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Cornelius News

Tropicana returning in new location

Feb. 20. By Dave Vieser. The Tropicana Restaurant will re-open in a new location—Kat’s Seafood on West Catawba—in May. The owners at Cambridge Hospitality said the menu will include some of Kat’s seafood dishes, as well as some Mexican dishes and an array of sports bar favorites

“Kat’s will stay open right up to the end of April, then morph into Tropicana,” said Cambridge managing partner Jim Gordon.

What spurred the change?

When Cambridge announced in January that they would not be reopening Tropicana, calls and comments flowed “from loyal patrons asking us to rethink that decision,” Gordon said.

“So we took another look at Kats, which we purchased in 2019, and decided we could have the best of both worlds at that location. Unfortunately, our Facebook announcement a week ago indicating that we were opening a Mexican restaurant at that site was in error,” he said.

There will be some cosmetic changes at Kat’s, including the removal of an interior stairway, but they plan on fully utilizing the site, which has a recently added outdoor seating and music area.

“While the official name will be Tropicana, we’ll retain the best of Kat’s seafood dishes so we hope our regulars will keep coming in,” Gordon explained.

The former Tropicana site  sustained significant damage in a fire last summer and never reopened

Plans are for the facility to remain open late (2 am) on weekends, and possibly several other weekdays.

The former Tropicana site, next to Jimmy John’s, which was rented by Cambridge, sustained significant damage in a fire last summer and never reopened.

Time line

As of now, Cambridge plans to make the changeover effective May 1, with a grand opening planned for Friday May 5. “If all goes as planned, there shouldn’t be any downtime during the switch,” Gordon said.


Cambridge employs approximately 75 workers at their three dining facilities and they plan on retaining all of them during and after the changeover.

Peninsula Prime

Peninsula Prime got off to “a rough start,” Gordon admitted. “We just didn’t have the right team to deliver the type of high quality service we envisioned. Now we have a new chef and are building an outdoor patio area to refine our services.”

Jack’s Corner Tap 

Jack’s Corner Tap continues to successfully attract many sports fans patrons. A new general manager, Honey Bonace, has come on board as they gear up for the NCAA playoffs in March and April, which Gordon said is the busiest time of the year. Some minor physical upgrades are planned for later in the year.

Kat’s Seafood (will become Tropicana May 1)
19708 West Catawba Avenue

Jack’s Corner Tap
8301 Magnolia Estates Drive

Peninsula Prime
19918 North Cove Road