Cape Charles Diners Vote With Tastebuds

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Guests at Cape Charles Brewing Co. who support the re-election of Sen. Lynwood Lewis enjoyed this “incumbent burger” as part of a food political poll Oct. 29. Photo by Stefanie Jackson.

By Stefanie Jackson – In celebration of upcoming Election Day, several Cape Charles restaurants held a political straw poll Tuesday, Oct. 29, in which diners signified their choice for state senate by selecting one of two special menu items.

For example, at the dining counter at Rayfield’s Pharmacy, customers could choose a breakfast of two eggs, toast, and coffee, with either a sausage “lank” for Republican challenger Elizabeth Lankford, or wood-smoked bacon for Democratic incumbent Lynwood Lewis.

It’s about “doing something fun together and getting the community involved,” said Berkley Rayfield, of Rayfield’s Pharmacy.

It’s a day for restaurant owners to not worry about competing with one another, but to focus on a different kind of competition – the state senate race – in a fun and creative way.

For lunch, Rayfield’s offered a grilled ham ciabatta with blue crab soup, a reference to Lankford’s business, Blue Crab Bay Co., in Melfa. The alternative was a Shrimp Louis ciabatta with fries, representing Lewis.

“Vote your gut!” the menu exclaimed.

Over at Cape Charles Brewing Co., Lewis supporters could enjoy the “incumbent burger,” a half-pound of hamburger made with a blend of ground sirloin, brisket, and short rib, topped with pulled pork, onion rings, cheddar cheese, lettuce, and tomato, on a brioche bun.

For Lankford fans, there were “lanky loaded fries” with seasoned ground beef and beer cheese.

Later in the evening, Lankford showed up at Cape Charles Brewing Co. and ordered the fries named for her, Rayfield said, and “a good time was had by all.”

Other participating restaurants were Kelly’s Gingernut Pub, on Mason Avenue, featuring “left wings” and “right wings”; Cape Charles Distillery, at its new location, also on Mason Avenue; Tim’s Place, on Peach Street; and Coach House Tavern, on Clubhouse Way, in Bay Creek.

Rayfield thanked everyone who participated and helped “create chatter” in the week leading up to the election.

This was not the first food-related, informal political poll Rayfield has organized. A poll was taken for the 2008 U.S. presidential election between Barack Obama and John McCain, and there have been past polls for local elections.

Voter turnout was light on that cloudy Tuesday, but the race was tight. With 100% of the “precincts” reporting by Wednesday afternoon, Lewis won with 45 votes, or 50.5%. Lankford finished in a close second with 44 votes, or 49.4%.