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Harvey’s Bar & Grill opens at Exit 28 site, eyes growth

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Charlie (left) and Luke

Charlie (left) and Luke

This week we welcome Harvey’s Bar & Grill to Cornelius. The restaurant got its start in the Vermillion Community in Huntersville, probably the toughest location for a restaurant/bar I’ve ever seen –  over the tracks off Exit 23 and way off the beaten path.

The owners of Harvey’s are Luke and Charlie. After they took over from the four previous proprietors, who consistently lost money on the location, they turned it profitable in just a little over a month. How did they do it? As always there is a little magic involved but mostly through plenty of experience in the restaurant business, and an uncanny ability to connect with their customers and adjust according to their requests.

Harvey’s in Huntersville was their first venture running their own establishment, and after three years of profitable operations they decided to put their love and experience to work in a better location. They’ve taken over the old RJ Gator’s (or most recently Drifter’s) on Liverpool Parkway, off I-77 Exit 28.

Some of you might say the new location also has a bad track record for eateries. But if you read my columns regularly, you’ll know that I always bet on the jockeys (the owners) and not the horses (physical location). I predict these community minded proprietors will turn a location notorious for failure into a booming business.

Beyond their history of success in Huntersville, why would anyone come to the Harvey’s in Cornelius?

With Luke and Charlie, great food and great service are a given.  You’ll always find at least one of them on location making sure that quality is under control. Beyond the basics for success, these two guys have truly run a “community” restaurant, and know precisely how to build a “neighborhood hangout.” They’ve already recreated that Harvey’s niche atmosphere at their new location in Cornelius.

“We’re excited to learn about our new community,” they told me in a meeting this week. These guys recognize that while Huntersville and Cornelius are close in proximity, they know that the patrons in Cornelius will differ from those they have grown to love (and who love them) in Huntersville.

Harvey’s Cornelius has an extensive menu, significantly more than what they offer in Huntersville, and the dining options will satisfy just about anyone: pizza, ribs, burger patties, an assortment of salads, and what they call “true” Buffalo wings. They also have 24 beers on tap, more than any other bar in Cornelius.

True to their App State nature, they have focused on local craft beers, and have even installed one of the most high tech glycol draft systems around. What’s so special about a glycol draft system? Well, for the consumer, the best part is: No. 1, it’s new, no musty old draft lines; No. 2,  it has “chiller” lines bundled in with all 24 keg lines so the beer stays a perfect 29 degrees all the way to the tap; No. 3, the glycol draft system maintains the beer’s natural carbonation and pushes the beer to the tap to ensure your draft craft beer tastes exactly as the brewers intended.

The pair are going after the family audience, so when they do have entertainment in Cornelius, it will primarily be acoustic duos. You won’t have to scream to have a conversation. Since they’ve been in the area for many years they already have contacts within the music scene, they already have most of their entertainment lined up for the rest of the year.

If it’s sports you’re worried about, have no fear. While they are the Official Headquarters for Appalachian State football, they also have all the football packages and plenty of TVs so if they don’t have your game on, make sure to ask, and they’ll happily switch one of the TV’s to your game of choice.


The first event at the new location will be the Live Awesome Flag Football Kick-Off party on Wednesday, Sept. 19, from 6-9 p.m. The charity tournament benefits our local Presbyterian Hospital’s cancer center and was inspired by the story of Huntersville’s own Kevin Carosa. (The flag football tournament will be held Saturday Sept. 29th at the Huntersville Athletic Park.) For more information regarding the tournament contact Beth Parsons at

Nate Davis is a Cornelius resident and web entrepreneur. He owns

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- who has written 590 posts on The Guide.

David Boraks is the founder and editor of Davidson News LLC, which started in 2006 as a neighborhood blog and evolved into a regional community news network. He is a print, magazine, web and radio journalist, with experience in every nook and cranny of the news world, covering everything from local news to Fortune 100 companies to technology to Asia. He lives on South Street in Davidson, in a house that was at the center of a 1914 murder case. Ask him and he'll tell you that story.

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