Hawthorne Road Cafe Project (Southern Charm Kitchen)

Location: 1700 Block of SE Hawthorne Road
Start Date: 2008
Estimated Completion Date: 2010
Available Funding: $330,734


In 2008, the CRA began the process of redeveloping a lot with a vacant cinderblock building at  1712 and 1714 Hawthorne Road. The goal was to encourage economic development in the Southeast Gainesville Renaissance Initiative (SEGRI) area by way of: 1) creating a visually appealing site which would serve as a catalyst for commercial development along the Hawthorne Road Corridor; 2) bringing a use to the Eastside that did not currently exist; and 3) leasing (or selling) the building to a small business.

The CRA completed renovations of the shell building and lot in 2010 and in 2011, leased the space to Omar and Arpita Oselimo, the owners of Reggae Shack Cafe. The Oselimos opened Southern Charm Kitchen, specializing in southern cuisine with a twist. Southern Charm created 20 new jobs and was the first sit-down restaurant in the area. In 2016, the owners informed the CRA of their intent to buy the property and possibly expand.