If you have ever wanted to stop by a store on your way home from work to pick up some fresh seafood, fresh garden veggies, specialty cut steaks and that perfect bottle of wine…your prayers have been answered. TBonz and Tuna has all of that and more to offer, along with personal service that cannot be matched. Newly opened in May, owners Pat Hilton, Craig and Terry Brooks bring a wealth of food service and business management experience to their new business, as well as a cornucopia of food and fresh seafood currently not available in Tappahannock. Terry says, “We saw that there was no place to buy fresh seafood locally in Tappahannock and after some research and discussion, we believed the timing would be right to open a store with personalized service and customized cuts of meat, high end deli meats/cheeses and a large variety of seafood.”
Pat has over 25 years of experience cutting meat. He began learning the ins and outs of the grocery business at the age of 14, under the tutelage of Junior Daw and Jimmy Haile at We-Tot’m. A couple of years later he was learning the basic job of meat cutter. Pat decided to stay in the business and had stints at Safeway and French’s locally, where he was trained to cut meat at a more extensive level. After moving to Richmond he took the job of meat cutter at Chucks Supermarket. He then went to Food Lion in Richmond and then back to Tappahannock. Thinking he needed a change of scenery, Pat took a position in a different field. “After 10 years in the wholesale beverage industry, I wanted to get back to my passion of cutting meat.” Pat commented. “The opportunity arose to live my dream and I went with it.” he said. Adding, “And here it is, TBonz and Tuna.” Pat has two children, Samantha and Camden, who also work at the store with their father.
Craig’s experience with seafood and food preparation comes from working periodically with two different caterers over the last 30 years. He has gained a wealth of knowledge in food safety and preparation and how to work under pressure and time constraints. “I started working with oysters and seafood over 30 years ago at Ferguson’s Seafood on Hoskins Creek. Helping Jerry Ferguson is where my passion to work with seafood began.” Craig stated. “After 32 years of owning/running Essex Glass and Graphic Signs, I was ready for a new adventure.” Craig concurs.
Craig’s wife, Terry, is part owner of TBonz and Tuna. She handles clerical duties and fills in when necessary with other tasks as well. Terry is also part owner of Real Media, Inc. (WNNT/WRAR) radio stations located in Tappahannock.
Boar’s Head Brand® Deli
The trio has chosen an immense selection of foods to develop a new niche in the area. TBonz and Tuna has a vast sandwich selection with Boar’s Head meats, cheeses and condiments which are all gluten free. Paired with Pepperidge Farms breads, it is a tasty combination. Many of Boar’s Head Brand® products are certified by the American Heart Association since they meet criteria for saturated fat and cholesterol. Customers can walk in or call ahead to place an order for pick up. Seating is also available if customers would like to eat in. There is a nice selection of sandwiches and all are handmade to order and served on Pepperidge Farms breads. Selections include wheat, white, rye and ciabatta breads. The deli items are available by the pound as well. They also carry an array of Boar’s Head items for purchase
in their cooler section, such as sauces, small packages of cheese, pickles, horseradish, goat cheese, dry salami, abruzzese and sopressata.
In the meat department, TBonz and Tuna is in a league of its own for this area when it comes to selection and personal service. Chicken is free range and is cut to order. They can custom order organic chicken as well. They also offer smoked meats, pepper coated meats and Felts Country Hams, all available whole or cut to order. Pat says, “Our hotdogs are the best you have ever tasted. They are 100% all beef Black Angus dogs and are just melt in your mouth delicious.”
All pork is cut to order also. Pork is available as pork tenderloin, baby back ribs, pork chops and pork ribs cut country or western style.
Personalized service is the main course at TBonz and Tuna. Order in any thickness or cut in Choice grade. Prime grades are available upon request. All beef is Black Angus and U.S.D.A. Choice. Beef cuts include T-bone (of course), filet mignon, NY strip, ribeye, porterhouse and sirloin steaks, all prepared exactly as you wish. They also make fresh ground beef every day to sell by the pound.
If you are looking for seafood, look no further, they have it all. In TBonz and Tuna’s cooler section they have frozen items not found locally. They have specialty items such as alligator sausage, sushi grade tuna, frog legs, crayfish, lobster tails, stone crabs, and more. All are subject to change seasonally.
On the fresh front, selections abound. Shrimp and crabs are steamed onsite. The soft shelled crabs and blue crabs are bought locally. Tuna and salmon are purchased whole and are de-boned, filleted and packaged on site. Fresh shrimp stuffed with crabmeat, smoked salmon, deviled crabs and bacon-wrapped scallops and homemade crab cakes are also available.
TBonz and Tuna has five to eight different varieties of fresh fish on hand each week. It is best to call ahead or stop by to see what is available. They also have, at any given time, jumbo lump and regular fresh crab meat, snow crab, flounder, cod and more.
Craig also makes several homemade seafood salads with his own recipes. Right now he is making fresh tuna salad, crab with shrimp salad, and a summer salad that includes veggies, crabmeat, shrimp, pasta and no mayonnaise. Call ahead and have Craig prep for your next seafood dinner…flounder stuffed with crabmeat or rockfish stuffed with crabmeat. In the fall, Oyster Rockefeller will be available.
TBonz and Tuna carries an abundance of items you will not find locally, much less in one location. You can find many Virginia grown and made products here including peanuts, salsas, sauces, jams and jellies, as well as barbeque and steak sauces, seasonings, pickles and chow chow. They carry the Chesapeake Bay Company line of products, which include crab dip, clam dip, shrimp dip, peanuts and mixers. They also carry award winning Gunther’s Gourmet products in a variety of marinades and a large line of all natural, fat free and low sodium salsas. Their distinctive flavors will make you fall in love with the different fresh tastes delivered by each jar. The Virginia Gentleman line is also on the shelves. This is comprised of several steak sauces and barbeque sauces.
TBonz and Tuna carries a variety of take home salads such potato, macaroni, three bean, chicken and fresh mango salsa. Danny and Melissa Allensworth with Leedstown Farms Produce supply TBonz and Tuna with fresh produce almost daily. The seasonal display has a variety of freshly picked produce ready to go home with you.
Don’t forget the bread for your meal. The Pepperidge Farm breads available for the handmade sandwiches are also available to purchase by the loaf. Martin’s Potato Rolls are also sold here. They are always perfect for making ham or roast beef biscuits for your parties.
TBonz and Tuna carries a large assortment of beer and wine. They have all the top name beer brands as well as many imports. If you are looking for any brand, import or specialty beer that they do not have in stock, they will be glad to order it for you. There is also a large selection of wines to pare with your meat and seafood dinners. Many cannot be found locally and many are Virginia and California wines. Names such as Rockbridge, Trinitas, Beronia, White Burg, Pouilly and Elizabeth Spencer, just to name a few, are well stocked.
Boaters and fishermen are in luck as well. TBonz and Tuna has just about everything needed to enjoy a nice day on the river. For boaters, enjoy coffee, fresh brewed tea, a variety of Coke and Pepsi products and ice for your coolers. They also carry paper products, snacks, chips, plus you can pick up a handmade sandwich or two for the ride. Being situated directly in front of the public boat ramp in Tappahannock on Dock Street, fishermen can stock up on supplies too. They can choose from a nice variety of bait as well, including frozen shrimp, squid, night crawlers and large blood worms.
TBonz and Tuna has it all, appetizers, vegetables, sides, main course meats/seafood and wine, all at one stop. To have the best personalized service around to help with your selection is just the cherry on top. For larger affairs, they are capable of preparing party platters. Anything from meat/cheese platters, bacon wrapped shrimp, scallops and steak, shrimp stuffed with crabmeat to fillets stuffed with crabmeat can be custom ordered. All of these are sure to be a hit with your guests. Call ahead and order seafood, meat and anything else they supply and it will be packaged and ready for pick up when you arrive. How’s that for personal service?
You can find TBonz and Tuna at 429 Dock Street, Tappahannock or call them at 445-TUNA (8862) to place an order or ask for specials of the week. Their website is a work in progress and will be completed soon, visit www.tbonzandtuna.com. Store hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
As an added bonus, gift certificates are available to share your newfound secret with family and friends.