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Noted chef will develop Port City Club menu in Cornelius

One of Lake Norman’s most famous chefs will develop the menu and lead the kitchen at Port City Club: Everyone’s Waterfront Meeting Place, which is scheduled to open in August in the former Midtown Sundries–Harborside on Lake Norman in Cornelius.

Given the economy, in which prices have to be affordable, chef Tim Schafer is developing a menu with prices in the $5 to $25 range, owner Nick Lyssikatos announced on July 17.

“The menu will include a wide selection of items, a variety of flavors and presentations built around a frequent, casual customer base,” Lyssikatos, who also owns BrickHouse Tavern in Davidson, said in a statement.

“Some items will be fan favorites as indicated by the community, some BrickHouse Tavern staples. Others would be a choice of seafood dishes and new specialty items that are not yet offered in the Lake Norman area,” Lyssikatos said.

Schafer also intends to offer custom menus for groups meeting at Port City Club. With advanced notice, Lyssikatos said, “(Schafer) could create a customized menu for a special night out for your group, showcasing his vast culinary experience with specialty dishes or his signature Brew Chef specialties, where he shares his excitement for cooking with beer.”

Beginning in 2014, Schafer also plans to host theme dinners at the restaurant, such as winemaker dinners and beer pairing events.

Schafer graduated in 1988 from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., and has owned restaurants and catering ventures in New Jersey and North Carolina for at least 20 years. He operated the fine-dining restaurant Tim Schafer’s at Lake Norman in Sherrills Ford for about four years before it closed in 2008.

A specialty he learned and mastered was the art of cooking with beer. He was soon nicknamed “The Brew Chef” and is considered one of the nation’s top authorities on cooking with beer. He’s appeared in numerous popular books and publications, such as “The Brew Chef Corner” and “Ale Street News,” and on The Food Network. He’s working on his first cookbook of beer-enhanced recipes, titled “Beer, not just for breakfast anymore!”

Port City Club will seat 320 inside and 150 outside when it opens in August at a date to be announced.

By removing pool tables from the former Midtown Sundries-Harborside, Port City Club will be able to host three large business or club meetings inside for 65, 80 and 100, still leaving room for regular customers and seats in the bar area.

It will be open seven days and employ up to 70 workers.

The interior is being refurbished with a bright and cheerful theme reflecting life in West Palm Beach, Fla. The restaurant will have new granite bar tops, light flowing curtains and new seats, and tables and benches inside and out to reflect a "carefree yet classy" lifestyle, Lyssikatos has said.

Port City Club also will have a coffee and European-style pastry bar inside. The restaurant is working with longtime Concord-based coffee supplier S&D Coffee & Tea Inc. to introduce a line of specially developed signature blends from responsibly sourced beans for the coffee and pastry bar.

Marusak: 704-987-3670; on Twitter: @ jmarusak.
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