CORNELIUS – Firewater Restaurant and Bar sits in the far corner of The Shops on the Green.

The space has been occupied by many restaurants, most of which have quickly shuttered their doors. Now the space finally has owners with the experience and restaurant knowledge to make it work.

“We feel like this restaurant has the Curse of the Bambino,” admits co-owner Ahmad Mohammad. “But so far, we’ve had success with the customers.”

So Firewater looks to hit a home run and create a permanent home providing another tasty dining option.

Mohammad has been in the Charlotte-area restaurant business for 30 years. He has worked at restaurants such as Red Rocks, Bentley’s Restaurant, Cosmos and Bonfire Bar & Grill, just to name a few.

Shawn Wheeler is a former Charlotte Checkers player and coach. He works in pharmaceutical sales.

These two men had been friends since Ahmad worked at Bentley’s and Wheeler would come in after playing hockey.

In 2012, the two began a company called Three Moes along with silent partner and local radio personality DJ Stout. Then in December 2012, they opened Firewater in the University City area of Charlotte with a high-end menu featuring favorites with inventive twists.

The partners opened this Firewater in November 2013 and are just weeks away from opening up a third location in Salisbury.

The Cornelius Firewater spans an impressive 6,000-plus square feet of open space complete with two projection screens, columns and a nifty, modern bar.

The menu is about to change to fit the more casual atmosphere of the lake with more family-friendly fare. The menu is full of homemade items and strives for the freshest produce and meat available.

Nothing is pre-made. All food is made after it is ordered, so allergies or preferences are no problem. They make all the sauces, marinara and desserts from scratch. Mohammad has even started his own herb garden in the back so he can add to the flavor of the food.

Firewater caters to all types of people and experiences, but will especially focus on a laid-back atmosphere and comfort food. Customers can come in for $2 tacos on Tuesday nights; all-you-can-eat crab legs on Wednesday nights and Open Mic night on Thursday nights.

“Our menu changes with the clientele,” Wheeler said. “We offer lunch, then entrées for dinner and then there are always the appetizers for later in the evening.”

There is also a nicely laid out kid’s menu with burgers, pizza and quesadillas.

Mohammad and Wheeler have created an excellent restaurant that is enjoyable for customers and staff alike. They are using social media and word of mouth to get the word out and let customers know they are open.

“We want to be the neighborhood place here in Cornelius,” Mohammad said.

It looks like the curse might finally be broken and the gorgeous space can house a solid restaurant. The combination of restaurant expertise and excellent food create a can’t-miss formula.

“It truly is where food and fun meet,” Wheeler said.


Want to go? Firewater Restaurant and Bar, 20930 Torrence Chapel Road, 704-895-7907.