Two veterans of a prominent local restaurant group are starting a new venture on Tobacco Row.
Michael Hinerman and Hai Truong, formerly of Osaka, part of Chris Tsui’s EAT Restaurant empire, are to launch Haiku Sushi and Lounge in the space that once housed Sensi Italian Chop House. Truong will remain a partner in EAT.
“It’s a beautiful space,” said Hinerman, former general manager at Osaka’s River Road location. “And not that we want to benefit from someone else’s misfortune, but since Sensi was here last, the space is pretty much ready to roll.”
The 5,500-square-foot space at 2222 E. Cary St. is on the ground floor of the River Lofts.
Hinerman said that he and Truong, who is the chef, expect to be open by mid-May and that the renovations of the interior would be ongoing after opening.
“Hai has a good eye for design,” he said. “Right off the bat, we will be making minimal cosmetic changes, but we’ll probably do more to redesign after we are open.”
Hinerman would not say what Haiku would pay in rent. A Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer market report shows rents for downtown retail spaces run about $13.50 per square foot.
Clint Greene, a broker with Taylor Long Properties, represented Haiku. Brett McNamee with Divaris Real Estate represented Forest City.