The History of Bennett’s Creek Marina
Brian and Teresa Mullins, owners of M&M Hospitality, acquired the property formerly known as Bennett’s Creek Marina to build their newest ventures: Decoys Seafood Restaurant, featuring the Blind Duck Tiki Bar, Bennett’s Creek Marina, and the Landings. The property holds sentimental value to Brian, as he used to launch from the very same riverbanks to duck hunt for over 20 years. The Decoys restaurant name pays homage to this duck hunting history. The outdoor tiki bar, adjacent to the restaurant, is named Blind Duck as a play on duck blinds, to show respect for the area’s history. During construction, much of the timber used to trim the restaurant and tiki bar was harvested from the current land. Trees were cut to rough lumber and then air or kiln-dried on the Mullins’ farm for 18 months. Highlights of the wood varieties used in Decoys Seafood Restaurant and the Blind Duck Tiki Bar include pine for the detailed trim, pecan for the hardwood floors and staircase, black walnut for the bar tops, red cedar for the tiki bar ceiling and osage orange for the tiki bar seats and bar top.
The area in which the restaurant and marina now sit was first a ferry site and lead to the naming of the main road. The creek is named after the Bennett family, the original owners of the land. The current site is where the old swing bridge/country store sat from the early 1900s through the 1940s when the Route 17 bridge was built. The store remained and became a restaurant known as “Creekside Restaurant” until the Mullins acquired the property and began demolition in 2015.
When beginning construction on the old Ferry Bulkhead, the team noticed a part of the concrete retaining wall that had a dog’s unique set of paw prints from the 1800s. This imprint has been carefully preserved and is displayed in the restaurant to show three paw prints and a fourth imprint that looks like a peg leg. The Mullins created this 3-legged black lab persona named “Mate” to represent the marina and serve as the Blind Duck’s best friend.
The entire portion of Bennett’s Creek where the marina now sits was dredged to accommodate larger boats up to 80 feet in length and 60 new slips with 1,800 square feet of floating deck were installed.
About M&M Hospitality
Brian and Teresa Mullins along with Ken Dodd, Operations Partner, have been working together since 2008 with plans to continue to grow the M&M Hospitality team of restaurant and entertainment venues.
Brian and Teresa Mullins have been in the residential building and development business for over 30 years. In 2001 the Mullins’ began developing Governor’s Pointe, a community of 141 home sites located a few minutes from the rapidly growing Harbour View corridor at I-664 and Route 17 in Suffolk, Virginia. Brian dedicated many years to planning and implementing his concept of a neighborhood of fine custom homes in a picturesque setting, bordered by the Nansemond River and Route 17.
As the development came to life, the thought of a community restaurant and retail shopping area would complement the development and provide local residents a new fine-dining option. Vintage Tavern opened in 2006 and quickly established itself as one of the top 10 restaurants in Hampton Roads, featuring Seasonally Southern Cuisine.
Two years later, in 2008, Brian was back at it developing, designing and constructing River Stone Chophouse in Harbour View – the first world-class American steakhouse in Hampton Roads. It didn’t take long for River Stone to join Vintage Tavern as one of Hampton Roads’ top 10 restaurants, as both restaurants received dining awards from Virginian Pilot, Virginia Living, Coastal Virginia Magazine and Wine Spectator. With the creation of the two restaurants, M&M Hospitality was born.
Brian and Teresa acquired the property along Bennett’s Creek Marina to build their newest ventures, Decoys Seafood Restaurant featuring the Blind Duck Tiki Bar, Bennett’s Creek Marina, and the Landings.