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Cabarrus Magazine

Come as a Stranger, Leave as a Friend at Concord's Full Moon Oyster Bar

Jan 26, 2017 05:41PM ● By Melanie Heisinger

Here in Cabarrus County, we have the privilege of being around plenty of tasty local restaurants. However, it can be difficult to find some new variety, or to expand our palate by trying something new.

Luckily in Concord, there is Full Moon Oyster Bar & Seafood Kitchen to keep that variety fresh and palate refined. 

Full Moon Oyster Bar was established in 2004 in Clemmons, NC as a small gathering place intended for friends and family to eat, drink, and be merry. This kind of dining, and tasty food of course, was so successful that they ended up opening several locations all around North Carolina. There are 5 locations in total that you can enjoy. 

The mission of the Full Moon Oyster Bar is to ensure that their employees feel supported. Moving up the ladder is something that is expected and respected here, and this is all reflected in the positive attitudes of their employees. This filters all into the quality of the food, not just the service. 

At the Concord location, the manager of the seafood grill is Dennis Copely, who started with the company 14 years ago as a dishwasher. He worked his way up through the kitchen, became kitchen manager at the Jamestown location, and eventually became the manager in Concord on opening day. 

We were able to get in touch with the president and founder of Full Moon Oyster Bar, Randy Russell, and learn a little bit more about their dishes, mission, and history. 

Tell us a little about Full Moon Oyster Bar & Seafood Kitchen. When and how did it get started?


We opened our original Full Moon Oyster Bar & Seafood Kitchen in 2004 in Clemmons, NC as a place where a small group of us could invite our friends and family's to eat and drink with us.  It turned out to be a pretty popular neighborhood dining spot. With only 42 seats, we normally have a line every evening. 

I like the thought that all of our friends come to our dinner party every night. We took a traditional oyster bar, and upscaled the heck out of it with really fresh fish and seafood, Angus beef, and pasta dishes that are amazing. 

Tell us a little bit about you. What is your role there?

I owned a seafood wholesale company years ago called The Big Tuna Seafood Company, where we sold fresh seafood to some 140 restaurants in the Winston-GSO, High Point area for many years. I still have all my seafood contacts, thus the Moon's benefit from some of the freshest seafood available anywhere. 

My wife is from New Orleans and insisted that we bring in fresh Leidenheimer's French bread for our lunch at PoBoys. We offer this French bread with our char-grilled oysters for soaking up the butter broth, which is our number one selling entree.

If a customer eats four "quarter moons," they will get a free T-shirt. There have been over 27,000 T-shirts given out over the years! The lunch menu is exceptional, with real PoBoy sandwiches, shrimp burgers, and even a steak burger that is amazing.

What can someone expect while visiting Full Moon Oyster Bar?

Shrimp boil

This is an Oyster BAR. There are no tables, only one long and horse-shoed-shaped bar. Your "shucker" will greet you, take and make your drink order, then shuck your oysters right in front of you from behind the bar. 

This set up creates somewhat of a communal dining experience where you never know who is sitting next to you or across the bar. It's just a fun place to eat and drink and meet people.  Come as a stranger, leave as a friend is our mantra, and it is simply an amazing social experience where the food is to die for. 

They have in the past always hired from within, so each "shucker" or dishwasher really feels that they have a future with the company. The manager of the Concord location is Dennis Copely, who started with the company 14 years ago as a dishwasher and worked his way up through the kitchen, became kitchen manager at the Jamestown location, and became the manager in Concord on opening day.

Shares of the company were gifted to the executive chef who makes sure the food is the same in each location, the GM Rob Russell who handles the day to day operations, and managers that have proven themselves to be exceptional. Ask a shucker if they like their job, and they will tell you that they love it! Our management style is with love, in that all that work at the MOON are like family.

What is the most popular item on the menu so far? Do you have a favorite?

Alligator Cheesecake

Our number one appetizer is our crawfish and alligator cheesecake which is the exact recipe as Jacques Imo's in New Orleans. 

We also go through twenty to twenty five cakes a week at each of our locations with flavors like banana pudding cake, or Bailey's Irish Creme cakes as examples. And of course, there are oysters. 

Our staple is gulf oysters, but we carry oysters from other parts of the county, too.

What's one of your most memorable moments while working there?

One of my most memorable moments was the day we pulled the open sign at our Clemmons location 14 years ago. We had all been trying to build the first Full Moon at night after working our regular jobs. We would have about 20 people or so a day come by our construction site and ask when we were going to open! We found we had to lock the doors while we worked to keep people out so we could finish. We ended up with about a dozen strangers in there swinging hammers and sweeping and such just to help us out. Most of those strangers still eat with us once a week! 

Finally, we decided to open and pulled the string on the open sign. That first night with only 42 seats, we were jam packed, with all seats filled and about 150 people standing around the bar waiting to eat! I'll bet we gave away 4 cases of free beer out that first night because we simply did not have enough time... or the knowledge... to ring them up!   

We were laughing so hard after that first night, and enjoying all our new friends that came to eat with us to early in the morning hours.

Are there any specials offered?

Crab Nachos

There are specials every week night. Monday is cheap oyster nights where one can order oysters one at a time, or 100.  Tuesday is all you can eat crab leg and shrimp night, and our busiest weekday dinner.  Wednesday they offer up a petite filet and NC shrimp skewer for $17 bucks!  Thursday brings along the Alaskan King Crab legs which are HUGE!  There are fresh fish specials every night which might include grouper, mahi, tile fish, monk fish, fresh tuna, or anything else that might swim by.  We like to offer fish that people simply can't get at other eateries.

Anything else we should know about Full Moon Oyster Bar?

From the moment you walk in the place, you know it's going to be a fun time!

We also have occasional live music inside the restaurant, and plan on opening the patio in the spring where music will be outside.

Stop by Full Moon Oyster Bar & Seafood Kitchen and try some tasty food today! Visit them at 5011 Weddington Rd Concord, NC or give them a call at (704) 262-3317.

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