HAMLET — A new owner with ties to Hamlet plans to resurrect Jones on Main under a new name on Easter Sunday.
Preston Bartley, 29, who manages a number of fast-food restaurants in North and South Carolina, and who co-owns Jerry’s Diner in Lumberton, will take over the lease as soon as i’s have been dotted and t’s, officially crossed. He said Monday that he had approved the terms of the lease and paid a deposit.
“I’m shooting for April first” to open, Bartley said. But if that turns out to be too soon, he’ll go for May 1 — because “I just like the first.” Before that, he said, he would offer police, firefighters and, possibly, those who sup at the local soup kitchen a foretaste during a soft opening.
Bartley’s aunt, Gwen Chavis Suite of Hamlet, called him when Jones on Main closed recently and offered to help him negotiate a friendly takeover.
“My aunt called me and said, ‘There’s a lady who runs a good buffet’ …” and had to close, Bartley said.
Bartley’s grandmother Annie Doris Chavis manages Hamlet’s Hardee’s. And his wife, Brandice, will commute from Lumberton to manage the new restaurant, which Bartley also plans to name Jerry’s Diner, in honor of his father.
Last week, the former lessee, Yvette Jones, left a Facebook goodbye for patrons: “I guess you all heard by now that jonesonmain has closed. … On Dec. 8th, I fell and injured my back and my arm. It was hard for me to do my job, so my doctors took me out of work. Thank you all for being so supportive of us …”
Jones, also the former operator of the successful Country Kitchen in Rockingham, ran Jones on Main for three years, celebrated for her “soul food” and, once, for being mentioned by former Gov. Pat McCrory on “Meet the Press.”
Bartley doesn’t have any gubernatorial visits planned, but he does have a buffet menu that hews fairly true to the one that fed Jones’s success: fried and baked chicken on rotating days, seafood on Fridays and Eastern Carolina-style homemade vinegar-based pork barbecue on Sundays.
He plans to be open for breakfast through supper every day but Sunday: 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays. Cost will vary by meal and entree. Children younger than 2 always will eat for free.
“I’ve always looked to own my own (restaurant),” Bartley said. This will be the first business he owns himself.
”Ultimately, if it does well, I will be there” to run the restaurant with his wife, he said.
Reach Christine Carroll at 910-817-2673 or [email protected]