Cove Tavern: Great food, great service, great scenery

Vanessa Williams, general manager, Cove Tavern (Photo by Terilyn Goins)

By definition, a cove is a “small indentation or recess in the shoreline of a sea, lake or river… a sheltered rock.” It’s a little harbor or place of refuge. A getaway of sorts, where the world outside fades away into a distant fog of a memory, if only for a moment.

Cove Tavern, located in the heart of City Center, embodies the essence of a refuge, a place to retreat from distress. With its picturesque view of the lake and fountains, nestled in a space rich with foliage and its small-town community feel, the Cove beckons guests to a place of beauty and tantalizing scents.

With recipes that are primarily homemade, the Cove offers a menu that is sure to delight — whether it’s the breakfast buffet, specialty Cove entrees and burgers or the Cove fresh seafood dishes — no palate will leave wanting. “We are able to do whatever modification a customer may want since nothing is already prepared. We can make whatever you like,” says Vanessa Williams, general manager.

Cove Tavern became a part of the City Center community in 2013, with Williams taking over the restaurant a year ago. Having been in the restaurant business since she was 13 years old, Williams says the greatest challenge she faces is her desire to please everyone who walks through the Cove’s doors. “I want to make sure everyone is happy — staff and guests — and I want everyone to enjoy his or her experience here. I push teamwork a lot. It’s the only way to succeed,” says Williams.

To appeal to various demographics, Cove Tavern is stepping up its game. A new menu soon to be launched will include some of the classic trendy and healthy options people desire, focusing more on community rather than late night crowds. The restaurant is striving to be a place that’s good for everyone, extending beyond the four walls of the restaurant. “We do a lot of charity events and fundraisers in which we host the event and give the proceeds back to the charity,” says Williams. Specifically, the Cove has hosted events for Menchville House, Relay for Life, SPCA, United Way and Mariners’ Museum. “A lot of our regular guests are associated with these charities, and we want to be able to give back because they give so much to us,” Williams says. Additionally, the Cove now offers weekly live music performances, trivia night and brainstorming activities specially designed for the little ones.

Along with her restaurant duties as general manager, Williams is a certified RN and a mom to three little girls, ages 8, 5 and 2. “I’ve been in business for a long time,” says Williams, “and I’m very much a people person. My kids drive me to do and be better.” And that drive is what keeps Williams focused on making the Cove the best it can be.

“If people want great food, great service and great scenery,” says Williams, “the Cove is the place to be. We can’t control customers and their attitudes, but we can control how we react to them. And, when customers leave, we want them to want to come back.”

Cove Tavern
Address: 711 Lakefront Commons,
Newport News, VA 23606
Phone: 757-596-1830
Contact: Vanessa Williams, general manager

About Terilyn Goins, Ph.D. 63 Articles
Dr. Terilyn J. Goins is a motivational speaker/vocalist, trainer and coach. She offers a wide variety of training and motivational music programs. Goins creates programs that educate, inspire and challenge participants. Visit or reach her at 757-303-7807 or by email at

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