Roderick Groetzinger wanted a theme like no other for the upscale casual restaurant he and two partners opened Jan.1 in the Bloom-anchored shopping center on Brawley School Road.
Checking all the other restaurants around 520-mile Lake Norman, he realized none had a strictly Lake Norman theme.
So, along with the USDA prime beef, fresh seafood and premium spirits at Shoals Saloon & Grille, Groetzinger and his wife, Vickie, created a fully Lake Norman motif.
That includes a 1960 speedboat hanging from the ceiling, vintage Lake Norman-themed artwork, photos from author Cindy Jacobs' book "Around Lake Norman" and framed flags from Lake Norman yacht clubs.
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The theme includes a display of replicated distressed wood created by Mooresville artist Diane Beard. It looks like the wood on an old Lake Norman boat house. Decorative plantings resemble what you'd see at water's edge.
Families like to have their pictures taken with Norman, the 7-foot-1-inch Lake Norman blue heron made of epoxy resin and steel with a gold chain around his neck.
Roderick Groetzinger is the restaurant's managing partner. Local businessmen Keith Wilson and Bruce Cooper are his partners.
Groetzinger has been in the industry since he opened a grill and tap room named Mackenzie's in Darien, Conn., in 1976 and a semi-formal seafood restaurant called Mackenzie's By the Sea in 1978 in Stamford, Conn. He named them after his late Australian mother.
He also founded the bar management magazine "Top Shelf Magazine" in 1986, and the BAR Trade Show in 1989. BAR stood for "Beverage, Alcohol, Retailers." It still runs in Las Vegas each March as the "Nightclub & Bar Show."
In 1993, the Groetzingers started a promotional products firm now called Cache Promotional Products. It makes and sells promotional coasters, bottle openers and other products to such companies as the makers of Miller beer and Smirnoff vodka.
The couple raised three children. Their son James, 25, manages Shoals.
Roderick Groetzinger describes the menu as eclectic. It includes salads, a "you build it" sirloin burger, specialty "samiches" (because of his beak, Norman can't say "sandwich"), jumbo lump crab cakes, jumbo Alaskan king crab legs, and such harder-to-find items as shish kabobs and bouillabaisse. The top-selling appetizer has been fresh calamari, he said.
Sunday brunch features five types of eggs Benedict, $1 mimosas and $2 Bloody Marys. A Low Country boil is served all day on Sundays.
Shoals' 75-seat patio will have live music beginning in March.
1098 Brawley School Road; 11 a.m.-midnight weekends, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. weeknights; 704-660-1211;