Full-Throttle Opening

The Greenhouse Moto Cafe is a combination vintage-motorcycle museum, bar, and music room founded by Jeff Herold with design support from Geoff Wilson. Photos by Matt Rose.

Jeff Herold, owner of the charismatic Greenhouse Moto Cafe in Mills River, is not the type of restaurateur to ramble on philosophically about mission, vision, or exotically sourced ingredients in beer or food. Asked about his place’s opening last month — who came and how many, and whether he worried about launching a totally untested concept — Herold came back with something closer to a haiku than quotes:

“Mixed crowd. Great response. No fear.”

His new business on Haywood Road in Henderson County, a combined vintage-motorcycle museum, bar, and eventual restaurant (for now he hosts food trucks), is such a unique idea it’s much better experienced than explained. Perched right at roadside in a large, defunct commercial greenhouse, the former Carolina Roses, the 7,000-square-foot structure is hung with more than 50 vintage motorcycles, Herold’s long-time collection that includes Triumphs, BSAs, and Italian Moto Guzzis. Friend Geoff Wilson designed notable sections of the interior.

Lee Herold, co-owner of The Greenhouse Moto Cafe in Mills River.

“There’s a diverse crowd when you visit that bar,” confirms patron Cyndy Cathcart. Some local bars might have a cliquey feel, but the atmosphere here is open, thanks perhaps to the all-glass ambience. While pockets of riders flourish in various areas around WNC, the Greenhouse Moto Cafe has a wider appeal, given its novelty angle that includes vintage ephemera not related to motorcycles — plus dozens of beers on tap. “There’s a huge selection,” says Cathcart.

“From the minute you walk in, you feel like a regular,” she adds. “It appeals to people who love antiques, too. The atmosphere is relaxed.” Besides bar stools and high tops, she mentions wicker chairs. “It’s bright and open, and everyone gets to know each other quickly. I felt like I was at someone’s home.”

The ultra-cool backdrop has already inspired some future special events. “I heard someone was planning a wedding there,” says Cathcart.

4021 Haywood Road, Mills River. Open at 5pm. Live music some nights. See the bar’s Facebook page, The Greenhouse Moto Cafe, for more information and event listings.

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