The Kindreds bring Palm Springs kitsch to the lake with Hello, Sailor.
When Joe and Katy Kindred opened their namesake restaurant, Kindred, in 2015, Davidson and beyond couldn’t get enough of their milk bread and bartender’s choice cocktail offerings. With accolades from Bon Appetit magazine and the James Beard Foundation, Kindred put the hidden gem of Davidson on the map.
During the first six months Kindred was open, Joe, Katy, and their team focused on getting the restaurant to a point where it could run itself. This included focusing on the infrastructure and building the perfect team. Once all the systems were in place, the Kindreds were ready to focus on other opportunities.
“Joe and I, when we opened Kindred, knew we didn’t want it to be a one-off, mom-and-pop restaurant,” says Katy Kindred. “We always knew we wanted to do more.”
About eight months ago, the Kindreds started looking at possible spaces for their new, not-yet-imagined concept.
“We wanted to be inspired by a space,” says Katy. “We took a ‘we’ll know it when we find it’ approach, like we did when we found our space for Kindred.”
The Kindreds looked at spaces in Charlotte and surrounding areas, and although they saw some great options, didn’t find a space that spoke to them. Then the unexpected happened: It was the surprise announcement in early fall of 2016 that the lease of Cornelius staple The Rusty Rudder was not renewed after 15 years that inspired them.
“We were just as surprised as everyone else at the Rudder’s announcement,” says Katy. “It’s an incredible space, and we thought, ‘Let’s do it.’”
The Kindreds knew that they weren’t the only ones interested in this prime piece of Lake Norman real estate, but not known to be timid, they decided to throw their hat in the ring with a concept that revealed itself to them, just like the location.
“We had 24 to 48 hours to come up with a concept to present to the owner of the space, and we wanted to present a cohesive plan,” says Katy. “We knew we wanted to keep it local, but also make it our own. We wanted to create something fresh with personality that honored its location but wasn’t haunted by restaurants past.”
With a name, concept, and design scheme, the Kindreds presented their plan to the owner of the space. The owner loved it, and the Kindreds signed a lease. The concept: Hello, Sailor, a restaurant that will cater to both the boating crowd of Lake Norman and families and patrons that drive up in their cars.
The restaurant will be the Kindred’s version of a modern, upscale fish camp with a chef-driven menu and a kitschy, modern, Palm Springs feel. Although on the lake with an emphasis on seafood, don’t expect to find the typical nautical décor. With a name like Hello, Sailor—which was selected after Katy went down a “rabbit hole” in search of a name and discovered Sailor Jerry-esque tattoos—the spot will be lighthearted, punchy, and sassy.
“The look will be midcentury Palm Springs with pops of bright colors, tan desert tones, and a fun and funky vibe,” says Katy, who is handling all aspects of the interior design process. “We will be a spot for everyone whether they come by boat or by car—and bring your kids.“
The Kindreds stress that Hello, Sailor will not be the little sister of Kindred, but patrons can expect the same emphasis on quality ingredients and thoughtful dishes. There will be a balance between quick eats, a family-friendly atmosphere, and a place to get a proper dinner for a night out with friends and family.
Preparing thoughtful seafood dishes is not something new for the Kindreds and their team. The menu at Kindred has a seafood emphasis with dishes such as trout, scallops, and the squid ink pasta, which includes North Carolina shrimp and sea urchin butter.
“Seafood is harder for chefs,” says Joe. “Sourcing fresh seafood is hard and it takes effort to get it right. I’ve always loved seafood.”
Eating and preparing fresh seafood was something ingrained in Joe at a very young age. Joe grew up in nearby Magnolia Estates and he and his family would eat at Jack’s, a fish camp and former tenant of the Rusty Rudder space. Joe also has fond memories of summer vacations at his grandfather’s place in Swansboro on the Intracoastal Waterway.
“Food is nostalgic,” Joe says. “I have memories of catching fish with my family that we would eat for dinner, and I remember taking the boat to Jack’s with my parents and getting a fried bologna sandwich. These are my memories, but I want to share the experience with others.”
The Kindreds are committed to the best ingredients possible. For Hello, Sailor, they’re sourcing their seafood from Rock Stone and Inland Seafood, and the ribs and burgers will be sourced from Cheshire Farms. Grains, particularly for their hush puppies, will come from Geechie Boy Mill based out Edisto, S.C. Joe and Katy rave about the Jimmy Red cornmeal.
The menu will be diverse, but patrons can expect the same menu all day, for lunch and dinner. The menu will feature sandwiches, raw oysters, and various platters. Joe is currently working to perfect a prime rib offering.
“We’re going to get adventurous with platters and we are going to buy the best seafood,” Joe says. “There will be ribs, East and West Coast oysters, and a fried chicken sandwich I’m so excited about. We’re actually perfecting that sandwich now.”
Joe says the platters will be a “pick your poison” offering for patrons with options such as king crabs and Florida stone crabs.
“Our ideology when it comes to food is to serve food with the freshest and most local as we can,” Joe says. “Our main focus is sourcing the best ingredients, but not necessarily farm to table.”
The beverage offerings will be similar to those at Kindred, Katy says. “We won’t have the massive wine list, but we will have wine by the glass, the bottle, and we will have a variety of beers on tap. Our cocktails will have a tiki vibe to them. We will have a tiki bar outside and there will be frozen mixed drinks and a machine for slushy drinks. It’s going to be fun.”
Hello, Sailor is for Everyone
Be prepared for approachable food with a good price point, fresh ingredients, and a beautiful interior.
“Hello, Sailor is not just a restaurant to go to during the summer,” Joe says. “You can come here anytime and bring your kids.”
The Kindreds have three children and want to emphasize that Hello, Sailor will be family friendly. Joe is even working with his daughter to perfect a chicken fingers recipe to be included on the kids’ menu.
“We deserve the best in Lake Norman,” Katy added. “The space is going to be beautiful, but we are really excited about making it accessible to everyone.”
Currently, the restaurant is slated to open around August—and we can’t wait.
Tom Moore with Architectvs
General Manager of Hello, Sailor