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A Taste of History

The white two-story house sits off N.C. 150 on two acres with a red roof, black shutters and rocking chairs on the porch.
The country home has a welcoming, cozy feel.
Upon walking in the door, an aroma of home cooking tickles the nose.
Tim Schafer’s at Lake Norman has only been open six months but is already booming with business. The fine dining restaurant located in a 140-year-old site once housed Sherrills Ford’s old post office.
The postmaster, John Wilson Gabriel, resided there with his wife, Mary Adelade Sherrill, and their eight children. One room in the house is actually dedicated to them, with their pictures on the wall.
Owner Tim Schafer, 42, who is from New Jersey, never imagined that he would move to Lake Norman and open another restaurant.
The Denver resident currently runs a restaurant in New Jersey called Tim Schafer’s Cuisine-Cooking with Passion.
A trip to Charlotte to visit some friends opened the door for him locally. He had never been to Lake Norman before and fell in love with the area immediately.
They simply started looking at the possibility of opening a restaurant in the area.
Once they found the house, they were hooked.
“My wife and I drove in and turned in the driveway and that was it,” Schafer said.
Getting the restaurant ready to open was no easy task.
Schafer, who did all the work himself, started in April of last year and opened in September.
Known as “the Brewchef,” Schafer specializes in cooking with beer – everything from stuffed pork, medallions of beef and warm baked brie. For dessert there is chocolate cake with beer.
A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in New York, Schafer has been cooking since the 1970s.
Currently, he is working on two cookbooks, Pub Grub and Beer Not For Breakfast Anymore, a collection of his receipes over the years.
Schafer has appeared on the Food Network many times and has written columns for newspapers.
The layout of the house offers something for everyone.
There are three dining rooms to choose from, all with fireplaces.
On the first floor, cookbooks line the shelves of the chef’s library, dedicated to the chef. The second dining room across the hall is called the Gabriel dining room, dedicated to the former owners of the house. And upstairs where the bedroom used to be offers a more intimate setting for dining, called the Sherrills Ford Dining Room.
A bar is also located in the restaurant.
Schafer plans to open the deck off the side of the house where he will offer music in the summer and a late night menu.
There are several other projects Schafer is working on including a possible gift shop and a beer and wine store.
Still today, sometimes Schafer looks out the window and wonders how he got here.
“All the people who I know who have come and seen it have said it looks like the dream that was in my head,” he said. “Although they have never been in my head, they are right.”
Having the restaurant off the beaten path is exactly what Schafer wanted.
Country food has to be in the country, he said.
Those who come to dine should expect to spend at least two hours at the restaurant.
“This is an extension of my home,” he said. “I want people to feel comfortable with they come here.”

Want to go?
Tim Schafer’s at Lake Norman is located at 7345 Gabriel Street in Sherrills Ford.
From Denver, take N.C. 150 East approximately 6 miles, turn left onto Little Mountain Road, then take a right on Gabriel Street.
Dinner is served Tuesday to Saturday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. For a reservation call, 704-483-9127.

Tommy Pollio and Tim Schafer prepare one of the restaurant’s popular dishes, double cut stuffed pork chop. Amy Wadsworth / LTN Photo

by Amy Wadsworth

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