Friday, April 16th, 2021

Shopper Client Stories


Delicious food and catering for every occasion

by Allison T. Williams

Sheri Spires-Skipper, owner of the Corner Cafe

Sheri Spires-Skipper, owner of the Corner Cafe

When Portsmouth resident Lucretia Mason-Underdue was searching out a venue for her husband's surprise 62nd birthday party in September, she didn't look far from home.

"I really liked the atmosphere and the ambiance of the Pavilion," Lucretia, a counselor at Churchland Academy, recalls. 

The Pavilion to which she refers is the social hall at Portsmouth's city-owned Bide-A-Wee Golf Course.  With vaulted cathedral ceilings and large windows overlooking the beautifully manicured golf course, the room is frequently rented for parties, weddings, and other special events. "It was the perfect place to celebrate with 170 to 200 guests," Lucretia notes.

The delectable food served- fried chicken, baked chicken, collard greens, mashed potatoes, homemade rolls, and cake- helped make Clyde Underdue's party an overwhelming success, Lucretia says.

"It was all delicious. It was perfectly seasoned- and you could tell it was freshly cooked that day," Lucretia notes, laughing. "I knew it was good when my mother, who is a caterer and a very picky eater, went back for seconds! I host a lot of events throughout the year, and I'll definitely be back."

That comes as good news for caterer Sheri Spires-Skipper, who opened the Corner Cafe at Bide-A-Wee in March. The restaurant is the exclusive catering company for all events held at the Pavilion.

The cozy 20-seat bar and grill, which is adjacent to the clubhouse at Bide-A-Wee Golf Course, overlooks the golf greens and opens out onto a bricked patio. On a recent late October afternoon, a group of golfers lounged on the patio, enjoying the cooler fall weather and finishing off their afternoon golf game with drinks, laughter, and lively conversations.

But golfers aren't the only patrons that the Corner Cafe at Bide-A-Wee is targeting. Sheri, a Portsmouth native, stresses that the restaurant is open to everyone.

"Although there is a fence around the golf course, we are not in a gated community," Felecia Smith, Events Manager at the Corner Cafe, says. "This is a public course, and our restaurant is open to everyone. The bar is open at night, so we invite everyone to come here, enjoy some great food and relax."

The Corner Cafe at Bide-A-Wee serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner from its traditional grill menu. Three days a week, patrons are offered different hot, home-cooked meal specials that are offered in tandem with Spires-Skipper's other restaurant, the original Corner Cafe.

Sheri and her husband, Tim Skipper, opened that restaurant in September 2014 at the intersection of Western Branch Boulevard and Rodman Avenue.  The upbeat Portsmouth eatery has a faithful following of customers who appreciate having a convenient "go-to" spot in the neighborhood to enjoy tasty food and connect with friends. The mood is relaxed and casual- a place where regular customers are on a first-name basis with their servers. "We have a lot of repeat customers," Sheri says, beaming with pride. "It stays busy. We've done well."

"We are a one-stop-shop for events.
The Corner Cafe does it all...
and we tailor each event
 to a client's specific needs."

- Sheri Spires-Skipper

"Although both Corner Cafe locations share some of the same offerings, the two restaurants don't duplicate menus," Bev Dortch, cook at the Bide-A-Wee eatery, explains. "The Corner Cafe at Bide-A-Wee offers more "grab-and-go' sandwiches, such as barbecues and hot dogs- foods that golfers can take with them to eat on the golf course. Patrons at Bide-A-Wee will find unique specials, including weekday soup-and-sandwich specials, daily happy hours with appetizers, and bloody mary and mimosa bars on Sundays. With the holidays on the horizon, both restaurants will be offering Thanksgiving meals this year, complete with hams and turkey, all the traditional sides, and dessert.

"Last year, we did 200 complete meals," Sheri says. "I expect it's going to be bigger this year. We're getting the word out early."

The Corner Cafe at Bide-A-Wee Golf Course

The Corner Cafe at Bide-A-Wee Golf Course

Although she worked in other restaurants for years, Bev says her culinary horizon has broadened during the four years she has worked for the two Corner Cafe restaurants.

"This is where I've blossomed because I've had opportunities to experiment," Bev shares with a smile. "I like trying new things in the kitchen. I might look at a recipe, but then I will add a pinch of this and a bit of that to it, and end up creating something new and delicious."

"Soul food is my specialty," she continues. "Fried chicken, macaroni-and-cheese, and collard greens are some of the most popular items we serve at Bide-A-Wee."

While catering events at Bide-A-Wee is the Corner Cafe's mainstay, those hosting events outside the golf course- from private family celebrations to corporate holiday parties- are taking advantage of the restaurant's services.

"We are a one-stop-shop for events," Sheri declares. "The Corner Cafe does it all- table linens, floral arrangements, setup and breakdown, and serving. We have everything that anyone could want, and we tailor each event to a client's specific needs."

 "We do all types of events, both inside and outside," Felecia adds, "from full meals to hors d'oeuvres. Our catering menu offers something for everyone's palate.

When Lynn and Gordon Wilder's daughter, Jessy, got married on October 12th, the family celebrated with a reception for 130 of their closest friends and relatives at the Bide-A-Wee Pavilion.

"Sheri really made it easy," Lynn says. "She met with us several times to go over seating arrangements and food.  She was so easy to work with- even when at the last minute we asked her to add an oyster bar and other desserts to the reception."

"Having the Corner Cafe's staff take care of setting up and dressing the tables, putting out party favors, and working with other vendors like the florist and bakery, alleviated a lot of stress for Jessy and the family," Gordon notes. "The food that they provided included baked salmon and roast beef, which was all incredibly fresh, hot, and tasty!  When all was said and done, the bride was delighted with the service she received from Sheri and the Corner Cafe. As the father of the bride, that was all that mattered to me."

Corner Cafe at Bide-a-Wee

1 Bide-a-Wee Lane
Portsmouth, VA 23701

(757) 393-8069