Building on two years of success at Indochine Thai and Southeast Asian restaurant at 21 E. Adams St., partners Mark and Ladda Salter and Susie Sysouvanh have leased a space less than two blocks west of their restaurant, which is on the floor above Burrito Gallery.
The partners plan to open in September another restaurant at 117 W. Adams St. on the ground floor of W.A. Knight Lofts. The space was formerly occupied by Chew restaurant.
“It’s going to be a noodle bar. We’ll serve more casual food with a lower price point. We’re not going to compete with ourselves,” said Ladda Salter.
She said several locations were considered for the new venture, but the partners couldn’t ignore the chance to move into a space that’s practically ready for business.
Another asset was the large, well-equipped kitchen in the new space. Salter said the catering side of the restaurant’s business has outgrown the kitchen at Indochine.
Salter said the name of the new restaurant has yet to be decided, but it will be open for lunch Monday-Friday and serve dinner Thursday-Saturday and the first Wednesday of each month for Art Walk.
“We know the business will do well,” she said.
The lease, five years with two five-year renewal options, was negotiated by Margie Seaman, national director of commercial real estate for Seller’s Realty Group Inc.
“It’s remarkable that a restaurant is expanding within a stone’s throw,” said Seaman.
She said leasing the space required “a month of focused marketing to find the right tenant” and that two other restaurant operators in addition to the Indochine group were considering the space.
Seaman said the recent move Downtown of more than 1,500 EverBank employees helped make the location more attractive for a restaurant.
“That brought concentration to the area. People need to eat and if you can cook, they will come,” she said.
Developer Mike Langton purchased the Knight Building more than 10 years ago and converted the former professional office building into 12 apartments. It was the first historic reuse project for residential purposes Downtown.
“I’m very excited,” he said of the restaurant lease that will put a tenant in the space that has been vacant since Chew moved out in January.
Langton said it has taken years for the property to find its market. While there have been periods when fewer than half the lofts were rented, the building is currently 100 percent occupied with a short waiting list, he said.
Seaman has prospects for the rest of the retail space in the building and is working with several potential tenants, including a women’s clothing retailer, she said.
“I think Downtown will be a different place in two years. There are so many opportunities for property owners, brokers and entrepreneurs,” she said.