Sawdust Road is a coffee shop with artistic spirit in the heart of Pungo

Sarena Corcoran, 16, of Red Mill prepares an order at Sawdust Road, which offers coffee, eats and a selection of work by local artists at the former site of The Tar Roof in downtown Pungo. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]

PUNGO — The name has changed, and coffee and lunch items have been included in the offerings, but locally-inspired art and photography still are a primary focus at Sawdust Road, which opened this past month in the vintage house formerly occupied by The Tar Roof.

Eddie Compo and his wife Kristine Compo, former owners of The Tar Roof, started this new venture with business partner John DeWald. The venue and the art will seem familiar to The Tar Roof’s patrons, but it’s an entirely new business, the partners said.

The Tar Roof closed after the Christmas holidays, and — with the exception of the weekend of the Pungo Strawberry Festival — remained closed. But Sawdust Road is going strong.

“We’ve totally restructured and rebranded,” Eddie Compo said.

Beverages include a variety of iced and hot coffees and teas, juices, and smoothies.  Breakfast and lunch items include yogurt parfaits, salads, sandwiches, and, for dessert, a shortcake made from Cullipher Farm’s peach muffin tops, ice cream, and a specialty topping called “Pungo berry coulis.” 

The coulis, also used in the yogurt parfaits “is like an uncooked jam,” said Eddie Compo, and it’s made with locally grown berries in season.  

The coffee shop also features baked goods by Pungo Pantry. Salads and sandwiches feature locally-grown produce in season, and right now the offerings include arugula from New Earth Farm and tomatoes and other vegetables from Cullipher Farm Market.

John DeWald and Eddie Compo, two of the co-owners of Sawdust Road. 

In addition to promoting local agriculture, the owners wanted to give residents a local venue for craft coffees, Eddie Compo said.

“Southern Virginia Beach has lacked an independently owned coffee shop up until now,”  Eddie Compo said, “and coffee and art just seem to go hand in hand.”

The artwork includes pottery, paintings, woodblock carvings, and photography.  Much of the art is inspired by local scenes, and locals will see some familiar places, and even a few familiar faces, depicted in the work.

DeWald, a watercolor artist, is displaying portraits of local residents, including Pungo resident Joe Burroughs and farmer Bruce Henley.  His work also includes landscape paintings of Wash Woods, Vaughan Farms, and other local sites.

Photographer Erik Moore’s landscapes and wildlife photography are also available at Sawdust Road.

‘We’re paying homage to local history,” said DeWald, explaining that even the business name was taken from Pungo’s past.

Indian River Road was originally called “Sawdust Road” because the road ran by a lumber mill.

Sawdust Road is available as a wedding venue, and the artwork is hung or displayed in an area where patrons can lounge on sofas and sip coffee while they enjoy the art.

“I’d like to think that the aesthetics of the place were my idea,’ said Kristine Compo.

Heather Stephens enjoyed a Sam Hamwich, a sandwich featuring Virginia ham, during a recent visit.

“It’s my favorite,” said Stephens, who lives in the city’s northern reaches but comes south to go to the beach and have lunch in Pungo at Sawdust Road.

Laken Hayes, who grew up in Ocean View, and Veda Leonardson of the Oceanfront catch up at Sawdust Road, where works by local artists can be found on the walls. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]

Beverages range from $1.50 for an espresso to $5.50 for a smoothie, and food prices range from $5.50 to $10. Sawdust Road is located at 1791 Princess Anne Road, and it is open daily from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m.  For more information, visit or follow the business on social media.

© 2018 Pungo Publishing Co., LLC

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