That is the last day patrons will be able to order Bill Norman’s famous vine-ripe tomatoes or the restauranteur’s much-loved peach cobbler.
“I had one guy say, ‘Bill, where am I gon’ get your vine-ripe tomatoes in January?’” Norman said. “I said, ‘That would be nowhere.’”
As he broke into a small jig, smiles spread across the faces of the restaurant’s patrons, the majority wearing white “United Way of Forsyth County” name tags across the front of their blouses.
On Tuesday, the organization paid tribute to Norman and his Peachtree Parkway seafood restaurant, Norman’s Landing, which will close on June 18 after 22 years of operation.
By the numbers
49: Years Bill Norman has been a restauranteur
22: Years Norman’s Landing has been open
$2.3 million: Amount raised for charities
$400K: Amount raised for United Way of Forsyth County
$500: Amount he sold a recipe for to benefit United Way
April marked the owner’s 49th year in the restaurant industry, and Norman said it is time for a break.
“When June 1 came around, though,” he said, “I said, ‘Whoa, we really are closing. It’s really sinking in.’”
Norman has been a member of the county’s United Way, as well as other charitable organizations, for years.
Tuesday’s event served as a celebration of his time and commitment to the organization, according to Ruth Goode, United Way’s executive director.
“Since the day Bill opened this restaurant, he’s been supporting the community and giving back,” she said. “We’ve never seen anything like it and he’s a volunteer. He has served on many of the nonprofit boards in the community. He raises money for nonprofits … everybody knows him.
“Some of our board members [at Tuesday’s event] go back to 1991, when the board was formed, so it’s kind of a reunion and a big thank you for Bill for supporting United Way so nicely throughout the years.”
Even though he is closing, Norman said he is still finding ways to give back — building on the $2.3 million he will have raised for United Way and other charities since he served his first meal at the restaurant.
“I sold one recipe for $500,” he said. “I said, ‘Here, you can have it if you give me $500 for my United Way charity.’ Another I sold for $100.
“But, where you’ll get this [kind of restaurant]? That would be nowhere.”