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Wednesday, 09 August 2017 06:32

'Hello, Sailor' charts course for potential October opening

Written by  Antionette Kerr
Joe and Katy Kindred on the deck at Hello, Sailor. Joe and Katy Kindred on the deck at Hello, Sailor. Courtesy The Kindreds

CORNELIUS, N.C. -- Plans to open Hello, Sailor this summer veered slightly off course, but Joe and Katy Kindred say things won’t be adrift for long.


When the successful restaurateur couple, operators of the two-year-old award-winning Kindred restaurant in downtown Davidson, submitted a proposal to fill the Cornelius lakefront property occupied for years by the Rusty Rudder, they knew it would require a major undertaking.

Like others in the community, the Kindreds were surprised to learn last year that the Rusty Rudder’s lease was not being renewed and that the owner of the property was launching a bidding war for the space. After 15 years, the popular restaurant closed its doors last October. It took until January for the owner to announce that the Kindreds had been selected to become the new occupants.

“We didn’t actually think it was going to happen. We heard big corporate chains with a lot of money were looking at the space. We kind of felt like the little guy,” Katy said, referencing the widespread interest the high-profile location on Henderson Road off West Catawba Avenue attracted. “We were looking at another space in Charlotte but we decided to put an idea together and present it to the landlord.”

They won the bid with Hello, Sailor, a cute name that reflects their fun and punchy vision for the restaurant. The location is sentimental to Joe, Katy said, because he grew up nearby and fondly remembers going to a little fish camp called Jack’s.

“This place is important to the community and it’s important to my husband. It’s kind of like an oasis out in the middle of nowhere,” Katy said. “We felt like the name reflects not taking itself too serious. People will see when it opens. It’s very different from Kindred. You’ve got to wear your fun pants here.”

But what Joe and Katy are taking seriously is remodeling the restaurant. The Kindreds began demolition last spring, with an anticipated opening this summer. According to Katy, they have faced some unexpected delays in the construction particularly related to the facility’s expansive deck area.

“We are deep in the middle of it right now. We experienced delays, most of them were due to issues with compliance and other things we discovered during the process of demo,” Katy said. “We’ve been delayed more than we wanted to, but it’s exciting to see it come together.”

The Kindreds are not new to the intricacies of restaurant revitalization. In 2015, after moving from San Francisco back to Joe’s hometown of Davidson, together they opened the nationally acclaimed Kindred restaurant. Katy said they dealt with similar delays with the renovations at Kindred — located in a smaller space in a 100-year-old building at 131 N. Main St., in Davidson — that took almost a year to complete.

As for the precise schedule for opening Hello, Sailor, she is optimistic but also cautious. “Right now it’s looking like early October,” she said, “but it’s too early to make those calls.”

As the community awaits the newest Kindred creation, Katy and Joe have been visiting other locations and ironing out details to seek perfection in the design, décor and menu. The globetrotters are bringing ideas from all over the world while honoring the Carolina foothills fish camp roots.

The tiki bar that was a signature gathering spot at the Rusty Rudder will remain outside, but the interior will have a stylish mid-century California feel. While Katy handles the design, Joe is crafting the menu.
He will be the chief chef for both restaurants, but says the menu at Hello, Sailor will be very different from Kindred. People can expect a seafood-heavy selection along with items ranging from upscale prime rib to casual classics including burgers and fried chicken.

“Lake Norman is diverse and we really want the menu to reflect the type of balance and the people coming here,” Katy explained. “You can come in and enjoy a proper dinner or you can pull up on your boat and have a well-prepared, well-priced meal.”

Getting the balance just right is something to which the Kindreds are committed. The duo plans to take the time required to accomplish this in the coming months.

“We really want to honor the building and do it right,” Katy emphasized. “This place has been a part of the community for so long. We don’t want to cut any corners and we want it to be just perfect because we are going to be here for a long time.”

Chart the progress of Hello, Sailor on Instagram.

1 comment

  • Comment Link Becky Deal Wednesday, 09 August 2017 20:58 posted by Becky Deal

    So happy and proud for you and yours, Joseph!! I can't wait to visit this new restaurant! I visited you at Delfina's, Rooster's, Kindred's, and soon I hope to visit you at Hello Sailor! Maybe one day I'll meet your family as well!! Best wishes!!

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