Hendersonville residents will soon have one of their favorite eateries back as Jolly Ollie’s plans to reopen on July 12.
A snowball effect of prolonged insurance claims and the coronavirus has stalled a six-month recovery project into a year-long headache.
When Jolly Ollie’s caught fire on July 12, 2019, owner Dilya Knight was prepared for a long road to improvement, but what she did not envision was being nearly 12 months removed, and still no one in her restaurant.
That said, Knight is hopeful, optimistic, and thankful for all the support and love she has received over the last 11 months.
“We did not envision being closed this long,” she told the Hendersonville Standard. “We walked in after New Year’s and realized there was much work to do, and the best thing would be to roll up our sleeves and do a lot of the work ourselves.”
Knight and the restaurant have been blessed with a good relationship with the bank, and she thanks Jennifer Perry at US Bank in Hendersonville for her stellar work.
“They have helped us so much to finish out the construction,” she said. “Jennifer assured us we would get a small business loan, and we did. We are blessed.”
It has been more than just the bank that has helped Knight get through these trying times. It has been the support of the community and another competitor that has lifted her spirits.
“The first day when the fire was still going, I was there to help fight the fire, and when I finally got home, I opened Facebook, and I had over 16,000 replies of encouragement,” she said. “I could not believe it. That was the most epic moment for me.”
The following week Knight gave a speech to the Hendersonville Rotary Club and says the next day she was given a tarp for her roof to protect the restaurant from the rains.
“Sanders Ferry Pizza helped us get through our problems as well as the fire and police departments,” she said. “I never expected them to donate their time and supplies, and I want to acknowledge them for their help because I do not know where we would be.”
Not only did Sanders Ferry Pizza donate their time to help Knight, but they also set up a fundraiser and helped Knight’s employees find work.
“The community has been amazing,” she said. “I want to say, as a foreigner and brown skin lady, the community has been so good to us. We have a good, diverse community, and I could not ask for more and am so grateful to choose to be in this city.”
Now that Knight has a date in mind when she wants to reopen, she has focused her attention on making her restaurant better.
The upstairs bar and lounge room are complete with a stage, pool tables, dartboards, and up to 16 beer taps.
She and her staff have added outdoor patio seating for more capacity, and are currently building a stage outside with a beer garden. The restaurant has also added an outside area for customers who want to bring their dogs. The beer garden is set to open late fall/spring 2021.
“We want to carry local beers, and before we only had six taps and a small keg cooler, so we expanded to put a walk-in cooler behind the bar to give us more space for our taps,” she said.
There is also a camera set up to view the stage to broadcast nightly performances on Facebook.
“Musicians need a place to start, and what better place than here,” she said. “We want to make this bar and restaurant home for people.”
On top of the remodeled upstairs, customers will find art throughout the restaurant as Knight has hired local artists to come and put their fingerprints on the restaurant.
Knight will also dedicate every table to the ones who have helped her get through these hard times.
Next week Jolly Ollie’s will finish out their inspections of electrical, mechanical and plumbing, and will bring the Fire Marshall in for a final walkthrough.
“We are turning tragedy into triumph,” she said. “We used this time to improve so much, and we are excited to show it off to our community. We will be back better and stronger than before.”
Jolly Ollie’s is located at 82 New Shackle Island Road.