Chad and Katy Hutcheson never planned to open a restaurant — but by this time next year, they’ll have two.
The couple behind The String Bean plan to bring that popular concept to Shelby.
The first location of that full-service southern bistro and specialty grocer opened in Belmont in 2009.
Now, they’ve purchased and plan to renovate a 15,000-square-foot space in Shelby’s uptown district — roughly 30 miles from their current spot. Construction is slated to begin within 60 days, with an early spring opening planned, Chad says.
The String Bean Shelby will be located at 14 E. Marion St., on the court square.
“We knew that we would grow and expand. We just didn’t know where,” Chad says. “There’s something brewing in Shelby. We saw what we saw in Belmont in 2008 and we decided to jump on it.”
Adds Katy: “We walked into the building and you could just kind of feel it was the next step.”
That three-story building dates to the 1930s. Its size provides space for a prep kitchen, specialty market and butcher shop, restaurant, event space as well as a patio. Holland & Hamrick is the architect.
The design looks to incorporate a hearth kitchen, where meats and seafood will be cooked over an open flame. The Hutchesons envision the restaurant to have cozy nooks and crannies with tables incorporated into the market and restaurant, much like Belmont.
“We’re creating a destination,” Chad says.
In total, that venture will cost roughly $1.2 million.
The Shelby venture will build upon the success of The String Bean. But how that business came to be is purely happenstance.
The Hutchesons hadn’t planned on moving to Belmont.
After date night at the Charlotte Knights game was rained out, they got lost on their way home.
“So we ended up in Belmont,” Chad says.
Right in front of them was a house for sale — complete with all the character they desired. Three days later it was theirs.
The couple quickly realized that while the house was everything they wanted, the community was lacking when it came to places to eat and shop for groceries and other items.
Enter The String Bean.
They bought the former antique shop on Main Street, and spent a year transforming it into a full-service bistro and specialty grocer.
Today, that roughly 3,000-square-foot space brings together the market, complete with a butcher shop, fresh seafood, cheeses, 200-plus craft beer choices and more than 700 wines. The restaurant also shares that location.
That venture builds on Chad’s experience in the restaurant industry, which includes stints both front and back of house starting at age 15. He didn’t go to culinary school, but trained under a number of great chefs.
The menu aims to provide an upscale twist on southern fare, but makes ingredients approachable with interesting preparations.
“I feel like meals these days have become an event,” Katy says.
For example, the fries are hand-cut and cooked in duck fat to give them a crispy texture before being coated with salt and pepper. Deviled eggs are finished off with house-made sugared bacon and hand-breaded fried green tomatoes topped with pepper jack cheese. The Cow-Pig burger melds fresh ground Angus beer with smoked bacon.
Specialties change daily.
They also added 10 Catawba, an event center for wedding receptions and special occasions, and a wine bar called Bar 10 in 2014.
Jennifer Thomas covers retail, health care and education for the Charlotte Business Journal.