The space at 1468 Brawley School Road possesses a storied past over the last 30 years. It has been a gas station, used shoe store, fish camp and many restaurants and bars.

However, Jim Petrosky took over the place eight years ago and made it into a Mooresville mainstay. He has done this through careful tweaking of the menu and listening to his customers.

The result is a restaurant with a neighborhood vibe, drinking joint decor and delectable, innovative food.

Petrosky is originally from San Diego and worked in the food and drink division for a large hotel chain and sales prior to entering the restaurant business.

When Lake Norman Tavern opened in 2005, the menu was very small and concise. As time went on, Petrosky polled diners on what they liked and did not like and then each year changed up the available items. The menu has surged to three-plus pages full of pub favorites and unexpected items.

Petrosky brought some of his native California flair to the tavern menu.

The fish tacos are an excellent example. Customers can order the tacos one of four ways: Baja Style with fried Grouper; Caribbean Style with grilled Mahi; Hawaiian Style with grilled Mahi and a tropical Pico de Gallo; and Maui Wowi with shrimp. The Cayenne Lime sauce, served on the first two tacos, is authentic to southern California and has been tweaked to perfection over time.

“We worked and worked on that sauce,” Petrosky said. “Now we make it from scratch, and it perfectly complements the fish tacos.”

The same can be said for the Guinness beer batter used on both fish and shrimp at the restaurant.

“I made the batter over and over until it was perfected,” Petrosky said. “I had it back in California, and it was one of my favorite dishes.”

He called some chefs back West and though they wouldn’t give him the exact recipe, they did help him out with the ingredients. After many versions, he finally took a bite and had a flashback to the entree in California.

“We had perfected the dish,” Petrosky said with pride.

Much of the menu is made in-house, such as soups, salsas, barbecue sauce, tartar sauce, honey infused soy sauce and wasabi sour cream. All sauces are not made until customers order the food, resulting in ultimate freshness.

The restaurant also recently began serving breakfast 8 a.m.-noon on Saturdays and Sundays. The offerings include eggs any way, breakfast burritos, Belgium waffles, stuffed French toast and banana berry split.

David and Mariann Blair, of Mooresville, eat at the restaurant at least four times per week.

“We love all of their food,” Mariann Blair said. “The Ragin’ Cajun Shrimp Pasta is just so good!”

The two only live in Mooresville for four months out of the year, but they make the most of it by visiting the restaurant as much as possible.

“We’ve been trying to find something we don’t like on the menu,” David Blair said. “But we just can’t find it!”

Petrosky loves the fact that on any given night the CEO of Lowe’s can be sitting next to a man who installs drywall for a living. The tavern has a level of comfort and a quality of food that pleases customers from all walks of life.

“It is a place for everyone,” Petrosky said. “And we work hard to keep it that way.”

Want to go?

Lake Norman Tavern

1468 Brawley School Road, Mooresville