New NoDa restaurant: Mill house converting into neighborhood hangout, beer garden

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Alex Cason Photography
Goodyear House

A 119-year-old former mill house in NoDa is in the midst of a major makeover. This year, it’ll open as a family restaurant/neighborhood hangout called The Goodyear House, with hopes of adding to the area’s funky vibe.

A.J. Klenk, owner and managing partner of Charlotte’s Capstone Apartment Partners, bought and rezoned the little green house at 3032 N. Davidson St. a few years ago. He waited until after the Blue Line light rail extension opened last year and nearby apartment building starting ramping up to start construction on the building, which is now 3,600 square feet, thanks to a major backyard addition.

Klenk told the Observer the goal is to wrap up construction on the Goodyear House in time to open the restaurant by early fall. A NoDa resident, Klenk owns the two properties adjacent to the Goodyear House, and plans to turn one into a beer garden eventually.

Goodyear and Klenk’s other projects will extend the restaurant and retail row in NoDa a bit farther down North Davidson into the area across from the Johnston YMCA. Klenk drew inspiration for the Goodyear redevelopment from Rainey Street in Austin, Texas, a historic district where old homes have been refurbished and turned into eclectic bars and restaurants.

“It’s going to feel more like you’re in someone’s backyard, rather than in some commercial building,” Klenk said of Goodyear.

Courtesy of Cluck Design

In developing the property, Klenk said he wanted to preserve its history and personality.

“If they had a good year on the farm they would have a little extra money to add onto their home,” Klenk said of the restaurant’s name. “The home is being developed in that manner.”

The Goodyear House will have six large garage doors that roll up to the back patio, giving the home an open-air feel. The outdoor back bar will feature exposed brick, giving it a “very rustic” vibe, Klenk said. Another area of the restaurant will have vintage, ‘70s-era decor, he said.

The design firm behind the project is Cluck Design, which also did Haberdish and Queen Park Social.

Goodyear will have “modern comfort food” sourced from local farmers and served via shared plates, Klenk said. He wouldn’t disclose the name of Goodyear’s chef, but said it’s a name local restaurant goers will recognize.

Goodyear will be an informal space that’s family friendly and dog friendly, Klenk said.

“The idea is for it to feel comfortable … whether you’re wearing a suit or a tank top and sandals,” he said.

Goodyear will employ up to 75 people once it’s fully staffed, Klenk said.

[Related: NoDa’s former Solstice Tavern gets new owner, new name]

NoDa has experienced a surge in new development around the light rail in recent years. The popular cocktail bar Idlewild opened this year in the new Novel Noda building on 36th Street, across from the new Wooden Robot brewery that will open this summer, for instance.

In opening Goodyear, Klenk said he wants to contribute to NoDa’s tight-knight, growing community.

“It’s going to take more projects like this to (create) more walkable entertainment districts,” Klenk said. “NoDa has so much potential from a walkability standpoint. There’s no place outside uptown that has a more walkable entertainment district.”

This article originally appeared in The Charlotte Observer.

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