The Transylvania Times -

By Derek McKissock
News Editor 

Old Face Giving Historic Building A New Lease – Brevard NC

 

January 12, 2017

Bruce Stewart, a Brevard High School graduate, has returned to town to open a new restaurant in the historic building on Country Club Road. Work has been done to give the space a contemporary feel. (Times photos by Derek McKissock)

In the early 1980s, when he was 13 years old, Bruce Stewart used to build the fire at The Cabin in the Pines restaurant on Country Club Road in Brevard.

Over the years, the building has housed several restaurants, including The Old Hickory House, and dates back to the 1930s (see box below), when it was initially the clubhouse for the Brevard Country Club.

Throughout high school, Stewart would work with Kerry and David Guice at the restaurant they ran in the building.

After he graduated in 1988 from Brevard High School, Stewart moved to Charlotte, and since 2001 he ran Lola's, a restaurant located, funnily enough, on Brevard Street until just recently.

Over the years, when he would return to Brevard, Stewart said he would go by the Country Club Road property because, he said, it "always meant something" to him.

In late 2015, Stewart ran into David Guice, who still owned the property with his wife.

Stewart and Guice, a former county commissioner and state legislator, talked about the building, which had been empty for the past few years, and Stewart decided to buy the roughly 3.8-acre property.

After several months of renovation work, Stewart hopes to open his new version of Lola's before the end of the month.

When that happens, Lola's will be open from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday.

The menu will offer for $10 a meat dish, such as baked or fried chicken, meatloaf, or pulled pork and chicken, plus a choice of two sides, cornbread or dinner roll.

Each day, there also will be daily specials, such as pot roast, fried fish, beef tips, ribs, chicken and dumplings, ranging between $10 and $14.

The menu will be similar to the Lola's in Charlotte.

Stewart said he decided to move to Brevard because the Charlotte location had a new owner and the property was being renovated.

Stewart was ready for a "change."

Instead of having to renegotiate the lease, Stewart said he now doesn't face that "hassle," as he has his own property.

That doesn't mean, Stewart will be taking his new venture for granted.

"It's a tough business," he said of running a restaurant. "It keeps you on your toes."

Stewart said he's been "lucky" that's he's "always had good people to work with."

Lola's will have a staff of six to eight in the beginning, including JK Hamilton, who will run the kitchen and has worked with Stewart for about seven years.

Stewart said he wants Lola's to have a "casual vibe" and believes the renovated space offers that.

"I want you to come back to the kitchen and talk and feel comfortable," Stewart said of how he wants customers to feel in his restaurant.

Getting the building in shape to open has been a tough process, Stewart said.

He and Hamilton have done much of the cleaning, while Doug Crowe has done much of the carpentry and other work.

Styrofoam sheets that used to be over the beams have been removed, exposing them, and a wall was removed in the main dining room, opening up the space more.

The woman's bathroom has also been expanded from one to three stalls, with new floors in both the men's and women's.

Leftover soot from a fire 30 years ago also had to be cleaned up, along with dealing with decades old plumbing and wiring.

Artwork in the restaurant is by Charlotte artist Duy Huynh, and old window frames hanging from the ceiling give the space a contemporary feel.

In the basement, there is a large smoker, which will also be used for catering work.

For now, the plan is to host events, such as birthdays or weddings, in the evenings, but Stewart said dinner could be served at the restaurant in the future.

The building has a wraparound deck for dining when the weather turns warmer, and behind the building is a large open green space that includes an area for horseshoes.

Stewart expects to be selling alcohol by the spring, with an eye on possibly opening a beer garden.

The first order of business, he said, will be to get the food and service right. Listening to customer feedback, he said, is always important.

"The clientele will always dictate where you go," Stewart said. "We are here for the long run."

Old Hickory House Dates Back To 1939

The Old Hickory House building was initially the home of the Brevard County Club. Construction work began on July 3, 1939, using Works Progress Administration (WPA) funds and workers

The walls were built using saddle-notched round logs, which were sealed and painted. The chimney, mantel and other features in the building and outside are made from fieldstone.

The surrounding property was the site of a nine-hole golf course, which was first commissioned in 1925. The course was eventually about 3,200 yards long.

The building has about 5,000 square feet of space, including the main floor, a basement and a second floor that was used as living quarters for the course’s caretakers. The course was used into the mid-60s, when the Glen Cannon Golf Club was built.

The golf course and clubhouse property, about 120 acres in total, was put up for auction in 1966. The clubhouse remained, but the golf course property was eventually developed for housing. Since the early 1970s, the former clubhouse has been the site of a series of restaurants.

 
 

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