CORNELIUS — Sunny, blue skies were the backdrop for the celebration of Cornelius’ second lakefront restaurant, which includes deck space and a beach area.

The ribbon cutting for Port City Club, off Harborside Drive in Cornelius, took place March 20 with Owner Nick Lyssikatos and nearly 100 attendees at the start of the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours.

The building, which offers a restaurant, full bar and a coffee shop with Port City Club coffee blend, can also be used for meetings and events. 

Port City Club has been open for five months and already has regular followers.

Marsha Black can’t say enough about the place, having already come for lunch, dinner and coffee.

“It’s amazing. What a transformation,” she said of the restaurant, which used to be Midtown Sundries. “They have a coffee bar to bring friends after a movie. The ambiance — I can’t say enough about the place. The salads, steaks are all amazing.”

Lyssikatos said his main goal with his new restaurant is creativity, wanting a unique restaurant that doesn’t necessarily follow trends. Compared to his Davidson restaurant Brickhouse Tavern, Port City Club offers a lot more space to accommodate larger parties and is more open. Plus, the club offers varied food offerings.

“This is more chef driven with the flavor,” he said. “Brickhouse is more tavern food.”

Martin Radmann said he enjoyed the steak and the overall appeal of Port City when he first dined there.

“It’s a friendly atmosphere. It’s very spacious and you don’t feel squished,” he said. “I love the view outside with the fire pit going. It’s clean and well-kept.”

Ashley Neal, who lives nearby, said she has come several times.

“There are not many restaurants on the lake and this has all different options,” she said. “It’s not a typical dive. It’s an upscale restaurant on the lake.”

Cornelius Mayor Chuck Travis and Davidson Mayor John Woods are thrilled with how the restaurant turned out.

“Cornelius has 75 miles of shore, more than any municipality in North Carolina, and this is only the second restaurant we have on the lake,” Travis said. “This is a great opportunity. Businesses like this are welcome with open arms.”

Woods said Davidson only has one lakeside restaurant so it will be good for the region. He remembers as a youngster going by boat to a lakeside restaurant. He knows with restaurants like Port City Club, other families will have those memories.

“The town contemplated buying this property,” Travis said of a plan to offer public lake access. “I’m so happy we didn’t do it.”

Because much of the restaurant's appeal is its view and outdoor areas that rely on good weather, Lyssikatos asked customers to be mindful as they get used to staffing. 

“It’s been a challenge,” he said of the changing weather. “I’ve not had a restaurant that depends on the rainy and sunny season. It’s a learning curve.”