Hello Sailor is now open on Lake Norman — and already on the national radar

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Hello Sailor, the highly anticipated new lakeside restaurant from Joe and Katy Kindred, is now open in Cornelius.

To understand the hype behind the Kindred’s latest venture, you have to understand the success of and subsequent cult following behind their original namesake restaurant located just down the road in Davidson.

Kindred, an exquisite restaurant in an old pharmacy on Main Street that’s somehow meticulously operated and effortlessly cool all at once, opened in 2015 to rave reviews, including a game-changing (and well deserved) feature spot on Bon Appetit’s list of America’s 10 Best New Restaurants of 2015.

Kindred Davidson NC

When the couple announced plans for a second restaurant in the fall of 2016, the buzz was real and the forthcoming lakeside concept was already on the national radar. Eater named it one of the 16 Most Anticipated Restaurant Openings of 2017 and local outlets (yours truly, hi) have drooled over it for the last year.

Now, Hello Sailor is finally here.

Here’s a look at the line outside Hello Sailor the minute they opened on Sunday, December 3 (via @hellosailornc on Instagram)

It’s located at 20210 Henderson Road in the spot formerly occupied by Rusty Rudder.

Fans of Rusty Rudder won’t recognize their notoriously low-brow lakefront hangout, which now sports a gorgeous Palm Springs-inspired, mid-century modern makeover with Sputnik chandeliers, stacked stone walls and slate and terrazzo flooring.

Katy Kindred led the impressive design effort, which has come a long way since we first saw it in its early stages of renovation.

Related story: Inside Joe and Katy Kindred’s new lakeside restaurant that will own the summer

Before

After

The restaurant seats about 90 inside with another 3,500 square feet of waterfront deck space out back that will include year-round seating in a heated patio as well as seasonal outdoor seating.

That deck along with its forthcoming tiki bar and the restaurant’s 20 dedicated boat slips will no doubt be slammed once the weather is right.

The horseshoe-shaped bar is a main focal point in the dining room featuring beach-worthy cocktails like Cherry Lemon Sundrop Negroni Slushies and no-frills 40-ounce Miller High Life bottles.

There’s also Barracuda Bill’s Pseudo Pils, an exclusive Hello Sailor beer created by Free Range Brewing, and Ramona, a dangerously drinkable sparkling grapefruit wine, both served
in a can.

Cherry Lemon Sundrop Negroni Slushie and an Aperol Spritz

Hello Sailor’s exclusive 32-ounce beer created by Free Range Brewing

Ramona sparkling grapefruit wine

The kitchen is led by Chef Craig Deihl, a two-time James Beard Award finalist for Best Chef in the Southeast.

The menu is seafood focused featuring items like raw oysters, salt & pepper NC catfish, Carolina shrimp calabash and lobster rolls on Kindred’s signature milk bread buns.

Here’s a look at some samples from a preview event last Friday:

Lobster roll on a milk bread bun

Hushpuppies

Oysters

Fried bologna sandwich

And here’s a limited preview menu:

You’ll notice quirky little details that round out Hello Sailor’s carefully crafted identity, like a $5 retro photo booth and a merch wall selling branded trucker hats, tees and koozies.

Not to mention the wacky straws at the bar and classic frozen yogurt for dessert.

It’s like everything is there to remind you not to take the experience too seriously but you better believe the process of piecing it all together was serious business.

$5 photo booth

Merch wall

Wacky straws

Frozen yogurt

Hello Sailor is open daily for dinner beginning at 5 p.m.

Find it at 20210 Henderson Road, Cornelius NC 28031.

Connect with Hello Sailor

Instagram

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Katie Levans Loveluck
| @katie_levans |

Co-Founder and Creative Director