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Back Bay Wildfowl Guild Memories: Tidal House Restaurant

Back Bay Memories January 2022

 What do a 127 year old beach cottage and an ocean front breakfast and lunch counter have in common? Why it’s Peter deWitt. Peter was the youngest of the 10 siblings and the next to last living of all the deWitt brothers and sisters. He was born March 4, 1913, in their home on 12th Street and the Oceanfront. It was the first brick house on the beach and was originally named The Brick House, then renamed by the deWitts “Witzand,” which is Dutch for “White Sand.” After the birth of the tenth child the home was renamed “Wittenzand”. After the death of both parents, it became known as the “deWitt Cottage.” Peter never knew his father because his father, Cornelius deWitt, passed away while on a business trip to Michigan, shortly after Peter’s birth. Peter was a graduate of Maury High School and attended V.M.I, where he was a member of the ROTC. He was a member of the first squad of lifeguards in Virginia Beach and helped introduce surfing to Virginia Beach. He was one of the first judges of the E.C.S.C. Like his older brother Paul, Peter was a World War II hero. He was a second lieutenant with the 695th Armored Artillery and landed on Utah Beach on D-Day. He was in the Battle of the Bulge and went into Germany with the 3rd Army. After the war in 1946, he returned home to Virginia Beach and opened the Tidal House Restaurant on the corner of 31st Street and Pacific Avenue. The business survived there for more than a decade. Peter sold the business in the fifties and started a very successful career in real estate. 

Here is a look at the original restaurant menu. The World War was still fresh in Peter’s mind, hence the theme of the then new menu.

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