UPDATE: CAFE CONFIDENTIAL CLOSED 10/09/13 - Maybe it remained a secret too long :-(
CORNELIUS – Cafe Confidential does not want to remain on the down-low.
Nestled into the Shops on the Green, the space is anything but discreet. It spans an impressive 6,000-plus square feet of open space complete with two projection screens, columns and a nifty, modern bar. The menu is about to expand from the small amount of initial offerings, and live entertainment is going to make this a happening place for the patrons.
So Cafe Confidential may not remain a secret for much longer.
Owner Darron Whitley has been in the restaurant business since graduating college in Charleston, S.C. He owned Sharky’s Pizza there and eventually sold it when the lease increased. Whitley took the money, moved to San Diego and bought a sailboat, which became his home. His life became stress-free. He worked short hours at the Museum of Art lunch-only restaurant as a manager and lived at the beach. However, Whitley wanted to get closer to family and build something on his own. He found the restaurant space on a website while in California and made a quick decision to uproot his life.
Whitley threw all of his belongings in a duffle bag and headed back to his home state of North Carolina. He rented a room in a house in Cornelius and immediately went to work.
That duffle bag remained his dresser for several months as he worked with interior decorators, vendors and contractors to get the restaurant ready to open for business. By July 2013, he was ready to open. The stress-free life is officially over.
Whitley considers the menu offerings to be “Southern comfort food with an eclectic fusion of flavor.”
For example, the Shrimp and Grits engenders the nostalgia of his youth but modernizes the experience with a parmesan cream reduction. Or take the burger that has Jim Beam-caramelized onions or the mussels that use chorizo and white wine.
The fresh, never-frozen wings have already become a favorite of customers.
“We sell out of them almost every night,” Whitley said.
The majority of food is made from scratch, such as sauces, dressings, salsas, pasta salad, spicy peach chutney and cheddar mashed potatoes. A new larger menu is poised to come out this week with a wider array of salads, burgers, sandwiches and entrée items.
The bar offers nightly beer and liquor specials and has a wide array of wines. It is open every night for dinner and at noon on weekends. Whitley has been warmly welcomed by the other shops and restaurants in Cornelius.
“It’s been so nice to talk to the other owners,” he said. “We are really a community; willing to help each other out all the time.”
The restaurant is so large that it lends itself well to entertainment.
Every Friday from 8:30 to 10 p.m., there is a free comedy show usually featuring comics from the Comedy Zone. There is an Open Mic night on Tuesdays that has been a huge hit with the patrons, and blues music often plays on the weekends.
Plus there is a huge projection screen inside and a huge projection screen outside on the patio with every single NFL game available.
Cafe Confidential is slowly finding its way with more entertainment and menu options.
“I am really listening to the customers,” Whitley said. “I’m interested in hearing about what people would like to see, hear and eat!”
The restaurant is not under wraps any longer; it is ready to become public knowledge.
“I’m fighting a bit of an uphill battle, being tucked away like I am,” Whitley said. “But I know that once people find us, they will be back.”
Want to go?
20930 Torrence Chapel Road Cornelius