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  • Elliot Cohen

From the Charlotte Sun – June 16, 2019


New restaurants might not open their doors until fall shoulder season, but you can count on their fall plans to start leaking right after Memorial Day. That’s also the time for closures.

Chef Noah joins Pier dream teamExecutive Sushi Chef Noah Copenhaver, 27, has signed onto Chris Evans’ new waterfront crew manning The Pier at Fishermen’s Village.

Evans, who’s building yet another Punta Gorda dream team there, said, “We’ll have the next generation of up-and-coming chefs at The Pier. Noah Copenhaver has deep roots in Punta Gorda and delivers an excellent, unique product.”

The Pier’s executive chef, Todd Stolpe, who first worked with Copenhaver at Hurricane Charley’s in Punta Gorda, said, “He was an absolute sponge. I’d show him something, and he’d put his own twist on it, which is what every chef does. But chefs always go on to something bigger and better.”


The Punta Gorda native and graduate of Charlotte High, Charlotte Technical College and Johnson & Wales University has always done pretty much that.

Within a year of mastering sushi prep at Hurricane Charley’s, Copenhaver had risen to sushi chef/manager, training as many as 20 employees and concocting countless new sushi combos.

He still can’t quite believe his good fortune, but there was never a question of whom Evans would hire for the job.

“Todd and Chris approached me at different times, and I was overwhelmed with joy that they both thought of me for the job,” said the young chef.

Copenhaver will man the multi-chef sushi bar while Stolpe runs the kitchen.

Along with a Pacific-tinged menu of appetizers, handhelds and entrees, The Pier’s central 36-seat sushi bar will create classic and signature fancy rolls, as well as the first poké (pronounced “PO-kay”) bowls between Fort Myers and Sarasota.

Chef Noah explained, “More and more major cities have been opening Hawaiian poké restaurants, featuring the light, fresh Hawaiian poké bowl—marinated sliced seafood, rice, avocado, cucumber, sprouts, some crunch, some intense flavor and colors. It’s been taking off on the mainland and will take off here. It’s something nobody’s doing around here.”

The Pier ($-$$), now under construction at Fishermen’s Village in the last southwest building facing Punta Gorda Isles, is expected to open for lunch and dinner in October.

Author: Elliot Cohen

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