Chef / Partner
GM / Partner
A native Charlottean, Chef Chris Coleman first gained an appreciation for local ingredients and fostering community while spending summers on his grandparents’ farm in Mississippi. The access to fresh, locally-grown food imprinted on his budding culinary mind, as did the intimate, hands-on experience with Southern growing seasons.
Chris was never far from Southern food. He was 14 when he started his first industry job at a local fish camp, working his way up through the ranks from busser to kitchen expediter.
While a student in Central Piedmont’s culinary program, Chris took a job as a line cook at the McNinch House, one of Charlotte’s most storied fine dining restaurants. He was quickly promoted to head chef at the age of 21.
Chris followed up these early ventures by opening The Asbury, a 40-seat farm-to-fork restaurant at The Dunhill Hotel. Under his direction, the restaurant won multiple Charlotte Magazine “Best of the Best” Awards.
As director of culinary experience at Charlotte Marriott City Center, Chris helped lead the team that reinvented food and beverage for Marriott international. Stoke, Stoke Bar, and Coco and the Director are brand firsts at Marriott’s M Beta hotel, where Chris oversaw all culinary aspects.
In 2019, Chris stepped into the kitchen at The Goodyear House in Charlotte’s NoDa neighborhood. The Goodyear House is built on a shared history of community and kinship. The bar and culinary programs celebrate the best in seasonal, locally-sourced Southern ingredients. Family-friendly, community-oriented and neighborhood-driven, The Goodyear House leads by example, from innovative cuisine to philanthropic efforts.
Chris is excited for what comes next with his newest venture, Old Town Kitchen & Cocktails, located in historic Rock Hill, South Carolina.
Sean Potter grew up living in 5 different countries as a child, which exposed him to a number of different cultures and experiences. Sean moved to Charlotte in the late 80’s as a child, falling in love with its charm and Southern Hospitality.
Upon graduating from college, Sean dove into a hospitality career with BLT Steak, opening the restaurant with them in The Ritz Carlton in Charlotte, NC and operating the Miami Beach, FL, location. Sean then jumped onto the team of the 1 Group and STK, opening multiple restaurants with the company across the country, in locales from Florida to NYC to Las Vegas. After spending 3 years on the road with the group, Sean decided it was time to settle down, moving back home to Charlotte to join the Dineworks group, where he was tasked with overseeing 2 restaurants in Charlotte, NC and 2 in Dallas, TX.
In 2016, Sean was selected to join Marriott Hotels International as part of a team that would re-invent food & beverage for the brand at their beta hotel. Charlotte Marriott City Center. Sean was hired to oversee Stoke, Stoke Bar, and Coco + The Director. While with Marriott, Stoke was named to USA Today’s top 25 best new restaurants in America list. Sean considers himself fortunate to be a driving part of the M Beta program that conceptualized over 300 proofs of concept.
Most recently, Sean has partnered with Chris Coleman and AJ Klenk to build and develop The Goodyear House into a mainstay of the fast-growing NoDa neighborhood in Charlotte.
Sean is excited for his next venture, Old Town Kitchen & Cocktails, located in historic Rock Hill, South Carolina.
As a self-made multiple business owner, AJ exemplifies the transformation from entrepreneur to leader. With no formal education in business, AJ begin his career in 2008, co-founding Capstone Companies, now the largest privately held multifamily investment sales brokerage in the nation. AJ has learned that above all, the key to scaling a business is humble, servant leadership. As a leader of his businesses, AJ has instilled in his team critical Core Values including putting “Team Before Self”, “Checking Your Ego at the Door” and having a “Relentless Passion for Improvement”.
Having founded three successful real estate start-ups, a growing food and beverage business, and various tech-enabled investments, AJ has acquired valuable skills from the business world. AJ prides himself on his approachable personality, team-before-self way of living, easy going nature and relentless work ethic. These traits have helped AJ develop a reputation as a trusted resource for anything multifamily, commercial real estate, technology or non-profit related.
Currently Managing Partner (Co-founder) of Catalyst Capital Partners, a multifamily development and investment company with a $1B+ pipeline throughout the Southeast, AJ oversees the management and investment activities of the firm.
AJ continues to act as a Partner (Co-Founder) of Capstone and directs the company’s national growth and technology-related business development initiatives. Capstone is a multi-year recipient of the “Inc. 500/5000 Award” and multi-year winner of The Business Journal’s “Best Places to Work” List. Over the past 12+ years with Capstone, AJ has led the firm’s growth from one office in Charlotte, NC to twenty coast-to-coast. In his time as a broker at Capstone, AJ led investment sales transactions representing an aggregate value of $2.5B+ and 25,000+ units. In this role, AJ was the Top Producer for 3 of his last 4 years.
AJ is also the founder and passive Partner of Built on Hospitality, a NC-based Food and Beverage group with a focus on creative new concepts in the full-service and QSR space throughout the Southeast.
While his business responsibilities are many, the pursuit of most pride for AJ, international philanthropy, specifically funding and building elementary schools around the world, is AJ’s guiding light. As a Global Board Member of BuildOn, the largest NGO in the world focused on building schools in rural third-world villages, AJ has been responsible for the funding and construction of 3 primary schools in Central and South America (225 students year-round), with 5+ more in the pipeline.
AJ graduated from The University of Michigan in 2007 with a MS in Bio-Psychology and Cognitive Science. AJ is a member of the National Multi-Housing Council and the Urban Land Institute and is active in various other professional and philanthropic roles across the region. He enjoys Michigan sports, volunteering, the outdoors, world travel, and spending time with his wife Caitlin, and two boys, Harrison and Jackson.
WHO WE ARE
Chris, Sean, and AJ come from various backgrounds in the hospitality industry and have been brought together to create Built On Hospitality because of their shared love of all things restaurants, community, and giving back. Having worked on various ventures together before, they know how to bring unique experiences and perspectives to the forefront and use their platforms they’ve built up over the years to bring about change to communities and the hospitality industry.
GET IN TOUCH
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You can also reach us by phone at 704.910.0132