1980 exterior shot
1990 interior shot
Looking towards the solarium from across the pond
1979 shot of the lounge
Looking from above in this 1988 photo
Original matchbook (courtesy of Robert McEwen)
1992 ad promoting the new patio at Hayden's
1994 interior photo of Ocho Cafe
The patio at Ocho Cafe
Working the bar at Ocho Cafe in 1994
Currently occupied by Bricktops
Few restaurants in Charlotte history have the notoriety as Barley & Rye. Located across the street from Southpark Mall, Barley & Rye opened on December 5, 1979 in the Specialty Shops on the Park. It introduced Charlotte to a new type of upscale restaurant. Rather than being stuffy and elitist, Barley & Rye was sophisticated while still retaining a relaxed atmosphere. The menu offered no fried items and featured over 24 varieties of fresh fish each day (unheard of at the time in Charlotte--more fish choices than any other city restaurant). The restaurant also was famous for its "seafood" salad bar which included oysters on the half shell, cold boiled shrimp, and crab and shrimp salad (as well as the usual salad bar fare). In addition to having a large wine cellar, Barley & Rye was also popular for its own house-blended Biltmore Estate Champagne. Barley & Rye had three differently, distinctive dining rooms. The main dining room, the "Tool Room" (which featured antique farm implements on the walls), and (most popular) the solarium room (which overlooked the small pond next door).
The Barley & Rye stayed in business until 1991 when it became Hayden's. Hayden's was a sister restaurant in the Barley & Rye company and featured a more casual, bistro-style fare (similar to Bennigan's). There were also Hayden's in Pineville and in Gastonia (a location planned for the UNCC area never materialized). Unfortunately, the food was terrible and within two years, Hayden's was history.
In 1993, Ocho Cafe, a Mexican restaurant, opened in the former Hayden's location. In a town dominated by average Mexican chain restaurants, Ocho Cafe was more upscale and featured some of the best Mexican fare Charlotte had ever seen (even through today). One of the signature focal-points of Ocho Cafe was homemade tortillas made at a tortilla-making station. Ocho Cafe would continue successfully for the next few years.
From the late-'90's through 2007 several restaurants would come and go in this location (several with a then-trendy Southwestern theme). All would fail due to high prices and poorly executed menus. Bricktops currently occupies the location and appears to be a return to form in the tradition of Barley & Rye.