BY CHELSEA KOWALSKI
“Originally from upstate New York, Chelsea Kowalski and her husband Chris Kowalski moved to Lake Norman four years ago. When moving to the area, Chelsea created a list in her phone to keep track of restaurants she wanted to try. As they went along, she would write down their favorite dishes and things to remember for their next visit. In 2020 she decided to start the Instagram page @lakenormanfood as a pandemic project devoted to posting these experiences. Chelsea has loved being able to share photos and recommendations to help other newcomers in the area find great places to eat or long-time locals who haven’t tried new spots yet.
Living in Lake Norman, Chelsea and Chris love to be by the water which is why North Harbor and Port City are some of their favorite restaurants in the area. Chris is a meat lover while Chelsea is happiest with anything containing bread and cheese. If the two start with drinks, Chelsea usually opts for anything tropical to make her feel like she’s on a vacation at the beach. Both Chelsea and Chris’s favorite food is pizza, frequently picking up pies from I Bambini, Alinos, and Brooklyn Boys. They also both have a big, sweet tooth and try their best to save room for dessert when dining out. They frequently get ice cream at local spots like Two Scoops Creamery, Bruster’s, and Whit’s Frozen Custard. The best cookie shop they have found is hands down Red’s Scratch Made who serves delicious cookies and soft serve ice cream in downtown Mooresville.
Chelsea also owns a wedding videography business “Captures by Chelsea.” In her spare time, she enjoys anything outside such as reading, boating, wake surfing or hanging out with their cat Tate (aka Tater Tot). Taking photos and videos has always been a passion of hers which was another reason starting a food Instagram page seemed like a no-brainer. In upcoming issues of LKN Magazine Chelsea will be featuring a local restaurant to review each month. She’s so excited to start this new venture as our designated foodie!
Q & A:
What appetizer is your favorite when going out with family and friends?
I love anything that’s going to be bite size so a big group can feel like they’re eating a lot. Our most frequently ordered apps are probably calamari, bruschetta, pretzel bites, or a French fry basket. The best calamari we’ve found has been at Waterman’s in Cornelius, they have so many fresh seafood options! We loved the “Truffle Garlic Parmesan Fries” at Scratch Kitchen by Ghostface in Langetree. The bowl of fries is enormous and delicious, perfect for sharing! Mi Amiche is another great spot for apps. They have the best pretzel bites we’ve ever had, and their bruschetta is served in a bowl to plate on bread slices yourself which I thought was an awesome idea. It was so hard choosing apps there because they’re all so good. Our waitress told us a lot of times people go in for just apps and drinks.
What’s your all-time favorite dessert to order out?
My favorite desserts are ice cream and cookies so when dining out our go-to is a cookie skillet with ice cream. We’ve found one at Fox and The Hound in Huntersville that’s called the “Cookie Blitz” which is a fresh-baked chocolate chip cookie, vanilla ice cream, drizzled with chocolate syrup, salted caramel sauce, whipped cream, and a cherry on top. It’s a great spot to go for football games. We’ll usually order dessert in the fourth quarter, it’s the perfect portion for two people!
If you have family or friends in town for the first time, where do you go?
I always see what kind of “mood” they are in first to pick the cuisine style. If it’s seafood, Waterman’s is a great new option but in the past, we have usually gone to a waterfront spot like Eddie’s or North Harbor. We love Mac’s Speed Shop if they are coming to the south for some good barbeque. The most frequent option is typically casual American, in which case we tend to pick Brickhouse or Barcelona Burger. If they’re in the mood for more unique fine dining, we’ll venture to downtown Davidson and go to Kindred or Flatiron.
What do you love about the food scene in the Lake Norman area?
I love that it’s always expanding. There’s a lot of people moving to the area and with that comes more food opportunities. In the four short years we’ve lived here we’ve seen so many new restaurants pop up. There’s also a lot of favorites from Charlotte that will add second locations up here. We still have a very long list of places to get to and at this point we’re adding more to it than checking off!
What are some spots on your current list you want to get to but have not yet?
I really need to get over to the west side of the lake! The Lake Norman Brewery opened in June 2020, so I’ve been wanting to try it for two years now. The Soda Shop in downtown Davidson, 131 Main paired with a drink at The Cork and Cask for date night, On the Nines and Table 31 are also at the top of the list.”