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Iannucci's closes, likely to be replaced with a new restaurant

After the recent closing of Iannucci's, the Italian restaurant on Asheville Highway, the owner of the building expects a new restaurant to open fairly soon.


The second location by the Iannucci family, the Hendersonville dining spot was operated by John Iannucci and his family. His brother, Nick, runs the Asheville location, which is still open at 1981 Hendersonville Road.

Nine years ago there was less competition in the Italian dining market — and especially pizza purveyors — than there is today. Besides Mezzaluna and West First downtown and Mona Lisa on Bearcat Boulevard at Church Street, other pizza makers near Asheville Highway include Two Guys Pizza & Ribs, Marco's and Amazing Pizza Co. on Seventh Avenue, Pie Squared Detroit-style pizza on Haywood Road and Favilla's New York Pizza a few blocks north of Iannucci's on Asheville Highway.

"They had been there nine years and did a great job," said Curtis Hensley, the owner of the building, which was home to Hensley's Quarterhouse restaurant until the early 1990s. "They decided they were moving to Florida and they just decided to close it up." The owners paid the rent on time and had a loyal customer base. "There wasn't any problem with the business," Hensley said.

The 3,000-square foot building seats about 80 people at tables, 20 at the bar and another 30 on a patio beside a creek. As soon as he announced on the sign that the building was available to rent, Hensley started getting phone calls and is up to some 20 inquiries already.

"I'm looking for somebody to come in and either run it as a pizza restaurant or something new," he said. "It's really set up for pizza because it has a pizza oven and the noodles and pasta (makers) and like an 80-quart mixer" for sauce. "It's got a walk-in cooler."

Hensley wants to sell the restaurant equipment to the restaurateur who signs a lease. He plans to lease the property for $4,600 a month "triple net," meaning the tenant is responsible for taxes, insurance and upkeep. He said he generally starts with a 5-year lease with the option for a 5-year extension so a restaurant owner would be assured of a 10-year run to establish a business.

"I think barbecue would go there, pizza would go there, any kind deli," he said. Given the interest that prospective tenants have already shown, "somebody's going to buy it really quick."