Wesley Choplin, an executive chef and veteran of the Lake Norman culinary scene, opened Choplin's Restaurant on March 10, featuring his gourmet Southern cuisine and fresh seafood selections.
Open for lunch and dinner, Choplin's offers soups, salads, sandwiches, grilled steaks and various evening seafood specials such as sautéed N.C. "ruby" rainbow trout, grilled S.C. mahi-mahi, fried N.C. flounder and scallops, and baked "butterflied" 1 1/4-pound lobster. The seafood is often just several hours off the boat, Choplin said.
Lunch also features $8.75 "soul-warming plates," including fried chicken breast with creamy Southern gravy on Mondays, country-style steak on Tuesdays, meatloaf with gravy on Wednesdays, roasted turkey and dressing on Thursdays and Cajun-fried catfish on Fridays. Plates come with two sides.
Choplin included some family recipes on the menu, such as the sweet potato casserole side dish created by one of his grandmothers.
His father, Ed Choplin, who lives in the N.C. mountains, prepares the pickles found in the restaurant's "crispy chicken, slaw and paw paw's pickles" sandwich.
Choplin said he uses the freshest ingredients in all of his sandwiches and entrées, including from local farms and other businesses.
Lunch also includes such entrées as a fresh quiche, sautéed Carolina shrimp and grits, and smoky chipotle herb chicken.
Profits from the restaurant's Fair Trade coffee sales help support families of growers, he said. Choplin's house wine, Sycamore Lane, supports the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate.
Choplin, 38, grew up in Winston-Salem and earned his culinary degree in 1997 from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y.
He was at Ironwood Café in Pinehurst, then at Harris Grille off Interstate 77 Exit 18 in Charlotte for five years.
Choplin was executive chef at Jeffrey's Restaurant, at I-77 Exit 33 in Mooresville, from 2005 to the beginning of this year, when he decided to venture out on his own.
Choplin's Restaurant: 19700 One Norman Blvd., beside Blockbuster, off Interstate 77 Exit 28 and West Catawba Avenue; 704-892-4800; www.choplinsrestaurant.com.
Soup Kitchen to benefit from festival
CORNELIUS The Mooresville Soup Kitchen has been chosen as the final beneficiary of the Lake Norman Wine and Food Festival June 5-6 at Kenton Place.
Other beneficiaries are the Angels and Sparrows soup kitchen and Hope House, both of Huntersville.
The festival will feature various local vintners, restaurants and vendors, cooking demonstrations and wine lectures and tastings.