CORNELIUS – Charlie Dyer, owner of Harvey’s, has been in the restaurant business for two decades. The Purvis, Miss., native has called Lake Norman home since 2007 and has since become a staple in the restaurant culture in the area. The first Harvey’s opened in Huntersville, but its other location just off West Catawba Avenue has recently become the home of the popular Connecting Cornelius coffee chats, shining the spotlight on the establishment.
Harvey’s opened in June 2009 in Vermillion, a large residential area in Huntersville. The Harvey’s Cornelius location opened in January 2017 in Jetton Village. For Dyer, it wasn’t the path he expected to take, but it was the fruition of a dream. Dyer graduated from Appalachian State with a degree in business management but went into a career in finance, initially. It was 2009 when he was able to branch into the business he’d always hoped to.
“I finally had the opportunity to achieve my personal dream of opening my own restaurant,” Dyer said of the first Harvey’s. “I opened my second restaurant, Block Bistro, in 2016 followed by a second location of Harvey’s in Cornelius that next year.”
Challenges in running a restaurant
For Dyer, the biggest challenge in management has been been finding the staff to make sure every experience is remarkable for the customer.
“We get great people, but in this industry, those people utilize this industry for a stepping stone to their desired positions in whatever industry they are going into. Unless they specifically want to work in the restaurant industry for life, you only get to keep those people for a short time until they move on, and they do, because they are good at what they do, responsible and hard-working, which makes it more likely for them to get picked up,” he said.
That high turnover means more training time, but they work together, he said, to make it a customer-focused environment.
If you’ve been to Harvey’s before, get ready for something new. This March, the restaurant is debuting an evolved menu with new items. The goal is “culinary-crafted, boldly flavored dishes,” Dyer said.
If you’re a first-timer or a regular, Dyer has some recommendations.
“We highly recommend the fresh salmon with our house-made Chimichurri sauce,” Dyer said. “Our Arizona BLT with marble rye bread, arugula, thick-cut bacon, Sriracha mayo, chipotle guacamole, a fried egg over medium and tomatoes is another big hit. The new menu will also boast exciting new dishes such as blackened mahi-mahi over a mango chardonnay slaw topped with a fresh pineapple salsa and our french cut pork chop with an apple butter, garlic mash and roasted Brussels sprouts with a balsamic demi glaze.”
He said regulars shouldn’t worry as they are keeping the chicken wings and burgers they’re known for, especially the fan-favorite Harvey’s Honey Burger.
Harvey’s is casual yet classy, adorned with wooden accents and a friendly vibe.
“Our casual atmosphere serves as a gathering place for friends and families to meet for drinks, dinner, the big game or live music,” Dyer said.
There’s a prominent stage at the front of the restaurant.
“Our high tops and bar area feature 14 TVs, including a large-screen projector where guests can catch the big game. In Cornelius, we host live music on our stage every Thursday and Friday nights and also serve brunch on Sunday mornings,” he added.
Goals for the future
Get ready for more outdoor fun at Harvey’s, too. In Cornelius, they’re redesigning the outdoor space.
“The new design will make our patio a destination summer dining spot for our guests. We are working on building Harvey’s as the location for culinary driven cuisine in a casual atmosphere with the best service in Lake Norman,” Dyer said.
Not just a place to eat
Beyond customer service and great food, Harvey’s has a mission that extends beyond its doors.
“We thrive on serving our neighbors and making a difference in the community,” Dyer said. “Harvey’s hosts the monthly Cornelius Coffee Chat events, supports local charities such as Lotta Foundation and Lake Norman Kiwanis and is active in multiple other organizations and supporting our local firemen and police as well. For the past four years we’ve also provided dinner to the Hough High and Community School of Davidson football teams before each Friday night game. We love the Lake Norman community.”