Shuffletown restaurant keeps grilling after five decades

by Alan Hodge

Many new businesses to the intersection have arrived at the intersection of Mt. Holly-Huntersville and Rozzelles Ferry roads over the years, but none have displaced a Shuffletown neighborhood mainstay.

The beginnings of the Shuffletown Grill date back to 1958, when resident John Rozzelle built the restaurant.

His granddaughter, Teena Ridenhour, recalled how, through the years, the grill  has served as an important part of area social life for Mountain Island teenagers.

“There were very few places for teens to hang out,” Ridenhour said. “The grill was one of them. I remember you could pull up and a car hop would take your order.”

For decades the grill was a popular stop for folks going or coming from the nearby Shuffletown dragstrip. People purchasing minnows and other supplies for a day on Mountain Island Lake from the Shuffletown Grocery across the street would also pop in for a hot dog, hamburger or barbecue sandwich.

The closing of the dragstrip in 1992 and the grocery in 2004, along with the arrival of new places such as the Goodwill Store and Bi-Lo supermarket, saw the Shuffletown intersection change, but somehow the grill managed to stay afloat – barely.

“We had a person operating the grill but they left it in a mess,” Ridenhour said. “My husband and I tried to run the place but we aren’t restaurant people. We had several offers from developers to buy the property but didn’t want to sell.”

The grill’s salvation came eight years ago in the form of veteran restaurateurs Sam and Maria Housiadas who had owned the Athens Restaurant near Central Piedmont Community College for more than 20 years.

“The school bought our restaurant and land,” Maria Housiadas said. “So we began looking for a new place and decided we liked the location of the grill.”

The couple breathed new life into the grill starting with the décor.

The walls inside the dining area look like a photo museum of Shuffletown history. In addition to vintage pictures of drag racers and cars, there are also shots showing how the Rozzelles Ferry Road intersection looked more than 50 years ago. Old racing trophies and vintage hubcaps also are on display.

The Housiadas brought their dining experience to the Shuffletown Grill. Hot dogs and hamburgers are still on the menu, but the offerings have expanded to include salads as well as meat and vegetable lunches such as country-style steak and fried squash.

Thanks to the changes the Housiadas have made, as well as the couple’s downhome hospitality, the grill has expanded its customer base.

“When we first came a lot of construction workers would eat here,” Maria Housiadas said. “Now we have a mixed crowd that includes business people and families from the neighborhood. The customers know us and we know them.

Want to go?

The Shuffletown Grill is located at 10220 Rozzelles Ferry Road. The hours are 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Details: 704-399-1968 or

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