New speedway chef debuts fall menus

New Jersey native Pete Nowak is the new executive chef of The Speedway Club at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and he's already debuted new fall menus this month.

The new offerings include low-country cooking, Southern favorites and steaks and seafood, "all with Pete's culinary flair and presentation," said George Kail, The Speedway Club's executive director.

Nowak received his associate of occupational studies degree in culinary arts from Johnson and Wales University in Charleston, S.C., where he graduated cum laude.

He's worked nearly 20 years in the hospitality industry, including premier resorts, private clubs and fine-dining establishments, Kail said.

Most recently, Nowak was executive chef at the Peninsula Club in Cornelius, where he managed a staff of about 30.

He lives in Mooresville with his wife, Stephanie, and their two daughters.

Nowak said selections on the menus feature traditional Southern items with a twist, such as low-country shrimp and grits with jumbo shrimp sautéed with tasso, peppers and onions, tossed in a Creole cream sauce and served over yellow stone-ground grit cakes.

He also unveiled Cajun-inspired plates, including the bourbon peach pork chop, a 10-ounce grilled pork chop with a bourbon peach glaze, corn risotto, wilted arugula and Tabasco onions.

Opened in 1988, The Speedway Club was the first exclusive members-only private club built at a motorsports facility. It hosts numerous events, including weddings, business meetings and holiday parties.

During May Race Weeks, the club serves about 28,000 meals. It's open for lunch and dinner and now offers brunch on Sundays.

The club is on the fifth and sixth floors of Smith Tower and overlooks the 1.5-mile track.

Details or reservations: 704-455-3216;

CJ Fins opens in Mooresville

CJ Fins Grill & Taphouse held its grand opening Oct. 8 in the former Wolfman Pizza location in the Brawley Commons shopping center on Brawley School Road.

The restaurant offers sandwiches, burgers, appetizers, soups and chicken, fish and steak entrees, including prime rib on Fridays and Saturdays. A children's menu is available.

CJ Fins has beers on tap, offers daily food and drink specials and carries NFL Sunday Ticket.

CJ Fins: 645 Brawley School Road; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sundays, 11 a.m.-midnight Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 704-360-2567;;

Festival to feature N.C. wineries, local food

The annual Lake Norman Wine and Food Festival at Kenton Place on noon-6 p.m. Oct. 22 will feature vintages from at least a dozen N.C. wineries and food and treats from Alton's, Sangam, Brian's Dog House Grill, Kabutos and Kilwin's Chocolates.

Presented by the Rotary Club of North Mecklenburg, the festival will benefit Angels & Sparrows, Hope House and The Bin.

Admission is $20 with a canned food item and $22 without. Tickets include a souvenir wine glass and unlimited wine tastings.

Tickets to redeem at the participating festival restaurants will be for sale.


Wayside Restaurant co-sponsoring get-together

Wayside Restaurant will host a free Cabarrus Regional Chamber of Commerce Business Before Hours networking event f7:30-9 a.m. Tuesday at the Boys & Girls Club of Cabarrus County, 247 Spring St. N.W.

The Boys & Girls Club is co-sponsoring the event.


Buffalo Wild Wings donates to United Way

Four Charlotte-area Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar locations are donating 10 percent of all sales - pre-tax, less alcohol and promotional discounts - each Wednesday to United Way of Central Carolinas.

The locations include the one at 289 George Bay Court, Concord.