On Val Panizzut's first visit to his wife’s Mexican hometown, the co-owner of The Prickly Pear vowed he would name his first restaurant after the delicious fruit borne from cacti. Today, the fruition of that fruit-inspired idea offers expansive views of Lake Norman from its generous windows or patio seats, as well a menu of Mexican cuisine. Not content with just offering traditional tacos and burritos, the kitchen crafts modern Mexican dishes that have earned it numerous local press mentions. They pair the usual flavors of cotija cheese, chipotles and cilantro with, for example, fruits such as pear, mango, and pineapple, all in an effort to add savory, piquant, or sweet depth to shrimp dishes and adobo-rubbed chicken. To augment the adventurous atmosphere, live musical acts entertain guests on Thursday and Sunday nights—but they never say in advance exactly where in the restaurant they’ll hide as they play.
For more than 20 years, the chefs and staff at Turn 4 Pizza have served up hand-tossed pies to the Mooresville community and surrounding areas. Their creative pizzas draw inspiration from auto racing terms, as evidenced by the Caution Flag—a sausage-and-onion pizza set ablaze with jalapeños, banana peppers, and crushed red pepper. On the tamer side of the menu, the Charlotte 600 pie tops a creamy alfredo base with tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, onion, and chicken. They also sport a build-your-own option, featuring more than 20 toppings that range from meatballs and pepperoni to granulated garlic, mandarin oranges, and pepperoncini. Their specialty dessert pizzas include pies such as the cinnamon-sugar-with-icing pizza, which can also be made race-themed when served on a spare tire.
Shoals Grill aims to please visitors of all ages in a dining room centered around its polished wood-paneled bar. The restaurant's chefs craft a menu of comfort cuisine, including fried pickles and Angus beef sirloin, as well as special meals designated for each day of the week. On Fridays, for example, they fry fish and chips, and on Sundays, families can stop in for a wholesome roast-beef dinner with mashed potatoes and sautéed vegetables. Dessert choices include four-person servings of s'mores, for which servers present tables with a flaming bowl and a spread of chocolate, graham crackers, marshmallows, skewers, and an acoustic guitar to lead campfire songs.
Owner Ronald LeBreton brings more than three decades of New England–area restaurant expertise to the menu at Joe Fish Casual Seafood. Diners sink teeth into haddock sandwiches, chargrilled mahi-mahi and salmon, or handmade crab cakes. Servers ferry plates of fresh seafood, steaks, and pasta to high-top bar tables or seats on the canopied outdoor patio.
The cheers from the crowd in the stadium and the cheers from the patrons inside Sports Page Food & Spirits rally in unison as football, basketball, bocce ball, and baseball games stream from the eatery’s televisions. It has been that way since 1987, when Mike and Donald opened the first of three Sports Page locations so locals could catch games while downing burgers, sandwiches, and St. Louis-style ribs slow-smoked in a house-made seasoning. The duo also raises the decibels with live music performances on select days.
Friendliness takes center stage at TK Sushi, along with a wide range of sushi and other Japanese cuisine. The options on the menu number more than three dozen, the same amount of majors the average college freshman tries. Some of the house entrees that are marinated with special sauce and then grilled include hibachi chicken, teriyaki pork, and mixed vegetables. Elsewhere, noodle dishes such as beef or chicken pho beckon taste buds. Guests might wrap up their dining experience with a cup of hot Vietnamese coffee.