Wanting to provide more opportunities for the community and avoid people having to travel to big cities like Charlotte for a high-end meal, a Norwood resident and his son-in-law are about to open their first restaurant. upscale Asian.
Lantern Sushi, at 108 Main St., Norwood, is set to open in the coming weeks and will feature dishes such as the Spicy Roll Combo (Spicy Tuna Roll, Spicy Salmon Roll, Spicy Amberjack Roll), Lantern Roll Combo ( salmon avocado roll, eel cucumber, spicy crunchy roll), Hibachi chicken, steak and shrimp, Chicken Yaki Soba and Chicken Yaki Udon (stir-fry meals).
“We hope to provide people with good food, good service and something that is not available here in Stanly County,” said Rick DeRhodes, who will oversee the restaurant with his 17-year-old son-in-law Jimmy Li. culinary experience in restaurants. across the country, most recently at Sushi Bay 17, in Denver, Colorado. He wants Lantern Sushi to have as much food as possible from local farmers and area markets.
The 2,500 square foot restaurant will feature a spacious outdoor patio, a sushi bar and numerous wooden tables set next to an exposed brick wall.
In addition to creating a space where people can enjoy their food, DeRhodes also wants to prove a point: even though Norwood is a small town, it is growing and has the capacity to support a variety of businesses, including restaurants. more upscale.
“Hopefully we’re showing you can be successful here in Norwood and encouraging others to come to this town and invest,” DeRhodes said. “There are great people in this community who are committed to seeing and supporting growth here, especially downtown.
Find the right location
Hailing from Statesville and having spent much of his career in Charleston and Charlotte, where he owned his own distribution business, DeRhodes wanted to get away from it all. So about three years ago he and his wife moved to Norwood and built a house along the lake.
Able to relax and catch his breath, DeRhodes fell in love with the quaint charm and small town of Norwood.
“This is the first place since leaving Statesville where I’ve felt like home,” he said. “This is the first place we moved where I felt like there was nothing left to do.”
Wanting to be closer to his daughter Kathryn and her family, including Jimmy and their three children, who lived more than 1,500 miles from Denver, DeRhodes convinced them to return home to North Carolina, specifically Norwood. DeRhodes also thought Norwood would make a safer place for her grandchildren to grow up.
With Jimmy already making a name for himself on Denver’s foodie scene as majority owner and sushi chef of Sushi Bay 17, DeRhodes thought his son-in-law could help open a similar restaurant in North Carolina.
Wanting to establish a footprint in a larger population center, DeRhodes said he looked at places such as Concord, Harrisburg and Locust.
DeRhodes eventually contacted Robin Davis, owner of 110 Main Mercantile and head of Norwood’s Central Business Development Group, who showed her the vacant building she owned next door. He bought the building in 2018 and that’s when he started seriously considering Norwood as a possible location for his restaurant.
Although Norwood was not as large as some of the other towns and villages DeRhodes spotted, there was something missing in many of them. If he opened an Asian restaurant in town, there would be little competition and it would attract people from all over the county who wanted an upscale experience but didn’t want to travel outside of Stanly to get it.
Having already decided to open a restaurant, DeRhodes was one day at the city museum trying to find old photos of his building when he came across yearbooks from the 1940s of Norwood High School, each bearing the same title: “The Lantern”. It was then that he had an idea.
“What better name could match our desire to light up our city and equalize the light of God’s blessings upon all who are fortunate enough to live here?” he wrote on Lantern Sushi’s Facebook page, after being repeatedly asked how he came up with the name.
If you build it they will come
It was a huge leap of faith for Jimmy to leave his successful business in such a large metropolitan city and start anew in Norwood.
When he arrived in the city last September, he was skeptical that Norwood could replicate the kind of success he had in Denver with Sushi Bay 17.
“To tell you the truth, I was really worried about putting a sushi restaurant here (in Norwood),” Jimmy said. “I was afraid people weren’t used to eating raw fish.”
Wanting to get a broader picture of the county’s food scene, Jimmy visited several area sushi restaurants to find out what types of fish are on the menu and how receptive the community is to what’s on offer.
“It was, I think, a little eye-opener for him,” DeRhodes said.
Although still wary of the restaurant’s prospects of opening in Norwood, DeRhodes was able to convince Jimmy of the benefits of investing in the town.
“I said, look, the population is a lot less (especially compared to Denver), but the thing is, we’re going to provide something that nobody else has and if we do it right, everybody will come here in the county,” DeRhodes said. “Everybody’s gonna come here once, we gotta make sure they want to come back.”
DeRhodes plans to be open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. or 10 p.m.
“We want to give people a good dining experience and we want to have a good atmosphere, good food and good service,” DeRhodes said.