Chris and Kim Hoveland and the Chelsea have enjoyed a long-term relationship. Chris started working there as a manager back when Linda and Harry McDonald owned the place.
The Hovelands bought the restaurant in 2004.
During that time, their mission was to become the family restaurant everybody goes to, to provide consistent food, service, and friendship, and to give back to the community.
In order to offer an ideal Chelsea experience, the restaurant offers consistency every time you visit. They strictly adhere to tried and true recipes.
To add a little flair, a rotating selection of dinner specials satisfies any palate. Many Chelsea diners know exactly what they are going to order: Shrimp and Grits, Crab Cakes, Horseradish Salmon, or Paella.
These are classic favorites.
“The dinner specials give our local customers variety,” said Chris.
Examples of specials are the charred beet salad and crab pretzel appetizers, and entrees like Basil Lemon Grouper, Chicken Ravioli Alfredo, and Java Spiced 16 oz. Ribeye, rubbed and grilled and topped with gorgonzola cheese.
If you weren’t hungry before starting this article, you should be now.
A well-oiled machine
Chelsea’s staff knows their customers.
“Some of the staff have been here for around 20 years,” said Chris. “This makes for a ‘Cheers’ atmosphere where you know everybody.”
The focus is on good, friendly service, in an environment where you don’t have to wait for your drinks.
At the bar
Speaking of drinks, the bar offers many creative beverages, such as the Chelsea Mule (Tito’s Vodka, St. Germaine Elderflower, fresh squeezed lime juice, cranberry splash, Barritt’s ginger beer), the Hemingway Daquiri (Bacardi Rum, Luxardo Maraschino liquor, fresh squeezed lime juice, grapefruit juice, simple syrup), and the New Bern Sour (Jack Daniels, fresh squeezed lemon juice, simple syrup, cabernet float).
The restaurant itself has a rich history. The front of the building itself was designed by New Bern’s first African American architect. Years ago, the front dining room was a hotel attached to the firehouse. In 1995-96, renovations occurred, and when they dug out the elevator pit they saw that it used to be a horse stable for the fire station. Renovations discovered artifacts that were donated to the New Bern Firemen’s Museum.
The Chelsea spans two floors and seats 150 guests in the dining room and 110 guests upstairs in the banquet room. Many groups meet in the upstairs meeting room, including Rotary, Coastal Women’s forum, Dental and Medical Societies, and the Bar Association. The Chelsea also caters everything from meetings to holiday parties to rehearsal dinners and weddings.
“Don’t let the white tablecloths fool you into thinking we’re stuffy,” said Chris. “The restaurant is a casual experience with wonderful personalities,” he said.
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