The Rusty Rudder Lake Norman, a fixture on the lake’s dining and entertainment scene for 15 years, is closing on Oct. 3 after its lease was not renewed.
“It is with heavy hearts that we announce The Rusty Rudder Lake Norman will be closing its doors,” owners Eric Paul and Brian Johnston said in a statement on Tuesday, hours after announcing the closing to their staff. “Regrettably, our landlord has decided not to renew the lease after 15 years of business, forcing us to close our doors.”
“We would like to thank everyone that has been a part of The Rudder over these amazing years,” the statement said. “We have truly felt like a part of Cornelius and Lake Norman Community from day one, and we will miss it deeply.”
Paul and Johnston said they will continue to operate their other location, which they opened in June 2014 on Highway 17 in Mount Pleasant, S.C.
The owners were given no reason why the Cornelius lease was not renewed, Johnston told the Observer in a reply text message. “End of an era,” Johnston said.
The restaurant is on Henderson Road, off West Catawba Avenue and Interstate 77 Exit 28.
The Rusty Rudder property is owned by Davidson-based developer McLeod Corporation, according to Mecklenburg County tax records.
The building and land have a total tax appraisal of $4 million, county tax records show.
Steve McLeod of Davidson incorporated the company in 1985 as a marina and land developer, according to the company’s articles of incorporation filed with the N.C. Secretary of State’s Office in Raleigh. McLeod could not be reached Wednesday.
On its last weekend on Lake Norman, The Rusty Rudder will host live music by Blue Monday on Oct. 1 and the final Sunday Funday at its Tikki bar for the Carolina Panthers-Atlanta Falcons NFL football game.
“While this chapter is closing, we have nothing but fond memories, grateful hearts and appreciation for everything The Rusty Rudder Lake Norman brought us,” Paul and Johnston said in their statement. “We will continue to own and run The Rusty Rudder Mt. Pleasant, and we hope that anytime your travels bring you to Charleston, you will look us up and come say hi.”