The former mill house looks unassuming from the street, as mill houses do — even with the newly constructed addition on the side.
But let’s be real — the temporary fencing, porta potties and construction crew have been hanging around for months. You don’t have to look that closely to know a complete transformation is afoot. The Goodyear House is slowly but surely changing owner A.J. Klenk’s vision into reality.
Slowly but surely is actually the perfect speed for a restaurant named as such — a good-year house is one traditionally added on to when years are good, Klenk told CharlotteFive.
This is why the exterior paint will be four different shades. Currently, the front porch is a deep navy/purple, the original mill home a lighter shade, and the extension a rich medium version. Klenk and general manager Sean Potter spent time studying paint cans when CharlotteFive visited last week, making sure the perfect shades were allocated to the proper areas.
Three new restaurants coming
The restaurant itself is Klenk’s first of three, each of them side by side in former mill homes on North Davidson Street.
The Goodyear House will open in the fall. Then, Klenk is selling his business next-door, Air Hospitality, and will create a second restaurant there. A third building sits to the left of The Goodyear House, where he will eventually add a third restaurant. “We will zone them all as one property, then you can walk with your drink from restaurant to restaurant,” he said.
New executive chef
On Thursday, it was announced that Chris Coleman, director of culinary experience at Charlotte Marriott City Center, will be taking on the role of executive chef at The Goodyear House.
Coleman previously worked as executive chef at McNinch House, then he opened the Asbury at the Dunhill before moving over to The Marriott.
Coleman and general manager Potter formerly worked together at Stoke. “I’m excited to work with Sean Potter again. He’s a good guy to be around,” Coleman told CharlotteFive. “He has great energy and a great vision for what he wants the front of house to be like. He’s focused on the drinks being as approachable and fun as we want the menu to be. We made a pretty good team here; we’ll make a pretty good team at Goodyear.”
Menu: ‘You won’t see foams and dots and drizzles on the plate.’
The menu will somehow be both comfortable and upscale, simple and complex, Coleman said. “Expect casual, approachable food but with some cheffy touches on it — I’m a cheffy chef,” he said.
Locally sourced ingredients will be a top priority, he said. “We really want the ingredients to shine. You won’t see foams and dots and drizzles on the plate — but there will still be a lot of attention to detail.”
Final tweaks are being made to the menus. Here are a few things to look forward to:
- Deviled egg toast. “Everyone does deviled eggs. I’ve done deviled eggs for the last six years in my restaurants, so I kinda want to not do deviled eggs anymore,” Coleman said. “I want to do a fun little nod to a deviled egg — spicy, smashed egg salad on some really good crusty bread with pickled veggies on top.”
- Pickled shrimp appetizer with a mignonette butter, served with a pile of saltine crackers. You’d typically expect mignonette, a sauce with chopped shallots, black pepper and vinegar, to be served with raw oysters. Here, the sauce will be whipped into a butter and then served with pickled shrimp tossed in chili oil. “This dish will be spicy, creamy and acidic, a nice little snack,” Coleman said.
- Beef rib for two. Several large plates will be served for sharing between two to four people; this will be one of them. Expect rib on the bone that is braised. After you order it, it goes on the grill so it gets a little char on it, Coleman said. It will be served with seasonal vegetables with some balsamic, a little bit of beef fat and butter. Depending on the season and availability, you can look forward to tomatoes, corn, butternut squash, beets, root vegetables, peas or radishes.
- A skillet double burger — two smashed patties with American cheese on some bread, probably from Duke’s. “We’re playing around with what we’re jokingly calling a ‘goopy lettuce’ with a Big Mac [style] sauce tossed with pickles and shredded iceberg lettuce.” Coleman said the team is still working on the phrasing: “I don’t know if we’ll menu that; I don’t know if ‘goopy lettuce’ sounds quite right.”
Lunch and dinner will be served seven days a week. Brunch will be served on Sundays and likely Saturdays, Coleman said.
Attention to detail
“We want to create a space where anyone feels comfortable,” Coleman said. “Whether you’re getting off of work and you want to grab a drink with friends, or you work on the construction sites in the area, or you want to bring the kids in, bring Grandma, or bring your dog in — we’re going to have a dog-friendly patio,” he said. “We really want it to be a restaurant for anyone and everyone.”
The decor will pay homage to the restaurant’s roots as a mill house. The entryway will be a covered outdoor hallway with rod iron doors that will open to a hostess stand atop a black slate floor, designed so you can bring your dog straight through to the outdoor back patio.
Klenk, Potter and Coleman have spent a lot of time meticulously planning out every last detail, and it shows when they talk about the final look of the space, which is currently decorated with sawdust, insulation and loose plywood.
Coleman said he is excited to help pick out the uniforms and help design the menu layout. Klenk examined the French doors, already hanging in place but not quite right, he said. “I might have them cut down — I want another inch and a half of glass showing.”
Vintage suitcases will occupy a corner of one room, with postcards from the 1900s and 1920s nearby. An Instagram wall will be conveniently located near the entryway. Photos from NoDa’s Back in the Day committee will be displayed throughout, as well as other art installations. The front porch will offer seats along the rail, where visitors can sit outside, watching NoDa go by.
Rooms for good years
Each room will be named after a person that would have experienced a day on the plains, Klenk said. There will be a 1900s room, a drunken handyman bar, a botanist room that can be used for private events.
The indoor bar area will be covered in a 1970s nostalgia, with an old Jeep leather seat cover wrapping the bar. Throwbacks to childhood days of Myrtle Beach or Carowinds summers will live in this space.
This bar will specialize in craft cocktails, with the outdoor bar out back being the perfect spot to order a PBR or local brew while sitting under the huge American Holly tree, listening to live music.
The wine list will be extensive, with 40-50 bottles on the menu, expertly curated by Potter. His resume more than qualifies him to pick out our wine: He worked with the STK & The One Group, opening BLT Steak in Charlotte and he operated the Dineworks restaurant group at Enso and Essex. While with Marriott, he helped reinvent the food and beverage program through the beta hotel for Marriott International and was a part of the development of the entire food and beverage program program for Stoke, The Dock and Coco & The Director.
Once a family home, now a neighborhood’s home
The original hardwood floors, 10-foot ceilings and oversized baseboards will remain, a homage to the history of the mill home that once even housed owner Klenk and his wife — they lived there for four and a half years before they had children.
“It’s going to be a neighborhood spot, which is something that I’m looking forward to being a part of. I’ve spent pretty much my entire working career Uptown, kind of in a business district,” Coleman said. “I’m excited to get into the neighborhood and cook for neighbors, for people who live in and around the community.”
Coleman’s last day at Stoke is July 26, where he will see the restaurant through most of Restaurant Week, so visit him there before he goes. Charlotte Marriott City Center is conducting a regional search for an artisan chef, said Séamus Gallagher, director of guest experience, in a statement.
3032 N. Davidson St.
Opens Fall 2019