Tucked away next to the Kiln Creek Golf Center and Resort in the Kiln Creek subdivision is a restaurant called NEST. “We pride ourselves on the uniqueness of the fare we offer,” says Melissa Weston, food and beverage director. “Our food is scratch-made and we have a large Virginia craft beer selection.” The executive chef changes the menu four times a year. Specialties include cocktails and light appetizers. The atmosphere ranges from casual breakfast to drinks and snacks on the patio to a more formal indoor setting in the evening.
“Popular breakfast items range from omelettes and benedicts to breakfast tacos,” says Weston. “Signature selections include our NEST deboned wings and our house-made burger. It is as flavorful as steak,” she adds. The menu is chosen by NEST’s team and Weston, who is the “taste-tester.” “That’s not as great as it sounds,” she says. “Food is art. It is hard to critique and give honest feedback. I want to save people’s feelings. We do get other opinions.”
Weston eats at the restaurant a lot, of course. She samples regularly and watches quality control. “I love the breakfast menu best,” she says. Weston describes the food selections as “contemporary American,” with blended regional influences.
Weston is responsible for the hiring and scheduling. She has been at NEST since it opened and has extensive experience in the food and beverage industry. A graduate of Old Dominion University, where she studied business management, Weston worked there as a server. She has held various positions in a number of Peninsula restaurants. Most recently she spent 10 years at County Grill and was assistant general manager when she left. “I have held positions ranging from serving, bartending, bar management to restaurant management,” she says.
Weston is a beer enthusiast. “We support the local beer industry. We serve Virginia craft beers, handmade, limited quantity and limited distribution. We are working with local breweries to provide us with a brand that will be fresh and only available in our restaurant. We also support local tea and coffee products,” she adds. Does she have a favorite? “I like everything,” she says. How many brands has she tasted? “Probably a thousand,” she guesses with a smile.
The name “NEST” was suggested by the homeowners in the Villages of Kiln Creek Owners Association. It was selected from all of the ideas submitted. The website explains that the word can be a noun or a verb. It suggests a place to be comfortable (or “at home”). There is also a “figurative nod” to the community where NEST is located, and it is reflective of the iconic white egret, the Kiln Creek residential and business community logo.
Kiln Creek also provides a venue for a variety of events, including weddings, receptions, rehearsal dinners, holiday parties, corporate meetings or any type of celebratory occasion. Other staff members assist. Weston handles staffing, including hiring extra, temporary staff.
There is another kitchen in the main clubhouse, a part of the Peninsula Room. Weston is responsible for both locations. There are also beverage carts for the golf course. In the summertime, live music and other entertainment will be provided on the patio.
“Kiln Creek is a wonderful place to work,” Weston says. “I have learned a lot and I am excited about the plans I have for NEST. I have a number of goals that include continuing to elevate the quality of food we serve. My favorite part of my job is the feeling I get from making our customers happy,” she adds.
Weston has an eight-year-old daughter. “When I am not working, I spend my free time with her. She loves to bake and we enjoy trips to Starving Artist Studio or Rebounderz Trampoline Park,” she says. Weston lives in Smithfield and the historic downtown is one of her favorite spots. “My hobby is checking out new businesses, especially restaurants,” she says.
Asheville, North Carolina, is a special place for Weston. “It has great scenery, food and beer!” she says. Other travels include day trips to D.C., Richmond and Charlottesville. By checking out breweries and restaurants in other locations she is able to combine “business” with pleasure.
TO THE POINT:
NEST Kitchen and Taphouse
Address: 1003 Brick Kiln Blvd.,
Newport News VA 23602
Contact: Melissa Weston, food and beverage director