liz? Oh, she still has a hand in helping out too... weekly deliveries of her homemade pies and cakes grace the doorways of the various Surf Rider locations (much to the delight of the customers!). And Chris says, "you can still find her making her way through the kitchen patrolling the seasoning of vegetables and soups."




 Chris has taken the helm of the family business, while dad Stanley has taken a more "behind the scenes approach." Most days, you can find Chris hustling from one location to another writing down specials, placing orders, training new employees, handling book work or even cooking a few nights a week. A devoted staff helps keep things running smoothly at all locations.
   One factor Chris credits to the Surf Riders' successes are the many loyal, faithful employees they have had through the years. Many have moved up and onto positions of management at the various restaurants. In a way, the employees are like extended family-each taking a part in making sure the customers are happy and satisfied.
    The key to happy customers not only involves service, but in the great food at great prices. Seafood is a main feature on the menu, but one can also find hearty steaks and chicken dishes, too. On any given day, fresh fish is offered, most likely caught in local waters by Stanley Bennett himself. Hand-breaded seafood and made to order crab cakes are favorites, and the delicious assortment of homemade soups and vegetables keep the tables loaded with hungry patrons for both lunch and dinner. While generations of one family help keep the Surf Riders running smoothly, generations of satisfied customers keep coming back for more.

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