MOORESVILLE – Alton Updike moved to the Lake Norman area with his family in 2004 to help open a restaurant. In 2010, they felt it was time to take the plunge and open their own place – Alton’s Kitchen & Cocktails.
Now, as Alton’s continues to flourish in Cornelius, Updike said he and his wife, Heather Clark, wanted to expand into a new area.
Updike shared why they decided to open a restaurant in Mooresville and why it was important for them to not open another Alton’s Kitchen.
Mooresville Citizen: What drew you to Mooresville?
Alton Updike: I’d seen LangTree … and I’ve always known it was going to be a great development. And Alton’s and Table 31 are family restaurants. Our family owns and runs it. We don’t have money trees sitting above our heads. So we’re trying to pay for it as we go, not taking on enormous debt. So when Block and Grinder closed, there was a viable chance for us to take that space. Other restaurants had looked at it, too. For me it was appealing because we would not have been able to do something on that scale … if we didn’t buy all the assets of Block and Grinder. By purchasing their assets and putting in the money to redo it, we paid for about 20 percent of the value. So it made sense.
MC: Why didn’t you decide to open another Alton’s Kitchen?
AU: We didn’t want it to be another Alton’s. We knew we wanted to do American food, because that’s what we enjoy eating. Ribs, cheeseburgers, fresh salads – those will never go away. Those are not “trendy.” So it was always our idea to take features at Alton’s and create a whole other menu based on that. The difference between the two is that Alton’s is more mature. It’s more rich, decadent. Everything does have a little bit of weight to it. You feel like you’re going to a steakhouse without it being a steakhouse. Table 31 is on the lighter side. Smaller plates, a lot of fresh vegetables, a ton of seafood. The funny thing is Table 31 is the new American cuisine, where Alton’s is the meat and potatoes American cuisine. We really wanted both to have their own identity.
MC: What do you think Table 31 brings to Mooresville?
AU: I think it brings the ability to just go out and have a great, high-quality meal. If we don’t go out to eat, if I go to a grocery store, when I see prices on proteins, I say to myself, why not go to a restaurant and pay $5 more? I think dining out is an experience. And in restaurants like mine, we are value-conscious – not only with our food but with beverages are well. We’re actually looking at opening a wine shop, separate but nearby, so you would be able to buy wine at the wine shop and bring it in complimentary. It’s on the radar. Table 31 brings another option for dining locally owned. We’re cooking from scratch – the only thing we’re not making is bread. We make our own salad dressings, soups, stock, sauces. We want it to be a fresh kitchen owned locally.