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DOWNTOWN ROUNDUP: Jonga Java, Lime Leaf close; new restaurant coming

A popular coffee shop on South Main Street has closed. So has a Thai restaurant in the 300 block of North Main. That’s the downside. A new restaurant is in the works in the 300-block by a Hendersonville couple who operate restaurants in Greenville, S.C.

While downtown Hendersonville is more stable than many small towns, Main Street still sees a churn of restaurants. The latest to close are Jongo Java, a coffee shop and smoothie bar at 117 S. Main St., and Lime Leaf, a Thai Fusion restaurant, at 342 N. Main St.
The restaurant space in the 300 block of North Main won’t be vacant long.
“I have a new tenant lined up,” said Jim Hall, a partner in Investors Realty Group, the property owner. “They won’t take possession until September.”
The new tenants, Chuck and Janna Watson, own a chain of restaurants in Greenville, S.C.
“They know what they’re doing. They’re sharp,” Hall said. After a trip overseas, the couple will take possession of the space on Sept. 1. The restaurant is expected to be open for business within 90 days of that date.
“It’ll be good. They’re working on a concept,” he said. “In fact, I’m giving them a key at the end of the day and they’re interviewing their final candidate for chef.” A manager with the Upstate restaurant group has already toured the space. “They’ve done a lot of homework. They’re smart young folks.”
Lime Leaf had three different owners during its time on Main Street.
“He’s just ready to move on,” Hall said.
The Watsons have also talked to Holloway about a façade grant to update the exterior.
“We talked more about a target market and how they’d like to blend an appeal both to the retiree dinner crowd and the growing number of families and younger folks,” he said. “They talked about being casual but upscale.”
The couple has years of experience in the restaurant business. When they moved to Hendersonville, they decided they wanted to add one here, too.