Jason and Darrell Vanderstelt, owners of Dutch Brothers Development, never set out to be restaurateurs. They just happened to see an opportunity to jumpstart revitalization efforts in their hometown of Charlotte.
They partnered in late 2016 with the Potent Potables Project — the wildly successful restaurant ownership group out of Lansing’s Old Town — and crafted the vision that was to become The Dolson.
“It’s exactly what we’re doing in this community,” Vanderstelt said. “This partnership, the synergy that’s hitting, is the same thing that’s taking place throughout this community.”
The attention to detail is visible in every aspect of Charlotte’s newest restaurant. From the exposed brick walls and copper tin ceiling to the Edison bulbs that illuminate the open space, The Dolson, named after the Charlotte automobile manufacturer from the early 1900s, was crafted with the customer experience in mind.
“It’s a beautiful marriage of the early 1900s to 2017,” said JasonVanderstelt. “This is really special … this is exceedingly special. Seeing all of the elements together, my heart’s on fire for this place.”
The Charlotte community has been buzzing with anticipation since news of The Dolson’s arrival surfaced in January. Community members will get their first opportunity to sample the new flavors when The Dolson officially opens its doors Thursday, June 15 at 11 a.m.
“They’re going to see Charlotte’s potential realized,” Vanderstelt said of the restaurant created by the partnership between The Dutch Brothers and Potent Potables. “This is just one piece of the puzzle for our entire community that starts to bring us back towards our full potential. This is an example of where we’re going as a community.”
The attention to detail extends far beyond esthetics. Sam Short, of the Potent Potables Project, said each of the restaurants his company has opened takes quality and craftsmanship seriously. The Dolson, he said, will demonstrate the same commitment to providing an excellent customer experience in all aspects.
“We do the same thing as any other restaurant — we sell food and we sell booze,” Short said. “What differentiates us is how we do it. It’s the craft and care we put into the food. It’s the craft and care we put into the cocktails — what really defines us as a company is our customer service.”
From a well-educated and rigorously trained staff to the culinary care and inventiveness in the kitchen, Short and Vanderstelt are excited to provide the greater-Charlotte area with a completely new dining experience.
“We are a gastropub — comfort classics, things that you recognize, just made in house, from scratch in a way you’ve never seen before,” Short said. “We have a chef that drives the menu, who is seasonal in his selection of items that go on the menu, and who really tries to be creative and interesting.”
For example, Short said, one of the appetizers on the menu is The Dolson Tots.
“We’re making them from scratch, in house, and they are the best thing you’ve ever had,” Short said. “Every minute detail on down, we’re making everything truly from scratch.”
The menu will feature several fun and inventive appetizers, specialty sandwiches and burgers, and an assortment of entrees. Special children’s menus are featured inside children’s books, giving them a chance to read a food-related story while waiting for their meal.
Short said he envisions the The Dolson becoming a true public house, a place for people of all walks of life to gather.
“We’ve opened a number of restaurants over the years, bars, breweries, the response from the community in Charlotte, the feeling of ‘I know those guys’ or that ‘I have some connection to that space,’ has been phenomenal,” Short said. “People are truly interested and engaged in this space.”
Located at 112 S. Cochran Avenue in downtown Charlotte, The Dolson will be open Sunday through Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, from 11 a.m. to midnight. For more information, check out TheDolson.com on Thursday, June 15 to view the full menu.