Church Street spot marks a successful decade

by Betty Wrenn Day - Posted on Jul 14, 2010 - 05:35 PM

Describing why they think their restaurant, Southwind Pizza, has been such a successful adventure, owners Ned and Dia Lawless jointly agree. "We are relaxed and have a sort of home atmosphere. We think of it as a community place where people can gather, feel comfortable and connect with each other. We cater to family dining. We think of it as a family friendly place where you can always get good food."

Photo: Meet the team that makes Southwind Pizza a successful restaurant. It’s Dia Lawless you see when entering. You rarely see Ned Lawless; he’s in the kitchen. Photo by Betty Wrenn Day.

Meet the team that makes Southwind Pizza a successful restaurant. It’s Dia Lawless you see when entering. You rarely see Ned Lawless; he’s in the kitchen. Photo by Betty Wrenn Day.

Now celebrating the restaurant’s 10th anniversary, the Lawlesses really feel that their customers are their friends.

They treat their friends to the best. They use only "fresh chemical-free whole foods, that’s important to us," and fresh seafood "that’s in season, not frozen. Everything is made from scratch." No pre-made or prepared mixes can be found on the kitchen shelves or in the pantry. They are so aware of the environment that Ned and Dia have found an outlet for scraps such as skin peelings, leaves, etc. "They go to a compost pile."

Although Ned is known as the chief chef, Dia can also cook. Ned, who creates his dishes rather than using a cookbook, says, "I’m learning new ways of cooking every day." Dia, who relies on written recipes, helps out in the kitchen on days they are not open. When visiting Southwind, it’s Dia who is out front smiling as she greets customers, and serves orders and beverages. She says, "I’m the taster."

"She’s like a musician with perfect pitch with her tasting ability," Ned added. "If it doesn’t taste right, it doesn’t go out that kitchen door to the front," Dia emphasized.

The restaurant business is really not the first career choice for either of the Lawlesses. Dia worked in social services while Ned was a teacher. However, Dia grew up in the restaurant business. Her family owned Water Street Landing in Yorktown. In fact, she and Ned operated the restaurant for a while. Ned’s cooking experience comes from working in restaurants while in high school and college.

"It was the commuting that led us into this business. We wanted to make a living right here in Mathews. So when this building became available we decided to give it a try. That was 10 years ago and we are pleased with where we are today," said the Lawlesses.

Is Southwind looking forward to the next 10 years? "We are more happy with the business than ever before. We plan on continuing this service as long as we can. It’s our customers that put the smile on our faces. They have made this a special place, and the staff that keeps us laughing."

Located on Church Street in Mathews Court House, Southwind Pizza is open from Wednesday through Saturday offering lunch and dinner with special entertainment on many of these evenings. Pizzas, although they are very delicious and a variety of them are offered, are not the only menu listing Southwind is known for. Their specials, sandwiches, homemade desserts and entrees offer gourmet dining fare any day, any time.