Experience Top Shelf Jazz and Eats at BROTHERS

by | Aug 22, 2022

Experience Top Shelf Jazz and Eats at BROTHERS

With its extensive menu and elevated ambiance, Norfolk’s fine dining establishment BROTHERS has captured the city’s heart, soul, and palate. However, the exquisite selection of seafood, chops, and spirits is not all this downtown hotspot has to offer. The loft above the downstairs dining room showcases smooth jazz and soft lighting that pair with genuine hospitality, making BROTHERS an ideal spot for your next celebration or date night.

BROTHERS opened its doors in February 2021, when long-time NBA referee Tony Brothers decided to join the Norfolk restaurant community. Clearly, it was a slam-dunk – though its success represents the continued promise of jazz clubs as they emerge from the trenches of pandemic-related struggle. Unlike restaurants, which could evolve their business models to offer delivery and to-go options, jazz clubs were a casualty of the pandemic. Tightly packed venues, whose intimacy drove their allure, were breeding grounds for viral transmission. Clubs everywhere, including the renowned Blues Alley in DC and Dizzy’s in NYC, were forced to mute live performances for a while.

Since their origin in the Prohibition era, jazz clubs were cornerstones for Black arts and culture. They gained popularity as places where artists were trained and tutored but, over time, evolved into performance spaces for musicians to share their craft with an audience. Jam sessions were opportunities for cooperation; for musicians to learn, relate, and create. From their early days in the Harlem Renaissance to their flowering across the nation, these respected institutions have not only coped but flourished due to jazz musicians’ persevering nature. Now, as pandemic restrictions relax, these performers return to center stage – in venues like BROTHERS, which offer an unparalleled entertainment experience with old-school charm.

At BROTHERS, patrons can enjoy the sounds of acclaimed musicians from near and far, including jazz guitarist Adam Hawley and Grammy nominee Jonathan Butler. Their roster of talent has even catalyzed collaboration between some of the 757’s finest jazz musicians and national artists. The Jazz club’s House Band – the mainstay ensemble supporting out-of-town performers, has backed guest musicians such as Jonathan Butler, Kurt Whalum, and Rick Braun. Braun and Butler were so impressed by the band that they flew them to other shows across the country for live performances. 

This cooperative spirit underpins the very operations of the establishment itself. A true family affair, the restaurant is run by Brothers’ fiancee, Kimberly Jenkins, while her son leads the kitchen as executive chef. The wait staff comprises Kimberly’s other son, Calvin, and Brother’s son, Trent. Tony takes pride in delivering an exceptional dining experience and considers the venue an extension of his life’s mission. His commitment is inspired by the city’s continued growth that shaped his identity. “I was born in Norfolk. I live in Norfolk. And I will die in Norfolk,” the ODU alum proudly states. 

When he’s not at his restaurant or on the basketball court, Brothers dedicates his time to philanthropic endeavors. In 2007, he established the Dorothy B. Brothers Women’s Center at Norfolk’s Tidewater Community College in honor of his mother. In 2015, he founded a nonprofit, Men for Hope, which strives to provide men with the training and resources to be positive contributors to their communities, and works to build stronger family units. A true forward-thinker, Brothers focuses on what’s next in life and how many people he can help along the way.

At BROTHERS, this means serving up inspiration one plate – and gig – at a time. While downtown Norfolk’s uptick and crime have slowed his plans for the future, he hopes to offer more music options and genres for patrons to enjoy.  

Currently, the intimate space accommodates audiences of up to 50, so be sure to snag seats ahead of time to enjoy one of their Friday, Saturday, or Sunday shows.




Rachel Reiss

Talbot Park, NFK

Rachel Reiss moved to Norfolk in 2021, and, true to her native Floridian roots, has been enjoying life near the beach. Since her day job as an HR Program Manager has gone remote, it offers her the flexibility to explore the area’s rich history, culture, and diverse food scene in her spare time. She is also a passionate pianist, aspiring yogi, and self-proclaimed health nut who loves to cook. Rachel lives near Talbot Park with her husband, Phil - a CHKD resident - and their Maltese, Minnie.

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